Should BR educators change the way they teach spelling
Feature Title: Spelling
Should BR educators change the way they teach spelling
By: Andrea Farmer
Date: August 2007
Many parents remember from their own schooling the weekly set of spelling words that came home at the beginning of the week to prepare for the spelling quiz at the end of the week. Although many parents have also had this experience with their school age children, recent research is showing that a change may need to occur for students to become better spellers, readers and writers. The National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) says that there are two underlying principles for helping students learn to spell lots of reading and lots of writing. The NCTE also says that children learn to become better spellers through the use of words within meaningful and authentic contexts.
In the Baton Rouge area, most schools are still using the traditional spelling curriculum with the standard paper and pencil tests as assessment. In other areas, however, shifts are being made in how spelling is being taught in schools as well as how this knowledge is assessed. New methods of spelling assessment include testing on a computer and oral testing.
Cheryl Singer, principal of Westdale Heights Academic Magnet School, said that this is an area “educators should examine”. At her school, they are shifting from isolated spelling lessons to more of a vocabulary approach. She stressed the importance of phonics lesson principles in learning words. Singer goes on to explain that the shift to a vocabulary emphasis is important because “students need to do more than just spell a word; they need to understand the meaning and be able to use the word”.
“We consider spelling an important subject; however, it needs to taught in conjunction with other subject areas,” explained Martha Long, Director of Instruction for the elementary grades at Parkview Baptist School. Long also points out that spelling activities are done on a daily basis and that it starts in kindergarten with a focus on phonics. She points out that memorization doesn’t always stick, but that providing students with opportunities to learn to spell throughout every facet of the educational process helps students make necessary connections to learn the spelling, meaning and use of words.
Research by speech-language pathologists demonstrates the benefits for improvements in reading, writing and spelling when using a powerful language-based approach called, “Word Study”. The research has appeared in a journal of the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credential association for more than 127,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists and speech, language and hearing scientists. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess and treat speech and language problems.
“The reality is that properly taught spelling instruction in our nation’s classrooms is a crucial component to increasing reading and academic success for all students,” according to Dr. Kenn Apel, Professor of Communication Disorders and speech-language pathologist at Florida State University, Tallahassee who, along with colleague Dr. Julie Masterson, has conducted research using the Word Study approach.
Word Study involves the encoding (spelling) and decoding (reading) of words using knowledge of their linguistic properties. “Using ‘Word Study’ to teach spelling has shown to be highly effective for improving reading skills,” Dr. Apel explains. “To be a good speller, students must think about several aspects of words: Sounds (how many sounds do I hear in a word?); patterns of letters (what do I know about the way the long a vowel sound can be spelled?); and meaning (if I spell “magic” this way, maybe I should use that spelling to spell “magician”.)” This ability to conduct “word study” improves both spelling and reading.
Dr. Jan Norris, an LSU professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, agrees with the idea of teaching students to spell as a developmental process. She points out that “memorization doesn’t always have a language connection.” Norris explains that there are five main aspects of learning to spell: a. phonemic awareness (analyzing the sounds of language and how these sounds make up words), b. learning the spelling rules (“I” before “E”…), c. mental imagery (of the word and its pattern), d. vocabulary (homophones, etc.), and e. morphology (units of meaning such as prefixes and suffixes).
Norris goes on to say that children who have been read to, have pens and paper available to them, etc. are more likely to be strong spellers. “More exposure to words creates better readers and better spellers.”
Best practice in the classroom, according to Norris, is rooted in individualized instruction. “Spelling, especially early on, depends on phonemic awareness which is an abstract concept for children.” Norris explains that auditory learners pick this up very quickly while visual learners have a great deal of difficulty. She goes on to say that because some need to visualize, there “must be different routes to learn the same behavior”.
She suggests that rather than assessing on the basis of the right and wrong spelling of a word, the teacher look at the misspelled word and try to look at the patterns to see if there is progress and help the child move forward.
She stresses that progress may not mean that the child is spelling the word correctly but that the child is making a shift from what they already know – to what they need to know; the teacher is looking for developmental advancements. If assessment is based solely on getting the correct spelling, children who work hard to learn and still spell the words incorrectly may become frustrated. Finally, if a child is significantly behind, a teacher may suggest a speech pathologist.
There are many ways parents can help their children become better spellers. They can encourage their children’s teacher to teach their students to think about the sounds, patterns and meanings that determine why words are spelled as they are. When children bring home their weekly spelling list, parents can ask them to look for patterns that occur across words. They can help their children group words together according to the same pattern.
