When Learning Begins, C Ebert

Tags: young children, Determining, opposite of play, Russell Child Development Center, emergent literacy, Development Child, spontaneous activity, shapes and colors, Early Intervention Program, Evidence based practices, Library Grants, Local Resources, child development, systems approach, Building Blocks, Play and Child Development, Child Care Library Grants and Professional Development, developmental support, learning outcomes, readiness skills, Jim Trelease, Literacy Skills, garden children, Counting backwards, 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, triangle block, block, favorite books, Early Literacy, Grade Inflation, academic readiness, elementary school, child's development, environment, Science process skills, math skills
Content: When Learning Begins How early play supports emergent literacy, science and math skills
Cari Ebert, M.S. CCC-SLP Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist [email protected] 1
3/23/2015 Purpose of Early Intervention (Birth to 3) To identify and address concerns across the five developmental domains: o Cognitive o Communication o Social-Emotional o Physical o Adaptive/Self-Help To coach families and caregivers on ways to support their own child's development during routines that naturally occur throughout their day Purpose of Early Childhood (Ages 3 to 5) To promote school readiness and improved Learning Outcomes of young children To prepare children for transition into elementary school During play in the early childhood classroom young children develop persistence, empathy, creativity, problem solving and thinking skills - these skills serve as the foundation for becoming a successful learner in elementary school and beyond 2
3/23/2015 How Young Children Learn Young children learn best through play that is relevant and meaningful to their life (not through direct instruction, drill work or flash cards!)
Definitions of Play (in the context of early Child Development)
Play is freely chosen, intrinsically motivated and
personally directed.
Play is activity by children that is guided more by imagination than by fixed rules. Defenitions.net
Play is the spontaneous activity of children. Merriem-Webster
3/23/2015 The opposite of play is work Common Societal Myths about Work, Play & Learning Learning must be work Learning occurs during adult-directed activities Play is frivolous, purposeless activity Play is what children do when they aren't learning Play skills come naturally to all children Children benefit most from educational toys High-tech toys are important for young children Academics should be emphasized as early as possible 4
3/23/2015 It seems as though childhood as become a race to see how rapidly our young children can learn their letters, numbers, shapes and colors...as if these are the things that matter most in life Grade Inflation What kindergarten looks like today Grade inflation causes us to have unrealistic expectations for attention and time on task Grade inflation can lead to developmentally inappropriate curriculum What daycare looks like today for the 2-year-old Grade inflation helps explain the pre-occupation we have in this country with letters, numbers, shapes and colors 5
3/23/2015 Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School1 Discusses the skepticism about the value of play and whether starting earlier is truly better when it comes to teaching discrete academic skills Factors Impacting Learning & Development Child's life experiences and learning opportunities Caregiver-child interactions Medical and health concerns (e.g. seizure disorder, Cleft Palate, nutrition issues) Strength of the child's learning to learn behaviors 6
3/23/2015 School Readiness (not the same as academic readiness) Being "ready for school" requires more than a young child knowing his letters, numbers shapes and colors Knowledge of these concepts certainly increases a child's academic readiness skills, but indicate nothing about the child's learning to learn behaviors and overall readiness for school We send children to kindergarten every year who know their letters, numbers, shapes and colors but are not prepared for school
School Readiness Skills Learning to Learn Behaviors + Early Academic Readiness Skills
Learning to Learn Behaviors Joint attention and social referencing Imitation Purposeful play Social play with peers Functional communication Self regulation Problem solving
Early Academic Readiness Skills Numeracy skills Knowledge of shapes and colors Recite the alphabet, ID and name letters Matching and sorting skills Ability to manipulate crayons, scissors, etc. Basic phonemic awareness skills Early literacy and print awareness skills
