Reflecting on this Journey

The Beginning

When realizing I had to blog for my class, I was a little skeptical. I never really considered myself a great writer. I often repeat myself or write too much. Not too mention, thinking of interesting topics to blog about can be stressful. Though, it was credit for my class and I was obviously going to give it a shot.

To get myself prepared, I looked at a lot of teaching/lifestyle blogs to get an idea of how to talk to an audience on this platform. I think the best thing about blogging is that you can be yourself and share your humor, which made me excited to blog.

Say WHAT NOW - Skeptical Baby | Make a Meme

The only thing that scared me was the unknown. It is hard to start new things, especially something you are unfamiliar with. One thing that really helped with this, was the fact that my professor shared a lot of reflections that past students had made about this journey. A lot of students said that it helped them out of their comfort zone, while also leading them to find a new hobby they actually enjoyed. With all this positive feedback, I was more than willing to try my hardest.

The First Few Posts

After my first two posts, I found what ways I truly like to write on my blog. The first two posts were a great starting point to see what I liked and disliked about my blog. I can tell a huge difference in my writing style from my first post to my last post, which makes me feel like I’ve shown growth in blogging.

After my first few posts, I also got comfortable with designingly site. I wanted it to look nice. DUH. It was a learning process to figure out what formats I liked, color schemes, images to use, etc. I think decorating my blog is the best part of blogging. I am a really creative person, so that part was the most fun for me. It also taught me that every blog is different. Mine may not be the best, or most perfect, but it’s all me!

“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it” – Salvador Dali

What I’ve Learned

I have learned a lot from this blogging experience. The biggest take away is that I love reading other peoples blogs but I still have a long way to go with being a great creator. Some people are made for this stuff and I just may not be one of them. Though, during quarantine, blogging was a fun experience and a great way for me to get out information to other people. It also was a great way to do research and not focus on the stresses of my own life. I feel that I was able to create concise messages that were beneficial for others and myself.

This learning experience has showed me that trying new things isn’t so bad. It can actually be fun. I also think blogging is a great platform to use when being a teacher. I am super excited to read more blogs and create an even better blog for my future students and their parents. I am excited for the journey ahead!

One Happy Teacher                                           Happy students jumping with flat design | Free Vector

 

 

Addressing COVID with Young Children

Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children.

As news about Coronavirus spreads through the media and the public, children may start to worry about what the world is really facing. With COVID-19, comes an increase in children’s anxiety about whether their family, friends, or teachers will become ill. It is important for trusted adults (such as teachers and parents) to address the issue, rather than ignore it. To better prepare children, adults should address this new pandemic in an honest and accurate way, while also minimizing the anxiety/fear that can come from COVID-19.

Worried Child Clipart     What Should Adults Do If They Observe Signs Of Anxiety In Children?

General Ways to Discuss Issues with Children

There are many steps adults can take in order to prepare to talk about hard topics with young children. It is important to:

  • Remain calm & reassuring

Children react very easily to what you are saying and how you present what you are saying. Most adults don’t realize that children can pick up social cues from the conversations you have with them and with others. When discussing COVID-19 in a calm way, children will listen closely to what you have to say without freaking out.

  • Make yourself available to listen & talk

It’s important to make children aware that you are open to talking about hard topics. This will lead them to be comfortable going to you when questions arise.

  • Pay attention to what is shown or heard on TV, radios, or online.

Having the news on consistently will lead to anxiety and fear in young children. Too much information at once can lead to a sensory overload. It may be beneficial to limit screen time that focuses on COVID-19.

  • Teach children actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19

Remind children the crucial steps in limiting the spread of germs. Explain that
social distancing is key, unless it is absolutely necessary to leave the house.
Though, if the urge to get outside arises, be sure to explain that masks protect
them from the spread of germs. Also go over hand washing procedures and how to cough properly in public. These safe procedures are used in public more often than before, so it is also important to discuss with children what actions are being taken at school once they go back.

Montessori at Home - Washing Hands | Hand washing poster, Proper ...

Common Questions Children will have & Facts to Share

  • What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is short for “Corona Virus Disease – 2019”. It is a new virus that has spread throughout the world. Doctors and scientists are still learning about it.

