Today I am sharing a post with you on children playing with mud from phoenix-support.com.au/ This is a great article if you want to the value of playing has in mud. parents have asked me what the value of play has at school, as when they sit down for dinner and ask what did you do at school children will say 'play".
A few years ago, this photo would have made me squeamish. Mud. Yuck. Now, I’m an educator advocating for this kind of messy play. In fact, when I sat together with this little man, smooshing mud and splashing in our puddle, I was just as muddy as he. We were learning, exploring and making memories together. Consider your own childhood memories of play and adventure. Where were you? What were you doing? I bet you weren’t doing a peg puzzle at a table in a small room. You were most likely outdoors, and loving it. So here I am, covered in mud, loving this messy moment and even planning for the next time we might get down on the ground and dirty outdoors.
Herein lies my problem. I’ve noticed many other early education environments and educators do not allow this sort of play and I’m wondering why. What happened to early education in this country before the Early Years Learning Framework asked us to reflect upon everything, even those things that have always been done that way?
Why does it seem that muddy play was outlawed?
Why are some educators still resisting children’s natural gravitation to this sort of play?
Are we afraid of the mess?
Are we afraid of what parents think?
There is no longer any argument around the fact that outside play is vital for child development. Guess what? Nature-deficit is actually a thing! There is even evidence to show that playing in the dirt or mud is beneficial for a child’s immune system. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation in their down to earth article (pun intended), The Dirt on Dirt (2012), cite Dr. Joel Weinstock, director of gastroenterology from Boston, who says, “Children raised in an ultraclean environment are not being exposed to organisms that help them develop appropriate immune regulatory circuits.” The article goes on to argue that getting messy outside benefits the heart, skin, immune system, mental health, and mood, so, for the health of it, and the fun of it, children should be outdoors, barefoot, playing in the dirt.
In addition to the health benefits of exposing children to the natural environment, the sensory and developmental benefits are indisputable. Mud in all its glory has infinite learning possibilities. We know that open-ended materials and natural sensory stimulation allows for endless exploration and engages children in lengthy involved play. We know that given a child led pedagogy and a puddle, children will naturally gravitate there given the opportunity. We are aware of good practices such as the Reggio approach which suggests that we value the environment as the third teacher. Our curriculum decisions are now guided by the Early Years Learning Framework which asks us to create opportunities for children to connect with their natural world and environment. How can we do this from a sterile, air-conditioned room with smooth clean surfaces? Mud play seems common sense now doesn’t it?
If children in your early education setting are not “allowed” to play in the mud, get dirty or run in the warm summer rain, I would like to invite you, my fellow educators to reflect on your knowledge and experience. We, the reflective practitioner, gather expert knowledge of early education and care as we learn, explore and reflect on our practices within an approved learning framework and a quality standard founded in solid theory and research. It is our duty to educate our families on contemporary learning practices and the benefits, and learning objectives of messy play.
As for me, I am going to continue to get mud between my toes and giggle with a child as he revels in the delight and simplicity of mud. I will continue to grow and change as an educator but authentic, natural learning environments and evidence-based practice will always guide my pedagogy and practice.
Author: Ashleigh Smith Contributor: Sandi Phoenix
I am a little late in posting this celebration of a great children's book author Dr Seuss's birthday. In his honor I would like to do a survey on what your favorite books are. Here are mine
1. Go Dog Go
2.Horton Hears a Who
3. How The Grinch Stole Christmas
4. I can Lick 30 Tigers Today
5. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
6. Green Eggs And Ham
7. The Cat In The Hat
8.The Cat In The Hat Comes Back
9. Hop On Pop
What are some of your favorites and do you share the love of his books with your children?
I saw this article from Rebecca Karr, Co-founder at beetbox and had to share it with all you teachers looking to create a happy classroom.
Happy Classroom Teaching is tough! That’s why we’ve created 3 easy tips to give you and your students a break. A happy classroom = an effective learning environment. Pass this along to your fellow educators, and help spread the joy of learning!
