Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Building Powerful Connections with Infants and Toddlers

If you are a parent or teacher chances are that you have felt like this at some point in your life!

There are so many things demanding your time, attention, and energy.  If you don't get some relief quickly you might just short circuit, explode, or errupt into flames! 

This might be especially true if you have infants and toddlers or children with special needs in your care!

Let's watch as Dr. Becky Bailey describes this problem and the solution she has created through Baby Doll Circle Time.

Baby Doll Circle Time is a real gift to parents, teachers, and children alike!  The program is very user friendly.  The amount of training and resources that are included in the curriculum are priceless!  

Although this program is designed for the Toddler and Twos population, the concepts and practical application are appropriate to infants, children with special needs, and children up to about four years of age. 

In the back of the book there is an instructional DVD with many helpful tools.  Dr. Bailey spends some time instructing viewers on the importance and basics of the attachment relationship, attunement, and social play.  There are also many sample lessons and examples of how this might look in instructional settings.

The resource guide is packed full of tons and tons of helpful information and suggestions to help you set yourself up for success!  There is a supply list, implementation plan, ideas for modifications and adaptations for children with special needs, tips to ensure success and further information about the structure of the program, attachment, attunement, and social play.

I have been using Baby Doll Circle Time with my three-year- old class this year.  It is so easy and fun to use and the children are just delighted when they see that it is time to get the babies out!

This is a memorable moment from the very first time we got the babies out with this little guy.  He has special needs and, at that time, very limited imitation, joint attention, and social play skills.

Before beginning this play session, I was very conscious of the critical importance of attuning to his lead.  My goal was to find a connection that would be familiar to him.  The curriculum was my guide, but he was my "dance" partner.  It is so important that we adjust our instruction to the specific needs of each child in our care.  When we do, a beautiful "dance of attunement" is the result. 

Wouldn't you know, after learning to "kiss the baby" at school he went to the babysitter's house and started kissing the baby dolls there.  It didn't stop there!  Before you know it he was giving kisses to mom and dad and other familiar adults and demonstrating other imitative skills!  Just from one "lesson"!

For more information about Baby Doll Circle Time head on over to the Conscious Discipline website at:  www.consciousdiscipline.com.  It is definately worth taking a peek!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Preschool Classroom Structures: Turn Transition Chaos Into Calm

You know the scene...it's center time and all the little preschoolers are so engaged in their various play activities UNTIL...dun...dun...dun...it's time for clean-up!  Oh no! 
What now?


Never fear!  Super S.T.A.R. is here!  This superhero helps us (not just the kids, but the teachers too :)) remember to pull ourselves together when when the room could potentially errupt into chaos.  In Conscious Discipline S.T.A.R. means "Smile, Take a deep breath, and relax.  Each time we have a major transition, we take a moment to be a S.T.A.R. (3 times) before we move on.  Check out this short video of some of my pre-kinders using their S.T.A.R. power!

Another helpful tool for all children, especially those on the Autism Spectrum, is a Time Timer.  We set the visual timer when we have at least 5 minutes left so the children have a visual and auditory (it beeps when the time is up) cue to help them transition.  Our timer is the largest (12 inch) size so it hangs nicely on the wall. 
I also noticed that my students were having some anxiety about which centers they were going to be able to use each day and how many they would go to.  So, we made a simple picture chart on the wall to help them out.  As soon as we come back in from the playground they look at the chart, find their picture and head straight to their center.  Boy, does that make everyone's life easier or what!

By adding a little more structure to our transition routine, we have been able to turn chaos into calm.  Now instead of screaming and crying when it's time to clean up we have this...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Creating Positive School Climates with Conscious Discipline: Responding to Tattling and Aggression and Preventing Power Struggles

Ignite Learning LLC is happy to announce that we are sponsoring a Two Day Workshop with Karen Hickman on July 19-20, 2013 in Anderson, IN.  Karen is a National Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor and Loving Guidance Associate.  She provided a two day workshop in 2012 to a large group of educators, parents, and care providers from around the state! 

Our focus this year is the "why" behind Conscious Discipline.  In this engaging and interactive workshop you will practice assertive communication, fine-tune your responses to tattling, learn how to empower victims and teach aggressors how to get their needs met appropriately.  Not only will you learn to identify factors causing aggression, but you will also learn how to eliminate power struggles. 

Visit my Downloads page for more information and to get registered.  If you register and pay by July 1st the cost is $125.  After July 1st registration goes up to $140.   Check out the video below to learn more about our presenter, Karen Hickman.