When children ask a parent how to spell a word, the parent shouldn’t automatically spell it. Instead they should ask their children to think about the sounds in the word, the letter patterns of other words that are similar, and the meaning of the word. When spelling a word, parents should encourage children to say the individual sounds (not the letter names) as they write the corresponding letters.
When parents are helping their children learn or spell a word, they should try to associate it with a word they know how to spell. When a child needs to spell a long word, parents should encourage them to think of smaller chunks within the word that have meaning. When parents are reading to their children, they can point out patterns that occur across words and encourage their children to look for other words with the same pattern. Parents can point out how words that are related by meaning often use the same base or roots. Don’t dismiss spelling as something that can be corrected by spell checkers. Research shows that the use of spell checkers only corrects about 63 percent of spelling mistakes.
For specific activities and strategies, there are numerous resources parents can use to assist them in reinforcing spelling skills with their children. Dr. Norris has a plethora of information to assist teachers and parents in helping children to learn to spell at www.elementory.com. Long’s recommendations for activities at home include placing word labels on items at home so children learn to identify the words with the objects, having the child identify objects seen out the car window and then spell them, and having children visualize the word with their eyes closed. Long also stresses that parents should not always spell words for their children, but rather encourage them to use a dictionary.
Science and Math, Adding Girls to the Equation
Feature Title: Science and Math, Adding Girls to the Equation
Will they Change the World?
By: Jane Goodman and Kyle Guzik
Date: August 2007
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Barbie is a “hug and heal” veterinarian with her very own pet shop but if you listen carefully you might still hear her complain that; “Math is hard! We’ve moved far beyond steering girls away from technical careers. Half of all health sciences Ph.D. students are female. Yet women are still outnumbered by three to one in scientific fields and constitute a small minority in the engineering, physical sciences and computer science workforce. The number of females receiving science degrees now outnumbers the number of males but the number of female engineering students actually declined in 2005.
A recent report by the Engineering Workforce Commission helps demonstrate the nature of the problem. In 2005, of 409,326 engineering students in the United States, 338,747 were men and only 70,579 were women. The study examined the number of men and women enrolled in engineering programs every year from 1995 to 2005. Despite expectations that the ratio would move closer towards equality over time, in fact, the percentage of engineering students who are female dropped from 18.5 percent in 1995 to 17.2 percent in 2005. In addition, women hold only 7 percent of tenured faculty positions in computer science and physics in our nation’s universities.
The statistical data show a larger trend for women in science. Women are significantly underrepresented in scientific fields and are likely to remain that way without significant progress and change. Facing growing competition in research and technological advancement from countries such as India and China, America needs more scientists and women can help fill the gap. Girls should be given additional opportunities and encouragement to study science in high school, middle school, and elementary school. In fact there is no more powerful way to encourage more young women to reap the benefits of scientific study than through the influence of their parents.
A recent graduate of St. Joseph’s High School entering LSU this fall, Mia Hegwood credits her father with inspiring her to enter her school’s science fair when she was a sophomore. She conducted an independent research project to determine the effect of different methods of hydroponics on the weight of lettuce. Her four months of hard work earned her third place over all in the Louisiana State Science Fair.
When asked about two distinct academic features of her high school (mandatory lap tops for all students and single sex class rooms) Mia was enthusiastic, “I loved the laptop. Having the Internet and online textbooks was a great resource at school. And the all girls environment was very helpful. My senior year we had a bioethics class with the boys. I tell you we couldn’t get anything done. The atmosphere was totally different.” Mia advises younger girls who are interested in science need to study hard from elementary school onwards. Grades earned in middle school can give a student the opportunity to take honors classes in high school, which in turn is highly beneficial for college applications.
LSU senior, Arrielle Opotowsky, is acutely aware of the rewards and challenges of a scientific career. A graduate of the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts (www.lsmsa.edu), now majoring in physics and astronomy, Opotowsky has worked as a lab assistant, participated in LSU’s Aerospace Catalyst Experiences for Students (ACES) program, conducted an honors research project on the evolution of galaxy clusters, and recently published a paper on silicon nano membranes in the New Journal of Physics all while maintaining a 3.7 grade point average. Arrielle’s favorite experience was the ACES program. She explained, “I enjoy field research, getting out there and getting my hands dirty, making stuff with my hands. I didn’t realize the importance of being able to build your own instrument. I spent a lot of time tightening bolts on ultra high vacuums.”
