Angelina Parades is the teacher of a 3-year-old class at Head Start in the Central Valley of California. She began her career in early learning education as a high school senior 11 years ago.
She is dedicated to the parents and children whom she serves and is passionate about the work she does. Her dedication and passion is evident in the conversations she has with her children, parents, and colleagues. She is very creative and is always designing new activities to take back and use with her students.
Reflection by Angelina Paredes
Envision a hamster running on a wheel, its little legs just keep going and going. Well, that is my mind, constantly going, constantly thinking about that next activity, the one that will allow all my students to be engaged while meeting their learning needs.
What are the things that can possibly be scrambling inside a preschool teacher’s mind? Well, to be honest, a lot: academic and free choice activities, safety, parent volunteers, bus schedules, just to name a few.
As the teacher of a class of three-year-olds, my favorite part of the day is watching the excitement in my children’s faces as they patiently wait for the activity of the day. My children always surprise me with what they can do, which has made me realize how important it is to closely analyze what kinds of things interest my children, while keeping in mind that all children learn at a different pace.
My day doesn’t end when I leave work. I go home and continue reflecting on my day, what my children were or weren’t able to do. What worked today? What could I have done different? How could I have made it more challenging?
What effect does this have on me? It makes me anxious to go home and think of more math games to create and share with the children.
People (teachers, parents, and friends) often tell me, “You are so creative,” or ask, “How did you think of that?” My ideas come from what I notice about my children, and by the things I find on Pinterest, YouTube, teacher websites, preschool websites. As I come across ideas, I think, “Hey, my kiddos would enjoy this,” so I gather my materials to create and design my activities based on the various levels of my children.
One of the activities I’ve made was “The Five Little Speckled Frogs.” For the log I use a paint mixing paddle and for the frogs I use five green frog bag clips that I purchased at the dollar store. I use this as a transition game, and as the frogs jump in the pool I have a child take one away and I ask, “So how many do you have now?”
This activity was a big hit, my children love this and their favorite part is the end when there are not any more frogs on the log. My children say, “Zero! No more!” While holding up a zero with their little hands.