Teaching STEAM in Early Childhood “The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge.” -Seymour Papert Often, I have heard adults state they were not creative or imaginative. What if they had been given that opportunity when they were a child? Would the results be the same? I do not believe they would. Providing a child, the materials to use their imagination strengthens those skills and encourages them to want more. Introducing a child to STEM or STEAM is the best thing we, as teachers and parents, can do for the children. Teaching STEAM in early childhood is a positive movement of ingenious teaching through providing materials and allowing the child’s mind to explore, create, and learn. STEM or STEAM STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEAM is the addition of Art into the mix. Science, math, and art have been taught in schools for what seems like forever. Nothing new there, but is there? Yes, it’s the way these areas of focus are taught that has changed over the years. When I was in school, you read your math assignment, then you completed the problems making sure to show your work. Today, the math is lifted off the page into three dimensions. The child is given materials. They put their hands on these materials and they manipulate them in a way that helps the learning process. The same with science and art. In art class we graduated
Did you know the heat inside a closed vehicle can rise by 50 degrees above the outside temperature within 30 minutes and 19 of those degrees happen within the first 10 minutes? Let’s put those figures into the weather here in Kentucky this past week. Take, for instance, a high of 92 degrees… add 50 more and the inside temperature of the car is 142 degrees. In the first 10 minutes the temperature would have already reached 119. Thorough studies have been completed and found that even leaving the window partially down does not reduce the amount of heat accumulating in the vehicle as the heat is absorbed by the interior of the vehicle. It is never OK to leave kids in cars… not even for a few minutes. Most of us are aware just how hot the interior of a vehicle gets. Have you ever sat on a hot leather seat, touched a hot steering wheel, grabbed the metal of the seat belt? No doubt, you quickly removed yourself from the hot item. It hurt! Heat Stroke The normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees. Heat stroke is caused from the body heating up and not being able to release that heat. Heat stroke starts to occur when the body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Given that in the scenario above, the outside temperature is 92 and within 10 minutes the temperature inside the vehicle is 119, it is easy to see how quickly heat stroke can occur. Add the
“I was a wonderful parent before I had children.” ― Adele Faber. Is that not the truth of it? When we become parents, we look back on past experiences of other people and their parenting skills. We have decided what we will and won’t do with our children. We have it all figured out. Then, suddenly, we become the parent with the toddler pitching a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store floor and all eyes are upon us! Now we are faced with all that we thought we knew and our plans to be a parent verses what is happening in the floor in front of us. Take a breath! Before rationality goes flying by us out the door, before we delve into an emotional reaction… let’s think about center mindedly diffusing the situation with our emotionally minded child. Understanding the Mind – Emotional Using the tantrum situation above, let’s get started trying to understand what’s going on. That child you love so dearly lays sprawled in the floor, screaming like he’s being tortured, kicking and flailing about like a caged animal, is having an emotional reaction to a situation. Maybe you know what the trigger is, maybe you missed it. The child is reacting from an emotional mind. A young child does not have the ability yet to think from a reasoning mind. What the child needs is for the parent to understand their emotion. Not approve it and not deny it. The emotional mind only sees
“The human brain is the most fabulous organ system in the universe.” Dr. Ben Carson There are approximately 800 million people in the world that cannot read. Is that not astonishing here in the year 2019? So, we start with the people that cannot read and go up the scale as there are varying degrees of ability to read. The Fleishmann Reading Ease Test measures the difficulty of the words to read and classifies them into grade levels. Did you know the most common conversation we have is at a sixth-grade level? Here’s where it gets interesting. Dr. Carson related the amazing performance of the human brain. The brain is truly like a sponge and absorbing information at incredible speed. The key to feeding and sustaining the brain’s development is reading! This desire to read must be instilled in our children early in life, far before they enter elementary school. Introduction of vocabulary words in early childhood education is imperative to building those reading skills. Have you ever attempted to read a document in a foreign language? Maybe you could decipher a couple words but was not able to pull out enough information to determine what the document meant. You didn’t get the full understanding. That is exactly the problem many children and adults have when reading the English language. It is above their reading ability and they do not comprehend the vocabulary being used. Comprehension is an imperative skill in reading. Your child brings you their favorite book to
