EDWORDS: Latest Blog Posts

  • Attending a Conference This Year?

    As early childhood professionals, we know the value and necessity of lifelong learning. In order to maintain quality of practice, we absolutely need to stay on top of our game. Research is changing the way we understand young children and how we   approach their care and education. Getting stale is not an option! Continuing education has both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. We may be required by our employers or by child care licensing to acquire a number of training hours each year. ...

    by Debra Pierce
    Thursday, 29 January 2015
  • Play: Learning in Motion

    I read in the Washington Post today about a preschool classroom in Arlington.  In the column, the teacher, Launa Hall, describes her struggles to teach reading skills to preschoolers while feeling guilty about not being able to allow them to play. The Pre-K standards she uses are doable in a play environment, but the mandated curriculum in which they are delivered, as we say in the trade, are not developmentally appropriate. The joy of childhood is a secondary characteristic, no ...

    by Gail Multop
    Sunday, 25 January 2015
  • photodune-1867786-children-listening-to-music-xs

    Music Listening Changes Children's Lives

    So much is said today about “music playing” as a gateway to improving academic skills and expanding emotional intelligence.  The scientific scientific and empirical research validates these findings.  But what about music listening: how does it fit into the equation and affect children’s  lives?  And when you think about it, just about every kid listens to music. My “Contemplation Music Writing Project” which began in the 70s shows how listening to music takes students ...

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    by Jeffrey Pflaum
    Friday, 23 January 2015
  • Setting Goals and Making Changes

     As Early Childhood professionals, we need to be constantly looking ahead and staying ahead. Research continues to provide new insight into the growth and development of young children. This, in turn, impacts how we can best approach caring for and teaching them.  Oftentimes, working in the profession for a number of years creates a plateau in practice, enthusiasm, and willingness to try new things. Providers become comfortable with the usual daily routines.The predictability and rhyt ...

    by Debra Pierce
    Wednesday, 21 January 2015
  • Keeping Your Cool for Your CDA Observation

    The thought of someone coming in to observe you at work is unsettling for some and downright disturbing to others. You may fear that your regular, everyday routines will suddenly become a disheveled chain of events, as you struggle to stay focused. And that’s just you– but what about the children? Ah yes, the children. How will they act that day? Will they sense your nervousness and become uneasy, as well? Now, your imagination begins to run wild! Children who are usually calm and well-behaved ...

    by Debra Pierce
    Tuesday, 13 January 2015
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Recent blog posts

Posted by on in Early Childhood

As early childhood professionals, we know the value and necessity of lifelong learning. In order to maintain quality of practice, we absolutely need to stay on top of our game. Research is changing the way we understand young children and how we   approach their care and education. Getting stale is not an option!

Continuing education has both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. We may be required by our employers or by child care licensing to acquire a number of training hours each year. Or, earning a CDA is on the horizon or renewing one we already earned. In return for our efforts, we meet requirements, validate our licenses, get a promotion, or are awarded a credential.

But, there is more to it than that. By participating in good training, there are other valuable outcomes, albeit intangible.

 Learning new information that builds on what we already know gives a boost to our classroom       performance. We bring back these new ideas to put into immediate use with the children.

New ideas are energizing! We can’t wait to try them and our renewed enthusiasm is contagious The children and even our co-workers can’t help but get caught up in the excitement. There is also a sense of satisfaction knowing we’re making our programs better. What a self-esteem booster!

...

Posted by on in Early Childhood

I read in the Washington Post today about a preschool classroom in Arlington.  In the column, the teacher, Launa Hall, describes her struggles to teach reading skills to preschoolers while feeling guilty about not being able to allow them to play. The Pre-K standards she uses are doable in a play environment, but the mandated curriculum in which they are delivered, as we say in the trade, are not developmentally appropriate. The joy of childhood is a secondary characteristic, not a primary one, in public Pre-K programs. 

 

In our program, children are given multiple opportunities to construct their own knowledge. During our early morning, late afternoon, and outside times, when we set the environment for learning, they do just that! 

