Fun Stations Are Fun!

 

IMG_3343

This was a different kind of experience I got to participate during the Professional Practice.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday assemblies are held for the children. Before the assembly, children will get time for their “Fun Stations” where teachers set 4 different stations for children to participate and explore four different varieties of activities. As we were assigned for the fun stations, we came up with activities where different ICT tools were used as an entry/ exit for the next station where children need to complete the task on the digital tool. 

IMG_3331-2jybodc

It was surprising to find this approach or “trick” not only allowed children to explore and learn from technological varieties but also let the children obey and corporate with we “novice teachers” throughout the given time frame. It worked very well.

Like my colleague SingYing has mentioned, ICT does play a role to handle and control children’s behavior. The reason for that I believe is, as ICT comes with creative and innovative features in it where children love to explore, feel, touch and learn they will never want to sacrifice their chance at any cost or risk. Children best learn through exploration. Hence, as we teachers applied this strategy, it worked outstandingly.

“Practice Makes Perfect” This is an opportunity where we learnt to rebuild our activities through the errors encountered and for the children to practice more and more on different digital tools.

Farm In the City…

Another exciting and fun filled experience!

It was an opportunity we were granted during our Professional Practice to best use our time to let the children utilize, explore and learn to use different digital tools in their journey through the Farm In The City.

Children love to learn about animals. Animals are their fascination. They can learn a lot about animals – their movements, their habitats, behaviors, their food, difference and similarities and so on. As a matter of fact I believe that Visit to a Farm is a must for children.

Children were given opportunities to take pictures, feed different animals, watch bird show, learn about various animals, feel, see and hear the differences between one another. This was an excellent experience for the children and as well as for us teachers.

934131_531776573550831_505454068_n934131_531776576884164_1054304385_n

My colleague Neena has shared her experience with the children in the Farm where she described the enthusiasm children had during and after the visit. 

This is fun and a Must I would say for children to experience. 

Quality Education and the Professionalism

aban401l

Just another thought I came across while observing and teaching during the Professional Practice.

Quality of teaching is in parallel progress to the quality of children we prepare for the future. The care and well-being of children are the core values thus any debate over the rearing of children raises developmental dilemmas.

My personal belief is that the high quality education cannot only be measured from the knowledge we have but also attitude and behavior we carry ourselves to the classroom. It has a great impact on children’s learning. It is a known belief that Early Childhood Educators who has experience equivalent to the knowledge, has benefits towards building positive interaction and more developmentally appropriate practice and this is believed as the key factors of quality in early childhood education programs.

The skills teachers have to interact with their children lovingly and to nurture them, manage the classroom and children’s behavior with little effort by giving a simple gesture, a significant look or just simply moving nearby is one of the professional qualities I happened to observe and believe as significant in rearing children and managing the classroom.

Hence I believe to ensure a high quality early childhood program, concerning the education and well growth of children, schools need to promote and make sure the existence of high level of self-efficacy among educators through professional practices which will assist for a successful bridge for improved learning experiences and outcomes for children, parents, to the communities and to the schools. 

The article Elements of a high quality early learning and child care system provides adequate quantity of essential elements to acquire and be acknowledged of as a teacher.

Reference:

CSL CartoonStock. [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cartoonstock.com

Pitfalls of ICT

et-cartoon

Meaningful integration of ICT in early childhood education is important. My colleague Michael described the success and importance of ICT in one of his blog posts which further stresses giving more attention to it. Thus, technologically literate Pre-Service teachers are demanding and I am sure in a nearby future it will be considered as a must requirement in the field.

ICT is a significant piece of tool in daily life undoubtedly. It makes the work less stressful, easy and offers promises along with it. In similar manner it also brings dilemmas and fears in teaching and learning.

During the Professional Practice, pitfalls of ICT were one of the “hot” topics we discussed during the weekly feedback meetings. Hence, every one of us shared the difficulties and troubles faced while integrating ICT in the activities.

Similarly I also shared the misery I came across.

One of the lesson I carried out was on digital storytelling where children were provided with headsets connected to the laptop and were assigned to watch and listen to the story to answer the questions followed by. While everything was set, the laptop failed to display the story all of a sudden. I was in a rush to start the story as children were eagerly waiting for the story to start. I had no Plan B, so one way or the other I had to make it happen. Children were bored. They were failing to maintain their interest and attention. I tried hard to bring them back to the lesson by verbally interacting with them. At last after about 5 minutes time (which is very long and hard to keep children waiting), I made it happen and it was a success at the end.

The lesson I learnt was that while we are integrating ICT in the lesson, it is a MUST to have a “back up” lesson prepared for “In Case of Emergencies”. Technical errors are unpredictable events which might pop up at anytime. 

Reference:

Transforming Learning Through ICT. [Image]. (2013). Retrieved from http://nd20130353.wordpress.com/

Experience Vs Knowledge!

images

 

Years of experience or paper qualification are important when dealing with the young children! What do you think? This is a topic we debated throughout our course in different modules we learnt across.

Some says experience is a great teacher and if experience doesn’t matter teaching doesn’t really is a profession. In accordance to different people’s belief that knowledge in the field of early childhood education is important to understand the children and serve them the best of what you have.

My belief relies on both. Knowledge and experience is equally important. Gain the knowledge and learn from the experience. The teachers who have paper qualification brings in deeper understanding on the practice and apply it whereas the experienced teachers coach the novice teachers how manage the time, how to manage the tasks, classroom management, dealing with the parents and other colleagues. Thus, the collaboration and cooperation brings empowerment and excellence to bring effectiveness in children’s learning.

 

Reference:

CSL CartoonStock. [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/s/school_teachers.asp

Environment – The Third Teacher!

 

Preschool

Just another thought!

