Posts in September 2022

Are you ready to renew Early Education?

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The Challenge

In many countries, the government has given prime importance to Early Childhood Education. This will no doubt raise the bar for quality education across the whole market.

  1. Play-, activity- and inquiry-based learning is in focus
  • Learning objectives guide the planning and implementation of activities.
  • Assessment is all about examining and developing the children's learning.
  1. Parents need to be empowered
  • Parents have an important role in the child’s learning.
  • New ways for them to participate and take responsibility need to be developed.
  1. Preschools and childcare centers face increased competition
  • The renewal underlines the achievement and accountability of prescribed curricular standards.
  • Parents ask for proof of their children’s learning and want to see Return on Investment.

New competencies and new working methods are now required to achieve the desired outcomes in preschool. The use of new technology is also a prerequisite for making the change successful.

Why play?

Play motivates the children and simply brings joy. In early childhood education and care, it is necessary to understand the value of play for children. Play has also pedagogical significance in learning as well as in children’s holistic growth and well-being.

Play is a key practice in early childhood education and care. It is important for teachers to observe children’s play and either guide it from outside or participate in it. The presence of teachers in play situations supports interaction among the children and prevents conflicts.

Children’s learning environments need to be flexible, as play and games can take place anywhere depending on the children’s imagination and wishes. Play and therefore learning happens everywhere, not only during guided activities or circle time. Children might learn various things while for example taking a stroll in the forest (tree species), building a Lego tower (counting blocks), or dressing up a doll (body parts). Check our recent blog to learn more about Playful Learning.

A structured end-to-end-learning process is required

The whole learning process needs to be revisited to support holistic learning:

  • Upgrade the learning objectives
  • Create pedagogical activities that match the learning objectives
  • Let children learn by play
  • Document the learning moments
  • Reflect on the learning with the children
  • Engage families in learning
  • Assess learning with portfolios
  • Ensure quality with statistics

Learning from best practices can significantly speed up the planning and implementation. In Scandinavian countries, children are given intensive support – not academic teaching - until they are “school-ready”. This has shown a significant impact

ABC's of storytime

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

"It's stoooorytiimeeee!" and everyone gathers around you. It is because children love stories. They do!

According to an article in New York Times, reading is super important to a toddler’s intellectual, social, and emotional development. When you read books with toddlers, they take it all in like little sponges: vocabulary and language structure, numbers and math concepts, colors, shapes, animals, opposites, manners, and all kinds of useful information about how the world works.

How to document in early education?

How to create a fun and engaging storytime with children?

A. Create a calm atmosphere

Reading books with toddlers is also one of the best ways to get them to slow down, sit down and focus for a while. It does not matter if the children can not stay absolutely still or quiet, as long as they do not disturb other children's story time experience.

Make sure that all children have a comfortable spot to sit or lay on, preferably on the floor with maybe some soft cushions. Also, ensure that everyone sees the book, so it is a good idea that the educator sits on a chair higher than the children.

B. Engage children

Before starting the book you can sing a song together just to get everyone's focus. Better yet, choose a song that is connected to the theme of the book! Or you could also come up with a theme song that anticipates that story time is starting! Then children know that when they hear the song, it is time to calm down and listen to a story. Routines are gold.

It’s ok if children interrupt and ask questions during the story because interruptions show that the children are listening. If children don’t seem engaged by the story or words, you can ask what they see in the pictures. Point at things and let children explain what is happening!

Make eye contact with the children, but don’t look for any particular reaction. It may sometimes seem that children are not listening, but they are absorbing the experience in their own way and might surprise you later..!

Storyline Online - King of Kindergarten

C. Use gestures, actions, sounds, and facial expressions freely

It is great fun if you can engage all the children in the story while listening in their seats. For example, if a gobbling is opening a door in the book, ask all the children to pretend they are opening the door with you. Or if there is a windy day in the story, ask all the children to blow like a wind! As well as, when someone is going to sleep, encourage the children to close their eyes quietly too.

When reading, try to identify with the characters in the book by converting your voice, making appropriate gestures, and versatile facial expressions. Also, do not hurry with reading too much.

My Hero is You storybook about COVID-19 for children

How to choose good books for story time?

A. Respect the children’s preferences

Each child has their individual tastes and opinions. One could be all excited about fairies, as the other one about talking trucks. Encourage children to express what they like about their books, and find more books like those.

Also, you can ask all children to bring their favorite books from home and you will have lovely and interesting books to read for a couple of weeks at least! Each child can have a day in the spotlight when you are reading his or her special book at storytime.

B. Expand the children's world

How to handle a temper tantrum?

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Toddlers can get pretty difficult at times. They do not always pick the time for a tantrum very thoughtfully either. A child can have a tantrum during quiet time, when crossing the road, at the checkout, or while dressing up.

No matter what happens and where, there are theories and constructive guidelines on how to handle those situations in a positive and brain-friendly way.

Neuropsychiatrist Dr. Daniel J. Siegel explains that it is the child's undeveloped brain that is the reason for those tantrums and there is nothing the young child can do to avoid that reaction to an overwhelming situation.

Parts of the brain are still developing until the mid-twenties, so no wonder small children cannot manage their every emotion and act 'properly'!! The adult's job is to calm, guide, and help the child to understand his reactions and discuss them through.