Recently the virus has made people very sick. Scientist and doctors think that most people will be okay, especially kids, but in order to be sure of that it is important to practice habits to stay healthy.

  • How do I be sure to not get COVID-19?

The best way to prevent yourself from getting COVID-19, is by practicing healthy habits consistently. Don’t touch your face, cough/sneeze into a tissue or in your elbow, and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds throughout the day.

  • What happens if I get sick from COVID-19?Amazon.com : Kids 7 Healthy Daily Habits Poster - Hygiene Posters ...

The virus is capable of affecting people differently. It all depends on the body that it is present in. Only a small amount of people have had serious issues with the virus and most people have recovered if they were diagnosed. Though, if you do get sick, it is important to stay home and practice social distancing. It doesn’t mean you have COVID-19 necessarily, but the best way to get better is resting and staying at home.

Links for more information

This is a very scary time for most children who are in the unknown about COVID-19 but with reassurance on the topic, it will allow them to feel more informed and less fearful. Linked below are many websites that go further into explaining COVID-19 and how to stay safe during the pandemic. As adults, it’s our job to be calm and positive for the children we love!

Information on:

Social Distancing

Symptoms of Coronavirus

Statistics & Charts 

 

 

 

Losing Your Mind in Quarantine

People all around the world are struggling with quarantine. What seemed like a short getaway from work for two weeks, has turned into a two month period of isolation. Families are being forced to adjust to this “new way of life” and many parents are struggling to not lose their mind! 50 Coronavirus Jokes That Should Help You Get Through Quarantine
I get it, spending majority of your day inside with children is not ideal. Most parents are used to their kids being shipped off to school. Though, to ensure safety for kids and the well-being of parents, below are some ideas on how to not go insane during a pandemic! And of course, how to have fun with your children to take your mind of things!

 

Treasure/Scavenger Hunts

While in quarantine, it is likely that young kids will be attached to their screens all day long. For them, this pandemic is a vacation and they couldn’t be happier. I mean they get fed their favorite food all day, play video games, and sleep in! Who wouldn’t be happy about that?

One great idea for how to spice things up is by creating a treasure hunt with your kids — to take it to the next level, the treasure could even be their xbox for leverage. Treasure hunts get them moving and using their brains strategically. It also helps that it is super funny to take videos of children on their endeavors during a treasure hunt. The struggle to find what they desire is deeply satisfying to some parents.

By hiding some prizes and favorite toys around the house with notes/directions, children can spend 20-30 minutes moving around. This forces them to use clues to problem solve and they also get a great outcome at the end! I have seen a lot of videos of families taking part in treasure hunts in their backyards, houses, or neighborhoods. Don’t be afraid to spice things up!

Linked below is a funny video of kids doing a scavenger hunt in their neighborhood to cure their boredom:

COVID-eos – Outdoor Scavenger Hunt / Fun Things for Bored Kids to do at Home during the Coronavirus

Grab a pencil, paper and maybe a pair of binoculars as you head outside and around your neighborhood with Lindalee and her siblings. They are taking on an ac…

Baking

Baking is a great way to get the kids up and moving while also creating a delicious treat for the family to enjoy. Kids love to help cook and it is an excellent way for parents and their children to bond with each other. With all of this free time, why not try that Pinterest recipe you haven’t had the time to make!?

The possibilities are endless. Cookies, cakes, brownies. Anything! Baking is a great lesson in measuring, ingredients, and of course, making delicious goodies.

Linked below are some of my favorite baking recipes!

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

post_category before=”” sep=” &”] Lemon Blueberry Muffins are a delicious way to start the day. Bursting with flavor, the addition of lemon takes blueberry muffins to a whole other level. Sweet, with just the right amount of tangy, this is a recipe you’ll make time and time again.

salted brownie cookies | Tutti Dolci

With shiny, crackled tops and rich, fudgy centers, these salted brownie cookies are the ultimate chocolate cookie for brownie and chocolate lovers! Baked until soft and chewy and sprinkled with flaky salt, these super indulgent cookies are delicious with coffee or even a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream (and the perfect way to get your chocolate fix!).

