Partners In Learning Blog Team

Partners In Learning Blog Team
Blog Team

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Who has the time??

Ahhhhh!!! So it's almost 9 pm and guess who's just now getting around to her blog? That would be this lady, right over here. Last week the blog didn't even get written. Why?  It's very much as I love to present myself as a working mother that has her ducks in a row and my life together, it's just not true 100% of the time. Kids get sick, I get sick, I run late, I over schedule myself, and sometimes it just all catches up with me. 

So how do we solve this problem??? I have not a clue, but I'm trying to work it out!! I've been reading some other parenting blogs that have some great time management tips.  Here are a few I've found that I'm going to try to put in to practice:

    1. Take an extre few minuets in the evenings to get everything you need for the next day prepped and ready.  Clothes, food prep for meals, and your kiddos things too.  
    2.  Don't over commit, it's okay if you can't bake cookies for the bake sale, drive the carpool, organize the next fundraiser, and run the neighbor hood watch all at once. Saying no is hard, but necessary sometimes.
    3.  Make time for the fun stuff, don't put fun family time or an evening with friends off because you have housework to do.  The dishes will be there tomorrow, opportunities to make memories with loved ones may not. has several great articles about balancing work and family, as well as other time management tips.  Check it out! 

Crystal Drye
NC PreK Assistant

Monday, September 29, 2014

Math and Science in preschool Years

How early should children be taught math and science?

Math and science concepts can and should be taught as early as preschool. Children in this stage (preoperational ), learning early math and science concepts will develop into advance math and science concepts that is needed for thier elementary school years. 
Make learning math concepts fun. This child is learning about how a pizza can be made into a whole, halves, and quarters while pretending to be a chef in a pizza restaurant. 

This weeks theme for the Dolphins is 'Here Comes Fall.' Having fun while learning number recognition mixed in with gross motor development. Each child is asked to jump from leaf to leaf and identify the number they land on.

Learning the different colors and shapes of fall leaves is an early science concept that will then be carried over into the math concept of graphing. Through out the week we will be collecting data on different types of leaves we have found then chart our findings. This will give the children a visual for a better understanding of math.
Mrs. Kelly is asking the children prediction questions which are not yet obvious to them. Questions like, "what will happen to our corn kernels..?" "And how much water should you use ?" Also, "how fast do you think they will grow?" These questions will be answered by collecting the data and graphing the results from thier real life experience. 

Learning math at an early age will develop the child's thinking skills. Learning science with an open mind for nature and the world around them will support a life long positive learning experience for predictions, facing problems that need to be solved, and questions that they want answered.

Friday, September 26, 2014

My Week at Partners In Learning

I always tell my friends to do something nice for themselves on their birthdays. So, since it's my birthday week, September 21 being my birthday. I decided to write this blog about me and my week at PIL! 

I have the best job of everyone at Partners. How can I claim that you may be asking yourself. Well, the way I see it, I get to spend time in every classroom at some point and time during the day/week. Sometimes I even come in early and spend more time with my young friends and co-workers. I get to have relationships with all the children, families, and co-workers. 

I get to spend time in the infant room watching these precious little beings do things for the first time, or maybe for the hundredth time. Either way, it's just as exciting as the first. Or they may just be hangin out, chillin' talking to mommy on the phone. 

I get to spend time watching teachers do yoga with their little ones to help them relax after playing hard outside. 

I have a great time watching the children interact with each other and listening to their conversations with each other as they play. It's amazing how much children learn through play! They use conventional items in play as well as learning how to pretend play, using a bowl for a hat when all the hats are already being worn.

I get to see them on the play ground helping each other out. Is this something a teacher has taught them, or is this something they learned on their own through play? Maybe it's a combination of both. Maybe it's something they learned from home. 

I get to experience the excitement of seeing a child learn to walk holding on the the wall. 

And sometimes a school age child takes my phone and takes his own pictures. 

I also have the opportunity to see the teachers interacting with the children on their level. 

This week I even got to help make the valcano erupt!! This is what we used to make that happen. After the valcano experiment, we learned what happens when we mix colors. We also learned what color is made by mixing two separate colors. Our favorites were mixing red and blue to make purple, yellow and red to make orange, and yellow and blue to make green. 

I also am given the opportunity to go off site for field trips. This week I went to Patterson's Farm/Pumpkin Patch. We had a blast I might add. I saw one of our school age kids there and one of our kids who graduated from PIL! This school ager is also the one who takes pictures with my phone. 

I also went to lunch with my birthday twin Katherine Generaux. It was a learnig experience for both of us. Even though we have worked together for some years, we really didn't know much about each other, now we do. 

I get to see teachers out of their elements in other classrooms teaching and interacting with children older than what they are used to. And having fun while doing this. 

So you see, these are just a few of the reasons why I think I have the best job at PIL. I know this isn't your typical blog, but I hope you enjoyed it just the same. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Do We Build Up or Tear Down?

