What’s in a Name? Part 2

Teaching a child how to write his or her name is not only a writing activity.  When you think about it, there are many different activities that can be done with names.  The video called “Early Childhood Education: Constructive Learning Environments” in the previous post “What is in a Name? Part 1”, gave many examples. By varying the type of activities, each central domain may be integrated into the learning plan.

The following are the domains and goals that are met through activities related to the names of the children in the classroom.

APPROACHES TO LEARNING: EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL SELF-REGULATION

  • Child follows classroom rules and routines with increasing independence.
  • Child appropriately handles and takes care of classroom materials.
  • Child maintains focus and sustains attention with minimal adult support.
  • Child persists in tasks
  • Child holds information in mind and manipulates it to perform tasks.

APPROACHES TO LEARNING: INITIATIVE AND CURIOSITY

  • Child demonstrates initiative and independence.
  • Child shows interest in and curiosity about the world around them.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL: SENSE OF IDENTITY AND BELONGING

  • Child expresses confidence in own skills and positive feelings about self

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL: SENSE OF IDENTITY AND BELONGING

  • Child shows confidence in own abilities through relationships with others.

LITERACY:  PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS

  • Child demonstrates awareness that spoken language is composed of smaller segments of sound

LITERACY: PRINT AND ALPHABET KNOWLEDGE

  • Child demonstrates an understanding of how print is used (functions of print) and the rules that govern how print works (conventions of print).

LITERACY: PRINT AND ALPHABET KNOWLEDGE

  • Child identifies letters of the alphabet and produces correct sounds associated with letters.

LITERACY:  WRITING

  • Child writes for a variety of purposes using increasingly sophisticated marks.

COGNITION:  MATH (i.e. counting the letters in each child’s name)

  • Child compares numbers. (number of letters in their names).
  • Child understands simple patterns.
  • Child measures objects by their various attributes using standard and non-standard. measurement. Uses differences in attributes to make comparisons.
  • Child identifies, describes, compares, and composes shapes.

COGNITION:  SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY (i.e. compare the number of letters in each child’s name)

  • Child compares and categorizes observable phenomena.

PERCEPTUAL, MOTOR, AND PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT: FINE MOTOR

  • Child demonstrates control, strength, and coordination of large muscles.
  • Child uses perceptual information to guide motions and interactions with objects and other people.
  • Child demonstrates increasing control, strength, and coordination of small

Activities related to children’s names is motivating for children.  It helps a child feel good about herself as an individual, develop more confidence while learning how to write. A creative teacher will be intentional about teaching names while incorporating several domains and goals to support the children in their learning.

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A Picture in Time: Writing Anecdotal Notes

A well written anecdotal note draws a picture of a child’s development in a moment in time.  Many early childhood curriculums use observation to document a child’s development.  Depending on the curriculum or  Early Childhood Program, teachers are advised to document observations in each developmental domain. The following example are the central domains from the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Approaches to Learning, Social and Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, Cognition and Perceptual Motor and Physical Development.  Below is the chart of central domains for infant/toddler and preschool. For more information on the Framework, follow the link.

The Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework 2015. HHS/ACF/OHS. 2015.

Written observations are a way to collect more information about the individual child, identify the interests of the child or a group of children.  This information is used in planning individual and group activities.  For example if children are showing an interest in bugs, butterflies or caterpillars, a teacher can develop an activity plan about insects.  By knowing where a child is at developmentally, a teacher can individualize the activity plan for each child. Maybe Lilly, age 3,  can make a repeating pattern with 2 shapes, while Francisco, age 5 can create repeating patterns with 5 shapes.  The small group activity could be creating repeating patterns using bug manipulatives.

The observations are often reviewed with parents during conferences.  Now that many curriculums and organizations have electronic records a report that can be printed to review the child’s development.  Anecdotal notes allow are useful for discussing progress of the child, what is the next steps in the child’s development.  The parents and teacher are able to identify and agree upon appropriate goals for the child.

A well written anecdotal note must have the following:

  1. A statement that includes the time, date, name and age of child and the setting.
  2. A description of the child’s behavior.  This is a complete narrative about what the child is doing during that point in time, without inserting what think is happening.
  3. Include details about the child’s actions, comments and include the comments or action of other children.  (Remember not to use the other child’s name, it is best to write “another child” stated …)
  4. Write down conversations using the exact words the children are using.
  5. Each note must have a beginning, middle and end in order to get the full picture of what was happening at that moment in time.

Example:

October 1, 2016, 10 AM during small group.  Lillie, age 3.

