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Children love to learn about facts, new ideas, new concepts and nature. “The Old Farmers Almanac for kids is a wonderful resource of kid easy information. I just pick a few topics and open up the discussion for ideas, art, science and experiments! The children know so much more than you can imagine and are so curious.
Do you know, as part of early childhood education we as teachers are to have 7 looped interactions of language with a child. Subjects they have heard about, understand or can relate too are most interesting to them.
Really helping the child to think comes from the brain building new synapses and firing neurons in different patterns, which makes new connections and YES this occurrence really does help the child learn and retain information.
Many theories about teaching young learners are available, but understanding the specifics of what to do, why ,or what to teach is the key to making your child smarter! Remember genetics, environment, culture and circumstances control intelligence also. These ideas are enhancers to building intelligence.

Children have a natural tendency from birth to learn, absorbing information that surrounds them-  even though we think they aren’t aware of their environment- children absorb all types of stimuli. Children have an amazing ability to absorb information from smells, sites, temperature, culture, language, sounds , and experiences building a network of inner connectivity.

Do you know the importance of your child learning a second language? This experience of hearing, thinking and learning a new language directly affects the neurons of the brain.  Learning a Foreign language builds , critical thinking, skills of analysis, problem solving, cultural awareness and self reflection.

Do you know children NEED fat to grow brain power? The brain is 60% fat with 30% of it in the front part of the brain where focusing and attention take place. The brain builds synapses with ingestion of good fats- EFA supplementation. Fish oil is an easy way to get Omega 3 oil, ( DHA and EPA). Evening primrose oil(GLA) is the catalyst along with vitamin E. Three months of usage, you may see- a change in focusing, attention, concentration and improvement with some learning disabilities. “What do you have to lose, it is a benign therapy that could just work”, states Dr. Stordy, who   has strong clinical evidence of positive behavioral changing from this therapy. Check out Dianne Crafts for more information.

Do you know that play is REALLY a way children learn, they build experiences from their environment, culture, and assimilate information. They learn to social knowledge by understanding limits, resolving conflicts, taking turns, listening to others, asking questions and so on. They learn cognitive skills science by trying to balance on a log, math- counting bugs, time- daily schedules- Reading by book  recognition, print awareness- looking at books, and so on.
A lot goes on in the child’s mind with basic daily play, allow time for free play, imaginative play and creative play!

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New teacher Tools – Portfolio and Brain Train tool box

IMG_2797 IMG_2800 IMG_2798 IMG_2796 IMG_2793I made a tool boxes and portfolio packets to help new Preschool teachers in my community, it comes with a BRAIN TRAIN booklet full of cheap and simple ideas. It all seems so easy to me , but these teachers use it as it relates to their teaching ideas, it is like being in a teacher support group.  The PORTFOLIO is full of teaching lesson plan ideas that relate to early learning standards in Arizona and NAEYC. The Brain Train booklet is a booklet of fun ideas for parties and holidays.  All are supplemental pieces for your classroom. With the certification of Early Childhood teachers   state standardization, teaching preschool  has become more developmentally appropriate and difficult. Between assessments, academics, developmental ISSUES, the preschool teacher is often overwhelmed.  We need tools that help us focus on teaching the young child NOT mastering paperwork.  Teaching the young child, if done correctly becomes a satisfying achievement.  I put a couple of example pages, the children can see the pictures and understand the task. They think they are reading, and they are- from pictures. I put fill water bottles with colored water and let the children make their own imagination bottle- pipe cleaners, beads, glitter, sequins, and so on- then the children color copy it into the portfolio.  It is an easy science experiment- the children often pour colors together to make  new colors with funnels. It can be extended for several developmentally tasks and learning concepts.  The portfolio is a progressive sampling of the child’s work throughout the year.

Best book to read to understand child development, milestones and  early childhood education:

“DEVELOPMENTMENTALLY APPROPRIATE PRACTICE”, in Early Childhood Programs serving children birth through age 8

third edition, by Carol Copple and Sue Bredekamp

Every preschool teacher should use this book and understand the developmentally milestones.

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Big Language, BIG thoughts!