3/23/2015 Education is not the filling of a bucket but the lighting of a fire. - William Butler Yeats Best Way to Light that Fire is Through Play Early childhood professionals have a difficult task to embark upon ­ we must convince the world that play matters Many adults view play as trivial, simple, meaningless behavior that is used only to busy children until the next adult-directed activity begins The word play is often used in a derogatory manner (just another 4 letter word) The research challenges adults to "recognize play for what it is ­ a serious behavior that has a powerful influence on learning."2 8
3/23/2015 What are the Benefits of Play? Play is essential for healthy brain development Play sparks creativity and curiosity Play is critical for expanding cognitive, language, social-emotional and motor skills Play is relevant and meaningful to the child Play facilitates productive and appropriate Social interaction with peers and adults Play is a dynamic process Play experiences provide learning opportunities Benefits of Play Play allows children to learn naturally through discovery and exploration Play helps children gain a better understanding of the world around them Through play, children learn HOW to learn Play enhances problem solving skills Play is intrinsically motivating Play enhances a child's ability to concentrate Play helps children learn to deal with frustration Play fosters spontaneity and independence 9
3/23/2015 Benefits of Play Play allows children the opportunity to practice new skills Play offers children a variety of opportunities to make choices and exercise control over their actions Play provides sensory rich experiences Play fosters self-esteem Play is fun Play is Fun! "A wonderful cycle of learning is driven by the pleasure of play. A child is curious; she explores and discovers. The discovery brings pleasure; the pleasure leads to repetition and practice. Practice brings mastery; mastery brings the pleasure and confidence to once again act on curiosity. All learning...is accelerated and facilitated by repetition fueled by the pleasure of play."3 10
3/23/2015 According to Piaget... Play can serve many purposes and since children learn more effectively through activity rather than direct instruction, play provides an excellent vehicle for learning. Play Prepares Children for Life Joe Frost (professor at University of Texas) explains that play time prepares young children for the skills they need later on in life4 The best time to practice a new skill is during play because there is no right or wrong in play Play time is designed to fit the tasks both animals and humans will face During play, young animals practice their survival skills (escape, mock flight, stalking, pouncing, & capturing games) During play, young children practice their life skills (motor, language, social, problem solving, negotiation, & self help skills) 11
3/23/2015 Play and Early Academic Skills Key Early Math Skills Number Sense: rote counting (forward & backward); recognizing and labeling numerals; one to one correspondence counting Early Geometry: shape, size, space, position, direction and movement Measurement: finding length, height, and weight of an object; time concepts; estimating Patterns and Reasoning: sequencing; creating and following repeating patterns; ordering of objects by size; sorting by characteristics; making predictions; concepts such as more than or less than; making logical connections Statistics & Probability: understanding concepts such as likely, unlikely, possible, impossible, maybe, certain, uncertain; figuring out information from simple graphs Problem Solving: recognizing there is more than one way to get the answer; requires child to rely on past knowledge and use logical thinking 12
3/23/2015 How Play Supports Early Math Skills Number Sense: Singing 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed Reading the book 5 Little Ladybugs Counting backwards 5-4-3-2-1 to launch a toy rocket Determining how many cups and saucers are needed for the upcoming tea party Rote counting during calendar time Counting blocks to be sure each child has the same quantity Using cookie cutter numbers to make play dough cookies Putting pegs into a pegboard facilitates 1:1 correspondence counting Counting coins being put into a piggy bank Spatial Sense/Early Geometry: Going up the slide/going down the slide Putting on dress up clothes using directional terms (front, back, left, right) Deciding who to sit "next to" or "beside" in circle time Using pieces of yarn or string to create different shapes on the floor Constructing symmetrical creations during block play Using a 2 dimensional map to find hidden treasures in the classroom building with different shaped blocks (square block for the building and triangle block for the roof; 2 triangle blocks make a square) Tracing objects in the room to draw different shapes (a cup = circle, sponge = rectangle, block = square, etc.) Playing with a shape sorter Recognizing the different shaped crackers at snack time (Ritz =circle, Saltines = square, Triscuit = triangle, Townhouse = oval, Graham = rectangle) 13
