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February 4, 2018
Dyslexia and Early Intervention #23
Today’s interview is with dyslexia and early intervention specialist Dr Tim Conway. If you’re looking for ways to ensure young children are given the best early intervention, or just to take the most effective approach towards setting up a solid foundation for reading in the future, this interview is for you! You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. Dr Tim Conway Dr Conway works in the area of neuropsychology, which means understanding how our knowledge, our behaviours and emotions relate to our brain function. He’s done extensive research on dyslexia, since it runs in his family, as well as research on how to use early intervention to successfully help kids, and adults, overcome their learning challenges. You can find out more about Dr Conway’s work and his online tutoring programs by going to The Morris Center or NOW! Programs. Or find him on Facebook at Now! Programs or The Morris Center. Just so you know, this podcast has not been compensated in any way to promote Dr Conway’s programs. Nor can I personally vouch for them, but if dyslexia is of personal or professional interest to you his programs are a resource you may like to investigate. Dr Conway, welcome to the Early Childhood Research podcast. Thank you so much, Liz. It is my pleasure. What is dyslexia? Today we’re talking about dyslexia. And so my first question is, what exactly is dyslexia? Dyslexia really falls under a large category called Specific Learning Disorders. It’s a Specific Learning Disorder There are three types of Specific Learning Disorders. * There’s reading and spelling. * There’s a written expression one, * and there’s mathematics. Clearly dyslexia is the one that falls under the reading and spelling learning disorders. Diagnosis That diagnosis can be given to children, whether their reading problem is: * a reading accuracy problem, which means they misread words, they make mistakes, they start to add, repeat, shift, change     words. * a reading fluency problem where they’re reading too slowly and they don’t catch up with their peers and they’re always far behind in their reading speed * a reading comprehension problem where they’re reading along, but they’re not understanding what they’re reading, * and of course there could be any combination of those three altogether That diagnosis of a specific learning disorder is identical or synonymous with the term dyslexia. Etymology DIS means trouble, LEX means words. Dyslexia means trouble with words, but our most common focus is on the reading problems of it. Misconceptions of dyslexia What are the misconceptions of what dyslexia is? Seeing words backwards Probably the most common ones that the newspapers and cartoonists love to play with, is that they make the children or adults with dyslexia see words backwards. They reversed words, they reversed letters and they used to think this might possibly be one of the causes of what was happening. Kids would look at the word “pot” and they might say “top” or they look at “was” and they’d say “saw”, and we thought, oh, they’re seeing the words backwards. But then what no one really asked back then was, how come they don’t look at “the” and ...
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November 15, 2017
Why Dads Should Read to their Kids #22
Why should dads read to their young children? Because research has shown that it’s incredibly beneficial! Today’s podcast episode focuses on why dads can make such great reading partners for their kids. You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. Mums see it as an educational imperative In a study comparing how children’s reading is affected when read to by mums versus dads, Dr Elisabeth Duursma found a strong gender pattern. Mums put more pressure on themselves as parents, they see it more as a job, and they see themselves in competition with other mums. So when mums are reading with their kids they’re approaching it as a teaching exercise, which some call competitive parenting. Dads are chilled and chatty Dads on the other hand are lying on the floor with their kids, and if the kid doesn’t want to read they just let it go. Language development According to research fathers, in general, use a broader vocabulary than mothers do during story time with their kids. They use the story as a springboard for imaginative discussions, which in turn encourages their child’s language development. Abstract thinking They also tend to use the story as a springboard to chat about everyday experiences rather than staying focused mostly on the story as mums tend to do. For eg, if there are butterflies in the picture, mum might ask how many there are or what colour they are, but a dad might ask a child if they remember chasing a butterfly in the park the week before and what happened. This kind of abstract question gives a child’s brain a greater challenge. And apparently the benefits for a) little girls and b) low income families, are particularly notable. Good for blood pressure! And the benefit isn’t just for the kids, reading at the end of the day is a great stress reducer. Apparently within 6 minutes muscles relax and the heart rate drops – sounds like a good alternative to blood pressure medication to me! Dads are more emotionally present? No matter the gender, if fathers are reading to their kids before they hit 2 years of age there will be a huge impact. The fact that kids often appear to be more engaged when their dad reads may also be the novelty of having his undivided attention. Dr Duursma likes this more chilled out dad approach and suggests that kids need more acceptance and more time with their parents emotionally present as well as being physically present. When observing parents out of the home she finds that mums are more often sitting to the side using their phones whereas dads are more likely to be actively playing with their kids. Please note that I’m speaking in very broad generalisations here. Maybe some of the reason why a mum might be scanning Facebook at the park is because she’s been going non-stop with her kids all morning and needs a quick break, whereas the dad’s only just turned up! Who knows! There are so many variables in every family. Mums in competition with other mums I find this quote from Professor Jaqueline Barnes enlightening. She says, “children have become, in a strangely Victorian way, perceived as the property of parents and their achievements are seen as part of the identity of parents.” The resulting tutoring and pressure put on kids to succeed is not healthy, and this can start from a very young age. Perhaps Tiger Mothering is more widespread that I’d realised!
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July 9, 2017
Concussion in Young Children: What You Need to Know #21
Today we’re chatting with Dr Elizabeth Sandel about concussion in young children. What causes it. What we need to look for and how we can help during the recovery process. There are free posters, helpful links and a video for you to use when you approach this topic with your kids. In the classroom we talk about personal safety and behaving well towards others, so why not expand that to talk about the very real possibility of concussion? You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. Please note: some of the graphics used in this post were created BY THE CDC. Who is Dr Sandel? Dr Sandel has specialized in caring for patients with brain injuries for more than 30 years and is board-certified in physical medicine, rehabilitation and brain injury medicine (BIM). She has worked with patients of all ages injured in falls and motor vehicle accidents, as well as athletes, veterans, injured workers, and victims of violent crime. She is currently a medical director for Paradigm Management Services, which provides case management to those with concussions and severe brain injuries. You can find Dr Sandel’s website HERE. Plus you can connect on: * Twitter * Linked In Reasons to scroll down this post Make sure you look out for: * Free posters to explain concussion and its symptoms to young children. * 1 minute video to explain concussion to young children * Links to parent guides and other resources * Links to websites discussed by Dr Sandel regarding nursery safety, preventing falls and where to check for crib and furniture recalls. * Link to a free app for 6-8 year olds The Interview Dr. Sandel, thanks so much for being on the Early Childhood Research podcast this morning. I really appreciate the opportunity, thank you so much. What is a concussion? How can we recognise the signs of concussion, especially when the children are younger and they can’t express what they’re feeling? Sometimes we don’t know whether we should be panicking or not.  A concussion is what we call a mild brain injury. It’s caused by a blow or a bump or a jolt to the head, but the most important thing is you can have a blow, a bump or a jolt to the head and not have a concussion. It has to be a disruption of brain functioning. How do we know a concussion has occurred? Well if the person, child or adult loses consciousness, we know they had a brain injury. That doesn’t mean they have lasting problems, but they had a brain injury if they got knocked out or lost consciousness. The other thing to remember is that the symptoms are not necessarily immediate, they can develop in the first 24-48 hours after the incident, but back to your question about children, I think we have to group them into the preverbal and the verbal children – children who have enough language to begin to express themselves. Pre-verbal children In the pre-verbal category, I think it’s up to the parents to notice changes in the behaviour or habits that suggest something’s not right: * Irritability * Crying * Changes in sleep habits which happen across the bo...
