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True Grit

Posted May 11, 2017

By Sarah Sivright

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Last month, All Seasons held one of our Parent Forums. The topic was parenting—what factors affect the way we raise our children. Some relevant influences were outlined; how we ourselves were parented, the prevailing philosophies or trends, the effects of stress, the gender and temperament of our children, etc. The session was informative and lively. But the best part of the morning was the remarkable group of women present. They would probably be surprised to be called remarkable.
When we finished discussing the many factors that influenced our parenting, the conversation turned to more personal issues with children, family, schools, culture—the factors that support parenting and those that make it more difficult.
Listening to these women express their hopes and concerns, their triumphs and defeats, wisdom and eagerness to know more, made me see the courage and vulnerability mothers show to each other when they feel safe. It’s both a tribute to the women present and to the community we’ve all built, that this kind of frank and compassionate conversation could happen.
I heard a lecture recently by a child psychiatrist who was talking about the latest brain research related to early childhood development. He mentioned the current buzzword “grit,” and emphasized how important it is to encourage children to celebrate mistakes, try again, and learn from each attempt. I thought of these All Seasons mothers—and fathers—and how, in our less-than-family-friendly culture, we often judge rather than support parents. We should be encouraging grit in adults, too. We make plenty of mistakes raising children, and it is not often that we hear, “Well, that didn’t work, but you gave it a great effort, and let’s see what else you can try?” In parenting, we have maybe the most difficult challenge we will ever take on, and where are our cheerleaders? Right here! For that morning, those mothers were willing to be open and supportive, laugh with each other, share their hard-won wisdom, and cheer each other on.20170509_080905

The Arrogance of Success

Posted April 27, 2017

by Amy Lemieux

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“The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”
– William Pollard
I say it all the time; I got the kids I did because had they been born living up to my expectations, I would have been an insufferable know-it-all. Prior to parenthood, I had a clear vision of how my family would be. Having no siblings, my means of comparison were The Brady Bunch, the Von Trapp family and the fun family of ten across the street. Degrees in all things “child” and years of teaching experience followed by a first born who was an “easy” baby only added to my sense of power as a parent, imagining our future beautifully packaged and tied with a bright shiny bow.
My smugness was contagious and my husband caught it. We would pat each other on the back thinking, “We have nailed this parenting thing. If people just did it the RIGHT way…” For eighteen blissful months we were easily able to stick with those self-imposed “always” and “nevers” childless people tell themselves. “I will always meet his needs.” “I will never impose a rule without a reasonable explanation.” “I will never rely on a screen.” “I will never raise my voice.” We paraded around with our plump, freshly bathed baby, superior in our parental aptitude.
Clearly, our seamless transition into parenthood was attributable to our amazing skill and intuition combined with staying abreast of the latest research. And since we were so awesome at this, we plowed ahead with number two… Just when you think you have all the answers, the test questions change.
Eighteen months and one baby later, our lives were turned upside down. Baby two was colicky, lactose intolerant, and had reflux. We maintained our composure for about seventy-two hours. After three days sleep of deprivation for the entire family, failed attempts at feeding, vomit-soaked clothes and constant screaming (mostly, but not only the baby) things got real. Suddenly, my husband, who used to be “the perfect dad,” became an inept, drooling idiot who could not complete the simplest of baby-related tasks. My own parenting skills went out the window and tempers flared. My self-image as a mom was shattered, along with the idyllic family life we thought we had created.
I wish I could say that things quickly turned around and everything went back to normal, but the reality is that chaos, disorder and discord became our new normal for many months. Those months were awful, but my lesson was fairly immediate; I was delusional in attributing our son’s contented disposition to our fabulous parenting. Once we figured out our daughter’s medical issues, she stopped screaming and started sleeping. I was almost tricked into falling back into self-righteousness, but then our son quit napping and we began what was only our second of many rounds of ”survival parenting.”
Suddenly, I was a vehement defender of anyone whose kids virtually kicked them between the eyes, and will still go on the offensive with parents who are…just like I used to be. “Yes, Rachel. We have explained to him that he should wear clothes when we have company, but he’s two and loves to be naked. Maybe you’d be less uptight if you tried it his way.” I would not dismiss the importance of good parenting, but life has shown me that kids are born a certain way.
Thinking my second, third or fourth will be the same as my first is now funny. Thinking what worked last year will still work today is futile. Today it is the youngest who is our biggest challenge. My older kids frequently tell us that we aren’t strict enough with her.  They, too, are of the belief that parents hold the power.  And they haven’t tried to raise children yet.

