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Posted by on in Early Childhood

preschool math2

When we think about developing math and pre-math skills with preschool children, we usually imagine some explicit, teacher-directed activities that lead children to a correct answer. However, a lot of really significant math learning takes place within the context of classroom play, when teachers are talking with children about problems involving number, quantity, or size.

Young children are developmentally tuned-in to learn number sense in preschool. And, the more we talk with them about number, the more they learn. This can be done in just about any context.

juice

During snack time:

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

letter flashcards

It’s becoming more and more commonplace to see programs using flashcards and worksheets in their attempt to jumpstart literacy development. These early academic activities are touted as best approaches and provide tangible take-homes for anxious parents who don’t want their children to “get behind.”

Unfortunately, what’s really important to early literacy is largely being overlooked and the best opportunities to make learning matter are going unnoticed.

These programs need to stop the nonsense and expense of fancy and unnecessary academic curriculum. Instead, there needs to be a focus on just 5 things, using an approach that is age-appropriate, meaningful, and purposeful to young children.  Research tells us that these 5 are the best predictors of early literacy:

speaking to child

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

Will we ever be able to stop justifying the value of children’s active outdoor play? I think not. This will be an endless push by Early Childhood professionals, as our society continues its march into a technology-driven lifestyle.

I was again reminded of this recently when Rae Pica posted an image of an exercise bike for toddlers… apparently aimed at providing a solitary exercise experience for the child while engaged with a screen. Geesh.

We have to remember that a child develops across multiple domains synchronously. Each impacts the other. The physical benefits of outdoor active play are obvious, but let’s consider some of the social and emotional payoffs. Simply stated, while engaged in this type of play, children form relationships with peers, acquire confidence in their abilities, and learn to express their emotions.

One of the greatest emotional benefits of outdoor active play for young children is having a sense of self-control or competence. Some children have an innate drive to try and master new things and don’t need much encouragement to do so. Others may be hesitant to get involved with new play activities and may even give up easily. Later, this may translate to giving up easily on academic tasks, too. It’s critical, then to support their motivation and confidence to master new skills.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

thinking

This list may seem obvious, but it is surprising how many teachers can become oblivious, in the midst of life in the classroom. Let’s take time to think about some of these things we should probably stop doing immediately…

repeating

1. Repeating Yourself. Getting into the habit of expecting a response or reaction after a first request is critical to classroom management. This ties into consistency, so children will quickly learn that when you say something the first time, there will only be a first time. A second time will mean some sort of natural consequence. It only takes your smart children a short time to learn your MO and to respond accordingly. I know. Taking the time to follow through every single time is difficult, especially when we’re busy. But trust me... The effort put forth is far easier than what will undoubtedly happen as a result of slacking here. Many times one of those results is #2…

listening

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

annoying kids on airplane

I do a lot of air travel throughout the year and just returned from multi-stop flights over the holidays. And, of course, there were young children a-plenty.

Now, for some, this is an anticipated nightmare, requiring logic and strategic planning to avoid the same aisle, let alone the dreaded seat adjacent to a baby or little kid. If these fail, the inevitable leads to the classic stink eye being cast towards parent and child, along with hushed, but still audible remarks about, “If I were that child’s parent…”

bitchy resting face

First off, I do respect a person’s desire for some peace and quiet and personal space during a flight. That being said, I believe a few things about public air travel with small children need to be understood.

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