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30 min
April 13, 2017
How Scribbling Fast Tracks our Kids #20
Scribbling can have a huge positive impact on a child’s development, not just as a pre-writing skill, but to develop language, reasoning, problem solving and relationships. Learn what researchers have found and how we can optimise that knowledge in our homes and classrooms. There’s also a free download including templates your little ones might like to scribble on! You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. The essential role of scribbling This week I read an interesting paper, published in 2016, about the role that scribbling plays in the development of imagination and cognitive function in young children. The authors are Elizabeth and Andrew Coates from Warwick University in England. The essential role of scribbling in the imaginative and cognitive development of young children. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy 2016, Vol. 16(1) 60–83. DOI: 10.1177/1468798415577871 This episode is basically a summary of their paper so I don’t take any credit for the content, unless I’ve gone off on a tangent. Because it’s a summary I’ve boiled it down to points that I feel are most the relevant and practical for teachers, parents and carers. It’s not just about pre-writing I was struck by a comment from the authors that many of us working with young children value scribbling, but mainly as a precursor to writing. We’re happy that they’re working on their fine motor skills, but beyond a little chat and a metaphorical pat on the head for their good work, we’re not taking the whole scribbling process as seriously as it deserves. So what value does scribbling have according to the research? 1. Communication Scribbling gives importance to a child’s narrative When children start scribbling it isn’t possible to determine what they’re drawing unless they tell you, or show you in some way! And this discussion, whether it’s adult to child or between children is highly valuable. It can give us a glimpse into the depth of what the child is thinking that goes far beyond what is evident from the scribbles themselves. Most kids love to scribble and chat The research showed that most kids, not all, loved to scribble, and they loved to chat while scribbling. They want us to know what they’re imagining and where they are going with their picture. This doesn’t just tell us how the child is organising their drawing, it also gives us an insight into their cultural understanding of the world, of their relationships and dreams. It gives us understanding into how a child explores and expresses ideas. Vocabulary development This reminds me of one of the big reasons we encourage reading to children from babyhood… the development of vocabulary. We read a wide range of books to expose our kids to more words. We talk about what the books mean, we point to letters and make the sounds. We know that children who are read to regularly from birth have a much higher chance of attaining academic success than those that miss out. It seems to me that encouraging children to chat about their scribbles is like a role reversal, where a child can be the one leading the conversation. What a great way to get them chatting, to be able to listen to them and ask questions, encouraging them to use all the words in their vocabulary to explain what they’re thinking. It’s about the process not the result In early childhood settings when we’re thinking about assessment we wi...
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February 11, 2017
Attuned Communication instead of Classroom Management? #19
Want to try attuned communication with your kids so you don’t have to rely so much on traditional classroom management techniques? Listen to this interview with Laura Fish, it’s got tons of great advice for building up our kids, giving them confidence and strengthening executive function through conversation! You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. Laura Fish Today’s interview is with Laura Fish. Laura has a Bachelors degree in psychology and a Masters degree in Counseling. You can find out more about her and her coaching and counselling services, based in San Marcos, California, at Laura Fish Therapy. Laura’s background Laura started out 20 years ago as a preschool teacher, then became a mental health consultant for public, private and Head Start early education centres. This included partnering with child welfare and special education departments on behaviour support services for special needs or at-risk children. For the past 7 years Laura has been training early childhood teachers and coaches on the evidence-based framework called The Teaching Pyramid. Laura looks at education and child development through the lens of interpersonal neurobiology, which in simpler terms means, looking at health and well-being through the connection between mind, brain and relationships. What’s wrong with the term classroom management? Laura, it’s wonderful to have you on the podcast today, thanks so much for chatting with me! Thanks for having me, Liz! I’m a big fan of your podcast, so it’s exciting to be on! The term ‘classroom management’ is widely used in education but I know you’re not a fan of that phrase. Can you explain what it is about the term ‘classroom management’ that concerns you and what you think is a better alternative, and why? Oh sure! The way we speak about something, the words we use, impact how we think, feel and behave. So, if teachers are focusing on “managing” the classroom, they tend to be in a reactive frame of mind. They’re scanning for what is going wrong and trying to fix it or manage it. If you’re always scanning for danger, looking to manage, looking to fix, you are vulnerable to feeling overwhelmed, helpless, and burned out because it’s where you’re casting the spotlight of your attention, on problems. So, I encourage teachers and parents alike to continue to scan for safety. We do want to keep our kids safe, of course, but we remember to balance that out with also looking for what’s going well when you are scanning. Moving on from management to child development This requires adults to reframe their role from one of “managing behaviour” to that of developing the child’s skills: which skills can we teach children to promote social, emotional, and academic growth, as well as prevent challenging behaviour. In this way, adults may remain in more of an open, receptive frame of mind, seeking to teach versus manage. The focus is on the child’s development versus classroom management or home management. And the funny thing is when teachers and parents do shift in this way, the classrooms end up being managed because they are teaching children the skills they need to prevent the teachers from having to manage them so much in the first place. And the other big benefit for this is teachers’ stress or parents’ stress decrease over time because you don’t feel like you’re constantly putting out fires.
