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!!

Creating Art

IMG_0848

This week we were asked to create a piece of art that shows what we have learned during the last seven weeks.  What I thought about was how we can have positive influences on children like ; love, information, and responsive relationships, that help children build this wall of resilience, empathy, positive self identity , etc… The positive factors then in turn protect children from all the negative influences, or life situations that may have an impact on their development or how they see others.

 

We Don’t say Those Words in Class!!

 

As I was getting ready to write my blog this week I was trying to think back to a time when I may have used these words, or have heard someone use these words with a child in a classroom.  I could not think of one time.  That is not to say that those words were never spoken, but to be honest I was maybe not really listening.  I have heard teachers respond in negative ways to children when they say things like “you can’t come to my birthday”, or “you are not my friend”.

Years ago, I was out shopping with my two daughters.  My oldest daughter had to be about five at the time and my youngest about two.  We were waiting in line at the grocery store when my oldest daughter asked me if the lady in front of us was pregnant.  I immediately felt embarrassed and I know that the lady in front of us heard her because she looked a little sad when my daughter said it.  What was my reaction?  I just said “no” and tried to divert her attention.  Now this is something that I am sure has happened more than one and with many different situations.  Honestly at the time I was a young parent who had very little experience with these situations, much less had experience with my own parents talking to me about differences with people. 

Looking back at this now, and knowing what I know now, I think I would have handled things differently.  I would have taken more time to explain to my daughter that she was not pregnant, but just had a bigger body size.  I would have explained that all people are different and that is okay.  Maybe we would have look at some pictures of different body sizes or looked-for people with different body shapes/sizes as we were shopping.  When I think back to how I handled this with my daughter she may have thought that being bigger or fat was a terrible thing.  She may also have felt that she did something wrong (let’s face it children say these things all the time), and she may have even felt shame. 

If this had happened in a class that I taught I would find some pictures with people who have different body shapes/sizes.  I would also try to find books to have on the bookshelf or to read to the children.  We could also compare our own bodies and how we are different. 

I feel that children get so many messages about body size and shape within the media.  I feel that this is having a massive impact on how children feel about themselves.  We can make a difference and children can feel better about themselves and others.  I think that it is more important for children to learn about being healthy and having healthy habits, then focusing on what size a person is.  As we start to have more conversations with children it will help children see differences in a new light.

Start Seeing Diversity

Over the next few weeks, my blog will be centered around the Video “Start Seeing Diversity”.  This video, shows ways in which educators can promote anti-bias curriculum in their classrooms, as well as how us adults working with children can transform our teaching.

For this blog, the two topics of discussion are gender and sexual orientation.  Both topics have been what I would consider almost “taboo” for many years.  Many books, toys, and movies are still very gender oriented, as well the attitudes that parents have about how their children play.  As I prepared for this assignment this week, I looked around the center that I work at, and I noticed a few things.  The first thing is that the dress up clothes in most housekeeping areas were very girl specific.  The choices were dresses, purses, and hats.  The next thing that I noticed is that most of the girls were playing in areas such as housekeeping and boys were playing more in areas like the block area. 

I do feel that over the years I have had many parents express that they do not want their boys playing with dolls, nor do they want them dressing up in dresses.  The way that they acted I felt as if they thought their children would be gay just because of the choices that they were making during free play.  About a year ago, I found a picture on Facebook of a little boy playing with a doll, and the caption said something to the effect of “practicing being a good daddy”.  I really wanted to make copies of this and hand them out to all the parents.  Unfortunately, the other downside is usually when children are discouraged by their parents to play with certain toys, they won’t choose those toys again.  The two questions that I feel the video raised this week are; 1. Do we rate girls more on their appearance and boys more on their performance, and 2, Is it stereotype or truth?

The center where I work does have a family with two moms.  When they started coming to the center, a parent was very upset because they saw a family picture hanging on the wall with the two moms.  She was concerned that her child would be exposed to something that went against her morals and values.  This was a wonderful opportunity for our center to take a stand, and show that we support all families.  Basically, it became our stand that all families are welcome, and that we will make sure that all families are represented in our classrooms.  Today as I look around the center I see many items that represent this.  We have books, posters, and photos that show diversity among families.  I have also heard conversations that the teachers have had with the children about family diversity. 

I think that it is important for us to help educate parents on why an anti-bias approach is so important and how we are not only trying to protect the children in our work place, but also make this a world for all children to be accepted.  As the video pointed out this week we need to help all children gain good identity, and help them to acknowledge that there are differences. 

 

References

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Start seeing diversity: Sexual orientation [Video file].  Retrieved from Walden University

Moving On

It is that time once again as we draw to the end of another class.  I just wanted to thank everyone for all their support as well as sharing.  I feel that many times we tend to put our hearts into our work and it really does show!  I am so thankful for being able to read your thoughts, feelings and ideas.  This has been a wonderful experience.  While some of you I have known since I started this journey, I am also thankful for the fresh faces and names.  I have three classes left, and as the end draws near I wonder what will happen and how my life will change.  This is not over yet, and I am excited to move on to the next step!!  Thanks, Everyone!!

If you want to get ahold of me send me a message cynthia.salvador@waldenu.edu