Dot Day as Process Art: Why we ❤️ it so much!

International Dot Day is a celebration of creativity inspired by The Dot written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.  It is a day to think about ways in which we can use our special talents to make the world a better place.

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What began as a simple story in a picture book has become so much more. As more and more teachers celebrate International Dot Day with their students, entire classrooms are being transformed as children and teachers alike rediscover the power of creativity in the learning process.

What is process art for kids?

Process ART is a contemporary artistic movement recognized within the world’s art communities. The Guggenheim states “process art emphasizes the ‘process’ of making art”. The MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) points out that “in process art, the means count for more than the ends.”

These definitions apply directly to process art for children! 

Process art is all about the experience the children have while they’re creating. If it has a nice end product, that’s great, but the end product isn’t the focus of process art. Ask yourself the questions below if you’re unsure. If the answer to either is “YES!” then it is not a process art activity.

  • “Will I be upset if the end result doesn’t look a specific way?”
  • “Do I have a preconceived notion about what the end result ‘should’ look like?”

Teacher Reflection: How do you dream of “making your mark” in the world. Whats one small way you can start working on it now?

One other aspect of International Dot Day that has helped it spread across the globe is the interactive, collaborative nature of celebrations. Teachers are encouraged to document and share their International Dot Day celebrations via blogs and social media. In this way, other teachers can be inspired to participate in new and exciting ways in the future.

Some Ideas that can be easily applied to childcare:

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Wonderful opportunity for parental engagement on DOT DAY! 

Encourage children’s creativity through developmentally appropriate art experiences

Tips for leading process-focused art

1. Approach art like open-ended play—for example, provide a variety of materials and see what happens as the child leads the art experience
2. Make art a joyful experience. Let children use more paint, more colors, and make more and more artwork
3. Provide plenty of time for children to carry out their plans and explorations
4. Let children come and go from their art at will
5. Notice and comment on what you see: Look at all the yellow dots you painted
6. Say YES to children’s ideas
7. Offer new and interesting materials
8. Play music in the background
9. Take art materials outside in the natural light
10. Display children’s books with artful illustrations, such as those by Eric Carle, Lois Ehlert, and Javaka Steptoe
11. Let the children choose whether their art goes home or stays in the classroom
12. Remember that it’s the children’s art, not yours

References:

More Than Painting, Preschool and Kindergarten: Exploring the Wonders of Art, by Sally Moomaw and Brenda Hieronymus. This book provides many process art activity ideas.

The Creative Arts: A Process Approach for Teachers and Children, by Linda Carol Edwards. A textbook format that provides a foundation for understanding process in art, music, and drama activities with young children.

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A Caring Note: For students starting in the field

 

Dear Future Childcare Professional,

Genuinely express enjoyment, caring, compassion, and interest in the children’s and parents lives. Take the time to really understand children’s individuality.

Parents trust their jewels with your care, provide them with a stimulating environment; they want to know and feel that they are respected, valued, and you will be there for them as well as their children.

Environmental activities, learning through being outdoors, and nature activities are so inspiring; don’t be afraid to try setting up a provocation, feeling embarrassed, or giggling alongside children. There is so much joy looking at children dance in the rain, caring for seedlings freshly planted, or watching nature in its splendor.

Enjoy the newness of each day.
Be like a child and see the world from their eyes…you just maybe surprised what you learn.

Good luck and enjoy your beautiful journey,

Carolina Saenz-Molina

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Class Photo: Taking risks by learning about nature play

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Class Photo: Genuinely, getting to know our parents and building partnerships.

Books + Social |Emotional Awareness a Reflection

Reading children’s books and sharing them with my students and daughter has been one of my favourite past times both at home and in the classroom. I find it very calming and pleasing to share a storybook. After reading various titles, I have come to appreciate the authors careful and intentional story writing, its fascinating to read a story and be so moved by their writing… even as an adult! This blog post is dedicated to three stories I have read and been moved by.

