The mystery of the disappearing recess, is not an uncommon topic of discussion in elementary education. The majority of adults remember a morning recess, a lunch recess, and an afternoon recess. I think most Americans would hazard a guess and say that there is probably less time devoted to recess today than in years gone by.
Maybe you’ve noticed the latest trend in the running commentary on parenting. “Parents today are too soft. They’re raising spoiled kids who’ve never heard the word “NO”. Parents need to show their kids who’s in control here.”
While I’m sure you could find plenty of examples to validate each perspective, I tend to wince a bit whenever I hear these tendencies to frame parenting in the extremes. Take in enough of these stories and it would seem that as a parent, you have two choices. You can either be a spineless push-over or a heavy-handed dictator. But the truth of the matter is that we know from research that the majority of kids thrive in that sweet spot in between. [Read more…]
Everyone will agree that we want to keep children safe. Despite all the other things that might divide us, we all want to protect our children. The trick is in agreeing on HOW we should protect children.
In 2005, Dr. Walter Gilliam, a researcher from Yale University, released a study examining the expulsion rates of preschoolers. That’s right — expulsion. As in kicked out. Dr. Gilliam found that in his large, nationally representative sample of prekindergarten programs, preschoolers were being expelled at THREE TIMES the rate of students in grades K-12.
Are preschoolers really three times as difficult as their older counterparts?
I don’t think so.
There are many factors that contribute to this elevated rate of expulsions. Gilliam outlined several in a presentation he made at an NAEYC conference in 2009. All deserve our consideration as we create quality early childhood programs, but two in particular catch my attention. [Read more…]
When I first read Rae Pica’s piece, What if Everybody Understood Child Development?, as it was shared in the Huffington Post a few years ago, I wanted to hold up a printed copy and shout from my rooftop: “THIS! THIS is what needs to change!”
And now, there is a printed copy. Along with 28 similar essays. And so, here I am on my social media rooftop, sharing it with all of you.
In our school district, there’s a late start day each week to allow for teacher prep. If I’m on my mommy A-game, I like to use this little extra bubble of time to do some hands-on science activities with my boys. This morning, as I urged my boys to step away from their exploration of household acids and pack up for the day, I jokingly said, “Enough science boys. It’s time to go to school.”
Book Plus. It’s my favorite formula for gift giving. Find a stellar book, add another meaningful item and you have a winning combination.
They say you should do something that scares you every now and then. Something outside of your comfort zone.
I was so there this past week.
I was invited to be on a discussion panel for Rae Pica’s BAM! Radio show, Studentcentricity. I was surprised and flattered to be invited, but radio is a new medium for me.
It scared me a little.
Then I found out the topic: Cultural Sensitivity During the Holidays. A topic that is so important, but also a potential minefield of controversy. Since I tend to prefer the sweet spot between extreme opinions on most issues, that essentially means I have plenty of opportunities to offend everyone equally. Throw in the fact that I could very easily misspeak in my effort to be concise for this fast-moving format, and I was sweating bullets. [Read more…]
As I sat filling out the teacher information sheet for the specialist, I struggled for precise words to describe what the challenge was. His parents were looking for help, and I was suppose to offer a teacher’s perspective, but how could I put it all on two tiny lines? And then the word I was looking for popped into my mind. He struggled with flexibility. His mind was often rigid, and when experience didn’t match up with expectation, he melted down and could not be moved from his position.
I’m sure there are many ways this strong personality will help him in his future. While this rigidity may be a challenge at times, it also helps when pursuing goals and overcoming obstacles. I’ve seen some of the same qualities in one of my own boys. I’ve even seen it in myself.
But my rigid thinking threatened my life. [Read more…]
I’ve had many people ask me how to teach children to read. Whether it’s a parent who doubts knowing enough to help her child through the process, or a teacher who worries that he’s pushing past the bounds of developmentally appropriate practice, there are many who wonder exactly how to get the job done well.