Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Helping a Pre-Schooler Avoid Learned Mistakes

If you are an experienced early childhood education teacher, you must have already discovered that while some learning comes easy and immediately, other kinds of learning are tough and require repetition. A very important thing that you must realize, is that "unlearning" mistakes is difficult and should be avoided.

This does not mean the child should not make any mistakes. The truth is that mistakes are also important, but learned mistakes should be avoided. Mistakes should not be repeated without being corrected. When children are constantly made aware of their mistakes, they tend to learn from them and get better.

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The Technique of Repetition and Its Significance:

According to research, a human brain learns skills related to survival more easily than other kinds of skills like for example the reaction to touching something hot. The primary purpose of the brain is survival, learning non-survival skills is a difficulty for the human brain. The significance of making use of "brain-friendly" methods with the child, is hence important.  One such technique is known as repetition or practice.

Repetition is necessary for several kinds of learning to happen but the amount of repetition may vary. Three decades ago, educators thought a skill could easily be learned by repeating it 4 to 7 times. However, recent research has placed the figure much higher. It is now accepted that repetitions of 20 to 50 times are required to learn anything.

The good news is, preschoolers like redundancy. They have a tendency to listen to the same music, read the same books and play the same sport; every repetition tends to help learn vocabulary, skills, and facts. However, mistakes that are practiced can become learned and may get difficult to unlearn. It may take a teacher more than hundreds of right repetitions for "unlearning" a mistake that has been learned. Basically, it takes time to correct a bad habit.

How can early childhood education teachers help their students?

It means that they should supervise everything their students do and correct the mistakes lovingly when the mistakes do happen. It is not a good idea to criticize the children for the mistakes they make. Directing them gently to discover the right response and then awarding them is an extremely successful technique. This also means you should not let the students work on workbooks, worksheets or computer programs without close supervision. All such tools, when used unsupervised, may cause the child to make mistakes. Preferably, you should never utilize any of these with a preschooler. With just a little effort, you can make sure that the students you are responsible for learn the right things and do not make the same mistakes repeatedly. You are responsible for the learning needs of the children and can easily prevent learned mistakes if you are vigilant.

Early childhood education teachers play a very important role in ensuring their classroom blossoms with new learning. With their expertise and knowledge, they can mold young minds into becoming well-rounded individuals, helping them get better not just in academics but also in every other sphere of life.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Educating a Child with the Help of Stories

It is not easy to teach young children. However, it is an extremely important responsibility and must not be delegated to an amateur. Making use of stories for teaching is an effective method. When a teacher reads to children, he or she does not confine the student to academic excellence but expands into their behavioral and emotional learning.

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Here are a few reasons which explain why making use of stories for teaching is a good idea.

The Child Will Not Feel Threatened or Bored

When the teacher reads, he or she is able to tackle a particular situation in a very non-threatening manner. What does threaten mean? Here are a few examples of some phrases that are utilized when teaching a lesson:

"You must never lie."
"You should not be scared."

Normally, this is said in an angry or accusatory tone. When there is finger-pointing, children hear the disapproval and the whole situation gets tense. However, if one uses stories for teaching, the blame is taken out and lesser emphasis is placed on problems. Solutions are discussed in a positive way.

Working Towards "Cure" and "Prevention"

By making use of stories for teaching, children can be helped through situations that they might be experiencing at that time. It also helps teachers prepare the children mentally for situations that could possibly arise. Children tend to gain a lot of indirect experience from the stories that are read to them. For instance, teachers can read a book on bullying to teach children how to handle such situations.

Children Look up to the Characters in the Stories That Are Read to Them

Children tend to connect with the story characters and like to relate with them. The teacher can further ask questions like:

1. Can you relate to anyone in this story? 

2. Do you think this character is like you?

3. Why do you like that character?

4. Is there any character you aspire to be?

Relate such lessons to the child’s experiences and life. For instance, in the story of  ‘The Three Little 

Pigs’, you can ask the child what he/she can do to make their house really strong.