Social-Emotional Intelligence:
the ability to understand ourselves and other people, and in particular to be aware of, understand and use information about the emotional states of ourselves and others with competence. It includes the ability to understand, express and manage our own emotions, and respond to the emotions of others, in ways that are helpful to ourselves and others.

Book: “What I Like about Me”

By Allia Zobel, Miki Sakamoto (Illustrator)

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Kinde Korner “All About ME Provocation!”

During the first month of school, Kinde Korner’s goal as educators is to learn more about the children they will be working with over the year. In addition to completing assessments, interviews, and observations of the children during play, they set up a provocation or invitation to learn “About Me.”

Personal Reflection:

This is one of my favorite books. I enjoyed reading this book to my group of ECA/ECE students. The books central theme is diversity and uniqueness (it is okay to be different since that’s what makes us, who we are). At the end of the book there is a mirror children could use this as a learning experience or an opportunity to facilitate discussion. In my classroom I passed around the book and had my students look in the mirror while sharing what the liked about themselves.

Book: “Only One You”

By Linda Kranz’s (Author and Illustrator)

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This book quickly became an art show choice for the educators teaching 3-6 Montessori in Maitland, Florida. Its overflowing beauty instantly captivated them from the beginning with the uniquely painted (rock) fish placed against the vibrant blue seas and picturesque skies. In addition to visual beauty they mentioned how enchanted they felt by the endearing message the story delivered. It carries an uplifting message of hope and goodness and offers simple but invaluable wisdom. The principles in this book are ones they have always tried to nurture in the children.

Personal Reflection:

Only One You, is a beautiful story about the lessons parents share with their children. Adri is a young fish that is ready to begin his own life and his parents want him to take with him the wisdom they have learned. My favorite part is when Adri’s mother says, “We hope you will remember” and the young fish circles back to let them know that he will not forget. The life lessons that children will learn from reading Kranz’s book include the importance of individuality, how you can change paths after making a mistake and the respect that parents deserve.

Book: “Stick and Stone”

By: Beth Ferry

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Diane Kashin Technology Rich Inquiry Based Research 

In one of Diane Kashin’s inspiring  workshops was an invitation to engage in experiences based on the book, Stick and Stone, in her blog post she discusses her reflections on invitations– and why not all of her invitations are responded to – leading her to reflect on which are and why?

Personal Reflection:

Stick and Stone is the perfect picture book for teaching children about using words that uplift versus words that hurt. It communicates how to look out for friends and take a stand and how friendship should be a balance of give and take. The simple language and rhyming words make it easy for young children to understand. Even though there are few words on each page, Stick and Stone introduces vocabulary such as “vanish, wander, explore, and laze” to children. This book exemplifies a story of true friendship, and helping one another. I would use Stick and Stone to start a conversation with my class about how to treat others.

Patterns and Loose Parts

Pattern: When items are in a repeated sequence, they form a pattern.

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Children will recognize and create patterns.

For example, when coloring they may shade a shirt in a “blue-red-blue-red” pattern. As they mature, the patterns will become more complex. When playing with blocks they may be able to put them in a “triangle-circle-square-triangle-circle-square” sequence.

Working on pattern recognition is an important area to practice with children in childcare. The ability to recognize, follow and predict patterns is an important early math skill. Understanding patterns helps children to understand and deal with the chaotic environment around them, as they learn to do things in the correct order.

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The ECE’s role involves posing questions that alert children to patterns which occur naturally in the sequence of the day, such as in the songs sung, the books read, and the games played in outdoors and indoors. This is an ongoing and natural process. Activities should highlight patterns that are visual, kinesthetic, and auditory.

Tip: Experiences with sorting and classifying may help with the learning of patterns. The ability to work with patterns is strengthened by the recognition and identification of attributes such as colour, size, and shape.

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Patterns are everywhere in math!

I have discovered the art of setting out materials in the classroom to be so inviting, and encourages children to explore with all their senses.

Math Language: Repeating pattern, position words (after, between, beside, before, next), attribute vocabulary (colour, size and shape).

