Saturday, December 05, 2009


Babies happen around the preschool. We’re a little lighter than usual this year on the pregnant mommy/infant front, but there are still at least twenty younger siblings popping in and out of our classroom this year, both on their own two wobbly legs as well as in vitro. It’s not uncommon for a third of the moms in our Pre-3 class to be pregnant at the same time. I’ve often said, “I assume that all ya’ll are pregnant. Just let me know when you’re not.”

It’s life-affirming to be surrounded by all this fertility.

That said, I’m not a true baby enthusiast. They’re cute and perfect and sweet and wonderful, of course, but I get far more interested in them once they start to walk and talk. At the same time there is nothing I enjoy more than talking to preschoolers about their new babies.

Some of them are proud. Charlie M. announced his new baby to me even before his parents did by saying, “I a big brother now.” I swear his chest was puffed up as he said it.

Last year, Ella wasn’t quite as sure about her new sister, finally dismissing me with, “Whatever!” when I pressed her too far.

Cora’s baby is only a few days old as I write this and she’s already quite expert. According to her, the baby cannot walk or talk yet, but he can sleep, cry, poop, and drink milk.

I can almost always tell when little brother or sister starts to crawl, often to the day, simply by the behavior of their older siblings in class. That’s because mobility means that baby can get into the big kid’s stuff. This is particularly evident in the case of formerly single kids, who have never before had to “defend” their possessions. It almost always comes into the classroom in the form of hoarding or guarding toys, and over-reacting to the encroachments of others.

Some children really get into describing how they, as big kids, are superior to babies in every way. I like to use this attitude as a jumping off point for looking back at our own lives and talking about all the things we can do that babies can’t. It is truly amazing, even when the retrospective only covers 2 or 3 years, how far they’ve come, and once they have a baby in their lives they can really see it. Big kids can walk, talk, eat food, go to school, play with toys, be gentle, ride bikes, sing songs, paint . . . the list is endless.

We have several “baby” songs we sing at circle time, but I’m particularly fond of this Bev Bos version of the Sally Rogers song Circle Of The Sun:

A baby is born in the circle of the sun,
In the circle of the sun
On a birthin’ day.
Clouds to the north
Clouds to the south
Wind and the rain
To the east and the west.
A baby is born in the circle of the sun
In the circle of the sun
On a birthin’ day.

I then ask, “What is something a baby needs to learn?” and the children raise their hands to suggest things a baby needs to learn. We then make those suggestions into new verses:

A baby learns to walk in the circle of the sun
In the circle of the sun
On a walking day . . .

A baby learns to eat in the circle of the sun
In the circle of the sun
On an eating day . . .

A baby learns to ride bikes in the circle of the sun
In the circle of the sun
On an bike riding day . . .

And while it’s true that I find myself mostly interested in babies as viewed through the eyes of their big brothers and sisters, I did come across this movie trailer over at Urban Preschool that I wanted to share with you:

And even though it’s about babies, I can’t wait to see it.

Bookmark and Share


Audrey said...

Oh Teacher Tom, I think that I love you. I've been reading your blog for awhile now (linked off Preschool daze I think) and I get more and more excited every time.

I work with deaf preschooler's using a language enriched environment/auditory-oral approach. (No sign language for our cochlear implant kids). Please know that I am modeling many of your techniques and striving to be the best teacher possible. Keep up the good work.

Reservoir Dad said...

That's such a great video.

SpeakLoud said...

Audry-I AM in love with Teacher Tom-so much so that I think you and I should start the Teacher Tom Groupie Group.
This video is so sweet-I can't wait to see it-do you think we could have a Seattle meet up when it opens-we can get all the inspired pre-school teachers together and just have a rollicking good time?

Floor Pie said...

So sweet! I love hearing them talk about the babies too. When The Boy was 2 and a relative asked him about his new sister, he thought about it for a minute and replied "She's small. And she has arms."

Our daughter is really interested in babies now, so we've been talking about that a lot and looking at the old pictures. She told me recently, apropos of nothing, "I was born in the hospital with YOU! I camed in your body. Then they taked OUT my body."

Which sums it up pretty well, actually...

Audrey said...

@Speakloud- yes, let's start the Teacher Tom Groupie Group!! Would you like to organize the snack or art activities? (You know, for when we stand outside the fence of his playground while peeking in to copy his ideas?) :)

Unfortunately I live far, far away in Kansas. It would be fun to get together with like-minded teachers though to watch the movie opening.

Teacher Tom said...

Thank you so much for your kind words Audrey and SpeakLoud. I'm floating on air!

And yes, I'd love to get together a group of preschool teachers to go see the movie when it is release in April.

Unknown said...

My Dad feels much the same way you do about babies. Of course he loves the grandchildren, but it is so much more intriguing when they are old enough to talk and interact with him.

The movie looks marvelous.