Building the Foundation: Peace and Conflict Education in Early Childhood Development Programs Project Implemented in Partnership between Child Institute of Al-Quds University & Meridian International Center Basic Training, Part 1 2008 Basic Skills for ECD Teachers Learning Objectives: 1. To understand how children learn best 2. To know how to encourage active learning processes in the classroom 3. To help teachers understand young children’s attachment issues when they are away from their families and know how to help them 4. To understand the importance of classroom schedules and routines for young children 5. To know and be able to apply age-appropriate disciplinary tactics that are consistent with the goals of the peace and conflict resolution curriculum Learning is a Life-Long Process Children already come to school with a wealth of knowledge, skills, values and belief that they have gained from their experiences at home, with siblings, friends, and family, media, and in the community or other day care centers. What kinds of experiences and knowledge do you think children bring with them when they first come to preschool? What do children learn at home? Examples: • language • social skills • health practices • environmental practices What do children learn from the community? Examples: • language • social skills • symbol information What kinds of media/television shows are children exposed to? What do they learn from them? How safe and protective are these environments? • • • • Physically Socially Emotionally Cognitively • How are children perceived and treated in the family and community? How can the preschool take into consideration these differences and ensure continuity, while helping children to adjust to a new environment, new information, rules and interactions? Learning is a life-long process. The experiences, knowledge and skills that the child gains during preschool enrich and empower the child to move onto new learning fields within the home, school, or community. • What kinds of activities help children to become “planners”? • What kinds of activities help children to interact with other children? • What kinds of activities help children to evaluate what they are doing? • What kinds of activities allow children to take decisions and practice leadership? School Readiness • Used to be thought of as knowing letters, colors and numbers • Now it is thought of as having the skills necessary to learn: Physical/motor Social/emotional Language Approaches to learning Cognition and general knowledge Learning is a Multi-Sensory Active Process When doing activities with children, allow time for them to become aware of what is happening, to explore what is occurring, give them to time to “understand and conceptualize”, and then allow them to use their new information and skills in other situations. For example, when you have children do an art activity, they are learning to: • • • • plan ahead sequence events organize spatially adapt their experiences to new materials • use their imaginations What they have learned to do with art materials, they can then adapt to other activities. What other activities use these skills? • • • • planning ahead sequencing events organizing spatially imagination Because Learning is a Multi-Sensory Active Process 1. Plan activities with awareness of the skills you wish to build in the children 2. Give specific, simple instructions to the children about what you want them to do 3. Be sure to allow enough time for all of the children to explore materials and complete the activity 4. Be aware of limits of children’s attention– activities should need only about 5 minutes for each phase, or 20 minutes total time Because Learning is a Multi-Sensory Active Process 5. Be supportive of children’s creativity and their expressions of their own experiences 6. Praise their efforts 7. Give children some decision-making opportunities 8. Help children appreciate each other’s work Learning is a Multi-Sensory Active Process 2. Children usually learn best when they are allowed to do so in a number of different settings and contexts. This Can Help Us Question: • What do children learn through play? Do you have specific activities that are play-based? • Do you take children on trips into the community and other places so they can learn about “real life”…going to another school, visiting the doctor, visiting an outdoor play area, etc. • What kinds of activities allow children to be “scientists”…where they can seek out information, observe what is happening, report on it, record it and explain what they noted? • What kinds of activities do you have that involve children in routine and scheduled activities that give them increasing responsibilities and independence? • Which activities do you have that use a straightforward, directive method of teaching? Which subjects do you do this with and how much time out of the school day does this cover? Teacher Roles and Strategies 1. Planner: Identifying your expectations of children and what achievements you want or expect. Linking past, current and future learning processes and content. Helping, challenging and encouraging children to deeper levels of understanding cognitive, social, and emotional. 2. Communicator: Helping children to adjust to preschool setting…physically and socially. Working with children and parents in identifying socio-cultural values and beliefs and how they are incorporated into the preschool. Helping children to develop their own social skills and capabilities. 3. “Teacher”: Teachers acts as a facilitator within the classroom. Supports children in being actively involved in the learning process, encourages children’s participation, and monitors children’s progress. Acts as a role model in demonstrating good listening skills, collaboration and cooperation with others, and independence. Children’s Roles and Strategies 1. Exploring, curious, creative, and initiating. Children should be allowed to explore their feeling, the environment, verifying concepts and understandings, and developing relationships with other children in an open atmosphere. Asking questions, testing out hypotheses, choosing what they want to do and allowing children freedom to be decision makers in the classroom are all essential if the child’s right to explore and initiate activities is accepted and expected. Teacher encourages children to come up with innovative and creative solutions and encourages children’s imagination. Some of the Things to Consider: • Teacher should allow child a variety of different activities to engage in. • Child should be allowed to select what kinds of activities they would like to engage in. • Teacher should encourage open ended discussions, child -led and initiated discussions, and introduce a variety of different topics within the classroom. • Child should be allowed to express their views without being penalized or told to think in one way or dimension only. Children’s Roles and Strategies 2. Internal motivation to learn. Children should be encouraged to love learning and not to simply “learn how to read…write…or count.” Children should internalize a love to explore, solve problems, and seek out answers at their own pace and in their own manner. Children learn at different rates and with different skills. Teachers should encourage children to try to solve problems and to learn different skills, but take into account the differences