Loose Parts = More Complex Play

Architect Simon Nicholson used the term “loose parts” to describe materials with varied properties that can be moved and manipulated in many ways. He theorized that the richness of an environment depends on the opportunity it allows for people to interact with it and make connections.

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The term loose parts relates to any object which was can moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up and taken apart and put back together. Playing with loose parts is a popular activity in preschools and upwards to help children develop their skills in creativity, flexibility and independence.

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Love the open ended nature of these activities. The children can be as creative as they want and all approach it in their own way. Very inviting and so gorgeously place loose parts.

When children are encouraged to use loose parts and try their own ideas, they are driven to learn. They are driven to not only ask their own questions, but also discover their own answers and create new possibilities. A child’s play with loose parts even begins to match their developing skill level (Daly and Beloglovsky, 2015), providing opportunities for divergent and creative problem solving.

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Daly, L., & Beloglovsky, M. (2015) Loose parts: Inspiring play in young children. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press

Thank you to all the Early Childhood Educators and Elementary Teachers who have worked so hard to create activities for children. –credits to the photographs

 

A Welcome Stone: A Sense of Belonging

Arrival stones for attendance at a child care, fosters a sense Belonging. 

Belonging happens when a child has a sense of connectedness. Forming strong, trusting relationships are important to feel safe, explore and learn.  Children need to feel part of a community within their family, friends and the natural world.

Introducing Rocks to Children: Classroom Belonging Activity

“Everybody Has a Rock.”  Each child blindly selects a pebble from the basket.

Share with the children that their rock is waiting for them and that it will choose them.

Each child is responsible for putting his or her rock in the basket each morning and afternoon. Take attendance from the rocks remaining on the table.

“It is symbolic of their presence and gives them a little more responsibility.”

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This is a wonderful nostalgic book for adults who collected rocks when they were children; I’ve observed my daughter collect rocks. And, some children who enjoy the natural world might appreciate it because it stresses their autonomy in the pursuit of choosing a rock of their very own. I also like how the girl stresses play with her rock can be more fun than playing with the kinds of things that have to be purchased.

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Love this rock name idea from Stimulating Learning with Rachel.

Making the surroundings welcoming for all children and families

Welcome stones …

  • Children take the lead; actively shaping their day right in the morning.
  • Invite and engage others in the continuing process of program development including parents, the children themselves.
  • Educators listen and learn from the children as much as the children listen and learn from the educators.
  • Educators encourage children to explore nature and their natural environments.

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Routines and activities to help children develop a sense of belonging in a child care program.

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Looking at the environment and our practices with a critical lens can help us to strengthen our programs and thus foster positive development in the children we care for.

Questions to consider:

  • How do I foster relationships within my program to create a sense of belonging with both the families and the children?
  • How does the environment I provide support belonging?
  • Are there policies or practices I might reconsider?

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“Growing” belonging

A sense of belonging doesn’t just happen; it takes time and effort to grow. Focused, planned ideas are important. Growing with your families creates not only a positive sense of belonging, but also helps foster the circle of nurturing: “You’ve taken such good care of me; I want to take good care of you.” This adds to what is special and unique about your program.

Mirror, mirror everywhere

I’ve noticed that mirrors are the newest trend in childcare classrooms (of course… Reggio Emilia preschool centres have been using them forever, infant classrooms have always had a mirror and the AQI states we must have a full length mirror in the dramatic area), so because of the fascination with mirrors I have decided to incorporate them into my classroom activities with ECE/ECA students. Now, before I  started using them in the classroom I had to first research the rationale for including them in play-based learning, “How do mirrors support children’s development?”, “What are some simple ways to get started using mirrors–students would need to know?”

Mirrors have an important place in the history of child development.

Jacques Lacan, a psychiatrist, noticed that when babies between 15 and 18 months old look into a mirror they recognized themselves (the mirror stage). This developmental milestone is regarded as an essential marker of the baby’s self-awareness and emerging identity as a distinct and unique individual.

Mirrors provide the opportunity for kids to explore:

  • symmetry,
  • reflection,
  • perspective,
  • angles,
  • their own movement, and
  • self-awareness.

