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Preschool Newsletter for December 2013
November 29, 2013
Hi There!

December 2013 Preschool Primer Newsletter

Welcome to the twenty-fourth issue of the Preschool Plan-It Primer, a free newsletter from .

My hope is that you find information in each newsletter that is helpful to you- the Early Childhood Educator- as you work with this wonderful group called Preschoolers! This is the mini-newsletter that focuses on theme suggestions and new additions to the website.

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December 2013, Issue # 24

In This Issue:

Article: Behavior Guidance

Tips & Timesavers: Daily Communication with Families--HOW????

What's New? Search It, Find It, Plan It!

Behavior Guidance

Before we can "guide", "manage", "discipline" or "modify" behavior, we need to be knowledgeable in appropriate expectations for the ages that we serve.

Most preschool teachers will say that part of their role is to help prepare their students for kindergarten. And this is true. How we go about it, however, should be based on a solid understanding of child growth and development.

If we are not well educated in this ONE area, we may have incorrect expectations, meaning we may be expecting our children to become kindergardeners!

Let's restate this part of our role: Our job is to PREPARE our children for kindergarden, not TURN THEM INTO kindergardeners...they ARE preschoolers!

Okay, with my preschool mantra now out of the way... ;)

Preparing preschoolers includes helping them to navigate all the social skills they are developing including problem solving skills, interacting in a group, interacting one-on-one with peers as well as with adults.

Understanding preschoolers' behavior and having reasonable expectations of the ages in your classroom are the key to proper discipline.

When you encounter a conflict in the classroom, ask yourself a few questions:

1. Is this a behavioral problem or is this part of their developmental stage?

2. Is this part of the child's temperament?

You will address the conflict differently depending on your answers to these questions.

Not all children who are 3 years and 4 months old act the same way. Children differ in their developmental stages.

Your student who just recently entered into cooperative play (actually playing and interacting with other children during play) from the parallel play stage (where they play NEXT TO a peer with minimal interaction) may need some guidance on acceptable social norms in play for this age.

He/she is not being "selfish" or "hording" when they take most of the cars or farm animals. They have not figured out the sharing/fairness part of cooperative play. This is where your guidance comes in.

On the other hand, your student to walks over to a group, takes all the cars or farm animals, and then walks away from the group with them all is dealing with a different social issue.

You can respond by saying "That's not nice." or "You need to share." However, you are not helping either the children in the group or the individual child be involved in their own problem solving.

Did someone in the group take a toy away from that child and we missed it? Does this child want to play with the animals but does not have the verbal or social skills to express that? Does this child WANT to play with the group but does not know how to break into this established play group?

Only by talking and interacting with the children will you be able to determine the goal of this latter child's actions.

Not all children have the same temperaments (the same is true for us as adults!). How children behave or react to situations will not only be affected by their developmental age, but also by their own personal qualities such as how adaptable they are, or moodiness or shyness.

3. Is the child ready to learn something new that they do not yet know?

As discussed above, a child may be ready to play with other children and want to play with other children (cooperative play), but don't know how to enter a group. Be aware of when you see conflicts for children and try to identify patterns.

4. Is your classroom design or schedule the problem?

Yes, it may be one of those! Are you expecting the children to sit for 20+ minutes at circle time? (Remember that the average length of high school class is 38 minutes--how can your preschoolers be expected to do what high school students' neurons can not handle??!).

Is there a LOT of open space that just 'screams'......." here!"?

Is there a poor flow of set up for the interest centers? Do children need to walk through the block center to get to the bathroom or to the art table (therefore causing many mighty castles to be knocked down?).

Goals of Misbehavior

One of my all time favorite books regarding behavior guidance by Jane Nelsen, Ed.D. called Positive Discipline

She sites that there are 4 Mistaken Beliefs and Mistaken Goals of Misbehavior in preschoolers. Every conflict you ever see, with the exception of a special need, will line up with one of these 4 goals:

1. Undue Attention

Mistaken belief: I belong only when I have your attention. Mistaken goal:to keep others busy or to get special service.

2. Power

Mistaken belief: I belong only when I'm the boss or at least when I don't let you boss me. Mistaken Goal:to be boss.

3. Revenge

Mistaken belief: I don't belong but at least I can hurt back. Mistaken Goal: to get even

4. Assumed Inadequacy

Mistake belief: It is impossible to belong. I give up. Mistaken Goal: to give up and be left alone.