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December 11, 2016
Is Your Classroom an Academically Safe Environment? #18
Is your classroom an academically safe learning environment? Do our kids ever feel embarrassed or hesitant over asking questions, or because they’re struggling with a task, or because other children are ‘better’ than they are? This episode focuses on what we can do to help our kids feel as confident and safe as possible. You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. Cult of Pedagogy Podcast This episode is based on Jennifer Gonzalez’s podcast episode called ‘Is Your Classroom Academically Safe? Jennifer runs the hugely successful Cult of Pedagogy podcast which I highly recommend to all educators. Many of her episodes focus on older kids, but there are always principles we can translate into early childhood. I really enjoyed her discussion on academic safety and decided I’d love to take her points and come at them from an early childhood perspective. Don’t worry – I did ask first! Thank you, Jennifer, for giving me permission to add an early childhood twist to your discussion on academic safety for kids! An academically safe environment? * Is your classroom an academically safe learning environment? * Do our kids feel confident with our academic expectations and with our homework expectations? * Are we double- and triple-checking our kids’ understanding through questions, through pair and group work, through demonstration and so forth? * Are our kids happy to ask questions? * Are we brave enough to survey our kids and parents to see whether we’re missing something in our own classroom * Are we willing to find out that perhaps not all our kids feel as academically safe as we want them to be? 1. Do our academic expectations instill confidence in kids? Do they feel academically pressured or overwhelmed? It’s all very well for a document (or a parent) to say that by the time a child is 6 they need to have mastered x, y and z skills and have knowledge of certain topics. But what happens when we apply too much pressure on a young child with a skill they’re just not ready to learn? Do they feel academically safe in this situation? Or will they start to feel insecure, unsure of themselves? Will they ask questions to keep trying to improve? Or will they start to shut down and lose courage? Conversely will they act out behaviourally as a way of avoiding even attempting the work, or pretending that they don’t care about any of it? Stress impedes learning When it comes to learning, we need to take the long view approach. We might be able to get Johnny to perform addition to 20 by insisting that he does it day after day, but if that leads to a type of math-phobia or math-resistance then it’s not worth it, because it’s difficult to do well in a subject we actively dislike over the long term. There’s loads of research showing that for kids to learn effectively, to retain what they’ve learned and to be able to spit it out at a later date, or use those skills later, it’s much, much better if they’re happy during the learning process. Stress, anxiety and fear of learning practically guarantees that a child’s brain will set up a brick wall that impedes that knowledge from taking seed. We must advocate for our kids As teachers, one of our most important roles is that of advocate. If the official outcomes are not feasible for a child, we need to do our utmost not to allow that pressure to tra...
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September 16, 2016
Emergent Writing: Why Children’s Play Choices Affect Learning
Emergent writing is dependent not only on a child’s exposure to literacy activities from birth, but how they engage with those activities on a day-to-day basis. This podcast discusses the four play ‘types’ that researchers have found fit the majority of children and what this means for their learning. You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. Last week I had a request regarding emergent writing from Sue, who is an Early Years Advisor in Durham in the UK. So today we’re talking about how 2 and 3 year-olds choose to engage with writing materials, and what that tells us about them and their motivations for writing. This is a summary of a research paper by Deborah Wells Rowe and Carin Neitzel (the reference is below). What emergent writing activities do children choose? They were asking the question: What writing activities do very young children choose in preschool and why do they make these choices? The point, of course, is that if children choose to do specific types of writing activities often, and then ignore other activities this affects what they’re learning overall. And we might find that in a class of 15 children even though they’re exposed to the same writing materials and similar pre-writing activities their preferences, and how they choose to engage themselves in the literacy opportunities around them, means that in the end they might have very different experiences. 4 basic types of play Based on previous play research, the supposition is that children will often show a strong preference for one of four types of play: * they might be social * they might be creative * they might like to follow procedure * or they might be conceptual. What do our kids enjoy? As teachers we do our best to get to know what interests our individual children have, because we can then use that as a gateway to engage them in learning. The findings of this research are really an extension of that. It’s not just finding out whether Jane loves bugs and Davy loves to dance, it’s extending that further and finding that there are definite patterns of play that children will engage in over and over and over. Are we including activities all kids can enjoy? If we can see that our kids seem to fit into one of those four patterns of play, or perhaps show a preference for one over the other, we can make better decisions about how to engage them in writing activities, and be more aware of what to expect from them. We can’t expect the same outcomes from all children, no matter how much we are pushed from above regarding traditional areas of literacy. What motivates our kids? Children have different reasons for engaging with writing activities, and their goals are different, so unless they’re forced into producing some particular product, what we’ll see at the end will be very different, and that’s OK! Mostly, for 2 & 3 year olds literacy activities are interwoven into play opportunities that children might choose to do, or not do. That’s why looking at their play preferences is so important. What are our kids’ backgrounds? Of course, children are influenced by their families and cultural situations, they have unique histories and experiences which ...
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July 17, 2016
9 Ways to Maximize Your Child’s Working Memory #16
Is your child super forgetful and can’t seem to follow instructions? They may have a poor working memory. Working memory is extremely important for learning and this post goes through some ways we can help our kids improve their working memories and function more successfully both at home and at school. You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. Firstly, I want to apologise if you’ve been waiting, this episode is a couple of weeks late. Unfortunately, my laptop was stolen on a flight from San Francisco just 2 days before some interviews I had lined up. So that put me into a bit of a technological crisis and we weren’t able to do the interviews. I did run out and buy a new laptop, however, and since the interviews had to be postponed I decided to look further into working memory. Steven, who is an early childhood teacher in Queensland, Australia, reached out through Facebook to ask me to talk about working memory. So that’s what I’m doing today! Executive Function Working memory is one part of a larger system called executive function. Think about what an executive does. They have a problem, they think through the alternative choices and make a decision on what needs to happen, then they give orders or take action to deal with the problem, and then finally evaluate how well it all worked, or didn’t work. That is how executive function works for us – it’s how we go about solving problems, making decisions and carrying them out. It’s a complex process that mostly uses our frontal lobes, which continue to develop right through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. Interlinked processes Working memory is one part of executive function. Some other aspects are impulse and emotional control, flexible thinking, planning and prioritizing and organisation. All these areas don’t work in isolation, they’re interlinked, so children with poor working memory may struggle with these other areas of executive function as well, which makes things even more difficult for the child. Also what we might call ‘cool’ decision making, such as when we’re just sorting cards by shape and colour for example accesses a different part of the frontal cortex to ‘hot’ or emotional decision making. When there’s something at stake. So it’s good to be aware that emotional content can change the way a child is able to reason things out. Improves throughout childhood Infants pretty much just respond to the stimuli around them. Preschoolers, on the other hand, are able to think about the past and the present and decide between options. But this doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily be able to stick to their decision or option, because their ability to consciously control their thoughts, actions and emotions is still severely limited. What is working memory? Just as it sounds, our working memory is our ability to hold information in our head in the short term that we’ll need in order to complete whatever task we’re working on. For example, if I ask a child to write, ‘my dog is running to the pond,’ they need to keep that whole sentence in their working memory while they’re writing. Now they might need to concentrate to sound out the word ‘dog,’ and by the time they’ve finished writing the word the sentence might have disappeared from their mind. They can no longer recall it. There are 2 parts to working memory: auditory memory and visual-spatial memory. One part focuses on what we hear, and the other on what we see. I’m not going into that today because it’s not really necessary in the context of t...