Mirrors and other reflective surfaces are fascinating tools for exploration, discovery, and creativity. *Ding, Ding Ding!!

How to support exploration:

Location of Mirrors for infants and toddlers. Plastic mirrors mounted to walls, crib sides, and the ceiling over the diaper-changing station-would be a great place to begin. (Check the edges and if sharp, wrap in cloth tape)

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Show your emotion. Invite a child to sit next to you in front of a mirror. Demonstrate facial expressions that express a range of emotions—sad, happy, surprise, frustration, fear, or anger, for example. Challenge the child to name the emotion and to mirror it in the mirror.

Getting dressed or blowing your nose. Invite children to put on dress-up clothes in front of a mirror. Allow ample time for trying on hats, wigs, scarves, and aprons.

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Playing with mirrors to reflect light and wondering how our image is reflected teaches children a beginning understanding about the properties of light.

Bounce light off of different surfaces. A large plastic “baby” mirror, held freely, is especially good for this. Have children use mirrors to look behind themselves. “Catch” some sunshine and reflect it to another surface outside or inside. Children can use a mirror to examine their face to draw a self-portrait.

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Draw yourself. Place mirrors in the art area. Children are more likely to draw from the observations they see in the mirror and not from memory if they are encouraged to focus on parts of their face they don’t usually begin with, such as their nostrils. Ask, “Do you see the holes in your nose? How many are there?”

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Reflections of loose parts. Use a framed mirror as a tray for table-top sensory exploration. Gather a variety of soft, textured, loose parts. You might choose materials from nature (leaves, twigs, feathers, and grass)

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Okay so where to purchase mirrors?

Mirror tiles, available at home stores, are an inexpensive. Buy mirrors at a dollar store. “Baby” or designed-for-preschool plastic mirrors can be ordered from preschool, or scientific, education supply companies. Also available at home stores are large sheets of mirrored acrylic board. Ask to have the sheet cut into 2- by 4-foot pieces—they are easy to store and open the possibility of cooperative art and socialization activities.

 

Thank you to all the wonderful teachers and programs that capture these lovely moments in their classrooms and with children, you are inspirational. 

Why I use Provocations at the College level with my students?

One of my favorite parts about the blogging world is peeking into everyone’s classrooms. I am always in awe. Whenever I am browsing teachers public classroom photographs I can’t help but think about…

  • What their pedagogical values are?
  • How they have implemented them into their teaching?
  • In what ways are student engaged? with materials or other students/children?

This brings me back to my own [journey] pedagogical values…

There was so much to think about when I first started teaching, from how to dress and behave, to classroom policies and procedures, to what to teach and how to teach it, that it was easy to forget that without theory—without ideas about why you are doing what you are doing with your students, what you hope to accomplish with them in the class, and why it matters to you—teaching can easily become a robotic job of assign-assess-repeat, with little true value either for you or for your students. Just going through the motions of education, rather than genuinely participating in the learning process.

In Ontario, the curriculum is directed by provincial guidelines. At the college/university levels, however, in most cases I am responsible for determining what I’m teaching and how I’m going to teach it. Most importantly throughout my teaching career I have learned that the—WHY you are going to teach it —is often overlooked in the grand scheme of things, but in reality it can be the most important thinking that you do when you are structuring or revising an outline for the class. The engagement is also so, so crucial!

If your own pedagogical values are not reflected in your choices of what to teach and how you’re going to teach it, then your class will be much less authentic for you and for your students. They need the “why” as much as you do, and the more transparent you can be about the matter, the better off everyone involved is going to be, as well.

In the field of Early Childhood Education the Ontario document How Does Learning Happen? A Pedagogy for the Early Years has been so instrumental in helping me align my professional goals and educational goals for both the students and myself. Provocations have also provided me with a sense of inspiration.

For me provocations with students … are skillfully introduced  with the intent to create a spiral of learning where students construct knowledge.

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  • In the picture above, I have included the Assessment for Quality Improvement (AQI). I find that adult learners appreciate learning about the expectations from the city and their future employers, it helps ground their understanding.
  • I also place sticky notes for students to answer guiding questions on, these notes are usually saved and revisited at the end of class.

