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Staying On Top of Trends

Whenever it snows here in Texas our phone at the child care center starts to ring. Moms are calling and saying, "Will you let (name of child) look out the window? She has never seen snow before!" Our response, "We've got our jackets on and we are outside playing! We're making snow ice cream this afternoon!" If it began to snow mid-morning, would you instruct your staff to close the blinds so the children could better focus on their worksheets, coloring sheets, flashcards and prescribed art activities? If one of the parents had access to a litter of playful puppies and wanted to bring them in for a visit in her child's classroom, would you say no? Of course not. These moments are what early childhood education is all about.

 

It's important to stay on top of trends and one of the best recent trends in quality child care is "Reggio Inspired." Reggio-Emilia is actually a region in Italy. Just after the second world war, the people of the community decided they needed to help their children heal emotionally and psychologically. An educator and psychologist named Loris Malaguzzi helped to establish the first preschool in the town and that is where the name originated. Reggio-Emilia classrooms are child centered, open-ended, engaging and Inquiry-based, methodically organized by teachers where the children construct knowledge. Reggio Emilia's approach to early education reflects a theoretical kinship with John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Vygotsky and Jerome Bruner, among others. Much of what occurs in the class reflects a constructivist approach to early education. In its simplest terms it means that learning happens in social environments, using simple materials that promote imaginative exploration and learning.

 

Sadly, many public schools have become more focused on how students perform and place most of the emphasis on reading, while ignoring how children learn - even in kindergarten. Direct instruction and testing have replaced hands on exploration and learning. If we teach reading, writing, subtraction and addition before children are ready, they might memorize these skills, but will they will not learn or understand them. And it will not help their achievement later on. Plainly speaking a child needs to touch a kitten, feel its fur, listen to it meow and purr, count its feet, discover and talk about what other animals are similar to it, witness that its ears and eyes are closed for the first weeks after it is born, find out what it eats, observe how its play includes hunting characteristics, and more - long before he learns that "C-A-T spells cat." If we provide children with these rich, hands-on learning activities we will stimulate their thinking and reasoning skills, open more neural pathways in their brains and teach them that learning is interesting and enjoyable! The added bonus is that the alphabet symbols used to form the written word will have much more meaning and depth to the children when they are ready to learn them.

 

"When your child asks, 'Why is there a moon?' don't reply with a scientific answer. Ask him,
'What do you think?' He will understand that you are telling him, 'You have your own mind and your own interpretation and your ideas are important to me.' Then you and he can look for answers together, sharing the wonder, curiosity, pain - everything. It is not the answers that are important, it is the process that you and he research together." Carlina Rinaldi, Director of Reggio Emilia Preschool

 

That leaves it to us, the child care centers and preschools, to provide all young children in our care (babies, toddlers, 2's, 3's, and pre-k's) with wonderfully rich age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate learning opportunities every day.

 Play is essential to learning. Two major studies confirmed the value of play vs. teaching reading skills to young children. Both compared children who learned to read at 5 with those who learned at 7 and spent their early years in play-based activities. Those who read at 5 had no advantage. However, those who learned to read later had better comprehension by age 11, because their early play experiences improved their language development. ("The Disturbing Transformation of Kindergarten" by Diane Marie)

The Reggio Emilia philosophy is based upon the following set of principles:

  • Children must have some control over the direction of their learning;
  • Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, and observing;
  • Children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that children must be allowed to explore;
  • Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.

Much of the instruction at Reggio Emilia schools takes place in the form of projects where they have opportunities to explore, observe, hypothesize, question, and discuss to clarify their understanding. Children are also viewed as social beings and a focus is made on the child in relation to other children, the family, the teachers, and the community rather than on each child in isolation.

In the Reggio approach, the teacher is considered a co-learner and collaborator with the child and not just an instructor. Teachers are encouraged to facilitate the child's learning by planning activities and lessons based on the child's interests, asking questions to further understanding, and actively engaging in the activities alongside the children, instead of sitting back and observing the child learning. "As partner to the child, the teacher is inside the learning situation" (Hewett, 2001).

See this month's Staff Handout "Simple Ways to Bring Reggio Inspiration to Your Classroom" for ideas you can easily incorporate into your classrooms to stay on trend while providing appropriate learning experiences for the children in your care.

If you decide to add any of the Reggio Inspired ideas to your classrooms, do so slowly. Then in a month or two announce it to the parents and include the information in your tours for prospective clients. If you announce it first and it falls flat or your teachers do not buy into it, it will be noted as a failure. So introduce it slowly, encourage your staff to research simple ideas on Pinterest, google and blogs, and then in a month or two include the info about changes you've made in your Parent News. "You may have noticed some subtle changes in your child's classroom over the past several weeks..." Briefly describe what Reggio is and how you have incorporated it into your Center!

