Within my studies at Bank Street College of Education I was taught to think about the whole child. My education was rooted in the developmental-interaction approach. Development emphasizes shifts and change over time, which occurs at different rates for different individuals. Interaction refers to the child’s engagement with the world. Developmental-interaction refers to the ways in which cognition and emotion are interconnected in any teaching situation, while taking into account the relationships with others when co-constructing knowledge.
The Pre-K class at Alphabet Academy’s South Campus has been preparing for winter by suiting up in cold weather gear and spending time outside everyday, no matter what. Over the past month our class has learned that every kind of weather is a unique occasion to try something new. Brisk windy days have provided us with the opportunity to fly leaf-kites and listen to wind chimes. Rain storms have lent themselves to mud baths and puddle jumping competitions. Some might even say that exhilarating hikes around the campus grounds in the sleet and snow rival the rush of climbing Mt. Everest. And, with every joyous outdoor exploration, I have observed my students growing socially, emotionally, and academically in ways that are not possible indoors.
Everyday we are learn more about our diverse class through our “loose parts share days”. On these days our the children present their loose parts to the class. Each child has the opportunity to share, sort, and display their items on the loose parts table, located in our art studio. The loose parts are made available to the class to use in any of their creative endeavors.
Last month I had the pleasure of attending the Bankstreet Infancy Institute with four of my colleagues. For those of you who may not know, Bankstreet College of Education is one of the premiere graduate schools for progressive early education in the United States and is located in NYC. It is rare as an Infant/Toddler teacher to attend a professional development workshop that can be applied to the age that I work with, because most people look at “Early Childhood Education” as pertaining to children ages 3-5. The reality is that this isn’t even half true- early childhood education pertains to children ages Birth through 8. Furthermore, 90% of the brain is already developed by age 4! So why are our infants and toddlers constantly getting the short end of the education stick?!
Earlier this week we joined Gardner Dan, a.k.a. Mr. Dan, on our playground to honor Earth Day by planting a Red Oak tree. The children were eager to get down and dirty, especially after reading Earth Day, Every Day by Lisa Bullard.