Monthly Archives

August 2018

Critical Reflection as a Key Element of Developing as an Educator

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Back to School is right around the corner, and if you are an educator like us at Parkland Players, right now you are spending a lot of time planning for the upcoming school year. You are thinking about what activities to do, what lessons to plan, what goals you have for yourself and your student.

Sometimes, when making these kinds of plans for the future, it can be beneficial to look backwards and reflect on what has worked (or not worked) for you and your class in the past.

As the quote shown above suggests, British Columbia’s Early Learning Framework emphasizes the role of reflection in an educator’s well-rounded practice. Reflection is also a key component of the Reggio Emilia Approach, which is a key influencing program at our centre.

So today we are sharing some suggestions with our fellow educators on how to better incorporate critical self-reflection in your own teaching and learning objectives.

One article from richmondshare.com provides a wonderful outline of the different ways in which a teacher can approach reflection. These include:

  1. Peer Observation (with colleagues)
    1. Each participant would both observe and be observed while teaching and then discuss afterwards
    2. This could involve a pre-observation conversation, an actual observation period, and then a debrief after the observation where the teaching educator shares their concerns, and the observing educator shares constructive feedback
  2. Written accounts
    1. Written accounts are emphasized in the BC ELF as a great way to reflect. The ELF suggests paying attention to the small moments where children are guiding their own education. Recording what is happening in those moments, and teasing out how to create those moments again in the future
  3. Journal Writing
    1. “The goals of journal writing are: (1) to prvide a rcord of the significant learning experience that have taken place, (2) to help the participant come into touch and keep in touch with the self-development process that is taking place for them, (3) to provice the participants with an opportunity to express, in a personal and dynamic way, their self-development, (4) to foster a creative interaction” (Rosalie Serra, source site below)

If we are truly lifelong learners, as many educators claim to be, then reflecting on the ways we continue to create the learning environment is essential for our professional growth. So for the 2018/2019 school year we are suggesting all educators take pause for a moment, and consider incorporating reflection into their practice.

Source: http://www.richmondshare.com.br/what-is-reflective-teaching-and-why-is-it-important/

Additional Source, BC Early Learning Framework: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/early-learning/teach/early-learning-framework

 

How Early Childhood Education STEM Challenges Can Also Be Staff Team Building Exercises

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At Parkland Players, we love a good STEM Challenge! It is a great way for children to build problem solving skills, integrate the learning areas of science; technology; engineering; and math, and to practice communicating with others.

So last night at our staff meeting, we decided to have some STEM fun of our own! We used this activity:

TEAMWORK CUP STACK

  • Get into teams of approximately 5 people
  • Materials Needed:
    • Rubber bands
    • String
    • Cups
    • Scissors
  • Procedures/Strategies:
    • First, build the contraptions for moving the cups. Tie lengths of string (5 or 6) around a rubber band like the image above.
    • Next, work in groups and try to lift cups using this contraption, with each person holding one of the string extensions, and build a pyramid.
    • You are NOT allowed to touch the cups with your hands, only with the tool for picking the cups up.
    • The pyramid should have 3 cups on the bottom, then 2, then 1 on the top, like the diagram above.
    • First team to build their pyramid wins
  • Source: http://mssepp.blogspot.com/2012/11/teamwork-cup-stack.html?m=1

Although the activity was meant for kids, our staff had a blast! The activity really showed where our staff succeeded in communicating with each other, and where there could be some room for improvement. The only thing we could have done differently, was maybe make a bigger pyramid, as our activity was finished pretty quickly.

So at your next staff event, consider giving STEM a try!

 

13 Benefits of Early Childhood Education: According to Educators

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There are a lot of theories and research out there regarding the impact of early childhood education on healthy long term development in children.

Today we are sharing an article written by a teacher with over 35 years of experience. Based on her personal observations she claims that there are 13 key benefits to early childhood education, including:

  • Socialization
  • Concept of Cooperation
  • Encouraging Holistic Development
  • Enthusiasm for Lifelong Learning
  • Education Through Experience
  • Respect
  • Teamwork
  • Resilience
  • Concentration
  • Patience
  • Confidence and Self-Esteem
  • Exposure to Diversity

We liked this article because the author emphasized some of the more qualitive benefits of early childhood education, certain things that can’t always be quantified in formal studies but are just as important.

For the full article visit: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/vicki-palmer/the-13-key-benefits-of-ea_b_7943348.html

 

Music and Cognitive Development

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Do you play music at home? What about when you are working, cooking, cleaning? Music is great for cognitive development, especially in the early years.

Check out this article for some of the awesome benefits of music on both a behavioural and brain level: https://www.brighthorizons.com/family-resources/e-family-news/2010-music-and-children-rhythm-meets-child-development 00cc It also has some great tips of what kind of music to play for different age groups and how music can be incorporated into games in order to maximize positive effects on development.

How do you incorporate music into your child’s daily development?

 

Signs of a Quality Summer Program

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It is August already! We are officially half way through the summer, but it’s not too late to get your child into a summer program that can be beneficial for their social, emotional, and cognitive development! So today, we are are sharing this article from greatschools.org, which outlines 6 qualities of a good summer program: https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/signs-of-quality-summer-program/

Give the article a read! What do you look for in a summer program for your kids?