Lillie and another child were making patterns using the insect manipulatives. Lillie placed one green caterpillar in the first square, she put a green fly in the second square.  She picked up a blue butterfly and said “Nope, that’s not right!” Another child said: “What are you looking for?”  Lillie said “A blue caterpillar and a blue fly.” The other child moved the bugs in the bucket around until he found a blue caterpillar.  He set it on the table. He had picked up a blue fly that was in the bucket.  He put both pieces in his hand.   “Is this what you want?” he asked, reaching his hand out to Lillie.  “yes, Thank you” said Lillie.  She took the insect manipulatives out of his hand.  She set the blue fly in the third box and the blue caterpillar in the fourth box. “Nope, That’s not right!” she said.  picking up the blue fly she moved the blue caterpillar to the third square and set the blue fly on the fourth square.

“Now I need a green caterpillar and a green fly” Lillie found a green fly next to the bucket and picked it up setting near her tray.  The other child had a green caterpillar next to his tray, he handed it to her.  “Thank you”, said Lillie. Lillie put the green caterpillar in the fifth box.  She picked up the green fly and put it in the next box.  Lillie said “Mr. Jose I made a pattern!”

What if the observation was written differently.  For example:

At small group, Lillie and Francisco worked together to make patterns.

What is missing?

  • The date
  • child’s name
  • child’s age
  • the time
  • the conversation
  • details about the pattern (colors, the caterpillar, the fly, the butterfly)

What is wrong with the 2nd observation?

  • The observation was about Lillie and should not have had Franciso’s  name in it.  Anecdotal notes are confidential.  You must write “the other child” when including comments and interactions between children.
  • By not including the conversation, you cannot assess language development or the social emotional development of the child.
  • By not including the details about the colors and insect manipulatives, you do not illustrate the Lillie’s approach to learning, self correction, and self talk. The description of the pattern is missing, which is needed to compare to future observations.  Will she make a pattern using three objects and three colors in the next month? How will we be able to see the progress without this detail.
  • The date is missing. When collecting observations you must have the date and time of day.  The date helps set a timeline of the child’s development.  This observation is in October.  In January, you may do another observation of the child creating a pattern.  You need to be able to see if the child has progressed in developmental domains.

These are just a few things to keep in mind when making observations. The key is to describe what the behavior of the child is, writing a detail description, and include conversations. The anecdotal notes are used in assessing the child’s development and showing the progress over time.  The assessment of each child is important for providing results for the whole program.  Federal Programs like Head Start and many state programs have Quality Rating Systems that require data driven results to receive funding.

 

 

 

 

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What’s in a Name? (Part 1)

Activities that incorporate each child’s name can support learning in several developmental areas.  Think about the daily routine.  How many times a day is a child exposed to their name or each child’s name.

child at a cubbieAs a child enters the center, she finds her name on his cubbie. Takes off his jacket and hangs it up on the hook next to her name. Afterwards, she moves her name from Home to School.

Photo: Community Playthings

 

During Morning Meeting or Circle Time, teachers will introduce the beginning of this time with a song that uses each child’s name.  Children and teachers review of who is here today.  When choosing classroom helpers, the children’s names are used again.  When children see their name and their classmates names, they begin to recognize letters.

attendance 2Photo: Daily Attendance and Helper Chart from Lakeshore

The following video from Expect More Arizona focuses on child names in different learning activities. While watching the video observe the different activities.  Think about the following question: How does using child names support the child in each of the developmental domains?  

central domains

” target=”_blank”>Early Childhood Education: Constructive Learning Environments

 

 

 

 

 

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What is really happening?

Many children with “challenging behaviors” have triggers. Often teachers focus on the end reaction, which can be hitting, biting, kicking, running out of the room,etc. Regular observations will assist in accurately identifying the the problem or trigger. Before a teacher may refer a child for behavior consultation, it is best practice to write down the behavior, the time of day, activity.

It is recommend that teachers document behavior for a week. The behavioral observations are reviewed with the director. The teaching team  look for patterns.  Are the behaviors observed during transition times? Is the child having difficulty communicating? Are there cultural differences? Is the child a Dual Language Learner? There are many factors that could be a trigger to the “challenging behaviors”.

Discussing all of the observations and finding triggers leads to a plan to support the child. Sometimes making small changes to the schedule, assigning a person to shadow the child or limiting the amount of trasitions makes a big difference for a child.

