Month: September 2012

Save it for Another Day

An intended pun. Because I’m talking about calendars, and reviewing over and over again the days of the week and the months, when we are in preschool. Multiple studies have shown that children under the age of 6 are not cognitively ready to understand extended periods of time yet. They ARE perfectly capable of understanding numeracy such as counting how many days until their birthday, but the concepts of yesterday, today, and tomorrow are not in place until between 7 and 10 years of age. They will talk about things that have happened or will happen, but not in terms of units of time.

So let’s do this: let’s take that time that we sit everyday talking about, or singing that days of the week song, and do some counting instead, or draw pictures on certain days of what’s coming up. We can cross out the days after we have finished them, and count down until the next big event. We can also use cause and effect experiments to demonstrate concepts of before and after. Like when we use our kodokids ramps with cars….”Look what happened when we raced the cars down this ramp. Before we changed the angle of the ramp, the car didn’t go anywhere. But after we made it steeper, the cars went super fast!”

Since I value pretty much everything NAEYC magazine says, please check out this article about calendar time…..you’ll see we should be spending our precious time on something else:)

http://www.naeyc.org/files/tyc/file/CalendarTime.pdf

Doesn’t take a genius

One of the million reasons I love being a preschool teacher is it truly requires the simplest outlook on life, no genius status needed. Not because these children aren’t smart. Oh no. But rather because all it takes to make their faces light up in huge smiles, get their imaginations going, and the light bulbs to go off in their precious little brains, is a simple idea and some focused quality time. While I’m here in Maryland with family, I get the rare opportunity to hang with my 4 year old nephew. We came across an inchworm today, and well, it was pretty much the highlight of the weekend, and it’s only Friday.

For 15 uninterrupted minutes, we proceeded to make a virtual Mcmansion for “Inchy” the Inchworm.

Inchy apparently needed rocks, a pine cone, a toy pirate coin, a strawberry, some kale, and a little water.

Done. Best, easiest project ever.

Happiest 4 year old ever.

Doesn’t take a genius:)

Don’t give them the answers!

Ask more questions instead! As I mentioned in my last post, we have seen a return to more old-fashioned playing on our new playground with a lot less “stuff”. But it seems that the kiddos may still need some time to get used to not being entertained.

Yesterday, we brought out some really cool fabric to hang on one of the trees and the first question one of the kids asked us was “What are you going to do with it?”

Rather than provide them with an immediate answer, or list of ideas, my answer was a question right back.

What are YOU going to do with it?

Their answers were so much fun to watch.  Studies have shown that when parents and teachers tell children how to play with something, the creativity level actually declines, and the number of ways a toy is used is limited, while if we just provide them with the materials, and keep everyone safe, the imagination of our little ones is infinite……