Mommy and Me Book Club

I am a teacher mommy who hosts a Mommy and Me Book Club at my home each week. I search out the best preschool books and share our book inspired fun on my blog with parents, teachers, and librarians to use with their own students!

Danielle is a winner of Top 25 Teacher Moms - 2012

How long have you been a teacher?

I can't remember not being a teacher. I played school as a little girl and taught my dolls and cousins. When I grew up and graduated college, I taught elementary school for 8 years in a traditional classroom setting. Now I teach a Mommy and Me class once a week for my littlest friends and their mommies.

What are three of your favorite books for children? (Please share what age they are best for.)

I am so glad you asked for three OF my favorites and not my TOP 3 favorites. I can never choose. I have 3 little ones, so I will share my favorite for each of their current ages.

My current favorite picture book for my preschool daughter is The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood. The story is cute, the illustrations are lovely, and I never get tired of reading it over and over again.

My favorite books for my kindergartener are the Piggie and Elephant Series by Mo Willems. He can read them all by himself. I love to hear the confidence in his voice and his frequent giggles.

My oldest son is in elementary school. My favorite book for his reading level, and one of my all time favorites, period, is The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I loved reading this book to my fourth graders each year. I always cried, and so did most of my class. It has adventure, friendship, humor, loyalty, and sacrifice. My students enjoyed this book and always listed it as their favorite read a loud on our end of year survey.

What can parents do to help when their child doesn't like school?

I always thought I had the answers to this question, until I became the PARENT of a child who didn't want to go to school. Last year, my first grader was placed in a classroom that included SEVERAL students who struggled to behave appropriately in the school setting. All of a sudden, positive and cheery child was coming home from school sad and quiet. He said he didn't want to go to school anymore. He said the teacher spent most of the day fussing and yelling at the other children in the room, and that it upset his tummy. I was heartbroken! He had loved every minute of kindergarten. And I LOVED his first grade teacher. She seemed so enthusiastic and kind. It was hard to imagine that she was "yelling all day."

As a former teacher, I didn't want to be "That Parent." The one who came in and complained. I just wanted to be the parent who brought in teacher appreciation gifts, volunteered to chaperone field trips, and read stories to the classroom. I didn't want to have to talk about an issue. MY stomach started to get upset. I was worried that if I said anything, that the teacher would treat my son differently. (Why do we do this? Knowing that I would not treat a child differently because a parent brought a genuine concern to me, why did I think she would)?

My husband and I set up an appointment to meet with his teacher to speak about my son's concerns. I was careful to only focus on my own son's needs and his expressed concern. I did not mention other classmates' behaviors. I kept the focus on my child. I was not accusatory, and I treated her as a partner as we tried to best help my son. She admitted that this was the most challenging class that she had to date, and that she did spend most of the day redirecting behavior. She said that there were days she herself didn't want to come to school. She said that now that she knew my son was struggling, she would be more focused on his feelings. He had not told her how he felt. (Of course not, he was only 6). Together, we challenged my son to find 3 good things he liked about the day. At the end of each school day, we had him share the 3 best things and one thing (if any) that made him feel uncomfortable that day. After one week, my son no longer needed to share his favorite things or his concerns.

The behavior of his classmates did not change. It remained a challenging class. But once we validated his concerns, my son's ability to handle it changed. He ended the year his normal happy self and LOVES school again.

Every family and situation is different, but these steps worked for us.
1-Treat the teacher as a partner and discuss openly and respectfully any concerns.
2-Help your child focus on what he can control and empower him to do so. Let the adults focus on what they can control. Validate his feelings.
3-If your first plan does not work, don't give up, develop a new plan.
4-Stay positive and help your child see the positive in his life.

Have you found a terrific printable toy? Share the link, and let us know what ages it's best for.


My 3 year old daughter and I LOVE the printables at You Make Do! These fairy puppets are irresistible0 !
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