Friday, December 6, 2013

A is for apple, j is for jack

Childcare settings vary 
Learning varies 
Children vary
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Add in all the options and buzz words and it can get to be a bit much!

Preschools
Day cares
In home care
Montessori
Babysitter
Formal
Informal
Stay at home mom
Private
Part time
NAEYC 
Full time
Waldorf
Homeschool
Child Led
Teacher Led
Abekah
reggio emilia

It's a bit overwhelming!
I'm going to wade into some murky and sometimes controversial territory.
Be easy on me. 
I'm learning that one size does not necessarily fit all. 
I'm learning about me.
About what I desire for my kiddos. 
For their learning. 
For their futures. 
For our family.

There, lengthy disclaimer noted.
Now, sit back and relax a bit. 
I'm not choosing your kid's childcare setting...just my own. 
And honestly this post is more for me than for you dear readers.
Sometimes, I just need a place to get my thoughts out, yo.
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I mentioned that we are moving. Soon. 
A myriad of posts will be dedicated to it, but this is not one of those except to say that we will once again be uprooting our children into a new childcare setting.
We are about to interview next Friday and it has me thinking about some what ifs.

One of the most profound college courses I enrolled in at Purdue was about Utopian societies.
We were asked to create our own utopia with a focus on one element. 
Mine was education. 

It's always been there in the back of my mind. That something is broken with our schools, our family's expectations, and our children's success. 
Later on, I went into elementary education. 
Only to see that the brokenness can be bigger than we imagined in impoverished areas. 
Needs are being focused on, but not regularly met. 
It felt like I was throwing buckets of water onto a giant fire. 
It wasn't working. 
Then I moved on to a preschool setting. 
It was lovely.
The kids were creative, kind and learning. 
They were engaged and active. 
It was the beautiful parts of school without being...school. 

I also learned that not all daycare settings are created equal.
I went on to work at another facility that had every opportunity to be as beautiful for the kids, but fell short. 
Kids weren't engaged as often.
They weren't as interested in learning. 
The teachers looked tired.
Still a lovely place, but it missed that something something. 
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So what does a lovely day at school for our 3 and 1.5 year old look like to me?
home like setting
no battery operated toys
interaction with kids older and younger
one on one time
investigating
problem solving
responsibility
school family
outdoor play
outdoor play
outdoor play
character lessons
strong sense of "we"
nurturing
empathetic
academic
imaginations
literacy
math
project oriented work
science
science
science
play
invitations to play
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So, here's my question after digging deeper into some of the main teaching styles: Waldorf, Montessori, and reggio emilia
Can't we all just get along?
Seriously.
Can't we marry the best parts of each and create a new.
Do we have to jump in feet first and accept every aspect of your system to have it be implemented?
I hope not.
Some day I hope to find the perfect blend.
The Orange Julius of early childhood development...that won't also cost an arm and a leg. :)

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