Understanding Early Childhood Vulnerability

Understanding Early Childhood Vulnerability

Engaging in the work of early childhood is to experience emotional vulnerability. We need to understand both the forces in our own classrooms and programs, as well as the larger forces of societal constructs to be able to formulate a response and start to build structures that strengthen us emotionally to work with children.

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Summer Camp in the City

Summer Camp in the City

Summer camps in the U.S. started gaining popularity in the early twentieth century.  The camp movement has evolved over the last century. Some traditional camps still exist, but the movement has been slowly changing to include activities like computer camp, academic camp, and many sports related camps.

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Our Daily Work is Professional Development

Our Daily Work is Professional Development

Recently I was in Reggio Emilia on a study tour of the Municipal schools. The experience of visiting Reggio Emilia was a sensory overload of information and insight, but the one idea that stuck with me the most during the trip was the Reggio educator’s view of professional development.

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Rules versus Agreements

Rules versus Agreements

Guiding children learning social skills in out of school care is a common occurrence. The children in afterschool care are still learning and experimenting with their social interactions. Many of the social skills children are working on are still being developed, as elementary children get older, bigger, louder, and wiser.

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Actions to Inspire Curiosity

Actions to Inspire Curiosity

All children are naturally curious - they are born that way. Children are always seeking to discover how the world works. As educators, we don't need to make children curious or push children to learn, they will seek out these activities on their own if we give them the time, materials, and opportunities to explore on their environments and make their own discoveries

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Musically Speaking

Musically Speaking

Children love music and it is an important part of their everyday experience in our program. Our children enjoy singing songs, dancing, and playing musical games but I the songs and games we play today are not that much different than the music in the past. So I am on a search for new fresh ideas of how we can incorporate more music into early childhood programs.

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How Are We Listening?

How Are We Listening?

Certain quotes or phrases can become a talisman for our work, such as “Listening is the premise of every learning relationship” – Carlina Rinaldi (2006). I was reminded of this phrase again a few days ago, when a colleague shared with me that she didn’t have much time for the important work that was happening in her classroom because of other pressing concerns on her time,

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The Learning Community

The Learning Community

An important aspect of building a learning community is offering all members an opportunity to contribute to the growth and advancement of the community. Contribution encourages ownership and pride in the work being done and creates feelings of connection to continued success. In an education learning community there are three main participants, children, educators, and parents.

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Interactions

Interactions

There are many types of adult/child relationships that occur over the course of a day in the classroom. In reflecting on interactions between adults and children, I see several types of interaction patterns emerge. These patterns are not inclusive of all interactions; they are just how I am starting to think about my practice.

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All Together Now

All Together Now

Many elementary children participate in special interest programs afterschool. Some are sports like Tae Kwon Do, swimming, or other seasonal sports. Some children participate in music, language, or enhanced academic programs. These programs are designed to enhance or extend the learning potential of the child, and in many cases these programs promote a life long love of the activity.

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Engaging in Self Compassion

Engaging in Self Compassion

Each year I promise myself that winter will be my quiet season – a time for rest and reflection and to revisit my thoughts. As we start March, I realize that another winter season has passed by and my plans for renewal were buried once again under a to-do list that is without end.

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A School Age Community

A School Age Community

In afterschool programs there exists a belief that the most beneficial activities for school age children resemble the activities they participate in at school. Scheduled and prescribed activities may be beneficial, but with so much structure there is less time for children in afterschool programs to create a learning community. A community that encourages children to practice social skills, nurture friendships, and give back to other children.

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All Weather Play

All Weather Play

As winter moves toward spring here in the Northern Hemisphere many people look forward to warming temperatures, more sunshine, longer days, and more opportunities to be outside.The opportunities for outside activities in the winter are numerous, but many folks hibernate this time of year and long for the change in seasons. The same is true for many child development programs.

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The Old Dog Learns a New Trick

The Old Dog Learns a New Trick

My practice with children has consisted of working in primary (3-6 years) and elementary (6-12 years). I have practiced in variety of programs and philosophies and have seen the benefits of each one and how they encourage children to seek understanding of their wonderings and be the initiator of their learning.

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The Heart of the Matter

The Heart of the Matter

I want to propose a new type of celebration during Valentine’s Day. To start off the new year and move toward Spring renewal I want to suggest in addition to all of the cards, candy, and flowers we as a people use Valentine’s Day to celebrate us, as in humanity.

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New Beads

New Beads

What materials can be used for bead making that are recyclable, sensitive to the environment, and are not food? I struggle with this question myself; I think it is up to each individual. What I do know is that in the process of bead making we have other choices. There are many traditional and newer materials that we can use to create beads and I am going to share a few of my favorites.

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The Past is the Way to the Future

The Past is the Way to the Future

Early childhood educators change positions multiple times during our working career. In addition to turnover, many more educators move between programs. A large percentage of the field finds themselves in new classrooms or new schools each year. All the transitions to new classrooms/schools require early childhood educators to establish new classroom cultures and/or discover their place.

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A Play Life

A Play Life

Children desire to experience a play life, a life of joy and exploration a time to grow up slowly and savor the magic and wonders of the world. Time to live mindful of what is happening around them without worrying about what happens next. The pressure of modern school expectations is demanding much of the wonder of childhood and stealing time that before constituted child initiated activities

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It's Our Nature

It's Our Nature

A growing majority of people in our country has lost their connection to nature. Wondering how to encourage a large segment of the community to re-connect to nature, get some exercise, and change attitudes that are harmful to the environment, I considered how early childhood educators can lead the way bringing folks back to nature

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