“In exchanging information with parents… give parents information only if they can do something about it or if they can use the information,” advises Kay Albrecht in her article, “Helping Teachers Grow: Talking with Parents,” in the new Exchange Essential: Evaluating Teacher Performance. “For example, if a child is cranky or fussy during the day or cries more than usual, the teacher might say to a parent, Michael was fussy and cranky and cried more than usual. This comment does little except make the parent feel guilty. A more effective statement might be, When Michael was fussy or cried, I sat with him on my lap and read him a book, took him with me on an errand to the storage closet to get more construction paper, and offered him his snack early to make sure he wasn’t hungry. Today these strategies worked. What strategies do you use at home in situations like this? “Such a response tells the parent that the teacher kept trying to alleviate the problem, suggests some intervention strategies the parent might try when faced with a similar behavior at home, and, most importantly, opens the door for parents to offer additional suggestions of what has worked at home or to identify other causes of the behavior that the teacher may need to know about.” EXCHANGE
August 7, 2013
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July 13, 2012
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Think about how young children communicate… What story were they telling? What secrets were shared? What instructions were given? I know this is adorable and has been making the rounds but I do think it gives a chance to pause and see the joy in communication and the capabilities of very young children!
July 1, 2012
Guest Post by Teresa Cole Co-founder of The Nest Nursery School
You know how some people are “good” with babies and some not so much? Why is that? I believe it is because infants and young children are very intuitive and they pick up on the very subtle clues in the body movement, anxiety/stress, and tone of voice of adults. In toddlers and preschoolers body language, tone of voice and inflection can have a big effect on what the adult is saying. Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it.
After reading Teresa’s post, I found this from “Baby Talk” website (link below):
“Dr. Jeree Pawl, Director of the Parent-Infant Program at San Francisco General Hospital, views infants not as helpless “blank slates” on which parents will create a personality, but rather powerful, idiosyncratic individuals capable of largely controlling their own environments. She cites several studies which support the view of the infant not as a passive creature but as an active seeker of stimulation. In establishing and maintaining eye contact, for example, the baby is the “speaker” and the parent the “listener,” as the parent is always waiting for
the baby’s gaze, and it is the baby who looks away when he decides he has had enough. In this way, the baby brings to bear his own control in establishing communication with his parents. Parents and babies begin communication not only in eye contact, but in physical contact as well. In their book The Earliest Relationship, Drs. T. Berry Brazelton and Bertrand G. Cramer explore fully the role of body language in attaching parents and infants:
“When a mother holds her newborn in a comfortable, cuddled position, the infant molds into her body. On her shoulder, the infant lifts his or her head to scan the room, then settles a soft, fuzzy scalp into the crook of her neck. As she automatically pulls the infant to her, a newborn will burrow harder into her neck, molding his or her body against hers, legs adjusting to fit her body. All of these responses say to her, ‘You are doing the right thing.’ If she leans down to speak in one ear, the baby turns to her voice and looks for her face. Finding it the newborn’s face brightens as if to say, ‘There you are!’ A newborn will choose a female voice over a male, as if to say, ‘I know you already and you are important to me.”
It is fascinating to watch a toddler’s body language as he begins to approach other people. Alternatingly shy and then too forward, he experiments with the same gestures he has learned with his parents. There are few sights more warming than watching a chubby toddler hand lovingly pat a playmate in distress! And in addition to those loving gestures, toddlers demonstrate other behaviors, including often bold-faced aggression. All of this is the laboratory for discovering what works and what doesn’t in human relationships. And young children, like their parents, learn most from their mistakes!”
We can’t forget the importance of the parents in our work with babies, toddlers, and young children. Seeing the triangle of child-parent- caregiver/teacher in all our encounters. Additionally, seeing the triangle of movement (body language)-oral language- and attitude in our encounters. Reflect on “HOW you are saying” things to the children around you. What is your body saying? Are your words saying one thing and your body another? ( You can think about this with husbands too!)
For more reading on the subject:
- Gorillas communicate with their infants using their own version of baby talk [Monkey News] (io9.com)
- Brazelton Pioneered Understanding of Infant Development (eyeonearlyeducation.org)
- Baby Whisperers (themotherofnine9.wordpress.com)
June 16, 2012
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“Friends, it’s time to line up.” “All my friends, come to circle.” ” Billy, hold your friend’s hand.” Is it appropriate to name one child as another’s friend? Do we know for sure they truly are friends? Preschool is a critical time when young children are learning about friendship, should we be careless with the term, “friend”? What do we call the group? What is the professional and accurate way to address a group? Do we use “children” ” boys and girls” or “preschoolers“? What about individuals? If we make an effort to call each child by his or her name, does that support the value we place on relationships and individualization? While using the term “friends” occasionally may not be an issue, the habitual over use should lead us to question ourselves. Communication is at the heart of our work. If we strive for a level of conscious communication, we reach a new level of professionalism.
Resources that help us look at our language:
Murray, Carol Garboden. Creating a Culture that Acknowledges the Power of Words