Thursday, February 3, 2011

Some Thoughts about starting this blog

I looked up common sense and early childhood ed., and was overwhelmed by the wealth of entries with these words. Well I'm not alone in linking the terms. I'll want to start reading, but it will take time, but should prove worthwhile.

It is pretty humbling to see all the accumulated research on this area, how do I presume to offer anything worth reading or to offer any new perspective? Then again how can I presume to even know  much of anything given the enormity of knowledge available. So I see it will be important to start back reading in order to feel up todate in this are, and then perhaps to offer any new perspective, or anything worth reading by any other person, that might be uplifting or in any way enlightening..

But yet I do have first hand knowledge from being a child care worker "on the floor" daily for 7 hours every day, using my skills, knowledge, empathy, personal intuition, reserves of patience and kindness, as well as ability to multitask, and problem solve on the spot. I also have my life experience of having been a single mom; having been a child growing up in the 50's and 60's; having been a university student in the 70's; having a certificate in Early Childhood Education; having worked on the floor in  child care since 1988; having learned from some of the nicest, wisest, most sane people I could have been blessed to work with over the years, and hopefully having learned from these wise souls.

My personal approach to working with small children in daycare, is eclectic, gleaned from what I've learned formally from school, and informally from fellow workers, reading and insights from the work itself.Naturally Piaget is one of the backbones of my formal learning, as well as other early childhood researchers such as Erickson; Sears, etc.

For approaches to teaching, Montessori and her writing and methods is an influenceI enjoy reading about the early kindergarten movement in Europe, and North America..

Play is so important, and I enjoy providing enriched environments which can encourage play, including dramatic play.

Story telling and language learning is a major concern for me in providing quality child care.

Providing sensory experiences is important to me, as I remember how vivid knowledge through the senses such as touch, smell, sight was for me as a child. I have found providing sensory opportunities to a group of children can be calming, and somehow allows the child to focus, and hear and learn following sensory play.

I believe in providing choices for children, and lots of varied opportunities in all areas of development on a daily basis. I believe that also children benefit from limits, and boundaries, but I do believe in child directed activities, rather than teacher directed.

I am worried at what I am presently seeing with an emphasis on "open ended" activities, and letting children make too many decisions for themselves within the daycare environment.I don't believe a toddler or even 3 year old child has enough judgement to pull him or herself away from an awesome play to eat snack, for example. So if the child care worker then after a certain time decides the child doesn't want to eat, and puts away the snack, the result can be a hungry, upset, and out of control child when the parent attempts to take their child home. To me this is irresponsible, I believe all effort needs to be made to strongly encourage the child to eat, because the child needs food. So the invitation to eat can be welcoming, and warm, and the snack can be done in as simple or fun way as the child care worker likes, but I believe there is a responsibility on part of the adults to ensure his or her children do eat, as the child requires nutrients to function, learn, grow, and make it through the day in an enjoyable way. Recent research I've read does say all of us function and think best with proper nutrition.  Children in a social group setting for up to 10 hours a day, need all the resources and help we can give them to get through their day in as happy and stress free way as possible.

I am absolutely not saying to "force" children to eat, but there is nothing wrong in my mind with having a child come to sit and perhaps drink a glass of water, and  be offered the chance to eat, if the child refuses to eat, naturally we don't want to force the child. I'm aware that would lead to a possible dislike of food, social setting, or even an eating disorder of some kind. But I feel we aren't serving the child or her or his family well, by not making a strong effort to have the child have something to eat at an appropriate interval. Children are not adults and don;'t have the judgement to make certain decisions for themselves, although they certainly can and should make many choices throughout their day.

That's it for today!


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