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The lessons keep coming and there is no end in sight. Kids throw curve balls and children growing up with the same parents are very different from each other and different than they were a few months ago. Parents are always many steps behind. Just last week, moments after telling my friends how well my kids were doing, the principal called.

Dipping Your Toes in Dandelion

Posted April 13, 2017

Amanda Janquart

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Introducing wild edibles to children is a treasured part of nature education. Early spring is a lovely time to start nibbling, cooking, and creating with preschoolers. At this point in the year, the classroom has become a close-knit community with a high level of trust between teachers and children. They trust us when small risks are encouraged like tasting a “weed!” And we teachers trust children to ask an adult that what they find is safe.
The first dandelions of the season are a great beginning plant to jump into wild edibles. Dandelions are easily identified, all parts are non-toxic, and very versatile. While dandelions are often plentiful, lessons in conservation and respect need to be acknowledged before gathering. Bees and other pollinators rely on these first blossoms, so it is essential to save plenty for them! Collect far from roads, which can leave remnants of exhaust, and avoid areas that have been treated with herbicides.

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Children don’t need much encouragement to start filling a pail with dandelion flowers. Sitting on a blanket, separating petals from stalks is a lovely way to take in the spring sun. Making dandelion jelly or “gelatin jigglers” are two of my favorite uses. A quick computer search will give you plenty of recipes to choose from. For both, start by making a dandelion tea. Simply fill a quart jar at least halfway with flowers and then add boiling water to the brim. For a more delicately colored yellow tea, remove the green base of the blossom by pinching and twisting or cutting it off first. After steeping eight hours, strain and use the liquid in a jelly recipe with pectin and sweetener (sugar or honey) to make jelly. Stir in plain gelatin, sweetener and lemon juice and let set in a shallow pan for jigglers. Both result in a sweet, vitamin-filled treat with hints of honey.
You may be enticed to keep experimenting and creating! Dandelion leaf pesto? Sautéed dandelion greens? Fermented stems? Dandelion root coffee? Wine? Or take it another direction and make lip balm, hair rinse or salve. Either way, save time to make at least one dandelion crown!

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Find Your Own Special Place

Posted March 23, 2017

by Jenny Kleppe

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Richard Louv speaks in his book, Last Child in the Woods, of children taking ownership of a special place in nature. When our All Seasons Preschool staff heard Louv speak in February, he encouraged the audience to recall their own special child hood place. My own place was a “fort” I constructed in a space wedged between the wall of our rusty aluminum shed and some old railroad ties. I created a roof from plywood I “found” (in our next-door neighbors’ lumber pile) and procured tree branches and other items from nature to create the walls, furniture, and even a working door to my small enclosure.
I recall this place of my own construction with great fondness. I did not share it with my cousins or brother as I did our tree houses, our yards, or swing set. In fact, much effort was taken to ensure they did NOT spend time in my special place- I believe a “No Boys Allowed Sign” was even erected. I worked hard over time to complete it to my liking, and no one helped me with any part of it.
These memories got me thinking about how many children today are not allowed this same sense of a place over which they can claim complete ownership- not in their bedroom, not in a temporary fort made from pillows under the coffee table, but outdoors. Today’s children are rarely allowed to experience any outdoor time completely alone or the opportunity to create, build, and alter their environment. The outdoors has so much to offer children to teach building, experimenting, problem solving, and creating a special place in which to take ownership. These, of course, are just a few of the benefits children can reap from spending time in nature.

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While times and outdoor spaces have changed, children’s need for a place to call their own has not. The need to manipulate one’s environment and to create a special little spot remains. This sense of place is something we foster at All Seasons. Our students are not exactly stealing 2×4’s or erecting tree houses with rusty rails, but they are allowed more freedoms than in other settings.
As we get to know our students, teachers can increasingly trust our children to venture further from adults. Teachers have the rule that children need to be within sight or sound of a teacher and you must be able to hear a teacher when they call you. Here, children can play with loose parts, including stumps, boards, sticks, and logs. Classes return to the same play spaces repeatedly to become comfortable with the area and to try new activities according to the season, but also to allow the children a sense of ownership. Teachers want the message to be: These are YOUR woods. This meadow belongs to YOU. Find a spot where you can be- where you can experiment, move, create forts, enlarge a puddle, or simply sit and listen to the world.
So much of the world is off limits to children. It can be vital to have control over a special place. This sense of ownership helps children develop logical and mathematical reasoning, impulse control, decision-making, imagination, and a sense of stewardship for the natural world. All Seasons is a place that can provide children their special place. Where was yours? Where can your child’s be?

