The thought of having another child at my age seemed silly, but I prayed for her none-the-less. I didn't TRY to have her. I didn't take meds, or try methods. I simply prayed, "Lord, if it is your will for me to have a little girl, bring her to me, however you see fit."
I was SHOCKED to find out I was expecting. My hubby and I didn't speak about it for several weeks after finding out. I think we were equally scared, amazed, feeling a bit old... but, I wouldn't change that prayer for the WORLD, and it is why I do what I do. It is WHY I place such a high value on spending my time with my children. It is WHY I so highly value spending my days with your children.
My children are an answer to prayer, no more or less than yours, and answers to prayers are to be valued, protected, cared for, and recognized as the amazing miracle that they are. I mean can you imagine an almighty God that looked down on us and said, "Yes," to a requested prayer? Can you further imagine how it must make God feel when we recognize the miraculous in our lives and seek to honor Him, thank Him, and treasure that answer as the gift it is? On the opposite, can you imagine the disgust and disdain God must feel when we disregard, neglect, or abuse the miraculous? I can't imagine being on that side of God. I don't want to.
So, I do what I do for love...for her, her daddy, and brother, for the children in my care over the past twenty years that I get to see graduate high-school, getting jobs, going to college, and setting out on great big life. They start their "real world" experience with me and thousands of other "me's" that have chosen their careers in the Early Childhood Education field. That is why it is so important...
NooOOoooooo, important just doesn't do it justice...
VITAL that the person you choose for your baby, toddler, preschooler to spend 40-50 hours per week with is passionate about their own children AND yours.
This person will introduce your child to life, to living, to happiness, to discovery, to relationships outside of the home as safe, loving, secure,
Let that sink in just a bit. This person that spends the most waking hours with your child from birth to Kindergarten also has the ability to introduce your child to anger, worry, stress, dysfunction, or apathy. Am I trying to scare you? No...no I'm really not. Am I trying to make your question your child's current daily situation? Maybe.
You see, we all have these emotions rattling around in us at any point of the day. We all have the ability to choose our interactions with the little one's in our lives to be filled with love, or not. We, as adults, live in a real world with real problems that can be overwhelming and we can find ourselves being so consumed that we forget to simply be present with our children during the brief moments that we actually get to spend WITH them. Technology can play a role in what our children perceive as apathy. Our favorite television show can communicate that our relaxation is more important than having one meaningful conversation with our teen. Is there any wonder why our children and teens look like they have "checked-out" when it is exactly what they are modeling from the most important people in their lives? If to "discipline" really does mean, to "teach," then every minute we spend "checked out" means what to them?
I have been guilty of this. I understand, sometimes we just need a "brain break!" But, are we getting hooked on checking our brains "out" like a perma-beach Matrix like vacation?
But I digress.
All that to simply say, finding someone that will consistently, care "fully", and prayerfully wipe tears and noses, bottoms and boo-boos, prepare and serve healthy menus, educate themselves on the most current teaching methods, AND spend literally hundreds of hours in curriculum prep to ensure that the children in their care are prepared socially/mentally/emotionally/physically for the challenges they will face upon entering Kindergarten. This is more than a babysitter...this requires a professional. That is what I am, what I do.
But how does one go about recognizing such an individual?
It's easier than you may think....
3 Keys To Recognizing A Passionate ECE Professional
There are tons of great articles written on recognizing the tangible qualities of a reputable preschool, like cleanliness, attentiveness, clean faces and bottoms, trained teachers in CPR and First Aid, healthy meals and snacks. I want more. This is about the intangibles of recognizing top quality. That, "I just can't put my finger on what my heart knows."
Communication being the top of my list is no accident. I regard communication as the #1 aspect of a highly qualified, passionate ECE professional. We all talk, you can pay a babysitter ALOT less money than a ECE professional if all you want to know is when your little one made a poopy. This is important, don't get me wrong, but it is not qualify as communication...rather, the relay of fact.
Communication with a professional indicates a level of understanding about you and your child....especially your child. Where are they at in their motor skills, social/emotional skills, and what is being done to provide opportunities throughout the child's day to grow and promote those. This professional will engage you in conversation either by blog, email, text, in person about your child and will not wait for you to ask. They will excitedly tell YOU about your child's day through images and words that will not leave you wondering. When you leave a conversation with a professional, you will have confidence that your child was cared for as a whole person, not a paycheck (though like all professionals must be paid to do what they do).