A child centered rich learning environment which occupies range of materials, resources and choices for children to interact, engage, explore, discover, experiment and learn. The engagement of children, their socialization, emotions and level of communication and participation shows the richness and effectiveness of the environment.

Through my experience so far as a teacher, I believe that children need a learning environment which will reflect and respect their learning, cultural differences, language barriers and which provides open ended opportunities for every child to participate and learn along with their peers. Children’s learning environment is considered as the third teacher as it comprises of these significant features whereby it strengthens, fosters and nourishes children’s learning and growth.

Doesn’t it sound significant? This article offers range of ideas which will provide ideas and support for the teachers to create a meaningful learning environment for the children.

Reference:

Literacy, families and learning. [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://trevorcairney.blogspot.com/2010_04_01_archive.html

We are the Octopuses – Multitasking teachers!

multitasking

I came up with the title through the experience and inspiring events happened during my Professional Practice. I was assigned to work with 6 year olds where the children are accommodated with a lead teacher solely.

I spent my first few days observing the children, learning them, classroom management and the teaching style carried by the teacher. Gradually, I started engaging with the children, interacting with them, helping with their work and I felt like I am experiencing my second childhood. They are fun to work with.

Being an Early Childhood Educator is not an easy job. We should be willing to wear many hats and number of masks. We should convey different styles and roles for them to follow us and see us as their role models.

My personal experience as a teacher, I had to have the potential to comedy, be stern when necessary, be prepared and flexible, listen to them and be there when they needed.

Traumatic instants happened which created difficulties. Unforeseen circumstances popped up which I needed to be ready to tackle. These were the challenges faced where I needed to show the children that your teacher knows everything and can solve everything for you.

Children do bring frustration to your life. Sometimes the colleagues and management give you a hard time. Sometimes we teachers feel that we are paid peanuts. But these discomfort and misery vanishes due to the bits of love, treasures and meaningfully drawings children give us to take home at the end and it makes our job and effort worth the million.

I myself love the profession not as a profession but as the passion and love I have for teaching and working with children.

I came across this article Managing Conflict and thought of sharing. It is worth reading.

 

“A hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in the bank…but the world may be a better place because I made a difference in the life of a child.” Forest Witcraft

Reference:

College of Business. [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.biz.colostate.edu/mti/tips/pages/Students-Think-They-Can-Multitask—Here%27s-Proof-They-Can%27t.aspx

Five Fingers are siblings but not equal!

6260086028_78ba8aa2fe_z

It is a natural inborn character we have in us to compare us among others, to compare our children that of others rather than appreciating and valuing what we have. We never think at least once what we are doing will bring pride to our children or they become labeled and laughing stocks in front of others.

The YouTube clip below is an excellent artifact which will help the teachers, caregivers and the parents to appreciate and accept the children as they are and how to encourage them to grow with the strengths they have.

Every child has their own pace and their own ways. See them through their eyes. Be in their shoes. Give them the confidence and praise that they are doing a good job and are on the right track. Let them feel that they are not alone. Let them realize you trust them and they make you proud.

Finally and most significantly let’s not compare the children with one another.  

Reference:

Flickr. [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/sreenivasan/6260086028/

Better be Safe than be Sorry!

 

cyber-bullying

 

Traditionally, the fear every parent and society has is a creepy – crawly man wandering through the neighborhood, glinting at children playing in the backyard, invading their free outdoor play.

Similarly in the current speedy technologically growing world, there are number of dangers, creepy strangers glancing at your child while they are sitting at the PC at home in comfort.

Internet safety for children is keeping them safe while exposing to the internet. It is a significant component to consider. My colleague Katrina has spotlighted in her blog post vital elements in regard to safe internet which is worth reading.

At home sometimes internet is offered for the children when the adults and parents want a peace of mind from them. Hence, they are not given balance, no guidance, and ground rules.

Children can’t be restricted from using the digital tools, electronic gadgets and any technological resources. Meanwhile they can’t be given unlimited and unattended access where they might get lost and land in a world of difficulty.

Digital world is truly a best choice for children’s education and their well-being as long as they are on a platform free from risks, guided and are under careful supervision where they can gain something out of it.

 

Reference:

WebSafety NZ. [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.websafety.co.nz/

“Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth”

too_many_cooks___tee_by_infinitywave-d4lyj20

 

We are trying to be innovative, creative and come up with as many as possible to introduce technology in young children’s life. Well! We have our reasons too. Today’s children grow up very fast and expertise in digital technology than that of previous ages. As early childhood educators it is our professional and essential quality and responsibility to be life-long learners where it supports us, guide us and hint us on how to prepare a great generation for future.

ICT has stolen the thunder. Hence, we have been brainstorming on how we can integrate ICT through our teaching where children can experience, explore and discover the uses and benefits of modern technology.

My very striking thought is using Skype in Kindergartens. Do you teachers think our children are Skype ready? Or it is just an evil technological thought?

As I came with the idea I thought this might spoil my children’s learning as we are trying to introduce too many technological tools where they might get lost in the digital world. But then again I researched a bit and my jerky thoughts were straighten. No matter whether it is Skype, Twitter, Blogging or other miraculous digital apps as long as they are guided through structured learning, anything can be worth introducing and implementing in teaching and learning. There are many other digital apps where children can use to socialize with others and enhance their creativity. These are little advanced yet important networks to be introduced for them to use in a safe and useful manner. My Colleague SingYing has talked in one of her post about such social networks, its uses and how we can teach young children the use of it.

Likewise there are number of ideas and benefits of Skype which can be used in developmentally appropriate manner. Have a look on the following link. It does help isn’t it for starters and those who have choppy thoughts like me initially.

Reference:

deviantART. [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://infinitywave.deviantart.com/art/Too-Many-Cooks-tee-278747640