What am I feeling right now ? EXHAUSTED ! We requested Ms Leslie come spend some time with us to brush up on our conscious discipline techniques . Most times we feel like we know what we are doing but there are still times we struggle about what is the right thing to say to keep a situation from escalating. It is helpful to have someone else here that is trained in the techniques to say ” and now you could say this… to teach.” or ” that was RIGHT ! ” I think the hardest part for me is helping the kids be conscious of when they are learning. An example would be when you have used all the steps to get a child to make the right choice and then you smile as he trots off to the next area you need to take it a step further and validate what is going on. ” You did it. You chose to clean up all your blocks and now you are going to play somewhere else.” It was a good day. Would you believe there was not ONE meltdown today ? That was one area that I wanted help in. When this happens and there are legs and arms flailing and teeth gnashing ( ok.. maybe not that ) what do we do ? We were able to have some ” If and then ” conversations. If this happens.. then.. you do this. I appreciate her so much for taking the time to help us.
As children came in today the question of the day was ” How do you feel today? Are you happy or sad?” Some of the children chose sad. That is ok. Sometimes even as adults we are sad to go or do something that usually we are glad to do. We might be tired. We might want a toy that is still in the car. We might just want our mom a little longer. Being sad is ok. Being sad is ok. Sometimes we spend so much time just wanting to make everyone happy that we forget that it is ok to be sad. It doesnt mean life as we know it is over. It just means for that moment, we are sad.
We did get to some of our lesson plans today. That is the hard part. The most important job we have before children go to kindergarten is helping them learn strong social skills so they are ready to learn. In doing that sometimes it eliminates the extra time we have to do small groups. Another friend from ASU who also does mentoring and training in preschool programs had this to say .
I say that our curriculum is the children themselves. Our children are in the developing years, or a time of unfolding, or their practice years. During these developing years they are growing and strengthening and practicing in four major domains: language, motor, thinking and emotional.
Every experience we provide should be targeted towards children’s unfolding in one or more of these domains of development. We should be able to answer why we provide certain experiences for the children. The answer should be, in order to scaffold their next stage of development.
It doesn’t matter one bit what we call the curriculum, or what the labeled theme may be if we do not acknowledge that the focus is the children’s development.
I believe our job in early childhood is to be:
* knowledgeable and capable in the stages of child development
* assessors of development and know what the next stage of unfolding will look like
* good observers of children to recognize strengths and delays
* Planners to set up provocations for challenging each stage and each domain of each child each day.
Our curriculum, our focus, is facilitating development in language, motor, thinking and emotional development. How we get that done is how we set up the environment and what we intend to say and do to add to a child’s zone of proximal development. “
One of the biggest steps to emotional control is recognizing emotions ( or feelings ) and what they look like and what might cause certain emotions. Today we started a ” theme” that will focus on our emotions.
We looked in mirrors and made faces. We made happy faces, sad faces , scared faces and angry faces. In conscious discipline we do something called mirroring. Your face looks like this. Your body looks like this. You seem angry (or tired, or sad…. ) As adults we can look at someones body language and most times tell what they are feeling. Helping children become conscious of others feelings is important.
They say your classroom is your third teacher. When the right materials are used and changed regularly and placed to create provocation learning will take place . I had a new poster that had pictures of kids faces on it. As I walked in the room some children were standing around looking at it and talking about it. DING DING DING! Natural teaching moment that was not prompted by me. This is called a provocation. Putting new things in their environment that causes them to be curious and explore or ask questions.
We read Shubert is a STAR and talked about using the STAR technique when we are upset.
We tossed a bean bag into buckets labelled with ” feeling” words and pictures. Whatever emotion the bag landed in the child told me a time or gave me an example of when they might feel that. Sad- When mom made me go to bed. Scared- When it was dark.
We tried making a chart of the top ten things that make us happy but since our time was more limited I decided to do it at lunch time. Guess what their answers were ? They named all FOODS ! 🙂 We may try again tomorrow. Though… cheesecake makes me smile too.
As a matter of fact, I may have some after school.