BE PREPAREDIf you’re aiming for a smooth day of learning, it’s important to be as prepared as possible. This means going beyond simply lesson planning. One of the most difficult tasks an educator will face is figuring out how long a lesson or an activity might take. Often times, we overestimate, and are left with extra time and busy bodies. While some students might have breezed through, others might take more time to nail down concepts. Help yourself by having “busy baskets” that finished students can wander off to, and work with independently while you close out the activity. They can contain sensory bottles, puzzles, tracing, or weaving cards and thread, etc. Beetbox is a perfect educational tool to have on deck for situations like these - either for guided learning or independent exploration.
BE FLEXIBLEHappy is the teacher that is flexible! It’s easy to get bent out of shape when things in your classroom don’t go according to plan. Instead of fighting to keep your original plan, it’s sometimes best to give your students the best learning experience possible by changing things up. For example, if you had a seated activity planned, and children are struggling to stay on task, accept it and move on by introducing a more hands on or sensory activity to reset. In doing so, you’ll not only give them a break, but yourself one too. Natural materials are an easy way to get a child back on track. Activities like watering a plant, sowing a seed, and anything involving the 5 senses are a great idea. Beetbox is filled with sensory immersive projects. Because we send everything you need, you’ll never be without a hands on activity to have as your plan B.
BE MINDFUL OF YOUR BODY LANGUAGEIt might sound cliche, but smiling is contagious! You’d be surprised how quickly the overall vibe of your classroom will change, just be smiling while speaking. Social cues like eye contact, or getting down to a child’s level for a face to face conversation make all the difference in keeping a child’s attention, and it’s also a great way to be sure they can actually hear you and are listening to your message. If you notice the environment in your classroom seems tense or anxious, stop for a silly dance break, or carve out a few minutes to do something everyone will find fun. Planting, cooking, or anything to do with food can bring a class together. Beetbox teaches STEAM concepts through the exploration of food, and the seed to table cycle. Pause to conduct a delicious taste test, or enjoy planting some seeds with your children. You want to see more information on Beetbox go to www.getbeetbox.com/
Everything You Need to Know About Newborn Sleep Safety
February 13, 2019
So many new (and old) parents have questions about newborn sleep safety. They are constantly trying to figure out the best and safest places for their new baby to sleep.
Should they co-sleep? Should they share a room? Is a bassinette better than a crib? How long should they swaddle their baby? How do they prevent that scary sudden infant death syndrome? What kind of surface is best for baby to sleep on? And so on…
All of these are excellent questions and are common discussions that I have with my patients every day.
Not only is it important to create a sleep-friendly environment that will help your newborn fall asleep fast and stay asleep, but it’s also important that it is done in the safest way possible.
And with so many seemingly great options out there, it can sometimes be difficult to choose the right one for you and your baby.
So, in this post, we’ll explore and discuss some of the best and safest sleep practices for your newborn and cover some pretty cool new innovations that will help your baby to sleep peacefully at night and help you to sleep better knowing that they are in a safe space.
What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDs?
Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room…. Many people have heard of the term SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, but few have a good idea of what it really is.
And quite frankly, that’s because we as a medical community are not quite sure what it is either, or at least what causes it.
According to SIDS.org, sudden infant death syndrome is “the sudden death of an infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation…” And is a condition that is generally associated with sleep.
As the definition implies, the cause of death is unknown, but what we do know is that practicing safe sleep habits for newborns has drastically reduced the incidence of SIDS (by more than 50%!).
So, what are those safe sleep practices you ask? Keep reading below to find out .
To Co-Sleep or Not to Co-Sleep, That is the Question!
Many parents love the idea of snuggling to sleep with their little ones and having them within arm’s reach while they sleep. But many parents have also been counseled NOT to do this.
So the question is, is it okay to co-sleep????
And the answer is YES!….. But not in the way you might think (sorry).
