First Light Early Education Program

A Community of Healthy Families

May Virtue: Honesty

“I am a truth-teller!”

Honesty: Honesty is when you speak the truth and act truthfully.

Honesty in the Classroom includes:

  • Honesty means you say things that are true.
  • Honesty means you admit when you have made a mistake.
  • Honesty means that you tell how things really happen.

I will…

  • Follow the rules even if nobody is watching
  • Tell what really happened when someone asks me
  • Not take what isn’t mine

Practical Application: 3 Tips for Encouraging Honesty

  • Keep calm. If your kids worry about being yelled at or punished when they mess up, they won’t want to come to you with the truth. Focus on using a calm voice – yes, it can be tough, but it’s possible. That doesn’t mean kids are off the hook for lying. But instead of getting angry and assigning blame, discuss solutions to the problem with your child.
  • Emphasize ways to solve the problem. If you know your child has tracked mud into the house ask him, “What can we do to clean this up and make sure it doesn’t happen next time?” instead of asking “How did all this mud get on the carpet?” This can help head off a power struggle and allows your child to focus on a plan of action instead of fabricating an excuse. It also teaches a lesson of what they can do next time –taking off their shoes in the mudroom instead of the living room – to avoid problems.
  • Celebrate honesty.Even if you’re upset that there’s a sea of water on the floor because your daughter tried to give her dolls a bath in the sink, commend her for coming to you and telling the truth. Tell her, “I really appreciate you telling me what really happened.  I really appreciate you telling the truth and taking responsibility.”
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April Virtue: Teamwork

Working Together. Helping Each Other.

Teamwork: Working together as a group to achieve a common goal.

Teamwork in the Classroom includes:

  • Taking turns and waiting patiently
  • Listening to each others’ ideas
  • Working together to make a job easier
  • Making sure that nobody is left out
  • Encouraging everyone to do their best
  • Helping out cheerfully

I will…

  • Offer to help others
  • Make sure that everyone has a turn
  • Cheerfully do something even if it isn’t my idea
  • Say “Please” and “Thank You” when I need help
  • Find ways to play together
  • Work together to solve problems

Practical Application: 3 Tips for Encouraging Teamwork

  • Involve children in common tasks and let them know how their job is important to the final goal. (“We need to be a team at the grocery store. Will you please remember milk? We won’t be able to have cereal if we don’t have milk.”)
  • Turn household tasks into a game and suggest that you work as a team. (“Let’s see how quickly we can put clothes in the dryer if we work together. Wow! When you helped me, we finished so much faster than when I do it alone!”)
  • When you are in the community, talk about how thankful you are that everyone works together to make Sheridan a nice place to live.
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January Virtue: Joyfulness

Joyfulness: Maintaining a good attitude, even when faced with unpleasant conditions

Opposite: self-pity

Joyfulness in the classroom includes:   

  • Remaining positive even when things are not going according to plan
  • Smiling and speaking kindly to other students and family members even when they forget to do what was asked of them
  • Finding ways to solve problems positively
  • Cheerfully encouraging one another instead of blaming
  • Greeting each other each morning with a cheerful smile
  • Keeping the classroom bright with uplifting music

I will…

  • Look for good in all things
  • Smile at adversity
  • Not give in to discouragement
  • Not allow my emotions to rule my mind
  • Take time out of every day to laugh and to sing

 

Rewards of joyfulness

Strength

  • There is a special strength that emanates from a joyful person. This not only benefits that person’s own life but also causes him or her to be an energy-giver to all those around

Health

  • Medical research has confirmed that a joyful smile actually strengthens the immune system, which fights against disease in the body

 

Practical Application:

Newborn otters are afraid of water. The otter parents must gradually acquaint their young with the water by leading them near it, splashing in it, and eventually carrying them into a stream or lake. Soon the young otters discover that the experience they dreaded has become their greatest source of joy and provision.

 

Modeling Joyfulness:

How can you model joyfulness to the students this month? To the parents and families? To other staff?

What goals can you set for yourself? How will students see you modeling joyfulness at First Light?

 

Teaching Joyfulness:

What can you connect joyfulness to that is memorable for your students? How can you define and explain joyfulness so that it will make a lasting impression on your students?

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6 Steps to Conflict Resolution

Learning to Resolve Conflicts through Problem Solving

Helping children manage frustrations and resolve social conflicts is an area of social learning that is often particularly important to teachers. Teachers find that HighScope’s six-step conflict resolution process is especially useful. The six steps summarized below are used to help children settle disputes and conflicts. Children can often carry out this sequence on their own by program’s end.

 

Conflict resolution steps

  • Approach calmly, stopping any hurtful actions. Place yourself between the children, on their level; use a calm voice and gentle touch; remain neutral rather than take sides.
  • Acknowledge children’s feelings. Say something simple such as “You look really upset;” let children know you need to hold any object in question.
  • Gather information. Ask “What’s the problem?” Do not ask “why” questions as young children focus on that what the problem is rather than understanding the reasons behind it.
  • Restate the problem: “So the problem is…” Use and extend the children’s vocabulary, substituting neutral words for hurtful or judgmental ones (such as “stupid”) if needed.
  • Ask for solutions and choose one together. Ask “What can we do to solve this problem?” Encourage children to think of a solution but offer options if the children are unable to at first.
  • Be prepared to give follow-up support. Acknowledge children’s accomplishments, e.g., “You solved the problem!” Stay nearby in case anyone is not happy with the solution and the process needs repeating.
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Science, Technology and Engineering Standards for Pre-K

Source: Science, Technology and Engineering Standards for Pre-K

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August Virtue: Caring

Caring

“Showing others they are important!”

