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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.

We can do this by offering a variety of active play that is interesting and fun. Change it up! Use equipment like balls, trikes, and climbers and then also include group games- some with music and some with simple instructions. They’ll let us know their favorites by their enthusiasm to participate and requests to do those activities again and again.

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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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Posted by on in Early Childhood

preschool teacher

“I just have to pass this course! I’m sending you some assignments I forgot to do at the beginning of the semester and I hope you’ll accept them This has been a horrible semester, with my aunt passing away and my Internet not working. And then, I got the flu at midterm and …”

upset

These emails (and even personal visits!) are coming in a steady trickle. My students are suddenly realizing their lack of attention, effort, or organization has now resulted in a crisis situation. For the majority of these desperate cases, I had never been clued in on the life events at the time they occurred, when I might have been able to help. No. Not until now, four days before grades are submitted.

Of course, when at all possible, I try to be accommodating and offer some assignment due date flexibility when a student truly needs it. But those requests will come at an appropriate time and will have a legitimate reason. Those students will honor the extension and appreciate the support.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

So much uneasiness and so many serious events in the news. Pondering it all took me to a different place. It just seemed to be a good time for a change of direction.

The focus always seems to be on what we can teach our youngest contingent. Let’s turn things around, shall we? What are some of the valuable things we can learn from them?

These aren’t new lessons, because when we were children, we had them down. Somehow, as we got older, busier… perhaps sidetracked, what came naturally to us as kids became unpracticed and sometimes as good as gone. Well, are these things still important now that we’re grownups? You betcha! So let’s be reminded.

princess

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