Children Are More Likely to Remember a Story Than a Reprimand

Scientists believe that the assimilation of information inside a story is an extremely natural brain process. To summarize, neuroscience has found out that our brain is made in such a way that it organizes, retains and accesses information with the help of stories. This means that teaching with the help of a story will help little ones remember information more easily and they will also be able to apply it effectively. Perhaps this is the reason why children can recite dialogs used in their favorite shows with ease.

Permits Critical Thinking

One of the safest ways for students to explore behavior and emotions are through stories. There are numerous children books that teach children about the significance of holding parents’ hands when out. Thought-provoking questions related to the story will help in identifying feelings and problems.

One of the best ways by which early childhood educators can teach is through storybooks. They offer a lot of insight and help a child grow.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Early Childhood Education: How Has It Grown over the Years?

Since time immemorial, education has transcended generations, sometimes in stereotypical ways. However, as time progressed and knowledge became more complex, human beings created a multifaceted education system comprising of an array of professionally trained individuals working with a range of students. Within that framework, were certain practices that have subsisted for over a century. These practices include the use of blackboards, theoretical exams, grading and also the curriculum pertaining to different courses.

The education system in the United States has a crotchet going on, making it extremely generalized wherein each child has to pass through the same series of levels to finally be called educated. This problem of ‘generalizing intelligence’ has defeated the whole purpose of education, which was to teach, assist and support children so that they can reach their potential and enjoy the education that is being imparted.

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The early years of the child are postulated to be the most significant years in his/her cognitive and emotional growth. The skills and knowledge gained during this period become the foundation of the child’s adult intelligence. Hence, it is extremely important to equip children with the tools they need to learn these skills. However, what has to be kept in mind is that every child is cognitively different from the other. While some children may have stronger linguistic intelligence, others may be more inclined towards music while still others could be mathematically inclined.

Unfortunately, most institutions and parents in the United States give precedence only to linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence. In fact, our society as a whole grades kids according to this prejudice, considering the linguistically/mathematically intelligent kids as smarter. The truth is, every child is built with different sets of strengths and weaknesses and has the potential to be successful in different walks of life. Also, an education pattern that may work for one child may not necessarily work for the other. Therefore, there is a need for a customized approach.

The new early childhood education courses for aspiring teachers are dedicated to altering conventions and revamping the system to make it more children friendly. It aims at developing programs that cater to the varying needs of the children, in turn, helping them reach their highest potential.

The idea behind such educational programs are to teach strategies to teachers that can help them decide the starting point for the children and continuously help them raise the standard for themselves. The teachers are taught how to enhance a child’s self-confidence by exposing him/her to their strengths rather than making them blindly compete with their fellow mates.

The main objective of students should be to become the best they can be by setting the bar higher each time they reach a particular goal. This makes the children do well as they recognize that they are their only competition and that they have the power to decide the pace of their own education and set their own goals.

Hence, parents should be open to changes and recognize the importance of making learning easy for their children. When the flow of information coming to the children is through a stream that is easy for them to grasp, children will learn and catch up quickly.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Creating an Impressive Resume: Tips for Kindergarten Teachers

There is no career more fulfilling than teaching. It can be extremely rewarding in every way to help children gain knowledge, build newer skills and become appreciative of learning.

To begin your journey as a kindergarten teacher or to get a job at a better paying school, you should have ready an impressive resume. The tips given below can assist you in writing an impressive resume that appeals to prospective schools with the right information needed in order to make a decision in your favor.

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1.  Selecting an appropriate format

Select a format that is most common in the teaching industry. The main reason why it is best to use a commonly accepted format is that employers are well versed with the template and can easily find the information they need without any frustration.

Also, make it a point to include all the main sections in the resume. The main sections include heading, aim, education details, work experience, accolades, and affiliations.

2.  Using action keywords

Use keywords that are industry-specific, typical of teaching like ‘age-appropriate teaching’ and ‘informal and formal assessments’. With such keywords, display your ability to assist children in understanding concepts, solving problems, and building critical thinking capabilities and your enthusiasm for meeting the expectations of the school.

This way you are able to direct your Curriculum Vitae toward a particular target. Being vocal about your enthusiasm and passion for teaching will give you an edge over the others.