Children that use big  descriptive language in daily routines expand their ability to express thoughts , increase vocabulary,and increase creativity.  They describe the world around them in new ways, understanding words have meanings. Use descriptive words  to explain instructions, use the words repeated in daily routines and activities.  Using fanciful language increases the child’s quest  to  use creative descriptions.  All areas of the classroom or home can be filled with interesting language- cooking- measurements, range, quarter, liquid. Construction- symmetrical, structure, dimension, foundation.  Art or music- hue, palette, technique, adhesive,detail, secondary, primary, melody, chord, harp, violin, and so on.  Use descriptive language with adjectives- exquisite, illuminating, gigantic, expansive, critical. ” It is an extremely critical situation!  The airplane was a gigantic jet with  huge  engines. Draw three curvy lines and two zigzag forms.” Expanding the child’s language is easy if you use bigger words and complete pros.

Create an atmosphere in which the child hears and uses a lot of interesting words.  pictures 014Expose children to a variety of new rich words that reinforce the BIG idea. Use investigative themes to introduce  scientific or mathematical language. Use a variety of words for common objects, connect language to thinking and solving problems. Relate language and words to new meanings.

Talk to the child, they understand more than you can imagine. How would you describe this piece of art? I am sure the child had big ideas. Looks like a few levels of drawing and writing here. It is always a great idea to ask the child, “What did you draw?”  let them answer. Don’t tell them, ask them, a great conversation could begin.

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Children learn best by doing-

Any time you can tie an activity into a learning experience the young learner will remember more information. The brain absorbs and retains more information from the brain connections of activity and thought. Tie one more exciting activity into the action and, viola! the child will remember even more! For instance writing letters on the table using shaving cream. Hunting for the letters in their name outside, hidden in the garden.
Mixing colors, pouring, using basters, or scoopers to mix secondary colors- green, orange, purple. Activities that excite the syntaxes in the brain- they light up, wiggle and extend, gaining more information- build knowledge. This IS so exciting YOU can make your child smart- Provide stimulating information, connect ideas , let them DO the task, reinforce positive thought process. EASY learning!!! Can your child improve his grasp in a fun way? Building hand strength, while writing?art 075

Can they discover how to make sticky paste? using flour and water?art 119

It is all a balancing act the child needs to think for themselves!art 063

What would you like for lunch today? Should we make a salad? art 030

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Common Core and how it affects our children.

The common core is quickly being adopted by states and nobody even knows what it is! Several states instead of adjusting learning to developmental progress, information retention, building better foundations, have decided to teach children equally and without conceptual progression. This common core ideology -which is- one for all, all for one- everyone needs to be taught in a way to retain information- sustainable education. First grade knowledge serves second grade ,second grade knowledge serves third grade, third grade knowledge to fourth and so on. Each grade builds on the previous grade- sounds wonderful in theory- BUT….
Children’s brains don’t learn that way. They learn from scaffolding early experiences, building knowledge and retaining information because it has meaning. The young learner needs to reach specific milestones before the next step occurs. Teaching with meaning, not just building information- two entirely different theories. For instance, writing- you can push writing all you want, but if the specific hand muscles aren’t developed, negative muscle memory builds in the brain, and the child won’t learn, won’t build learning muscle sense, won’t write! Not only will the child get frustrated lashing out in anger, theses children tend to not like school. Frustration becomes the norm setting a precedence in learning. One simple educational error! This is the biggest problem with common core.
There is no one standard that will work in education. This is why our education system keeps failing. Education needs to be developed around brain development and the individual child’s needs. There are several states that ARE coming downward with developmental standards for the young child.(first grade down to kindergarten, down to preschool).They are implementing early learning STATE standards. It does encompass PLAY, learning with meaning, and professional development for their K-3 teachers. It has been hit and miss because neuro scientists and educators never thought this way before. Educational theory has always been at the high school level. Why do our children fail? Why do they drop out? What can we do? We blame the bad teachers….
Rhode Island, Iowa, New Jersey and Arizona are trying to implement a system that keeps/ or provides, developmentally appropriate education until 3rd grade. This supports the child’s brain development and set a foundation for the synapse to transmit information correctly.( as the child builds information).
Iowa has done testing to see if improvement has happened and follows the child’s development in education. It is a fundamental change in education- it is difficult to make government programs follow new educational developments, because it is policy that get in the way of learning. This educational pedagogy is not a trend,a money making idea, it is scientifically based- this pedagogy develops brain responses around education, setting up the new learner for success.

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Process Science too

Experiment that teaches

See the rain fall through the shaving cream cloud.

Children can understand the chemical  reaction by seeing what happens in the glass.  The food coloring sinks separately through the “cloud” of shaving cream. If they leave the cup sit it continues to storm.  They can make their own storm by adding other colors- red makes a purple storm, yellow makes a green storm and all colors makes a nasty dust storm or brown!  Easy summer activity.



