Posts in July 2022

What is the child's individual ECEC plan?

Friday, July 29, 2022

According to the Finnish Act on Early Childhood Education and Care, every child in ECEC has the right to receive education and care that is systematic and goal-oriented. In order to achieve this, an individual ECEC plan is created for every child together with the child and their guardians. These plans include goals that are set together and promote the systematic care and education provided for the child. Read more: What is Finnish ECEC?

How is the child's individual plan created?

A child’s ECEC teacher is responsible for creating and evaluating the child’s individual ECEC plan. This is a process and involves several steps. In addition to a discussion and the writing process, the creation of a plan includes an assessment and observation of the child’s strengths, needs, and views, as well as an evaluation of the child’s previous ECEC plan. All staff members working with the children take part in the process, and the creation, observations, documentation, and evaluation are conducted multi-professionally.

The plan is based on the child’s strengths and interests, as well as on their best interest and needs. The pedagogical goals and measures, and any support measures and their implementation, are recorded in the plan. The linguistic and cultural background and linguistic skills and abilities of a child who speaks a foreign language or is bilingual are factored in when creating their individual plan. The child’s cultural and religious background will also be considered when creating the plan.

This is how the City of Helsinki has defined the child's individual learning:

How to create a useful curriculum framework for the center?

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Wondering what a curriculum framework really is?

"Curriculum is an organized framework that delineates the content children are to learn, the processes through which children achieve the identified curricular goals, what teachers do to help children achieve these goals and the context in which teaching and learning occur.”  

- National Association for the Education of Young Children  (NAEYC)

The Center's Curriculum consists of the information related to the children's learning process in one tight package. It is a guideline for the staff in their everyday work, and it also tells a lot of you and your values to the families. Therefore, it is a nice idea to have your Center's Curriculum available for the families too. With this as starting point, you can then plan your daily work and create the syllabus consisting of the weekly plans, preplanned lesson plans, etc. 

How to create the curriculum framework?

It is very important to think about how your center operates and what are the core values that everyone should know. Writing down the curriculum with the staff unites your team and sets everyone on the same page.

When planning, arranging and developing early childhood education and care, the primary goal must always be the overall wellbeing of the children. Children’s interests, wishes and needs guide the teachers work forward.  

I  have prepared a list of questions that guide you when writing down your Center’s Curriculum. The checklist is based on Finnish best practices. Naturally, you should adapt these to your local needs and requirements. Think of the questions in detail, as thinking of the themes ahead makes it all easier when the situation hits you - for example a case when someone is bullied. When your team has a clear practice of how to deal with bullying, families trust your professionalism and most of all children feel secure, valued, and happy.

Take a look at the themes and include the relevant ones in your Center’s Curriculum!

An amazing activity bank for learning colors

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Colors are one of the most interesting things for children to learn about!

In this post, you can find many inspiring online resources for teachers and engaging activity ideas for children that teach for example about colors and color mixing.

Here you can find a truly awesome summary of a ColorCurriculum about teaching colors by PEEP and the Big Wide World. Each week has a different theme (connected to colors) and a versatile plan for circle time and learning activities!

  1. Week: Exploring the shades of color
  2. Week: Mixing colors
  3. Week: Exploring color and light

The page by PEEP and the Big Wide World is absolutely great and gives teachers an amazing package about teaching colors (and other things in addition to that). Each activity has its materials, key science concepts, directions, topics to discuss, and instructions on how to run the activity. Each activity also has an estimated time frame as well as a possibility to print the plan out.

You as a teacher can follow the whole curriculum and have all the activities ready for three weeks, or choose the most interesting ones!

There is also a possibility to try Stand-alone activities if you are in need of a single activity related to colors only.

In case you are looking for online videos to boost up the lessons, below is a list of videos that teach children about color names and color mixing in a fun way!

  1. Learn colors via online story time

Watercolor painting with children is cool

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Wondering what to do next with the children? Painting is a great activity that invites children to play and explore the world of colors! Art activities are a way to relax, pursue creativity, learn about colors, play with water and practice fine motor skills.

