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Is It Developmental or Behavioral: Children’s Misbehavior

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One of my greatest honors is teaching babies and boys!!! They both tickle me so much. Today I was teaching my students about their bodies and force. They were learning how to roll a ball to the other side of the room. They had to figure out how much force to use to get the ball to the wall. So of course these little cuties pies started throwing the ball at the wall , kicking the ball, balls were flying all over the place I was cracking up.

THANK GOODNESS FOR PATIENCE!

I had to stop the class and the music 3 times to explain the instructions and how it was to be done, and that if I saw a ball flying through the air, it was flying right back into my bag. Everyone complied except two little boys, so the balls went flying back into my bag. Well of course you know those boys had the fit of life, crying and carrying on. I explained in a calm voice what I had said earlier and said now they had to watch. They were not happy about that at all.

They both sat out one song, after which I asked did they want to try it again. The purpose of them sitting and watching was not to punish them. In watching the other children they could learn how to do the activity.  I once again explained the instructions. One little boy was able to do it. The other one sent the ball flying into the air again at which point I realized that he just didn’t know how to do it. So his teacher and I showed him how and broke it down so he could see what was happening.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

Because I work solely in private schools and early learning centers, it is important for me to understand when a child is really misbehaving and can understand what I am asking them to do or when it is a situation where the child doesn’t have the capability to carry out a task because it is beyond them developmentally. We don’t expect babies to run  or hop or skip. You may say that’s a physical thing, but this happens physically, emotionally, socially and in other ways.

As educators and parents we have an opportunity to look further and ask is this a behavioral problem or are my expectations too high for what the child can actually do.  Asking this question opens up many opportunities to make things better and easier for both the child and us. Once we know the answer we can respond appropriately and in the best interest for everyone.

 

This is why I love my job so much. Sometimes things children do are not out of misbehaving but because they are not quite there developmentally. As Educators it is our job to know the difference and then support them in working on and mastering what it is we are teaching them. HOT DIGGITY!!!! I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!!! ♥♥♥

Toddlers and Preschoolers: Preventing Childhood Obesity While Building Social Skills

Lil tykes and Monique graduation 1-11-11 178

Preventing childhood obesity and ensuring development of the four cornerstones of child development is what I do on daily basis. As an Early Educator and Dance, Movement and Play Consultant and Expert, I work with children  from infancy to school age. Along with making sure that they are developing physically, I also have the honor and privilege of making sure that they receive a foundation in basic life skills. Social skills and empathy are two very important skills that all children need that will help them be successful in school and  later on in life .

IT’S NEVER TO EARLY TO TEACH SOCIALIZATION SKILLS

When a parent or caregiver coos and talks to a child they are providing the foundation for their children to learn how to interact and be with others. When they look into a child’s eyes, they are not only acknowledging them and communicating to them that they are important and matter. They are helping them learn to experience the joys of connecting with another human being.

Today at one of my schools, I had another toddler push one of his class mates. “Not nice. Soft please. Gentle”. Because of their age and development level simple words work best. The tone of my voice is also a powerful tool as well as the use of my eyes. I maintain eye contact and speak in a matter of fact tone. And since children learn with all of themselves, I put my hand on his shoulder and said the word “Soft”.

Off he went and we all continued our music and movement class. We did a lot of running which boys love, as well as jumping. These two activities are great at getting children’s heart rate up and exercising their large muscles and cardiovascular system. Introducing them to structured movement early teaches them how to be in a class or group setting and also ensures that they are meeting developmental milestones.

LEARNING EMPATHY AND THINKING SKILLS

In another class, this time with the Pre-K class two students were fighting over a toy truck. One student was screaming and crying and the other was just watching her. I kneeled down with the both of them and began asking questions. What happened? ” She has my truck one student cried.” Oh I said and turned to the other student and asked, ” Was she playing with it first?” She nodded her head yes. I then asked them both what do you think you should do? I then said that our friend K looks upset and asked the other student did she see that and she said yes. I then asked them both again what do you think you should do? Finally I asked do you think the both of you can sure. They both nodded their heads.

In the end we did resolve the situation. It was decided that one would play on the truck for a while and then let the other play awhile. The other student went and played with other things in the playground while the other happily rode the truck.

QUESTIONS A POWERFUL TOOL

As an Early Educator one of the many things we want to do is empower children to learn to think for themselves, questions do that beautifully. Open ended questions help children to practice thinking for themselves. It opens the door up for children to explore themselves and others as well as different ways to resolve a situation.

Children are fast learners and this is a skill that helps tremendously in the classroom. It keeps things neutral and encourages children to be compassionate, calm and objective. It opens up possibilities and minimizes defensiveness. It’s also a great tool for adults also.

Dance, Music and Movement classes are an excellent opportunity for children to move their bodies in healthy ways to prevent obesity and learn how to interact and get along with others.

Please feel free to share this information with your friends, colleagues and family and on social media. I’d also love to hear about your experiences and what has worked for you. Please share your comments. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sometimes It’s Both: Helping Children Make Good Decisions

Father and Son Dancing TogetherHelping  your child to learn to make good decisions start earlier than we think. When we ask our toddler, “Fruit pop or jello” we limit the choices to only two things.We unconsciously give our children choices of either/or, rarely ever a choice of  both. Sometimes we should introduce the concept of having and doing both. How about do a little dance while you clean up your room or pick up your toys. Turn on the music and have fun while you are cleaning up. It doesn’t have to be all of the time, but it should be some of the time so that children learn that there are more choices than this or that.

