Friday, September 25, 2015

September 25, 2015











Views of the Experts
Ever since the works of John Dewey (1934) and Herbert Read (1943), educators have seen a central purpose for art in education. Dewey believed every child should have art, not just those ‘gifted in art,’ and Herbert Read developed an entire school curriculum around art. While there are many arguments for including art to increase children’s competency and self-esteem, other important reasons for including art across the curriculum will be discussed in this article.

Iconic Representation According to Jerome Bruner, young children learn most easily through enactive and iconic representation (1983). Enactive representation is “muscle memory”; iconic representation is one-to-one memory based on visual icons – a McDonalds ‘M’, a Nike Swoosh, an apple for the teacher, etc. Maybe one of the reasons children take so easily to computers is because icons are used to label all its functions. Because of children’s affinity for identifying and learning icons, early childhood teachers should provide them with lots of opportunities to use visual symbols, such as labels, lists, pictures of objects from fieldtrips, photographs of favorite people, and icons they create – houses, people, the sun, trees, etc. Children use these icons to think and solve problems, and it is important we do not force written symbols upon them too quickly.
Spatial Intelligence One of Gardner’s eight intelligences is spatial intelligence, which involves learning, exploring, processing and excelling through the use of the visual arts (1983). While a child who learns this way will do well in artistic endeavors at school, she should also be provided opportunities to use spatial intelligence in all other activities, but especially academic endeavors – reading, writing, math, and science.

Practice Piaget believed that learning new concepts, ideas, and skills requires two fundamentally different processes: first, children need to change their mental structures to accommodate the new concept or skill; and second, they must practice this new concept or skill (Piaget, 1962). Art is a wonderful way to practice. A child who has just seen an elephant for the first time on a fieldtrip to the zoo, for example, returns to the classroom to explore the new idea through painting elephants.

Documentation Both Reggio Emilia and The Project Approach stress documentation. The Reggio curriculum, which has become known as the One Hundred Languages of Childrenexplores the variety of ways children use to document their own learning. Some Reggio programs even have a full-time artist, whose job is to help teachers and children with this process, and an art studio (Malaguzzi, 1993). Artistic documentation provides a visual representation of the child’s development and learning while communicating what children are learning to parents and the school community (Wardle, 2003). In The Project Approach, drawings, models, photos, and writings challenge children to integrate a variety of concepts and document what they have learned, as well as providing a communication link to parents and the school community (Helm and Katz, 2001).

Meaningful Learning We know that it is easier for children to learn concepts and ideas that relate to something the child already knows, or has directly experienced (Mayer, 1996). This is because it’s much easier to remember new concepts by attaching them to an existing memory. One way to make new learning meaningful is to offer children ways to explore how the new idea fits into what they already know. Art is a great way to do this. For example, after a teacher has just read a book about a farm to a group of five-year-olds, the child whose grandfather lives on a farm can draw or paint her grandfather’s farm, while an inner-city child might make sense of the book through art activities about his visit to a petting zoo and an 1850’s outdoor museum.


Multicultural Perspective Our programs are becoming more and more diverse with children who speak a variety of languages, have different religious beliefs, and engage in a variety of cultural and traditional practices (Wardle & Cruz-Janzen, 2004). Because all cultures and most religions use art in their traditions and practices, art enables our children to integrate their cultural backgrounds into the school’s curriculum.

Monday, September 21, 2015

September 21, 2015

FINE MOTOR ACTIVITIES IN THE PRESCHOOL YEARS




One of the most important ways we can help our children while playing with them at home or in a childcare/ classroom setting is through setting up simple activities that help to develop fine motor skills. Young children need to be able to hold and use scissors and pencils appropriately before using them in a classroom context. We cannot expect them to be able to write if they haven’t yet developed the strength needed in their hands and fingers.
There are plenty of easy ways to strengthen these muscles, practice co-ordination and develop hand: eye co-ordination using simple, everyday materials and a bit of creative fun!

Have fun!!

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

MISSION
Our mission is to prepare students for the challenges of life and future academic work by instilling in them:
·         Self-esteem
·         Academic Excellence
·         Critical Thinking
·         Celebration of Cultural Diversity, and
·         Social and Environmental Responsibility


Thursday, September 3, 2015

INDEPENDENCE DAY IN HONDURAS



Honduras Independence Day Celebration is preceded by weeks of listening to school kids practicing their march, dance and music. Throughout Honduras you can hear drums, see children being escorted down streets by teachers in military style march practices gearing up for the show they must put on to celebrate Honduras Flag Day officially every September 6th followed by their towns parade on the 15th of September to celebrate Independence day. The old timers have their families take them to view the parades and dance shows, the tourist gawk and take pictures and get in a festive mood. Younger generations sport their National Soccer team jerseys (since the colors match the flag and just about everyone from the poor to the rich has one) and the teenagers and children put on their show.

At the end of the day, in most small towns there is a lowering of the flag ceremony since they cannot afford to keep the flags flying at all times due to the wear and tear they sustain if used daily and limited budgets to continue replacing them throughout the year. Night time is followed by celebration parties in the streets as well as night clubs and bars in major cities.

Everyone enjoys a good time and breathes a sigh of relief as the Honduran children are happy to not have to continue their daily after school to as late as 10:00PM in many communities march and band practices that began at the beginning of the month to celebrate Honduras Flag Day on the 6th of September and continued every day including weekends.

The towns people can watch the news and TV shows or listen to the radio without having to crank the volume up in order to suppress the sound of the drums they have been listening to every evening for weeks and teachers prepare to celebrate their day off as Honduran Independence Day every year is followed by Teachers Day in Honduras the 17th of September.
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)



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