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  • In the picture above, I have written two points on the importance non-fictional books in the classroom, on this day we were discussing nature/science related topics. This helps start the conversations and possibly encourage students to think up other reasons for the placement of nature/science books in the classroom.

Provocations …. give students plenty of time to talk, to think through things in small groups or together as a larger class, while I can facilitate their thinking without dominating it. Model the kind of critical thinking and reflection I want them to do, and then give them the room they need in order to do it.

In many of my classes, I structure daily lessons around a question or a set of questions or an idea or set of ideas I would like us to explore, and we work together to create meaning and find answers through discussions.

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  • In the picture above, I have included the Early Learning for Every Child Today (ELECT), the goal was to have students holistically connect the learning experiences to the continuum of development. In the invitations to explore materials I like to include ‘real’ photographs of the learning experience in the classroom, this helps students visually see the set up in a classroom.

I love that provocations or environmental invitations grant me the ability learn more about my students as learners, I love to observe them and listen to their conversations as they engage with materials and discuss ideas. I also think, central to the explorative process, is reflection. I feel provocations provide student teachers with a comfortable space when they do not “fully understand” as teachers. The door is open to rich dialogue and critical reflection, practices that make us better teachers/learners.

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  • In the picture above, I have introduced students to “small world play” I have defined for students in a simple format and in addition not pictured above I have created an album on small world play and a handout for students to learn more about.

Provocations I think poke at something more specific and defined in education and why not use them with college students! At this point in the “spirally constructivist approach to learning” (love this! It reminds me of Loris Malaguzzi’s metaphor of the brain as a tangle of spaghetti) we have figured some things out and we are consciously placing something into that identified trajectory of learning, inquiry, theory development. Since the constructivist approach involves co-construction, we often think in terms of a scaffold (something that provides a platform for the learning so the child or student can reach the next point or make sense of an idea or concept in their unique construction of knowledge). The joy of teaching is that the learning and reflection never end!

Exploring Mindfulness

Inspiring Pedagogy: “Traditionally, educators have found that much of their communication with children involves directing them – giving instructions, telling children what to do, and correcting their behaviour – rather than really connecting with them in a meaningful way. However, an approach that emphasizes listening, responding to, and building on child-initiated communication and conversation can be a more effective way to promote children’s language acquisition and their development of social skills, empathetic understanding, and ability to pay attention.” (HDLH, p. 41)

I collaborated with Edane Padme, Certified Yoga Instructor at Padme Kids Yoga to deliver a Mindfulness Workshop for the students.

I absolutely loved how she so passionately sought to have the students embody mindfulness, it was very important for her that the students before sharing mindfulness practices with the children to have an experiential understanding of mindfulness through their own practice. I also agree that once we begin to develop our own practice, we will see how it impacts our classroom and our relationships with children more intentionally.

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The more we practice coming back to the present with kind awareness, the easier it actually is to be present — a vital quality for educators. As educators we make more decisions during the course of the work day, and the demands of the classroom require us to be able to have simultaneously both expansive and focused attention.

Role-model the calming strategies to ensure the children understand the process and are successful.

I believe mindfulness can enable us to connect deeply with ourselves so in turn we can authentically connect with others.

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Classrooms that practice mindfulness activities such as breathing exercises, sensory explorations, guided imagery, yoga, and spa like music, show reduced stress and anxiety, better mood, and improved choice making, impulse control, attention and memory (all executive functions!)

Educators adapt expectations based on the individual needs and personalities of the children. For example, shortened wait times or steps for younger children, or longer wait times for the children who have a stronger ability at self-regulation.

IAMYOGA8.jpegWhether you call it “brain breaks”, “time-in”, “yoga”, “meditation”, or “mindfulness,” participation enables children to develop an awareness of their inner state and the ability to soothe and refresh themselves. Every time we support children in consciously resetting and recharging their nervous systems there’s an investment in a more thoughtful, harmonious, and self-regulated classroom.

