Tag Archives: Child Development

“Have Positive Social Relationships”

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As I’ve said a couple times, I work for ECI now.  I should probably do a post explaining ECI and my role before this but this is on my heart.  Monday, I was doing a training about some changes coming to ECI.  We use 3 Global Child Outcomes to help direct our services for kids.  All outcomes we develop must fit into at least one of these categories to help the child as a whole with one of these three things:

  1. Have positive social relationships
  2. Acquire and use knowledge and skills
  3. Take appropriate action to meet needs

They are very broad categories and it’s fairly difficult for me to think of a goal that wouldn’t easily fit into at least one of those categories.

Recently, the federal government has asked the states to come up with a plan to improve their ECIs.  Texas has decided, among other things, to focus on the first outcome a bit more-Have positive social relationships.

As I was listening to the training yesterday, I was reminded how often we take emotional intelligence and social skills for granted.  We find it difficult to teach those skills and assume children just somehow know them.  We get frustrated and forget the child honestly doesn’t know what to do with their emotions yet.  I’ve taught the Emotional Development training a few times now and I know its difficult for some teachers to process.  I’ve worked with families how are so focused on their child meeting physical milestones, they forget they need to meet social/emotional milestones as well.  I understand.  It’s hard to measure emotional milestones.  And we often make two steps forward one step back kind of progress with emotional goals.  Physical goals, and even mental goals, are easier to measure, easier to attain, easier to check off a list.  But emotional goals are actually the biggest indicator of a child’s future success!

We have to remember the whole child-physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual development are all important for a well-rounded child and, hopefully, adult.  I love the verse Luke 2:52 “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man” because it tells us Jesus grew in all those areas of development, too. (I talk about this more in Child Development in the Bible)

I’m excited about this push for more awareness of the necessity and importance of emotional intelligence! And I love how simply our global child outcome sums it up “Have positive social relationships.”  Such a simple statement but such a complex concept.

Do you need to learn more about Emotional Development? Or maybe about how ECI works for and with kids that may be at your center?  As always, Contact Me for more information!

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“Amuse Them”

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So, as I referred in my last post, while driving home from the Grand Canyon, a billboard in New Mexico caught my eye. It said “Amuse Them or They’ll Amuse Themselves” with a picture of a young boy and the name of some amusement park type attraction (that I honestly cannot remember as I type this). At first, though I got the irony of “amuse them” at an amusement park, I was quite offended by the message. As I’ve thought it through, I have come to realize I slightly agree with them. I have said many times “Have a plan! Have a plan because if you don’t, the children will, and you probably won’t like their plan!”  I still believe that to be true. In my experience, when a child comes into your classroom, you should be ready for the day with all the supplies needed for planned activities that day. You should have enough activities and supplies for all the children to be able to chose a variety of activities each day. You should vary activities. You should think of the children’s interests when planning activities.
However, the word “amuse” is where I take exception to the billboard’s message. I looked “amuse” up on Google.  Here are the two definitions given:

  1. cause (someone) to find something funny; entertain.
    “he made faces to amuse her”
  2. provide interesting and enjoyable occupation for (someone).
    “the hotel has planned many activities to amuse its guests”

With some exceptions (long, unavoidable waits is the only one I can think of off hand), it is not a parent’s or teacher’s job to amuse a child. In fact, we should be teaching children to amuse themselves! Yes, we need to provide opportunities for the children to entertain and occupy themselves. Yes, we have to help expand their attention spans. Yes, especially in group care, there needs to be close supervision. Yes, there are times of adult-child interaction that are not only necessary but good. However, as adults, we should be conversing, reading, playing, interacting with children not for them. When I think “amuse,” the key word I think of is “for.” Doing something for someone else. Purely for their entertainment. But the vast majority of time spent with a child needs to be a two way conversation. And children need to learn how to amuse themselves , and they need time to amuse themselves! But it takes effort to teach a child to amuse himself within acceptable bounds.

When I teach about discipline, I teach about the 3 types of authority: Passive, Authoritarian, and Authoritative. Authoritative is what we want to be: the adult is in charge and sets the boundaries but the child is able to make choices within those bounds. And it is hard to be authoritative. Being Passive, letting the child be in charge, is easier in the short term. Being Authoritarian, “my way or the highway,” with the child never able to make choices, is easier (with a compliant child) in the short term. But, in the long term, setting boundaries and teaching the child to make choices within those boundaries, and take responsibility for those choices, or being Authoritative, gives a child the best chance to become a responsible, productive member of society. When an authority (parent, teacher, or otherwise) has taken the time to set and solidify the boundaries, a child can be trusted to make choices and “amuse” themselves!  And if they cannot amuse themselves, well that’s OK sometimes, too.  Being bored can lead to creative thinking.  And if we’ve set and solidified those appropriate boundaries, the creative thinking won’t get them into too much trouble…

I talk about discipline in PreService, Back to the Basics, and Child Development in the Bible.  I have some ideas floating around in my head for an entire training on discipline.  If you’d like me to teach on any of these topics, please Contact Me.

