Showing posts from September, 2015

The Blessing of a Life Before and After 9/11

My father died on February 23, 2001.  He didn’t live to see the horrific events of September 11, 2001.  His life was lived entirely in a pre-9/11 world. 
When my father was alive, we would go to Washington, DC and drive on the street right in front of the White House.  We lived in New Jersey and would, on a whim, decide to go to the Statue of Liberty and go up to the pedestal.  No pre-purchased tickets and security line required.  My father loved to go to the airport, walk to the gate and watch the planes take off and land.  When I was a girl, I stood with him at the gate and he pointed out the different types of aircraft.  My father died too young at 61 years old and it occurs to me now that he really was of a different era.  Everything changed on September 11, 2001 and he lived in a world before it.
I teach the next generation – the post September 11, 2001 babies – who were not born before our lives changed.  They do not know the horror of that day first hand.  They have always kno…

Fostering Hope

According to the developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, “Hope is both the earliest and the most indispensable virtue inherent in the state of being alive. If life is to be sustained hope must remain, even where confidence is wounded, trust impaired.”  He taught that hope develops in infancy as babies are learning trust vs. mistrust.  Infants are dependent on caregivers to meet their needs.  When their needs are met, they learn trust.  When their needs are not immediately met, they learn mistrust.  A child who is nurtured well and experiences and successfully resolves the stage of trust vs. mistrust develops hope. What a sweet notion that is!  A baby cries and we attend to her needs so she develops hope.  She has hope that she will be helped when needed, cared for and nurtured.  That hope, an attitude related to optimism, confidence and self-motivation, has to continue to be fostered beyond infancy.  It does, however, need to have its roots planted in achievable goals and real world…

Awaken Your Child’s Critical Thinking Skills by Asking Questions

Adults tend to talk and tell but it is through asking questions that we create thinkers.  Parents and educators need to intentionally ask many different types of questions to extend children’s thinking and encourage them to analyze.   A critical thinker spends time analyzing, evaluating, problem solving and decision making.  Children who are taught to do so in the early childhood years will be more used to that sort of thinking as they grow and are asked to participate in more complex science, math and literacy lessons.
Young children need to be asked open ended questions and those that ask them to make choices.  Young children can be offered the opportunity to answer, “What do you want to do?”  Instead of dictating the topics and themes for their projects in preschool, they should be asked what they want to make and with what materials.  When teachers simply select the materials and the children have no choice, an important thinking moment is lost.
One of my favorite questions to as…