kindergartenteaching

from the life of a teacher

week 5 July 27, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — amaliskas1234 @ 12:51 pm

For this assignment I was asked to imagine an experiencing one or more  “isms” in my personal life and how it would affect myself and my work with young children and their families. I chose to use an experience I have recently had that fits these requirements instead of imagining one.

In the past year I faced aspects of racism and able-ism from both family members and friends. My husband and I were in the process of adopting our first child. Through this journey we were very open with others that we were adopting and we were not specifying an ethnicity. Further, we were not against adopting a child with certain medical diagnosis or needs. Through our journey we encountered remarks by people who did not agree with us adopting outside of our own race or accepting certain medical conditions. There were people (both close to heart and mere strangers) who were very vocal about their opinions on our adoption choices. As a consequence to the racism and able-ism I experienced I became devastated. Emotionally I was hurt that when I had trouble having my own child people would think other children were not “worth” being adopted. Physically, I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I felt like one of the happiest times in my life was becoming a controversial time.

These feelings did carry over into my work with children and families within my care. It caused my mind to be heavy instead of fully focusing on the children as I should have been for that time. Further, I became more emotional when dealing with some situations of drugs and neglect with one of my students. I found myself spending more one on one time focused on this child. I also found I had more patience with this child. I had a much harder time collaborating and forming a partnership with this child’s family because of my own struggles of adoption and my desire to care for their child as he deserved to be cared for. I know I did not work as nicely as I should have during this time because of my experiences. The prejudice I experienced from others ironically led to me being prejudice towards this particular family and other families that I felt were not caring for their child as I felt they should have been. Thus, the partnerships I had with families suffered during this time.

This experience showed me how easily ones prejudice or stereotypes against you can lead to you forming prejudice and stereotypes against others. It made me reflect on how I was treating others and whether or not I was judging people and their actions when I should not have been!

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Week 3: Observing communication July 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — amaliskas1234 @ 2:54 pm

The observation I conducted was at a park in my neighborhood. While there were a couple of different families at the park I focused my attention on a mom and her son who appeared to be around the age of 4. The mom was sitting on a bench with a book in hand while her son played on the playground directly in front of her. The mom would occasionally glance up and watch her son playing before returning to reading her book.

The following is an account of what I noticed and learned during my time of observation:

The little boy appeared to be very outgoing jumping from child to child to interact with on the playground. He seemed to make friends easily. There were several times during the observation that the little boy yelled out to his mother asking her to watch him.  The mom would look up and watch him. She reply with praise telling him things like “way to go, that’s awesome buddy, look at you” and so on before returning to read her book. A few times he would run over to the bench and push on his mom’s leg and say “look, look, look, look!” His mom would usually look up after a few times of him saying this and talk briefly with him about what he was trying to bring to her attention. I noticed during their conversations that the mom would always look into her sons eyes when they spoke to one another. Further, she would ask him questions about what he was showing her. She would ask him where he found it, what he was going to do with it, and did he think he could do anything else with it. At one point another mom joined the mom on the bench while her child played on the playground. The two mom’s became engaged in a conversation.  During their conversation the little boy ran up to his mom and would once again start pushing on her legs. It appeared that the mom became a little irritated with her son doing this but did not acknowledge him. Instead she kept talking with the other mom. At one point she snapped at her son and said “Go play or were going home!” The little boy responded by stomping off to the playground once more.

Throughout my learning this week I have gained insights on how to facilitate affirming communication with young children. Rainer Dangei and Durden (2010) discuss the importance of adults engaging in meaningful conversations that will foster strategic thinking for children. I can see the mother do this in her strategic questioning of what her son had found. She question him to foster conversation and to help him be a more strategic thinker.  The interactions that took place between mother and child were done in a small group that allowed each of them to focus on one another. One thing that could have been done to make the communication more affirming and effective would be for the mom to have been more attentive to the child even when other adults were around. Although she did a really good job of always look her son in the eye when speaking with him she failed to seem interested at other points of their interaction. Instead of snapping at him for continuing to run into her leg over and over she could have paused her conversation from the adult and acknowledged him. By not listening to what he was trying to say effective communication was lost.