within children. Some will learn more quickly than others some tasks, while others will adapt and learn other kinds of skills more easily. We Need to Pay Attention to the Following: • Teacher should be a role model for children and show them how to cooperate with one another, listen to one another, and use positive language…”thank you, your turn, please, I am listening, I feel this way…how do you feel, sorry, next time maybe we should do it this way…etc.” • Child is encouraged to learn, not punished if they do not answer questions correctly, allowed to learn skills in a gradual manner at their own pace, and given opportunity to repeat activities until they master them. • Teacher provides a variety of different materials, tools and activities for children to use within the classroom in a flexible manner. Sufficient time is allocated for each child to learn at their own pace and “retry” and test out their skills numerous times in different situations. Children’s Roles and Strategies 3. Able to reason and solve problems. Children can learn to address issues by testing out different solutions, they can learn to be methodical in how they approach different situations, children learn how to interact with others by being exposed to different types of relationship…friendships, working in groups, joint task teams, in games, in competition, in sharing materials. Teachers should encourage children to participate in different types of groupings and allow children to work out their problems. Teacher should encourage children to listen to one another, to understand one another’s needs, come up with solutions that are agreeable to most of them, find out how prevent problems in the future. This requires children learning to be responsible for their own behavior and how they act within different environments and groupings. Some of the Strategies That We Can Follow: • Teacher reads stories to children that demonstrate problem solving, conflict resolution, and allow for time for children to discuss, ask questions, and identify different ways of problem solving. • Child is allowed to participate in a number of different interactive arenas…within the classroom, in the outdoor play area, in community activities that will allow children to become aware of different types of roles for people, how they can interact together, share materials, and role play themselves and others. • Teacher helps children to reason by asking open ended questions and asks children questions like “what if”, “when “, “what”, “how” and “why?” Using a Theme in the Classroom to Introduce New Concepts, Skills, Practices and Attitudes. An Example of a Theme: “Taking care of our body.” When we discuss a certain theme, we need to pay attention to the following: 1. Language and Communication • Talk about the different parts of the body, make posters of the child’s shape and label different body parts, discuss the different functions of the body…what does the eye do, our skin, our legs, how do they connect to the brain, what makes us move. Read stories to the child that address similarities and differences between people, disabled, elderly, young children or older children, etc. Have children examine the environment to see how safe and protective it is sun not directly shining on the eyes, no sharp corners that can hurt others, a rug that they trip over, focus on how you can all work together to make the environment safer for everyone. Help children to see how they are similar or different (color of eyes, hair, height, weight) and how to see if this effects how we feel about ourselves or others. Examine similarities children share with their parents, family members and the community in general. Use magazines to expose children to people from other countries, Japan, Africa, South America, how are we all similar or different. • • • 2. Numbers and Logico-Mathematical Understanding • Activities that focus on how many toes, fingers, eyes, freckles, etc. that each of us has. • Activities that measure length and height…who can reach something on the top shelf? What happens when we stand on a chair to reach something? • Trying to measure outdoor temperature and how we feel when it gets too hot or too cold. How do we protect yourself from high or low temperatures, sun, shade, rain, snow? 3. Socio-Personal Development • Discuss with children their rights and responsibilities concerning their bodies. How do we take care of ourselves and others…not hurting ourselves or others, not letting others do things to us that we feel are uncomfortable (not being forced to take off our clothing or have someone touch our body in certain ways and places, etc.). • How close can we stand together without feeling uncomfortable? Let children play together freely, ask them what they liked about play…moving their bodies quickly, interacting with others, do they notice that their hearts are beating faster, that they are perspiring? • How does it feel if someone yells at us or hits us? Use examples where children are not getting along to find out why…how does it make them feel inside? Use these situations to have children “think about their feelings” and “think about others feelings”. Can we see feelings? Have children draw pictures of what their feelings might look like? 4. Physical Well Being • At lunch time, examining which foods are healthy for us. Why are carrots better than cookies? Have children write their own “watch me grow” menus. They can draw (write) up menus of what they should be eating for breakfast, lunch, snacks. • Have children set up their own diary of what they eat, monitor good eating practices. • Introduce concepts of hygiene. Set up routines of washing hands and utensils. Using soap, brushing teeth. Take children on visit to dentist and doctor who can talk to them about good practices and show them the tools they use to keep children healthy. • Set up routine periods of time where children and teacher can do exercise, dance, move their bodies freely. • Teach children new gross movements, skipping, jump roping, skip roping, etc. • Carry out exercises to see how well children can see and hear….identifying a letter on the board at different distances, making a noise and having children guess what the noise was or sound. Note similarities and differences in children’s abilities and how we can address problems with vision, hearing or movement. 5. Active Cognitive Learning • Have children think about how they can take better care of themselves? What thinks make them sick? Where do viruses and bacteria come from? How can we protect ourselves from getting sick? Talk about medicine-only to be handled by parents, visiting a doctor. What do we do when we get sick? Get a high temperature, sleep more, etc. • Put a fruit in a dish and let it rot. What grows on the fruit? Bacteria…what happens if we eat something that is rotten or not clean? Pick up a toy and clean it with a rag, show children the dirt that is usually on toys? What can we do to protect ourselves from not getting ill, not putting our hands in our mouth, washing our hands, etc. • Where can we find more information about taking care of ourselves, books, media, internet, etc. • How could we improve on our bodies, can they come up with creative ideas of gadgets that we can “add on” to our bodies to make them more functional, use the idea of spider man, are an arm that can stretch, an eye with a magnifying glass, etc.