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The Toddler Language Arts Project surprised me. I did not think I could arrange any days or times to observe and teach at a toddler classroom but I worked it out and it was able to get to the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Family Development Center (FDC) two times. It was great because I was able to stay both times for almost an hour each. Observing and teaching one activity at the FDC helped reinforce my decision on getting my Bachelor’s of Innovation in Inclusive Early Childhood Education.
I love the little kids because they are so smart and eager to learn. I feel like that is the age that really makes an impact by being in a role in improving educational quality and supporting long-term achievement for young children. Teachers get to experience things with them for the first time and seeing the joys of achievement on their faces is worth it.
I was curious about the exact definition for Early Childhood Education (ECE) so I researched it and learned that ECE consists of organized supervised programs with social and educational goals for children (of up to school entry age) in the temporary absence of their parents, and encompasses a diversity of programs, varying in hours of operation, ages of children and socio-economic status (SES) of families.
Examples include part-day preschools, child-care centers, early intervention and family day-care programs (Encyclopedia of Early Childhood Development). All of the programs that ECE are supported in are so important, I am glad I am a part of that.
Toddler Language Arts Project Components
What is developmentally appropriate for your target age? The Colorado Early Learning and Development Guidelines (Guidelines) describes language and literacy in toddlers as “communicate in a way that is understandable to most adults who speak the same language they do” and to “combine words into simple sentences.” Toddlers between the age of 19-36 months should be able to “demonstrate the ability to follow some grammatical rules of the home language” and “engage in back-and-forth conversations that contain a number of turns, with each building upon what was said in the previous turn.” That seems like a lot for this age group but after observing a two-year-old toddler classroom; I was amazed and saw the children demonstrating most of these Guidelines.
What particular likes, styles, diverse abilities, individual characteristics are relevant for your target group? “Toddlers listen, ask questions, or make comments while being read to.” This is what I hoped would happen when I read my book to my targeted toddler group.
The first thing I will do is ask the children to sit with me at the carpet (circle). I will tell the children my name, show them my badge with my picture on it and tell them that I teach children who are a little older than they are at another school. I will ask them if they have older brothers or sisters. I will tell them that I am there to read a story to them and have fun. I will show them the front and back of the book that I will be reading to them called Hello! Is This Grandma? By Ian Whybrow. I will ask them what they think the book will be about and I will ask who has a Grandma?
Body of Activity – I will read the book, pausing at each page to point out things that are occurring on each page. This book is great because it has lift the flaps and see to make the book more entertaining for children. The book is very colorful with big pictures, which helps keep the toddlers attention. I will make sure to use different funny sounding voices for the noises of the ringing of phone when Logan tries to call Grandma, such as bee-bee-bee-bah-beep, one-two, one-two, one-two, and tip-tap, tip-tap tap! Each time Logan tries to call Grandma, it is a different animal that answers the number he dialed, such as a cow, duck, sheep and crocodile. I will ask the children what sounds each different animal makes and if they have ever seen any one of those animals. After Logan tries the third time to call his Grandma I will start asking them, do you think this phone number is Grandmas or another animal? The crocodile page shows Logan cowering under a table looking scared; I will ask who is scared of crocodiles. Finally, at the end the phone rings brinnng! brinng! I will ask the children who they think is calling Logan? I will have the children pretend to answer a phone and say hello and read the page that says its Grandma Logan, do you want to come over to my party? Logan goes to the party and at the party Grandma blows out her candles for her birthday and everyone claps. I will have the children pretend to blow out candles and clap for Grandma’s birthday. I will ask if anyone has gone to their Grandma’s birthday party.
Closure – I will thank the children for being such good listeners and letting me read this special book to them. I will ask them what their favorite animal was in the book and if they have ever called their Grandma. I will also show them pictures that I printed of the animals that were in the story and recap what happened.
Assessment – I will notice if the children were interested in the book by watching them. I will observe the children doing these things:
· Showing interest in what I was reading
· Looking at their faces to see if their expressions change while I am reading the book
· See which children participate in the animal sounds of the animals in the book
· See the responses from what I am reading, such as imitating cow or duck
Reflection and next steps
What did you learn from your experience with Toddlers? I learned that Toddlers are amazing and very smart. I learned that even at two years, they are mostly good listeners.
What did the children learn from your activity and how did it positively impact their literacy development? The children learned from my activity to be careful when you call your Grandma because you might get the wrong number. The activity positively impacted their literacy development by performing some of the tasks from the Guidelines such as communicating back and forth, combining words into simple sentences, and communicating in a way that is understandable.
How will this experience guide your practice in the future? The experience will guide my practice in the future by making sure that I am organized and make sure the books are interesting enough to keep the children engaged at all times. I would make sure that there was some follow-up activity such as playing with phones and calling different people or having a play farm set up for the children to play with the animals that were in the storybook.
Toddler Observations and Activity Project: IECE 3010
Spend at least 20 minutes observing toddlers in their classroom setting. Using the following list of High/Scope Key Development indicators as a guide. Write short, one sentence anecdotes which capture moments you observe.
Communication, Language and Literacy
Your anecdotal records (strive for several in each category) CHILD BEHAVIORS
Your anecdotal records
ADULT INTERACTION AND STRATEGIES
Listening and responding:
Children listen and respond.
A child pointed to a picture in the book and said “cut”
A child threw sand at another child outside on the playground.
The teacher said “yes, this boy got his haircut.” (child looks at teacher and feels his hair)
The teacher got done to the child’s level and said “throwing sand is not safe. You hurt …. Please say you are sorry.”
A child went to a teacher and took her hand and pulled her to his cubby and pointed to his coat.
A child was carrying a picture around and pointed to it to a teacher.
The teacher responded “you want your coat on?” (child nodded yes) teacher says “good idea because we are going outside.” (child looks at teacher and points to the window where the playground is at).
The teacher said “is that mommy and daddy in your picture?” (child nodded yes and smiled)
Children participate in two-way communication.
A child was getting picked up and said to the teacher “goodbye song?”
The teacher had a pack of laminated cards and said “pick which one.” The child said “butterfly please.” The teacher sang “good bye butterfly” and the teacher and child fluttered their hands like a butterfly.
A child was listening to a book and was pointing at the book and saying “cow, mooo and cat, meow.”
The teacher said “yes, you are correct, the cow says moo and the cat says meow.”
Children explore picture books and magazines.
A child was looking at various laminated
picture cards of animals laid out at circle time on the carpet. The child was picking one card up at a time and shaking his head yes then would put the card down and pick up another one.
The teacher was interacting with all the children at circle time.
Children enjoy stories, rhymes and songs.
A child was listening to the teacher tell a story called the Farmer and the Dell. The child would smile and point to the animals. The child would bob his head up and down when the teacher sang the song/book.
The teacher read the Farmer and the Dell and also sang the Farmer and the Dell to the children.
Overall, this assignment has been my favorite since I’ve been involved in the Inclusive Early Childhood Education degree program. I know when you choose a path to becoming an early childhood teacher; you are dedicating your professional life to helping our most precious resources grow into responsible, competent learners. Teaching one child, let alone a whole classroom of toddlers is no simple task. I must say that the lead teacher and the teacher assistants were excellent at the FDC. I learned a lot just from watching them in action. There is evidence that a safe daycare/preschool and a stable home environment make a huge difference, and that greater family stability and wealth, which child care allows, produce lasting, positive results in all of the children’s future. The toddlers at the FDC are on the right path because of the caring people who work there and take care of them.
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