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self regulation

self-regulation-website

I was introduced to this great Canadian Website called CSRI-Canadian Self-Regulation Initiative.  It is sponsored by the governments of Ontario, BC, and the Yukon.

There are a variety of articles, Webinars, videos, and resources around self-regulation and health.  I have highlighted a few items that are very applicable for the Kindergarten Classroom.

PDF download, on a Self-Regulation Booklet by Stuart Shanker

There is agrowing interest, and debate, about the ways in which our development, our brains, our behaviour and our attitudes are connected. Importantly self-regulation has been identified as a key factor in wellbeing, learning and development. Dr Stuart Shanker provides us with a discussion of his research in this area and the implications this has for supporting the development of children in general and the applications to learning environments.”

http://www.self-regulation.ca/download/pdf(2)/magforbooklet.pdf

A webinar on self-regulation – “From Rules to Relationships – Exploring the Connection Between Classroom Practice and Self-Regulation”.  This features an ECE and Teacher from Kenora in NorthWestern Ontario. 

http://www.self-regulation.ca/resources/webinars/

opportunities-for-self-regulation-in-fdk

The emphasis on play-based and inquiry-based learning in the FDK program has profound implications on learning outcomes throughout a child’s academic career. Here are several links to supporting play in the early years. http://earlylearningcentral.ca/?page_id=1192 

The program has evolved with the introduction of FDK.  Educators are more facilitators, listening to the children’s ideas for exploration (the emerging curriculum), placing materials out that are more exploratory–that provoke questioning and research to find out answers.  When children are engaged during play time many skills are developing including reading and writing. Oral language is a huge premise in the entire program.  Talking is most critical! Getting children to talk and model appropriate language is the foundation.  http://earlylearningcentral.ca/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/literacy-30-used-mar-4.pdf .  Here are some great prompts and questions to get you thinking about how to assess oral language and some self-reflective questions about the program in your classroom.

Initially in the school year rules and routines are established that need to be followed both in and out of the classroom.  Some children have not been expose to a structured routine/environment at this point in their life and it may take sometime to get them to know the expectations.  As they enter opportunities at various point in the classroom the ability to problem-solve, get along with others, share toys, ask for support is all part of self-regulation that will be needed for grade 1 and up and for the rest of their lives. 

The two year play-based program provides children time to hone those skills necessary for life. When they enter the block centre or dramatic play they set their own rules and self-monitor how roles should play out.  It is at this point they will have to regulate what appropriate behaviours (within the paramaters) are acceptable–they need to talk out disagreements using problem-solving skills, they need to share and/or take turns, ask for help when needed, and adapt to various situations in the day.  Within the program the Educators model appropriate behaviours (some boards may follow programs like Second Steps to support), and provide ample opportunities for children to work on self-regulation at different points throughout the day. 

In my experience it does take some time for many of the children to acquire these skills.  They need to have a firm base of appropriate behaviours before they move up the grades.  In my opinion when children don’t know how to self-regulate they take on less desirable behaviours and find themselves in trouble.  In the K program it is important to build in the leadership skills by giving them roles and responsibilities, make them feel valued, and allow them to make good/positive choices.  The structure of the program then changes are they move to grade 1 where they are expected to sit long for lessons, often more large group teaching occurs, and pencil/paper tasks are required for learning.  I am a believer that the inquiry model is appropriate for all grades due to the fact that many skill sets can be acquired with a more emergent curriculum model.  Having taught in all primary grades there are some great opportunities to apply the inquiry model into social studies, science where we can apply math and literacy skills and meet the curriculum expectations.  

The New Learner: 

When children leave the K program they are learning to be independent thinkers, ask questions, apply learning and ideas into different contexts–link the concepts into new situations, have a firm base on printing, basic math concepts,  reading readiness skills, have the ability to appropriately problem solve, and understand rules and routines in a structure environment.

new-look-at-learning

This is a great article from the Primarily Play Resource distributed by ETFO for K-3. 

http://earlylearningcentral.ca/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/PP-pages-16-21.pdf

The article discusses some great points about neuroscience and how the brain needs to be “worked” and norished so that the brain can function later in life.  Experience changes to brain.  So, a teacher planning my classroom; assessments, centres, inquiry ideas we want to provoke thinking, plan robust questions, and meet the needs of each learning in our classroom.  Learning in play is very social and is often far from a quiet place.  Purposefully conversations about what the children are doing and learning; “hum of creativity and friendship is a sign of a happy learning environment” (p.3)

Some provoking questions to reflect on;

-Are there engaging opportunities for children to explore?  Are they changed often?

-Are there areas for children to display there work?  Is there a place to display the conversations and pictures (documentation board)? How do we celebrate learning?

When we see an area of development that is not being met, what do we do?

-Is the environment a safe place for children to learn without judgement?

-Are there strategies possibly around self-regulation that are implemented in the classroom?

-Are there resources (books), a character program (Social Justice Begins with Me) that can address and promote self-confidence, and promote positives?

An overall thought when looking at the whole classroom environment and the children we teach:

How does the classroom value the whole child–developmentally and socially?

TO PLAY IS TO LEARN……have a read and see if you could change one thing to support student learning.

 

kindergarten-videos

Here is a link to some video resources on : Flow of the Day, Inquiry, Observation & Documentation, Play-based Learning, Self-regulation, the Learning Environment, Literacy Throughout the Day and Numeracy Throughout the Day.   http://www.edugains.ca/newsite/fulldaykinder/videoa.html

planning-for-learning

Now that the you have had the opportunity to meet your students over the last little while, you can reflect on your daily schedule.  Thinking it Through has a plan for both full and half days.  http://earlylearningcentral.ca/?page_id=1218 .  Some things can’t be changed due to the large schedules within your school,  but you can always try to move things around if they are in the best interest of your students.  Many schools are on the balanced day program with 3, 100 minute blocks of learning.  I always ensure that my students get 60 minutes or more in one of those blocks, and a second block of about 45 minutes.  The reason behind the time frames is to allow the children to explore the centre, select materials, create/manipulate, think and change, discuss, and share their learning without having to rush.  They are learning how to learn!

During these next few weeks circulating the room with children would be a great opportunity to discuss with them what is available in each centre, behaviours, and routines.  Remind them daily of what is available. 

I personally do not designate where children should be nor do I have number limits.  Children move freely to different centres as it sparks their interest.  My ECE partner or myself will call children over to work in small groups during this block of play the other circulates, documenting and asking questions as they pertain to our goals or big ideas for the centre.  All children are responsible for the entire room clean-up.