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Letter writing requires visualization-


Writing made fun in preschool! It is easy with shaving cream and sticks or fingers. Teach visualization to children first.

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Children like to play in an adult world

Cheap fun!

Playing with water and sand a great measurement activity!

Have you ever watched a child play? They like to play as if they ARE adults. They even mimic adult language. Children are sponges, they are receptive learners. They build their vocabulary by listening to others. Children often act out their experiences, they use gestures, voice inflections and words they really don’t understand. “I actually am not going to go there tonight” stated one 3 year old playing in the housekeeping center. She was really talking about her experiences, listening to a particular situation she had overheard. Children build on their knowledge by building experiences, taking action on their own. Meaningful experiences shape the direction of how the child feels about himself, and his surroundings. Positive interactions DO make a difference with the child’s self worth. Simple achievements make big learning steps for children. Openness both to failure and accomplishments makes a child flexible and able to make adjustments to attain goals. Children need to fail to test the limits of new ideas, explore possibilities and overcome defeats.
Watch a child to really learn about building conceptual thinking, accessing situations and developing plans. Water play is a perfect choice to build knowledge, water and sand play can be an indoors and outdoors, depending on weather. Large Tupperware tubs with food coloring, sea shells and sea creatures can excite children, give them basters for added fun. Watch them calculate the amount of sand or water needed to fill a bucket , change the color of the water, or fill a cup with more water. Let the child direct play, he will actually have a lot more fun than YOU telling him how to play.

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Fun summer activity

Everyone has flour and water.  Give the child two cups, one with flour, one with a small amount of water, a plastic spoon and a bowl for mixing, (food coloring if you want  them to make other choices.)  Let the child mix up his own glue, it is messy, but they love the consistancy and knowing they did the experiement. Let them choose things to put in their glue.  Explain what they are making ahead of time.  This is a good project for 3.5- 4 year olds.

It is an expeiment to make glue, what is the right combination of water and flour?

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Building Brain power.

A large part of your baby’s brain develops AFTER it is born, much of that brain development is from the child’s interactive experiences- the brain acclimates, changes and adopts to the new environment. The brain makes new connections from stimuli in the environment, maybe a trillion initial connections in the first five years.  These first connections builds emotional development and learning.  Everything you do builds the baby’s brain power- scary thought!  Showing affection through non-verbal actions.  Babies know words and their mothers voices, they are happier hearing her voice instead of a stranger. They love sing song verbal clues- “motherese” talk.  Babies continue to build brain power through preschool and kindergarten, keep filling their mind with plenty of creative foods.

Connect with your young child; Make a movement of your hand/arm outward in front of him- help him connect, empowering his brain to do the same,  have him follow the action. Next do the other side, same motion- repeat. This sets up mirroring and can enhance the brain development. Neurons in the brain fire to duplicate the motion automatically- it is challenging. Early infancy you may see tongue sticking out, smiling, or cooing as the brain builds awareness. Older children love this game too, clapping  or stomping feet in a pattern- fast then slow keeps their attention.

What’s alike mean? Using a deck of cards have your child find two that look the same- number, color or shape. Then have them pile up the similar ones in two matching ways.  His brain likes new activities this leads to  new cell connections- higher level of thinking.

Counting and sorting jewels, some even fit in my purse!

Fantasy Play  helps develop the brain by building creative awareness, color awareness,  tactile knowledge, emotional interactions, pretending and letting the  imagination go, builds brain power. Fill a surprise  bag full of beautiful scrapes of fabrics, trims,fur, feathers, belts, hats- old unused stuff. Change the contents periodically, making the child aware by tying a ribbon around the top or placing a new sticker.  The child will pick out what he or she really wants to feel or look at.  Boys love this game also.

Create a giving jug, that just makes good cents!  Teach something nice or thoughtful for the  child to build empathy.  Donate the jug(or jar, piggy bank,  etc. ) to a person so the child can understand and relate a NEED.  Research shows that the brain naturally has the ability to care about others, this ability needs to be developed and reinforced so the child understands what  NEED means.

Cognitive (brain) development is just ONE domain of teaching the whole child,cross categorical teaching should occur to enhance several domains at once, watch for more ideas  to come each month. Simple types of behavior builds cognitive development, watch to see how the child comes up with different ideas and solutions. How about dressing up while hammering and building blocks- lots of ideas are working here. The brain is checking all kinds of concepts out here!

Role play, imagination at it’s best.

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