Showing posts from June, 2016

When Parents Won’t Take the Teachers' Advice

“They don’t listen to us,” many a staff has told me when we discuss conversations with parents.It is a constant refrain among early childhood center directors.I teach about the ins and outs of requesting evaluation of early childhood students.Most attendees at these sessions agree that the most difficult part is when parents don’t listen.I teach about young children whose behavior we find challenging.Again, teachers and school directors bemoan the fact that they try to tell parents how to teach about behavior but they don’t listen.
“What do you do when the parents simply won’t listen?”a training attendee asked again just last week.
I answered, “I understand that they are not required to take my advice.”
The staff stared at me as most groups do when I say that.I say it without a “but” – without anywhere to go from there.I have stated one of the most difficult truths of being an early childhood educator – you cannot control the parents and you cannot force them into action.
I continued to e…

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Competitive Parenting: I Blame The Bumper Stickers…

Parenting is not a competitive sport.It isn’t about beating the team next door or across the street.It isn’t about having today’s most impressive brag status on social media.Parenting is about helping children to become reasonably well adjusted, independent, caring adults who walk through the world confident in who they are – strengths and weaknesses, good times and bad – and able to survive it all.Parenting is about your children who are someone today.Today, your children have gifts and challenges.Today, your children are trying to figure it all out.
As someone who talks often with parents in multiple settings, I am struck by the competitive nature of the landscape.Parents of preschoolers can tell me who among the other children are reading already or excelling at a sport or seem to be ahead of their own children in a variety of developmental tasks.Parents of high schoolers are inordinately informed about who is applying to what college and what other children’s standardized test scor…

Uninhibited Learning: Messiness Promotes Exploration and Discovery

My 19-year-old son is an artist.Before he paints, he dips his fingers in the paint.He explained to a friend, “If I start with paint on my hands, then I don’t worry about getting messy.If I am concentrating on not getting messy, then it inhibits my creativity.”
I feel like I spend my career convincing people to let the mess happen.Let the classroom get messy.Let the children dive in.I tell teachers, teacher assistants, directors, early ed. students – anyone within earshot.I tell parents, grandparents and even the children when they are hesitant.I have read the research, done research of my own and observed the difference in the scope of learning between the “dive in” method and the more neatness leaning environments.All that professional energy and my college age son described the issue best – “It inhibits my creativity.”
What exploration, discoveries and learning are inhibited when typically developing children are worried about getting their clothes messy?What don’t they find out if…