9/19/10

Early childhood education at its best

Aside from getting a Masters in early childhood special education, it took me being a mother to see that teaching early childhood is not just a dumb-down-version of teaching older children. It has a world of its own, a language of its own and MOST importantly, a pace of its own. Small children do not conceptualize anything at a young age, so everything they learn needs to be concrete and tangible and applicable to their own immediate world and possibly connecting with their imagination as well. Knowing this, I can spot bad practice a mile away.
Now having taught young children for over 13 years, having earned two Masters in childhood education and most importantly having two young children under age 5 you bet I have very clear and strong ideas of what works and does not work for children. After all, these are my kids that will ultimately be affected. Which brings me to my son's class.
I just attended open house for my son's kindergarten class and was absolutely in awe of the amount of thoughtfulness and application of early childhood principles I saw there. The teacher focuses the children heavily on class cooperation and working together as team members to solve problems. As a mother of a particularly shy and homesick boy this was very reassuring.
The constant and consistent exposure to core ideas, principles and experiences was planned and very deliberate; every experience seemed to be utilized as a learning experience. I could not have been happier. In addition, my son has become much more confident in himself and eagerly looks forward to his weekly sharing times.
Each child is highlighted for a whole week. How could you NOT feel special in this class. You have a whole week when you get to be a STAR. I wish we did this in real life. I'd like to be a STAR at work...or in my family for a week. What would this feel like? Why not.
I love this agreement. It has everyone's signature on it. Again, why can't we do this in our own adult world? How often are adults breaking these rules? wouldn't that be fantastic?
Again. I love all the emphasis on social emotional skills. The kids get to share every week. They get their own day and each child gets to be heard. AND AGAIN, as adults we could too benefit from days of sharing. how many people do we work next to who might have amazing stories but we are too wrapped up in our lives to open up and listen. Remember listening is the best gift we could give anyone....try it....don't interrupt, interject, correct.....just listen....it's therapeutic.
Math center. I am buying these for my son as we speak.
I think we all would be amazing at math if we were able to use manipulatives for as long as possible.
Respect. Kids get to save their creations for some time. When I saw this the first thing that went through my mind was, "why not?"....and "how respectful"
concrete math....relevant to their lives.....
love this.....just respectful....simple, about their lives.....

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