Monday, February 12, 2007

New beginnings

So I have decided to switch jobs again. I really enjoy working at the real estate office, but my husband and I have started talking about having a little family of our own. At my current job, my hours are never predictable and some days I don't work at all, while other days I end up working 14 hours or something ridiculous like that. There were seriously days where I would start at 930 and not finish until 11pm at night. It took me awhile, but I decided that if I wanted to have a baby, the first thing I would have to do is get some kind of regular schedule going. So while I love the challenge of my job right now, I need something that fits a little nicer into my calender. Sooooo, I've decided to take a job at a preschool. I know. Me. Working at a preschool. If you'd asked me 5 years ago I would have said 'no way', but this recent trip back to Canada has made me realise I am ready for some little ones and the trouble they can come up with.

Now, not only will I be working at the preschool, I will be the head teacher. Its a new school and they need someone to write the curriculum and come up with some lesson plans for each thematic unit. The school opens in April but there is still alot of work to be done before that. So starting today, I will be working my little buns off writing lessons for 3-5 year olds. I am kind of looking forward to it, but I'm scared as hell too! I've never had a project this big before. I know the concepts and what I SHOULD be doing, but we'll see how it actually works in application! I've already themed the 12 months. So, now I just need a daily schedule (half done) and some lessons to teach. I also need to plan what supplies the school will need to buy and books etc. I have been researching online for materials and there's quite alot actually. I've found a couple of websites selling materials that I will recommend that my boss buys. On the plus side, he is not lacking in cash in any way, so there is no problems with startup costs. I just need to tell him what to buy. Mwa hahaha! The power!!! Just kidding - I'm actually crapping my pants as its all up to me to decide what these kids learn! Yikes! Any suggestions welcome!

The pay at this job is quite comparable to what Rich is making as well, so we will be pulling in a decent amount of cash for the next year or so as well. I'm hoping that we will make enough for us to save, and send back to Canada to save. Having a baby here can be a little costly at first as here you pay the hospital to have your baby there. But you can get the equivalent of maternity leave here in Japan as well, you just have to apply for the right insurance. So apply I will! Then I get paid for the next 12 months even if I can't work. Yah!

So here is what I have so far for Themes. Some of them may be unfamiliar as they are Japanese holidays.

Since we start in April, I thought we should start with

April - School Rules/About me
May - My Family (Mothers Day/Boys Day)
June - Summer/The Beach
July - Ocean animals - maybe an aquarium trip?
August - Obon (Fireworks)/Transportation
September - Fall/The weather
October - Halloween/?
November - Thanksgiving/Grandparents Day
December - Christmas/New Years - this month only has 2 weeks of class so I think this should be plenty
January - Winter Fun/?
February - Valentines/?
March - Spring (hanami)/Girls Day

I've also roughed out a schedule for the day based on what I remember of preschool, what I've researched about other schoolds and what I think would work as the lone teacher at a new school.

930-1000 Circle Time - all preschools here seem to have this. I think its basically a OK - adjustment to being at school time. Lets all relax and get into English time. Lets not be scared of the teacher and being away from your parents. Maybe we sing our ABC's. Play a little hokey pokey.
1000-1030 - Learning Activity/Game 1. I know 30 minutes is a long time, so I have to switch up the activities, but here is where I want to introduce our 'topic' or theme. I have to plan at least 2-3 things to do here.
1030-1045 - Snack time/toilet time! Kids get a quick break to charge their batteries and hit the toilet. Important I've heard.
1045-1115 - Learning Activity/Game 2. Review of what we just learned. Lets learn it again. A different way.
1115-1130 - Read a story. This was my favourite time of day when I went to kindergarden.
1130-1145 - Work books. I plan on having them do a little bit of colouring/writing everyday. For the really little ones, maybe just colouring in a picture of whatever vocab/letter we learned that day. The older ones can try and practice writing.
1145-1230 - Lunch! And of course the toilet. I will help them eat and they can play with their friends freely. Do whatever they want as long as they eat.
1230-100 - Take a quick nap. Hey, I know I'm cranky if I don't get a nap. Here the Japanese staff can help me out - and I can plan for the afternoon program.
100-230 - This will be our fun afternoon craft/activity/outing time. Could be finger painting, or maybe taking a short trip in the neighborhood. Longer outings will require special planning.
230-330 is my lunch. It will be more like daycare from this point on for the little kids. The short day finishes at 230 when their parents can pick them up. Or they can choose to stay until 530 where they receive just regular daycare.
330-530 - Elementary kids after school program. It will be like cram school.