This process helps teachers to see what is really happening.  “Challenging behavior” is an opportunity to teach a child social-emotional skills. Afterall, a preschooler is just beginning to manage himself or herself in social situations. While the teaching team may feel challenged by the child’s behavior, it is most often a matter of providing a predictable daily routine and support social skill development.  See through the behavior and see the child. Where is he/she at? What skills does the teaching team need to practice with the child?  Make a plan to support the child!

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A Picture in Time: Writing Anecdotal Notes

A well written anecdotal note draws a picture of a child’s development in a moment in time.  Many early childhood curriculums use observation to document a child’s development.  Depending on the curriculum or  Early Childhood Program, teachers are advised to document observations in each developmental domain. The following example are the central domains from the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Approaches to Learning, Social and Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, Cognition and Perceptual Motor and Physical Development.  Below is the chart of central domains for infant/toddler and preschool. For more information on the Framework, follow the link.

The Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework 2015. HHS/ACF/OHS. 2015.

Written observations are a way to collect more information about the individual child, identify the interests of the child or a group of children.  This information is used in planning individual and group activities.  For example if children are showing an interest in bugs, butterflies or caterpillars, a teacher can develop an activity plan about insects.  By knowing where a child is at developmentally, a teacher can individualize the activity plan for each child. Maybe Lilly, age 3,  can make a repeating pattern with 2 shapes, while Francisco, age 5 can create repeating patterns with 5 shapes.  The small group activity could be creating repeating patterns using bug manipulatives.

The observations are often reviewed with parents during conferences.  Now that many curriculums and organizations have electronic records a report that can be printed to review the child’s development.  Anecdotal notes allow are useful for discussing progress of the child, what is the next steps in the child’s development.  The parents and teacher are able to identify and agree upon appropriate goals for the child.

A well written anecdotal note must have the following:

  1. A statement that includes the time, date, name and age of child and the setting.
  2. A description of the child’s behavior.  This is a complete narrative about what the child is doing during that point in time, without inserting what think is happening.
  3. Include details about the child’s actions, comments and include the comments or action of other children.  (Remember not to use the other child’s name, it is best to write “another child” stated …)
  4. Write down conversations using the exact words the children are using.
  5. Each note must have a beginning, middle and end in order to get the full picture of what was happening at that moment in time.

Example:

October 1, 2016, 10 AM during small group.  Lillie, age 3.

Lillie and another child were making patterns using the insect manipulatives. Lillie placed one green caterpillar in the first square, she put a green fly in the second square.  She picked up a blue butterfly and said “Nope, that’s not right!” Another child said: “What are you looking for?”  Lillie said “A blue caterpillar and a blue fly.” The other child moved the bugs in the bucket around until he found a blue caterpillar.  He set it on the table. He had picked up a blue fly that was in the bucket.  He put both pieces in his hand.   “Is this what you want?” he asked, reaching his hand out to Lillie.  “yes, Thank you” said Lillie.  She took the insect manipulatives out of his hand.  She set the blue fly in the third box and the blue caterpillar in the fourth box. “Nope, That’s not right!” she said.  picking up the blue fly she moved the blue caterpillar to the third square and set the blue fly on the fourth square.

“Now I need a green caterpillar and a green fly” Lillie found a green fly next to the bucket and picked it up setting near her tray.  The other child had a green caterpillar next to his tray, he handed it to her.  “Thank you”, said Lillie. Lillie put the green caterpillar in the fifth box.  She picked up the green fly and put it in the next box.  Lillie said “Mr. Jose I made a pattern!”

What if the observation was written differently.  For example:

At small group, Lillie and Francisco worked together to make patterns.

What is missing?

  • The date
  • child’s name
  • child’s age
  • the time
  • the conversation
  • details about the pattern (colors, the caterpillar, the fly, the butterfly)

What is wrong with the 2nd observation?

  • The observation was about Lillie and should not have had Franciso’s  name in it.  Anecdotal notes are confidential.  You must write “the other child” when including comments and interactions between children.
  • By not including the conversation, you cannot assess language development or the social emotional development of the child.
  • By not including the details about the colors and insect manipulatives, you do not illustrate the Lillie’s approach to learning, self correction, and self talk. The description of the pattern is missing, which is needed to compare to future observations.  Will she make a pattern using three objects and three colors in the next month? How will we be able to see the progress without this detail.
  • The date is missing. When collecting observations you must have the date and time of day.  The date helps set a timeline of the child’s development.  This observation is in October.  In January, you may do another observation of the child creating a pattern.  You need to be able to see if the child has progressed in developmental domains.

