Posts in August 2021

What is pedagogy in early childhood education?

Friday, August 27, 2021

Simply, pedagogy is - or at least it should be - present in all moments of the day that a teacher spends with children. Pedagogy does not play a part only during circle times, pedagogy is there all the time, all the way from morning to afternoon. Pedagogy can be seen in guided activities, when supporting children's play, in transition moments, when eating or resting and in all other moments that teacher encounters children.

It is worth while to stop and think through your day with 'pedagogical glasses' on. You can assess and notice the weak points of the day and start to develop them. What moments are stressful? When are the children restless? Discuss with your team and search for solutions together. You might see quickly that you should promote pedagogy for exaple when children are queuing to wash hands or while they wait for story time to begin.

How to develop restless moments and add high quality pedagogy to the day?

One way is to use poems and songs when children are in the queue - time goes faster when you sing and children get to practice new songs and participate. Second idea is to add pictures and visual sings to the walls where children can see them, for example on how to wash hands properly, so that children can practice handwashing moves while they wait. Thirdly, and above all, add more adults' presence to the hectic and stressful moments.

The core idea is to understand the child's point of view. How does the child see this situation? What means versatile and safe early childhood education to the child? How can we support the child's wellbeing, growth, development and learning throughout the day? Teacher can see the child's side by observing closely, interacting in a sensitive manner and helping the child to name and show his feelings.

What is then the worst thing that prevents pedagogical early childhood education from happening? Closed mind that only follows everyday routines. Changing diapers like a robot. Treating all the children similarly without noticing their personalities and unique needs. Doing the job similarly as it was done 20 years ago. This kind of thinking does not support high quality pedagogy nor children's learning. High quality pedagogy is based on warm and sensitive interaction with the children.

References: Liisa Ahonen & Piia Roos. 2021. Untuvikot - alle 3-vuotiaiden pedagogiikka. (Untuvikot - pedagogy with children under 3y.)

Happy encounters!

What themes interest children?

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Even though the world is changing and sad news from different countries run around in our heads - children must have the possibility to remain children and think of topics that interest, amaze and wow them.

It is magical how children live in a bubble that is filled with imaginary friends, sweet fairytales and beloved stuffed animals. Children are naturally curious and they long for new information! Children are excited to learn new words, test new skills and hear unheard stories. Let's protect this childhood bubble as long as we can and offer children activities and information of topics that interest and inspire them to the fullest!

A good way to teach children and keep them interested is to use themes. One theme can last for example for one week and you can plan all sorts of activities based on that specific theme. If a topic loses interest, or on the contrary - all children get super into it - be flexible and sensitive with the schedule.

How to find out what themes interest children?

1. DISCUSS. Sometimes children tell this to you if you just ask  "George, what do you like to play with the most?" -Dinosaur!

2. OBSERVE. Sometimes, you need to observe the child for a while and you'll find out! As George just always plays with his dinosaur, sleeps in a dinosaur pyjama and so on... - The answer is quite obvious. At times - when a child is not obsessed with one certain topic - you might have to observe the child a bit longer in a different situations and make notes of toys he plays with, books he chooses and topics he talks about.

3. INTRODUCE. In case the child does not have a certain interest or he doesn't know what he would like to play with, it is ok to introduce something new to him! Ask if he would like to play with rockets, dolls or animals? Offer 2-3 options for the child to choose from.

And of course children want to hear and learn about new themes every once in a while. As you go through every child's favorite topic in a kindergarten or preschool group over the year, children surely get new experiences too.

Below is a little list of different themes that might be a hit with your children - and if not, look around for inspiring activities and lesson plans from other themes. Behind the following links you can find some craft, STEM, letter, math and art activities from different sites.