Working in a Reggio Inspired Preschool presents ongoing work which is crafted around collaboration, collective capacity for improvement, and deep learning.  In addition to that, we strive to incorporate an interweaving of the disciplines in an attempt to fight against isolated skills approach to learning.  The NCLE report lists key findings and concludes with an analysis of opportunities for educators and systems to move forward.  Read the report and let me know what you think.  How can you work to embrace literacy in all aspects of school life?

NCLE Report: Remodeling Literacy Learning | Literacy in Learning Exchange.

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http://www.parentingcounts.org/research/oral-storytelling-within-the-context-of-the-parent-child-relationship

This research summary focuses on the practice of oral storytelling, which has been

shown to enhance emergent literacy and language development in young children. A

thorough review of the literature revealed the need for parents and other adult

caregivers to gain awareness of multi-faceted approaches to emergent literacy.

Specifically, it is important to grasp that a love for literacy develops through

experiences with adult caregivers. In fact, oral storytelling appears to be just as

important as reading to children when discussing potential keys to emergent literacy.

Oral storytelling is a contributor to emergent literacy and assists children in

becoming motivated to approach literacy.

What does that have to do with your practice in a Preschool or Childcare setting?  How can you use the research to further your work with young children?

 

As a subscriber to the Fred Rogers Professional Development Company , I often receive  emails giving good advice and direction.  With the second week of school behind us,  a few teachers struggled as they are getting to know  the young children in the classroom.  Maybe this could help.  What do you think?  Can it help you?  How can this give us pause to look at our language as we work with those who “push our buttons”?

What Do YOU Do with the Mad that You Feel? 
By Hedda Sharapan

I had to laugh when I saw a draft of the publicity for my upcoming keynote for an early childhood conference.  The title read:“What do you do with the mad that you feel?” The speech is based on Fred Rogers’ song with that title, but they had forgotten to include the next line: “Helping children deal with their angry feelings.”  If you don’t add the second line, it sounds like my whole talk is about the adults’ angry feelings.

Well, maybe that’s not so funny — to think about a workshop on dealing with our own adult angry feelings.  Actually that’s something that could be really helpful, especially for people who work all day with young children.  Think about how you’re spending your day — with toddlers and/or preschoolers who don’t yet have much self-control, can’t yet use words to tell you what they need and how they feel, can’t delay gratification, think what’s “mine” is “me,” and find it hard to take turns and cooperate!  No wonder their behavior can push your buttons!

Fred always reminded us that anger is a natural and normal human emotion – for us adults, too!  In fact, it’s often a reaction to feeling powerless.  I certainly can understand how children can make a grown adult feel powerless – especially an adult who wants to be helpful.

The question is “What we DO with our anger?”  I remember Fred Rogers’ story about when he was working with children and had an especially difficult time dealing with a child who challenged him every step of the way.  Fred said, “It almost seemed that he wanted me to be mad at him, and I must say there were times I got so frustrated with him I felt as though I was acting like someone else.”  After learning more about the boy and his family, Fred was able to see things from a different perspective: “Once I understood that, I stopped feeling as if that little boy was out to get me, I saw him rather as a scared child who needed help to feel safe.”

That story reminded me of a video from our Learning DisciplineWorkshop featuring early childhood professionals who found a helpful perspective: “It’s not about me…it’s about the child.”

Professional Development Video

Here are some other helpful hints:

  • Count to ten.  When we’re upset, stress hormones pour into our system, and the “thinking” part of our brain shuts down.  Counting to ten and breathing deeply can lower the stress hormones, so we can think more clearly.
  • Don’t take it personally.  When you think of a child as “out to get you,” it’s natural to get defensive.  But if you think of that child as needing your help to learn social-emotional skills, like self-control and self-regulation, you’re likely to react in a more nurturing way.
  • Lower your voice and slow down. By lowering your voice, you’ll be setting a quieter, calmer tone that helps the child to settle down.
  • Be a detective. Challenging behaviors don’t come out of nowhere.  Look for patterns.  Try to understand more about the child.  Spend one-on-one time. Try to learn more about the child’s background. The reasons aren’t always obvious, but at least be there to help support the child.

  • Look for professional development opportunities. Knowledge can help you understand more about children’s needs and feelings so you can respond in helpful, developmentally-appropriate ways.
  • Take care of yourself.  Get enough sleep at night so you’ll have the emotional energy to deal with the children.  Do something nice for yourself – even something small can go a long way to helping you refuel.

 

From EXCHANGE:

It would be hard to trust gardening advice from someone whose own garden was an overgrown weed patch,” observes Nancy Rosenow in the opening of the newest book in the Exchange Store, Heart-Centered Teaching Inspired by Nature.  Rosenow continues…

How can we help children see the world is a place of goodness and unlimited possibilities if we experience it as dreary and stifling?  How can children trust us about the benefits of healthy eating and exercise if they don’t choose to practice what we preach?  How will we help children learn the difficult art of conflict resolution if bitter conflicts in our own relationships remain unresolved?  How can we help children discover nature’s gifts of joy and wonder if we rarely delight in those gifts ourselves?  And perhaps the hardest question of all:  How will we help children experience themselves as unconditionally loved and loving beings if we don’t feel unconditionally loving toward ourselves?”

 

New school year: doubling down on failed ed policy – The Answer Sheet – The Washington Post.

How can we push educational systems to learn from mistakes?  How can we voice our concern?  How do we make the children more important than the test? Are we brave enough?  Do we value our (collective) children enough to speak up for them? Do we value educators?  Can we step up to the task of advocating for them?

 

Conversation overheard in Target ( Toddler and Mother on the next aisle)

Toddler: “Mommy, I heavy!”  “Mommy, I heavy!”
Mother: “Are you saying you are heavy?”

Toddler: “No, I heavy.”

Mother: “Is that can heavy?”

Toddler: “Yes. Mommy I heavy.”

Mother: “Oh, the can is heavy. Are you saying you are strong?”

Toddler:”Yes, I heavy.”

Mother: “Yes, the can is heavy and you are very strong!”

Toddler: “I want that.”

Mother: ” Do you want the hot dog buns?”

Toddler: “Bums, bums, bums”

Mother:” Do you want the hot dog bunnnns?”

Toddler: ” Yes, Mommy- bunnnnnnnnnnnnnns!”

Mother: “We need hot dogs to go with those buns!”

Toddler: “No, I want bunnnnns!”

 

According to Dr. Kathy, Hirsh-Pasek, Temple University Lefkowitz Professor of Psychology and Director, Infant Language Laboratory the research shows that we should:

Talk with infants, but let them drive the conversation.
Infants and toddlers build their language and learning through interactive, responsive and meaningful environments. The amount of language babies hear alone will not breed language learning or later literacy. What counts is responsive language where caregivers are:
• Talking with not talking at
• Expanding on what the child says and does
• Noticing what the child finds interesting and commenting
Adults who take turns in interactions with young children, share periods of joint focus, and express positive emotion provide children with the foundation needed to facilitate their language and mental growth. Stimulating and responsive parenting in early childhood are considered the strongest predictors of children’s later language, cognitive and social skills.

 

“ Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, A Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.” Pablo Casals

What do you say to the children you encounter?  What if we all made an effort this coming school year to make sure that marvel, clever, intelligent, caring, loving, and worthy are part of our daily encounters with young children…