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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in early childhood
Posted by on in Early Childhood

Sometimes, when in a room full of young children every day, it becomes easy to start comparing them with each other and focusing on the things some children don’t do as well as others. Or, the children start to appear as a group, as they interact with the environment. Seeing the unique, individuality of children becomes blurred. This is a road we don’t want to go down. Early childhood educators must stay focused on each child’s strengths and make a point to support them.

All children have natural inclinations and innate talents, but no child possesses the same ones They are all one of a kind- actually one of about 7.5 billion! If we refocus on each child’s strengths, we help children to be successful… not only for today but also throughout their lives.

Here are a few ways to change over to a new and improved mindset:

mother and child talking

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

Excited child

After hearing of Bev Bos’s passing earlier this year, I spent a couple of days reviewing and reflecting on her writing. A 1995 article called "JOY in Early Childhood Programs" particularly spoke to me, as it has so often in the last 20 years. Bev wrote that, sadly, joy is not often a consideration for people who are talking about and planning programs and experiences for young children. She reminded us that “because learning always involves feelings, we must protect the right of all children to have a hallelujah kind of childhood.” 

I’ll say it again, because the words thrill me to my very soul: WE MUST PROTECT THE RIGHT OF ALL CHILDREN TO HAVE A HALLELUJAH KIND OF CHILDHOOD.

That means we must be active, intentional, self aware and reflective. Protecting children’s rights does not happen accidentally.

That means we do this for the child whose mom drives you crazy, the child who hits and kicks when you are trying to get him to settled down for rest time, the child whose nose is constantly oozing and who slobbers on her chin. All children means ALL children.

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Tagged in: early childhood Joy play

Posted by on in What If?

Jumping in leaves

Last year I was doing site visits, having been hired to observe PreK to second-grade classrooms and offer suggestions for more active learning. On two different occasions I walked into a room just as the class was scheduled to go outside to recess. But the teachers didn’t feel like going outside – so the kids wandered aimlessly about the classroom throughout the 20-minute period allotted to recess.

The teachers apparently considered this “indoor recess” acceptable, but I did not – for many, many reasons.

From a physical perspective, the outdoors is the very best place for children to practice and master emerging motor skills. It is in the outdoors that children can fully and freely experience such skills as running, leaping, and jumping. It is also the most appropriate area for the practice of ball-handling skills, like throwing, catching, and striking. And children can perform other such manipulative skills as pushing a swing, pulling a wagon, and lifting and carrying movable objects. Heaven knows they have too few opportunities for exercising the upper torso these days! And because development occurs from large to small body parts, children who’ve had such experiences are much better prepared for such fine-motor skills as handwriting.

Additionally, it is in the outdoors that children are likely to burn the most calories, which helps fight obesity, a heart disease risk factor that is plaguing children. With studies showing that as many as half of American children are not getting enough exercise -- and that risk factors like hypertension and arteriosclerosis are showing up at age 5! -- parents and teachers need to give serious consideration to ways in which to prevent such health problems.

Cognitive and social/emotional development are also impacted by time spent outdoors. Outside, children are more likely to invent games. As they do, they're able to express themselves and learn about the world in their own way. They feel safe and in control, which promotes autonomy, decision-making, and organizational skills. Inventing rules for games (as kids like to do) promotes an understanding of why rules are necessary. Although the children are only playing to have fun, they're learning

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

Research pointing to risks associated, some specific to Autism, with early ultrasound scans. Yet another study, this one published this month by the University of Washington in Seattle. We’ve heard about this before… back in 2007 and again in 2014. It was brushed off as inconclusive and nothing for concern. But, apparently, not for a handful of researchers who thought it important enough to spend another 2 years with over 2,600 women.

As I drive to campus every day, I pass "Peek-a-Boo 4D Ultrasound" (fictitious name) in the outlot of a large mall. It looks adorable, with pink and blue graphics and clever advertising. Today, after reading this latest study, I wanted to learn more. The popularity of these ultrasound boutiques is driven by two things- 1. Wanting an early bonding experience with the baby and 2. Getting keepsake images to place in the baby album.

In a conversation I had with my child development class later in the day, I learned that nine of the eleven who were moms had received more than six ultrasound scans and more than eight Dopplers during their pregnancies. Some of these were done earlier than 8 weeks. Less than half were scanned for medical issues, but rather for viewing the fetus and listening for a fetal heartbeat.

My informal survey drove me to get more information on the subject, in light of this new study. I learned that the energy process of ultrasound is often used to accelerate bone healing, because it stimulates cell division and that some body cells are more sensitive to this than others… brain cells are among them.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

lazy in school

I tell people that I'm a lazy preschool teacher - I never create more work for myself than necessary.

I think what I should really say is that I want to help children become more competent and self-sufficient. But, being a lazy teacher is certainly attention-getting.

Here are some ways that I've tried to help kids do things for themselves.

When I put out staplers or punches or other tools, we expect the children to do the things themselves. I will help them know what to do or how to use the item, but they do the work. (Okay, sometimes I press, too, to help the staple go through.)

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Tagged in: early childhood