Observing Communication

During the day, I feel that I have conversations with children most of the day (except for nap time).  We talk about what they did the night before, what we are doing today, why they feel sad, or even what we are having for lunch.  Working with toddlers, I feel like I am a non-stop talking machine, why seems to be a favorite question.  This week I was able to sit back little and observe some other conversations that were happening around me, this is something that I usually do not get a chance to do because I am so busy talking. 

My favorite conversation this week was between a teacher and a little boy while he was sitting on the potty.  This little boy has just turned two, and he is one that spends most of his day asking why.  As he was sitting on the potty, he pointed to a picture if a xylophone that was on the wall.  And then he said “broken”.  She said “no not broken, that is a xylophone, it’s an instrument, would you like to play one?  He then nodded his head yes.  Then he pointed to the guitar, and she asked, “do you know how to play the guitar” (as she pretended to strum) and he said “no”.  Then he pointed again and said, “Ms. L?” She smiled and said, “no I don’t play the guitar”.  He then said, “Ms. K?” and she shrugged her shoulders and said, “we will have to ask her if she knows how to play”.  Once again, he pointed to the xylophone and said broken?”, the teacher smiled and said, “no not broken, let’s go find one for you to play”.  He then got up, she put on his diaper, the went to the room and she got out a few xylophones. 

What I loved most about this conversation is how responsive the teacher was to the little boy.  She engaged in a conversation with him, she was down on his level, and then she expanded on their conversation when she went back to the room and got out some xylophones.  Many times, I feel that we miss out on opportunities to connect with children because we are so focused on the task.  If the teacher had been rushing him, she would have missed the whole conversation, but she just stayed relaxed, and enjoyed their conversation with a smile on her face.  In this situation, I feel that the teacher did an awesome job!  I would not have changed anything about their communication.    I feel that the child got the sense that he mattered and what he was interested in mattered.  She was paying attention to him and he was enjoying their time.  If I were this child I would feel valued, loved and respected. 

What have I learned this week?  I have learned that sometimes I just need to slow down, relax and listen to hat children are saying.   I feel that overall I do a good job communicating with children, I feel that I respond t them with interest and that I am always on their level.  IF there is one thing that I could improve on is slowing down and just taking time to listen and watch more. 

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Affirming Environments

When I think about an anti-bias environment I feel that it is not only what can be seen, but what can be heard as well.

If a parent walks into my room, I would first off all want them to feel welcome, as well as communicate with me any information that they feel is necessary.

parent board

Parent boards are an awesome way to share what is going on in the classroom as well as the center.

daily sheet

Daily sheets are a wonderful tool for communication to and from school.  I use these on a daily basis.

family pic

Family pictures also make families feel like they are a part of the school family.

As we know children should be able to see themselves within the environment in which they play.  They should also see people who are in the community as well as in the world.  To accomplish this I would use may tools:

Books:

anti bias        anti bias 3    anti bias 2

Dolls:

babies  dolls

Art supplies:

paper  markers

I would also have photographs of people who represent some of the -ism’s that are currently in our society today (ableism, sexism, etc.,..)

But I also believe that many things like good communication as well as responding to social/emotional development in appropriate ways are also part of an anti-bias classroom.

Quite areas are important

quiet area

as well as books about emotions, emotion posters, and tools to help children learn how to manage their emotions.  I use conscious discipline as well as CSEFEL’s.

 

These are just a few items that I would have in my environment, and I actually do in my room at work.  I work at a NAEYC accredited center and we rate a 5.  Many of the standards that have been set by NAEYC do adhere to the goals of ant-bias education.  I think that anti-bias is not just an ongoing process for a teacher, but for the environment as well.  As you group of children change, the items you have in your room may change as well.

Here are some great social/emotional development resources:

Conscious Discipline: http://consciousdiscipline.com/

CSEFEL: http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/

 

 

 

 

 

What I have learned

Hope

When I think about working with children and families there are many hopes that I have.  I hope that I can help children develop good self-identity as well as foster a respect of others within them.  I hope that I can work with families to help them understand their viewpoints and be an advocate for all families so that every child is able to get what they need to be successful.  I would love to say ultimately my hope would be to live in a world were we all play a part and help each other despite our differences. 

 

Goal

As an early childhood teacher, I feel that I still have a lot to learn about myself and anti-bias work with children.  My goals is to keep being reflective by using a journal, attending workshops and continuing to learn and expand my understanding of the issues that surround children and the early childhood field.

 

Thank you

I just want to say thank you to everyone!  I have enjoyed reading and seeing all your ideas and creativity.  I have been on this journey with a few of you since the start and I see that we are all in the next class together as well.  I look forward to learning more with you all!!