Opotowsky knows of her potential and the many possibilities before her. When asked where she sees herself in five years she responded, “One of my goals is to work for NASA and manage a project in the interest of manned space exploration, but I would also just love to live in a big city and work in a museum, maybe in a foreign country.” She also added, “I’m also aware of the extreme shortage of science teachers, especially in Louisiana. If I was to become a teacher, I would want to develop a more rigorous curriculum that could better prepare students for the harsh reality of university science classes.”
While the challenge may seem daunting, parents need only to consider the many great new opportunities available right now in the Baton Rouge area to help prepare their daughters for a lifetime of achievement and success. Girl Scouts and Brownie attending “Happy Days” day camp at Camp Marydale in West Feliciana parish (www.girlscoutsaudubon.org/marydale.html) this summer had the option of signing up for week long Science Adventure sessions that offered the chance to work toward earning science related badges.
A joint effort of the Audubon Council Girl Scouts and two LSU departments, the Explore and Encounter Camp taught science basics and engineering concepts. Activities such as building a robot, eating liquid nitrogen ice cream and making bubbles. The Eco-Camp focused on making earth a better place while learning environmental and ecology concepts by making solar tea and building animal habitats. Both camps provided girls with the opportunity to meet research scientists and engineers from LSU and take a field trip to New Orleans.
As the summer draws to a close parents should know about weekend activities available to their children this Fall. The Highland Road Park Observatory (www.bro.lsu.edu/index.html) provides weekly lectures on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. followed by stargazing beginning at 8:30 p.m. On Saturdays, the observatory offers a Saturday Science Academy program at 10 a.m., solar observation at 12 p.m. and stargazing beginning at 7:30 p.m. These fun and educational programs, and the use of the observatory’s research telescope, are free and open to the public.
In addition, this fall LSU will offer a Saturday Science at LSU (www.phys.lsu.edu/dept/text/seminars/saturdaysci.html) series of lectures for high school students, teachers and the public. Last year’s lectures occurred on Saturdays from 10-11:15 a.m. in Nicholson Hall with topics such as, Killer Asteroids and The Strange Reality of Black Holes. For more information on this falls series, contact Dr. Ravi Rau of the LSU department of physics and astronomy at (225) 578-6841.
This fall, the East Baton Rouge Parish School System will open the Crestworth Middle Magnet Pre-Engineering Academy, it is a brand new school. Crestworth will be the first magnet middle school in the parish with an emphasis on engineering. Norman St. Amant, a teacher at Crestworth, describes the new school, “facilities include seventeen class rooms, two engineering laboratories and one fully dedicated computer lab. The robotics lab will feature interactive tools that will enable students to study computer aided design.” Teachers will augment lessons through the use of two mobile electronic smart boards and a mobile and interactive projector system. In addition to a standard curriculum, Crestworth will offer classes such as mechanical, electrical, chemical and civil engineering. In a typical civil engineering class students might study the basics of bridge building by working together to construct bridges with tongue depressors and glue or toothpicks and gumdrops. In order to apply students must have a 2.5 grade point average and have scored a basic in math and English on a LEAP, CAT, or equivalent standardized test.
In February, as part of National Engineers Week (www.eweek.org) Exxon Mobil will participate for the fourth-year in E-Week’s 2007–Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. Employees will speak with girls about engineering careers, conduct hands-on experiments, and lead site tours and host interactive demonstrations for students at schools and ExxonMobil facilities. The programs goal is to show girls that an engineering career will offer many opportunities to work in many exciting industries, earn good money and use their talents to make a difference in the world.
As girls grow up they should know that colleges, universities and employers are eager to graduate and hire more women scientists. Parents who encourage girls to maintain their interest in science and technology despite the distractions and the hard work required will help them to enjoy an opportunity filled future.
Raising a Teenager is Like Nailing Jello to a Tree
Feature Title: Raising a Teenager is Like Nailing Jello to a Tree
By: Gina Roberts-Grey
Date : August 2007
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Teenagers. You can’t live with them, and you certainly can’t give them back! How about taking a break and giving them to someone else for a while? The rigors of raising a teen can deflate the biggest of spirits. Teenagers are without a doubt one of life’s most challenging and frustrating enigmas. Granted they also have the potential to show vague signs of being the sweet youngsters they once were, but anyone who has a pre-teen or teen knows those moments are few and fleeting. For some parents those sweet, tender moments are practically non-existent.
