Author - megans

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Growth Mindsets
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Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM)
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Communication is key

Growth Mindsets

Recently the MY teaching team participated in a growth mindsets workshop, presented by Annelise. It was a fascinating workshop and, for me, it was an opportunity to to reflect on the language I use when speaking with little people and to assess my own mindset.

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Annelise spoke about two kinds of mindset; fixed and growth and how these can impact the ways people approach learning and life.

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What struck me as incredible was that when I thought about our class community, I see the traits of a growth mindset naturally in everyone and very few, if any fixed mindset traits. So how great would it be if we could empower them to keep this growth mindset? A growth mindset enables us to view the learning from a more positive place, from a position that understands that struggle and mess are a natural and important element of learning. That persistence and hard work are important to thrive in life. What a great message to instill in our little people.

For a little more information you may like to watch this short and interesting video about Carol Dweck’s research on Growth Mindsets.

So if we’d like to help the little people in our lives keep a strong growth mindset, what can we do?

  • Avoid praising intelligence only.
  • Teach the value of challenge.
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  • Use the word yet more, it changes disparaging sentences into positive ones e.g. “I can’t do that.” vs “I can’t do that yet.”
  • Model growth mindset language, e.g. “this is another chance to learn” or “time to try some different strategies.”
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Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM)

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is a buzz word in education at the moment. One of the reasons for the buzz is that these areas are ones which are essential to many careers these days. STEM also incorporates many concepts which are great for brain  development and in the early years of life our brains are developing rapidly.  In his article, 5 Simple Ways To Encourage Brain Development In Your Little One, researcher Ron Ferguson suggests some simple ways to assist in developing your little persons brain, you can read the full article here.  Thinking about careers for our community of learners is a way off into the future, but there are many ways that we are developing foundation skills in science, technology, engineering, maths.
In T&C science is explored through hands on play, with activities such as colour mixing with paint and investigating floating and sinking in water play. We also observe the changes of solids to liquids when playing with ice and notice changes in nature around us e.g. our baby animals growing or fruit becoming ripe and ready to eat.
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With technology we have opportunities to begin to use computers, iPads and projectors with adult assistance. With support we can learn to take photos, use devices in meeting times, and have fun interacting with toys with wheels or remote controls.
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In T&C engineering involves building and creating with blocks, Lego, boxes. As well as talking about buildings see and make, in these conversations we practice language such as tall and short. Using ramps in our play gives us opportunity to find out how things move on them.
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Math is incorporated everyday through counting in play and conversations e.g. how many friends are here today or how many turtles can we find. Songs are another great way to develop number awareness e.g. 5 little ducks and 1 little finger. Talking about our daily routine as we follow it, helps us learn about sequencing. With play dough we can make shapes and practice language related to size and position.
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Perhaps you’d like to consider incorporating some of these ideas into your play at home. For more ideas you might also like to read this article about STEM with infants and toddlers; Let’s talk, read and sing about STEM.

Communication is key

 

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Talking  with your little person is so important. It’s one way for them to get to people, to understand the world and to learn the skill of taking turns when sharing information. As well as of course, developing their  abilities for communicating.

Recently Ms. Khanum shared an article with us called, Let’s Talk How parent-child communication from birth to age 3 sets the stage for lifelong success. This article clearly shares what language looks like at varying ages and how adults can help extend their little persons communication skills. You can read the full article here. You may also like to familiarise yourself with the MYIS Language policy which you can find here.

In our classroom we develop our communication skills in several ways, some of which you may be able to use at home;

  • Talking at meal times; this can be a really successful time for developing language as there are repetitive questions being asked each time and physical props such as plates and jugs of beverages to help convey meaning.
  • Singing songs; the Trust and Caring community especially loves actions songs and these are often great for developing understanding of concepts, for example when we sing ‘open, shut them’ we complete the corresponding action for each word.
  • Reading books and visiting our school library.
  • Talking to little people about what we see them doing, feeling and looking at.
  • Allowing time for our little people to give an answer. It may be helpful to remember that it could take some time for them to understand and formulate a response and while you wait you can use eye contact to communicate the expectation of a response.
  • Acknowledge all forms of communication; actions, facial expressions and behaviour are just some of the ways important communication happens without words.
  • Speaking calmly and respectfully and praising the efforts of our little people to communicate.

 

It’s also worth keeping in mind the words of, natural parenting expert, Peggy O’Mara;

Peggy O'Mara quote
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