Integral Education: Strategic Challenges & Road-Map ahead (X). Strategic Innovation in Education – How do preschoolers learn? (Part F).
Hope you are thriving in every single way. It is Wednesday, a middle day of the last week of November. Soon it will be Christmas time! I am so happy about it. Let´s start. As promised previously find the following presentation summary about the developmental milestones in each critical area for Preschoolers. Please read it carefully. I have gathered information from websites, which I consider as reliable sources. Remember I am writing this saga, with a goal in mind. It is my own personal reflection of what to consider when thinking in the Early Childhood Education strategy for pre-schoolers. Someday I will be a mom, and I would like to educate my future babies with an integral approach.
If you wish to download the last slides in PDF, click here please: Eliescalante November 2018 Integral Education Education Preschoolers.
At the end of the presentation, Eleonora Escalante Strategy gives some personal advice about the use of technology for this stage. If I am wrong about this advice, my apologies are extended in advance. But it is just my personal opinion.
In addition, I have found some pretty good information about early childhood education at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. I invite you to subscribe to this website and read it often, particularly if you are an early educator or a parent. Two articles from there took my attention because they are linked with the skills and developmental milestones of preschoolers age.
According to Erika Christakis, a lecturer at Yale University, who has decades of experience teaching in pre-schools and author of the book “The Importance of Being Little”, genetically we are provided with a blueprint of early development, but early experiences and relationships shape the foundation of kids brains and mindset. Christakis states that a critical aspect for creating a solid foundation is an early environment with the following characteristics:
- Warm and close relationships between preschoolers with adults,
- Responsive conversations, and
- Natural habitats.
I agree with Christakis a lot. Based on my observations, I have understood it. Preschoolers have a natural curiosity and the desire to make sense of their world. Christakis remarks that a good teacher, then, creates a “responsive learning environment” that is full of opportunities to play and explore, while weaving instruction into activities in naturally occurring ways. But this requires teachers who are highly skilled—who understand development, can connect with children, and can create and feel into learning moments with spontaneity.
“Teachers need to be good observers of children and truly get inside a child’s perspective. They need skillful language to draw out a child’s learning and not shut it down, facilitating a two-way conversation that gently advances educational ideas. Good teachers work in the child’s “zone of proximal development,” watching for the sweet spot for learning that is “just the next step.” They respect a child’s knowledge and power to learn and offer affectionate, warm interactions”.
“The basis for emerging literacy is that children have heard and listened, they have been heard, they have spoken and been spoken to, people have discussed things with them, and they have asked questions and received answers.”
Pre-schoolers they need opportunities to be creative and productive and try new things, to grow self-regulation and communication skills, and even to develop a sense of humor. They need magic, and boredom, and room for their imagination, fantasies, and feelings.
Christakis book The Importance of Being Little is a must-read for anyone with a two- to five-year-old, as well as for preschool professionals.
I also would like to share some interesting wisdom about empathy. This is because I believe our planet is losing empathy, with the emergence of “our selfies cult technologies” or “all about me” digital world. Personally, I believe, empathy is one of the most important qualities we need to keep and teach to preschoolers. I found a book from Michele Borba, UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World.
“According to Borba, low levels of empathy are rampant in our culture, and in kids, that’s associated with bullying, cheating, weak moral reasoning, and mental health issues, like anxiety and depression. Her book is a call to parents, teachers, and other caring adults to help encourage children to develop empathy and generosity toward others, and it’s full of research-based tips on how to do so”.
Below are some of Borba’s book suggestions. Please read the full article here: Seven Ways to Foster Empathy in Kids.
- “Help kids develop a moral identity. Borba argues that we need to help kids develop a moral identity, not just praise them for good deeds.
- Give kids “do-overs” rather than simply punishing them. Borba suggests four steps to help kids respond more empathically: 1) Call attention to uncaring behavior; 2) Assess how uncaring affects others, helping kids to understand another’s perspective; 3) Repair the hurt and make amends; and 4) Express disappointment for uncaring behavior, while stressing expectations for caring behavior in the future.
- Encourage empathy through stories. Borba encourages adults to help kids build their empathy muscles through play-acting, reading books that let them get inside characters’ minds, and watching inspiring movies. Activities that allow careful reflection on how others are feeling in a given situation help build the skills needed for moral action.
- Support empathy education in school. At pre-school, there are several activities to support empathy: kindness board for listing kind acts; program for teaching cooperation and empathy on the playground, or cooperative learning program to help students decrease prejudice and increase caring in the classroom.
- Examine your values. “If we are serious about raising a kindhearted, caring generation, then our expectations must be a lot clearer to our kids,” writes Borba. “And understanding how kindness benefits children and gives them an advantage for success and happiness might be just the motivator to change our own ways.”
- Be mindful of social media use. Borba also bemoans social media culture, which can take time away from face-to-face encounters where empathy is born. She advises parents to pay careful attention to how much time their kids spend online and to make sure that time is balanced with more in-person conversations and a focus on caring.
- Help kids find their inner hero. The book also discusses heroic action in kids, including what prompts kids to all together stand up to bullies. Many kids don’t intervene in bullying because they feel powerless, don’t know what to do, assume someone else will intervene, or worry they won’t get support from adults. To help our kids act courageously, it’s important that we help kids find their inner hero “as a group” by setting a good example of standing up for others ourselves, by teaching them how to effectively say no to a bully and diffuse bullying situations, and by making them aware of how peers can support each other”.
Finally, I would like to express something that I would like to apply when it comes the time I will have my future babies with Alex Guillermo Lozano Artolachipi. Early Childhood Education is all about teaching your kids how to learn with your own behavior. Lead them with your own example. If you wish your kid to be positive, be positive. If you wish your kid to glorify God and be thankful for God´s miracle of Nature; be thankful to God with your behavior. If you wish a happy kid, be happy. If you wish a lovely and authentic child, be lovely and authentic. If you wish a curious explorer kid; be curious and explorer. If you wish a compassionate, gentle and kind child; be compassionate, gentle and kind. If you wish a balanced and peaceful kid, be balanced and peaceful. If you wish a problem solver kid, be a problem solver. If you wish a courageous child, be courageous. If you wish an innovative and social kid, be innovative and social with your behavior, not with your smartphone.
This is all for today. On my next publication, we will continue with the kindergarten stage. Next, it will be K-12. Stay tuned!
Have a beautiful night, thank you.
Source References utilized to write this article:
Disclaimer: All the presentation slides shown on this blog are prepared by Eleonora Escalante MBA-MEng. Nevertheless, all the pictures or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.
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