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Archive for the ‘Developmentally appropriate practice’ Category

Image: Zero to Three

Image: Zero to Three

 

Zero to Three, the national nonprofit, decided to tune in to parents by going largely “to Millennials and Generation X mothers and fathers—to learn more about the challenges they face, the help they seek and how satisfied they are with the parenting support and information they receive.”

It was “a comprehensive research effort” that included “a series of in-home discussions and a large national parent survey” of a diverse range of parents whose children were ages 0 to 5.

One goal: to help parents put the powerful science of early childhood brain development into action.

“I want to be the catcher,” one father says about the role he plays for his children, explaining that when he was young, his father wasn’t there to play football with him.

“I just thought it was going to be like this TV show and it was great and everything was wonderful,” one mom says. “I read the books. I felt super prepared and then reality hits. You are like, what the hell happened? None of that stuff is as it was planned. Things go wrong and things change.”

These are some of the responses in the report, “Tuning In: Parents of Young Children Tell Us What They Think, Know and Need,” which comes with infographics and videos of parents sharing their thoughts.

Specifically, Zero to Three asked parents:

• “What they understand about brain development and the impact that early experiences have on children’s long-term development”

• “Whether they believe that parenting skills can be learned”

• “What they struggle with most when it comes to childrearing”

• “How their own childhood experiences affect how they approach parenting,” and

• “What kind of information they want to receive, where they go for parenting help, whether it’s serving their needs”

Common themes emerged in parents’ answers, including:

• “When it comes to attitudes, aspirations and parenting challenges, there is more that unites than divides parents.”

• “Parents universally believe that parenting can be learned and that if they had more positive parenting strategies they would use them.”

• “Dads are more than babysitters. They love being involved fathers, and want—and deserve—more credit.”

• “There is a ‘missing’ first year,” because parents don’t realize “how young babies are when they can begin to feel complex emotions, and how deeply they can be affected by the way parents interact with them in the first months of life.”

• “There is an expectation gap when it comes to understanding children’s capabilities.” Parents sometimes “overestimate the age at which children master some important developmental skills,”

• “Parents face a discipline dilemma.” They “want to use effective approaches, but many say that finding the right way to discipline is hard,” and

• There’s also a trust gap: “Parents want advice, but are overwhelmed by sources of help and underwhelmed by the quality of what they’re getting.” In addition: “Half of parents aren’t getting the support they need when they feel overwhelmed or stressed—the time when help is most important.”

To address these challenges, the report issues a multi-step call to action that asks professionals who work with families to:

• provide parents with clear “science-based information about early development” and ways they can use this information to nurture their children”

• Use “the voices and experiences of real parents in any efforts to support parents of young children.”

• “Help parents find positive disciplinary strategies that work.”

• “Celebrate and harness fathers’ commitment to be involved in raising their young children.”

• Develop media that presents child-rearing advice in “relatable ways,” and

• “Create opportunities for parents to learn from each other—to share challenges, brainstorm solutions, and offer support.”

The need for creative, engaging, community-based opportunities to learn more about parenting can be summed up by one father’s comment about his son.

“Teach me now. You show me. And at the same time, I’ll teach him, and we’ll teach each other. I want that.”

To join the discussion on social media, use #ParentForward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Video Source: Tom Bedard’s Blog

 

A terrific article on the MenTeach website profiles preschool teacher Tom Bedard, a.k.a. “a sort of preschool MacGyver (that classic television character who made extraordinary things out of ordinary objects).”

“I go through the hardware stores and think, ‘Huh! What can I use this for?’” Bedard, a 65 year-old resident of St. Paul, Minn., says in the article. “I’m known for my sand and water tables. I build in and around the tables to make them unique spaces for the kids to play and learn.

One water table is “a wondrous contraption” that’s actually “two tables fashioned into one long one and stacked with accessories like swimming noodles and coffee filters.”

As he approached retirement, Bedard reflected on his career in early education.

