Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Observing Communication

This past week we had my husband's family visit from New York. My brother in law is 29 years old and he has down syndrome. He is one of the most loyal, fun, smart, loving individuals that I have ever met and I'm so thankful to be a part of his family. One day while they were visiting we decided to grill out and have a barbecue. All of us went outside and sat on the back patio while watching the kids swim, we talked, laughed and just had a good time. This is where I observed Marc communicating with my daughter, Lailie.

Lailie was playing and swimming. She would go back and fourth between the four wheeler and the pool, play in the sprinkler and then want to swing on her playground set. Marc was so kind in speaking to her. There was a time Lailie was in the pool and she was splashing and getting the grill wet while it was on. Marc said "No, no Lailie Bear (Notice how he gives her a nickname here) and he says "You can't do that because were trying to cook." He directs her attention and throws in some water rings for the tubes that she has to find.

It melted my heart that Marc kept an eye on her and played with her and talked with her. He's such a good uncle! When Lailie was on her four wheeler he would walk over to a specific place in the yard and say "You can't get me, Lailie" and he would laugh. Lailie thought it was funny of course and would go after him on her four wheeler. "In my experience working with children, the way I know a child is to see their play. And the way I can find out about their play is first watch them, and then ask them questions about where they are in their play mind." (Kolbeck, 2013) "Where are you going" Marc asked as Lailie turned the four wheeler the wrong way. Haha :-) Lailie is 2 years old and has Apraxia of speech so she does not use a lot of words and the words that she does use are one words or two words put together, no more then that. "In my time with the children, I learned that each child has a different style, and is likely to talk in different ways and in different contexts. I needed to find ways they could communicate that were enjoyable for them." (Stephenson, 2009)

To make the communication more effective and more affirming Marc could have been a better listener and listened to Lailie more. A big part of communicating effectively is being a good listener. Lailie could have listened to Marc a little better as well. Marc could have asked a few more open ended questions.

It amazes me how Lailie understands Marc and how he speaks even though he speaks differently then most people. She loves being around him, she understands him, and she looks up to him. The communication interactions between Lailie and Marc were overall great and fun experiences for the both of them. Of course everyone could use improvement but life is about learning. The observations really made Lailie laugh and smile.

The adult-child communication that I observed this week compares to how I communicate with children in the way that I'm always thinking, always speaking, always asking questions. At the same time I'm always listening to what others say. I'm a good listener! That's one of my strong points! What I have learned about myself this week is that there are always things I can do to become a more effective communicator. As a future educator, I want to make sure I gain all the skills and knowledge needed to be the most effective teacher I can be. I know how very important communication is, not just with the children/students but with their families too.

Kolbeck. (2013). []. Strategies for working with diverse children “communicating with young children., Retrieved from http://mym.cdn.laureate-media.com/Walden/EDUC/6358/03/downloads/WAL_EDUC6358_03_A_EN.pdf

Stephenson, A. (2009). Conversations with a 2-year-old. EBSCOhost, 95. Retrieved from http://ehis.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=fd96cc78-f0ac-439e-8ce7-22d2d0ba6ffd@sessionmgr14&vid=2&hid=2

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Creating Affirming Environments

For many years I have had the dream of one day wanting to open up my own child-care center. I just adore being around children and contributing to their growth and development. I love making a difference and I think having my own child care center would be the perfect opportunity to changes lives in a positive way!
If I was the owner/director of a child care center I would want it to be very big, have lots of room/space for children to walk around and play in. I would want it to be safe, warm and welcoming, and offer a lot of learning tools for children. My dream child care center would have a big rug with the letters of the alphabet on it. Over by the big rug would be an easel and a comfortable chair to sit in for story/reading time. It's where I would want my students to sit and listen as I read them many stories throughout the day. It would be colorful and comfortable. I would have at least two big tables for all the children for when we do curriculum. I would have a separate room which would be a lunch room where the children would eat their lunch. The room would have a built in kitchen in it. (Children would be required to bring their own lunch but I would offer snacks and juice/milk.) 

I would have many centers. Art center, science center, reading/writing center, sensory center, history center, music center, dramatic play center, block/building center, exploration center, and I would have a water/sand section. Each center would be labeled. "The use of centers in preschool is a valuable way to keep children engaged in positive and constructive activities. Centers promote independence, social skills, creativity, interests, and more." (Stewart, 2010) I would have a lot of dolls, puzzles, games, books, learning games, bulletin board displays, and learning material for the children.

My childcare center would have a lot of the children's art work on the wall, posters that promote diversity, and positive quotes."The toys, materials, and equipment you put out for your children; the posters, pictures, and art objects you hang on the wall; and the types of furniture and how you arrange them all influence what children learn." (Sparks & Edwards, 2010)

My child care center would have a beautiful playground area with many things to play on. (Age appropriate) It would have two playground areas; one for the smaller children and one for the older children.

I would create an anti-bias curriculum and activities for children. Each week we would do a different theme and make it fun in the classroom"Common preschool and Kindergarten themes typically focus on self-discovery, children's families, children's neighborhoods, community helpers, transportation, work, and harvesting food." (Sparks & Edwards, 2010)

Each child would have their own cubby with their name on it. They would bring a backpack with extra clothes, necessities needed for class each day, their lunchboxes, etc. 

I would also hire experienced, loving, caring, trained individuals who were only the best! I truly feel like the people you hire at a child care center make all the difference in the world. Everything would be organized and each day would be so much fun!

I hope one day I will be able to fulfil my dream of becoming a child-care owner :-)

Stewart, D. (2013, April 30). Centers in the preschool classroom. Retrieved from http://www.teachpreschool.org/2010/04/centers

Sparks, L., & Edwards, J. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. (p. 43). Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.