Leading for a Strong begining

Recently I attended a PD session aimed at administrators which focused on EY instruction.  The basis of the entire session was around the use of purposeful play in K-3 classrooms.  There are times when you get the right PD at exactly the right time and this was one of those synergy moments where I was getting exactly what I needed to make some important decisions for my school. Did you know that…

  • There are 1500 days between when they are born and when they enter grade 1.
  • 20% is hard wired at birth
  • 80% is prospect
  • Toddlers brains have twice thee connections as an adult
  • Making eye contact, makes them feel valued learning and growing, eye connection is
  • connecting the brain.
  • Brain connections peak at 6 years old then degrade over time as connections are paired away.

Audry Hepburn “nothing is impossible because even the word Impossible is I’m + Possible”.  Using experiences in play such as

  • Water table
  • Sand Table
  • Magic sand table
  • Dress up centers
  • Building centers
  • A great site for these purposeful play activities is Explore Idea Park

A colleague and I got to try out many of these fun “Purposeful Play” activities

This “Play” helps students build meaning in their understanding of the world through purposeful play.  The Reggio Emilia approach (named for a town in Italy) is known in education for the Reggio Emilia method. It was first founded by a man named Loris Malaguzzi together with the parents and educators in the town. This method was developed out of necessity in post world War II Italy, where resources were scarce, classrooms were cobbled together from things that were readily available, and as a result spaces were more homey and friendly built from the same things that people put in their homes. Ontario has adopted a new mandate in education and has expanded public schooling to include students as young as 4 years old.  Kindergarten is held every day and every classroom includes both an Early Childhood Educator (ECE) and a Kindergarten teacher.  This programming is based on the notion that the earlier education begins the larger the gains for students in Ontario.  Intentional play is encouraged. 50% of childcare is now inside schools in Ontario. Before and after care and kindergarten room are the same space. Every classroom is less than 26 students with two educators. The ontario Government has published a document called How Does Learning happen? – Ontario Pedagogy for the Early Years. Play expands intelligence…and a positive attitude toward learning- Dr. Fraser Mustard

There is a child inside all of us find your inner dancer! One of the speakers Karyn Cullingham described a happy accident where the summer cleaning in her classroom was not complete on the first day of school and as a result  Empty your classroom and ask children what they want back in. Give children camera’s See things from their perspective Think feel act Ontario video on Regio Amelia answers the question about how classrooms structure influences behaviour. How can we use the bare classroom to design inviting learning experiences? The following video’s are drawn from The Ontario Ministry of Education A new perspective

Questioning our assumptions

Rethinking the space

Investigating the natural world

Supporting curiosity and investigation

Taking risks, building competence

Rethinking time

Jesse Ruban- We can Video

Final notes and thoughts about play and EY Classrooms: 1. Ask thick questions: open ended questions that drive learning. Children aren’t born the day before Kindergarten 2. 45min to 1hr needs to be dedicated to child-based play 3. Kindergarten classroom should house the EY library books 4. kindergarten needs to feel like a home away from home 5. Letter wall with children’s contributions, family photo’s and things they link to letters. The classroom should be covered in their own work not boxed materials, See Regie Routman’s work on Balanced literacy (and an upcoming blog from me:) 6. Engage Families- Engage the community and make them part of the school and classroom Imagine Dragons “On top of the world” United nations IPAworld.org

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