“I thought I would get a science degree,” Bedard says. “But, my first semester, calculus and physics didn’t go so well. I started taking psychology classes instead and really liked them.” (more…)

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Image: Screenshot from Paul Tough's website

Image: Screenshot from Paul Tough’s website

“What is it about growing up in poverty that leads to so many troubling outcomes? Or to put the question another way: What is it that growing up in affluence provides to children that growing up in poverty does not?”

These are the questions that Paul Tough asks in his new book “Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why.”

Image: Screenshot from Paul Tough's website

Image: Screenshot from Paul Tough’s website

Tough — a journalist and the author of the 2012 book “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character” — has seen programs that help children succeed. But he’s not out to promote perfect programs. Instead he’s highlighting the guiding principles that make these programs effective.

“The principle that I take from the programs that I find most impressive in early childhood is that the way that we can help kids succeed, and especially in the beginning in those early years, is through shaping their environment,” Tough told us during an interview last week.

He says that one of the most under-appreciated factors in children’s environments is stress, which is particularly harmful if a child doesn’t have a close, protective relationship with a parent or another caregiver. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Last year, we blogged about the landmark Institute of Medicine report, “Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation.” This report is still a hot topic for many in the early education and care field, but at nearly 700 pages, it’s not light reading. Thankfully, the team at New America’s EdCentral Blog is unpacking the report chapter by chapter, most recently they’ve looked at Chapter 4 which could be nicknamed, ‘Babies Are Smarter Than You Think.’

“Many people often make assumptions about what babies are capable of understanding,” EdCentral explains. “For instance, some mistakenly think children are solely concrete thinkers; however, research shows that infants and young children are able to think abstractly.” (more…)

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This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

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My name is Denise Galford-Koeppel. I graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in Psychology, focused on developmental psychology. I wanted to understand the developing child first hand, so after I graduated I worked as an early childhood educator at the Wellesley Community Children’s Center (WCCC) while completing a master’s degree from Wheelock College.

I learned more about development and families from my mentors at WCCC than I did in school, and I have continued relationships with them to this day through roles there as a parent, board member, substitute teacher, and now consultant.

After teaching at WCCC, I worked in the lab of a national research study called the NICHD* Study of Early Child Care (Early Childhood Research Network) that looked at the effects of childcare on child development. There, I met young children who enjoyed the lab activities; and I was drawn to children who developed differently, the ones who did not stack blocks or who had difficulty interacting with a caregiver. This inspired me to become a developmental specialist in early intervention. I have loved that work since 1994. (more…)

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BethanyThis is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

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My name is Bethany Whitemyer, and I’m the center director of the Bright Horizons in Pembroke. My center is located about 25 miles south of Boston and has programs for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and Kindergarten Prep. I’m proud to say that our center just received our third term of NAEYC accreditation this spring.

I started my career in early education and care as an Infant Teacher in 1992. I had recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, but I really loved working with children. I’ve also been a Lead Teacher, an Assistant Director, and a Field Director at Bright Horizons; as well as a Family Specialist at the Child Care Resource Center in Cambridge. I’ve used almost every employee benefit that Bright Horizons has to offer, including tuition reimbursement which I used when I went back to school for my master’s degree in Education at Lesley; the employee discount, which I used when my own children were younger; and the 401K, which I have been adding to for 20 years. (more…)

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This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

*     *     *

Brittany McGovernMy name is Brittany McGovern.

I have been working in the field of early education and care for half my life. During my first couple of years in the field, I was finishing high school. As a senior in high school, I was granted the opportunity to intern in the Head Start preschool classroom that was located in my school. The position turned into a year-long one, and this opportunity convinced me that I was destined to teach.

I recently switched places of employment, leaving a wonderful mom-and-pop childcare center that I love. I had seen this center when it was an unfinished shell of a building, and I’ve watched it grow into a fully constructed center with a waiting list for children who want to enroll.

I currently work in an infant/toddler classroom, where part of our funding comes from Early Head Start. The reason I had to change jobs was purely financial. I needed to earn more money.

What is important about my work is that I am able to provide a loving, safe environment in which children can play and, in turn, learn. This anonymous quote perhaps best expresses my passion for teaching: “One hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” (more…)

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