These are just a few things to keep in mind when making observations. The key is to describe what the behavior of the child is, writing a detail description, and include conversations. The anecdotal notes are used in assessing the child’s development and showing the progress over time.  The assessment of each child is important for providing results for the whole program.  Federal Programs like Head Start and many state programs have Quality Rating Systems that require data driven results to receive funding.

 

 

 

 

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DO NOT LOSE A CHILD!

“Do not lose a child!” Our compliance manager stresses after training our staff the Face-to-Name Tracking Procedure. To prevent children from being left in a room or on a playground, this procedure has been implemented in many child care centers.

A face to name tracking is just like it sounds.  When transitioning from one area to another (classroom to the playground)  the classroom attendance form is used to track children before and after the transition.  Let’s say you are going to the playground. Before exiting the classroom, gather the children, the attendance tracking sheet.  Read the name of a child, look for the child, make eye contact with the child. Once you see the child, mark the tracking sheet confirming that the child is present. Continue going down the list and verifying that all children are in the classroom. Leave the room with all of the children. When you get to the playground, do another face to name check.  Make sure that all children that left the room with you, are now on the playground. The same process will be followed when returning to the classroom.

We often hear news reports of children left on a bus, on a playground or found wandering along side the road unattended.  This past week it had happened.  If your child care center does not do this, I encourage you to start!

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A child I know…

A child I know doesn’t live with his mom.  He lives with his grandparents. It wasn’t always this way.  He once lived with his mother, but she neglected him as a infant.  To avoid putting the child in foster care.  The grandparents decided to take the child in and raise him.

Now the young boy is three.  One morning Grandpa left early in the morning for work. Grandma was home.  She was in bed.  The child wandered out of the apartment to go to the unit where he and his mother had lived. He remembered where it was and wanted so much to see her. Mom wasn’t allowed to visit him at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. He walked up to the door and knocked.  The person that opened the door was not his mother.  He was very sad.

The tenant at this apartment called the police.  Such a young child wandering around the neighborhood, by himself he needed help to find his home.  Needless to say, the grandmother was in shock that the boy had wandered out the door to look for his mother.

The police did find the child’s home. They returned him to his grandparents. Together they came up with a plan to prevent this from happening again.

I know this child has lived through trauma and neglect.  The impacted his social-emotional skills, brain development, physical and cognitive development.  I hope that he gets all the support he needs to help him develop.

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Whitewater day care investigated after 2-year-old found wandering by highway – WISC

Source: Whitewater day care investigated after 2-year-old found wandering by highway – WISC

Posted in Best Practices

Children’s Rights

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Children under 6, Living in Poverty

As I read the fact sheet about children living in poverty published in January 2017 by the National Center foe Children in Poverty, I find it astounding that 23 million children in the United States are living in poverty.  The article looks at children under 6 living in families that are above low income and at or below low income threshold as of 2015. To be above low income a child will live in a family who makes 200% or more above the Federal Poverty Threshold or FPT. Children who are under 200% of the threshold are considered low income.  45% of children under 6 years of age are living in low income families.

The threshold is based on the number of people living in the home.  For example: The household includes one mother with two children the household size is 3.  The same would be true if there were two parents and one child.  The threshold income of a household of 3 is $20, 090.  You can find more information on the FPT at the United States Health and Human Services website.

The fact sheet goes on to separate children into two different categories “Poor”and “Near Poor.””Poor is defined as 100 % below the FPT, while near poor is 100-199%  When the statistics are broken down into these categories, there are 23% percent of children under 6 who are poor and another 23% that are near poor.

The children living in low income families has changed very little between 2009 and 2015.  Between 2009 and 2015 there are 7% less children under 6 living in low income households  For families that live at or below the FPT, there are 7% less children in 2015, than in 2009. This looks like the numbers are going when you break it down into categories, but in all reality the change went from 46% low income families in 2009 to 45% in 2015.  A measly 1 % change has occurred over 6 years.

What lead me to look at these statistics?  The topic of Toxic Stress.  I have worked in programs that provide child care and preschool for children who are living in low-income households.  Persistent poverty, family stress and life circumstances are influencing these children.  They live in areas where there are gangs, theft, home invasions, and shootings.  They may live with parents who have mental health issues, experience neglect, domestic violence or substance abuse.  These factors create toxic stress and impact the developing brain of the child.  The result is lifelong problems in learning, behavior, and physical and mental health.

What are we doing to support the children living in these situation?  How can we support the child while we have them in our care? How can we support the families?

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