Today’s children are maturing faster than previous generations. Six out of 10 children ages 10 to 12 demonstrate many hormonal and emotional changes that used to be specifically associated only with teenagers. Our children are full of energy and worldly insights that they expect their parents to blindly comply with. How eager are you to blindly agree to anything, let alone an astute proclamation from your teen or pre-teen? Do the words “Trust me, I know what I’m doing” rekindle a familiar sense of anxiety?
How unfair life is
Whether we like it or not every one of us was at one time a teenager. How ironically effortless it is to forget (or elect to not remember) some of the antics we once attempted, and the hoops our parents jumped through for us. Life administers pay back for your youth in the form of a frazzled, emotional teenager, and one who probably resembles how you once acted.
Do you find yourself wondering if anyone realizes that you have your own issues with your child becoming a teenager? You are going along with life fulfilling your role as a parent when out of nowhere you are suddenly expected to aptly address the multitude of teen crisis’ that frequently occur. Many parents feel they are losing their baby, and experience the anguish of relinquishing much of the control they once cherished. Coupled with all the parental fears and concerns now you must also deal with all these emotions, hormones and traumas. So in this jumbled life of parenting teenagers where does one find solace from the stress and maze of the teenage dealings?
There is one simple answer
Trust in your instincts and your abilities. You’ve nurtured your child this far and successfully brought them to the brink of this phase of progression in their life. They will begin to apply the blend of moral, social and ethical values you have given them throughout their formative years. The years you’ve spent teaching them life lessons and consequences will give them the strength to survive and flourish through their teen years.
Another beneficial aid is relying on a support network to share ideas and concerns with. You will find a reliable source of strength in other parents of teenagers. We all share a common bond comprised out of a need and a will to successfully survive our teens. The invaluable voice of similar experience will ease your fears and insecurities concerning your teenager.
Something extremely enlightening is when you finally realize one of the most important roles parents of teens play. Although ironically many parents learn this after their child has grown out of their teen years. Parents are valiant guardians whose steadfast job it is to protect. We are teachers who must tenderly aid in learning life’s hardest lessons. Your job is not to be perfect, but merely just to be a constant and supportive force in your teen’s life.
The teen years are traditionally selfish and self absorbing. A teen’s world revolves around themselves and only the things that directly involve or effect them. When a teenager is in the house, every day will be different and most likely more enterprising than the previous one. This does not have to be the beginning of the end of your sanity and peaceful domain. You do not have to sustain life on teenager strength aspirin for the next nine years. Instead think of your child’s teenage years as a brand new start, a chance to influence the next generation.
Parents definitely have an unfair disadvantage
There should be a training course for parents to attend. Upon completion we would receive a handsome framed certificate and the confidence to approach parenting our teenagers. Our infants should come with a manual, or at the very least –basic guidelines for the next eighteen years. How enriching it would be if teens were equipped with a warning label.
Caution: Approach this high strung, irritable teenager at your own risk. Prolonged exposure to a teenager has been known to cause severe frustration, high blood pressure and in some extreme cases; temporary loss of sanity. If you experience any of these symptoms you obviously are the parent of a teenager. Any persistence of these symptoms for longer than nine years may result in permanent loss of a parental mind.
Here we are parents
Without consent we are thrust into the black hole of teenage hysteria, with no visible bottom in sight. We are expected to act poised and prepared to pick up the pieces of their broken hearts without a moments notice. Their preference is for us to remain a silent observer in their lives while still managing to be their parents. Parents of teens must be able to lend subtle, practically invisible guidance. One more role expected but never explained, to survive our teenagers.
With the grace of a new born fawn, your child will fumble through his teen years and on toward adulthood. Now you must rely on the values you labored to instill to see them clear to finding their stable legs. Hopefully as your child discovers his stability, he does not drain you of yours in the process.
No one can precisely predict exactly when the tell-tale teenage actions will begin. Some children may start as early as nine while others may wait until they are nearly 14. Ultimately they all do invoke and inspire the unforeseen frustration in their parents.
It’s not as though because your child is a teenager they will suddenly go on uncontrollable, demonstrative rampages, displaying physical destruction and causing violence in their wake. Thankfully, very few teens demonstrate such devastating actions or behave at those extremely erratic ends of the spectrum. Your child will just appear different. Although you might not be able to conclusively target the differences however drastic or slight they seem, as a parent you know they exist.
