Sunday, December 19, 2010

all is calm, all is bright

Tonight we finish the second of many holiday celebrations. I have a personal challenge. We hosted our annual toy party, where everyone brings a toy and we deliver to the local shelters. It is very nice to have a focus to gather family and friends, but I am also going to give charitable gifts this year. So pick a cause, donate as much as you can afford in the name of a person you would struggle to buy for. Here are a few ideas. Children's books to a local Head Start or preschool. Food or toys to the local animal shelter. Toys, coats, mittens to the local woman's shelter. Take a pic, a copy of the receipt and a nice handwritten note and "wrap" for the person who you donated "from". Tis the season.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

One moment in time

In my role as an EC consultant I talk the language of standards. Working to assist state funded programs prepare for accountability or verification visits consumes the field. I walk in with early learning standards, program standards, assessment standards, teaching standards, administrative standards, health standards and curriculum guidelines. Wow...right! No wonder we are on "initiative overload". There is truly only one question that we are accountable for. A single purpose to guide each instructional decision. Is this moment worthy of this child's time?  Watch, listen, learn and respond intentionally! That is the true human standard. We must become authentic quickly...we cannot rewind and correct moment's that are not optimal for all children. The remarkable thing is that you will know by their engagement when you have figured it out. Join in the  laughter and become genuinely curious with them. The rest will become clear as the children make the connections to the standards with you!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Something about play

In early childhood we talk the language of play.We admire play from a distance, but when we are anyone with concerns for "academics" we crumble a bit. Children right now need play advocates. Study and read to understand the research and the value. Become fluent in the language of play so that you may talk the benefits and the development that play promotes. Spend time in quiet self guided play. Listen to your self talk. Reflect on how your play unfolds. Play is critical and necessary for many of life's problems. Ensure that all children know how to play and have uninterrupted play experiences with rich materials that allow for exploration.
Become a play advocate...please!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Outdoor Classrooms: A Celebration

Yesterday I was able to visit all my early childhood sites in my hometown. Here is one of our green spaces for children, at the Ann Wickman Child Development Center.We have had many conversations over the past several years and opportunities with "experts" to consider the importance of connecting children with Nature. I would like to think of these green spaces as part of my legacy for children, and hope that in some small way, I have influenced the development of these amazing spaces. There are many ways to begin to make connections for families and young children. Start small...but dream big. The Nature Forum and Dimensions have been instrumental in providing focus for the development of these outdoor classrooms. I can sit and watch children in these spaces all day long....any season... and remember the joy of my childhood and the importance of places like Pilot Grove Park!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hello EC teachers and Kent students

How do you support Inquiry? Teachers are the impetus for joy, excitement and wonder. What have you done lately that created a wave of wonder? We can either stop and become part of a teachable moment, or we can create a teachable moment. I am not convinced that one is superior to the other. Done well, both are good ways to become responsive and intentional teachers. I would love to hear about your moments of wonder....please share here!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Accessing the General Curriculum

Going to try and get this going again, for anyone interested. Write more later. Welcome if you are visiting from one or more of my courses. Fall is here and we are trying hard to carve out a few more days of relaxation and carry that summer mood into all our days. A toast to you!