Caring: Caring is showing concern for others and using your words and actions to help others.

Caring  in the Classroom includes:

  • Caring means you remember to share with others.
  • Caring means we use our words and actions to help others.
  • Caring means we work hard to solve problems because we care about our friends.

I will…

  • Remember to use my words when I am upset.
  • Offer to help others.
  • Stop doing what I am doing when someone says “No thank you” or asks me to stop.

Practical Application: 3 Tips for Encouraging Caring

  • Practice Caring at home. If you have pets, allowing your child to get the pet fresh water or to pet them gently or help you feed the pet. If your child has siblings, they can practice caring by doing something to help their sibling.
  • Talk about all of the community workers who help to take care of us and keep us safe (police, firefighters, teachers, people at the grocery store who make sure our food isn’t rotten, park workers who keep the parks clean, lifeguards at the pool, etc).
  • Be intentional about your use of technology. Put down your phone when your child talks to you, turn off the television, leave the phone in the car when you go to the park. Model how important your children are to you by giving them your full attention.
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July Virtue: Sharing

“Giving some of what I have to someone else!”

Sharing: Sharing is letting someone use what you have

Sharing  in the Classroom includes:

  • Sharing means you remember to say, “Please” and “Thank you.”
  • Sharing means we include others in our games or activities.
  • Sharing means we wait our turn to use materials and making sure that others have a chance to use them as well.

I will…

  • Remember to use “please” and “thank you.”
  • Offer to let others join me when I am playing, reading or working.
  • Wait for my friend to share with me and not take it away.

Practical Application: 3 Tips for Encouraging Sharing

  • Practice Sharing at the dinner table. Encourage thinking of others and using words like “would you like some of this?”
  • Prior to playdates, give children an opportunity to put one “special” item away. This is something that doesn’t have to be shared. This also gives children an opportunity to choose to share the rest of their toys or books.
  • Think of things that you can do for neighbors or friends. Do you have time to bake cookies and talk about how you will share some of what you’ve made with others? This is a good way for children to see you modeling sharing as an adult.
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Active Play in Preschool: Some Children Aren’t Getting Enough

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

The action never seems to stop in preschool classrooms. But appearances can be deceiving. Researchers from the University of Washington report that children are not always getting enough opportunities for active play.

“Parents feel as if their young children are constantly in motion. But new research suggests that children in preschool have few opportunities for active play and are often sedentary,” a blog on the New York Times’ Motherlode website says.

To conduct this study — “Active Play Opportunities at Child Care” — researchers observed 98 children attending 10 preschools in Seattle. Each preschool was observed for four full days.

The study found that children’s activity was 73 percent sedentary, 13 percent light, and 14 percent of what researchers call “moderate-vigorous physical activity.”

The study found “that for 88 percent of child care time, children were not presented opportunities for active play, so the finding that…

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June Virtue: Respect

“I know how to treat others!”

Respect: Respect is caring enough about others’ feelings to think before you act

Respect  in the Classroom includes:

  • Respect means you remember to say, “Please” and “Thank you.”
  • Respect means we listen when others speak.
  • Respect means we take good care of our classroom materials.

I will…

  • Remember to use “please” and “thank you.”
  • Put things back where they belong so that others can find them.
  • Use kind words when I am talking to others.

Practical Application: 3 Tips for Encouraging Respect

  • Practice respect at the dinner table. Encourage good manners (saying “thank you”, asking for food to be passed instead of reaching across the table, put only “bunny sized” bites in your mouth, offering to split the last portion of food).
  • Give opportunities for kids to help you out and then use phrases like “When you    (name of task)_ you are showing respect by thinking about ways to help me.”
  • When you are in the community and notice ways for your children to perform an act of service, suggest it to them and then reinforce it by letting them know how they showed respect to others (holding the door, helping to pick up dropped items, picking up litter, etc.).
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Early childhood education is a good we know how to do

investinginkids

In my new book, From Preschool to Prosperity, I put early childhood education in the context of other efforts to increase high-wage employment. Early childhood education is by no means the only policy needed as part of a comprehensive strategy to advance broader economic opportunity.

Early childhood education is but one strategy to improve the quality of the American labor supply. Improving the quality of the American labor supply helps increase wages by creating an economic environment in which firms can readily find skilled labor and therefore are able to implement new technologies and improve productivity. In addition to improving ECE, policymakers need to improve the quality of K-12 education, and to make postsecondary education more financially easy to access.

Labor demand policies are also needed to directly encourage businesses to expand the number of high-wage jobs. Such policies could include manufacturing extension services, which help small and…

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The official blog of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University

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First Light Early Education Program

A Community of Healthy Families