Have we ever considered the words we use when our children come to us? Are we negative or positive? Do we say- "You could have done better?" or "Why didn't you do it this way or that way?" or "You should do this or that"? Well they may just seem like words to us, but to our chld, they can tear them down. Negative words can have a negative impact, it can cause our children to stop trying. They can make them feel like they will never be able to do anything right.

As parents we want our children to always strive to be the best they can be. We want them to never give up. Do we want them to improve?  Of course we do. So how can we do that in a positive way?

Well whenever they come to us with something, stop. Yes, stop what we are doing and give them undivided attention. This lets them know that they are important to us.  When they do something well, or are proud of an accomplishment, praise them. Let them know you like their effort. If they aren't happy with something, tell them that they gave a good effort, ask them what they are unhappy about. When you have figured that out, then talk with them in a positive way and see what can be done. You can say "Well, what would you do differently?" or "How do you think that you could make it better?"  When it comes to something that we want them to change or to work on, then what do we do?  Well we can tell them what they are doing well, tell them what we want them to improve on or change, and finish with something that they are doing well.

By following these simple suggestions, we will have children that will want to excel and they will want to put effort into whatever they do. We will have children that realize that what they do is important to us and that we support their efforts. They will also realize that whether they do something good or not so good, that we are on their side and that we only want them to be their best.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Who taught you to be so messy....

Over fifteen years of teaching in early childhood and at least once a year I get asked by someone..."why did you get in this field? Why do you teach in early childhoood when you could be a great school teacher?"  I try to be respectful but I am a teacher but yes I'm not your conventional teacher in any sense. 

You see I didn't have a conventional teacher in my early childhood either...she never had any teaching experience nor did she have an idea that she was empacking my future career choice. She went to a secondary school called Misinheimer School for Girls and her dream was to be a biologist but instead she became a mother of four girls and a stay at home mom (grandma and lucky for me, great grandmother). Viola Goodman was known to many by so many names but for most of us grand kids, she was Mawmaw Wow mainly because she said that she taught us all how to say the word but I truly think that it is because she was wonderful at showing each one of us our own "wow" factor in life.  You see, she never told you what it was but she gave you plenty of opportunities to learn it for yourself and make it your own.  This all of 5 foot even woman stood taller in many of our eyes more than anyone else has or ever will. So now what does this have to do with early childhood and the messy teaching strategies that I live and want my kids to experience while they are with me. For that, let's dive into the "Mawmaw Wow" way of teaching.

To fully see this interesting way of teaching, you have to experience it...I mean really experience it!!! No holding back and allowing everything to happen...all the cause and effects that happen for the reason of learning.  Let's look at some great examples of this...

This little guy found a small boulder on our playground near our natural creek area then proceeded to take it over to our hill slide to see what would happen. Where's the adult telling him what he is suppose to learn or how to do it? Out of the picture but always watching to see what he will find out.
With a friend, they learn about what happens with gravity and heavy objects. They switched rocks to see whose went faster and then they discovered that they go farther if they are bigger. Gravity is a huge concept but they have a great start. Just like when Mawmaw let me help with drawing water from the old's a light bucket going in but it's heavy when it comes out with water. Gravity, weight, measurements...Wow!!!

Why do we need seeds? How do we get them? These kids are taking the kernels off the ear of ornamental corn. They had to figure out where it was the easiest to pull it with just two fingers. They asked why we were saving them, when do we plant them, and do we need to use all of the kernels (seeds) that we are getting off the ear.  I can't tell you how many times that I was in a garden when I was staying with Mawmaw in the summer and how many seeds she collected. I think there are still some of her saved seeds in my mom's freezer. That's the amazement of learning....Wow!!!

Oh I could never forget the love of cooking and all the time spent in the kitchen with her or all of our family.  One thing that I've never perfected was her bread making.  Once a week, she always made homemade light bread. Hot and steamy straight from the oven with butter maybe apple butter but gone in seconds.  She took hours (even days because she had to feed the starter) making it and we took just seconds to devour it.  Well, I may not have her bread making ability but we cook like crazy in our class because the observations of how things change, evaporation, yeast fermation, liquids vs. solids, etc are concepts that they may not know the vobulary for right now but it gives them a stepping stone for their future.

The kids love seeing the bread raise and giving us reasons why it does that, what happened to the liquids, where did the flour go, but most of all, why do we smell the bread when it is in the bread machine.  Several children woke up from nap saying that they dreamed of bread...funny thing is that I still dream of the days spent making bread with Mawmaw Wow. Talk about similarities...Wow!!!

For close to sixteen years, I have made this profession my passion but always knowing that there was one thing that I wanted to do every day of my teaching career...Give my children that "Mawmaw Wow factor".  What she gave to me were small things in her eyes...letting me raid her attic for dress up clothes, picking cucumbers from her garden then making pickles, taking care of the many animals she had and how they are people too, teaching me little tricks for remember my math (I still do my nines times tables backwards) but to me they are the small things that I want to share with every child who has me as a teacher.  So early childhood teaching will always be "WOW" to my kid's eyes and minds.