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Posts Tagged ‘NAEYC’

How Can You Help Your Child Learn? PLAY with Them!

Our philosophy at The Goddard School is children learn best through play! Below is an article addressing the importance of play for a child to learn and how you as a parent can help your child learn simply by playing with them.

 

As a parent, you want your children to learn all that they can—to grasp math concepts, to be curious about exploring the world, and to learn to read and write. Did you know that you can help your son or daughter academically by playing with them? Play and learning go together!

What kind of play helps children learn the best? Play that really engages children—play that they will focus on and stay with even when problems arise. This kind of play helps children develop their approaches to learning—in other words, the ways they respond to learning situations. Curiosity about the world, initiative and problem solving, and focused attention and persistence are just a few approaches to learning that children develop through play.

In the early years, parents can help children develop the skills to be better students by playing with them. Yes, as they enter kindergarten and the elementary years, children need to have some understanding of letters and numbers. However, if they have not developed solid approaches to learning, they will not be as successful in school settings.

Encouraging Toddlers at Play

Joey is 20 months old. He has a basket full of toys, including rattles, soft plastic blocks, a set of stacking rings, stuffed animals, and cloth and plastic books. Joey’s dad often sits down on the floor with Joey and invites him to play with items in the basket. Joey’s favorite activity is to dump out all of the toys and put the basket on his head! This is typical toddler play behavior. Joey is curious about the world and is looking at it another way—through the slats in the basket!

Joey loves to shake the rattles to hear the different sounds or to stack two or three blocks and knock them down. His attention to each might be up to five minutes or so, which is just right for his age. He may solve problems as he tries to place the rings on the stacking post or to add more blocks to a tower.

Joey’s dad encourages his curiosity. He comments about what he is doing: “I see you are trying to get that last ring on the post, but it just won’t fit.” Or he asks him questions: “Where did that ball go? Do you see it hiding behind the chair?” He connects his play to learning by responding positively to his interest: “I can tell you like to look through the basket, you silly boy. Does everything look different from under there?” He also encourages him by asking him to keep trying even when he gets frustrated. “Oh, those blocks keep falling down, don’t they? Can you try to put just one on top of another gently? Let’s see what happens. I’ll help you.” This encouragement fosters his perseverance, his attention, and his initiative at problem solving, all positive approaches to learning.

Encouraging Preschoolers at Play

Alicia is 4 years old. She loves to dress up in her mommy’s clothes, jewelry, and shoes and then pretend to go shopping, care for her baby dolls, and cook dinner. Through her pretend play Alicia learns to think abstractly. When she holds a block in her hand and uses it to pretend to talk on the phone, she is using the block as a symbol for something else. That’s abstract thinking in action! And, since letters and numbers are abstract because they are symbols of what they represent, pretend play is one way a child develops her understanding of letters and numbers.

Alicia’s mom and dad have recognized that supporting her pretend activities keeps her engaged for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. They pretend right along with her, asking her to “bake some cookies” or to “go grocery shopping” for them. They give her paper and crayons so that she can pretend to write grocery lists. They encourage her to count how many items she has placed in her toy shopping cart. They accept her scribbles and letter-like shapes as her writing (just right for 4-year-olds) and help her when the numbers get a little mixed up.

Alicia will work with puzzles for long periods of time, too, especially if her dad joins her. Together, they figure out strategies for putting the pieces together. She may turn the pieces around, trying out different ways until she is successful. She is developing problem solving and persistence as she does so.

Your Role as Your Child Plays

Playing with your child helps keep your child engaged in the kind of play where learning occurs. Your interest, questions, and comments as you play alongside will help your child use toys productively. And the two of you will have lots of fun together! Most importantly, you will be working toward your child’s future success as a student by building important approaches to learning. Play and learning go together!


This article was taken from NAEYC and was written by Gaye Gronlund. Gaye Gronlund, M.A., is an Early Childhood Education Consultant. She works with teachers, families, and programs across the country and writes books and articles about play, standards, assessment, and curriculum.
© 2013 National Association for the Education of Young Children — Promoting excellence in early childhood education

For more information on The Goddard School in Franklin (Cool Springs) visit our website and our Facebook page

Children and Biting

Biting is a typical behavior often seen in infants, toddlers, and 2-year olds. As children mature, gain self-control, and develop problem-solving skills, they usually outgrow this behavior. While not uncommon, biting can be an upsetting and potentially harmful behavior. It’s best to discourage it from the very first episode. This article will help you to understand the reasons young children bite and give you some ideas and strategies for responding appropriately.

Why do young children bite?

Some children bite instinctively, because they have not developed self-control. For example, when 3-year-old Marcus grabs a doll from his 2-year-old sister Gina, her first response is to bite him and grab the doll. She doesn’t stop to think about other ways to act or the result of her actions. But there are many other reasons why children may bite.