Educators are consistently explaining consequences in a calm manner. For example, calmly explain that hitting hurts and redirect the child to an alternate activity.

Some ideas I have come across to support self-regulation in the classroom:

Start the day with a silent or guided breathing or meditation technique that slows everyone’s inner speed and invites observation of sensations.

  1. Direct children to: (steps adapted from Dr. Reggie Melrose)
    a. connect /ground to earth (imagine being a tree or mountain)
    b. rest into the support of chair or floor (give in to gravity)
    c. breathe fully and slowly (in and out the nose)
    d. visualize something or someone they love (imaginary or real)
    e. notice how the previous steps shift their inner sensations (what happened, where?)
  2. Explore and identify physical and emotional sensations as part of social-emotional learning to help children build an awareness of their internal states and how to observe, name and manage them. This process develops mindfulness and self-regulation because children are harnessing the overlapping social –emotional brain and the regulatory.

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A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles by Thich Nhat Hanh

Pebble meditation is a groundbreaking and completely unique technique to introduce children to the calming practice of meditation. Developed by Zen master, best selling author, and peace Nobel Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh, A Handful of Quiet contains complete instructions for pebble meditation designed to involve children in a hands-on and creative way that touches on their interconnection with nature. Whether practiced alone or with the whole class, pebble meditation can help relieve stress, increase concentration, nourish gratitude, and can help children deal with difficult emotions.

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Mindful Pebble Experience

For the meditation activity, a pebble is chosen to represent four things in nature: a flower, a mountain, water, and space. Each natural item represents feelings and thoughts that one may want to channel during meditation and by holding the pebble.

Flower pebble: fresh, playful, joyful; the feeling of child-like freedom and peace.
Mountain pebble: strength, confidence, empowerment.
Water pebble: calm, peaceful, reflective.
Space pebble: free (i.e. from from worry, free from pain), still, quiet.

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Educators reinforce positive behaviours in the children. We acknowledge and support the positive behaviours exhibited by the children.


A finished glitter jar can serve as a visual timer for other practices, such as breathing practices. For example, you can shake the jar and say: “Let’s do some mindful breaths until the glitter settles.” Some families use the jar as a “calm-down jar,” to mark and measure calm-down time. Ideally, the entire family can use the calm-down jar together when there is a conflict: “We are all upset with lots of thoughts and feelings rights now. So let’s all take a break until the glitter in the calm-down jar has settled and then start talking again.”

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A glitter jar can serve as a visual timer for a breathing practice. You can shake the jar and say: “Let’s do some mindful breaths until the glitter settles.”


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Let the child pick their favourite breathing buddy [stuffed animal or pebble] to use. Have the child lay on the ground facing up with the Breathing Buddy on top of them over their stomach. Tell them to breathe in silence for one minute and notice how their Breathing Buddy moves up and down, and any other sensations that they notice. Tell them to imagine that the thoughts that come into their minds turn into bubbles and float away.

We are aware of the different personalities within the group and are able to anticipate situations before they arise.


To continue to build strong neural pathways for self-regulation, remember the 5 R’s:

  • Regularity – Schedule time to practice daily
  • Repetition – Builds neural pathways that become habits
  • Reflection – Noticing sensations strengthens neural pathways
  • Research – Support kids in becoming prescriptive with which tools work best for them
  • Reach Out to Families – Share tools with parents/ care-givers to use at home

One of the biggest lessons I gained from the Mindfulness Yoga  Workshop for Educators was while it is true that mindfulness can create conditions for learning by helping children self-regulate, mindfulness is empowering because it helps us see that in every moment we have a choice; we can choose to be more skillful, and there are concrete strategies that can help us bring more peace, love, and joy into our lives.

“I’m doing science!”

Blog Post inspired by my daughter Sophia’s statement:“Mama! I’m doing science!” and my teaching. Whenever I teach a topic to my ECE/ECA students I like to reflect: What does science mean to children and how can I best facilitate a discussion with my students about ‘doing’ science in early childhood settings?

