Showing posts from August, 2016

Why Is Music Important?

I have always enjoyed music. When I was little,  I had several Tony Bennett records that I played over and over. I also had a "fascination" with Liberace and watched his t.v. show ( yes, there were televisions then) religiously. I was probably four or five years old. The first instrument I played was the triangle while attending a private kindergarten ( public kindergarten was not "invented" yet.) I began piano lessons around the age of seven and continued with them through high school.  I was never going to be a concert pianist, that was evident from the beginning,  but I enjoyed playing and continued to play piano when I began teaching.  It was considered "normal" back then to have and use a piano in the classroom. I don't see pianos in classrooms much anymore, which to me is sad. Research shows that using music with young children promotes better core learning skills, such as reading, writing, and math skills. According to information from Educa

Five Fast Facts: Brain Development in Young Children

The brain does not develop at an even pace, however it does take place in a predictable sequence. By birth, the brain has developed the total 100 billion brain cells, or neurons, it possesses.  However,  the brain is a work in progress. Most of the neurons are still immature.  The cells need to be activated. The experiences of the child trigger the electrical activity necessary to enable the brain to develop connections and grow. The root brain structure, which provides the foundation for future learning functioning is largely established by the age of three.  By then the foundations for thinking, language, aptitudes, and attitudes have been laid down and the structure and design of the brain is almost complete. A baby born with a potential for greatness encoded in his genes may turn out to have a gift for logic or a brilliant criminal mind , the direction is defined by his early experiences. Information taken from the Fact Sheet: Stages of Brain Development,

It's Time To Talk About "Them".

They have been described as active, fast moving, strong, stubborn, and even "terrible."  Yes, I am talking about a two-year-old.  I feel like it is time to get a few things out in the open about two year olds and the teachers that work with them day in and day out. This time in a young child's life is full of changes and growth.  Language is developing at a fast pace and they have often developed an attitude of "I can do it myself"  Unfortunately, they often cannot do it all by themselves and frustration sets in.  This usually occurs at the most inopportune moments, such as when parents are trying to get them out the door or when teachers are  trying to help them transition to lunch or nap time at school. Two year old children are also working through becoming "autonomous."  They have suddenly realized that, "hey, I am my own person" and "I don't seem to have any say" in this thing called life. Everyday decisions, such as wh

Retirement, Simple Living, and Me

I wanted to update everyone on the life of a retired early childhood educator, beginning blogger, and lover of hound dogs.  Having time to do the things I want to do has proven to be both a blessing and a curse.  While retirement from full time work has given me time to read, write, travel, and walk my hound dogs, it has also provided me with many opportunities to turn my brain to complete mush. How you might ask?  Let me count the ways. Let's start with You Tube .  While I, of course, was familiar with it and had watched some music videos, etc in the past, nothing compares to the mind numbing amount of things I now watch. As you may know, I am all into simple living, tiny houses, and minimalism.  You would not believe the amount of videos on just those three subjects! Never mind the number of music videos and now my latest watch, Sister Pooh. Now let me just say that I have no intention of throwing Sister Pooh under the bus, because the lady has some very important things

Read Any Good Books Lately?

While the books featured in this post are intended for children to look at and listen to, grown-ups can also learn a lot from them! When I was teaching Child Development Associate classes, I used children's literature as often as possible to illustrate a point.  I also required my students to use books as a way to teach concepts as well as to learn about children's development, interests, and needs.  One of the favorite field trips was a trip to the library. While this did take the place of sitting in a classroom for 4 hours, I would like to think that the reason for the student's excitement and enthusiasm was because of the time spent looking up authors, illustrators, and books from every genre.  The evening ended with a "sharing" time that helped them hone their teaching skills as well. Let's take a look at some books and see what we can learn about young children! The first book is a timeless classic.  It is a story that takes place in a "great

Food For Thought---Preschool and Life

Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing it is stupid.                                                                       Albert Einstein We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting laundry.                                                    E.B. White Eighty-five percent of a person's intellect, personality and social skills are developed by age 5. Ninety-five percent of public investment in education occurs after age 5, when the most critical learning years have passed.                                                                             Dr. Dale Purves                                                                    Neuroscientist                                                                             Duke University Through our years of research, we have come to the conclusion that play is to early childhoo

Preschool---It's A Whole Different Animal

I admit I don't have documented proof, (I just strongly feel) that more often than not,  preschool classrooms and teachers are not "valued" for the extremely significant part they play in children's growth and development, as well as the success of those same children later in both school and life. If you work with young children, you know what I mean. How often does someone ask you, "are you going to get a real teaching job?" or "oh, you're so lucky, you don't have to do anything but play with your kids." Just to be fair to those who don't seem to value pre-k classrooms and teachers, I'm going to assume that their attitude is due to the fact that they do not know the purpose of preschool education for three and four year old children. Some even say, "they just play all day, how can they learn?" First, children in preschool classrooms and their teachers do not just play all day. To the untrained or uninformed person

A Day in the Life ---- Featuring Quincy and Gracie

Our day usually begins with a "petite promenade."  New routes are always met with enthusiasm because to a hound dog "sniffing" is a calling and something they are truly passionate about. Next on the agenda is some playtime which includes a little "wrestling" on the bed.  Since Quincy is approaching his "golden years", a nap is usually a welcome break from his more lively little sister. While Quincy naps,  Gracie begins the daily "cleansing" of the backyard, alley, and deck.  Her belief is that a squirrel free yard is a good yard. Many hours are spent on "squirrel patrol." No stone goes un-turned in the quest. Sometimes the "watch" continues indoors. After all it is the "dog days" of summer! Occasionally the stress of keeping a squirrel free environment is overwhelming, even for the most dedicated! At the end of a l

Just How Cute Does the Classroom Need to Be?

It's beginning to look a lot like the start of the school year!  Stores are full of new backpacks, shoes, clothes, crayons, writing paper, and glue sticks.  Teachers are beginning to get that urge to buy every cute poster, picture, and bulletin board set in the school supply store. I know this, because you see I once was one of those "it has to be cute" teachers. My classroom looked like bears from the circus had exploded all over the room.  Now, I will admit that there are some really cute items out there. Who doesn't love Snoopy decorations or Pete the Cat? In fact I once had a daycare provider tell me that parents told her they want three things from their child's center. One of them was,  you guessed it,  that it should look "cute".  The other two were it should "smell good" and the playground should be something akin to an amusement park. I will give you the "smells good" one for sure and the playground will come in another pos