When I taught preschool, the longest time of the day was the period right after lunch when we started settling down for nap. I would unstack the cots; spread out each child’s blanket, pillow, and lovey; put pacifiers where they were needed; and begin the bathroom process before nap. We only had one bathroom, so the process took awhile. While each child had their turn, the rest of the children sat on their own cot, or a friend’s cot, and read books. While this was the longest time in our day, it was also one of the best times in our day! There is nothing like 10 little preschoolers all reading and enjoying books at the same time.
While I waited for the bathroom process to finish, sometimes I would quickly check my email from the morning. I remember one day vividly.
I sat down in the green office chair, relieved to have all the diapers changed and the dirty clothes from lunch changed. I looked around the room. My kids were pleasantly content at the moment: Anders, Colby, and Jonah were reading together on Anders’ cot; Blair was reading/singing Fiddle I Fee to Paige on her cot; Macy had her own book–Five Little Monkeys; Sterling and Natalie were reading on his cot; Gavin was on his cot enjoying a Thomas the Tank Engine book , and Joe was in the bathroom. Everyone was accounted for.
“I’ll just check my email real quick while they are all content,” I thought.
I pulled out my phone and pulled up my email account. Five new emails were waiting in my inbox. I began to go through them-in order, of course. “Junk, delete. Junk, delete. Junk, delete. Deal with that later. Oh, the library. What do they want?” I wondered.
PICKUP NOTICE The item you requested is available for pickup at the Columbia Public Library. We will hold the material for 6 days. If you are unable to pickup these items, you may cancel your holds at www.dbrl.org/holds To suspend your available holds, call the library at 573-443-3161. We will ask you to specify the dates you are unable to pick up your holds. When that time is past, you will be in line for the next available copy of the title. If you have questions, reply to this email or call the library.
I scrolled down to see what was waiting for me and let out a gasp of delight. “Yes!” I had been waiting for that book for such a long time. Finally.
Jonah looked up from his book at me and asked, “What is it, Miss Erin? Is it the library?Did you get a book you wanted?” he asked.
I looked at him, puzzled. “I did, Jonah. How did you know that?”
“You always get excited when you get an email from the library.”
Surprised by this, I challenged him, “I do?”
All my kids began to nod their heads in agreement with Jonah.
“Every time, Miss Erin,” replied Sterling. “Are you going tonight to get it?”
“You bet I am!”
“Will you get me a book while you are there?” asked Sterling.
“Me, too!” The others began requesting books. They called out favorite titles and authors as easily as they called out favorite television shows. Finally I gave up trying to remember their requests and decided to make a list.
I read in a professional book somewhere that children/students know what you value. You don’t have to tell them. They figure it out all on their own from observing you and listening to you talk. Furthermore, they will begin to value that same thing, too. Whenever I think about that statement, I always remember this small moment in time. It’s true. They did figure out what I valued without me even having to say anything directly about it. Books were a part of our daily life. Authors and characters were extended members of our class. It was who we were. We were readers. We read. Everyday. We believed books were to be valued and cherished. I don’t think I could have taught those kids a more important lesson.
And yes, I still get a little thrill when I have a book on hold to pick up. 🙂