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Posted by on in Early Childhood

NAEYC’s vision for our profession is one that “exemplifies excellence and is recognized as vital and performing a critical role in society” (NAEYC, 2015). In order to fulfill that vision, we need to make darn sure those in this profession obtain quality and appropriate training.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. This is especially true now that online training seems to have exploded. In the push to hire or to become employable, expediency and low cost often take priority when weighing training options. Care providers can easily Google and find Early Childhood courses online from just about anybody. If you haven’t tried this lately, it’s really pretty disturbing. There are training programs that are totally self-directed, with a quiz at the end of each module, requiring only an 80% to move forward. One can conceivably go through an entire course of study in an evening and print off certificates indicating mastery in a whole list of areas. Mastery?

nite computer

Early Childhood educators deserve more than this. More importantly, young children certainly do. When a parent entrusts his precious child into someone’s care, that care should encompass a keen awareness of proper health and safety practices, child development, curriculum, appropriate guidance techniques, and how to promote relationships with families.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

As I paused at a stoplight across from the local elementary school this morning, I saw a familiar sight that brought back memories… Carpool line. Moms and dads giving last minute hugs and kisses and straightening backpacks. First day of Kindergarten! Some drove out of the school lot and on their way. Others pulled into parking spots.

I remember being one of the parkers… just to watch my son walk into the building to his teacher waiting at the doorway. And then, he was gone. Sigh. Just one of many times a parent experiences “letting go.” It isn’t easy. I didn’t think I would cry, because I really did prepare myself for this day. But, it didn’t matter. There I was, along with the other parents, quietly sobbing in my car. I suddenly experienced a vivid flashback of the past five years, overwhelmed with excitement for my son’s future and some unanticipated parental anxiety.

goodbyetoyou

That being said, I was able to rein in the emotions and recover, knowing my son had spent years in a high quality preschool program that prepared him socially and academically for that day and his school years to come.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

After spending this past weekend with a delightful gaggle of four-year-olds, and given the fact that I have not been in the classroom teaching that age for quite a few years now, I was reminded what a great age it is. They’ve passed the terrible two’s and the challenging three’s, with the ever-present push for independence and frequent episodes of “FTN” (failure to negotiate). Four-year-olds are beginning to understand other people’s points of view, have more language to express themselves without frustration, and are more willing to cooperate.

If you are a teacher of four’s or have one in your home full time, you’ll definitely be able to identify with these:

1. Their cooperative play and sharing is better, unless their playmate wants to horn in on their turn. Then, it could get ugly.

2. Their attention span is longer. Not for everything, but definitely for videos.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

Child Development

Traditionally, we have seen characteristic differences in the developing motor skills of boys and girls - usually evident beginning in early childhood. Boys tend to be ahead of girls in skills that emphasize power and force. By the time boys are 5, they can jump a longer distance, throw a ball farther, and run faster. Girls, on the other hand, have better fine-motor skills as well as gross motor skills involving foot movement and good balance. So, they are better at hopping, skipping, buttoning, and zipping.

Also, traditionally, young children have been guided towards different activities, as boys or girls. A good deal of boys’ play was outside, using large muscle groups - riding bikes, climbing, and running around. Boys were much more likely to be given baseballs and footballs and then more likely to have a family member play with them using this equipment. As a result, boys could throw a ball much farther than girls and were faster runners, largely due to practicing these skills. Fine motor skills were left in the dust, for the most part. Then there was the introduction of the hook and loop strips, that made shoe-tying a thing of the past, when this very activity was such a valuable one, across multiple developmental domains.

Girls have been channeled towards dramatic play, coloring, and other indoor activities. Their small motor skills benefitted from dressing dolls, using crayons, and making things. I would venture to guess that focusing on these activities was also increasing their attention spans, while boys may have been short-changed in this area. Girls also played hopscotch, jump rope, and took dance lessons- activities that improved their balance and agility.

barbie

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

swing

Summer- a time when the lure of sedentary, screen-focused activities seems irresistible to most kids. And, parents frequently acquiesce due to scary media about what lurks outside the door… sun overexposure, itchy plants and bugs, dirt, and more!

But, let’s get real. Of course, we need to take some necessary precautions, like wearing sunscreen and insect repellant and using soap and water when we come in. But we shouldn’t deprive children of the really important benefits of being outside, which totally outweigh the other stuff.

Benefits, eh? Says who? Well, actually, the scientific community, that’s who. Let’s take a look at some of these benefits.

Being outside…

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