Topics in Early Childhood Education

Monday, June 29, 2009

I Like the Real Thing

Earlier this month I accompanied my granddaughter's first grade class to a museum of 'natural history.' I'm always disappointed to see a bunch of stuffed animals. There is something quite 'unnatural' about it to me, almost creepy. I guess this is one way we can learn about animals, but....
Last week I went with my six grandkids to the zoo. Now THAT was natural. I don't care how many times I go, the animals fascinate me in some way. I certainly came to the conclusion that for me, there is nothing like the real thing when learning about animals.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Here We Go Again...

I recently heard from a former coworker who taught with me for a number of years. She mentioned that in her new district they are always reinventing the wheel with educational practices. That seems to happen often. Sometimes I chuckle at the 'latest' teaching method or curriculum because often it is an old technique reorganized. I have been working on a workshop highlighting the RTI (Response to Intervention) teaching methods. Although founded in special needs, it is an organized way for the classroom teacher to provide support for all children, particularly those who need extra help. The first tier requires the teacher to have clear-cut goals/guidelines and an organized way of tracking the progress of each child. When we wrote POCET (Preschool Outcomes Checklist and Evaluation Tool) several years ago, that was exactly the philosophy. Give preschool teachers a clear roadmap of skills that is easy to understand, in developmental order, and provide a way to track each child's progress in mastering those skills. So, I'm reinventing my POCET workshop to the first tier of RTI. The good news is that great teachers can adjust to the new label and still perform their good teaching practices. Ya gotta satisfy the boss. :-)

Monday, June 01, 2009

She Can't Talk!

Every spring the turtle in our backyard pond goes wandering. We think it has something to do with trying to lay eggs, but we need to keep one hole underneath the gate blocked so she can't leave the yard. Neighbors have found her in the street, etc. I took this picture of Gertrude trying to escape and sent it to my grandkids in California. When my daughter showed it to her 2 year-old and said, "Papa's turtle just came out to say hello." My granddaughter replied, "She can't talk!" It reminded me of the old story about the answer from a kindergarten boy when listening to a story of the Three Pigs. When the first pig asked the man for straw to build a house, the teacher asked, "What do you think that man said?" The little boy replied, "I'll be damned, a talking pig!"

Children are so literal and yet so imaginative and creative if given a chance. I love big mouth hand puppets because they give the child an opportunity to allow the animals to talk and tell their own stories. Something tells me that my granddaughter wouldn't have any problem allowing a turtle hand puppet to talk! She is coming to visit soon, we'll see what she finds out about the turtle.