In our webinar, "Interactions at the Core: The Life-Changing Power of Interactions In Any Setting" leaders from across early childhood settings came together to discuss how we can continue to build and foster relationships, enhance engagement, and inspire learning in this moment.
Dr. Anabel Espinosa, the director of research and evaluation at the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Dr. Elisa L. Johnson, a founding principal with AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School, and Dru O’Connor, an NHSA consultant and education coach and disabilities manager with the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency, shared a few practical ideas for those returning to school in virtual settings or with new distancing protocols in place. Below you’ll find a few of their suggestions for the school year.
Teachers can encourage positive peer relationships by:Providing in-person opportunities for peer-to-peer interaction
Teachers can form relationships with families by:Remaining positive and supportive
Teachers can engage children in their online synchronous lessons by:Connecting student interests with content
Teachers can inspire deep learning in a virtual setting by:Promoting Classroom Organization
We can provide support to our educators by:Offering self-care opportunities
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When I was a teacher, I can remember taking care to intentionally plan differentiated, or individualized, instruction. And, when I was teaching pre-K I added the same level of intentionality to which materials were available in interest areas, and how I approached transitions throughout the day.
While any level of intentionally, specifically in relation to planning, is important -- I missed a critical opportunity in being more intentional in my interactions with the children in my class.
There is always an opportunity for interaction. Some opportunities are easily recognizable: times of play, free choice, centers, small group. We often see teachers engaged in activities alongside children during these times or hear questions being asked. Other opportunities might be a little less obvious. These are the times of your day that you might see as mundane moments that merely require your supervision or monitoring. The times where you’re going through the motions. “I’m doing this thing so I can move on to the next thing.”
In a previous blog, colleague and early childhood environment extraordinaire, Heather Sason, discussed how your classroom environment can help promote effective teacher-child interactions. In this blog, I propose we explore some of the often overlooked times in your day that are ripe for interactions with children and that do promote exploration, learning, and development!
It's not uncommon for teachers in early education to need to strike a balance between following children's leads and sticking to the classroom schedule. We know that intentional teachers are aware of their responsibility to assess student progress, understand skill mastery, and plan accordingly to provide opportunities for children to grow. However, many times, as teachers begin a specific teacher-directed activity, it is unsettling when students begin to veer from the step-by-step plans the teacher has worked hard to implement.
Teacher and coach, Colleen Schmit, will share how teachers can strike the balance between following the lesson plans and giving children freedom of choice and flexibility in the classroom.
We’re more than a month into the school year, and many educators and school leaders are feeling tired or burnt out already. That’s normal in any school year, as the newness of back-to-school wanes and the reality of a long year ahead kicks in. But, this year, that tiredness may feel like it has never felt before. Chalkbeat has reported that teacher vacancies are up in 18 of 20 large school districts, and it’s not surprising. Many are exhausted after a difficult year and a half (to put it mildly!). Many are also leaving the profession in droves to find work in competitive environments that provide a substantially larger salary.