Early Childhood Teacher Privilege

Posted June 5, 2015

by Jenny Kleppe

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Resources abound about childhood speeding by too quickly. As a mother of two young children, I am constantly told, “Enjoy every moment! Before you know it, they will be off to college!”  I admit there are many moments I do not enjoy. I love my children, but I do not love tantrums, fevers, feeling rushed, or 3:00 a.m. crying.
But childhood does go fast, especially from day to day. Things at home are busy and time flies. As children enter the preschool and elementary years, the day to day “busy-ness” is compounded with multiple after school sports, clubs, and commitments. Activities spill over into the weekends, so the precious little time families have together can be infringed upon.  I find myself wondering, where is the time to be present with my children? Where is the time for childhood?
Being present is difficult. Making time and space for being together is challenging for most families. But childhood still exists. You just have to look a bit harder to find it these days. Here at All Seasons Preschool, childhood is easy to find. We teachers have the unique position to be present for childhood. I feel lucky to have what I like to call “Teacher Privilege.”  Every day I witness childhood at its finest and my job is to be present.  I play with, eat with, learn with, and grow with fascinating girls and boys.
Yes, I spend a great deal of my time teaching. I plan. I prepare children for and execute the transitions that bring us through our school day. I assess students’ abilities and skills in order to guide them to their next step of development.  I spent several years training to learn these skills, but while I am using them,  I get to BE with children. I am privileged to have the time and the space to join children in their world.
Last week I spent an hour creating an intricate village with several children in the sand box using sticks, wood chips, and rocks. We built roads for the villagers, volcanoes that erupted, cranes to make more houses, and forests that shaded the houses. The week before I was a fellow princess in the castle. I have been the Big Bad Wolf, the evil witch, a ninja, and the ‘ducker’ in “duck, duck, gray duck.”  Every day at school I am privileged to hear and record children’s stories, an up-close glimpse into their imagination. I am an eyewitness to childhood, to play, to imagination at work.
You know the joy of giving a child a gift you are certain they will enjoy, and of seeing their eyes light up as they open it. I experience that joy multiple times a day, as children discover something outdoors, build something new out of blocks, feel the textures in the sensory table, listen to a favorite story or sing a favorite song with the group.
This is a luxury; to be both teacher and playmate; both leader and follower; to be with a child and be completely present with them without being distracted by work or other tasks, because being with young children IS my work. I am so fortunate to have this role.  Thank you for sharing your children’s lives and childhoods with me.

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Jenny Kleppe, Privileged Autumn Room Teacher

The Experts Speak

Posted June 1, 2015

by Sarah Sivright


Beginning in February, with the first child’s kindergarten orientation session, we notice the excitement and anxiety surrounding kindergarten start to build. Both these feelings need to be addressed by the only folks who can tell it like it is. So every spring, we invite last year’s graduates to return and tell us all about kindergarten. We have chairs set up in front for our panel of experts, and we’re all ears. Each child tells us something they liked and didn’t like about kindergarten, how they made friends, how they get to school, how lunch works, do they have a nice teacher, what’s play time like—all the important information. All Seasons Preschool children get to ask questions of the panelists at the end. Here’s some of what we learned…

What they liked:

I like doing crafts in art class.

We get to run around in the gym and play fun games like “Fishes and Whales.”

When you finish your work you get to play games.

I like the library because you get to take books home.

I like playing “Popsicle” (many nods—a demonstration followed the panel)

I like going out to recess. We don’t have a sandbox but we do have a slide that goes really fast.

My teacher is nice (all nod).

We don’t have grandmas and grandpas, but we do have carnivals.

I like doing specials—art, Spanish, music, gym.

We have (third or fourth grade) buddies who read books or do work with us.

What they didn’t like:

I don’t like when we have to sit on the floor for a long time.

I don’t like putting our heads down on the tables if we’re not listening.

Some boys tease me. I run away or tell a teacher.

I’m always the last one to finish something.

Some kids always want to be first in line.



At the beginning you have to make friends, but now I have lots and lots of friends.

I didn’t know anybody but now I have friends.

Reading and math:

I didn’t know how to read before, but I’m learning more.

I knew a little bit, but now I’m really good at reading.

We do lots of math—we’re adding.


When you do kindergarten stuff, you can’t be bad.

[What’s “being bad” in kindergarten?]

Punching or slapping or teasing.

You get four or five warnings, then you sit in the “Break Chair.”

Sometimes you have to go to the Principal’s office.


Final Thoughts:

The first day I was nervous and shy.

I was excited!

You have choice time when your work is done. If you don’t get choice time, you get a longer recess.

You have to do a lot of learning and listening.


Such thoughtful and helpful students—thank you for coming to tell us about kindergarten!