3/23/2015 Measurement: Using a yardstick to measure equal lengths of ribbon needed for creating a kite or windsock Playing with different sized containers in the sandbox or water table Ordering Tinker Toy sticks by size Time concepts during calendar time Ordering dollhouse people from shortest to tallest Measuring how many cups of sand it will take to fill a bucket Using words such as more, less, bigger, smaller, longer, shorter, heavier, lighter, faster, slower Determining who has longer hair and who has shorter hair Patterns & Reasoning: Sequencing steps to an art activity (first we color the star, then we cut it out, then we glue it on the paper) Creating and following simple repeating patterns while stringing beads Sorting objects (beans & pasta, Fruit Loops, toy animals) by different characteristics (color, shape, size) Reasoning through the correlation between day/sun/awake and night/moon/sleep Making logical connections and explaining that the big dog is the mommy and the small dog is the baby Creating a pattern while stringing a necklace made out of pasta and buttons or while making fruit kabobs during snack time Sorting a large bin filled with Mr. Potato Head pieces into different categories (piles of eyes, noses, shoes, ears, etc.) 14
3/23/2015 Statistics & Probability: Determining the most common hair color in the class Testing certain things during play in order to better understand them (Does Silly Putty really transfer the image from the newspaper? Or Is it true that a cloth ball won't bounce?) Interpreting a graph to determine the most popular food in the class Explaining what the weather bear needs to wear based on the season Discussing with peers how likely the chances are that the class will have outdoor or indoor recess based on the current weather Determining which ball will bounce the highest (Super ball vs. basketball) Problem Solving: Using trial and error problem solving to complete a new shape sorter Determining how to cut a play-dough pizza into enough pieces to share with 3 friends Figuring out how to make purple paint when there is no purple paint available Figuring out how to stack a tower taller by replacing the triangle shaped block with a square shaped block to allow for a flat surface on which to build Learning how to compromise at recess when a friend wants to swing and you want to play in the sandbox Exploring nesting cups and figuring out how to stack them and then nest them by size Finding a viable solution when part of a toy is broken or missing 15
3/23/2015 Key Early Science Skills Comparing, classifying and measuring Curiously observing, exploring, communicating findings, inferring, hypothesizing, analyzing, defining variables Describing similarities and differences Using skills of reasoning and inquiry as they investigate the surrounding environment Collecting data and recording observations How Play Supports Early Science Skills Babies and toddlers explore the physical world with their senses Early science concepts are acquired through active involvement with the environment during naturalistic (child-directed) and structured (adult-directed) experiences While digging in the class garden children learn how to use their eyes, ears, nose and touch to observe changes in the growth cycle of plants While experimenting with food color, water and celery stalks children learn about the process of absorption Collecting data occurs as children observe, count and organize objects in the world Science process skills embedded into play (observing, communicating, inferring, hypothesizing, defining and controlling variables) 16
3/23/2015 To instill a strong sense of curiosity and an enthusiasm for learning, one of the most powerful statements an adult can make in the presence of a child is: I wonder... Key Early Literacy Skills Literacy Milestones (Birth to age 3) Interact with books in a developmentally appropriate manner Enjoy looking at books independently and with others Turn pages in books Recognize certain books by their covers Pretend to read books Turn book around if pictures are upside down Look at pictures in books Point to and name pictures in books Listen to short stories Scribble with a purpose 17
3/23/2015 Key Early Literacy Skills Literacy Milestones (Preschoolers) Produce some letter-like formations and scribbling that resembles rudimentary writing Enjoy listening to and talking about stories Basic understanding that written words carry a message Understand and participate in rhyming games Enjoy rhyming and alliteration (Dr. Seuss) Identify and label some letters Able to identify familiar words and symbols on signs and labels Reading is the heart of education. The knowledge of almost every subject in school flows from reading.5 - Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook 18