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Nature-Based Education in the Era of Climate Change

Posted March 16, 2017

By Sarah Kern

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This February was 10.3 degrees warmer than normal in the Twin Cities, making it the 7th warmest February ever recorded in Minnesota. Our snowfall total squeaked in at .3 inches, tying the 1894 record for the lowest February snowfall. Winter in Minnesota is truly not what it used to be, and it has affected the implementation of our curriculum.
This winter, we dealt with crippling ice and sloshy mud, sweaty gloved hands and soaked clothes; we wondered how to dress the children and ourselves amidst melting piles of snow and 60 degree temperatures. But above all, we wondered about our environment, and the place of our curriculum in a climate that is changing.
Winter has always been a favorite – if not the favorite – season at All Seasons. While other schools tuck their students away as temperatures drop, we rush out, joyful and eager in the winter wonderland. Students and teachers alike look forward to sledding on the golf course, a weekly occurrence most years. We made it twice this year. Building a quinzhee, a snow shelter originally made by Athapaskan Indians, outside the Autumn Room door then constructing an ice slide through the middle made for hours of delight. This year, our meager pile lasted just a few days. It was rare to identify and follow animal tracks, and animal burrows in the snow were non-existent. Favorite winter books, such as The Snowy Day and Over and Under The Snow, didn’t carry the same weight without the connection of firsthand experience in snow. Even simple pleasures, like shoveling snow and leaving water out to freeze, were not possible.
A few of the second or third year students remembered the things that we missed this winter, asking when we could visit the golf course or work on our quinzhee. Even our youngest students often asked, “Can we build a snowman?” at the sight of a snowflake. It was with disappointment that the teachers answered, “No, we can’t.” It was a difficult place to be, the funny place between seasons, too early for much of our spring curriculum but impossible to embrace our winter curriculum.
One aspect of our spring curriculum, tree tapping, found its place in early February. Children helped drill into trees and marveled as sap began to flow. We had several days that met the criteria for good sap collection – above freezing during the day and below freezing at night. Then the temperature pendulum swung in extremes, with some days being too cold for the sap to flow and some nights being too warm. Thankfully, we were eventually able to collect a bounty, and we will continue to collect sap until buds form on the trees.
One of our core tenets is to help children develop meaningful, respectful, and lasting relationships with the natural world. We teach our students to become stewards of the environment and marvel as they pick up trash they find outside and go out of their way not to step on an insect in their path.
We want them to wonder, just as we wonder, why there isn’t snow, what season it really is, and what our place in it all is.
As the wind whips outside and our days get longer, we wonder, too, what spring will bring. There is one thing we know for sure: We’ll be there, observing, experiencing, and surely filthy in the great outdoors.
Source: Trenda, Ron. “Cooler Thursday; February Extended Our Record Warm Streak.” Updraft. NPR, 01 Mar. 2017. http://blogs.mprnews.org/updraft/2017/03/cooler-through-friday-february-extended-our-record-warm-streak/

