As I participated in a Directors’ Forum yesterday to share information on the struggles and successes of area childcare center directors, I felt compelled to share this experience in some fashion with the world through my blog.
First, let me get something straight. “Daycare” is a dirty word!!!!
That is not what I am talking about. Daycare workers babysit and basically keep kids from sticking their fingers in the electrical socket.
I am referring to early learning centers who are growing brains in the critical first 5 years of life. They hire teachers, not workers. I am so fortunate to be a part of such a place.
The message that I would like to convey is how important every interaction, every conversation, everything we do with children in the first 5 years of their life creates and molds their brains so that they can learn and be successful in their schooling and in life.
First and foremost, it begins with infants. They are not just these cute little crying blobs. They are little people who are exploring the world. They need you to talk to them, sing to them, hold them, make those connections with them. Every time you do, you are growing their brain. Don’t put them in restrictive containers! Let them move, use their bodies, develop trunk muscles by sitting up. Why do we use all those contraptions like bouncy seats, walkers, swings, high chairs…Because we are too focused on our own needs and not willing to put our infant’s needs first. Hold your baby to feed them. Sing to them while they are having their diaper changed. Talk to them while they are lying on the floor. Please check out RIE (Resource Infant Education). This is the curriculum we use in our center and feel it is best practice for our children.
Okay so now I would like to get on a tangent about discipline. I recently caught the tail end of an episode of Nanny Jo Frost and wanted to climb in the tv and shake her. In the same week, I watched an episode of “Bringing up Bates” where Gil, the dad, was disciplining one of their youngest sons on obeying and I cringed to think people were watching this. Aaaaaa! ( yes, I like UPtv)
Breathe….Let me share with all the parents and grandparents reading this, the best piece of advice you will ever hear. You will thank me later. At our center we have implemented a program called Conscious Discipline. ( used all over the world) You can check it out at consciousdiscipline.com
I wish 23 years ago when I became a mother that I had known about this. As my dear Daddy would say…”it’s the best thing to come along since sliced bread.” As a teacher, I wish I had had these tools to use in my classroom almost 30 years ago.
So what is it? Conscious Discipline is a program based on research of brain development that teaches us how to self regulate. What does that mean? For example, if I am upset or frightened, I can learn to breathe to calm down. If Johnny takes my toy, I can use my words to tell him I don’t like that instead of wacking him over the head. As a teacher and parent it means I learn to make connections with my children so I get more cooperation from them. This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as an explanation. Please check out the website http://www.consciousdiscipline.com.
The most exciting part of this as an administrator is to see the mileau of the center become more calm and cohesive, creating a school family where everybody has a contribution to make and everybody helps keep things safe.
By the way, it is important to note that when children don’t feel safe, both physically and emotionally, and don’t feel loved, they cannot learn. That is why creating a goodbye ritual is so important when you drop them off at school. They must know, You are coming back and they will be safe while you are gone.
So in trying to wrap this up… our society needs to wake up and smell the coffee. We are spending way too much money on our prison system and not nearly enough on early childhood education. The industry is hurting badly for early childhood professionals to teach because we can’t pay them what they are worth or even close. When you can go work at Burger King or Walmart for $10 an hour, why would you come to my center or any others?
I could go on all day about my passion for young children. Just think about it!
Another time I would like to get in to the topic of educating parents but enough for now. Love on your babies!