July 2012

In praise of Early Childhood Educators.



In her contribution, “Conveying Genuine Interest in What Children Think and Do,” in the July/August issue of Exchange, Diane Trister Dodge from Teaching Strategies LLC, observes…

“From birth, young children are learning about the world around them and attempting to make sense of what they see and experience.  They need adults who first and foremost protect, love, and meet their basic needs, and who are genuinely interested in what they think and do.  What makes working and living with children so fascinating and rewarding is our ability to delight in the everyday discoveries that enchant a child: to listen, probe, reflect on, and stand back or respond in ways that show them their ideas and interests matter to us.

“Watch a scientist at work as a toddler places an acorn on a slide, runs to retrieve  it, and repeats the experiment over and over.  Find out what is behind the thinking of a preschooler who groups a pig with a cup in a classification task.  When she replies, “Well, I’m not really sure if a pig gives milk, but if it does, it needs a cup to put it in,” you have a starting point to help her extend her knowledge.  The more we convey our genuine interest, the more likely children are to share what they think and to become confident, creative thinkers.

Do we really want the children to be creative thinkers?  We say this over and over, but do we support them ? Are we ready to face all that comes with creative thinking? 


You might find this article interesting.  Note the importance of play and language.

Study: Sharing Attention Can Improve Language for Autistic Students – Inside School Research – Education Week.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

                                                        The limits of my language are the limits of my world.


Who was Lugwig Wittgenstein? Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (26 April 1889 – 29 April 1951) was an AustrianBritish philosopher who worked primarily in logic, thephilosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language.[1] He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947.

In 1999, his posthumously published Philosophical Investigations (1953) was ranked as the most important book of 20th-century philosophy, standing out as “…the one crossover masterpiece in twentieth-century philosophy, appealing across diverse specializations and philosophical orientations”  “ He once said he felt as though he were writing for people who would think in a different way, breathe a different air of life, from that of present-day men.”

I saw this quote on Pinterest ( I love that site- a guilty pleasure) and checked out the translation.  It really got me thinking. Do we THINK about things?  I mean really THINK about them?  Read the quote again and tell me what YOU THINK.

Do you agree?  What does this mean as we think about young children and their language?  What does it mean connected to our language with young children?  I am conflicted.  On one hand, I believe that children’s language is about their world, what they know.  It is an ever expanding universe as they discover new things.  Yet this quote seems to limit.  Or does it?   Maybe it challenges young children and all of us to learn new “languages” in order to expand our worlds! What are your thoughts on this quote?

Portland Children's Museum

Portland Children’s Museum (Photo credit: camknows)







I recently returned from the NAREA Summer Conference held in Portland.  While I was there, I was fortunate to visit the Opal School  which is located in the Portland Children’s Museum.  It is a  beautiful school which focuses on Mentorship, Language, and Materials.  They are really doing incredible work there.  Be sure to check out their website.  I just found out that  they are offering Opal School Online beginning in October. Read the introduction to the Online Program below and let me know what you think.

“For the first time, we will make available online a collection of articles, videos, suggestions for reflections, and hosted interaction amongst participants. These weekly learning modules will cover a variety of topics for self-study, supporting educators around the world to engage in conversation about playful inquiry and creating environments for learning that honor the creative capacities of our youngest citizens.”

via Opal School Online.

Summer learning loss: What’s true and false – The Answer Sheet – The Washington Post.

For those who feel that children need tutoring or hours of school work during the summer…. What do you think?

An educator shared the following anecdote. “One of our support teachers  was facilitating a boy on the autism spectrum, and after a few weeks, decided to take “no” out of her vocabulary, replacing it with “try again”. The difference was amazing! He started saying it to himself as he began to self-regulate his behavior, while learning independence and confidence. I watched him try at least 10x  (attempting) to put on his coat, mumbling “try again” until he got it himself .  What a difference changing “no” to “try again” made!”

Notice that the effort was on the teacher to change her words.  What words can you take out of your vocabulary that will have an impact?


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