Safe and Brave in the Wild Dark

Posted March 2, 2017

by Sarah Sivright

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As families know well, nature education is part of our three-part mission at All Seasons, along with our intergenerational connection and art program. The evidence often comes home in the form of wet, muddy, or grass-stained outdoor gear, burs imbedded in clothing and hair, or the occasional wood tick that has escaped our daily examination. At least to our faces, parents are good sports about the messy children that get strapped into car seats at the end of the day.
Growing research supports what we environmental educators have known for a long time, that children’s knowledge and all developmental domains are expanded and deepened by time in nature. So it’s probably no surprise that all of our major school parties are focused on time outdoors—the Fall Campout, Kid’s Night In, and our Earth Day celebration. A week of discussion preceded Kid’s Night In, along with books related to the activity—Owl Moon, South, Over and Under the Snow, Owl Babies.   The day of the party, several owl pellets were found on a hike to The Swamp. (Owls swallow their prey whole and then cough up the indigestible fur and bones). A couple pellets were previously found in our own Pine Tree Forest, so we planned to check that out during our night hike, as quietly as we possibly could.
Each teacher had a small group entrusted to her for the evening. In my group, I had several of the younger children, which affected our itinerary in interesting ways. We headed out to The Pines, and even though it was till dusk, this familiar play destination looked spooky in the semi-darkness. Added to the diminishing light (and no Mom or Dad) was the notion of being quiet so we could listen for owl sounds. I was wishing I had four hands for all those who needed them. “Do owls eat people?” “When can we go back to the school?” “Where are the other kids?” The older children were excited to remember where we had pitched our tents for the Fall Camp-out and actually slept there all night. We could see the lights of our building and even the light from the pop machine on the golf course tee, offering comfort.
We looked for golf balls and checked inside the bluebird house. Hands gripped onto mine relaxed a little and even let go for a few seconds. The older children’s excitement at being outside in the dark seemed more comforting than my enthusiasm for the adventure.

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We stopped at The Boulders to roast marshmallows and rejoin our friends. Then the fun really started for my little group. Once we moved to the playground all was well, even though by then it was truly dark. A familiar space with no wildlife and all their friends set them free, and off they went to run and dance, roll down the hill, shining flashlights*—a wild gathering of winter fireflies. I actually had a moment of anxiety as I stood in their midst, about some headlong collisions in the darkness, but none materialized. Even children I expected to hunker down in one place out of the fray, were swept up in the swirling fun.

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So now they all have a memory of hiking in the dark at school, revisiting places that look very different in the night. They have images of firelight, the taste of marshmallows, the pleasure of reuniting with classmates whose voices they had heard somewhere out in the darkness, the power of making their own light and fun on the playground. And somewhere in there will be a memory of having been safe—and brave—in the wild dark.

*We had extra flashlights for those who hadn’t brought one.

Harriet, Kenny, Paul, Kay…We Remember

Posted February 16, 2017

by Amy Lemieux

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On day one at All Seasons Preschool, Grandma Harriet’s smile was one of the first we saw when entering Willow Cove (the memory care living area).  “Hi, honey,” was her standard greeting, along with a big grandma hug.  She was everything “grandma,” loving, warm, welcoming and totally present.  She was a favorite due to her joy for all things children love, relishing the pleasures as simple as the warm touch of a child’s hand or the enthusiasm of little singers who don’t know the words yet.

This morning our preschoolers headed to the community room to sing at a remembrance service for Harriet.  She was a beloved grandma to our alumni students, one of our original grandmas.

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“The Ants Go Marching” was Harriet’s favorite song and one we chose to sing for her family at the remembrance service today.  We told her children how she led the preschoolers up and down the hall, marching to the beat.

Like the children, Harriet had many favorite songs.  Whatever we were singing at that moment was Harriet’s favorite.  She would tear up during “Edelweiss”  and move along with the kids to “The Hokey Pokey”.  She also shared her love for sports with the children.  Whatever “sport” we played, Harriet was on board.

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A natural question prospective parents ask when they visit our school is, “What happens when a grandma or grandpa dies?”  We remember them.  We remember how we spent our time with them, what they said, what they did, games we played, their favorite songs.

 

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Who doesn’t remember a grandma who will play Nerf softball with preschoolers and then “run” the bases through the living room?  (Harriet)

Who doesn’t remember a grandpa who starts a dough fight when kneading dough or won’t tattle when the kids sneak a lick of frosting off their fingers? (Kenny)

 

Who doesn’t remember a grandpa who painstakingly makes enough paper airplanes for the entire class and then takes everyone out to the playground to fly them? (Paul)

Who doesn’t remember the grandma who matches her sparkly jewelry to her clothes every day and always has time to read just one more story?  (Kay)