They will provoke you to notice things about your child that you maybe you hadn't before noticed, like how they grip their pencil, how they sit on the floor, that they have are learning to hop on one foot, an inventive story-teller, or a naturally compassionate child with others. They will be able to have these intimate conversations with you because they are trained observers of each child individually and as a group, and make it their job to learn their strengths and help them build foundations for further skills.
Communication, however, is even more than communication between you and your chosen preschool/childcare teacher. It is also the observation of communication you witness between the teacher and child. Do you sense that your child's needs are being understood? Do you get the impression that your child is a integral part of a "school family" Are the interactions and words used to speak to your child positive or negative in nature? How does your child respond at night when you speak about his/her teacher?
There is also another aspect of communication in today's social media age and that is their community reputation online, with co-workers, local elementary teachers, neighbors, etc., ECE providers and preschool teachers produce results either positive or negative in the lives of children and this is evident in their future education. Do the teachers in the local community speak well of the results? Do their neighbors and others that have had children in their care? If the answer is a resounding "YES!" you can feel very confident in your decision too. These are professionals that have, through love and dedication, committed to reproducible results in the lives of the children in their care.
With today's "like and share" society, it is easier than ever to check a reputation and more important than ever for families to do so.
This picture pretty much sums it up for me. THIS is what a child's day should look like as often as possible.
If I went into everything this little one is learning I think it would amaze most. O.k....I can hear you saying, "What?" "Tell me!" Oh, o.k., I can't resist anyway!!!
This big mess is a BIG learning for a little one. Here is how it breaks down...
Let's start at the obvious. Colors. We were discussing the colors white and blue. I teach mixed ages preschool and this means ALOT of experimentation for little ones. Instead of them picking out "light blue" and "dark blue" (Language Arts and Science) on a worksheet or contained in Ziplock bags, I believe that we learn best when we are immersed in out surroundings. So...we make it. We mix it. We create it. We become it. And we learn, with J.O.Y!
She is practicing building her fine motor skills. This can be done with countless of hours of coloring, and worksheets while sitting still trying to keep kiddos busy and quiet or painting at easels inside or out, on the windows, on plates and projects creating memories and FUN! This engages the child's whole body and therefore increasing the senses involved and their retention skyrockets!!!
Don't just take my word for it, "When they're learning and playing with joy, then it's a positive experience. They develop a positive approach to learning," says Peter Pizzolongo, associate director for professional development at NAEYC. You know the NAEYC, right? The National Association for the Education of Young Children, just a little ole' babysitter's club... :)) not exactly.
Finding a teacher that is not afraid to let your child be a child, make messes, clean them up, let them make messes again, clean up again and maintain their joy for learning seems like a crazy notion. I mean that doesn't exactly look like a Mary Poppins moment, except the Chim' Chimney Sweep number where everyone is dirty, having fun, and for a moment shedding the expectations of their roles... (I am a sucker for a musical).
Do you get a sense of joy from your child regarding their day? What about from your childcare provider or preschool teacher? Does your child's teacher plan for joy? Is your child allowed to make messes, to cook, to bake, to freely paint, to play in the dirt, dig for worms, make mud? They should be and the evidence of Early Childhood Education most recent research says so too.
"Believe it or not, these moments provide excellent opportunities for skill building. Want to reinforce math concepts? Let your child sort and count dirty shells, rocks, sticks, or leaves. They all look, smell, and feel interesting to him (especially compared to store-bought toys), and when multiple senses are stimulated, his brain is more likely to remember what's being learned." http://www.whattoexpect.com/toddler/photo-gallery/8-reasons-to-let-your-kids-get-messy.aspx#/slide-2
Joyful learning and joy-filled days. This is the business of childhood, play.
#3 A Teacher With A Plan and a
Life is made of moments...
"There isn't anything more full of hope, joy and peace than a child's smile... It captures the mundane and makes it extraordinary." - LaDonna Woolsey
I am a Mother Goose Time Blogger. I decided to become one after trying their products because I they are comprehensive and serve my mixed age group well. I do receive products to review from Mother Goose Time and do so with my own honest and thorough opinions. For more information, please contact me at Ladonna@woolseyacademy.com