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In this article the author sites a cognitive approach called double-loop learning. In this mode you  question every aspect of your approach, including  methodology, biases and deeply held assumptions. This more psychologically nuanced self-examination requires that you honestly challenge your beliefs and summon the courage to act on that information, which may lead to fresh ways of thinking about your lives and your goals.

If you apply this to your teaching- question what you do- your approach, methods, bias, and assumptions- what happens?  Do you feel as unsettled as I do?  Do you find it exciting, challenging, and a strategy to work in new ways with children?  I know I have.  It’s hard to apply this to even small things in the classroom.  For example, what if instead of instructing the children to make a person with a heart shaped head for Valentine’s Day you sat down and talked with them about love.  If you spent time, listening to their thoughts about what love.  Asking them: How do you feel love?  Where does love live?  How do you show that you love someone?  Does everyone show love the same way?  Do you always love ? It seems to me that by questioning the approach to something like Valentine’s Day it leads to a deeper understanding and expression of love.  Don’t stop there, begin by questioning your approach to the daily life in the classroom.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Secret Ingredient for Success – NYTimes.com

What are the standards of experience that we want all children to have? Lilian Katz gives us something to think about in this article.  It was helpful to the staff at the Preschool to copy this and keep it handy when talking with parents about “readiness.”

http://.communityplaythings.com/resources/articles/corestandards/standardsofexperience.html

Piaget suggests that it is not the role of the teacher to correct a child from the outside, but to create conditions in which the student corrects himself.   What does that look like in early childhood education?  When you are about to “insert” yourself, stop and ask “Am I directing this moment?”  “How can I support the child, what conditions can I create?” ” Does the environment support the child’s development in this area?” By giving time and space to this idea before actions occur, will behavior look different?”

A concrete example might help.  Think of a classroom with 12 three-year-olds. In the class there are three trucks that children fight over.  You have a choice, you can insert yourself saying things like: “Take turns.” “You need to share.” ” Sometimes you need to wait.” We often think we are “teaching” children to share but we often are faced with young children who are frustrated, defeated, and confused by our words.  Brain science tells us that an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex makes sharing difficult for young children. (Scientific American Mind, July/August 2012) With that in mind,  it makes sense that our words  have no effect.

Or you could stop and  ask yourself, “What conditions in the environment would support the children?”  “Would  additional trucks bring joy to the children ?”  Then model sharing when it naturally occurs, setting a good example that will have more impact.  What are your thoughts on this?

Working in a Reggio Emilia Inspired Preschool, we are trying to use reflection as a tool to better our practices. Maybe you could spend some time this summer reflecting on the past year…

http://www.mnreggio.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/Your-Baby-Is-Smarter-Than-You-Think-NYTimes.pdf

After you read the article, reflect and write down what this means to you and your practice of working with young children.

http://nymag.com/print/?/news/features/27840/


When we know better – WE DO BETTER. – Maya Angelou

Young children learn new vocabulary at light speed! The learning is dependent on the range of words they are exposed to.  How do teachers facilitate building vocabulary with very young children? A number of strategies can be employed.  We know that conversation rich environments are vital to cognitive development.  We know that asking good questions can lead to deeper learning.  We know that young children listen to adults for clues to pronunciation, tone, and usage.  Now we know better so we can do better!