What do you think?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by imat, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. imat

    imat Rookie

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    Jan 3, 2009

    Our director does not want us doing any themes that children have never seen or done before. Example: during winter we are not allowed to do snowpeople or snow because our children have never seen it snow. Even if they have gone to the snow with their family (which is about 1 ½ hours from where we live). This also goes with talking about the ocean. What are your thoughts on this?

    Is it not our jobs to give the children as many experiences as we can to build their knowledge?

    http://kidsworldexploration.com
     
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  3. mrgrinch09

    mrgrinch09 Comrade

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    Jan 3, 2009

    I'd say your director was wrong in this case.
     
  4. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Jan 3, 2009

    I know what she is talking about. I do think that children need to have real experiences to base any learning on. I also think this view point gets a bit extreme, like any opinion or line of reason.

    I do try to make sure each lesson my program runs has something tangible that the children can understand. However, that said, any lesson that you would like to teach has something tangiable that you could start with.

    Anything that comes after the tangiable item-in my opinion-goes toward understanding an audience other than your own. However, that has to happen (here) after we are sure all the children understand the item that is part of their reality.

    We do have snow-but we don't have polar bears. So they don't talk about "north pole/south pole/penguins/polar bears" or anything until after we have had our snow for the a few days and they have all gotten "cold". Then they can talk about how the animals live outside-leads to our squirrels. Then what if it was even colder----colder----now we are to north pole where the animals have adaptations-like the squirrels fur coat but for the more extreme cold.

    I let them go to pole, but not short or fast and not until after the teacher knew that everyone understood.
     
  5. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Jan 3, 2009

    I think your director has a point because it is very hard for young children to think in the abstract period, much less about something they haven't experienced at all. I don't think it should completely prevent you from discussing anything they've never seen, but I would avoid focusing on it too much.
     
  6. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Jan 3, 2009

    I also see the point. However, I also believe it's possible to expand kids' understanding by linking unfamiliar objects/concepts with things they already know. For example, almost every place in the US (not every single place, but most) does have seasonal changes in weather. Not all include snow. But you can discuss waht your own seasonal changes include...and read to them about how other places experience seasonal change.

    I think age determines how much information to introduce...how much of the abstract kids can manage. For 2's (and some 3's), I wouldn't even mention snow or ocean if it's not something in their immediate world. By the time kids are older 4's or 5's, you can introduce topics to them fleetingly.

    If you REALLY want to do ocean things, you could have an aquarium in the classroom and base all of your lessons on that. With snow, you could focus more on freezing and cold....if it gets colder in winter where you are.
    Kim
     
  7. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jan 3, 2009

    I'm not a preschool teacher, so take this with a grain of salt. I think, if she's talking about a dedicated theme on snow or the beach, then it's okay, but if she's saying don't talk about snow at all, or don't talk about the beach at all, then she's taken something to an extreme. I don't see anything wrong with starting out with a "winter" unit, and then talking about how it gets colder in some months, and what those months are like for you, then adding "winter around the world", where snow and snowmen are included. The same thing goes with the beach, where you would include it in a unit about water.
     
  8. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Jan 3, 2009

    Yes, that does sound like a strange decision. I, too, think that we should give children new experiences.
    Do you know what's your director reasoning behind the new rule?
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 3, 2009

    Is it that the entire theme can't center around something with which they're not familiar??

    I'm not an Early Childhood educator, but that seems to make sense to me. To base an entire unit on something they've never heard of might be tough. But to include those ideas as part of a larger unit, thus exposing the kids to new concepts, is a different matter.
     
  10. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Jan 3, 2009

    Just for the record there are also lines of reasoning that don't like "themes" but take life differently. Perhaps the program is asking that you use "themes" cautiously? Just a thought.
     
  11. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    Jan 3, 2009

    I would agree if you expected the children to be able to relate to the object without prior knowledge, but to say you can't introduce them to the idea of snow and things that can be done with the snow is, I think the same as saying you can't teach them about elephants or such if they have never been to Africa and seen them. If we only ever learn about what we already have knowledge of, our horizons never get expanded--- and I believe that leads to ignorance--- because I have never been further than the eye can see doesn't mean that nothing exists beyond that point---- I am an ealry childhood educator and It each my kids about the desert---- just because they ahve never been to one doesn't make it wrong to teach them that such a place exists and what it is like---if that was the case, living where I do, I would think that only middle class white people exist and no one else---seems like ideas like this are similar to where prejudice begins it's roots. I don't know it so it isn't so--- jmho
     
  12. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jan 3, 2009

    I would ask the director for more clarification. I agree, if you don't have snow, it should not dominate a whole theme. And I agree with Wa, to use themes cautiously. I don't think themes should be the curriculum. The curriculum is: social/emotional development; large and small motor development; literacy and concepts. The use of themes is just to tie things together.

