Topics in Early Childhood Education

Friday, June 30, 2006

Activity is a Key

It is sad that our nation has such a high percentage of children with obesity issues. Certainly the American diet is a big culprit, but inactivity is also to blame. Children seem glued to the TV, videos and movies almost continually. Society has changed so much since I was a child. Now we spend so much time creating entertainment for children that all they need to do is sit and be entertained. When I was young we had to make our own entertainment. Each day we looked for some new adventure in our little town. Children today are actually cheated by having so much entertainment available. They don't have to use their imagination or creativity to fill the hours. This is also a big problem with keeping children healthy. If they sit all day and eat they are going to have weight issues. It is difficult enough to control weight as an adult, but I am sad for the children who are beginning life obese. Are we ever going to be successful getting children active again?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Ready for School?

I had a conversation with a friend of mine the other day about her son starting school. He will be five on September 1st, which is the cut-off day for kindergarten in Utah. I happen to know a little background about this boy. His parents are divorced, his dad is non-functioning most of the time, he is small for his age and he is very emotionally vulnerable much of the time. I recommended that she not start him in kindergarten this year. I told her the key was her attitude and to just tell him he will begin next year. Don't even mention that he could start now. That is the key to failure. I know some critics would pitch a fit at my advice. I speak from experience. Not only did I teach kindergarten for 15 years, but I have two sons with late birthdays. One started school young and one (with an Aug. 28th birthday)waited and started school the next year. A few friends criticized my decision to let him wait. They told me he would be devastated. Not so. He didn't even know he could have started a year earlier until one day in 5th grade. He came home from school and said, "Do you know I am old enough to be in 6th grade? Why am I in 5th?" I responded, "Well, I wanted you to be the oldest and smartest in your classes. See, it worked!" He went away with a smile. In fact, when he graduated from high school, he thanked me for letting him have that maturity. His older brother struggled continually through school as the youngest. I wish I could give my older son another chance and let him have more maturity and preparation prior to school.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Holding Hands

Sometimes it overwhelms me how many skills a parent needs to a good parent. As nice as it is to come into parenting well-prepared, I think the key is for parents to be teachable and willing to continue to learn. I remember the old saying, "Caring for young children is like being nibbled to death by ducks." It is usually not terribly painful, but just a constant barrage of pinching little annoyances. Child-rearing takes so much energy and love. The older I get the more amazed I am with the patience of some parents. At the same time it is painful to watch parents who are unskilled and impatient. I salute the parents that constantly hold their child's hand and relishes in the journey.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Guidelines ARE Necessary

Last week I attended the NAEYC Professional Developmental Institute in San Antonio. One thing that came across loud and clear is that we know there needs to be guidelines for early childhood learning. Much like a road map, guidelines provide a journey to help support a child's learning. We need to be careful on the approach we take, but we must have a direction.