Parent Meeting on Power Struggles

This week we had a parent meeting about avoiding power struggles. I promised to send out some notes from the meeting. Here they are:

The best way to prevent power struggles with your child is to work diligently at cultivating a loving and respectful relationship with your child. When children feel a strong loving connection with their parents, they are less likely to oppose them, and more inclined to try to maintain harmony.

Staying in Touch

One of the great things about teaching preschool for 30 years is watching the children turn into wonderful adults. Almost every time I go out in Portland I run into a parent of a Chrysalis alum. I get to hear about what college they are going to, graduation from eighth grade, how second grade is much harder than first.

Independent Activities

“Independent activities in the Early Childhood Classroom”

Last night 20 teachers from the metro chapter of Oregon Association for the Education of Young Children came to Chrysalis for this workshop that I taught. I felt it was valuable because often when I visit other schools and classrooms, I don’t see much for children to do on their own. There are lots of opportunity for building and pretend and group activities—all of which are important. But I don’t see puzzles or opportunities for children to work alone on challenge games or independent learning. Even simple "put and take" and pouring and scooping, so valuable for helping children strengthen their fine motor skills, are often missing from some classrooms.

I showed lots of examples of independent activities—penny polishing, putting coins in a bank, toothpicks into small holes in a box. I talked about the importance of puzzles and challenge games that allow children a sense of accomplishment when they can finish all by themselves. In attribute games and sorting, children learn descriptive vocabulary and how to categorize.

After talking about it all night with a bunch of adults, it felt great to be back in the classroom watching children do what they do!

Today the butterfly activity was finding a letter amongst lots of print. this boy was looking for Os and poking them with a push pin. "Pokin Os" is a game that allows children to look very carefully at small print and find particular letters. this kind of careful concentrated searching is a great precursor to reading.

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These two were looking for letters too. She had a yellow marker to mark all the "I"s and "i"s she found.

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These two children were putting cloves into an orange. Other children at the table were shelling corn for the crows, and practicing opening and closing bottles and jars. All good for developing the pincer grasp! And you can see Pumpkin pounding in the background--they love pounding the golf tees into the pumpkin with a real hammer!

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Holidays at Chrysalis

At Chrysalis we celebrate what children or teachers celebrate at home. Often children are exposed to new and different holidays or celebrations and customs. When I saw a Chrysalis alum family recently, the dad told me that they have continued celebrating the Winter Solstice each year because their child insisted.

Endings...

On Friday, we had a flyaway ceremony for the children who are leaving Chrysalis after 3 years of preschool. The community of parents, teachers, grandparents and children gathered in the park. The teachers spoke about each child who was leaving remarking on the major changes we have seen from 2 years old to 5.