Some children withdraw from family or social settings while others look for increased attention. Children will experience uncontrollable emotions such as crying, anger and inexplicable frustration with routine situations. They will change physically and emotionally and often without an understanding of the changes they’re undergoing.
Of course, some children are able to cope better than others in adeptly making the transition from child to pubescent. Some children blissfully sail through their teenage years without any evidence of a difficult adjustment period. Realistically, the majority of children do not know how to act in their own unfamiliar, new skin. An optimistic viewpoint is to hope for your teenager to be one of the few who breeze through their teen years. A realistic outlook is to accept that they might breeze in and out of the house, but most likely will not breeze through their teen years.
More true to life, you can expect your teenager to be on what you might best understand to be a quest. They are on a mission to strike out on their own, and find some semblance of who they were, and who they are becoming. When you cut right to the core of their maturation process, teenagers are pioneers. They are discovering a new territory for them to stake a claim to and call their own.
As your child firmly cements themselves into their teenage footings, you will be forced to concede to destiny. Our teenagers, or impending teenagers, are coping with an abundance of brand new hormones over which they need to gain control. These hormones, blended with the power of forceful emotions they have not previously experienced nor expected, produce an interesting new character for our teens to familiarize themselves with. What compounds the problem, is that many parents are just completely unprepared for this stage of their child’s life.
Have you ever poured over the burning question, “Why can’t my child be a calm teenager?” You yearn for your teen to be virtually unscathed by the emotional roller coaster of their teen years. Instead of sailing, it seems as if your child is careening through not only his teen years, but through your life and your household as well.
As adults we are now embroiled, as several generations before us, in a battle with our teenager that we do not know how to win. Does any parent ever win this tiring battle or at some point do we all render ourselves virtually helpless to the rantings of our teenage children?
I’m so confused!
Honestly, the label of “confused” or “not understanding” given to us by our children makes perfect sense and is quite fitting. Truly we do not understand what they are thinking, or how they are feeling. We can not comprehend the raging hormones and emotions. Let us accept our appropriate title and embrace the facts. Parenting a teen brings confusion, and leaves us perplexed and bewildered. As soon as you accept that, you will be on the path to discovering a cure for teenager-itis.
In a teenager’s opinion, it definitively could not be them. Furthermore, we lend support to their theory because we do not want the problems to be our children either. They are our angelic children who once depended on us for their every need. It is easier to fulfill our roles as martyrs laying blame for the confusion on ourselves.
Parents also perpetually scrutinize their teenagers. This is not necessarily out of discord with our teens, but more for justification of our parental abilities. We look for signs in our children that we have succeeded as a parent. A well adjusted and content teen indicates we must have done a good job. If our teen gives the appearance of emotional instability, or acts different from what we prefer, we assume the worst of ourselves. Our conclusion; we must not be effectively doing our jobs as parents.
It is time to stop berating ourselves. To some degree, everyone’s teenager is emotionally unstable. This is what teenagers do. It is their job to test our mental and emotional constitution. They are fulfilling their rightful and dutiful obligation in acting this way. They are teenagers. We should rejoice at their display of proficiency at something other than working on their fade away jump shot.
As their parents, we simply must do our job better and with more expertise than our children. One of our jobs is to balance our worries with questioning our parental proficiency. We also must continue to supply the tools for them to perform with.
Not every aspect of raising a teenager has a sour note of despair. Many wonderful qualities and characteristics will emerge, and directly result from your child’s teenage years. The majority of parents discover a new found friend in their teenager. Although this friendship usually occurs after all the raging hormones and mood swings have long subsided. The strenuously trying moments will probably (and hopefully) be out numbered by the gratifying times spent with your teen. Of course, some of these peaceful times may occur only when your child deems necessary.
Calling all parents
So no one made us privy to the secrets of teenagers until it was too late. Why didn’t anyone tell you all this in the delivery room? Because it would not matter. Your baby would become a teenager whether you like it or not. Since the reality is that teenagers don’t come with pages of instructions we must remain strong and endure these bumpy confusing years. Stand tall and proud because now is the time to shed your cloaks of despair and confusion, and regain some sense of control and order. Accept the facts. Now you have a teenager. There are going to be some rough, challenging aspects to the next few years. You have the propensity to sustain your child’s as well.
