Blog Archive

Monday, June 24, 2013


I was recently reading some news from around the world when I came across something very interesting on BBC News.

A Nordic tradition where children take their nap outside in the snow. You read right outside in the snow!

Here is the full article:

I do feel that children need to get lots of fresh air and time outside but napping in the snow seems a bit crazy to me. While they are in a warm area called a pram it still seems a bit dangerous to me. There is plenty of time for children to be outside when they are not napping.

Everyone around knows that the children are sleeping outside. Have any of these children been kidnapped? This is something I would worry about. You have all these children throughout neighborhoods sleeping outside. There are some pretty sick people out there who would go in there and steal these children to work in factories and other places. I would not want to risk it.

The article states that the children are less likely to catch coughs and colds by sleeping outside than being inside with the rest of the class. I work in a daycare now and we do go outside frequently. I feel the more you are around colds and germs the stronger your immune system becomes. I know if I am outside in the cold for a long period of time I start to get stuffy.

This tradition has been going on for a very long time and they all swear it works and is better for the children but I still have some doubts.

I know personally I would never have my children sleep outside in freezing cold temperatures.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Education or Experience??

Let’s take some time and talk about education and experience. When you begin to apply for jobs some will say Associates or Bachelors degree preferred or 2-5 years experience. Which is better education or experience?

While education is important I feel that experience sometimes triumphs over education. As you know I am currently in school to become an early childhood educator. While in school I have been working in a daycare for around three and a half years. I feel that I have learned so much more while working here than in school.

A lot of professors in college teach to a test rather than teaching what they feel is the most important and what the children will actually use. I feel that the tests should be made off of what the teacher teaches and the class itself.
I have found one teacher who does not just teach to the test and who does not need to read word for word in the book but instead has a passion for what she is teaching. She teaches future teachers and has taught at different schools with these early childhood children.  So when she taught about family involvement she has seen firsthand just what happens in these schools. She is also able to give suggestions that she has seen work at different times. A teacher who has not been inside an early childhood school would not have the same understanding of what happens. Experience shows you that parents can react differently to the same situation. The more experience you have, the better you become at handling these situations. A book cannot teach this.

While working in different day cares I feel that I have gained an enormous amount of experience that will help me throughout my teaching career. I have seen different types of families and children. It is one thing to read a book about families and children but experiencing it firsthand really changes how you think and how you react to different situations with families and their children. Also while working in the day cares I have gotten many ideas that I will use once I have my own classroom. It also allows me to think of various lessons that the children will love!

I believe that experience should go along side education because you really need to make sure that you like what you do before you make it your career.  As a future teacher I have had to do many observation hours with different grades and document what I have seen and done with the children. I will also have to student teach for half of the school year to get more experience in the field. Through experience you learn new ways to do different things and new ways to use materials. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ideal Classrooms

As the school year comes to an end and you begin to pack up your room think do you think about things you wish you had? I know every teacher out there has their ideal classroom but with budgets getting cut constantly most of these rooms are completely out of the question. 

However, if you won a contest and had no limit on your classroom what would you have in your ideal classroom?

The grade I am thinking about is preschool!

     In my classroom I would have some of the following things:

  •         An interactive word wall – if the students went up to the wall and touched a word it would say the word for them

  •        Huge classroom library – make sure there is enough cozy space for the students to sit down and look and read books. Reading is KEY!

  •        Technology center – some teachers are still unsure about technology but I love it! It is something that the children are going to use throughout their life so as educators I feel that we need to make sure they understand it!

  •       Science/discovery center – I want a variety of textures and scents in this center to make it fun and exciting. I have also recently seen boxes where you put stuff inside and the children use gloves to feel what is on the inside. This can be very exciting especially if you have it where the students can’t see inside.

  • ·         Storage – having a big area to store things would be great. I could go back and get new and exciting things anytime it seemed like my kids were getting bored.

  •       Dramatic play – I want real world items that would interact with the children like stoves and cash registers. I think it is important for these items to be as real as possible because it is something almost every student will be around their entire life. 

  •        Social studies- fun interactive way to help children with their social studies skills. 

  •     Math - fun ways to teach all the different types of math. Like all the different geometric shapes, adding, subtracting, sizes, and colors (to name a few).

Of course there are many many more I could list but I didn't want to go crazy. =)  

How about you?

What are some things that you would have in your ideal classroom?

Parents what are some things you wish your child’s class had? 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Vacation Time!

It is almost summer which means.


Are you getting ready for vacation?

Here are some helpful hints for traveling the car with small children. If you are not prepared it can be a disaster.  Children have short attention spans and spending several hours in the car can seem like days if they get bored. I have come up with a list of easy and mess free activities for children in the car. 

