by Debbie Keiser
What happens when a child is not ready for a skill he experiences in the classroom? In most situations, the teacher provides assistance, perhaps by modeling, giving hints, or directly teaching the skill. This is called scaffolding. Many states are revising their standards for birth to five with increasingly difficult indicators to be mastered. Providers using state standards as a basis for creating lesson plans are challenged to find ways to scaffold these skills so children are adequately prepared for kindergarten. More and more pressure is falling on teachers to make sure children are meeting these stringent guidelines.
When a teacher scaffolds learning, she considers the current skill level of the child and uses different instructional techniques with him to help him progress toward understanding and independently performing the skill. Scaffolding shifts the responsibility of learning from the teacher to the child, with the teacher providing ongoing diagnosis and adjustment to related activities. Here are a few simple scaffolding strategies you can use with your children right away.
by Judy Mullican
More and more states are now publishing standards for early childhood programs. These lists are often long and may look intimidating! But when you dig deeper, most often you will find that the standards just put into words the good practices that you have been using for years.
Depending on where you live, your state standards may cover a few basic learning domains or a long list of domains, subdomains, goals, and indicators. Using themes can make it easier for you to plan activities that will address all areas of learning. Themes also help you build connections from one learning domain to another. High-interest themes can also promote excitement about learning and inspire both care givers and children to express creativity and joy!
by Katie Brazerol
In recent years there has been a push to include more science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills in education. As the trend has shown success, educators have recommended the application of STEM activities in early childhood as well. Incorporation of STEM activities will help children observe, analyze, and make predictions about things in their environment. They will learn to fulfill their natural curiosity and develop inquisitiveness about subjects and how things work. They will also strengthen math skills beyond shapes, colors, and counting, such as analyzing quantities, measuring, collecting data, and recording results.
by Katie Brazerol
Educators know how important fine motor skills are—fine motor strength provides a foundation for cutting and writing skills. However, it can sometimes be challenging to offer fresh, new activities that keep children engaged. Designate an area of the room as your “Hand Exercise” spot. Provide items for games that strengthen fine motor muscles, such as these ideas listed below. Encourage children to visit the area in between activities or during free play. Switch out the materials often to reignite interest.