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June 4, 2016
Is My Classroom Management Approach Ethical? #15
Classroom management is an essential component of every teacher’s life, and most teachers spend a considerable amount of time trying, refining, adapting and experimenting until they feel they have a handle on it. But is our classroom management style effective for creating a smooth, well-functioning classroom but leaving some of our kids out in the cold? You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. Dr Clodie Tal Today I’m so pleased to have Dr Clodie Tal who is the Head of the Master’s degree program in Early Childhood Education at the Levinsky College of Teachers’ Education in Tel Aviv, Israel. Clodie’s background * PhD in psychology from Bar-Ilan University, Israel * Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from California State University in the US. * She has been training undergraduate and post-graduate early childhood teachers for a long time and, academically, her special interests include classroom management, teacher values, teacher-child and teacher-parent relationships. * Clodie has been involved in extensive in-service training in communities throughout Israel and when you listen to her talk about how they encourage their student teachers to develop classroom management skills you’ll find that it’s very hands-on, very reflective and perhaps quite confronting for those students, too. Clodie is very much in touch with everyday teacher concerns and she feels very strongly about the need for an intentional and well considered focus on classroom management. Clodie’s new book Moral Classroom Management in Early Childhood Education. You can find a link to the book on Clodie’s Classroom Management website. Liz: Clodie Tal, welcome to The Early Childhood Research Podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today. Clodie: Thank you for inviting me to this talk. What is moral classroom management? Liz: Congratulations, on the publication of your book Moral Classroom Management in Early Childhood Education. It’s an interesting title, because I’d imagine most teachers would bristle if we suggest that their own management style isn’t as moral as it could be. All of us have our own sense of morality and ethics, so I’m interested in hearing what led you down this path of what you term moral classroom management? What does moral classroom management mean to you and in what ways does it differ from other ways of managing classrooms? Clodie: I do understand the skepticism related to the overuse of morality in the title, that’s why I really do appreciate your question. Everyone would declare that he is moral; no one would admit that he or she is not. I think that there are big gaps between what people declare and what they really do in their daily practices. Liz: That is very true. Classroom power struggles and bias Clodie: Looking at the class from a moral classroom management perspective means that you have to take into consideration the power struggles in your own class, power struggles between children and between the staff and the children. To be able to overcome your own weakness to prefer, let’s say, the bright children or the children who are similar to your own background. To be able to see the well-being of all children, to accept the fact that children who don’t achieve so well or whose behavior is really challenging and sometimes quite...
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31 min
May 7, 2016
My Child is a Late Talker: What Should I Do? #14
Are you worried that your child is a late talker? That they don’t know as many words as other children their age, or can’t put the words together into a phrase? This post tells you what you can do! You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. What is ‘normal’? Before we start today we need to ask the question, in terms of language development, what is ‘normal’? Firstly, we must keep in mind that there needs to be a fairly wide range to what is considered normal. Comparing your own child directly with another might not be reassuring, and we shouldn’t look around at playgroup, for example, and start rating our kids by intelligence or the number of friends they have, or their ability to paint a masterpiece. Children develop differently, and that’s OK. If we do have concerns we should visit our doctor or other health professional and ask for their opinion. Early intervention is the very best way of helping struggling children in the long term, so I’m not saying ignore developmental delay. But I am suggesting that sometimes we worry too much, especially if we’re doing the comparison thing! My first daughter spoke in full sentences from a very young age, but my second daughter took much, much longer. We’re talking years longer! There would have been no point getting anxious about her development because they were two very different children with different personalities and gifts. They’re grown now, and my first daughter communicates really well through writing and my second daughter communicates powerfully through her art and music. There’s no difference in their understanding and expression of language, just in how it’s ended up being channelled. 3 to 12 months When talking about language development, the first year is very important. It’s the time when the foundation is being laid so the stronger we can make it, the better. We want to encourage them to make sounds, cooing and babbling and gesturing. They may start to form their first words at around 12 months old. 12 to 18 months From 12 to 18 months the first words start popping up and they begin adding to the vocabulary. They can understand ‘no,’ but may not obey! If your child isn’t babbling or using gestures by 12 months then talk to your doctor. 18 months to 2 years From 18 months to 2 years children start to put 2 words together to make a kind of sentence. They should understand most of what you say, and you’ll probably understand them. If your child doesn’t have any words at 18 months, then see your doctor. 2 to 3 years From 2-3 years children start using longer, more complex sentences, and their pronunciation is getting better. They can play and talk at the same time, and strangers can probably understand much of what a 3 year old is saying. 3 to 5 years From 3-5 we get longer and more complex conversations. They’ll want to talk about lots of different things and they’ll learn many more words. They might make up funny stories and will use better grammar. For the first three years children understand a lot more than they can say. This is why it’s so important for us to be interacting and chatting face to face with our young children even if we feel a bit silly or that it’s a waste of our very limited time. Language development is not just about learning to say individual words, it helps children express what they need or what they feel. It encourages thinking and problem solving and helps them make friends and build relationships.
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16 min
April 10, 2016
School Readiness for Children, Families, Teachers and Schools #13
There is more to school readiness than a child being the right age, knowing some numbers and learning to share. School readiness is about our whole community. This post talks about the what families, early care providers, teachers and schools can do to give children the best possible start to ‘big’ school. You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. What is school readiness? In the 1800s Horace Mann said, and I paraphrase, “Education is the great equalizer, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.” He believed that getting everyone into school would mean equal opportunities for all. However, by the mid 1900s it was realised that this wasn’t enough. Children from poorer families were not growing up and having the same rates of employment and income as middle class kids. There are many reasons for this, of course, but today we’re talking about school readiness. What it is and why it’s so important, not just for individual children and their families, but for society as a whole. School readiness is controversial The very term, ‘school readiness’ is controversial. If you use Google Scholar you’ll find nearly 150 different definitions, so how are parents who are wanting to help their child get ready for school supposed to know what will be the most beneficial? Traditionally, school readiness was simply a matter of chronological age and as long as a child could manage basic expectations for that age group they were considered ready for school. In other words, it all came down to the individual child. The downside to this approach was that it was too simplistic. It meant that early childhood services and the community did not really have anything to do with preparing a child for school, and it also meant that schools did not have to think about the needs of the children coming in. These days the term ‘school readiness’ makes you think of a child knowing basic numbers and letters and how to play nicely with others. However, this is also too limited. School readiness is much more than that! A research definition The definition I’m using today is broader. Please keep in mind that this is a research-based post, so my comments are based on research papers I’ve been reading, and most are not my own original ideas. You can find the list of papers at the end of this post. And just to clarify, I’m talking about the first year of formalised school, whatever that is called in your region. I refer to Kindergarten a lot because that’s what it’s called in my state, in other states it’s called Prep, and I know in some countries Kindergarten happens prior to official schooling. This definition of school readiness is actually an equation. Ready families + Ready early childhood services + Ready Communities + Ready schools = Ready children. In other words, children will only be ready for school if their families, day care providers and communities have given them the opportunities they need to be ready. This takes the onus off the child and hands responsibility back to us. It would be good to add a ready society to that list also, because society as a whole needs to accept the importance of preparing children for school so they’ll put money and programming into supporting it. Research strongly shows that supporting children and their families prior to school entry is much more success...
