About Me

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Early childhood education has been my life for over 30 years. I have taught all age groups from infants to 5-year-olds. I was a director for five years in the 1980s, but I returned to the classroom 22 years ago. My passion is watching the ways children explore and discover their world. In the classroom, everything starts with the reciprocal relationships between adults and children and between the children themselves. With that in mind, I plan and set up activities. But that is just the beginning. What actually happens is a flow that includes my efforts to invite, respond and support children's interface with those activities and with others in the room. Oh yeh, and along the way, the children change the activities to suit their own inventiveness and creativity. Now the processes become reciprocal with the children doing the inviting, responding and supporting. Young children are the best learners and teachers. I am truly fortunate to be a part of their journey.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

CONFERENCE THANK YOU

I would like to thank the 50+ who attended my presentation on sand and water tables at the Minnesota Association for the Education of Young Children annual state conference on Saturday. There was not a lot of time for questions; I tend have way too much material to present.  If you have lingering questions, please feel free to contact me with any of your questions.

Whenever I do a conference, I am always asked about how do I regulate children's behavior at the sensory table.  The answer may surprise you, but I do very little actual regulating at the sensory table.  I set up the apparatus---that is my creative outlet---and then I turn it over to the children, who do a very good job of self-regulating their own behavior.  If you want to learn more about my views on this topic, check out my post from October 13, 2011 entitled: SELF-REGULATION AT THE SENSORY TABLE.

When I was preparing the presentation this time, I had one goal in mind.  That was to inspire attendees to build on their own.  Though I presented many different apparatus and continue to post the new apparatus I build on this blog, those are just examples.  Copy if you want.  Someone said that is the highest form of flattery.  I think that if you build on your own ideas with the materials you have available using the framework of elements and dimensions featured on the right-hand column of this blog, you will be pleasantly surprised at your own capabilities.  Not only that, but you will also be pleased at how the children respond to your efforts.  What do you say to children who tell you they can't do something?  I would guess it would be something like: "Give it a try."  Or maybe: "I know you can do it.  Just try."

Let me give you just one example of something a colleague built using materials she had available.
The colleague works in an infant/toddler room.  She duct taped plastic baskets together and provided various lids so the children could insert them into the holes.  This does not look like anything I have ever built.  However, it does two things that line up with the framework on the right-hand column, namely: levels are created by stacking the baskets and plenty of holes are provided for play and exploration.

Build it and they will come.  You will be tempted to play yourself, but make sure you take time to step back to observe the flow of play.



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