 

...

Posted by on in Teens and Tweens

photodune-1867786-children-listening-to-music-xsSo much is said today about “music playing” as a gateway to improving academic skills and expanding emotional intelligence.  The scientific scientific and empirical research validates these findings.  But what about music listening: how does it fit into the equation and affect children’s  lives?  And when you think about it, just about every kid listens to music.

My “Contemplation Music Writing Project” which began in the 70s shows how listening to music takes students beyond the educational benefits connected to music playing.  The studies, in regard to music listening, support the results I found empirically about the effects/affects of music, contemplating, writing, and discussing their inner experiences.  

One area the research misses is how music listening increases children’s awareness of the present moment, and that is significant for teachers working in today’s classrooms.  By listening to their favorite or “preferred music,” my students released emotions and thoughts hindering them from concentrating on learning, particularly in the afternoons between 1 and 3 p.m. when energy levels and attention spans declined rapidly.  The combined musical and contemplative experience revived spirits so they could continue to think clearly and learn at an optimal level.

“The Music Technique” stemmed from my own experiences with music listening: After a difficult day in the classroom, I played music while relaxing on a sofa mainly to drown out the psychological chaos stirring in my head.  But a funny thing happened on the road to sanity.  All the pictures mentally recorded from that day came back and flooded my mind with feelings and thoughts I’d rather forget.  Once I realized that I needed to stop fighting my self and let things be, I calmed down and felt moments of inner peace.  This change took time to develop, to re-view carefully or contemplate the mind-pictures from the day’s events, to release any negativity by getting into it, and getting it out, and to move on to the present-moment with greater lucidity, openness, and self-awareness.

From these experiences came an original, creative, and challenging “self-help activity,” an “internal education,” that included music, contemplating experiences while listening to music, and following up by writing, describing, and talking about whatever happened inside.  

...

Posted by on in Early Childhood

 As Early Childhood professionals, we need to be constantly looking ahead and staying ahead. Research continues to provide new insight into the growth and development of young children. This, in turn, impacts how we can best approach caring for and teaching them.

 Oftentimes, working in the profession for a number of years creates a plateau in practice, enthusiasm, and willingness to try new things. Providers become comfortable with the usual daily routines.The predictability and rhythm of what happens day to day soon leads to an almost mechanical approach.

This is done on Mondays, that is done onTuesdays, there is this holiday in November and that one in December.

Intentionality in planning gets pushed to the side in favor of doing what has become automatic. But, what is this toxic “autopilot” doing to the program, the children, and even the teachers?

 Just because something was a good idea once, doesn’t mean it will necessarily be a good idea for every group of children year after year. Each time we get a new group… or new children join the group, there is a new dynamic, a new set of individual differences, temperaments, energy levels, and interests.

...

Posted by on in Early Childhood

The thought of someone coming in to observe you at work is unsettling for some and downright disturbing to others. You may fear that your regular, everyday routines will suddenly become a disheveled chain of events, as you struggle to stay focused. And that’s just you– but what about the children?

Ah yes, the children. How will they act that day? Will they sense your nervousness and become uneasy, as well? Now, your imagination begins to run wild! Children who are usually calm and well-behaved will act out and become unruly. Those children who are normally a handful will totally test your limits, recognizing your demeanor is a little off and someone else is in the room.

And what about the activities you’ve planned and the daily schedule? Will you even be able to remember your plans and keep things running smoothly... or will the whole morning start to unravel?

As these scenarios race through your head, you find it hard to get that good night’s sleep you need the night before. Well, all of this can be avoided. With a little planning and preparation, you can feel calm and fully prepared for a great observation.

First, think about your typical weekly schedule. Choose a day for your observation that is usually smooth and low-key… not one that has a number of changes or special activities. Avoid a day when some of the children usually   arrive late or leave early. These types of change-ups can just cause waves and unpredictable situations you don’t need!

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