Paint in a bag! 

This activity is mess free and a wonderful sensory activity! Children can draw picture after picture and simply "erase" with their hands. This is great for children to practice writing letters and numbers and They will love it! You can use multiple colors and  different size bags. Have flash cards with letters in a photo album for the children to practice writing their letters. =) great practice that they will love to do!

I used Crayola paint and a sandwich bag. 

Kids love to color =) You can have coloring books and crayons or colored pencils. I have also seen some amazing ideas using empty DVD cases like the ones shown below. 

1. You can have a piece of paper under the front cover and use the case as a dry erase board. The children can write draw and color on these and use a sock, glove, tissue or towel to wipe it off.

2.  The inside of the DVD case can be transformed into a coloring book holder with a place for crayons or colored pencils and smaller pictures to color

3. You can also use fabric and other materials to create different games inside the DVD case. 

Another option is to make a mini felt board and felt pieces for the child to play with during the trip. You can use a thick piece of wood or cardboard and staple a piece of felt over the board that you pick. 

Before the trip pick out a couple of the child's favorite stories and find coloring pages of the characters and let the child color them. Cut them out (I laminated the ones below to make them more durable) and glue them onto pieces of felt. This will allow the children to read their stories and interact with the felt pieces. 

In recent posts I have talked about a quiet book. (the quiet book page that I made before is below) This is a perfect time to pull them out. This way the children have lots of activities and the pieces cannot get lost. There are many different options for a quiet book also from counting, to the alphabet, to dress up dolls, to transportation, etc. The possibilities are endless. As long as it is something your child likes you can make it into a quiet book page.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


In the past couple of days I have talked about comments made by early childhood teachers and also from the families of the children in these early childhood classrooms. Let’s take a step back and look at the communities where these early childhood classrooms are located. The people living in the communities pay taxes that go to these schools and classrooms. With their money going into the school they sometimes get concerned with what their money is doing. Here are four comments that community members have made:

   1.       “I don’t want my tax money going to suppose preschool programs in the schools. Parents should take care of their own children.”

                                Me: Preschool is very beneficial for children. Schools are now teachings at a faster pace and children who have not attended a preschool can sometimes be behind the rest of their class. In Kindergarten they are now being taught to read. This means that children coming into Kindergarten need to know and recognize all the letters in the alphabet.
      2.        “Good parents don’t put their kids in child care. I will never do that to my children.”

                                Me: Most families have to work during the day and they do not have someone to take care of their children. Working in a child care center I see how much the children really learn there. I have watched children who could barely write letters able to write their name and other simple words easily.  The children also learn how to work in groups and at the center they make friends.
   3.       “Families don’t care about children like they used to. They want the community to build parks and to provide recreation so they can send their kids out of the house and ignore them.”

                                Me: Community parks are not for parents to ignore their children.  They are a fun place where children go and play. By giving children fun things to do they are less likely to go around and cause trouble in their communities. These parks are also a great way to help reduce obesity in children.

     4.       “I stayed home with my children when they were young. It’s a mother’s responsibility to care for their young ones.

                                Me: A mother does care for her child even if she does not stay home with the child. If a child goes to a child care center the mother has been responsible and found caring people to care for her child while she has to go and work.

The communities where children live and go to school have a huge impact on the early childhood education that these children receive. If the communities support these early childhood classrooms they will prosper and become stronger. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Family said what?

A few days ago I wrote about some comments that were said by early childhood teachers. Today we are going to look at some of the comments that are made by families with children in an early childhood classroom.

There are five of these comments which are probably made frequently around the country:

1.    “I send my child to preschool so that he can learn. The teacher’s job is to make sure he does. I resent being asked to volunteer in the classroom.”

                   Me: The teacher is helping your child learn but showing your child that you care and are there to support their learning will make a huge difference. Children feel special when their parents come into the classroom and help out. Show them you are supportive!

     2. "I did not like school when I was a student I am not comfortable being in the classroom." 

Me: School has changed so much in the past couple years. Just keep in mind that you are there for your child. Do not let them know that you did not like school! Keep school a positive place for them that way they keep the urge to stay in school and keep working to finish their degree. 

3. "I don't want those teachers at my daughter's daycare telling me how to raise my children. I won't go to any of the parent meetings as long as they're telling me what to do."

Me: These teachers have your child's best interest in mind. They want to make sure that your child is growing and learning. If they give you suggestions of what to do they are just trying to help. Teachers do not want to tell you how to raise your child. 

4. "School is school. Home is home." 

Me: School should feel like a second home for the children. School needs to be a safe loving environment where kids feel safe. Not all children have a safe loving home. 