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33 min
March 13, 2016
Loving and Teaching Children with Autism: Part 2 #12
Anyone who cares for or is teaching children with autism needs to listen to this interview. There are so many helpful tips, stories and suggestions from this lovely Australian family. You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. This post contains one Amazon affiliate link. Links from this post * Brad and Jenn’s website * First and Then App * Sensory Tools: providers of courses and products regarding sensory issues (this is not an affiliate link) * All Things Autism: A youtube video with Jen and Brad talking about their work. They’ll be adding more autism-related videos in the future. Summary of Part 1 Hello. I’m Liz, the host of the Early Childhood Research Podcast. We’re so glad you’ve joined us today. This is episode 12, and it’s a follow on from last week’s interview about loving and educating children with autism. This interview is with Jenn and Brad Ratcliffe who have 2 boys, aged 15 and 12, who both have moderate to severe autism. They have also both worked in education. We’ve talked about their experiences leading up to diagnosis, the many, many classes and therapies they’ve tried, and the difficulties special needs can put on the family, particularly if there’s long-term denial. On the teaching side, we’ve talked about how we can develop relationships with non-communicative children, how to help our neuro-typical children understand and be supportive of their autistic friend, and how to communicate with parents of special needs students to give them confidence and to develop an open and trusting dialogue. Education Podcast Network This podcast is part of The Education Podcast Network at www.edupodcastnetwork.com. Let’s move on to the next part of our interview! Teaching children with autism: strategies for mainstream teachers LIZ: If you could choose 3 strategies or priorities for a mainstream teacher to incorporate into their inclusive classroom, what would they be? Strategy 1: Visual supports JEN: Definitely the first thing that I think all children on the spectrum as well as others can benefit from, is visual supports. Using visual support for the timetable is important because a lot of kids on the spectrum can have anxiety around what’s going to be happening next. So supporting the day, and the next activity that’s coming, and using timers and verbal prompting. Giving advanced notice of any changes that are going to take place, especially in a mainstream school. Sometimes it can be, ‘we can’t go to the library today, so we have to go tomorrow.’ Well, that might be enough to put someone on the spectrum into a meltdown. So we have to be able to advise them of that and supporting that visually as well is going to help the whole day for everybody. Strategy 2: Calming strategies The second thing would be to have calming strategies. Some children on the spectrum actually listen better while they’re fiddling with something or they’ve got a sensory toy to hold on to. It’s interesting because you think,
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30 min
March 6, 2016
Loving and Teaching Children with Autism: Part 1 #11
Do you have a child with autism? Do you teach a child with autism? Listen to this interview for some excellent tips and ideas from this wonderful family! You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. This post contains one Amazon affiliate link. Education Podcast Network Welcome, it’s great to have you here. I’m Liz and I’m the host of The Early Childhood Research Podcast. We’re part of the Education Podcast Network so if you’re looking for more podcasts to listen to, pop over to www.edupodcastnetwork.com Jennifer and Brad Ratcliffe This is episode 11 and today I’m switching focus from pure research to practical experience. I’m interviewing 2 educators, Jennifer and Brad Ratcliffe, who are also the parents of 2 boys with autism. We’ll be talking about ways to integrate children with special needs into the classroom, the effective use of support teachers, how family life is changed and the extra pressures that autism brings. I’ve split the interview into 2 parts rather than making one extra long episode. So this is part 1 and you’ll find the rest of the interview in episode 12. This was Not on the Brochure Jenn has written a book called This Was Not On The Brochure. It’s a book about how to live a great life even when it has handed you what you didn’t expect. Brad is working on a super useful app and together they’re writing another book, an A-Z of helpful tips for parents of children with autism. Just so you know, Jenn is no longer in the classroom. She is now a successful businesswoman which started out because she needed to be able to work from home in order to be there for her boys. Now to the interview! Jenn & Brad Ratcliffe, I’m so glad you could join me today. JENN & BRAD: Thank you. It’s great to be with you. I’ve been really looking forward to this interview because although this is a research-based podcast, and both of you have worked in, or are currently working in education, our focus today is for you to speak to us as parents. To give us an understanding of working children with autism from a parent’s perspective. Diagnosis You have 2 boys, Cameron and Coby, that were both diagnosed with moderate to severe autism when they were young. At what ages were they diagnosed, and what behaviours did you notice in the lead up to being diagnosed? JENN: Cameron was around 3 years old when he went for his assessment, on his third birthday actually. I remember that quite clearly because it was not what we were hoping for or expecting. Coby was a little bit younger, he was 2.5 years when he went for his assessment. The reason we took them was, initially we thought Cameron might have had a hearing problem. We weren’t sure if he could hear us because quite often he’d be in his own little world. We’d be calling him but he did not seem to be responding, it seemed like he wasn’t understanding. So initially we took him for a hearing test and that came back clear, but by that stage we’d started to realise. We’d spoken to different people and had started to think it had something to do with autism. What we noticed was that he’d go into his own shell and socially he didn’t seem to be interested in other people, or even us. And as parents we tried really,
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31 min
January 31, 2016
Essential Addition Strategies for Young Children
Want to listen to an expert talk about the most essential addition strategies our young children should be learning for future success? You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. Dr Elida Laski This is episode 10 and today I’m speaking with Dr Elida Laski who is an Assistant Professor of Applied Developmental Psychology at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College in the US. Elida’s primary research focus is mathematics in early childhood and she has published many papers and won many awards for her work, including being highlighted in the Wall Street Journal, Science Daily and CBS Radio. For our purposes, however, her most outstanding qualification is that she was, originally, a Kindergarten teacher, so she knows what she’s talking about! If you want to check out her research further, pop over to The Thinking and Learning Lab. The Education Podcast Network The Early Childhood Research Podcast is very proud to now be part of the Education Podcast Network. There are a growing number of excellent education podcasts there, so if you’re keen to find more podcasts to listen to, go over and try some of them out. Now to the interview. Elida Laski, welcome to The Early Childhood Research Podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you so much for having me, Elizabeth. I think what you’re doing is really important. What is decomposition? Today we’re talking about one of your areas of research, and that is the early use of decomposition for addition and its relation to base-10 knowledge. When I hear the word ‘decomposition’ the first thing that pops into my head is the picture of an apple core slowly rotting away in my garden. What does ‘decomposition’ mean when we’re thinking in terms of mathematics and young children? Well, I think your image of an apple core rotting away captures the essence of decomposition, it’s breaking down. And that’s how we refer to it with the mathematics of young children. But decomposition is just the breaking down of a problem that might seem difficult or more complex into simpler problems that are easier for children to handle. So, I could give you some examples of the kinds of problems children might use decomposition on and how they would break them down. Types of decomposition There are a number of different kinds of decomposition. * One of them that is more familiar to early childhood teachers is the breaking down of problems into known facts. For example, if the child was given the problem 6+8 they might automatically know that 6+6=12 and then 2 more would be 14. * Another kind of decomposition is when you have 2 double digit numbers and you break down the process of adding those together into first adding the tens and then adding the units. For 38+23 you would say 30+20 is 50, 8+3 is 11, 50+11 is 61. It allows them to perform mental math without having to worry about the algorithm of carrying the ones. * And then the final kind of decomposition that’s really quite common in the East Asian countries, and one that has been shown in my research to be really important for helping children do mental math, is known as going ‘through 10.’ That one would be, for example, if you had 24+9 the goal is to break down the 9 to get to the next possible decade. So you’d say, ‘24+6 is 30’ and then just add whatever’s left over, so you’d have 33.