Jane Nelsen has a great chart in this book that takes you through the steps of how to deal with each of the 4 possibilities.

She suggests how the teacher may feel during the conflict and therefore, how the teacher may respond and how that feeds into the child's only temporary ending of the conflict.

She then makes suggestions on how to deal with the behavior so that the child learns to navigate this social issue or conflict in the future.

Combining your answers to the questions you asked in the first part of this page and your objective observation of the conflict will help you determine what the child's reason behind the behavior is.

Regardless of the reasons for conflict, there WILL be conflict in the classroom. There are not many days that we hear that "textbook buzz" of happy children playing peacefully the entire morning!

There are many ways to help our students grow and develop problem solving and social skills.

We need to be aware of what they are and how to apply them to the ages and stages of children we serve.

I highly recommend the following:

If you have never taken a college level Child Growth and Development class, do it! Find out if there are any monies in your preschool budget for this. Some 2 year colleges (that offer Early Childhood Education degrees) receive grants from the state to offer a reduced tuition for ECE courses to those working in the field.

If you HAVE taken this course, take a refresher! We sometimes forget what reasonable expectations are and a refresher class always helps!

Check your local library, ask colleagues or otherwise get a copy of Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen. I have used this as an inservice training for staff members...sometimes independently and sometimes as a group (We would all read a set chapter (or chapters) between staff meetings and discuss what we learned and how to apply it to our specific classrooms at the next meeting).

Behavior Guidance is a very large topic! More articles will be coming for this important area.

Check back often at the Behavior Guidance Main Page

Tips and Timesavers

Daily Communication with Families--HOW??

When you have 16 or more children in your care, sending home daily notes for each child can be very time consuming.....time taken out of your lunch break or time taken away from spending time with the children.

Many times, parents don't realize how much time it would take! They want to know what their child does each day (even if it is a half day program), but don't realize that that means writing out a note for their child AND 15 or more others.

Let's do some math: 16 children's notes multiplied by even a short 3 minutes per note would be.....right-48 minutes! In a half day program, that is 3/4 of your morning!

When I worked in full day child care, we sent home daily notes that highlighted information for families about their child's day. These notes included the stories we read, a science experiment, how their child ate (all, some or none of their lunch), what the art activity was, etc.

It is difficult to find the time to fill one of these out for every child (we had 16-24 children in a classroom!). In addition, we found these notes at the end of the week still in the child's backpack!!!

Communication is important and helpful. It not only provides the family with information about their child's day, but also can be a catylist for conversation between the family at home. For example, parents can ask "Tell me about the science experiment today." or "What was your favorite part of the story 'Will I Have a Friend' that your teacher read today?

Communication is important and helpful, but there's got to be a better way than killing a ton of trees throughout the year!

The best answer we came up with was to use a dry erase board. We purchased one at the Dollar Store that said "Welcome" on the top in bright colors.

We then printed the following:




Outside Time:

Ask your child about:

We left those titles on the board using a black dry-erase marker (sometimes we changed them and added other centers that might have had a special activity, like the Water Table or the Writing Table).

We then filled in the blanks for the day with different colored dry-erase markers.

This gave the parent something to read while waiting to pick up their child and information to talk to them about on the way home!

Let your parents know how the math works out in a newsletter! Let them know that you have information posted on the board outside the classroom!

For other tips and timesavers, click the link below:

Teacher Timersavers Main Page

What’s New? Search It, Find It, Plan It!

New Pages Added

The following pages have been added in the past month:

Adam and Eve Theme

Behavior Guidance Main Article

Themes now available for your E-Readers!

Many new themes have been added to those available for your e-readers. You can find them at:

You can find the list of E-Books here!

There is a small fee for each theme to help offset the time it takes to format and publish them. I will be formatting and publishing the remaining themes over the next several months so that they are all available for e-readers.

Suggestions for December Themes:

Christian Christmas Theme

Christmas (General) Theme

Colors Theme

Happy New Year Theme

Hibernation Theme

Noisy, Crash, Bang, Boom Theme

Snow Theme

Winter Theme

In-Service Workshop

Looking to get some in-service hours in this month? This workshop might qualify in your state/province (check with your Director or Licensing Regulations to be sure):

Science in the Preschool Classroom Online Workshop

Comments? Ideas for future newsletters? Feedback? This newsletter is written FOR you, so I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this zine and tell me what you think!

Until Next Time,


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