 

A child might bite to

  • Relieve pain from teething.
  • Explore cause and effect (“What happens when I bite?”).
  • Experience the sensation of biting.
  • Satisfy a need for oral-motor stimulation.
  • Imitate other children and adults.
  • Feel strong and in control.
  • Get attention.
  • Act in self-defense.
  • Communicate needs and desires, such as hunger or fatigue.
  • Communicate or express difficult feelings, such as frustration, anger, confusion, or fear (“There are too many people here and I feel cramped”).

What can families do to prevent biting?

There are a variety of things that families can do to prevent biting. It helps to

  • Have age-appropriate expectations for your child’s behavior based on his or her current skills and abilities.
  • Make sure your child’s schedule, routines, and transitions are predictable and consistent. At meal and bedtimes, try to do things in the same way and at the same times. Young children thrive when they know what will happen next.
  • Offer activities and materials that allow your child to relax and release tension. Some children like yoga or deep breathing. Offer playdough, foam balls, bubbles, soft music, and other stress-reducing items.
  • Use positive guidance strategies to help your child develop self-control. For example, offer gentle reminders, phrased in a way that tells them what behaviors are expected. “Be sure to hang up your coat on the hook.”  “You can each have a bucket to use in the sandbox.”  “Put a small dot of toothpaste on your brush. You won’t need much to get your teeth clean.”
  • Provide items to bite, such as teething rings or clean, wet, cold washcloths stored in the refrigerator. This helps children learn what they can bite safely, without hurting anyone else.

How should I respond when my child bites?

While every situation is different, here are some general guidelines for responding when a child bites.

Infants
Infants learn about the world around them by exploring it with their hands, eyes, and mouths. But infants often need help to learn what they should and shouldn’t bite.

If your infant takes an experimental bite on a mother’s breast or grandpa’s shoulder, stay calm and use clear signals to communicate that it is not okay for one person to bite another. A firm “no” or “no biting!” is an appropriate response.

Toddlers and Preschoolers
Toddlers have many strong emotions that they are just learning to manage. Toddlers may bite to express anger or frustration or because they lack the language skills needed to express their feelings.

Biting is less common in preschoolers than toddlers. When a preschooler bites, it may be due to something at home or at their child care program that is causing the child to be upset, frustrated, confused, or afraid. A preschooler may also bite to get attention or to act in self-defense.

Follow the steps below with both toddlers and preschoolers.

  1. If you see the biting incident, move quickly to the scene and get down to children’s level. Respond to the child who did the biting. In a serious, firm tone make a strong statement: “No biting. Biting hurts. I can’t let you hurt Josie or anyone else.” Next, offer a choice: “You can help make Josie feel better, or you can sit quietly until I can talk with you.” Help the child follow through on the choice if necessary.
  2. Respond to the child who was hurt by offering comfort through words and actions: “I’m sorry you are hurting. Let’s get some ice.” Perform first aid if necessary. The child who did the biting can help comfort the bitten child—if both parties agree. Help the child who was hurt find something to do.
  3. Finally, talk to the child who did the biting. Maintain eye contact and speak in simple words using a calm, firm tone of voice. Try to find out what happened that led to the incident. Restate the rule, “Biting is not allowed.” Model the use of words that describe feelings: “Kim took your ball. You felt angry. You bit Kim. I can’t let you hurt Kim. No biting.” Discuss how the child can respond in similar situations in the future.

What if biting becomes a habit for my child?

If biting becomes a habit for your child and ongoing positive guidance is not effective, it is time to set up a meeting with your child’s teacher(s). Together, you can plan an approach for addressing the behavior that can be applied consistently at home and at the program. Together, you can discuss and define the behavior and find the cause behind it. Next, you and the teacher(s) can develop a plan to address the causes and help your child to replace biting with acceptable behaviors. Try the plan for several weeks, but be patient. It takes time to change behaviors that have become habits. Keep in touch with your child’s teacher(s) to share information about changes in behavior. After several weeks, evaluate the plan’s effectiveness and make changes as needed.

What strategies can I use to help my child overcome a habit of biting?

Here are some strategies for addressing a child’s biting habit.

  • Observe your child to learn where, when, and in what situations biting occurs. Sometimes an adult may need to stay close to the child to prevent biting.
  • Pay attention to signals. Stay close and step in if your child seems ready to bite.
  • Suggest acceptable ways to express strong feelings. Help your child learn to communicate her wants and needs (“Amy, tell your sister you were still playing with the truck”).
  • Use a reminder system to help your child learn to express strong feelings with appropriate words and actions (“Tell Manuel that you don’t like it when he gets that close to you”).
  • Reinforce positive behavior by acknowledging child’s appropriate words and actions (“You didn’t like being tickled so you used your words to ask me to stop”).
  • Provide opportunities for your child to make choices and feel empowered.
  • Be sure your behavior expectations are age-appropriate and individually appropriate for your child. Expecting a child to do something he or she is not able to do can cause children to feel stress. Stress can lead to biting.
  • Offer foods with a variety of textures to meet your child’s sensory needs.
  • Teach your child words for setting limits, such as “no,” “stop,” or “that’s mine.”