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28 min
December 9, 2015
Environmental Protection for Kids
Environmental protection is such a huge and complicated subject, but we know it’s important to encourage a love of nature, and a desire to protect it, in our children. This post highlights how we can help our children understand sustainability, offers practical suggestions and notes common pitfalls to avoid. You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript. Transcript Click over to Can Young Children Help Create a Sustainable World to read the text for this podcast. You’ll also find the research credits there plus links to helpful organisations. Free bookmarks You can download these bookmarks here! There are 8 different bookmarks and they come in both colour and black and white. Looking for resources for outdoor learning? I recommend you take a look at Green Grubs Garden Club. Rosie is a New Zealand teacher who creates unique and beautiful teaching resources covering all sorts of bugs and other animals, and plants as well. She does have some free printables, too, so they’re a great way to get started! Leave a rating If you enjoyed this episode please add a review and rating on iTunes. It helps others find the podcast more easily. Or, if there was a particular point that resonated with you perhaps you could share that on your Facebook page or on Twitter? Previous Episodes * #0  The Early Childhood Research Podcast: An Introduction * #1  Healthy Eating in Young Children * #2  Developing Pre-Writing Skills * #3 Dealing with Bullying: 10 Proven Strategies * #4 School Readiness through Music * #5 What are the Rights of a Child? * #6 Does Movement Improve Learning Outcomes? * #7 How to Communicate Effectively about Childhood Development * #8 Anger Management: How to Calm an Angry Child
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20 min
November 15, 2015
Anger Management: How to Calm an Angry Child #8
While this anger management post title says it’s about how to calm an angry child, it’s really about how to encourage young children to calm themselves. It’s not a quick and easy method (if there even is such a thing), but it can be highly effective if it’s implemented consistently and if the children are encouraged to try, adapt and experiment. Don’t forget to download the free printable, I hope you find it useful! You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. Anger Management Anyone can get angry given certain conditions, but some people manage their anger more effectively than others. It’s the same for children. Most young children will get angry, but there are great variations in how often it occurs and how extreme the anger becomes. It might be due to personality or because tantrums generally lead to them getting what they want. It might be due to genetic and environmental factors. It might be the normal process of learning to deal with their own emotions. But it might also be due to speech delays, where a child becomes frustrated because they can’t communicate what they’re feeling or what they want. It also might be due to sensory processing issues, where a child experiences a bombardment of sensory stimuli that is overwhelming and so they lash out. As adults we need to observe our children to try and understand what triggers frustrated behaviours. We shouldn’t just assume they’re naughty, spoiled, tired or seeking attention. If we are going to help our kids learn to calm themselves, we need to narrow down the causes and we need to be prepared to try many different methods in the search for what’s most effective. We need to be flexible When it comes to calming an angry child there is no ‘one size fits all’ method, so just because we had great success with one child’s emotional rollercoaster, doesn’t mean we’ll have equal success with another. Each child needs to find their own path, with our support, and it may take quite some time. We need to be patient, consistent and a supportive, positive ally during this process. In saying this, we must protect all the children in our care, so if an angry child is endangering another, either physically or emotionally, we must certainly step in and separate the children so that both are safe and the situation cannot escalate. How do we implement an anger management strategy? There are 3 steps we can take when implementing an anger management strategy in our classroom or at home. * Teach children to identify and understand their own emotions * Teach calming strategies * Practice, adapt, refine, more practice Teaching children to identify and understand their own emotions It’s difficult for children to manage their behavior if they don’t understand their own feelings, if they don’t understand why they’re getting upset or the consequences of being angry. Experts encourage us to spend plenty of time teaching kids about emotions in general, reading relevant stories and talking about the scenarios and behaviours of the characters. Showing them pictures of children showing different emotions, taking photos of your kids acting out various emotions and using them for discussion. Of course, these discussions need to happen when the children are calm,
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16 min
November 1, 2015
How to Communicate Effectively about Childhood Development: #7
We all have opinions about children and what’s good for them, and our parents and communities have their own beliefs, too. As educators, how do we communicate effectively to families who may have misconceptions about how children learn and grow? This post is all about positive and meaningful communication with families. At the bottom you’ll find links to free resources that will be amazingly helpful to you. You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. Megan Keyes This is episode 7 and today I’m speaking to Megan Keyes about the gap that exists between early childhood educators and the general public regarding what we understand about child development and care, why it matters, and what we can do to align those understandings. Megan works for the Centre for Community Child Health at The Royal Children’s Hospital and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia. You can find links to free resources below and I can’t emphasize enough how much help these resources will be for any educator who communicates with parents about how children learn and grow. Now to the interview. Megan Keyes, welcome to The Early Childhood Research Podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you for having me. We need the public behind us to gain government support The Centre for Community Child Health has put a ton of time, money and effort into working out how best to communicate with the public about early childhood development and care. Why have you done this? The Centre for Community Child Health has been looking at how to improve outcomes for children and families for over 20 years now. What we know from over 2 decades of work is that if we’re going to make a difference for children and children’s outcomes governments need to make a much greater investment in early childhood development. I’m talking about the very early years from conception onwards. Prevention is better than cure However, at the moment the biggest government investment goes into intervention or treatment. Of course, intervention and treatment are necessary but if we just continue down that path of pumping more and more money into the back end rather than the front end we’re never going to be able to turn things around for children. And the cost of our health system will become completely unsustainable. But we’ve known all this for a really long time now and despite a lot of advocacy work from across the early years sector we haven’t really been able to make the big changes that we need to make. What we’ve come to realise is that if we’re going to change the way governments invest in children and families we need the general public to push for this, to get behind the advocacy efforts of the early years sector. Up until now we haven’t been seeing a high level of public support for early childhood development, and we weren’t really sure why because the science seems so compelling to us. We couldn’t understand why it wasn’t so compelling for everyone else. Then we came across a strategic communications organization called The Frameworks Institute who are based in Washington. Gaps between expert and public knowledge After doing some work with Frameworks we realized that actually the problem was us. And when I say ‘us’ I mean the whole early years sector. We weren’t communicating about the science of early childhoo...