Keeping Our Children Safe in the Sun As a parent, part of our job is to constantly worry about the safety of our children. Are they eating the right foods, getting enough exercise, are they on target with their developmental milestones… oh, there is so much to worry about! How about we put one of those worries to bed now with some important information to help get you through the summer! How do we choose the right sunscreen for our child? After reading the information below, you will be able to make an informed decision that is best for your child. Yay… one less thing to worry about. How do I prevent sunburn? Of course, the best way to prevent sunburn is to stay out of the sun, but how realistic is that? Besides, being out in the sun safely, is good for us. Try to limit your time in the sun when it’s at its peak hours, 10:00am-4:00pm. The next best option is to wear protective clothing which covers the majority of the skin. Who wears pants and long sleeves during the summer in the heat? So, that brings us to a good sunscreen. There are two types of sunscreen. Organic: which absorbs UV radiation and converts it to a small amount of heat. Examples include cinnamates, salicylates and benzophenones.Inorganic: which reflects and scatters UV radiation. Examples include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Inorganic sunscreens are typically less irritating to skin. Good to know for use on children! There
Choosing A Good Childcare Center Learning how to choose a licensed daycare for children can be a daunting task for parents. Using a set of guidelines can help parents evaluate various daycares and make the right choice. It also helps for parents to plan a day when the whole family can visit the facilities and observe classroom activities designed for children their child’s age. With a checklist and prepared questions, parents should be able to choose the facility that not only makes them most comfortable but that their child responds to most positively. • Schedule a tour o Evaluate the facility, staff, other children, and educational material used. • Assessing the Facility Even if the daycare staff seems wonderful, parents will want to suss out the facility that houses the daycare as well. In particular, they’ll want to see if the facility includes safe indoor and outdoor areas and equipment or orderly, clean work areas. What do the classrooms look like? The ideal center classroom is airy, well-lit and attractive with bright colors. Be sure to look at the bathrooms and diaper-changing areas as well. Do they appear to be sanitary? • Are children allowed to get dirty naturally through play? Do all children appear to be engaged in classroom activities, or have some of them been left out? Overall, do the children appear to be happy? Do they laugh and share with staff and each other? • What are the Educational Features of the Daycare How do the children
10 Signs Your Child is in a Good Classroom If your child is between the ages of three and six and attends a preschool or kindergarten program, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) suggests you look for these 10 signs to make sure your child is in a good classroom. Children spend most of their time playing and working with materials or other children. They do not wander aimlessly, and they are not expected to sit quietly for long periods of time.Children have access to various activities throughout the day. Look for assorted building blocks and other construction materials, props for pretend play, picture books, paints and other art materials, and table toys such as matching games, pegboards, and puzzles. All the children should not necessarily all be doing the same activity at the same time.Teachers work with individual children, small groups, and the whole group at different times during the day. They do not spend all their time with the whole group.The classroom is decorated with children’s original artwork, their own writing with invented spelling, and stories dictated by children to teachers.Children learn numbers and the alphabet in the context of their everyday experiences. The natural world of plants and animals and meaningful activities like cooking, taking attendance or serving snack provide the basis for learning activities.Children work on projects and have long periods of time (at least one hour) to play and explore. Worksheets are used little, if at all.Children have an opportunity to
The Importance of Play in Early Childhood “It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.” -Leo F. Buscaglia When we think of play in early childhood, often we do not consider that play is a learning experience. If you’ve ever sat and watched a child play, you can almost see the little wheels spinning in their heads. They bring this exuberance and excitement to their environment. They pull out a set of blocks and you just can’t wait to see what they create. Their minds flash upon images they have seen in storybooks, TV, and real-life. Then, they spend all this time building their masterpiece and want to tell you a story about their creation. Suddenly, in an instant, they turn around and knock the whole thing down and laugh. The destruction was just as exciting as the creation. Play is a verb meaning to, “engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose”. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) There, that definition in itself may be the problem and thus, the confusion on the importance of play in early childhood. While play may be a source of relaxation and recreation, in the early years, play is a necessary part of the learning process. If you walk into an early childhood educational facility, you will, no doubt, find the children sitting in the floor happily surrounded by a pile of