“You play with me and saved my structure. I like you forever.”
I am on co-op at Buen Dia Family School, a preschool that was founded 40 years ago (1977) in the Mission District of San Francisco, California. Buen Dia is arts based and teaches that art is crucial for student learning, not because of the tangible end product but because of the learning that happens when children experiment and create art. There is also a Spanish bilingual aspect of Buen Dia’s approach that can help teach the students Spanish, but more importantly pushes the children to think critically and validates the experiences of students who already are Spanish-speaking.
Most days I have responsibilities with office work, cleaning and generally filling in roles a teacher may have in the classroom.In the classroom, I help run daily activities, ensure that the students stay safe and generally look out for their well-being. In the office, I have helped with filing receipts, editing documents for schedules on excel and helping with the annual spring auction. Another responsibility I have is making sure certain areas are clean and maintained.
I enjoy working at Buen Dia because my position feels very rewarding–even the office work becomes relaxing once you get into the habit. All of it is rewarding knowing that the end results will benefit current and future students. Working with 3-5 year olds can be very exhausting because they have so much energy—you can almost feel it as you walk into the room. Staying patient, kind and helpful takes even more energy than I often realize in the moment. I give the students everything I have in the instant that they need me. I only become aware of how tiring it has been once I have a moment to step back.
No matter how physically and emotionally tired I get, I am always fueled the next day knowing who I am serving when I see them dashing around every morning as I come in for work. I am rewarded knowing that not only am I keeping the children safe, but teaching them to develop skills that help them maintain their own well-being and the well-being of their community.
I like the simple things like speaking to them in Spanish, pushing them to think critically and celebrating their successes with them. I can see a change from when I first started to my time now. It makes me feel overjoyed to know that they have fun when they are at Buen Dia, but will continue to grow as the new members of their own community and eventually help their community grow in the future.
I have really enjoyed working at Buen Dia. This experience has only encouraged me to possibly pursue a career in which I help children directly.