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27 min
October 19, 2015
Does Movement Improve Learning Outcomes? #6
What is the best way to learn? Because people are so different it seems that what’s ‘best’ may be somewhat subjective. Today, we’re asking the question: Does movement improve learning outcomes? And the answer is a resounding yes! Fortunately there are lots of other benefits for children, too. You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. Below the transcript you’ll find some helpful links if you want to look into this further. Introduction Welcome, it’s great to have you here. I’m Liz and I’m the host of The Early Childhood Research Podcast. This is episode 6 and today I’m speaking to child psychologist and researcher, Myrto Mavilidi, about how movement can positively affect learning. Myrto is Greek, so she completed her psychology degree in Greece, then had an exchange year in Paris, fortunately she speaks French. Myrto then did a Masters degree in the Netherlands where she focused on human learning and performance, in other words, researching the most effective ways to learn. She also spent some time providing psychological support to a children’s hospital in Greece, working particularly with children with autism and with special needs. Now Myrto is working towards her PhD in Early Years at the Early Start Research Institute based at the University of Wollongong in Australia. Her focus is researching the effects of movement on children’s cognition. Does movement improve learning outcomes? Myrto Mavilidi, welcome to The Early Childhood Research Podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today. Hello, Liz. Thanks so much for your invitation! The importance of using gestures Research is showing that subtle body movements such as gesturing with our hands helps us learn more effectively. Can you explain why or how this happens? Gesturing is a very natural process that occurs spontaneously and it helps contribute to cognitive processes because it decreases working memory load and facilitates retention, problem solving and learning. This is based on research, and these movements are integrated with the learning tasks and they are only effective when they’re meaningful or congruent with the learning tasks. It has also been found that if you force someone to gesture a certain way then it can be detrimental for learning, so it’s important that they are natural and they occur spontaneously. Gestures need to be natural and spontaneous You want the movement to be related to the learning, but you want it to be spontaneous. Yes, if it’s related to gesturing, because you use it when you talk, you use it when you’re thinking. So the challenge, then, is to design learning tasks in such a way that learners gesture spontaneously in a task-relevant way. Does it mean that gesturing with our arms, for example, while we’re learning something new means we take more information in, or does it mean that we’re better at remembering what we’ve learned so we can pull it back out of our brain more easily? Gesturing makes the trace richer and deeper in the memory so then it’s easier to find and recall. If you think about children, when they start learning counting they use their hands, they use gestures spontaneously and naturally and this helps them remember more, because the information that they receive is connected better. One of the reasons using the fingers is so powerful is that the load that is imposed by this learning task is now divided between the memory and the hand,
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17 min
October 11, 2015
What are the Rights of a Child? #5
How long is it since you considered the United Nation’s perspective on the rights of a child? Have you ever? It’s quite an enlightening exercise so this podcast episode goes through these rights and then shows how one early childhood centre has adapted those rights into a Children’s Rights Charter. It’s a beautiful example of a group of teachers working together over a period of time, and seriously putting the rights of the children in their centre onto paper. Since it’s an evolving document that’s plastered up on their walls, it means that it’s taken seriously. Every teacher, parent and child knows the guidelines so there’s consistency of care across the board. You can listen to this podcast episode on the player above or through iTunes or Stitcher, or read through the transcript below. The rights of a child Today I’m spending just a little time talking about the rights of the child. What are the rights of our children? What does the UN say they are? And what does that mean in the classroom or at home? The UN has a document of over 7000 words talking about the rights of the child and obviously most people are not going to dig their way through that. But I can see why it’s necessary because some people do misinterpret the rights as they are written. Fortunately, we don’t have to wade through that because they have been summarised into smaller points. One of the most important points is that it is supposed to include every child. All children should have access to equal rights. We know that that’s a wish rather than reality. This Convention has been the most widely signed of all the human rights Conventions so we know that countries take this very seriously, but there’s a big difference between ratifying a Convention and actually protecting children. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Please feel free to download the following 2 posters containing the Rights of the Child in child-friendly language. What do they mean? There are so many issues that can be raised with each of the points above, but for now it’s just a reminder of what the conventions are, what the rights of the children are, and as a reminder of something we so often take for granted. I came across a Children’s Charter this week that was in the magazine, Every Child, that is published by Early Childhood Australia. It was so well written that it really resonated with me and it’s one reason why I wanted to do this episode. I’m going to read out to you what this early childhood centre decided would make a good Children’s Rights Charter. The staff all got together and they’ve changed this over the years, but it’s from Cooloon Children’s Centre in NSW, Australia. I love the way they’ve put the UN Children’s Rights into terms that make sense in their early childhood centre. Children’s Rights Charter The following poster is also included in the download link above. You might like to use it yourself. Just enlarge it as you print and you’ll have a great poster for your centre. Please note: the points below are not mine,
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12 min
October 4, 2015
School Readiness Through Music: #4
School readiness is a challenging area in education, particularly for less advantaged children who have not had the opportunity to attend preschool. This podcast episode is all about one teacher’s experience of running an 8-week music program specifically to help kids get ready for Kinder. You can listen to it above, listen to it on iTunes or read the transcript below. And don’t forget to scroll down to download the free pdf Allison created for us for when we want to try and introduce our own music classes for school readiness! Introduction Welcome, it’s great to have you here. I’m Liz and I’m the host of The Early Childhood Research Podcast. This is episode 4 and today I’m speaking to teacher and researcher, Allison Cameron, about using music to help prepare children for school. Allison has been teaching music for many years but she also specialised in learning difficulties through her Masters degree and she’s currently working on her PhD at the Early Start Research Institute based at the University of Wollongong in Australia. During the last school term of 2014 Allison was asked to run a school readiness program by a Community Centre that was preparing their children for Kindergarten, and these children had never attended preschool so there was some concern about how well they would be able to adapt and be ready for making friends and learning. School Readiness Through Music Allison Cameron, welcome to The Early Childhood Research Podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today. It’s no problem, it’s my pleasure! This programme was all about school readiness and I know you wanted to put an emphasis on social skills. What social skills did you choose to emphasize? What social and executive function skills are important for school readiness? Patience and Taking Turns Being able to wait for your turn to speak is really important in the classroom, but it’s also important in order to become a good friend, that you can listen to your friend and not talk over the top of them all the time, which is really important in the playground as well as in the classroom. But the other sorts of things that I would be looking at would be not just taking turns with speaking but taking turns with the equipment. Obviously when I started the classes I made sure that every child got a turn, but gradually I lessened that because being able to cope with the disappointment of not always getting a turn is really important. But it was those sorts of things that I was thinking about. Delayed Gratification It’s also an important part of delaying gratification. For example, in the classroom you don’t get to tell your news every day but you know that on Thursdays it’s going to be your day. These are really important skills for children because it actually helps them in their learning and helps them to be a really valued member of the class. Self-regulation The other things that overlap with social skills are executive function skills, which are things like self-regulation, being able to plan and understand the concept of planning from the teacher’s instructions. Inhibition control. So knowing when to stop, when to start and working memory skills. I was thinking about being able to follow through with a series of instructions. To listen to those instructions, take them on board and then act on them, because often those children who are able to master those skills very quickly learn more because they actually spend more time on tasks in the classroom. Children who struggle with those things often spend a lot of time going back to the teacher saying, “what are we meant to be doing?” And then they’ll get lost on the way to the book...
