In her Bright Futures classroom, Tara Matise danced fast and slow danced to accomplish her lesson plan: teaching a group of 3- and 4-year-olds the meaning of opposite.
“I’ve taught preschool for the past five years,” Matise said, “and I don’t know if I’d be able to sit with a calm class in the older grades if they moved me.”
Matise graduated from Temple University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and came straight to George W. Nebinger School to work. After student teaching a kindergarten class at A.S. Jenks School and doing her practicum with a third-grade class teaching English at Bache-Martin Elementary School, Matise said she preferred the younger classes.
“Last week we made homemade butter,” she said. “At what other age do you get to do that? It’s a very social-emotional learning time for them. They’re away from mom and dad all day for the first time.”
The students attend school from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and on Friday, preschoolers get a half-day. Following breakfast, Matise starts the day with morning circle before allowing the preschoolers to do centers. Maybe they’ll choose to play in the kitchen to learn what equipment does what, read – or look at pictures – in a lounge chair or paint: Matise leaves the activity choice up to them as she supervises.
“I try to incorporate learning into everything,” she said as students continually approached her to show off their paintings, drawings and crafts.