Developmentally appropriate engagement with quality science learning experiences is vital to help children understand the world, collect and organize information, apply and test ideas, and develop positive attitudes toward science (Eshach & Fried, 2005).

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Meaningful science activities, which are relevant to children’s daily lives, allow children to make connections between what they already know and what they are learning. Further, engagement in conversations  promote children’s awareness of the learning and science concepts.

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After preparing for “Science in Early Childhood Settings with Preschoolers” [my classroom topic for the ‘day’], I wondered “What would be the best way to teach students about science?– immediately I went to: The Scientific Process not sure if this was right or wrong, but for myself it definitely has stood out for a long time in my mind. However, what was it about the scientific process that made it meaningful to me? Could it be the questions we ask? the experimentation? One thing for sure I wanted to communicate to students was:

Young children, like scientists, need to practice the process skills of predicting, observing, classifying, hypothesizing, experimenting, and communicating. Like adult scientists, they need opportunities to reflect on their findings, how they reached them, and how the findings compare to their previous ideas and the ideas of others. [Now, what could I do in the classroom to reflect this in a practical way]

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I find most of the time; children are naturally experiencing the world around them and developing theories about how the world works [WHY?]

The work of Worth and Grollman (2003), as been really influential in my classroom preparation: they have used a simple inquiry learning cycle  to provide a guiding structure for teachers as they facilitate children’s investigations. The cycle begins with an extended period of engagement where children explore the selected phenomenon and materials, experiencing what they are and can do, wondering about them, raising questions, and sharing ideas. This is followed by a more guided stage as questions are identified that might be investigated further. Some of these may be the children’s questions, others may be introduced by the teacher, but their purpose is to begin the process of more focused and deeper explorations involving prediction, planning, collecting, and recording data; organizing experiences; and looking for patterns and relationships that eventually can be shared and from which new questions may emerge. This structure is not rigid, nor is it linear.

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Reflection: What does the Scientific Process mean to me? (I decided to brainstorm see below)

Scientific inquiry provides the opportunity for children to develop a range of skills, either explicitly or implicitly. The following is one such list:

  • Explore objects, materials, and events
  • Raise questions
  • Make careful observations
  • Engage in simple investigations
  • Describe (including shape, size, number), compare, sort, classify, and order
  • Record observations using words, pictures, charts, and graphs
  • Use a variety of simple tools to extend observations
  • Identify patterns and relationships
  • Develop tentative explanations and ideas
  • Work collaboratively with others
  • Share and discuss ideas and listen to new perspectives

Materials reflecting sensory, science and nature encourage children to explore through cause and effect experimentation and observation. Continual exposure to these materials and experiences allow children to learn more about their environments.

13734435_154285541677651_1208070482_n1In the classroom students had the opportunity to uncover what “scientific thinking” meant to 1. themselves, 2. children and 3. within the context of childcare. My goal was to help students develop a framework for what the scientific process🔍 was meant for preschoolers and how teachers own scientific thinking impact children’s understanding. I picked three science activities most ECE/ECA’s have traditionally planned in childcare: 1. Mixing Colours, 2. Magnets, 3. Sink and Float, interestingly enough students soon discovered that –“scientific thinking is something we engage in everyday, [displayed as childhood curiosity, the popular question “why?”], and occurs naturally in all parts of the classroom as children engage with art, nature, sensory materials.

Students explore their science activities and drew many conclusions; one that I would like to focus on is:

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“Thinking like a Scientist”

“Thinking like a Scientist”–Most student express anxiety about science topics, as well as having enough scientific knowledge or wonderment about how to include more science content in their teaching. One student shared: “I’m not really very good at science, I don’t really know much about science.”

Drawing from the response I felt it was even more important to uncover our own definition of scientific thinking: We collaboratively defined:–  “scientific thinking is about the diverse ways we seek to understand the world and engage in “what if?”, “why?” investigations all these opportunities help us develop as educators scientificallysimply put you have to be as curious as a child and eager to find out answers.

Eshach, H., & Fried M. N. (2005). Should science be taught in early childhood? Journal of Science Education and Technology, 14(3), 315-336.