    I suspect your director has more to say about the theme approach.
     
  13. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Yes, that is what I was trying to get to. Thanks blue. The idea that relating to something you haven't experienced isn't age appropriate is very close to the "themes should be used sparingly" viewpoint in my opinion. As I expressed earlier, I am not far from this view point- but I do approach it with moderation.

    I bet your director has a lot more advice.
     
  14. imat

    imat Rookie

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    She does want us to use themes. Yes I agree that we should talk to children about their interest, but if 7 children out of 16 children have been to the snow over the weekend and are talking about I think it is OK to bring that subject to the classroom and let the other children understand what some of them have experienced. But she does not even want us to do that because they have not seen it snow.

    I agree with everything that WaProvider has stated and that is what I try to do, but sometimes I feel that she ties our hands at what we can introduce the children to. During the summer children were comeing into the classroom talking about camping and other children even stated that they camped in their back yard. So I took that opportunity and brought camping into the classroom and she did not want any of us to do the camping theme because she felt like our children would not camp. When we stated that the children had been she still felt that was not relevant. I was thinking it would be a good time to talk about forest animals. Guess not.
     
  15. imat

    imat Rookie

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    Jan 3, 2009


    Thank you that is what I was thinking. Nice to hear it from someone.
     
  16. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Jan 3, 2009

    imat-I am thinking that your director has a lesson plan system for you to turn in-so that she can see what you are doing? Is there somehow that you can show her in her formatted lesson plan that you are working in an area that the children are expressing interest? That would be "emergent" if she has been researching the realistic theme vs non realistic theme the emergent should have come up as a idea to reach for?

    Perhaps?

    Now I do think that she is being unreasonable-if your children were in snow, camping and ocean situations.

    What themes has the director suggested?
     
  17. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jan 4, 2009

    Yes, Wa, I am interested in how much direction the director has given. Does she give you a list, or what?
     
  18. imat

    imat Rookie

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    No she does not give us a guide of themes that she would like us to do. She does like us to link our theme through out the environment and learning objectives. All she has said about themes is do what children are interested in. It is hard to say because one year you might do a theme and she really liked it and the next year you might do that same theme but she disagrees with at that time. I have asked her to give us monthly themes so that we are all on the same page but she feels that she does not want to do that because she wants to leave it open for the teachers. We do turn in our lesson plans in advance but I do not think she gets to all of them before you start the week or the prep to give you feed back in advance. We are a large group!
     
  19. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Have you ever schedualed a chat with her about this issue? Seems that, were she able to actually hear what you are talking about your plan would be plusable. Sometims people (even directors) just can't hear though the static and protections that are set up.

    IMO I think that you are on the right track - if you are using the items children are talking about. Make the themes something much larger and use your item as a smaller point. So for snow:

    Winter traditions of children in our room (Social Em: discuss family traditions, science -season change)

    Math: counting presents for stockings-each stocking has a number the same number of deco ereasers (numeral recog/one to one correspondence, holiday tradition-santa represents B familiy as described by mom on 11-27-08)

    Science: season changes
    at circle time read books about season change (insert titles here)
    at music time dance to NUTCRACKER (family trad for K as described by brother on 11-15-08).
    freeze ice and use eye droppers to drip colored water on ice to watch thawing and color changes. freeze items in subsequent hunks of ice. use scientific process to work on hypotheses of how long it will take. document in art.

    large motor-Nutcracker dance.


    and so on.................


    Then inside a smaller piece like the ice melt-talk about the snow and add the forest pieces or christmas tree limbs to thaw out. Then the next week try and take dir further----while you talk to her about what you are doing. ask her to observe?


    ***added later****

    I forgot to say that I am sure you have a plan-this is one i just made up with some of the students I have in mind. I am not trying to change your plan.

    Anyway, where ever you put the snow item-cite who it came from and why. then take it to the dir.
     
  20. Sabby12s

    Sabby12s Companion

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    Jan 4, 2009

    I think there is value in teaching children about things that have meaning for them, however I also think there is value in broardening their horizons and teaching them that there is more out there than just what is in the classroom or at home. There are many ways that you can take what they already know and expand upon it so they learn something new.

    Just my two cents.
     
  21. SittinInATree

    SittinInATree Companion

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    Jan 4, 2009

    That is ridiculous. That means you could never teach about dinosaurs, foreign countries or even other states for that matter, 98% of the plants and animals in the world that the children have never "seen", this list could go on and on...! What a bizarre rule. I would have a talk with this director and see if you could convince her. I mean, how else are the children to learn about the world, past and present?
     
  22. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Can you get the director on here to explain?
     
  23. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jan 5, 2009

    ..I always though the purpose of preschool was to provide experiences that a child could not get at home.
     

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