In 6 days I will officially be at my job for one year. And I have the best job, next to being a mom that is. I spend every Sunday morning teaching ESE kids all about Jesus, how much He loves them, what He did for them, and how they can glorify Him with their lives. Love, love, love my job. The other six days of my week are brainstorming ways to do it better, learning behavior management techniques for in a classroom setting, and lesson planning that uses all of the different learning styles...because if there is one thing I know for certain it is that, if you have met one special needs child, you have met one special needs child. They are ALL different. They learn differently and should each be taught in the way that they will learn the information best.
It has been a long, but exciting and ever-changing year in our church's new ministry. Before this year, they had no designated children's church for ESE. So there have been lots of learning curves, groundbreaking, start-from-scratch, going-back-to-the-drawing-board moments. Especially at our first ever ESE VBS this past summer. But we have survived. And we have grown. We consistently have 4-5 kids now every Sunday and more in preschool on the way up.
The best compliment came when a dad brought his daughter a few weeks back and said, "We were going to stay home this morning because our oldest daughter is sick, but this one insisted on coming and not missing church." Praise God! Of course that came on the heels of another parent telling us we had not seen her child in a while because she had been traumatized when another child pulled her hair a few weeks prior. Oh but God is good. He balances our failures with His blessings and reminds us weekly that us being there and teaching those kids has nothing to do with us at all. It's all Him. And I say us because not one lesson I plan or craft I prepare would ever amount to a hill of beans were it not for the amazing volunteers I work with. Some of them come every single week to love on our ESE kids just because that is their heart.
Anyway, in my 365 days of building an ESE classroom from the ground up, I have learned a ton. And I won't pretend to take any of the credit. I believe Pinterest is God-ordained like manna from heaven! I am beyond thankful for the artsy craftsy, creative, and imaginative pinners I follow who make me look like I am not just faking it week in and week out. All along the way though, I promised myself that, once my classroom felt complete (though I am sure it will evolve over time), I would do a series of posts, all on one blog to detail everything we did to make it a safe and fun learning environment for our kids. My prayer is that it may save someone else in the position I was in a year ago the countless hours of web-browsing, Internet-searching, eighteen-new-window-tabs-open-at-a-time pinning madness that I endured! Not that I didn't thoroughly enjoy much of the research, but for the sake of time, it would have been nice to find it one-stop-shop style.
So this is my first post about my classroom and it's more really of a teaser. I am simply going to give you the overall view, the pictures of my room from every angle. In my next few posts I will break down the ideas and reasons behind such things as the furniture, the centers, the toys and games, the behavior management tools, and even the safety objects we have in place. Most importantly, I will do my very best to provide you with a link to where each of the ideas/items came from and the glorious directions on how to do it yourself. Ready, set, go!
I am a Christian. I am a wife. I am a mom. I am an author. In that order.