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Are rules necessary?

As parents and caregivers it’s important that we don’t fall into the trap of creating rules for no reason other than conformity.  Many rules we follow as adults are for specific safety and responsibility reasons; speed limits, food prep temperatures and expiration dates, carrying insurance on your property, to name a few.  When we start having rules just for the sake of conformity, it can feel restrictive and agitating. Sitting in the only car at a red light for several minutes when there isn’t another motorist in site might show this frustration.  We need to create more “roundabouts” in our children’s lives.  If we explain what needs to happen (the objective,) and are willing to accept a variety of possible methods to get to that end, we as caregivers/parents are more relaxed and your child is more empowered, self-reliant, and better prepared for their future.

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Natural Learners

There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.

-Sir Rannulph Fiennes, the world’s greatest explorer.

April 22nd marks the 47th Earth Day celebrated in the United States.  The concept was introduced to raise awareness for the many troubling environmental threats that Americans had been largely ignoring. At Academy of Early Childhood Learning, we would like to use it as a day to bring to light the importance of nature in children’s lives.  50 years ago, families and educators could take for granted that young children would spend time outdoors (Clements 2004).  Present day children, with growing interest in technology, have the world at their fingertips through Google and Wikipedia yet have never peered closely into a newly bloomed bud or watched tiny ants empty a beetle’s exoskeleton.  Tomorrow’s stewards of this incredible natural wonderland are in our classrooms today and are open to deepening their connection with nature (Rivkin 2014).  There are many psychological, sociological and physical benefits outlined in the book, The Great Outdoors.

http://naturalstart.org/bright-ideas/need-ideas-encouraging-nature-play-new-free-guide-available

Mary S. Rivkin, The Great Outdoors

Clements, R.,An Investigation of the State of Outdoor Play.” Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood

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Nature Revealed

On Presidents’ Day Academy teachers had the great pleasure of receiving training from Kim Cole, Conservation Education Consultant – Outreach & Education Division of Missouri Department of Conservation. She gave instruction on and provided us Nature Revealed, a Pre-K Instructional Unit.  Many of these lessons and lessons like them will be used in our classrooms. Even our youngest students can benefit from an early exposure to the fascinating natural world around us.  Please visit this wonderful website for children and their parents.  http://xplor.mdc.mo.govBy clicking a link on this site you can also request to receive the Xplor publication monthly.  It is taxpayer funded and available to all Missouri residents.  Please join us in getting your children outside and encourage their sense of wonder and curiosity.

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February – I Love You Rituals

 

 

A wonderful woman who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children she knew exactly what to do.
She held them. She rocked them, and tucked them in bed.
“I love you, I love you” is what she said.

-Dr. Becky Bailey

Dr. Becky Bailey’s book, I Love You Rituals details how to build strong connections between children and parents, children and caregivers/teachers, and between each other.  One of our many jobs at the Academy of Early Childhood Learning Centers is to help children to build trusting, safe relationships.  Her variation of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, for example, teaches children how to be kind and caring using gentle touches.  You may have your own rituals you implement at home.  Some traditional examples would be reading a bedtime story and tucking your child into bed.  What rituals are important to you?

Everyone needs to feel their relevance and value are recognized; in their homes, their classroom or at work, and in the hearts of those around them.

-Jordan Sicht

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Consistency is Key

With the busy holidays behind us, many of us are anxious to get back on schedule. Consistency in your expectations of your child at home as well as at school can be a comfort to your child.  If your child can serve himself at the table at school, they can probably do the same at home. Talk to your child’s teacher to find out what things your child is doing independently. You may be surprised at all they can do at home as well! Children learning self- reliance in a supporting environment makes for a happier classroom or home, and a more confident and competent child.  Remember to give Specific Positive Feedback when they do “wow” you with what they’ve done.  Happy New Year!

 

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PBS for a Happy New Year

 

With the busy holidays behind us, many of us are anxious to get back on schedule. Consistency in your expectations of your child at home as well as at school can be a comfort to your child.  If your child can serve himself at the table at school, they can probably do the same at home. Talk to your child’s teacher to find out what things your child is doing independently. You may be surprised at all they can do at home as well! Children learning self- reliance in a supporting environment makes for a happier classroom or home, and a more confident and competent child.  Remember to give Specific Positive Feedback when they do “wow” you with what they’ve done.  Happy New Year!

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A Positive Experience

 

 

We are in the middle of a season when many of us are taking stock in all the good in our lives, counting blessings, or giving thanks.  This holiday season reminds us each year to look around at all the positives in our lives.  In other words, we count how many guests will make it for dinner, not those not coming.

Sometimes, as a parent, it is too easy to get wrapped up in busy schedules, expectations not being met, and messes being made (and not cleaned up.)  Take a moment (take EVERY moment) in the coming weeks to bask in the wonder of being a parent.  Take a deep breath from atop your baby’s head, close your eyes and mentally record your preschoolers laugh, or pause to note the size of the handprints you are scrubbing off the walls.

We cherish the opportunity to be a part of those moments too.  From our hearts to yours, Happy Holidays!

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Make Expectations Clear and Consistent

 

 

It is important to discuss expectations with our children so they are clear on what behaviors we want to see. Some things will be the same (we will use safe hands,) and others will be specific to the occasion (we can roll down the hill at the park if we take turns.) We are entering a time of year when many of us will be travelling to friends’ and relatives’ homes for parties and special meals. With a less familiar environment you may want to remind your children of the expectations. Have these discussions before the occasion arises and also give them precorrects as needed. For example, as children are finishing their meal, “Yes, you may be excused. Remember what we talked about: Use a quiet, inside voice while you are playing.” Enjoy your children and safe travels!

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Key Differences of Conscious Discipline and Traditional Discipline

 

 

Becky Baily, the developer of Conscious Discipline, outlines the key differences between what many of us grew up with (Traditional Discipline), and the strategies we aim to implement (Conscious Discipline) in three parts. Traditionally, adults tried to make others change by prescribing the right punishment or withholding something desired. Conscious Discipline on the other hand, realizes the individual will need to change themselves due to an internal process driven by how we interact with them. Secondly, we may have been brought up believing rules and consequences govern behavior, while those studying Conscious Discipline come to realize relationships govern behavior. For example, I want to solve conflict with family members because I love them so much. Lastly, Conscious Discipline recognizes that conflict doesn’t have to be bad, but it does need to be productive. It is an opportunity for growth and for us as parents and teachers to show children how to reflect on their choices internally, rather than us choosing the right consequence. http://youtu.be/8j3gF1dh_t4

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How P.B.I.S. works

 

We are entering into our tenth year implementing Positive Behavior Interventions and Support in our classrooms. We like to share monthly tidbits so you can have a better understanding of how P.B.I.S. works at school as well as how you can adapt it to behaviors at home. Maintaining consistency between home and school will enhance each child’s understanding of appropriate behavior. One of the easiest and most effective strategies we use is called the “pre-correct.” Simply stated, you correct an anticipated misbehavior by stating your expectations before the behavior occurs. For example, “I will read one book and then I will kiss you good night and turn out the light.” By telling the children what you expect them to do, you can avoid a great deal of negatives. (no, don’t, stop, etc.) Next month I will be sharing the core differences between “traditional discipline” and Conscious Discipline. These strategies and others were covered during our day–long staff training on Saturday, September 12th.

Jordan

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