3. Highlighting your accomplishments

Your accomplishments are the creditable achievements that distinguish you from others, competing with you for the same position. Other things being equal, your CV that highlights appropriately your accomplishments would impress greatly the appointing authority to consider you favorably for the position of early childhood education teacher.

4.  Proofreading your resume

A resume that has several errors is generally considered evidence of shabby work of a shabby candidature. Probably you never even get a call letter for a one-on-one interview. It would be a great pity to be out of the competition even before entering the contest.

Never put your own self at a disadvantage relative to others because of silly mistakes you commit in your resume. Proofread your CV several times and make sure someone else to does it for you with great care.

If you are looking for a job as a kindergarten teacher, the first thing you have to do, therefore, is to create a CV that will impress on your potential employer. A CV can either help you grab a great opportunity or shut the doors for you; if the latter happens, it will be of your own making.

Make sure you write it with all your writing skills at play, and that should compellingly appeal to prospective employers in order to call you for interviews. Nothing can be more rewarding than the happy position that you can choose from several job openings. Nothing can be more satisfying than the realization that it is due to your well-written CV.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Importance of Preschool Activities

Imaginative preschool activities can help in laying a firm foundation for success in school performance. Preschool is not just about fun and naps, finger painting, etc. It is also about developing learning skills that enhance learning potentials through appropriate activities.

Apart from being fun, preschool activities promote skills that will help the kids in all kinds of achievement throughout their adult life. Moreover, preschool activities are launch pads for the visual development of children.

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What can preschool activities develop?

Early childhood education teachers can successfully make use of vision therapy activities for developing skills like focus, convergence, visualization, tracking, visual memory, sequencing and coding, and fine motor control.

It is a proven fact that correct vision therapy exercises can develop such important skills in preschoolers. Consequentially, they help achieve long-term success by offering an edge over others. The creativity is in producing the therapies in fun tasks so that the little ones will do the required exercises, and make the most of the overall experience.

Activities that help

After in-depth researching, behavioral optometrists have come up with powerful fun exercises, designed for capturing the enthusiasm and attention of young children.  They are intended to cultivate the visual skills needed for achieving success in their educational career. Simple techniques when applied smartly during games can result in exciting preschool therapies. Such exercises do go a long way in assisting cognitive development of children. Given below are a few such exercises.

1. Musical Chairs

Musical chairs help students sharpen their listening skill by testing how alert they are in distinguishing between silence and sound. It teaches as well preparedness for quick responses, self-regulation, and lightning-like reflexes.

2. Hide and Seek

Hide an object in the classroom and then give the kids specific instructions such as these: “move two steps backward” or “walk towards something red”, to lead them to the hidden object. This game not only reinforces listening skills but also gives practice in carrying out verbal instructions. Furthermore, it has a wider scope for teaching children colors, positional words, shapes and the like.

3. Art and Craft

Coloring, drawing, finger painting, cutting, and pasting are all art and craft exercises that are designed to develop fine motor skills of preschoolers.

4. Sock Puppets Show

Students can come up with hand puppets created out of socks and together put up a show in the class. Creating puppets helps again to develop fine motor skills. In addition, talking to others with the puppet helps to develop communication and language skills. It also helps in teaching children how to resolve conflicts using words.

Thus, imaginative fun activities and games for preschoolers can develop powerful skills in them. This is important in early childhood education as it is capable of laying the foundation for all their achievements later in their life.

A note of caution: the fun activities and games should be designed carefully to kindle real interest and fun in the children. If not the efforts made will not lead to the expected outcome.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Stress Relief for Preschoolers

There was a time, when children from infancy to five years implemented natural stress relief strategies with no special initiation into preschool stress support. Women who stayed home to raise their family never felt the need for ‘special strategies’ for coping with and managing anger of kids. Most adults just made use of common sense to help the little one’s cope.

Due to drastic changes in the external and internal environments today, preschool teachers require knowledge of modern stress relief techniques for their young kids. Unfortunately, however, for lack of that knowledge, they amplify instead of reducing the stress of the kids.

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Definition of preschool stress

Preschool stress is essentially a young child’s response to the spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional demands made by situations. When the response is positive, the child experiences eustress. On the other hand, when there is a negative response, the child suffers distress.

