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Posted by on in General

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When I saw her walk in I quickly scanned the room for some age-appropriate toys that I hoped might have a shot at entertaining her for the hour or so she would have to wait. I didn't see anything that even remotely resembled something that a three year old would want to play with. I was just guessing that she was three. Maybe a little older or a little younger.

I've sat in meetings before in which children were unable to sit still or keep quiet for longer than a minute. It is very distracting and it can be difficult to stay focused. I don't blame the children or their parents. It have a hard time myself.

Once we all had our seats at the table, it just so happened that she was she seated directly to my left. As we began to introduce ourselves, her mother took out a notebook, turned to a clean page and handed her daughter a pen. She had come prepared. I had not. To be quite honest, I am usually the person in meetings that has the hardest time focusing and keeping still. I fidget. I doodle. I lean forward. I lean backward. And, I too, make sure I have a notebook, a clean page and something to write with. I guess I'm a lot like a three year old.

The meeting began. I couldn't help but notice that this little girl knew how to hold a pen. Something that is not common for someone her age.

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Tagged in: children Mistakes My Bad
Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

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I love this quote by David Geurin, a Missouri high school principal. Check out David's blog for more progressive and game changing teaching and leading ideas.

Here's another quote I love and wholeheartedly agree with.

"Our job as teachers is not to "prepare" kids for something; our job is to help kids learn to prepare themselves for anything." - A.J. Juliani

What I take away from David and A.J.'s words is that the future is uncertain. The jobs of today will not exist tomorrow, but individuals who will possess the skills to learn anything, be able to reflect, creatively problem solve, take risks, stay persistent, and bring innovative solutions to the marketplace, will indeed be successful, regardless of what the future brings.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

Development progresses proximodistally, from the body core outward. Toddlers are newly gaining control over their arms, hands, and fingers. They have moved from palmar to pincer grasp and now have the ability to use their fingers with more precision.

We can provide activities to prepare little hands to someday play a musical instrument, fly across a computer keyboard, or perform delicate surgery! Exercising those small muscles are easily a part of everyday routines and play- the way it should be. As we interact with and observe toddlers, we can make the most of what they’re already doing and interested in.

tearing paper

Tear paper. Now you have two sets of fingers grasping and pulling! Provide a variety of papers, some thin and some thick. Magazine pages are easier to rip and a good choice for beginners. Tearing paper is a sensory activity that very young children enjoy. They will notice the different sounds the paper makes as they tear it fast or slow and usually stay engaged quite a while.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

1. Young brains often do not fully activate in girls until about age 20, in boys, as late as 25.

2. The last part of the brain to develop is the Pre-Frontal Cortex-it controls impulses, organization, moral reasoning, emotional regulation, concentration and prioritizing.

3. Adolescents often do not fully process cause & effect (another skill of the pre-frontal cortex) so they really DO NOT know why they just did something stupid or why they got in trouble for it.

4. Young brains need 9-13 hours of sleep daily to concentrate, metabolize sugar and retain information effectively.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

STEAM play

What started as a dream has become a reality! One short year ago, our campus, Lawson Early Childhood School, began its journey from Dream to STEAM. Our campus recognized the growing need to provide uniquely designed STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) experiences for our 3, 4, and 5 year old students and began imagining what would later become a fully equipped STEAM lab. At the heart of our STEAM dream has consistently been the goal of developing our PreK students socially, emotionally, and academically while providing opportunities for them to explore, collaborate, problem solve, and question through play. Our global society necessitates a strong math/science background, and by building a STEAM lab for our young learners, we are providing foundational experiences and scaffolding academic vocabulary while fostering a love of learning through carefully designed, standards-aligned experiences that provoke creativity, problem solving, and collaboration.

Open-ended lessons requiring communication and critical thinking allow students to explore many solutions to a variety of problems. Our students benefit from opportunities to build lifelong math/science skills as they investigate the power of wind on a variety of objects using a wind tunnel, code Bee-Bots and Code-a-pillars, design structures and scenery with giant interlocking blocks to use as a setting to retell a story, build strong bridges with a variety of materials, and learn to persevere through trial and error with ramps and tunnels on a big magnetic wall. Through play and careful design, we are developing confident risk-takers while our PreK students explore STEAM for their first time.

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We design our STEAM lessons with a structured teaching cycle (thinking, planning, doing, reflecting) to ensure success in the STEAM lab. Each set of lessons is planned to meet specific academic guidelines. Higher order questions, visuals, “I can” statements, and reflection questions are built in so students acquire new academic and social vocabulary. STEAM lessons are introduced to teachers through flipped learning videos, giving them an opportunity to explore and ask questions about the lessons in advance.

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