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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in early childhood

Posted by on in What If?

child and computer 1450x725

I’m not a fan of fear tactics. In fact, I often can be heard railing against them, as I believe the media’s obsession with them has made parents paranoid and forced children into a childhood that doesn’t look remotely like childhood should.

Take, for example, the belief that earlier is better. Whether we’re discussing athletics or academics, parents have come to accept as true that if they don’t get their children involved in as much as possible, as early as possible, their little ones will fall behind and never live up to their full potential. Because of this belief, far too many children are being asked to do that for which they’re not developmentally ready. The result, far too often, is frustration and failure for kids, and even an intense dislike for whatever it is they’ve been asked to master – like reading and physical activity!

Another myth under which today’s parents are laboring is that it is a dangerous, dangerous world and they must be ever-vigilant to prevent their children from being snatched, or worse. And why wouldn’t they believe such a thing, when the evidence seems to be irrefutable? Whether it’s via traditional or social media, we’re receiving constant messages about child abduction and stranger danger. But the fact remains that stranger danger is yet another falsehood and children today are no less safe than they were when I was a kid (which was a very long time ago). But how are parents to know that? How are they to believe statistics when our society has become so adept at instilling fear?

One of the consequences of this particular myth is that children aren’t being allowed to take the risks that were once a natural part of childhood – and growth. Autonomy and the ability to problem solve are among the characteristics being sacrificed at the altar of overprotection.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

first day of kindergarten

Scores of moms and dads clung to the fence surrounding the kindergarten building shouting, amid tears, last-minute advice and terms of endearment.

“I love you, honey!”

“Be good, my little one!”

“Listen and learn, baby!”

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

Addition

It was a day in first grade that I will not forget. A student struggled to understand and a teacher struggled to help. I was the teacher.

For a while in our math lessons, we had been practicing single digit addition. We were working on becoming fluent...at least some of us were working on that. Others of us were working on really understanding the concept of addition. I sat with one of my friends, working through some addition practice. We had worked through several addition problems until we hit a wall. My friend was struggling with adding zero.

I pointed to the problem (because, you know, pointing at it makes it so much more understandable). I asked: "What is 7 plus 0?"

My friend stared at it and then looked up at me with his large dark eyes: "8?" he asked in a voice full of hope.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, "Make me feel important."  (Mary Kay Ash)

In educational circles today, I hear a lot about social and emotional skills, social and emotional learning, and so forth. Foundational for preschoolers to learn how to relate to the people around them and to begin to regulate themselves is a feeling of being valued and valuable. All children in our classes want to feel valued; they want to know (with the heart not the head) someone cares about them. They want the approval of adults. We teachers have a powerful impact on the lives of boys and girls.

A "simple" action is at the core of buildng a caring community that supports social and emotional skills - using names.

Names are the beginning point of the child's identity. Calling a child by name builds the relationship and helps the child feel that you know him and care about him. Once I was walking along behind a group of brothers. They stopped in the hall to wait for their mom. I spoke to each one, calling each by name. After I walked by, I heard one whisper, "He knows who we are." Knowing names = knowing the child. That makes them feel valued and important to you.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

transitions

This summer (kicking and screaming) I am a parent in transition.  My oldest son is entering 7th grade and heading to the Jr. High.  Reflecting on this transition I am calling it the '2nd Kindergarten' as it is evoking similar emotions as when he started Kindergarten a few years ago....

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While reflecting on my own emotions with this transition it has provided me an opportunity to review the practices, systems and supports we have put in  place to support students, families and our community and successfully bridge the role of PreK and K.

Community Connections

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