Hint: If you already do many of these things in your Center and do not feel the need to change anything, you need to "grab the credit" anyway. So talk about the aspects of your program that are similar to Reggio and help parents understand Reggio so that when their friends and family "brag" about their children's schools, your customers are armed and ready to participate in the conversation! ;)

 

2014 Fall Training Conferences

Director's Boot Camp #24 / $99.00

Fridays 8:30 am-1:30 pm (5 clock hours)

"Management Makeover"

Attendees will learn the latest trends in management & leadership techniques and staff supervision. This session covers strategies in directing a quality program with highly trained and motivated staff, which is imperative for success in today's competitive market.

Saturday Staff & Management Sessions

9:00 am-1:00 pm (5 clock hours)

Each attendee will receive a 1 hour take-away training module.

Keynote: "Recognizing and Preventing Child Abuse"


Saturday STAFF Session / $29.00

IMPERATIVE TRAINING FOR ALL CHILD CARE PROVIDERS!

In this session, "required" topics as set forth by The Minimum Standards will be presented in a fun and informative way. Topics include, but are not limited to: Discipline and Guidance, Age Appropriate Curriculum, Teacher Child Interaction, Child Growth and Development, and much, much more!

Saturday MANAGEMENT Session-Director's Round Table/$99.00

"Essential Time Management and Organizational Skills"

Supervisors will learn 50 great ideas for being more productive as well as how to reduce stress, save time and become organized for success. Learn how to use your time effectively to get it all done!

 

Friday & Saturday, December 5th & 6th

Holiday Inn Downtown Marina 707 N Shoreline Blvd.

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX 78401

Click here to view more info on these and other conferences through December! 

Visit www.thechildcareconsultinggroup.com to download the registration form under the CONFERENCE tab,or call 972-979-0282 for more information on these exciting training sessions.

 

Highly-Successful Child Care Business & Real Estate

DFW Area                                                        $1,900,000.00

This established Child Care Center is located in one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. (Located in a highly desirable suburb east of Dallas)

See you next month with more new and exciting ideas and information!

 

Click here
to download
this month's
Staff Handout "Simple Ways to Bring Reggio Inspiration to Your Classroom"

While you're there, download the Director's Handout "A Merry Little Staff Party!" for ideas for your staff holiday party this year!

Ideas include:

Minute To Win It,

Party Hats,

Photo Booths, The Candy Bar Game,

The Paper Plate Game,

The M&M Game, and

Eat, Drink &
Be Tacky!


I Saw Elvis Dressed As Santa Claus!

(Tune: "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus")
Oh, I saw Elvis

dressed as Santa Claus
In my home town

shopping mall last night.
I knew it must be him,
Santa isn't very slim.
And his sideburns

were much darker
Than the whiskers

on his chin.

Oh, I saw Elvis

dressed as Santa Claus
Hiding under that

beard of snowy white.
Then I saw his whiskers slip,
When he curled his lip.
Elvis dressed as Santa Claus last night!

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You can purchase our products online right here!

 

Parent News logo

Parents,
You know that Christmas really isn't all about the gifts under the tree.  It's about the traditions you create with your family and the memories that you can all look back on together that mean the most.

Do you include The Elf On the Shelf in your holiday traditions? The Elf can be funny, or mischievous, or sweet and kind or even helpful by suggesting good deeds the children can do for others! If you're not familiar, the Elf is one of Santa's scout elves sent to be Santa's eyes and ears at children's homes around the world! Adopt your own scout elf this holiday season (Google and Pinterest have some great info) or one of the alternatives listed below as found on the Happy Hooligans Blogspot Seven Cute Alternatives to the Elf on the Shelf http://happyhooligans.ca/7-alternatives-elf-shelf/

  • The Wise Men looking for the Baby Jesus
  • Rascally Reindeer
  • Finding Jingle Bells
  • The Advent Angel
  • The Christmas Mouse
  • Kindness Elves

 

Visit the Happy Hooligans blogspot as noted above for more info on all of these wonderful ideas and start your own holiday traditions!
   

WE OFFER: 

  • On-site Training for Staff and Management
  • Consultation
  • Brokerage Services
  • Products

 

For information visit www.thechildcareconsultinggroup.com or call 972-979-0282

Previous Newsletters
 
October 2013 Newsletter November 2013 Newsletter
December 2013 Newsletter January 2014 Newsletter
February 2014 Newsletter March 2014 Newsletter
May 2014 Newsletter June 2014 Newsletter
July 2014 Newsletter August 2014 Newsletter


    
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