Whole Teacher Whole Child

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The following is a guest written post from one of the early childhood educators at our centre, Yoon Ji (Amy) Kim. To learn more about Amy, visit our staff directory here!

The medium of educators is the curriculum. It is not a lesson plan or a rigid schedule. It is the flow of expressing values and meanings of the day, mood, interest, and inquiries of educators with children

The hundred languages of children are expressed through another hundred ways.

There are no ordinary moments with the children. If we think slightly different, it sets a totally different mood, rhythm, tone, and dynamic to the situation which makes it more valuable and extendable.

We are not educating children to have a just ‘fun’ or ‘happy’ day. Yes, those are important factors in the day yet we thrive to be with children when they are having ups and downs and letting them understand that we are there with them and here is the safe space to express who they are.

The children and the educators are learning together, not to be ready for school, but to know how to co-exist together physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually.

We value the wholeness of the child not ones we like about child but the whole child.

The pedagogy is a difficult concept to fully understand yet it is flexible to be inclusive to all children, families, and educators.

We think about how to be with the child. Often we might think we are doing for the child, to the child, and of the child, but we are reflecting our work to be with the child in our daily inquiries.

We value children’s differences through pedagogical listening, this is an active listening. Active listening is to be present not just physically in the room but truly participating and attentively being WITH children.

The child may be our hundredth child that comes through the door but we, educators can be the child’s first or second, less than the tenth educator. We may be their first teacher ever. How important are we? Their educational years can start differently. We may be the beginning of their journey.

Through pedagogical narrations and documentation, we express our care, hospitalities, and respect for children’s words, actions, creations, and play.

We deeply resonate with the BC Early Learning Framework when we present ourselves to the children, families, and the communities.

Demonstrate pedagogical practices that are connected to contemporary theoretical approaches to learning, thinking and teaching in the field of early childhood care and education.

Work collaboratively with children, families, educators, and community to provide relevant and responsive caring and educational experiences.

We use ethical pedagogical practices that demonstrate an understanding and sensitivity of each child.

We like to think the true care is the gift exchange, the children gift the room, others, and educators with their gaze, smile, creations, expressions, and actions. And we, educators send back the gift to the children with respondents of expressions.


The above is inspired by the BC Early Learning Framework and written by Yoon Ji (Amy) Kim.


Featured Book: Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel

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Hello hello Parkland Players community! It has been awhile since we featured a book in one of our posts. Today we are spotlighting Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel. This book is a great read for many age groups from younger preschool aged children up to grade 3s. It features beautiful artistic depictions of a variety of animals, including a number of endangered species. The animals are created in a wonderful balance of cartoonish and realistic styles so that they are easily recognizable.

They story is a great read for young audiences for two themes: accepting all kinds of differences and diversity and caring for each other and our environment. With minimalist text, this book gets the message across in subtle ways, but by having all these extremely varied and different animals (including two human children), greet each other with welcoming hellos appreciating the unique characteristics of each reminds us to be kind and appreciative of the variety of people in our own communities. Also, as previously mentioned, Wenzel depicts a number of endangered species, which can help lead into a conversation or lesson plan on animals, and environmental preservation.

For a video reading of the book visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuT5e1C_5NY

But we recommend getting your hands on a hard copy, either from your local library or bookstore so that you can examine the wonderful art up close.



“Sense”-sational Painting

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Developmental Goal/Activity Objective: To practice creative art skills as well as practice and learn more about the five senses.

Materials Needed:

  1. Paper
  2. Puff paint
  3. Tempera or acrylic paint
  4. Paintbrush
  5. Sensory mix-ins for the paint: salt, flour, oats, birdseed, sand, etc.

Procedures/Strategies: (how to present activity and what children will do)

  1. Mix different colours of paint with different mix in materials for texture.
  2. Let children paint with these. It is more fun to use their fingers but the effect will still work with brushes.
  3. There is also a visual texture component to this activity.
  4. Have children describe the different textures and if you want guess what materials were added.

Guidance and Safety Considerations

Make sure younger children do not put paint in their mouths, it is probably best to stick to brushes with this age group.

Source: http://playfullearning.net/2014/10/sense-sational-painting/



Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) for Early Childhood Education

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What is Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)

  • DAP is an approach to education that is meant to optimize early childhood growth and development
  • Goals of DAP include:
    • Educators seeing where children are
    • Educators meeting children at their developmental location
    • Educators supporting children in reaching their learning goals

Three Core Beliefs of DAP

  • Knowing about child development and learning: this means understanding what the important developmental milestones at different ages and stages are.
  • Knowing what is individually appropriate: this means paying attention to the children in our classes, their individual needs and development patterns
  • Knowing what is culturally important: this refers to getting to know the communities that we are a part of and care for and understand their cultural uniqueness.