How to prepare?

For watercolor painting, you will need watercolors, paint brush(es), large heavyweight white paper, masking tape for making the paper stay still, and cups of water.

When you are starting a watercolor painting with children it is good to teach the basics in the very beginning:

  • Show children how to dip the paintbrush into the water
  • Show children how to take color onto the paintbrush
  • Remind children to wash the paintbrush in between changing colors
  • Show children the magic of color mixing
    • yellow + blue = green
    • red + blue = purple
    • yellow + red = orange

Then let the children lead!

When you have set everything ready, there is really not much more to do than letting the children lead the game. Let the children decide what colors to use and what type of marks to paint.

It is much more fun and surprising when you do not give any specific orders or ideas on painting.

In case you are painting with little children, it is a good idea to assist with changing colors and washing the paintbrush every once in a while. With older children, you can for example give them a black permanent marker to add some drawings along the watercolor paint.

When the children seem ready, you may ask what did they paint and write down the name of the child/artist, the date, and what is on the picture described by the artist him/herself.

Also, remind the children to clean the paintbrush with lukewarm water after painting. Too hot water or soap can damage the paint brushes. You can clean the brush easily by making circles on your palm under the running water. When all the color has washed off, then set the paint brushes aside to dry.

Need more ideas?

Below are some links for more ideas on watercolor painting with children. Have fun!

Surprising rainbow activities

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Are you stressing to find new exciting and also pedagogical lesson plans for the children? Rainbows are lovely and an interesting topic to explore all year round! You can combine multiple learning areas with the theme; for example science, expressive arts and design, or mathematics.

Below you can find a selection of different kinds of rainbow activities for children inspired by Little bins for little hands! You can for example organize an entire theme week around rainbows or then choose a single activity.

The most important thing in the rainbow activities is of course the colors! There are 7 colors in the rainbow; violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. All activities include all the colors and children will surely get familiar with all of them during the activities.

1. Lego rainbow

Build a Lego or Duplo rainbow with children! First of all, look for colorful Lego bricks.

You will need:

  • Lego bricks in all the colors of the rainbow  
  • White Lego bricks for clouds
  • A base plate 

Encourage children to try to build their own rainbows by using their creativity and imagination! The only rule is they have to have all the seven colors included. In case you need some help and inspiration for Lego rainbows, look here

2. Rainbowater + paper experiment

In this scientific experiment, children will be amazed how the colors of the rainbow travel on paper!

You will need:

  • Water
  • 9 identical glass jars
  • Food coloring (red, blue, yellow)
  • Paper towels
  • Small spoons
  • Scissors

Take the glass jars and add water + food coloring to them (3 x red, 3 x yellow, 3 x blue). Try to add the same amount of food coloring to each jar and stir.

Cut thin and long strips of paper towel. The idea is that the paper strip fits in the glass jar so adjust the size based on the glass jars.

Organize the glass jars into a circle so that they are in order (red, yellow, blue, red, yellow, blue). Place the paper towel strips into the glass jars. There will be two ends in each tube so that the circle becomes finalized.

Wait and watch how the colors meet and mix. You can ask the children to anticipate what is going to happen. In case you want to see more information about the experiment, click here.

3. Real rainbows

If you are lucky you might get to see a real rainbow outside when it is both sunny and rainy! If that is not likely, you can create a rainbow by yourself!

You will need:

  • CDs
  • Flashlight
  • Crystal or prism

CDs + Flashlight = Make rainbows using a small flashlight and a CD. Shine the light from your flashlight onto the surface of the CD to make a bold beautiful rainbow.

Crystal + Natural light = Use a crystal or a prism and natural sunlight to make rainbows everywhere. Tiny rainbows appear all over the ceilings and walls as the light touches the crystal/prism. 

Let the children get creative and test out to see if they can come up with more ideas on how to make rainbows by using flashlights or natural light.

Kindiedays lesson plans - activities in all learning areas!

4. Playdough rainbow

Little hands get busy while molding cute little play dough rainbows!