Debra S. Honegger has worked in multiple areas of education- both general education and special education- as teacher, consultant, administrator and instructional coach- with ages from birth through adult. However, no matter where she is or what her title, she holds a firm belief in meeting the needs of each individual child while coming together as a community of learners.
Play based learning builds emotional resilience and strength in children as well as enhances confidence. Through free choice play, children gain empathy and impulse control. Play is essential to the children’s development to build emotional strength. Therefore, lots of child-directed play is crucial, now more than ever.
Encourage parents to allow their children to play; to not feel pressured to engage their child with worksheets or technology programs thinking that they are preparing their child for school. Lots and lots of play, not worksheets and not technology games that are simply worksheets on a screen, will provide the foundation of creativity, resilience, engagement and persistence required for later academic learning.
Below if a a free download containing slides regarding the importance of play as well as some ideas and tips on play for parents. Feel free to share one a week to encourage parents to allow their children to engage in play.
One of the best ways to help children prepare their minds and bodies to be ready to learn is through deep breathing.
Deep breathing is a quick and efficient strategy for lowering stress in the body. When we breathe deeply, a message is sent to your brain to calm down and relax.
Have fun practicing deep breathing to calm the brain and the body to be ready to learn. We still have two to three days (depending on the school district) for some purposeful, target-driven learning to occur. Use this turkey deep breathing to add in some holiday fun while preparing the mind so that the learning will stick!
We can reframe the way we view behavior to look through a lens that all behavior is a form of communication or a need for skill fluency practice (need for the behavior to be explicitly taught with precise language and practiced multiple times in multiple situations).
We also reframe our requests to students to specifically teach what we DO want students to be doing. We are teaching the correct behavior instead of giving attention to the incorrect behavior.
Using positive, precise language to help support the development and practice of social and emotional skills.
REFRAME to the POSITIVE and/or to the PRECISE
Use walking feet to stay safe.
Use a quiet voice to be ready.
Don’t touch the wall.
Keep your hands locked in front of you to stay safe. (behind you). (make sure students understand the vocabulary of in front and behind)
Walk on the line a shopping cart length behind your friend to stay safe.
Listen to me
Eyes are watching me, ears are listening to my voice, hands and feet are still to be ready.
Put away your coat.
Hang up your coat on the hook in your cubby to be responsible. (remember that “put away” at home might mean throwing the coat in the corner)
Stop playing with your mask.
The mask needs to stay on your face. We are being kind to ourselves and each other by wearing our mask. We will go outside soon for a break.
Don’t grab it from your friend.
Everyone has their own supplies. Please use the items in front of you or raise your hand if you can’t find yours.
Many children need explicit, direct teaching of skills. Below is a resource that may help.
Two Versions- click on the links to view them at TpT- then sign up for my blog and send me an email at email@example.com and let me know which version you would like to use. I will send it to you at no cost.
In the blog post, Social Emotional Learning Remote Style, posted on September 10, I added the SEL definition from CASEL. As a district SEL team, we did a deeper dive into the defintion by pulling out the verbs, nouns and adjectives. It helps to provide a perspective of the key words and the focus, especially when you group together all of the words in one part of speech and ponder each set separately and then together.
We are all in this together for distance learning. Therefore, I am sharing as a FREE DOWNLOAD the second week of social emotional activities for home.
The Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines SEL as “…the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”
CASEL also reminds us that social emotional learning starts at home. Families play a crucial role in the child’s development of self-regulation, emotion management, problem-solving skills as well as the building of a healthy positive self-esteem.
Social emotional learning is more critical than ever right now but the challenge for teachers is how to help students engage in SEL activities through remote or distance learning. I developed a week of activities for families to complete together. Keep checking back to journeyintoearly childhood.com for further weeks of activities or just sign up to receive the blog directly to your email on the home page. https://journeyintoearlychildhood.com/
Please feel free to use any part of this slide deck that will benefit your students. If sharing with other staff members, please refer them to this website page.
Nature is an incredibly powerful aspect of classroom environment design. It provides an infinite supply of experiences. It also conveys a sense of calmness and a home-like quality to provide a conducive learning environment for children.
Therefore, we decided to make number posters from sticks and pebbles (in 2019). Note: This is a great activity that can be done while still maintaining social distancing between students!! Add to the activity by taking the class outside for a much-needed breather and break to collect the pebbles and sticks. You can then add in additional objectives prior to gluing them such as counting, sorting, placing in length or size order, patterning, etc.
This activity not only brought in some nature to the environment but it was also incorporated multiple learning targets:
Numerals- how they are formed= straight and curved lines
The vocabulary of horizontal, vertical and diagonal
Measurement: measured with cubes to determine the length of the stick needed
Young children flow through the day with a lot less stress and upset feelings when the day is predictable. Young children have a sense of control over their emotions and they feel safe and secure when they know what to expect and what is coming next. In the classroom, we implement a detailed visual schedule. As we finish an activity, we turn over the card listing the activity and discuss the expectations for the next event. The visual schedule becomes an anchor for the children.