The type of co-sleeping that is okay is sleeping in the same room (not bed) with your newborn.
The American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends that parents share a bedroom with their infants for at least the first 6 months of their lives, which has also been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS.
So Why Not Share The Same Bed?
That is a good question and the reason is that infants are at increased risk of things like suffocation, falling off the bed, getting smothered and, you guessed it, sudden infant death syndrome when they share the same bed as their parents.
This, however, does not mean that you can’t keep your newborn close to you and even within arms reach while you sleep.
There are several doctor approved safe sleep spaces for your newborn that will still allow them to be close by for those middle of the night feeds, diaper changes and snuggle sessions.
But before we get into the best places for your baby to sleep, let’s cover some general newborn sleep safety tips
Golden Rules of Newborn Sleep Safety
Rule #1: Always put your baby on their back to sleep, this has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Rule #2: Be sure to clear the bed of any blankets, stuffed animals, pillows or other soft and plushy things as these can be suffocation hazards.
Rule #3: Make sure your baby’s sleep surface is nice and firm. You should avoid soft plushy mattresses or allowing your baby to fall asleep on soft surfaces such as the sofa or armchair.
Best (and Safest) Places For Your Baby To Sleep
So there are many options out there for places for your little one to sleep, but all are not created equal.
And there are some options that are safer than others. Here, we’ll cover some of the doctor recommended and parent approved places for baby to sleep.
The Bedside Bassinet
Always a great option! Bassinets are small cradles that act as portable sleep spaces for babies that are easily accessible with shallow mattresses and low sidings.
Bedside bassinets also called beside sleepers, are bassinets that come with equipment that allows you to attach the bassinette to your bed.
This gives you the best of both worlds! You have your baby right at your fingertips while also maintaining a safe sleep environment.
This is a classic and a great safe option for baby to sleep in. Cribs have been around since the beginning of time (well maybe not quite). But since then have undergone major upgrades in terms of safety.
So, while those antique cribs that have been passed down from generation to generation might be great and hold a lot of sentimental value, just make sure they check the boxes on the safety checklist.
Things to look out for to ensure your crib is safe:
Make sure mattress is firm and tight fitting
Ensure the crib has proper support with no loose or ill-fitting screws
The slats on the crib should have no more than 2 3/8 inches of space in between to prevent your baby from getting trapped in between the slats
Try to avoid cribs with drop siding
Also, be sure not to use crib bumpers as they increase the risk of suffocation.
The Pack N Play
This seems to be a favorite with many of my families and is a super convenient place for baby to sleep.
It’s a large bassinette that’s portable and works double duty as somewhere for your baby sleep and play!
Many of them also come with modifications such as bassinet inserts or changing table inserts, really giving you options for maximal utilization of the space.
And if you’re looking for a safe and cost-effective place to lay your little one to sleep, this is definitely the way to go, generally coming in at about ¼ to ½ the price of your average crib.
Now, this is the Mercedes Benz of baby sleepers (with the price tag to match).
If you haven’t heard of the Snoo, it is the magical baby bassinet that literally responds to your baby’s cries and gently rocks them back to sleep.
This bassinet reportedly responds to your baby’s cry but producing a white noise sound and rocks them at different speeds based on how upset they are.
If that isn’t cool enough, it also comes with an app that lets you see what’s happening with your baby and lets you control the functions.
And it comes with an attached swaddle that keeps your baby nice and securely positioned in the middle of the bassinette.
Pretty cool right?
No one sleep space in this post is better than the other. Choose the one that works best for you and your newborn.
What matters most is that you follow the safe sleep recommendations for your newborn to ensure many nights of peaceful and safe sleep.
This is post is being shared from Angela Holliday-Bell
Hi I am Marcie Kenny the women behind this blog. No I am not a mother but I am a sister in a family of nine my number is seven in this crowd. I am also known as aunt Marcie to 18 and great aunt to 10.