Showing posts from September, 2012

Social Skill Development - Real Keys to Success After Preschool (Part 2)

Note: This is the second installment of a multi-part series. To read the first part, click on:
In today’s world where everyone is so focused on the producing evidence of development on paper, we need to be reminded that social growth is one of the primary goals of the preschool years.  The New Jersey Dept. of Education Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards lists Social/Emotional Development goals first.  They are listed before language arts literacy, math, science or any of the other more academic goals and well they should be.   Children cannot feel secure and confident enough to build upon other knowledge if they have not developed the social/emotional skills to become confident explorers and decision makers.
I had a professor who told us that when you work with 3 year old children, you are creating citizens.  He said that to my class more than 20 years ago and I still say it today to my staff mem…

Real Keys to Success After Preschool - Part 1: Create Confident Decision Makers

People seem frantic about how much children will learn in preschool.  Parents are worried if their children cannot read and write fluently by the time they are 5 years old.  Many public schools are doing entry interviews to determine skill levels before children enter kindergarten.  It is not age appropriate for children entering kindergarten to be fluent readers and writers.   If a child can read and write by age 5, that is lovely.  It is also wonderful when young children are amazing architects building intricate block structures because they understand spatial relationships.  Children with vivid imaginations are equally incredible because they are practicing early literacy skills such as oral language, use of symbolism and drawing conclusions from self-started stories.  Adults tend to assess success by that which they can measure.  Adults can see letters on a page and listen to reading.  They can quiz children on rote knowledge.   Studies show that when comparing students in 3rd g…

Coping With Tantrums

Tantrums are an emotionally charged reaction that can send shockwaves through a room.  Young children, usually up to age 6 years old, have tantrums for a variety of reasons.  They may be frustrated and overwhelmed.  They may be unable to successfully communicate a need or solve a problem.  They are sad and angry at the same time and feel out of control.  Young children are egocentric.  They want what they want when they want it and cannot begin to relate to why they cannot have it.  They cannot see an adult point of view.  Empathy, higher reasoning skills and coping mechanisms are often out of their realm of development.
Children’s tantrums can be equally frustrating for adults.  We have all seen and/or experienced the discomfort of a public tantrum.   The emotional outburst itself is not a reflection of poor parenting skills; yet, people tend to judge families based upon one behavior that actually is considered typical for young children.  One tantrum at home can change the timing a…