Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Political action!!

Today, April 14, 2015,  I spoke in front of the Sub-committees 1 and 2 at the California State Capitol.
It was an amazing experience.
I was speaking on behalf of California teachers, Family child care providers, and exempt Providers in regards to fair pay, fair wages, and fair employment.
I said something along the lines of:
I support all of the recommendations heard today because...
I am a highly qualified teacher, I have a Master of Education and my teaching credentials, and I choose the Early childhood field. It is my passion!
I know this is where the most benefit to our communities are, but most importantly to our families and our children.
It has taken me over 13 years to rise above the poverty level, because I chose to be an early childhood educator. I am no longer a teacher, I am an administrator, and that is why I am no longer in poverty.
I know hundred's of teachers who are dedicated and live within their limited means because they know this profession is the right profession to be in. It is the best investment of their time.
I am worried that next year, when Costco comes to Ukiah California we will loose many of our staff. They will find better pay and better benefits than they will in the field of education.
This is a smart investment for California, and it is the right thing to do.
Thank you for the hearing and listening to me.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Rules of lining up...

Children line up for milk at Scheyville, New South Wales, 1957
Children line up for milk at Scheyville, New South Wales, 1957 found at www.abc.net.au/news

One thing that always gets me as both a preschool teacher and as a consultant is lining up for Preschoolers. Of course this is necessary, both to do and to practice. Depending on your program, classroom location, and what you do (i.e. need to walk to the library from the classroom through other classroom areas) will determine the amount of actual lining up practice you do.

Some reasons that lining up are important:
  • to safely get from one place to another
  • for fire drills and other evacuation practices (or actual emergency events)
Some reasons that are less important:
  • because children will need to know how to line up in Kindergarten and beyond
  • because Adults need to know how to line up
I say that these last two reasons are less important because
  1. What happens in Kindergarten should be the job of the Kindergarten teacher, because that is when it is developmentally appropriate to learn those skills (although that is a debate for another post).
  2. While Adults do know how to line up, have you ever seen them have to wait for services because they were not in a straight line, hands to themselves, or quiet?
I was at a bank recently, after helping a teacher who was struggling with transitioning from outside to in, and inside to out. I had suggested a walking rope to keep the children together, as she had some that ran away from the line and others that dawdled.

So I was in the bank and noticed a couple of things.
  • No one was in a straight line
  • People were talking, including making others wait a few seconds longer while they finished up greetings
  • Some people even shook hands in greeting or departure!!! (not keeping hands to self)
  • At one point two people arrived and both stood in the same position until one teller was available and then they looked at each other to see who would go next
  • Observation of this adult line would make any "Line-up Perfectionist Preschool Teacher" cringe; all those days spent waiting at the door for all the 3 and 4 year olds to be quiet, keep their hands to themselves, bodies still, and in a straight line.
  • The bank had a rope to guide us
I had some thoughts about this and wondered if you had recently:
  • Observed adult lines?
    • at the DMV they have a number system and you have to stand in line
    • people talk
    • Amusement parks have long series of ropes and mazes for us to go through
    • People from all over the world and with many different cultures and ways of learning all know the basic rules of lining up (even homeschoolers)
  • Observed what happens when an adult "Cuts"?
    • people either ignore it or one person gets really irate and tells them off and everyone feels very uncomfortable
  • Observed at a school?
    • After kindergarten or 1st grade teachers have given up on perfect lines and are happy to have a quiet line of children going in the same general direction
    • I have seen extremes to this; one school had children put their hands on their heads and walk an exact distance apart--I always thought it was more like preparing them for prison
  • Observed at a High School
    • basically teachers appear to just be happy they are all there and just count by group membership or as they get on and off the bus during field trips.  
So I asked myself what are the real rules of lining up? What do we know to do by the time we are grown up? What are some different ways, that are developmentally appropriate, to teach these skills?
  • We all go in the same direction
  • We take turns
  • We are safe
  • We are respectful to one another
Maybe you know of some more rules or expectations of lining up?


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Wonderful Article for 21 century teaching

I was creating a training today that involves supporting children with special needs and individualizing for them in the classroom. I found this site from Canada; the Hanen Centre.

So many resources for supporting children with speech and Language development-both children who are typically developing and children with special language needs.

Teaching Children to Think: Meeting the Demands of the 21st Century

By Janice Greenberg
Director of Early Childhood Education Services, The Hanen Centre

Quotes from this very interesting article include:

 "To function and create change in this modern world, individuals need critical thinking skills – the ability to think about ideas or situations in order to fully understand their implications so as to be able to make an informed judgement or decision."
"Teachers need to move from primarily being the information keeper and information dispenser to being an orchestrator of learning where knowledge is co-constructed with the student."

This is article and this website are worth the time to read and search through.

Many Blessings,