Filming TikToks

Yes parents, you read this right. During quarantine, many children and teens are using their screen time by watching TikToks. TikTok is a popular app that consists of 15-60 second videos.

Anything can happen in these videos! There are funny ones, dancing ones, and acting ones. Take this time to try and have fun with your kids. Let loose and learn a dance with them! Sure, they will be embarrassed, but I assure you they will be filled with laughter at the attempts to get the perfect post. If your children are very little, make some posts with them on your own account to get a good laugh of your own!

Over the course of this quarantine, many families have gathered to make hilarious TikTok videos. It is a great way to forget about the worries of COVID-19 and take up some time out of the day.

Below is one of the CUTEST family TikTok videos I’ve ever seen:

1st Family Tik Tok Post 🥰

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To conclude this post, I want to take the time to acknowledge that this is a very stressful time for a lot of parents. The unknown is killing people and insanity is bound to set in. But to help make the time go by, there are many ways to enjoy spending time with your kids. These are just a few out of hundreds of ideas on how to make the most of your quarantine. When coming out of this, parents and families will have a new perspective of life. So will children, their whole life has been put at a halt! Though, try to make your homes a positive space during this pandemic. Be grateful for this time to stay at home and be with your little ones.

Stay safe and make the most of this quarantine!

 

 

The Importance of Play In Preschool

Children and Play

As children grow, their important job is to play. You may be thinking I’m crazy, but the benefits of play in early childhood prove that having time in the day dedicated to play will only help them in the future. Children are playful by nature and it starts at a very young age. As babies learn to touch things and grow their fine motor skills, they are learning to play with objects. I mean, think of all the toys that are offered to toddlers. Majority of them are used for play but what we don’t realize is that the brain is working as they play with toys. The brains senses are in full effect as they learn to play with new objects. The only question is, with all the pressure to prepare children for kindergarten, how will play fit into the picture?

                

Types of Play

As I work with the preschoolers in my placement, I notice the amount of time dedicated to play and the different types of play. With the question of how we can find time to implement play  in mind, I observed my class to see when play best fits in the day. What I saw really surprised me. Over half of my preschoolers day involves some form of play. Not every preschool classroom is going to be like this but that is the whole point of me making this blog post! Teachers are often overwhelmed with all of the criteria young children need before entering kindergarten without realizing how easy it is to implement play in every lesson. The students in my classroom start their day by doing more informal teaching but around 10:30 it is already time for gym/playground time. During this time, the children are encouraged to do whatever physical activity play they are interested in. Physical play involves using the body to play with balls, run, jump, etc. Let me tell you, the kids love this time of day. I get worn out from just watching them!

After gym we go into our learning centers. Children get into groups by their “color” (each child has a name tag with a colored lanyard”. There are two centers with play that are picked out by the teacher and then the other two centers are with the preschool teachers. My classroom is luck enough to have two people assigned to the room. In the play groups, there is usually a game that involves the use of play with other learning areas. For example, my students the one day I was observing were playing a fishing game where the rod had a magnet and could attach to fish. When talking to my co-op about the benefits of this, she stated that, “It is a great way for them to have fun but it also grows their fine motor skills! They are working on writing their names and all of those other common things that go along with fine motor, but this allows them to have a good time while being gentle enough to use the fishing rod and catch the fish!” (Ms. Carol, YMCA Preschool). I would define this example as manipulative play because the children are required to hold and handle small toys.

Later on in the day, my students are given the time for choice centers. This involves the students choosing whatever center they would like to get their creative juices flowing. Some centers available include thedramatic playcenter and the creative playcenter. In the dramatic play center, the children are able to  play in a kitchen or in a dentist setting. There are also baby dolls available to students to play house with. Dramatic play allows children to “fantasy-play” as if they are a role in society or the real world. In the creative play center, children are encourage to play with arts and crafts. This includes markers, paints, white boards, etc. In the article, How Important is Play in Preschool by GreatSchools Staff, it is stated that, “Through play, children develop skills they’ll use in their school years.” (GreatSchools Staff, 2013).