Dr. Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson introduce 12 key strategies in their book
The Whole-Brain Child to cope with temper tantrums. Here is the first half:

  1. Name It to Tame It: Try to discuss, reason, name emotions, and go through the difficult situations by wording them to calm down emotional storms and bodily tension.
  2. Engage, Don't Enrage: Try to keep the child focused on thinking and listening, instead of purely reacting.
  3. Move It or Lose It: Use physical activities and movement to shift the child's emotional state.
  4. Let the Clouds of Emotion Roll By: Let children understand, that emotions come and go. For example, anger floats away as storm clouds do too.
  5. SIFT: Help children pay attention to their Sensations, Images, Feelings, and Thoughts so that they can make better decisions and be more flexible in their actions.
  6. Connect Through Conflict: Use discord to encourage empathy and greater social success.

Literature tips for educators all over the world!

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Children learn something new every day, but how about us teachers? When have you taken some time for your own learning, new ideas, and exciting inspiration?

Here is a list of books that are worth reading for everyone working in the field of early childhood education! Every educator around the world can take a look at these tips and hopefully find something interesting!

Playful learning in early childhood education in Finland

Pirkko Karvonen 2022

"This book is intended for all persons working with children aged 0-7 years and who do the vital work, for instance, in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) centres, kindergartens, nurseries or schools. This book is also an excellent tool for training ECEC teachers.

The focus of the book is to describe early childhood education and care in Finland from a theoretical and practical perspective. The book contains over 100 practical and playful activities for children under seven years of age. The authors give concrete examples and ideas for how to implement activities with children to learn through play.

The book is based on the Finnish pedagogical practices, scientific research, and development projects from ECEC and is also based on Finnish National Core Curriculum for ECEC."

- Otava Publishing house

→ Read more about the book and Finnish education from here

 → Finland's play pedagogy by Kindiedays

The Giant Encyclopedia of Lesson Plans for Children

Kathy Charner, Maureen Murphy & Charlie Clark

"Written and created by teachers, The GIANT Encyclopedia of Lesson Plans has more than 250 complete lesson plans, covering topics from colors and numbers to seasons and nursery rhymes.

Each lesson plan is complete with learning objectives, a circle or group time activity, book suggestions, snack ideas, five learning center activities, assessment strategies, and related songs, poems, and fingerplays.

With easy-to-use lesson plans for more than an entire school year, this book belongs on every teacher's bookshelf!"

- Gryphon publishing house

→ Read more about the amazing lesson plans here

→ See the entire Giant Encyclopedia series from here !

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind

Daniel J. Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson

"A toddler throws a tantrum in the middle of a store. A preschooler refuses to get dressed. Do children conspire to make adults’ lives endlessly challenging? No-it’s just their developing brain calling the shots!

In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the bestselling book Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson demystify the meltdowns and aggravation, explaining the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures.

The “upstairs brain,” which makes decisions and balances emotions, is under construction until the mid-twenties. And especially in young children, the right brain and its emotions tend to rule over the logic of the left brain. No wonder kids can seem-and feel-so out of control.

By applying these discoveries, you can turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child’s brain and foster vital growth. Raise calmer, happier children using twelve key strategies."

- Dr. Daniel Siegel

 → Download the Whole-Brain Child how-to-react sheet  

A note to child's caregivers about how to handle behavioral challenges 

→ Read more and order the book from here

Effective Practices in Early Childhood Education: Building a Foundation

Sue Bredekamp

"Provide the building blocks for understanding effective practices in early childhood education!

Inspired by her own classroom experiences, Sue Bredekamp designed Effective Practices in Early Childhood Education: Building a Foundation to empower a new generation of teachers who can make a difference in children’s lives.

An entire chapter introduces readers to developmentally appropriate practices (DAP) for early childhood education. Subsequent chapters are organized according to the NAEYC guidelines, which Bredekamp has co-authored for over 30 years.

Building on the DAP framework, Bredekamp focuses on three themes that are essential to quality teaching: intentional teaching, developmentally appropriate curriculum, and evidence-based, effective practices.

Also, an expanded discussions of ways to support and protect the role of play in children’s education, a completely revised chapter on STEM teaching and learning, and a great focus on culturally responsive curriculum keep readers up to date on the dynamic field of early education."

→ Check out the preface of the book
→ Read more about the book from here

Young Investigators: The Project Approach in the Early Years

Judy Harris Helm & Lilian G. Katz

How to use a document archive and share documents on Kindiedays Apps

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Get organized and paper free!

Gone are the days of paper-filled folders overflowing the office space! Store your documents and files online with cloud-based services such as Google Drive. Share the link to the document to allow access for Educators and Families from Kindiedays Apps.

Learn how to enhance Kindiedays with a document/file archive!

A modern childcare center has more and more documents and files in digital form such as instructions, forms, manuals, weekly plans, learning activities, etc.

The majority of these documents are created, edited, and used from a PC outside the daily learning process managed with Kindiedays. However, storing and sharing them in paper form or on the PC is not convenient and access rights are difficult to manage.  Thus we recommend storing and organizing the information in a common digital archive (cloud service) such as Google Drive. Apple and Microsoft also provide cloud storage that works in a similar way.