Friday, March 2, 2018

March- Learning Through Play

March
Learning Through Play


Play, according to Webster’s dictionary, is  recreational activity; especially : the spontaneous activity of children. This means, it is unstructured and derived from the interest of the child. A mis-conception to a lot of people is that play is just children having fun. While this is very true they are learning a tremendous amount that will help to develop skills that will assist in their future approaches to learning.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has created a list of five essentials to make play meaningful.
  1. Children make their own decisions.
  2. Children are intrinsically motivated
  3. Children become immersed in the moment
  4. Play is spontaneous
  5. Play is enjoyable
Allowing children to to play allows them to use skills in all developmental areas. Parents can engage children by asking questions, which is an important part of language development in young children. Describing what they are doing, asking them what they are doing, and asking them about what they are going to do next foster the development of critical thinking skills. Play also allows children to use their imagination and lets them use their creativity blossom. Play enhances social skills and stimulates the brain in young developing children. So while play may seem simple, it is crucial in the development of young learners.


Friday, February 2, 2018

February: Teaching Empathy

February: Teaching Empathy


Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. The ability to understand and relate to someone’s emotions allows people to make a deeper connection. But how do you teach young egocentric children empathy? You can start by talking about emotions. Making sense of your own emotions help build an understanding of where feelings come from. There are many children’s books available on the topic of emotions.
Dr. Michele Borba, author of “Unselfie: Why empathetic kids succeed in our All-About-Me World,” discusses four steps to discussing feelings with your child:
  1. Stop and tune in. -We are often so distracted by the busy world around us, but we need to stop and put our phones away and talk to our children.
  2. Look face-to-face. Good eye contact shows someone you are actually listening. Even small children. Get down on their level, sit on the floor with them while you are talking to them.
  3. Focus on feelings. Give your child a chance to talk about their feelings. Model phrases like “ I feel    when .” Give them different examples of emotions they might be feeling. Point out things you notice to them; such as, “I notice your face looks angry, are you upset about something?” Give them a chance to express their feelings.
  4. Express your feelings. Giving language to feelings and modeling that to your child will be an important first step in their ability to express their own emotions.


Tuning in to your child, discussing emotions, and  modeling how to handle your emotions is the first step to raising empathetic children.

Friday, January 12, 2018

January-Transitions

January- Transitions


Transitions in preschool can be very challenging and stressful for both the child and adult. It is important to remember to keep transitions to a minimum and also to provide children with clear expectations. One of the best ways to help make transitions smooth is by providing children with a warning. They are often times engaged in an activity and stopping to move on to a new activity can be disruptive. So providing a warning that this is going to happen will hopefully help minimize behaviors. For example, “In five minutes we are going to stop and clean up for circle time.” This allows children time to finish what they are working on and prepare for what is coming next. It is important to make sure you stick to the time frame and directions given.
Another way to help young children transition is to make it fun. One way to do this might be to play a clean up song or sing a song. Other ways to make transitions fun might include using different movements. For example, maybe your child is avoiding going to bed. After they brush their teeth try having them hop or crawl to bed pretending to be an animal. You might also try using counting. For example, you want your child to stop playing and come to the table for dinner. You would provide them with a warning and then when time is up you ask them to count how many steps they have to take to get to the dinner table.
Transitions occur throughout the day so keeping these strategies in mind will help make things smoother for the child and adult. For more creative ideas how to make transitions fun check out Pinterest!

Friday, January 5, 2018

December-Aggression

The Child Mind Institute breaks down the many causes of aggression in children. Some of the causes include mood disorders, psychosis, frustration, impulsivity, conduct disorder, injury, and trauma. It is important to understand where a child’s aggression is coming from before you can treat it. The most common type of aggression found in children ages 4 and 7 is hostile aggression. Hostile aggression can be shown as overt aggression, which entails physical harm or as relational aggression, which entails damaging peer relationships or spreading rumors. Some children will move beyond aggressive behavior and learn how to handle conflict. For those children that continue to use physical aggression there are some steps that caregivers can take to teach young children that violence and aggression are unacceptable.
Caregivers should not model violent or aggressive behavior in front of young children. This includes responding to a child engaging in aggressive behavior. It is important to stay calm and talk to the young children about the inappropriate behavior. This conversation should take place in a calm voice, as soon as the child is calm, and be short and direct about expectations of appropriate behavior.







Parents who find themselves in a violent, dangerous, or abusive relationship can call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to reach The National Domestic Violence Hotline, for crisis help, safety planning, or referrals to local resources.