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19 min
September 27, 2015
Dealing with Bullying: 10 Proven Strategies #3
Bullying, and being bullied, can start from a very young age. As adults are influential in the lives of young children it is important that we are proactive and diligent when it comes to managing it. Click on the player above to listen to this week’s podcast episode or pop over to iTunes to listen directly from The Early Childhood Research Podcast. If you download the episode or listen through iTunes you’re managing professional development while shopping or camping! Transcript You can find the transcript for this episode on this previous research post 10 Ways to Combat Bullying in the Early Years. You’ll also find some recommended books for using with children and the research credits there. Bullying: A Definition Free Poster Click the link to download this Bullying: What Should I Do? poster. The third point is especially important for those at-risk children who react aggressively to being bullied. If they can practice greater self-control while still young it will help prevent the victim-bully cycle. Talking about emotions Encouraging children to talk about their feelings, and teaching them the vocabulary they can use to express themselves, can be helpful. You might like to use this animated video of Five Little Ducks and their Feelings as a jumping off point. There is a teaching pack available for learning about emotions using the Five Little Ducks. You can take a look at it here at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Previous Podcasts * #0  The Early Childhood Research Podcast: An Introduction * #1  Healthy Eating in Young Children * #2  Developing Pre-Writing Skills Leave a rating If you enjoyed this episode please add a review and rating on iTunes. It helps others find the podcast more easily. Or, if there was a particular point that resonated with you perhaps you could share that on your Facebook page or on Twitter? I wish you happy teaching and learning!
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14 min
September 20, 2015
Developing Pre-Writing Skills: #2
The process of learning to write is a long one, considering that it’s not just about knowing how to write letters or spell words. Well before children get to that stage there are other skills they need to develop so they’ll be ready. This podcast episode is all about why pre-writing skills are important and how pre-writing skills can be developed. Click on the player above to listen to this week’s episode or pop over to iTunes to listen directly from The Early Childhood Research Podcast. If you download the episode or listen through iTunes you can listen to it while you’re washing up or driving to work! Transcript The transcript for this episode can be found on this previous research post Pre-Writing Skills: Essential for Early Learners. You’ll also find the research credits there. Free Activities Here are some free line tracing printables and 10 cutting activities. Check out my review for these hands on weekly activity plans that will give your kids an activity a day for 6 months. Pinterest Boards Visit my Fine Motor Skills Pinterest board and my Pre-Writing Skills board for ideas! This post from Powerful Mothering has links to 25 Fine Motor Skills Pinterest boards that will inspire you with hundreds of fun and practically free ideas! Infographic Summary Pin it to keep as a quick and easy reminder! Previous Podcasts * #0  The Early Childhood Research Podcast: An Introduction * #1  Healthy Eating in Young Children Leave a rating If you enjoyed this episode please add a review and rating on iTunes. It helps others find the podcast more easily. Or, if there was a particular point that resonated with you perhaps you could share that on your Facebook page? I wish you happy teaching and learning!
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16 min
September 13, 2015
Healthy Eating in Young Children: #1
This podcast episode about healthy eating in young children is taken from a previous research post that you can find here. If you click this link you’ll find a transcript that’s fairly close to this episode as well the list of research articles that were used. Click on the player above to listen to this week’s episode or pop over to iTunes to listen directly from The Early Childhood Research Podcast. Here is the free I’m SO Healthy! printable that you can use to talk about health with your child. You can find other research-based posts here. I wish you happy teaching and learning! Previous Podcasts #0  The Early Childhood Research Podcast: An Introduction
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17 min
September 11, 2015
The Early Childhood Research Podcast: An Introduction #0
Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I love to take research papers and summarise the useful points. I believe that blogs are a great avenue for taking information and spreading it widely to where it’s needed most, in homes and preschools and kindergartens everywhere! I have been considering podcasting for quite a few months now and I’m finally ready to get started. I will be providing transcripts of each episode, and that’s where the text below comes from. It’s the transcript of the first introduction. You can either read it or click on the player at the top of this post to hear it. You can find The Early Childhood Research Podcast in iTunes, just do a search for it and you’ll find all the episodes to date! An Introduction Welcome, I’m Liz and I’m the host of The Early Childhood Research Podcast. I’m an Australian Early Childhood teacher with a research masters in Early Childhood Education and a coursework masters in Educational Leadership. I have a blog called Liz’s Early Learning Spot.com that focuses on Early Childhood, and there you’ll find tons of free printables and teaching ideas. For the past year I’ve written a monthly research-based post on topics I thought teachers and parents would find helpful: classroom management, the importance of pre-writing skills, how to combat bullying, goal setting with children and so on. However I really wanted a platform where researchers and teachers and parents with specialist knowledge could speak for themselves. Instead of me reading the latest research and pulling out what I think is most helpful to my readers – I wanted to hear from people in the field. The university researchers, the teachers doing action research in their classrooms, and parents, too, who can talk about issues from their perspectives. This will be a weekly podcast and I’ll be keeping the length under 20 minutes. I’ll be publishing a written transcript of each episode at Liz’s Early Learning Spot under the podcast tab. So that’s the background to The Early Childhood Research Podcast. I hope you’ll enjoy each episode and if you do, please consider subscribing. Thanks for listening and I wish you happy teaching and learning.
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2 min
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