We remember all of them.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Posted February 2, 2017

by Amanda Janquart

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Ending the week with big bowls of popcorn, a bit of a movie, and plenty of togetherness is a much-loved shared activity between All Seasons preschoolers and the Willow Cove residents of Inver Glen. The enticing smell of popcorn being made on Friday mornings cues the children for what is to come. To end the morning, preschoolers go to either East or West (the two sides of Willow Cove) and arrive with smiles, handshakes and hugs. While it is a relaxed atmosphere, respect is ever present. Cups of popcorn are hand delivered to the Grandmas and Grandpas by the children before they receive their own. Patience and courtesy are strengthened. After all are ready, some snuggled up with seniors, the movie is started. For 15 to 20 minutes we are all on the same page, connecting through shows chosen to appeal to both generations. The first to be shown years ago were old cartoons, but there were varied opinions about which ones were good. Some weren’t old enough for the seniors to remember, some were clearly sexist and racist, and some were plain annoying. Mighty Mouse was a favorite, but it was hard to find enough episodes. There was a progression to full-length movies that were shown over months, with musicals clearly favored. In recent years, we have seen Lassie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Swiss Family Robinson. We are currently watching Mary Poppins, for the third year in a row! It is undoubtedly a hit for all involved. There is singing, dancing, imagination, humor, and even a few “good tears” from the adults when Jane and Michael Banks choose to use their tuppence to feed the birds. Watching the relationships grow, both on and off the screen, is Academy Award worthy.

Families were asked to weigh in on how our movie time with the Grandmas and Grandpas shows up outside of the school experience. The responses were reminders that what we do can have lovely and lasting repercussions.

“We have definitely seen movie time spill over into our home! Last year Isaac adored Mary Poppins and often performed Step in Time at home. When we get to school on Fridays, he loves smelling the popcorn because he knows that means a trip upstairs for movies with the grandmas and grandpas. He loved telling stories from Swiss Family Robinson as well, which was neat because those were two movies I really enjoyed as a kid.”

“Max is very proud to serve the grandmas and grandpas popcorn. It doesn’t even matter what movie is on, he will always tell me if he got to pass out popcorn… and how many scoops of popcorn he had.”

“Maddie asks that I sing each of the songs from Mary Poppins daily. She also requested that we draw pictures that we can pretend to jump into. Then she talks about what we’d do in the pictures like “go the zoo” or “ride on a merry-go-round.”

“”Oooh, I smell popcorn!” Rivers loves Fridays because he loves watching a movie and eating popcorn with the Grandma and Grandpas. He had never seen Mary Poppins until watching it at preschool and he fell in love with its music. We bought the soundtrack to play in the car and he belted out the songs! We visited Disney World last September and

one of his favorite things was meeting Mary Poppins at Epcot! He even sang Supercalafragalistic to her! It’s so heartwarming for the preschoolers and Grandma and Grandpas to have these movies and music to connect with one another!”

“Gavin was singing a song at home one day and his dad didn’t recognize it and asked him where he learned it. Gavin replied, ‘Mary Poppins!’”

“Annemarie and I were walking out of school on Friday. I asked her about the movie. She said, “We are watching Mary Poppins. The last time we watched Mary Poppins Grandma Margaret was with me. I really miss my Grandma Margaret. We used to snuggle and eat popcorn together. I always gave her popcorn first and we’d sit by the window. I used to take care of her and she used to take care of me.”

“Laney loves the movie time- She is always coming home sharing about what they watched. She then makes me play the music at home- she even has Malia (her sister) singing Mary Poppins songs now. It’s fun to see her enjoy movies from a different generation.”

“We were talking about the movie Friday night and Gabe kept saying, “I don’t know why the grandmas get the popcorn first and we get the popcorn first [I’m sure he meant second]. I talked about how it’s important to be kind to elderly people, and that he’s learning to be kind to them and learning patience. Hopefully something is sinking in!”

“Falcon always notes the smell of the popcorn when we come in on Fridays and says, “It’s movie day with the Grandmas and Grandpas!” He enjoys it quite a bit. He will sometimes reference the movie later, asking if we can watch it at home, especially if it is Chitty Bang Bang or Mary Poppins. He seems to enjoy the songs and dancing, which I think is also something he tends to do with the grandmas and grandpas. There are also times when we’ve greeted some of the grandmas on our way into school, and the movie experience is one they can reference and recall together, which is lovely camaraderie.”

“The first day Eli came home from school signing supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, I don’t think we could quite make out what he was saying. It took him about 10 times to say it before we caught on, and I didn’t even realize that was from Mary Poppins so I had no idea where he had learned that word! Now he says it like an old pro, very strong pronunciation. Eli always asks if it’s going to be a popcorn day on his way to school and he actually tells us little bits about the movie as we are playing at home. We actually dvr’d the movie because it was on TV over Christmas break, so we’ve had an opportunity to watch parts of it with him. It’s been fun to have him explain the parts of the movie to us as we watch them.”