Benefits of a home daily schedule include…
allows your child some independence of being able to “read” what comes next instead of always asking you
helps your child transition from one activity to the next
provides a format for him/her to begin to understand that words hold meaning and
assists in avoiding some power struggles and/or behavioral meltdowns. the schedule is the one telling his/her what to do next and he/she can view when something they prefer is coming up on the schedule. You can also use the language of, “When we complete…, then we can ….”
Some tips on how you can modify the classroom daily, visual schedule for your home to provide additional emotional security and predictability for your child.
Your home schedule should be generated as a block of activities (i.e. Morning Routine (wake up, dress, brush teeth and eat); School Activities; Play, etc.) instead of with specific times as we do in the classroom to allow you flexibility
Hold a family meeting either each evening at bedtime or each morning during breakfast and allow your child to help develop the schedule.
Remember that the schedule does not have to be perfect, it is a guide for the day. Life might happen and everything on the schedule might not get done- that is okay.
When it is time to transition to a new activity, ask your child, “What does the schedule tell us to do next?” Allow your child the control of turning over or removing the activity card when it is completed or move a clothespin to the next activity when it is time for a transition.
If your child asks throughout the day for preferred activities such as when he/she can go outside, allow him/her to check their schedule to determine how many more activities before the preferred event.
Children (Prekindergarten and Kindergarten) should be allowed at least one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon for free choice play that does not include any type of technology device. Play does not need a lot of purchased items. Let your child be creative with the use of recyclable materials such as toilet paper tubes, boxes, magazines, etc. Allow him/her to create art items and/or use the items in dramatic play such as a toilet paper tube can become a phone, a one-inch thick wood piece cut from a branch can become a cookie, a paper plate becomes a wheel in the auto shop for changing tires.
Back in February of 2019, we talked about the importance of daily greetings…
TOP 10 Reasons Why to Greet Students at the Door Each and Every Morning
• Provides a smile and a reassurance that the teacher is glad the student came to school today, which sets the tone for a positive day
• Promotes a strong relationship between the teacher and student • Enhances a positive classroom climate
• Provides a moment of connection when you greet them by name- young children love to hear their name – let’s use them in positive statements
• Assists children with letting go of issues that may have occurred on the bus or at home- they are being welcomed to a new start to the day
• Promotes a sense of belonging and trust that the classroom is a safe place
• Provides social and emotional support
• Demonstrates and models of how to greet others, how to use kind words, and how to be respectful
• Provides a proactive, preventive technique to reduce challenging behaviors
• Starts the day for the teacher with LOTS of smiles and positive interactions!
Greeting our students is more important than ever. Students need to feel wanted and welcomed into the classroom. However, for now, we need to modify our greetings to include no touching options- including even no bumping of hips or elbows. ESPECIALLY elbows since we ask students to cough into their elbows!!
Hello Early Learning Families, One of the best ways to cultivate self-reliance and self-confidence is to give your children developmentally appropriate responsibilities. Plus, young children naturally want to help, feel important, and contribute to the family. Sincerely, Debra Honegger Early Learning Consultant
Young children want to help with cooking, cleaning, and other real work. When you share tasks, you help your child: *Feel important *Care about others *Be a contributing part of the family *Feel capable *Be independent *Learn important life skills *Participate in family routines
Teach and model tasks that your child appears capable of doing and in which he/she appears interested. TIPS · *Patiently help when children need support or make mistakes. “That’s okay. Let’s get a towel to clean up the water that spilled over the dog bowl.” · *Offer choices when you can. “Let’s fold the clothes. Do you want to sort the shirts or the socks?” · *When possible, allow your child to decide what needs to be done. “What should we do next to get the table ready for dinner? “
· *Encourage efforts and avoid pointing out mistakes. “I noticed how carefully you washed the cup. “
· * Don’t expect the task to be completed to the same standards as you would have done it and don’t redo it while he/she is in eyesight.
* Avoid jumping in and doing it for him/her. Allow your child to feel the pride of accomplishing the task.
ADDITIONAL BENEFIT OF GIVING RESPSONSIBLITIES= Develops Gross and Fine Motor Skills Activities such as putting groceries away and digging in the garden promote large motor development, while fine motor development can be encouraged through activities like peeling an orange. Hands-on learning is an important part of brain development in childhood.
Math Skills Activities that involve counting such as counting the number of plates or silverware to place on the table, naming the shapes of toys as they are put away or counting to five while pouring water on a plant all help build math skills while completing a needed family responsibility.