Recently an increased focus is (finally) being placed on young growing brains! There is a great amount of discussion about ensuring that all four year old children have access to quality early childhood education.
But, an issue arises with differing viewpoints on what is most important for those young learners. Which brings me to the point of this post....
CELEBRATING........ this group of talented, knowledgeable and dedicated educators and parents! You as a group of caring individuals consistently both promote and provide the type of optimal experiences these young brains need most.
I so want everyone to recognize and acknowledge your efforts and expertise, since there are so many educators I talk with across the country that are required to only push academics.
It is essential for the children, that we create a VERY PROMINENT voice singing the praises of early education programs that are providing individualized, play based, creative, exploration, experimentation, and self directed learning!
ALL CHILDREN DESERVE TO HAVE THEIR
INDIVIDUAL UNIQUENESS RESPECTED!
In a recent post, More PreSchool? Yes! Let's Do It Right, Rick Ackerly shared two wonderful examples of this type of learning environment. He emphasizes the importance of recognizing how children need to learn at their own pace. In the post he shares the importance for early education:
"When everyone focuses on skills that really matter: focus, self-control, creativity, connection, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, perspective-taking and problem solving, and when professional educators create benchmarks like: asking questions, welcoming challenges, making guesses, changing your mind, building on other’s ideas, etc., then kids will not only learn to read, write and calculate, but will also grow brains that will stand them in good stead throughout their lives."
In recent conversations, I have been expressing how much demonstrated outcomes and evaluation have impacted what is done with children in many situations. Even though we now have more research and evidence about what is best for early learning. It is hard to witness that so many adults are focused on evaluations that learning is happening .... and with the mindset, that it all better be happening on the timeline we have decided the adults want.
This is a photo of a worksheet a parent gave me to use when I do speaking engagements. She shared it so I could provide an example of what is happening in too many locations. This child had just recently turned 3 and was expected to first trace the letter E and then freehand write the letters on the bottom. Can you see the evaluation he got because he was not able to complete what was being expected of him... even though this was developmentally inappropriate? In red marker... it is an INCOMPLETE AND SAD FACE :( AND..... he also had a stapled packet of worksheets for homework that he was expected to do each week as well!
KUDOS and THANKS AGAIN...
... for all each of you are doing to make wonderful experiences happen everyday!! Thanks for all you do and for sharing your ideas for additional children to benefit from!! .... And the children thank you for every opportunity you take to help make the ways in which they learn best better understood!!
Deborah McNelis, MS. ed, is an Early Brain Development Specialist and owner of Brain Insights®
Deborah is the award winning author of, The Brain Development Series, Naturally Developing Young Brains, and the Love Your Baby App. She has been seen in several publications, heard on numerous radio shows, and receives rave reviews for her enlightening and engaging presentations.
Deborah’s newest initiative helps entire communities, “Create Great Connections”. Her goal through this work is for everyone to gain an understanding of early brain development, it’s impact, and the ways we can all easily make a REAL difference.
Early Childhood Brain Insights Blog: http://braininsights.blogspot.com/