Singing songs from Mary Poppins spills over into our community sing-alongs.

Singing songs from Mary Poppins spills over into our community sing-alongs.

Using Sign Language in the Preschool Classroom

Posted January 26, 2017

by Jenny Kleppe

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If you watch me teach long enough, you will see me use a variety of signs from American Sign Language (ASL). I use simple signs for nouns or commands, finger spelling to spell out words or names, and signs for some of our favorite songs. Learning the signs for spoken words has always been an interest of mine and I have found that using sign language benefits all children.
Research shows that the use of sign language has proven to be beneficial to young children in many settings. Research on “Baby Sign,”  teaching babies to use simple signs before they can talk, indicates that sign language hastens speech development, reduces frustration in young children by giving them a means to express themselves before they know how to talk, and can increase parent-child bonding. Signs used by young children count as actual words when calculating a young child’s vocabulary. Learning something visually as well as orally creates more neurological connections in the brain, increasing brain development. Sign language has also proven to be a successful intervention with children with special needs such as autism or Down syndrome.
In addition to the documented benefits, I have my own list of the advantages of using ASL in the classroom. I’ve found that using sign language is a wonderful attention-getter. Students notice when I’m doing something unfamiliar with my hands. They want to know what I’m  “saying” with my hands. I have told children that signing is like making secret messages that you have to pay attention in order to understand.  I have used sign language as an instant “quiet down” strategy. The sign for “applause” can be used to give a silent cheer during a particularly exciting or silly moment in a story where raucous behavior might otherwise ensue.
Also, children who are visual learners are better able to focus on a direction that is given visually as well as verbally. Using sign language is another way to communicate with children who are less verbal, or are learning English as a new language. It is also a way to introduce diversity to young children in an accessible way they can understand. I explain that some people use sign language to talk because they cannot talk with their voice or  cannot hear. In preschool, we often discuss how different people need different things to help them learn, and sign language is something that can help!
Most importantly, using sign language with preschoolers is fun! Children often ask what the sign is for a new word, and if I do not know it, we look it up! Many children enjoy learning the signs and doing them along with me when we sing, just as they would do the “actions” to any other preschool tune. Many of the signs for words look like the word they are representing so signs can be easy for preschoolers to learn.
Whether it’s signing while singing “You Are My Sunshine” or showing preschoolers how to finger spell their names, I use sign language to expose preschoolers to yet one more way of communicating and interacting with others. I wonder what we’ll sign next!

The Swing

Posted January 5, 2017

by Sarah Kern

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The swing is one of the children’s favorite spots in our Boulders play space. It is a disc swing, hung from one of our favorite climbing trees. Because it is a favorite, and because it only allows for one child at a time, conflict naturally arises.

Some announce before we even get to the Boulders, “I’m going on the swing first!” and it’s often a race to the swing as soon as the gate opens. Inevitably, someone who was planning on a turn doesn’t get one as soon as he or she wanted it, and must wait.

As a teacher, it is tempting to impose MY rules on the children’s playtime. Some children even expect it.

• “How many minutes does Johnny get?”
• “Mary has had it a long time!”
• “Can it be my turn now?”

I could say, “Johnny gets it for five minutes, then Mary gets it for five minutes.” I could take the swing away when children fight over it. I could make each child get off before they are done, leaving everyone feeling dissatisfied. But what would I be taking away from the children if I did that?

It is okay – and, in fact, important – for kids to experience conflict with peers. It is part of life, and children must have the opportunity to get into it and get out of it without being rescued by an adult.

Allowing children to decide the length of their turns lets them control their playtime. It gives them the opportunity to tune into their peers’ wants and needs. It is more meaningful for Johnny to get off the swing because he knows Mary is waiting than it is for him to get off because I told him to.

This hands-off approach can be difficult for kids at first, especially for those who are used to adults swooping in as soon as conflict occurs. But with time and practice, children grow in their confidence to solve their own problems.

This practice also increases children’s intrinsic motivation – that is, their motivation that comes from within rather than for an external reward (such as praise from an adult). While extrinsic motivation can be powerful in the short-term, it is intrinsic motivation that drives children in more meaningful ways by developing their self-concept.

It’s amazing what children can do when we give them a little space to think and to solve problems on their own. I am reminded of that whenever I see the swing.