by Teresa Narey
Teaching children about personal space and fostering self-regulation is arguably an early childhood educator’s most important job. Research tells us that children with strong social/emotional skills have more positive relationships, are happier, and are more successful academically than children who exhibit social/emotional difficulties. Children who are mentally healthy are generally more self-aware, that is, they understand their own thoughts, feelings, and actions, and how those things affect other people. The more self-aware you are, the more you understand your impact on other people. How, then, do we help young children begin to think about boundaries and self-reflect? How can we support them in naming their emotions and overcoming challenges? Below are 6 simple activities to get you started.
by Katie Brazerol
Transitions are necessary throughout the day. If you’ve been an early childhood educator for even a short amount of time, you’ve probably realized that transitions are not easy for some children in your care.
Children often struggle with transitions because change can be difficult—even for adults. Sometimes the change involves moving from a fun activity, such as playing outdoors on a playground, to a necessary activity, such as cleaning up or washing hands and preparing for lunch. A child who is focusing most of her energy on a task may have trouble switching gears. It is important to first teach children to anticipate upcoming transitions. Give warning that a transition is coming to help children prepare for the change. Then, implement transition strategies that engage the children’s attention and help shift focus.
Below are 30 ideas to help children shift focus and transition to new activities in your setting.
by Chalimar Ríos
A preschool classroom is usually full of colors, scribbles, toys, children playing and sharing, but most of all. . . a lot of noise. Over the course of the school year, a teacher gets to know each of her students—their noises, voices, laughs, and cries. There is always a particular voice, a more outgoing child, one who arrives with a hug and leaves with a smile on his face. Or, there’s the child who loves to play with lots of friends, and the one who plays with many toys at the same time because fun shouldn’t have limits!
But what happens when we don’t notice the child who does not want to stand up and participate when you are singing and dancing to a song? What about the child who always looks down when he arrives or leaves the classroom? What do you do with the child who is always quiet and calm? Maybe it seems that you do not have to worry about him, but that quiet child may have a lot to say.
by Teresa Narey
A tenet of developmentally appropriate practice is establishing and nurturing a sense of community in your classroom or setting. This sense of community should encompass your relationships with the children, their families and caregivers, and with your colleagues.