Topics in Early Childhood Education

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Air to Breathe

It has been a cold and snowy winter so far here in Utah. The older I get, the more I dislike cold weather. The other day when it was 7 degrees overnight, I went out the next morning to break a hole in the ice of our pond. We keep a pump going, but I like to make sure there is an oxygen outlet for the fish and turtles deep in the water. It always amazes me how they survive the cold winter, but they seem to adjust fine as long as there is oxygen.

I have had the opportunity to work with at-risk children routinely throughout the years and I have always viewed school much like that oxygen outlet. For some children, school can be a safe environment in an unsafe and unstable world. The classroom can provide support for a child who does not always feel supported in life. School can also provide challenges and opportunities to think that may not be encouraged outside the classroom. When a teacher creates an inviting and supportive classroom, it can be a haven for a child until the harsh winter begins to subside. Good teachers make sure there is a hole in the pond when it is 7 degrees by:

-Maintaining a strong positive relationship with the child

-Providing comfortable and effective routines that help the child feel secure

-Routinely reinforce social and emotional skills that help children grow friendships and feel part of the group

-Giving extra support to children who seem to struggle with compliance and obedience.

I wish that every child felt love, acceptance and support in every aspect of his/her life. Unfortunately, that is not the norm for many children. Until that time, we all must continue to break a hole in the ice for the children who surround us. Especially when the outside world is lurking with icy fingers and a temperature of 7 degrees.



At 1:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Early childhood generally encompasses the first eight years in the life of an individual. The education given during these years of a child's life plays a very important role and helps in proper development of children.Shaping the child’s mind is much more of a difficult job than it seems. Boarding School UK

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

EC educators lay the foundation for a child's school years. Teaching them the importance of routine, developing a passion for learning, and how to be life-long learners. The work is never easy, but always rewarding to see the children 'get it' for the first time, and continually day after day. Giving them that "air to breathe" as you said is a way of giving them the tools and space to help them figure things out on their own in a mostly controlled environment. My kindergarten students surprise me everyday how they survive the stresses and learning hurdles they face each day in my classroom, but I guess it's because I am good about making sure they have 'air to breathe' all day every day.

At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the symbolism you put in with the oxygen of the turtle and fish in regards to children. I agree 100 percent that teachers do need to create a safe, comforting environment for their children. It not only helps them grow in school but I think it also helps them feel more confident and realize that there are people in this world that love them. I believe that education is key to childrens success in every aspect.
-Allison W. FCS 5170

At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved how you compared fish in a pond with children attending school. Fish can adapt and survive if there is oxygen, children need oxygen too. They need to feel loved and valued in a school environment. Fish die if there's no oxygen which can be said for children with a negative environment at school. When a child doesn't have a positive outlet, the child's life becomes dreary and boring. They miss out on many opportunities and never fulfill their potential. Teachers influence their students greatly.
-Sarah H. FCS 5170

At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Erika Burton said...

Interesting comments about the importance of early childhood education. Early childhood learning is one of the most accurately predictable positive correlations to continued academic success. Unless we close that academic achievement gap by educating parents to help their children with early literacy skills we are destined to repeat the pattern of children without preschool and early childhood literacy, social/emotional strategies, gross and fine motor, as well as confidence and readiness to learn issues when entering Kindergarten. The confidence of children entering Kindergarten is half the battle. Without proper readiness a child's self-esteem and motivation to learn will be affected.
We need to educate to make the change universal across the US.

Erika Burton, Ph.D.
Stepping Stones Together, Founder
Empowering parental involvement in early literacy programs


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