Parents and teachers

making paper chains

Deck the halls!

With Christmas approaching, the four-year-olds in my local nursery are full of anticipation as they practice their Christmas play and learn new songs for this special season. Last week they were busy making some festive paper chains to decorate their classroom in between a good deal of very wet play outdoors!

Paper chain making is relatively simple, yet requires incredible concentration and gives those finger muscles a fine-motor workout. As the children glue and stick together the colourful strips of paper, sing-song counting can be heard around the table: “one, two, three, four, five, six, seven…one hundred!" And then they collaborate on the tricky task of attaching their chains together to form really long ones…

Interested in making paper chains with young children in your setting? Instructions here.

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counting

Supporting mathematical learning outdoors

Verbalising mathematical discoveries and observations during outdoor play helps children process each concept more deeply. As educators and parents we can support children in growing their mathematical language. “Knowing the right question or prompt to give at the right time in the right way to different children takes time, experience and practice to develop,” writes Lynda Keith. Lynda has some great insights and advice.

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boys fighting over a toddle box

Teaching compassion

Learning how to interact positively with others is a vital developmental task of early childhood. However, many teachers are reporting a worrying increase in social problems such as bullying, lack of problem-solving skills, and anti-social behaviour.

 

Current trends, such as the increase of media and technology in the lives of young children, combined with fewer opportunities for play and interaction with others, are feeding this widespread problem which Diane Levin has characterized as “Compassion Deficit Disorder”.

 

No, this is not another label to slap on children’s behavioural difficulties. Rather, it is an indictment on a society where childhood is not valued and supported. It is vital that children have real life, meaningful experiences right from the start that help them to learn compassion and empathy. Parents and educators are in a unique position to curb this damaging trend. Read Diane Levin’s article.

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teacher and child singing or doing finger games

From stickers to self-regulation

“Do we really want our children to simply do as they are told without asking? Well yes – sometimes we would. But for a child to become successful in life, surely we want them to take some control of regulating their own choices and behaviours,” writes Ali McClure, author of Making it Better for Boys. “We would love our children to become self-regulated, happy individuals, but do some of the strategies we use in our early years settings actually backfire in this regard?”

 

Ali McClure will be running a full day course: “From Stickers to Self-Regulation”, for early years and KS1 practitioners on 12 November at the Community Playthings factory in East Sussex. Read Ali's article and find out more about her training.

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girl looking bored

Making room for creativity

Unstructured time gives children the opportunity to practice problem solving and to develop motivational and creative skills that they will need later in life. Adults need to resist the temptation to provide a constant barrage of stimulation and entertainment for children. It’s okay to be bored.

 

Is there time for constructive boredom in your classroom? Read the article.

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