Things stress relief should focus on

1. Preschool stress is not about the teacher's demand on the child to make her/him sit quietly for the story circle. It is the child’s response to the requirement. It is important that stress relief focus on the response.

2. Preschool stress is not about the teacher's attempt to make the child count 1 to 10. It is the child’s response to the requirement. It is important that stress relief focus on the response.

3. Preschool stress is not about the mother's demand that the child stop crying at preschool. It is the child’s response to the requirement. It is important that stress relief focus on the response.

Preschool stress and stressors

Most teachers confuse stressors with stress. Preschool stressors are certainly an inescapable and inevitable part of the child’s life. However, it is important not to view stressors as the reason of stress. The former are merely demands made on the child to learn, cooperate, comply with, share, and more.

On the contrary, preschool stress is the response of the preschool child to the demands made on them. In case the child accepts demands willingly and cheerfully, s/he will feel a sense of eustress. It releases endorphins, often called ‘feel good chemicals’ into the bloodstream. There is no need for any kind of stress relief for eustress.

However, when the little one rejects and rebels against demands, a sense of distress takes charge. It is a negative situation that causes the release of adrenalin into the bloodstream. The child gets fearful or combative, and completely non-compliant. There is a definite need for stress relief here.

The primary reason for a child experiencing "distress" instead of "eustress" is their internal response to giving up to control or not having anyone in control.

Like adults, preschool children also need control in their life. They also require boundaries. However, they do not want anyone to take control of or dominate over them. They prefer handling situations on their own.

The popular expression "terrible twos" came from the ‘terrible’ developmental stage of two-year olds who cry aloud ‘no’ to any control, throwing tantrums. At the same time, they require someone to cling to. The ECE teacher should understand this sensitive psychology of the kids and help them feel reassured, not confused and stressed out.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Should Early Childhood Education be Academic, or Play-based?

Kids perceive through all their senses all that happens around them. Every sensory experience is an instance of some active learning for them. This is how they gain knowledge of the world. Hence, it is important for early childhood education teachers to include play-based educational activities in their curriculums.

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Learning is better through play

Research findings have proved the following:

  1. The preferred method of learning for a young child is through movement.
  2. Play promotes creativity, better problem-solving ability and improved levels of reading, and higher scores in IQ.
  3. Optimal learning takes place with the integration of all body systems.
  4. Lessons experienced physically have an immediate impact, and happen to be longer lasting.
  5. Retention of quality information depends upon the number of senses utilized during the learning process.
There is definitely a very strong connection between performance of physical activity and mental associations.

With all the mounting evidence, it is pretty clear that play-based learning is far more superior in comparison to that through plain academics. Unfortunately, in spite of the findings of such research studies, most educators continue to focus on the need to ‘educate’ the child. Thus, preschoolers fill more sheets and perform more seatwork. These were originally designated for first-graders or kindergartners.

Why learning through seatwork only?

A big part of this tradition comes from the society's belief that brain functions are more important than body functions. Moreover, many of us have lived with the misguided belief that body and mind are two separate entities. Hence, schools continue to train human minds through ears and eyes only.

The need to go back to basics

Early childhood education teachers created in the past programs to meet the developmental requirements of children. They believed that active play promoted active learning; some of the play-based activities included:

  1. Stacking and sorting blocks and other such manipulatives
  2. Dancing and singing, or acting a story out
  3. Exploring outdoor areas, and growing plants
  4. Trying different roles and speaking to one another during social studies classes.
However, many parents and educators are in a hurry to feed children with as much information as they can. This tends to affect the overall experience of children.

The truth is, children from kindergarten to third-grade should be more active in learning because they're still too young to be forced to sit for hours. Conversely, early childhood education happens to be less appropriate to all-round development.

Recent research studies on the brain have confirmed what early childhood education teachers have upheld for long: the body and mind are strongest when integrated rather than separated. Physical activity helps in activating the cells of the brain much more than seatwork.

Sitting can increase fatigue and decrease concentration. Movement helps in feeding oxygen, glucose and water to the brain, enhancing its performance. Moreover, learning through activity creates neural networks within the brain and all through the body, making the whole body an instrument for learning.