DAP suggests that these three core beliefs should inform all educational programming in order to provide the best learning outcomes for children. Essentially, DAP requires us to be aware and engaged educators, who are responsive to children’s individual and group needs.

To learn more about DAP visit source: https://www.naeyc.org/resources/topics/dap


BITAA: A Fresh Perspective for Early Childhood Education Program Planning

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Many educators and parents are familiar with this question: “What can I prepare for the children to do today”? For many educators and parents, this question arises because we want to provide the best variety of engaging and educational activities possible in order to support our children’s development. No matter how many years of experience you have working with or raising children, answering this question in a meaningful way can still be a struggle sometimes. And it is not as if there is a shortage of resources out there. On the contrary, it can appear as though there are too many ideas, resources, and activities for one person to process on a day to day basis.

Here is where Bitaa comes in. Bitaa is a system we have begun to utilize at Parkland Players. It offers a collection of hand-picked activities from a number of different educational resources for ages ranging from 0 to 12. The Activity Book covers a variety of developmental areas, and skills. Bitaa is also wonderful for a Reggio Emilia inspired centre like ours, because it keeps activities open-ended and leaves plenty of room for parents and educators to put their own twist on activity implementation.

Check out this article to see what Bitaa is all about: What Is Bitaa? Visit their website to learn more: bitaa.com


The Environment and Play: A British Columbia Perspective

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Today we are talking about the importance of having a nurturing environment for children’s play. As mentioned in previous posts, an environment that supports inquiry and exploration is key to stimulating early childhood experiences in the child care setting.

This article https://bcearlyyearsblog.com/2015/02/19/the-importance-of-early-learning-environments/from BC’s early learning blog, shares some of the key aspects of a successful early learning environment.

Give it a read!


Fall Art Activity: Leaf Man Collages

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Developmental Goal/Activity Objective: To create art inspired by literary works while learning about the seasonal changes of fall and using natural manipulatives.

Materials Needed:

  1. A copy of the book “Leaf Man” by Lois Ehlert
  2. Leaves
  3. Construction Paper
  4. Glue

Procedures/Strategies: (how to present activity and what children will do)

  1. Read the book “Leaf Man” as a group. Talk about the imagery in the book and how characters, animals, and scenery are created using leaves.
  2. Go out to the park or walk around the neighbourhood with paper bags and collect leaves of different shapes and sizes. Each child should collect their own leaves to make a collage.
  3. You may also put out supplementary items for children to use, like pom poms, buttons, googly eyes, etc.
  4. Each child should be given a piece of construction paper and some liquid glue. They can them create a collage using the leaves of whatever they like. People and animal are great ideas but give them the freedom to create however they want based on the inspiration of the book.

Source: http://www.giftofcuriosity.com/fall-art-project-for-kids-leaf-collages/



Reggio Emilia and the Environment: Tips for Making the Environment “The Third Teacher”

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According to the Reggio Emilia Approach, the environment is a key component of healthy early childhood education. The environment refers not only to the natural environment, but also the social, physical, and educational components of the classroom. So how can you make your environment a conducive place for children to direct their own learning? Margie Carter is a teacher educator in the US and Canada and she has some important tips for creating an environment that is a third teacher. Here we outline some of her key strategies (full source article listed below).

  1. BRING WORDS TO LIFE: you can do this in a variety of ways but start by looking at quotes or information about the environment that you want to share. Now create a visual representation of that philosophy or idea.
  2. ELIMINATE AS WELL AS SUPPLEMENT: declutter and replace unnecessary items with items that provocate thought and learning
  3. EXPLORE VALUES FOR YOUR ENVIRONMENT: if you work in a place where you are sharing classroom spaces with other educators, get together and discuss what values you want reflected in the environment (for example, do you want to emphasize that this space is a home away from home, that it is a space of creativity and exploration, that it is a space for active play?), then discuss how you can arrange the environment to reflect these goals.
  4. SET GOALS AND ADDRESS BARRIERS: certain aspects of the environment you want to create might not be practical or feasible at the time you are brainstorming. Set reasonable goals for how you can alter your environment to make it the third teacher and address how you can get around barriers to these goals.

Source: Carter, Margie (2007). Making Your Environment “The Third Teacher”. Exchange, The Early Leaders’ Magazine Since 1978. Redmond, WA. Web: www.ChildCareExchange.com