After observing the communication interactions between mom and son I believe that the child’s feelings were affected in two ways. At times the mom was very attentive to the little boy in which she would ask him questions about things he would bring to show her whether they were a leaf, a tiny bug, or a stick he was pretending to be a snake. He seemed so proud of himself when interacting with her in these times. Yet, when she was busy interacting with the other mom I feel that he was not impacted in such a positive way. Instead, he seemed frustrated that his mom would not make time to hear what he was trying to tell her. In this instance you could tell he felt defeated as he stomped away from his mom having not been able to win her attention. Perhaps it sent him the message that she was not interested in what he was doing when other adults were around.

Sitting back and observing the interactions occurring between mother and son I found that it was easy to judge the types of interactions taking place. Yet, I also realized that I see myself in multiple aspects of the observation I conducted this week. At times I am extremely attentive to the children in my classroom and engaging with them in thought provoking conversations. Yet, at other times I am distracted by the events occurring within my classroom that I too become impatient with the sweet children beckoning my attention. It is very easy to get caught up in the things occurring in the room around me that I miss out on the important things taking place.   Stephenson (2009) discusses the importance of truly listening to what children are saying and learning from it. This whole exercise reminds me of how many times I say I am listening to what the children are saying, but in all honestly am only half listening. While I think I do a good job at talking with young children in a language that they are able to understand, I realize I have a lot of growth to do in the area of listening to the the children around me. By being a more engaged and active listener I can become an even more effective communicator with young children.

References

Rainer Dangei, J., & Durden, T. R. (2010). The nature of teacher talk during small group activities. YC: Young Children, 65(1), 74-81.

Stephenson, A. (2009). Conversations with a 2-Year-Old. YC: Young Children, 64(2), 90-95.

 

My Family Child Care Home July 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — amaliskas1234 @ 1:41 am

If I were to open my own Family Child Care Home I would want a setting that promotes learning in a safe, nurturing environment. The classrooms would promote learning individually as well as through groups. This would occur through furniture and manipulatives set up throughout the room. Each room will be equip with diverse materials that allow students to witness each others cultures through books, puzzles, posters, dolls,and other visuals (Derman-Sparks and Olsen Edwards, 2010). Children of differing ability levels, languages, cultures, ages, etc will be represented throughout multiple aspects in the classroom on a daily basis.

My child care would include an outside space for the children to play and learn in a safe environment offering fresh air.

It would have friendly and welcoming colors on the walls that are inviting to others. The design of the child care home would be centered around child friendliness and everything would be at kid level for the appropriate ages.

To ensure children and families feel welcomed I would take several steps. The following is an overview of the steps I would take:

– I would spend time getting to know the families involved in our care. It is only through getting to know the families and children that I can hope to best meet their needs. I would do so through talking with them and watching them interact with their child. Through this time I would hope to learn what types of things families desire for their child. Other essential information that could be gained during this time would be how families interact with one another or what types of things are seen as normal behaviors within a family culture.

-In addition to this I would offer various professional development for families to partake in covering various topics such as health and nutrition for young children, the importance of engaged fathers, how to extend your child’s learning and development at home, and development 101 – the basics of child development. Through these professional development workshops families would be able to interact together and hopefully form some support groups with the families as suggested by Derman-Sparks and Olsen Edwards (2010).

– One thing I would implement as suggested by Derman-Sparks and Olsen Edwards (2010) would be a family pot-luck night and have families bring traditional dishes to share with one another.  During this time I would include group activities such as ice breakers and small games to encourage collaboration and discussions.

-I would also encourage family members to be involved in their child’s classrooms through reading stories, volunteering to help with activities, or just observing from time to time. It is greatly beneficial to use this time to learn from the families as they interact with their child and other children as well.

– Finally – perhaps one of the simplest, yet underutilized things I would do would be to have a space in each classroom devoted to pictures of the families within each class for the children to see each day. This would help to also act as a bridge to incorporating family traditions and cultures.

References

Derman-Sparks, L., & Olsen Edwards, J. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, D.C.: National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).