Branalyn

***Edited to add: I couldn’t find a picture of the billboard, but I did some searching and figured out the name of the park and then found a picture of the shirts the employees wear:

First Training, Completed!

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Well, I intended to write this post on Tuesday, but we had a death in the family and I was gone to the funeral. Even though life was a little crazy there for a few days, I think I remember the training clearly enough to do this! I intend to write these “after-action reports” after each training so that personally, it will help me grow as a trainer and help me remember next time what happened this time.  I’m hoping you will view this as me growing and being open to learning and it will help you know a little more about me and my style as you are deciding to hire me.

Child Development in the Bible, W.E.E. School, 8/23/2013

What went well:
The timing for the first session.
Everyone seemed to understand what I meant, even on the points that were more of an intuitive leap. (At least, no one asked questions or said they didn’t understand when I asked if they needed clarification.)
People participated in both sessions.
Several people said they understood some concepts that were new to them or understood old concepts better. In particular, I got quite a bit  of positive feedback on the point about giving choices.
The video came at a great time to give us a brain break.
My notes and on screen cues were enough to help me explain without reading off the screen/page (except for the few quotes I wanted to read exactly).
People used the handout.
Several people wrote down the address of the Early Childhood NEWS website that I referred them to.
Except for the end of the second session, I was able to consciously slow down and speak at a good rate.

What could go better next time:
In a session with more participants, I need to invite less discussion or move along a little faster. (I had to talk fast to finish the second session!)
I could probably slow down some more sometimes, this is something that is a conscious effort for me! My natural speaking rate is much faster than most people’s, so I have to force myself to slow down when I train. I’ve gotten quite good at this, and it helps that I can go faster when I want to rush through my introduction or need to get done quickly.
I noticed in the video of the training (I recorded it so that I can put some clips on here soon!) that I often had my paper notes in front of my body when I was speaking. I needed them to read some quotes and see some reminders, not to mention I had to improvise where I stood to present, but I need to learn to hold my notes better when I have them.
If this training could be a little longer, I’d love to do some interactive activities instead of so much talking. I did ask for and get participation but people were a little restless, especially in the second session.
I was able to ask for or come up with examples for each point, but I may need to jot down some examples to jog my memory if I do this again.
The second half of the training is where people really seemed to want the information, so I may need to move through the first half a little quicker and focus more on the second half.

All in all, I think the training went really well.  I was able to get some feedback and about half the participants filled out evaluations, helping me know what to do different next time!  Thanks to W.E.E. School for asking me to come train.  If you’d like for me to train for you, please visit the All About Me page to find out more, the Rates page, peruse my Portfolio, and then Contact me!

Branalyn

Lessons from Youth Camp

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I wish that this were a funny post about the lessons one can learn at church youth camp, but its not.  I do have a great piece of advice though-if you are going to camp on a college campus and staying in the dorms, there is a good chance there will be laundry facilities so take some detergent and use them!  We came back with no piles of dirty laundry!  It was a stroke of brilliance!

I also had some personal growth and I think my husband, the youth pastor, and the youth came back refreshed and with a new zeal.

But none of that is why I started writing this post.

You see, we took the youth to Super Summer, a camp that neither my husband, the youth, or I had ever been to.  And, unlike most other youth camps, the adults go off and do their own thing while the youth are with “Team Leaders.”  Many youth pastors choose to go as team leaders, but some choose to attend the Leadership Forum.  Having never been and being incapable of going down early to be a Team Leader, my husband chose for the two of us to attend the Leadership Forum. So there we are, at basically a very small training for youth pastors, and what do I start noticing?  Child development themes, of course!

I remember leaning over to my husband at one point and excitedly saying “that’s scaffolding!” The leader was talking about making disciples, using the way Jesus made disciples as an example, and it was very clearly scaffolding.  So I started really paying attention at this point!

I already know about the areas of child development being the same as the areas in which Luke says Jesus grew, now I had scaffolding, and, by the end of the week, I had thought through discipline, modeling, planning, and more!  It was rather a silly revelation, really, because I had already made some of the connections, but suddenly, that light bulb just clicked and I realized how much child development and best practices could be backed up with the Bible!

So, in addition to the Breaking Out of Survival training that I have in the works, I now am planning a Child Development in the Bible training.  Both ideas are still mostly in my head, but as  soon as we are finished with the insanity that is June and July around here, I plan to get these trainings on “paper!”

Also, I took the time today to improve the Back to the Basics page in my Portfolio (I added the words to the pictures if you hadn’t seen it before) and will try to have the other Portfolio pages similarly updated within a week!

Branalyn