Social Development

Not only does play allow children to grow through their learning, it teaches them how to socialize. Most of the children in my classroom are extremely respectful to each other. If someone wishes to change roles in the dramatic play area, they take turns. In this day of age, most children go home and have little interaction with others. I can’t count the many instances where my 7-year-old brother has come home and gone directly to the Xbox. We live in a time where technology is increasing and it is extremely important for children to learn to socialize with others in real life. In the article, How Important is Play in Preschool by GreatSchools Staff, the author goes on to show the importance of social play by sharing, “Listening, negotiating, and compromising are challenging for 4- and 5-year-olds. Though children at this age are still egocentric, or unable to think beyond their own needs, working with others helps them develop an awareness of differences in people around them. These experiences in preschool provide a foundation for learning how to solve problems and communicate with peers.” (GreatSchools Staff, 2013). If we start young, children will only succeed in the long run.

Alright, alright, I am probably boring you with all my teacher talk. But, the most important thing you can take away from this article is that play is important. Play impacts the way children learn and grow in more ways than we think. If you have children or are in the field for teaching, take the times to look at preschools in your area and assess how much time in the day is actually devoted to play. The settings that allow lots of time for play will not only prepare students to work appropriately with others, but to also prepare them to go into school with a love for learning based on past experiences.

“Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” -Diane Ackerman

References: GreatSchools Staff, (2013, January 15). How Important is Play in Preschool? Retrieved from https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/play-in-preschool/

My Educational Gurus!

Hello! Welcome to my first blog post. There is no better way to start than with a little bit about me and my journey as I prepare to be an educator.

Ever since I was young, I have known that I wanted to be a teacher. This is often what most educators say but it is true! Teaching is a hard job and if you don’t love it, it will show. I grew up having some great teachers and some pretty crappy teachers. Though, my love for learning never changed. I would always put my stuffed animals in a line, as if they were my class looking at me, and I would take attendance for the day before I started “teaching”.

This love for playing teacher soon turned into my plan for life. I knew early on in high school that this is the profession I wanted to go to college for. I am grateful I grew up with such good views of education and that I was able to decide early on what my career would be.

My first inspiration for teaching would be my kindergarten teacher. Her name was Mrs. Brezniack and she created such a solid foundation for my educational journey. I loved to go back to her class every year as I got further into my education and I would often vent to her, or ask for help. She was always there for me and she always remembered who I was, even as I got into high school. Mrs. Brezniack was always open to lend a hand when I struggled with assignments (usually 1st-4th grade assignments–god knows I wouldn’t ask a kindergarten teacher to help me with calculus). Mrs. Brezniack is still a big inspiration for me, she made learning fun and I always felt safe in her classroom. I only hope I can be that person for my students one day.

When I think about theorists that inspired me, the first person that pops in my head is Vygotsky. Lev Vygotsky is best known for his theory on the Zone of Proximal Development. The best way to sum up ZPD, is that it consists of areas that show what a child can achieve on their own, and what they can achieve with guidance/help.

        

 

Vygotsky was also an advocate for play in the classroom. He believed that play promotes cognitive, social, and emotional development in children. I agree with Vygotsky’s points and his views on children’s development in school impact the way I plan to teach my future students. If children aren’t excited to learn, then what is the point?

Below is a video that talks more about Vygotsky’s and his theories:

Vygotsky in 60 seconds

VYTGOTKSY IN 60 SECONDS. Doing FETAC Level 5/6, a diploma, certificate or degree in early childhood education and care/childcare? This 1 minute video will te…

The other people that speak truth to me are my educators here at Millersville University. Millersville is known to have the best education program and all of the professors have years of experience. Almost all of the professors have had their own journey in teaching young children and this allows them to share more ideas with us future educators. One thing I love about Millersville is that we get to go into field placement right away and this gives students the chance to decide if teaching is the correct career path for them. My peers also give me insight on new ideas and strategies for teaching. I am always learning new ways to lesson plan or implement play in my classroom. Overall, I feel like I am on the greatest path possible to continue my educational journey as I become an educator myself.

Hello world!

Hi! I am Ryleigh Lamont and I am a Junior at Millersville University. This blog will be used as I go through the semester so that I am able to track my experiences in field placement. Hope you like!

Ryleigh 😊