Monday, July 28, 2008

Blog List--Check Out the Great Resources We Have!

A couple notes:
1.) I added a Blog List. I've been addicted to Google Reader to the point where I almost can't even keep up with all the chat going on about EC online. Please check out these blogs. You might also notice that there are a few parenting sites. These are very funny and just overall great sites that I use to keep in touch with the breeder bunch. I'm also hoping that once I have a few of my own, these sites are keeping me well prepared for what is ahead.

2.) Notice the calendar? I'm not really using it right now. However, it is up for a few days while I demonstrate its use at work.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

You've Got to Be Kidding Me!

Can anyone tell me why early childhood (and I mean all the way through 2nd grade) students should even have to worry about "homework" beyond play and exploration of their world?

Read this: Homework for Preschoolers?

Think About the Message This Sends to The Child: You've Been Kicked Out of Preschool

Have you ever been witness to a child in your class or center being kicked out? What was the reason?

I'm a firm believer that its a lack of teacher support and education that leads to preschool expulsion--its never the child's fault. Never. Read this: Kicked Out of Preschool?

The number of preschool expulsions and corporal punishment usage is a PLEA to our governments to increase professional development/education training for teachers AND create a efficient model of quality control that ensures quality in EC programs.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Where's Waldorf in EC?

During my graduate work, a woman in my class introduced the ideas of Waldorf education to me. She had mentioned that she was interested in teaching in a Waldorf school and that she really felt passionate about their curriculum.

My reaction? What in the world is Waldorf?

However, after some investigation throughout the years I learned quite a bit about the curriculum. While I stress I have never taught in a Waldorf classroom, I must say there is quite a bit to like about the curriculum in terms of its commitment to individualized lesson planning, integration of nature throughout, and rejection of high-stakes testing, negative discipline and ignoring of a child's interests and feelings.

You might be saying to yourself---"yeah, but that's not going to work where I teach." I agree, public schools (where I worked an Integrated EC classroom), child care preschools, and other early childhood programs might not be able or ready to take on such an intense of a program like the one Waldorf education provides.

HOWEVER--We can take pieces from this model to improve what is there already!

Here's just a few things I took from the Waldorf curriculum:
  • cooking activities that I planned based on some of the children's interests/ideas from conversations in the classroom (and yes, they did actually cook and cut vegetables)
  • domestic tasks related to the upkeep of the classroom and classroom pets (yes, I had pets), including washing the dishes after we cooked
  • art activities that children can imitate (weaving, "sewing" (we used plastic needles and yarn through plastic/nylon netting), painting with tempura, fingerpaints, watercolors, mud and water, etc.)
  • gardening (we planted fall mums outside and pumpkins/squash the first week of class and by the first week of october had a great patch), we also did flowers in the spring
  • meditating on seasons instead of holidays--I know this is an adjustment for some teachers and some parents, but I'm passionate about this topic.

**By the way, this doesn't mean you tell children "shhh" if they mention they sat on Santa's lap over the weekend (we talked about holidays when the children mentioned them all the time). does mean instead of making cut and paste Christmas trees, we made evergreen smelly jars and hot cocoa with peppermint sticks.

Does anyone else know anything about Waldorf education they might want to share? Any ideas on how to incorporate some of the ideas from Waldorf classrooms into a public school or child care EC classroom?