I totally understand that as a parent you just don’t have a lot of time and you just need things done. Ditto that for teachers, you have even less time because there are so many other demands in the classroom. But what would happen if we could expand our thinking just a little bit to think about how we can teach children as well as ourselves to ask “How can I do both.” or ” Is it possible to do both.”  So we can give choices of would you like tuna salad and turkey salad, have a little of each. Or in the other example clean up the room and have fun while doing it.

The choices that we give children should grow up with them. They wont need to have either or choices forever. They can make decisions on having both. When my daughter was making a choice on her career, she initially felt that she had to choose between being a dancer or an attorney. I asked her why can’t you do both. You can be a professional dancer and find a way to practice law also. It doesn’t have to be either/or.  A light bulb went off in her head, she had never thought of that.

I am going to make a point of thinking in terms of both when making decisions and choices and be open to thinking about what else is possible.  Doing this will open up greater possibilities and choices to  choose from. Having greater choices and possibilities will result in experiencing a richer and fuller life.

Try this not only with your children but also when you have to make decisions yourself. Think in terms of how can I have both and see what opens up for you. Come back and let me know what happens. I’d love to hear from you. Please share this with family and friends if you find value. Also please feel free to leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you

Question: Do You Feel You Should Actively Encourage Your Child To Fail

Success Picture- Black woman getting high fived

I was watching an interview with the CEO and founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely. I was intrigued by her story where she said every day her father would ask her and her brother what they failed at  that day. I thought that was so interesting and enlightening. I understood why he was doing this immediately. He wanted to prepare his children for success by first having them get over their fear of failure. To them failure would not be anything bad or terrible, but something that happens in the process of learning and life.

Sara’s father wanted them to become resilient and confident and know that they can easily overcome failure. It was not something to take personally or that they were bad or a failure themselves. By doing this when the children were young they developed a positive perspective around failure. Failure didn’t mean the same thing to them that it means to the average person. To Blakely and her brother, failure just meant try again, try something different, maybe possibly even use your mind differently or look at things in a different way.

I feel  this was an excellent and crucial life skill that he taught his children. The skill he taught them will help them be successful in any venture they decide to undertake. They will know from experience that they can overcome failure. They understand that inside failure is a valuable opportunity and information. They now know what will work and what will not work. A base from which to create the desires of their heart is provided for them because of this valuable information.

Of course with your children you would give them age appropriate and developmentally appropriate challenges to conquer and succeed in and build from there. I recommend something physically challenging, as children build esteem by what they can do. Even if your child is not a physical child you can introduce them to games like catch, walking on a balance beam or ledge or trying to shoot something in a basket. Keep telling them to try again and that they can do it and soon they will.

What are your thoughts on this. I would love to hear about your experiences and what has and hasn’t worked for you. Please share them in a comment below. Also share this with your family and friends online and off.

Have a great day! :-)

 

Teach Your Child That Mistakes Are Their Helpers

Childhood Girls floor painting

Teaching children that mistakes are a vital part of the learning process helps to build confidence, resilience and creativity in children. If children are allowed and actually encouraged to make mistakes they will learn to not take things personally and are willing to explore and try new things. They will receive valuable and necessary information about themselves and the world that they live in. Most importantly they will learn what works and doesn’t work and develop a mind that is open,  flexible and learn to tolerate when things don’t go their way more.

ENCOURAGE POSSIBILITY THINKING

As educators, caregivers and parents we want our children to confidently and boldly learn about the world around them and how they fit in it. We want them to be willing to take risks, make a mess, explore and discover. When we box children into only right or wrong answers or only a certain way to perform a task we are limiting their learning potential and minimizing their learning experiences. Instead we want our children to learn to think about what else is possible? What other ways can a task be successfully completed?

I totally understand that they are right and wrong ways to do things and children definitely should be taught this. What I am talking about are areas where they are no right or wrong answers, but sometimes teachers and parents make it that way.

CHILDREN NEED EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING TOO

A perfect example of this is when teachers don’t allow children to do their own art work. They are usually well meaning in that they want the class to have beautiful art hung around the room and in the school. What they fail to realize is that things like art, music, painting and building with blocks or legos  or anything else, is not about perfection or right or wrong but are merely for the expression and exploration of those mediums.

Some teachers and parents understand this but do not want to deal with the mess or noise that these activities create. Once in one of my classes we were having such a blast that the noise level had reached a high pitched scream. We were in an area where we were the only ones using that area and the teacher jumps up with this frown on her face and screams “BE QUIET!!!!!!!”

We quickly took a rest period with a magic number( a game that I play with the children to get them to be still, listen and focus) to quiet the kids. It wasn’t the worst thing because we had been running around so it was time to take a rest anyway. After class I spoke with the teacher to explain that noise is to be expected when kids are having fun and the class is designed to allow for this and also help them to calm down also.

I hope you get my point, in that we should make allowances for and encourage the best way that children will learn and express themselves. We should also take care of ourselves so that we can allow for those methods and facilitate the learning process of children. How have you managed to do this for your children? What has worked for you either in your home or classroom. Please share your thoughts with us in the form of a comment. Also share this with your family and friends either online or off. Have a great day! :-)