“School Time” in New Zealand | Edutopia.

Adam Provost wrote a blog about his trip to New Zealand.  His focus was on the New Zealand Model of schedule. It’s a great read and begs the questions:

  • What are we doing currently, and what’s its impact on quality of learning and student (and family) lives?
  • Does this schedule promote or hinder collaboration? For students? For adults?
  • What could we do differently?
  • What do we need to do?




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.


A Neurologist Makes the Case for Teaching Teachers About the Brain | Edutopia.

Have you had any professional development focusing on the brain?  What have your experiences looked like connected to brain development?

Where there is no vision, the people perish.


via Teachers, What’s Your Vision? | Edutopia.

At the Preschool we have been working very hard to declare our identity.  We have a “mission statement” but it was created by someone without thoughts, reflections, and input from the staff.  I’m wondering how having a shared vision that is our identity would support children, parents, teachers, and community.  As our “Identity Group” meets over the next weeks, one challenge is to give voice to our shared vision.  They will need to reach out to the entire staff during the annual all staff meeting day.  They will need to devise strategies to gather reflections from everyone. Time and effort needs to be embraced to develop a shared vision.  But- individual visions for the year, for the class, and for personal growth can be declared without additional strategies.  Simply giving yourself time to reflect on your vision and then to declare it- in writing would be a way to begin the year.

What are your thoughts on embracing a “Vision”?