“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.” EXCHANGEdownload (2)


Audio/Video: Teachers | Aspen Ideas Festival.

Interesting video addresses younger children and older.  Can Character be Taught?  What are your thoughts on this?  One of the panelists states that the younger you begin the better. What role do educators of very young child play in character development? What role does language, teacher’s language, play in this development?  Do we use this language on a daily basis?  If not, what strategies could you develop to support this growth?








Focus on the Positive

In his book Practical Solutions to Practically Every Problem, Steffen Saifer offers this advice when dealing with children with behavior problems:

“Feel positive toward the child with behavior problems.  View him as a valuable gift, as he will provide you with an opportunity to learn a great deal. You may learn about the causes of behavior problems, new approaches for helping, the nature of your own biases, new parenting skills, and the availability of community agencies and resources.  He will provide you with a chance to help turn a life around for the better.

“A child with challenging behaviors also can help you improve your program.  A highly active child may be the first (or the only one) to let you know that your activity is boring.  A child who cries often can tell you that you ma y not have enough inviting things to do (he probably has too much time to think about his unhappiness).  Although you may feel that this challenging child has come into your life just to make you miserable, he has not.  He is acting the best and the only way he knows.  Understanding the challenging child will help you feel positive, empathetic, and loving towards him, which may be the single most important thing you can do to reduce the behaviors.”

Do you think about how your language plays a vital role in this? Make a list of words that you want to use on a daily basis and a list of words that you want to take out of your vocabulary.  Does this strategy support your work with  children learning pro-social skills?

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…