Topics in Early Childhood Education

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Sense of Security

I was talking to a group of teachers at the California AEYC Conference about children needing security when coming into the classroom. It was freshly on my mind because I had told my student teachers the same thing. We owe it to the children in our classrooms to have a consistent classroom management plan and expectations. When a child crosses the threshold into the classroom each day, she should feel the security of knowing exactly what to expect for the day. We may think that a challenging child wants to be out of control, but that is not the case. Each child wants to know what is expected and to feel the security of that knowledge.

Our society is so unpredictable right now. As my student teachers work with an at-risk child, I remind them that the school day may be the only dependable part of of that child's day. He may not know what will happen when he leaves school. BUT, for the hours he is in the classroom, he should have the security of knowing exactly what will happen. When a teacher is inconsistent in classroom expectations and consequences, it throws that security off balance. That lack of balance actually creates more negative behaviors. When a teacher says to me, "I just can get the class (or child) under control," my first thought is that she has given up and doesn't want to make the effort to continue to search for something that will work.

One thing I want my student teachers to do when they become the only teacher in the classroom is to maintain good classroom procedures and be consistent in their consequences and rewards. Not only will that curtail negative behaviors, it will also provide the warm security blanket each child needs while at school.


Monday, March 14, 2011

It's that time of year. This week is St. Patrick's Day. I know it is that time not just because of the calendar or change of seasons, but also the shamrocks are beginning to pop up in my front yard. When those shamrock leaves start appearing, it brings me back to the years that I spent in Ireland. I had the opportunity to living there when I was in my early 20s. That began my love of Irish literature and folktales. I especially enjoy the author, Eve Bunting. Ms. Bunting moved to the US from Ireland and has become a prolific writer over the years. Although she has written many adolescent stories about critical issues for young people, I have especially enjoyed her books set in Ireland. They bring back such wonderful memories.
I always hoped that my students would have good memories of being in my classroom and the year we spent together. When I run into former students, I'm always surprised by what they remember. Many have told me about trying to catch the leprechaun. Who would have thought...