What strategies are not helpful?

These strategies should not be used to address a child’s biting habit.

  • Avoid labeling a child as a “biter.” Negative labels can affect how you view your child, and even affect the child’s feelings about him- or herself.
  • Never bite a child back to punish or show him how it feels to be bitten. Biting a child sends the message that using violence is an acceptable behavior that can be used to solve problems.
  • Avoid getting angry, yelling, or shaming a child.
  • Avoid giving too much attention to a child who bites after an incident. While this is usually negative attention, it can still reinforce the behavior and cause a child to repeat it.
  • Do not force a child who bit and the child who was hurt to play together.
  • Do not punish children who bite. Punishment does not help children to learn discipline and self-control. Instead, it makes children angry, upset, defiant, and embarrassed. It also undermines the relationship between you and your child.

Article taken from families.naeyc.org

For more information on The Goddard School in Franklin (Cool Springs) visit our website and our Facebook page.

10 Tips for Raising a Compassionate Toddler

Recent research shows that infants and toddlers are far more empathetic than we once thought.  While they have short fuses, and don’t cope well with sharing, they are capable of being compassionate.  With this in mind, here are ten tips I use in the classroom to help infants and toddlers become pro-social that families can also try at home.

  1.  Be respectful, patient, and loving to your infants and toddlers and everyone else. Infants imitate what they see.  Model saying “please” and “thank you”, touching gently, using your words, using a calm voice, cleaning up your messes, helping others, and sharing your things:

“Thank you for the Cheerio, would you like some of my raisins?”

  1.  Media is powerful!  Read books about feelings with positive social interactions and discuss them.  If your child watches television, watch too, and talk about the situations and emotions that happen in the shows, especially if the actions are antisocial.

“Caillou said that Philip could not use his ball – how did that make Philip feel?  Do you think taking turns might make Philip feel better?” 

  1.  When things are upsetting your toddler, you can engage your inner child.  Doll or puppet play can help your child explore feelings and perspectives.

Puppet, “I don’t want to take a bath!”  You to puppet, “You sound mad – you don’t like baths!  I wonder what things could make bath-time fun?”

  1.  When people are upset, model compassion – talk about the problem and offer help.

“That boy fell off the climber, let’s go see if he’s ok!  His daddy picked him up and the boy stopped crying.  Let’s see if they need a Band-aid…”

  1.  Model touching gently on pets and guide toddlers who are rough to touch everyone gently, leave toys in others’ hands and to walk around people rather than pushing.

“Stop!  The puppy is crying because you pulled his fur – touch him like this, that’s gentle.  Let me show you how.  Yes!  That’s gentle! He likes that better”

  1.  Point out when harm has been done and suggest ways to make things better.  Point out the facial cues that let you know what is happening.

“You were mad, but when you bit him, it hurt.  He’s sad.  See his tears?  Let’s help him get some ice.  Next time if he grabs your toy, say, “That’s mine.””

  1.  When conflict breaks out, stay calm and support your child’s feelings. Offer solutions and stay close.  It helps to use the same solutions each time, for example, if the conflict involves one child grabbing another child’s toy, get close and hold the toy in question, state the problem, comment on the children’s emotions, offer solutions, find one that is mutually acceptable, and restate the solution.
  2.  Point out kindness to others, “He liked it when you gave him the flower, see his smile?”  That was kind of him to hand you the ball.” Point out social mistakes,“He just pushed you out of the way.  I think he doesn’t have the words yet to tell you that he wants to play over by the balls.  He should have walked around you.” Point out your own mistakes, too, “I made a mistake, I bumped her with your stroller – I’m sorry!”
  3. Involve your child in home tasks like cooking and re-gifting.   Talk about the teamwork involved in helping the house run smoothly or the way others will feel when they get the gift.

“This salad will taste so good, thank you for tearing up the lettuce!” “I bet the new baby will like that bunny – it’s so nice of you to give away the toys you are too big to use.”

  1. Stay close and guide your child as she navigates the complex world of feelings. Babies and toddlers will have strong feelings, make mistakes, feel possessive, seek autonomy, and struggle to control their impulses. Expect them to try and to make mistakes.  Respect that all people may need time to get calm and composed before they are willing to talk about upsetting things.

“You got so mad you threw the cup.  Next time you can hand it to me.”

Keep in mind that not everyone learns social skills at the same pace.  The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations of Early Learning suggests that when a child can’t dance, swim, etc. we teach them, but when a child can’t behave, we punish.  Committing to teaching social skills to children that don’t “get it,” creates a better community for everyone.

By: Julia Luckenbill

For more information on this topic see: http://www.naeyc.org/yc/files/yc/file/201407/YC0714_Rocking_and_Rolling.pdf

For more information on The Goddard School in Franklin (Cool Springs) visit our website and our Facebook page.