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In this Week's Update:
- A Year on from the Christchurch Feb 2011 Earthquake
- Shakespeare and Superheroes: Boys and Underachievement
- Ways to Mark Children's Day (4th March)
- Teaching about the Great Irish Tradition of St Patrick's Day (17th March)
- Funding Contracts with MSD for Expert Analysis of Child Data
- Music and Movement with Young Children
- Learn to Rap
- Research on Music and Dance
- New Technology
- Giving Children an iPad - what parents and teachers should consider
- Web logs - what ECE services need to know
- Research on how preschoolers use a computer and difficulties
1. A Year on from the Christchurch Feb 2011 EarthquakeMore than 180 children and adults lost their lives as a result of the 22 February earthquake, thousands lost their homes, and many more experienced the stress of living in a war zone atmosphere with an army tank going down Bealey Ave, soldiers manning corners, searchers going house to house, toilets not working, etc.
Following the event, a Christchurch parent talked on radio about her anxiety of knowing whether her children were safe, her desperate desire to be with them, and her struggle to leave work and get first to her younger child's early childhood service and then to her older child at school. Similar stories were shared by other working parents across the city. Since then many parents have struggled to help their children return to "normality" despite continuing aftershocks and have often felt torn between a desire to keep their children close to them at home and the feeling that returning to an ECE service they enjoy will help with that normality. Others still have been forced by circumstances to take their children out of ECE or move them to a new service.
Within the ECE sector we often tend to focus on how the earthquake has impacted on ECE services themselves, looking at falls in enrolments and the potential impact on funding and how we might bring numbers back up. The Ministry of Education has also focused on returning children to formal ECE in Christchurch, awarding contracts to two organisations to help parents and children re-engage with ECE because it believes the "long term adverse effects on educational and social outcomes for all of these children will be felt for many years across the education system".
There are strong arguments that involvement in high quality ECE can benefit children, but there are also arguments that particularly for very young children, care by parents at home is best and ECE is detrimental. These arguments will no doubt continue but one year on from Christchurch's devastating earthquake perhaps we should put arguments aside and focus solely on the wellbeing of all our children and how we can best support them and their parents. The continuing aftershocks and uncertainty about housing, jobs and the rebuilding will affect the city's families for some time to come and Christchurch's children will need continuing support whatever the setting.
2. Shakespeare and Superheroes: Boys and UnderachievementTim Kahn, our correspondent in London, writes that while the arguments about boys' underachievement continue, what seems to be common sense is that practitioners should bring education to boys 'where they are at' rather than expecting them to access education where the practitioners want (or expect) them to be. Here's an example: " ... a group of boys, wearing an assortment of dressing-up clothes [including] capes, were rushing around the outdoor area appearing to attack the trees with imaginary weapons. Pushing aside her initial feeling to forbid the game, one of the practitioners asked the boys what they were doing and was told that they were putting out the fires that were threatening the trees. This led to a conversation about the different ways to put out a fire followed by the boys expressing interest in looking at books around the topic. The practitioner, encouraged by their enthusiasm, went away and found some books for the boys to look at."
3. Ways to Mark Children's Day (4th March)In NZ Children's Day is usually held on the first Sunday in March. A number of countries have a similar special day for children on their events calendars. It is an opportunity for parents, grandparents and other family members to celebrate the special day with their children. It is also an opportunity for early childhood centres and home-based services to get involved and do something to mark the day and celebrate how precious and important our babies, toddlers and preschoolers are.
* GET SOME GREAT IDEAS FROM THIS ARTICLE: Ways to Mark this Special Day at Home and In Your Early Childhood Service
4. Teaching Children About the Great Irish Tradition of St Patrick's Day (17th March)Dress up and put on your green clothes and have fun! St Patrick's Day is coming up. Teach children about Ireland, the history of St Patrick's Day and learn a lot through engaging in the celebrations. You never know you might just come across a mischievous little Leprechaun!
5. Funding Contracts with MSD for Expert Analysis of Child Data
The Ministry of Social Development has developed a new child-level integrated longitudinal research database on children's contact with its benefit, care and protection and youth justice services. One or more research providers are being sought to work with the Ministry on specific research projects using the database. There are opportunities for a wide range of research and analysis, including:
- analysis of individuals’ interactions with MSD service systems, potentially incorporating information on three generations (the child, their parent/s or caregivers, and, in time, their own dependent children)
- predictive modelling to identify early indicators of risk of poor outcomes (such as abuse, neglect, behavioural problems, or offending behaviour)
- examination of agency performance in identifying children and families with high needs and vulnerabilities at the earliest opportunity
- using multiple cohorts, monitoring changes in children’s contact with social agencies and evaluating the impacts of policy changes on children across social outcomes.
6. Music, Movement and Dance
Have you ever tried rapping with young children? It's similar to hip hop and is performed to a beat. Joshua Webb from Kiwicare's Avondale Preschool has developed alphabet and number raps. Click on the link below to see a demonstration by Joshua. (Thank you to Kiwicare for making this video and sharing it with us).
* See article and view video: How to Rap to a Beat with Rhyme and Rhythm
Click on the links below to go to research articles on music, movement and dance
* There's more to dance than meets the eye. By Adrienne Sansom, published in the NZRECE Journal, Vol. 3.
* A kind of serene feeling washing over the centre: Perceptions regarding the use of background music to improve the auditory environment in centres. By Daphne Rickson, Stuart McLaren and Linda Jones, published in the NZRECE Journal, Vol. 10.
* Parents' and teachers' views of music for children under two. By Danuta Sosna, published in the NZRECE Journal, Vol. 7.
* Researching children's musical learning experiences within a learning story framework. By Berenice Nyland and Jill Ferris, published in the NZRECE Journal, Vol. 12.
7. New Technology
THE iPAD AND OTHER TABLETS
While computers should never completely replace traditional activities like curling up with a good book or throwing sticks in the river, introducing your toddlers and pre-schoolers to computers in a controlled way can be of benefit for them. To this end, a touch screen tablet device like an Apple iPad can be a great way to start because they are small and light which makes them easy for little hands to handle and the touch screen technology is easy to understand and intuitive to use. Click on the link below to read more below about how the iPad can be useful for children's learning and what things you need to bear in mind when choosing an iPad, selecting applications (apps) and when and where the iPad will be used.
ECE SERVICE MANAGEMENT INFORMATION
* The safe and educationally appropriate use of web-logs or blogs: Blogging and Web2.0 Considerations for ECE Services
* Guidelines for developing a social media policy for your ECE service (including posting photos online and staff use of facebook, twitter etc): Social Media Policy Guidelines
* Introducing Children to Computers. By Claire Fletcher-Finn, published in the NZRECE Journal, Vol. 1.
Learn more about children's care and teaching, ECE service management, early childhood research, and education policy.
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Write to: ChildForum, PO Box 58-078, Porirua 5245, NEW ZEALAND
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