Feature Title: Kamikaze Kindergarteners
By: Theresa Payment
Date : August 2007
Imagine a “terrible twos” mindset, but in a stronger five-year-old. Angela mother of five year old Sarah imagined her child’s first day of kindergarten would be peaceful bliss. They had found the perfect backpack, picked out a bow to match and were ready for “big girl” school. What Sarah’s mother did not foresee, was dragging her precious child out of her car screaming. The screaming turned into a full thrown tantrum that quickly drew attention and made the teacher cringe as she knew what was in store for her. Aggression doesn’t peak sometime in the teens as many think, but when we are much younger - just before the age of two, according to research on the brain and behavior.
There are more and more reports of “kamikaze kindergartners”. These are children who are throwing temper tantrums, shrieking, and hurling books. This is referring to the trend of younger and younger children acting much more aggressively in school. These problems with aggression are real as teachers and parents are increasingly become aware. We spoke with several Baton Rouge teachers who stated that this is becoming a problem in the classroom and with such restrictions on discipline; it can make teaching unbearable at times. With such sweet and innocent faces, parents have to wonder where their children learn this behavior.
Plenty of reasons come to mind that parents may not even consider. With television time increasing, children at a young age are seeing too much violence on TV. Even cartoon shows geared at this young generation encourage this behavior as a way to solve problems. With two working parents some children spend too much time in poor quality day care. There are also increased academic pressures from an early age. Most kindergarten children have attended at least one if not two years of preschool. Children as young as two can be enrolled in some sort of preschool or learning environment which can cause increased anxiety and aggression in children.
Away from home we give kids time out when they need time off. At home they spend too little time practicing impulse control and parents give in much too easily to their children’s impulses. When we have a screaming toddler and parents are tired from work, letting them eat whatever they want or stay up as late as they want, is sometimes the easier way.
It is important for parents to not always allow the increasing emphasis on academics to overshadow a child’s social and emotional development. Something as small as spending the afternoon at the park or playing a board game can help your child learn to socialize. We live in a society that is teaching our children to neglect their social development by doing away with playtime.
The kind of aggressive behavior we see in preschoolers and kindergartners is just the tip of the iceberg of a larger problem. Children who do not learn how to have self control will have problems far beyond startling aggressive behaviors.
When speaking with local teachers, parents must understand that just enrolling your child in a preschool program will not make them learn. In order to learn in a preschool or school setting, young children must be able to pay attention and remember things on purpose. For example, they need to be able to ignore the other children around them who are fun to play with and concentrate their minds on the story the teacher is telling. This is something that can be taught at home particularly if the preschooler or kindergartner has younger or older siblings. This kind of self-control represents one of the most important developmental accomplishments of the preschool years.
The preschool years offer the optimal time to teach children how to control their own impulses. Along with language and motor skills, in their first five years, young children learn social and emotional patterns that stick with them for life. These patterns of behavior, good or bad, will be “wired” into your preschooler’s brain. They will continue to grow on the patterns and acceptable behavior they have learned at a young age.
Young children who do not learn these important factors at a young age will go through school not knowing how to control their impulses. This can make for some very frustrating preteen and teen years. If children do not acquire self control before adulthood, they can enter this stage in their life feeling inadequate and generally do not know how to regulate their actions on their own.
Most children spend time in a preschool classroom, whether it is Head Start, childcare, or a public or private nursery school. We could improve children’s self-regulation through these programs, but we do not. Too many teachers of young children don’t know how to help children learn self control.
As this country moves to adopt the systems of early education that will likely be in place throughout the 21st century, parents should demand high-quality preschools equipped with preschool teachers who have the knowledge and training to provide young children with a quality education. An education that balances academic development with emotional and social development. Finding a preschool that meets all of your child’s needs, not just the educational tools.
As parents, we work to find the balance in our busy lives and it is important to keep in mind that we are our children’s first teachers. What children learn at home, even in the early years, will teach them how to deal with life situations far reaching their preschool years. It is not fair for teachers to be the examples for our children on how to socialize and handle everyday problems. Elizabeth Norwood, local Baton Rouge teachers says “teachers need to be able to focus on teaching the children on an educational level, not having to be “school wardens” throughout the day. Children who are disruptive not only cheat themselves, but sometimes the entire class.” As parents we must remember that is also not fair for other children to be subjected to others around them who are throwing temper tantrums or worse. It is our job as parents to ensure that our children grow up to be responsible citizens, thoughtful neighbors as well as excellent readers, winners of the spelling bee and model mathematicians. Let’s give our children the examples they need to not be “kamikaze citizens” when they leave our nest.