Monday, August 31, 2015

Integrating Technology into the Overall Curriculum





Use of technology in the early childhood program must not be a goal unto itself: the purpose is not to teach children how to use computers; they can do this as they get older, just as they can learn to drive a car later in their lives (Wardle, 1999). Appropriate use of technology in the classroom is to expand, enrich, implement, individualize, differentiate, and extend the overall curriculum. And, obviously, curricula goals change with age, and differ from program to program. If a goal of the literacy curricula for a certain age child is to learn to write personal journals, then the computer can naturally support that through writing software, digital cameras, and other methods. A science goal that requires learning the habitat of different zoo animals can be augmented by using specific CD ROMS and accessing zoo web sites. Similarly, studying extinct and endangered animals becomes more real and educational through the use of specific software and websites.
If computers are not fully integrated into the overall curriculum, they can actually negatively impact children’s creativity (Haugland, 1982). To integrate computers effectively, these steps must occur:
1.       Create a support team that includes people knowledgeable of technology, and people who understand developmentally appropriate practice;
2.       Select developmentally appropriate software;
3.       Select developmentally appropriate web sites;
4.       Select computers that can run the software selected, and that can be easily upgraded
5.       Provide adequate and periodic staff training, both on the use of computers, and on ways of integrating the computers into the curriculum:
6.       Integrate computer resources in the classroom.

Enjoy,
Nora Sierra
Early Childhood Assistant Principal
Discovery School
(504)221-7790
(504)221-7791(fax)
(504)9500-1720(school cell)
(504)9985-0732(mobile)


Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24, 2015

Reading Aloud to Your Child: The Loving, Personal Gift



Without a doubt, reading aloud is a gift you can freely give your children from the day you bring them home from the hospital until the time they leave the nest. Children's reading experts agree that reading aloud is the easiest and most effective way to turn children into lifelong readers. And it's as much fun for you as it is for your children.
A child whose day includes listening to rhythmic sounds and lively stories is more likely to grow up loving books. And a child who loves books will want to learn to read them.
To spark that desire in your children, we have collected some useful tips for you to consider. Feel free to make use of those that work well for you and your children, and to add your own ideas.
Where
In addition to the usual reading places—a couch, an overstuffed armchair, a child's bed—consider less traditional ones:
·        Outside under a shady tree, in a sandbox or a hammock, or at a nearby park.
·        Toss a sheet over a clothesline or table to create a reading hideaway.
·        Keep a book in the glove compartment of your car for long road trips or traffic delays.
·        Spread a blanket on the floor for an indoor reading picnic.

·        Use your imagination. Almost every room in your house offers exciting reading possibilities.

Nora Sierra
Early Childhood Assistant Principal
Discovery School
(504)221-7790
(504)221-7791(fax)
(504)9500-1720(school cell)
(504)9985-0732(mobile)


Monday, August 17, 2015

The First Weeks Of School



The early weeks of each new school year offer teachers distinct opportunities and challenges. It is during this time—when expectations and routines are established, rules generated, and goals articulated—that the foundation is laid for a productive and cooperative year of learning.
As teachers, we work hard to convey, from the very first day of school, the important message that we will do high-quality work in our classrooms. We also work to convey the message that we will do this high-quality work in an atmosphere of support and collaboration. But this atmosphere does not just appear by our decree. It must be carefully constructed upon many small, but critical, building blocks, and the first six weeks of school is the time to do it.


The goals of the first six weeks of school
Though the details differ with different age groups, with the content of the curriculum, and with the organization of the room, there are four broad aims in the first six weeks curriculum.
Create a climate and tone of warmth and safety. Students can come to know each other and develop a sense of belonging through activities that help them define their commonality and their differences. Deliberately focusing on group-building activities during these weeks helps create the trust and safety essential for active, collaborative learning. However, this sense of trust is not built solely on warmth and friendliness. It is also built upon students’ assurance that there are reasonable limits and boundaries for behavior and that their teacher will enforce them. They must see that their teacher will exercise vigilance and good judgment to keep everyone safe.
 Teach the schedule and routines of the school day and our expectations for behavior in each of them. A sense of order and predictability in daily school life is important. It enables children to relax, to focus their energy on learning, and to feel competent. When we enter a new culture, we want to know its rules so that we don’t embarrass ourselves or, through ignorance or misunderstanding, hurt others.
In the first six weeks of school, we name the global expectations we might hold for the year. For example, “Our room will be a place where people try hard, take good care of themselves and others, and take good care of our materials and our school.” Children are then involved in applying these broad, nonnegotiable expectations to everyday situations. “How will we walk through the halls if we are taking care of each other?” “What does trying hard mean during math group?” “What will clean-up time look like if we are taking good care of our room?”
 Introduce students to the physical environment and the materials of the classroom and the school, and teach students how to use and care for them. In order for students to feel a sense of ownership for the school environment and materials, they must become familiar with them and have time to explore them. Through school tours for young students and new students, and scavenger hunts and mapping exercises for older ones, we encourage them to get acquainted or reacquainted with the school environment and to feel comfortable in it. Using the technique of guided discoveries, we extend children’s ideas about the creative use of space and materials, develop guidelines about sharing particular resources, and teach children how to care for them.

 Establish expectations about ways we will learn together in the year ahead. We want to generate excitement and enthusiasm about the curricula we will engage in this year—complicated new math concepts, engrossing novels full of dilemmas to explore, beautiful art materials and techniques for using them, microscopes to observe a previously invisible world. Our learning—whether we are wrestling with an ethical dilemma presented in a history lesson or considering a complicated question about collecting data for a science experiment—requires participation and focused effort, thoughtful questions, and the ability to cooperate and collaborate. We pay attention to the process as well as the products of our learning and hold high standards in both areas. It is our job as teachers to help students achieve these high standards as we learn with and from each other.

Enjoy,
Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal
nsierra@discoveryschool.edu.hn
(504) 95001720

Thursday, August 13, 2015

August 13, 2015

The Importance of Early Childhood Activity






Early childhood education focuses on children’s development during ages three to five. While this developmental period should ideally focus equally on mental and physical development, in recent decades an emphasis has been placed on mental development, creating a concurrent de-emphasis on physical development. However, the two actually go hand-in-hand and should not be considered two separate entities during early childhood development and education.
Integrating physical activity into young children’s lives is essential for creating a foundation of movement and activity that they will carry with them throughout the rest of their lives. Physically active children learn habits in early childhood that greatly increase their chances of remaining physically active through their young adult and teenage years and into adulthood.
There are a vast number of benefits for children who experience increased movement and physical activity in early childhood. In addition to creating healthy habits and fostering a lifelong commitment to physical activity, children whose early childhood education is based in movement enjoy the following benefits in both early childhood and for the rest of their lives:
·        Better social and motor skill development
·        Increased school readiness skills
·        Building developing muscles, bones, and joints faster
·        Reducing fat and lowering blood pressure
·        Reducing depression and anxiety
·        Increased learning capacity
·        Developing healthier social, cognitive, and emotional skills
·        Building strength, self-confidence, concentration, and coordination from an early age
Further, active children have fewer chronic health problems, are sick less frequently, miss less school, and have a significantly reduced risk for a number of childhood and adult diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, and mental illness.



Enjoy,
Nora Sierra
Early Childhood Assistant Principal
Discovery School
(504)221-7790
(504)221-7791(fax)
(504)9500-1720(school cell)
(504)9985-0732(mobile)


September 18, 2017

Why are Stories Important for Children? Stories play a vital role in the growth and development of children. The books they r...