3/23/2015 How Play Facilitates Early Literacy Skills (Early Literacy Early Reading) With generic toys children begin to create their own narratives during play (rather than script) Songs and finger plays facilitate a better understanding of sounds and words and how they go together A print rich play environment (signs & labels) helps children pair the written word with the spoken word By offering loose parts during arts and crafts time (baskets of markers, crayons, glue, scissors, ribbon, rulers, etc.) children engage in early creative writing activities Fine motor activities build the pre-requisite skills needed for writing Looking at favorite books, reading, and rereading favorite books Taking orders from customers while playing restaurant Language & Literacy: Tightly Woven Together written language is simply an extension of spoken language The most critical strategy to facilitate speech and language development is a simple one: talk to children more! The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap6 "The one prekindergarten skill that matters above all others, because it is the prime predictor of school success or failure, is the child's vocabulary upon entering school." ­ Jim Trelease, 2013 19
3/23/2015 Whole Body Learning Educating the whole child Sensory-rich play Traditional playground vs. Virtual playground Importance of recess Child-directed vs. adult-directed play
Continuum of Play
Free Play
Child Directed, AdultGuided
Adult Directed
Direct Instruction
True Play
Chocolate Covered Broccoli7
3/23/2015 Why Play Matters Those of us in early intervention and early childhood education are striving to send children to kindergarten who are eager to learn. Children who are creative, persistent, curious and full of wonder are well prepared for school. Children who are actively engaged with the people and things of this world make the best students. And so play becomes the catalyst for learning in early childhood. When there is joy in learning, children will always love to learn. Joy does not always mean there has to be laughter or lack of structure. Children find joy in identifying solutions to problems that arise; in discovering new ways to use objects in their world; in being diligent and completing tasks that have relevance to their life; and in navigating a challenging activity without being told what to do. Through play we inspire children to learn naturally through discovery and exploration. There is more to life than letters, numbers, shapes and colors for young children. As educators we must instill a love for learning in each child at a young age and dutifully respect the power of play in this process. If children enter kindergarten with delays, the challenge of playing "catch-up" persists and school may rapidly become a source of dread rather than joy. 21
3/23/2015 Local Resources for Early Learners Russell Child Development Center Tiny-K Early Intervention Program: Free developmental support and services for children birth to 36 months. Building Blocks Project: Based upon a systems approach for improving outcomes for young children and their families. evidence based practices provide for quality early learning opportunities, essential family and caregiver supports, and adequate provider resources to enhance early literacy and overall child development, family confidence and competence, and community capacity. Strategies designed for, and implemented by, collaborating community partners in 19 counties include Learn & Play Parent Child Groups, Triple P Positive Parenting Program, Healthy Steps and Community Collaborative Supports such as Early Learning Stations, Family Place Libraries and Museums, Elementary Preschool Library Grants, Child Care Library Grants and professional development. Set them free & let them play! Thank you for attending! - Cari 22
3/23/2015 References 1. Miller, E. & Almon, J. (2009). Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School, College Park, MD. http://www.allianceforchildhood.org 2. Isenberg, J. & Quisenberry, N. (1988). Play: a necessity for all children. Childhood Education, 1988; 64; 138-145. 3. Copple, C. & Bredekamp, S. (2009). developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8. 3rd ed. Washington DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. 4. Frost. J. (1998). Neuroscience, Play and Child Development. Prepared for presentation at the IPA/USA Triennia National Conference, Longmont, CO. June 18-21, 1998. http://www.eric.ed.gov 5. Trelease, Jim (2013). The Read-Aloud Handbook, 7th ed. New York, NY: Penguin Books. 6. Hart, B. & Risley, T.R. "The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3" (2003, spring). American educator, pp.4-9. http://www.aft.org//sites/default/files/periodicals/TheEarlyCatastrophe.pdf 7. Skolnick-Weisberg, D., Zosh, J., Hirsh-Pasek, K. Ymichnick Golinkoff, R. (2013). Talking it Up: Play, Language Development, and the Role of Adult Support. American Journal of Play, Vol. 6, No. 1; 3954. 23

C Ebert

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