Any suggestions? Improvements? Please let me know!


Anonymous said...

I know you have some potty times scheduled...but depending on how little and how toilet trained the kids are, you might want to schedule more of those in.

Also, depending on how small they are, you might need some more active time. Although you could be planning to cover that in the activities, so...yeah.

You could combine Winter and Valentines and do a unit and jobs, or something. Like, what earthquakes are, how to prepare for them, that kind of thing. I remember learning "duck and cover" and "stop, drop and roll" (fire safety) at about that age. It's always fun to pretend to be firemen and policemen!

Anonymous said...

p.s. that was dawn. &>

Charles said...

Wow, looks like you've thought it all out (the kiddy curriculum)! I have a little princess (9 months old) and I highly recommend kids. Good luck with the new job.

Ookami Machiavelli said...

Congrats on moving ahead! I'm excited for your prospects of starting a fam.

osaka jock said...

Congratulations. You can now train a whole generation of japanese kids to sing english karaoke...

karaoke queen said...

Thanks Dawn, I'll try to fit a unit on jobs in there. Its hard to cram in as much as I want.

karaoke queen said...

Errr, and one of our rules will be they have to be toilet trained to be in my class. The infants class will be separate. So we might need another teacher for the babies.

Ryan said...

Hey karaoke queen,

Sounds like your school will be roughly equivalent to the "Yellow" level at Peppy Kids Club (the one i worked for).

Some suggestions for you:

1. Make sure your activities are as active as possible. The kids wont sit for more than a few minutes. I found the best way to do it is to introduce a few new vocabulary words then play a game utilizing that vocabulary. For example, if you're learning body parts then a game like Simon Says is a great active game to incorporate that learning.

2. The really young kids probably wont speak all that much English. In the curriculum I was working with they focused almost entirely on colors, shapes, and letters. Playing karuta with flash cards can be fun, but can get competitive so you have to be careful.

3. In most cases, the girls seemed to love coloring activities, (workbook time?) but some of the more genki boys got tired of it quickly. For some of the older kids you could get the kids to color an object from your current theme (ornaments at xmas, clothes etc) then decorate a tree, or dress a paper doll. These kinds of crafts are a great way for the kids to learn and feel proud of what they have accomplished. Additionally, it allows the parents (your paycheck) to see that they do stuff in your class. And who knows, perhaps even learn a word or two from their child.

I still remember most of the games / activities I played with my kids when I was teaching so if you want any more ideas just shoot me an email.

karaoke queen said...

Dude - email me whatever you have. I wont actually be 'teaching' them all day. SO most of the day will be just playing - but in English. There will only be 2 'lesson times' during the day. Just like normal preschool. I'm hoping to do lots of crafts and stuff and make it like a real classroom where they can put their pictures up on the wall and stuff. My friend works at a preschool here and says its amazing how quickly they learn if you just talk to them all the time - and how after 6 months they're saying the little things that you say all the time. Hehe.

But seriously dude, email me with all the games that you played in your class!

Ryan said...

Ok, well I will certainly send you what I can remember or what I think worked well.

But if you are also looking for help in a specific setting as well please feel free to ask and I can let you know some of the things we did.

DigitalDragonDesignery said...

That sounds like it'll be a fun job! You've got a good starting plan as it is.

Good luck acquiring the job!