5. "Children learn to read at school. I'm not a teacher; how can I help my child to learn."

Me: Children learn everywhere not just at school. Parents/guardians can really help children learn to read just by talking with them! Show children familiar signs (restaurants or stores) and read them what it says. Pretty soon they will start to understand letters and be able to begin sounding out words and reading. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

What followed you home today?

Friday May 31st was a very interesting day. At work I am usually in the baby room but they needed me in preschool that afternoon. When I went in the children were still napping. After their nap they have an afternoon snack and then a story. I found the book "An Octopus Followed Me Home" by Dan Yaccarino (which is a Troll book). The children loved the book and they all sat quietly paying very close attention.

        When I read the book I did not let the children see the page before I read. Instead I would ask them what other animal they think the little girl has living in her house. This really works well for the preschoolers (ages 3-5) at the daycare I work at. 

After the story I was planning on splitting the class in half. While one group was coloring I would play an alphabet game with the other group. However after seeing how engaged the children were with the story I changed my mind. Instead I had the children move to different parts of the floor and gave each child a large piece of paper.

        I am not sure why but coloring on the floor is so exciting at my center. If you want to really capture children's attention change things up a bit. Color on the floor or take your art supplies outside. =) 

 I then told them that I wanted to see what animal(s) followed them home. After I told them that I passed out some markers.

They loved it! Every child immediately starting drawing different animals on their paper. When the child was finished drawing I had each and every one come over to tell me what animal was following them home. I wrote this on their paper like:

A dog and a lion followed Miss Sara home today! =) 

We had so many different animals following the children home. There were snakes, elephants, jaguars, bunnies, zebras, dogs, octopus, lions and bears.

This lesson I did really just goes to show you that as a teacher you have to be ready to think on your feet. If you don't there is bound to be some chaos! 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

An Early Childhood Teacher Said What????

When looking back through my Family Systems book I found something that really interested me. There were seven different comments that were made by early childhood teachers. These comments are ones that several early childhood teachers around the country probably think about.
As I looked at the comments more I began to think of what to say in response. Here is what I came up with.

1.       “My job is to teach the children, not to provide a shoulder for parents to cry on.”

                                Me: While we are educators for the child we must also step back and look at the family as a whole. Any stress that is being put on the parent impact the children. In order to help the children learn and grow we must sometimes help the parents. (That is if the parents ask for the help).

2.       “There are not enough hours in the day to plan, implement and evaluate a family involvement program into the classroom.”

                                Me: I have always heard Crawl before you run! So that is exactly what we should do when it comes to family involvement. Figuring out what type of family involvement works best for you in your classroom takes time. Start off small and as you feel more comfortable have the parents become more and more involved.

3.       “I enjoy working with children, not adults. That’s why I want to teach.”

                                Me: When teaching we work with a mixture of children and adults. Throughout the school year you will have conferences with parents. Parents might also ask you for other meetings to discuss grades or behavior.  Parents will also be around for school parties and field trips. A lot of schools have the teachers work closely together also. Teaching is not a way to work away from adults.

4.       “How can I include a child with special needs in my center?”

                                Me:  Seriously? Why is this person a teacher! All children learn differently. Having a child with special needs is no different than having 10 children who learn differently. We as educators need to teach to all levels. One way to ensure that this child understands what you are teaching is to work with the family. Once you understand the child and their needs and how they learn you will be able to teach to the whole class.

5.       “If parents cared more about their children, teachers would be able to teach instead of discipline all day long.”

                                Me: Parents do care about their children. Not all behaviors are because of the parents. Some children will act out in class because they do not understand or they want attention. Peers have a lot of influence on the way a child acts in the classroom. All children want to be accepted by their peers in order to have more friends and be popular. If a behavior happens during the same subject everyday there may be a reason behind it. Instead of blaming a parent right away talk with the child and see if there is a reason that you can help with. If not schedule a meeting with the parents to see if they know what is bothering their child.

6.       “I love to have parent volunteers in my classroom. They are so helpful when I need to have patterns and bulletin board cut outs prepared.”

                                Me: Parents should not just be there to cut out stuff for lessons! Have them help out with group activities or different lessons. Parents who are volunteering in the classroom want to be there for the children. They want to be able to help their child grow and learn.

7.       “Families need to take care of their own children and not rely on others for help.”

                                Me: Ever hear the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” It does! The more people raising a child the better! This will allow the child to see that they have people who care about them everywhere. If the child would need something they have several people who are willing to help them out.  

Look for the positives in every situation! Being an early childhood teacher can be the most rewarding job in the world but you have to stay positive about your job!