Saturday, June 24

BLOGGING 101 FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS ~ GET READY FOR SUMMER PROGRAMMING



LET'S START - What is a blog?



A BLOG IS A PERSONAL JOURNAL PUBLISHED ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB.  Like a typical journal, entries are a chronological account of events and goings on that are deemed important by the writer.  Entries are entered in reverse order, with the latest date of events appearing first.  

A HIGH QUALITY BLOG WILL BE INTERACTIVE.  People can come to a blog, learn new things, keep up to date about information, and provide input and thoughts toward the content.  The social networking aspect of a blog allows the blogger and visitors to build and maintain a connection.  This make a blog similar to a face to face, informal discussion group or seminar, but online with potential participants from a very wide reaching and diverse group.  


MOST BLOGS PROVIDE A WRITTEN OR VISUAL COMMENTARY, OR DIARY LIKE ACCOUNT ON A FOCUSED SUBJECT. People visit or read blogs because they have an interest in, or want to find out about a certain subject or person.  Like picking up a specific magazine, or reading a certain journalists articles, a blog allows a reader to do more than just read, they can ask questions and provide ideas. 

GOOD BLOGGERS WILL INCLUDE photos, images, links to other blogs and/or Web pages to combine and create a network of information that visitors to the blog can access.  This keeps the blog material fresh and interesting for visitors. 
(Wikipedia. April 10, 2012)

BLOG USE IN CHILD CARE

BLOGS USE IN CHILD CARE IS REPLACING THE TRADITIONAL PARENT INFORMATION BOARD OR NEWSLETTER. 
·         They are bring used to keep parents informed of centre events and activities, and to gain parent input and feedback on various centre issues.


BLOGS ARE ALSO REPLACING ART AND OTHER PROGRAMMING VISUAL DISPLAY PANELS.  
·         Educators are using blogs to display the children's activities: art work, field trips, gross motor play etc.  In addition, blogs are being used to inform parents about the why's of programming: why we encourage free play, why messy or tactile play is important, why play based learning works for young children.  


BLOGS HELP PARENTS GAIN A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF A CENTRE'S DAILY PROGRAM;
·         beyond speaking to the teacher at the end of the day, hearing from the child about how their day was, and seeing the final production of art work that comes home.  


BLOGS ALLOW PARENTS TO CAPTURE THE EDUCATOR'S IDEAS AND PASSIONS ABOUT THEIR PROGRAMMING FOR CHILDREN.
·         Because a teacher can put so much of themselves into a blog, and parents can read and interact with the information and material a teacher posts, teachers and parents build a fresh communication network.


   HOW TO SET UP YOUR BLOG

DECIDE UPON A FOCUS FOR YOUR BLOG.
·         What are your regular creative arts hobbies?  Music.  Knitting.  Painting. Mixed media.  Pets/pet care.  Gardening.  Stamp collecting.  Photography.  Sketching.  Cartooning.  Cooking.


RESEARCH OTHER BLOGS AND WEBSITES THAT FOCUS ON YOUR OR SIMILAR CREATIVE ARTS.
·         Bookmark website pages that you like, ones that provide more information on the subject.

SEARCH THROUGH PHOTOS THAT FOCUS UPON THE SUBJECT. 
·         Take some photos that focus on or capture the idea of the subject.



START TO JOURNAL YOUR IDEAS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS. 
·         Why do you like the art form, how long have you been doing it as a hobby, when do you find time to do it, if you had more time when would you do it more, what materials do you need for it?

THINK ABOUT PROGRAM ACTIVITIES YOU'LL SHARE. 
·         Which type of activities could you do with children to introduce the art, discover more about the art, maintain an interest in the art, expand upon the art to other ideas?


IDEAS TO INCLUDE IN A CREATIVE ARTS BLOG:

·         How you define creativity.
·         Why you think it's important to nurture children's creativity.
·         What you consider the creative process.
·         How you nurture or intend to nurture the creative process with children. 
·         What you consider your role is in the child's discovery or creative arts process.


THINK ABOUT NOT EVEN USING A BLOG:  Will a Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram page or Twitter feed work?
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Sunday, April 23

MINDFULNESS AND PURPOSE IN CHILD CARE - A Minimalist Approach to Programming


MINDFUL  Attentive.  Aware.  Conscious.
PURPOSE – Intention.  Aim.  Reason.
MINIMALIST – Essential.  Moderation. Calm.

We hear so much about mindfulness, purpose and minimalism in relation to our adult lifestyle, but they can also be applied to child care and programming.
·         Mindful teaching.
·         Purposeful programming.
·         Minimalist play environments.

If you would like to be MINDFUL IN YOUR APPROACH to teaching and programming for children, think about what you're putting out (toys, materials and activities), and why.

Everything you put out for the children should be DONE WITH PURPOSE AND MINDFUL INTENT, not just for the sake of being out there or to fill space.  There should be a rhyme and reason to your choice of materials, a main purpose with a base – the children's interests, part of a larger blueprint for play.  

Children should have a vested interest in everything you set out.  All too often there are playrooms with a wealth of materials piled all around, yet THE CHILDREN'S PLAY HAS NO FOCUS; not that play need to be focused, but the children should not be moving aimlessly through the room, so overwhelmed by the materials and toys that they do not engage.

Take a walk around your playroom and ask yourself:

WHY DID I PUT OUT THOSE MATERIALS?  
WHY DID I PLACE THAT ACTIVITY THERE? 

Why have I chosen river rock story stones and why are they out this week?  Is it because the children are interested in storytelling, or because it's spring and part of a theme?  Did you see a Pinterest Pin where the idea looked great, but the children don't use them, or did you want the children to explore the rock textures, feel the smooth surface while exploring the little pictures, maybe handle the stones as part of greater SENSORY EXPERIENCE of oral storytelling?  

Whatever the motivation, there should be a purpose, and TEACHERS NEED TO BE MINDFUL of that purpose when creating and maintaining their child care environment.

Declutter.  

Think about what you're adding the environment.  Use care and purpose to keep things minimal.  Only add or keep out things that have meaningful.
 
Be Mindful.  Have Purpose.  Maintain Minimal. 

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