Tag Archives: curriculum

Infant Peer Learning- Five Essential Elements

 

When it comes to the research on peer learning, we don’t often think of infants. However, groups of young children together in a trusting environment demonstrate the earliest stages of this concept.

 

Babies together constructing their own understanding of their environment

Oftentimes, group providers miss these subtle learning interactions as we balance individual child physical care needs, governing regulatory obligations and parental requests and concerns. How can we trust that the child is learning without adult intervention?

In peer learning, students will engage themselves intellectuallyemotionally and socially in “constructive conversation” and learn by talking and questioning each other’s views and reaching consensus or dissent (Boud, 2001).

Here we observe a child struggling to place the lid on the bottom of a bowling pin. He’s noticed the similar circles of the two objects, but he’s become frustrated in trying to put the two together.

Peer Learning - Infant
Little Learners Lodge (David Vigliotti)

Sensitive to his friend’s distress, an infant moves close by with a lid of his own.

Peer Learning - Infant
Little Learners Lodge (David Vigliotti)

The first child relaxes almost immediately and offers the bowling pin to his peer. Their toes connect as one takes the pin in hand and the other lets go.

Peer Learning - Infant
Little Learners Lodge (David Vigliotti)

Holding the pin upright, the infant demonstrates what he has learned about lid positioning and balance while the first child looks on.

Yet, peer learning does not occur spontaneously. It requires planning, appreciation, and trusting the children to be self-learners. At the center, we’ve developed five essential elements to encourage infant peer learning.

Five Essential Elements to Encourage Infant Peer Learning in Group Care

  • Continuity of Care – Many recognize the value of Primary Care in group situation involving one adult primarily taking care of a small group’s physical and emotional needs. When it comes to being with babies, many hands do not make for light work. Rather, it’s the secure competent hands of a trusted adult. Continuity of Care takes this commitment a step further by ensuring that the relationships amongst this primary provider AND the relationship amongst the small group of babies under her care remain together over time. In a nutshell, children of like age and/or development stay together and transition together with their trusted adult for at least one or two years. There’s no graduating to the “creeper room” unless the group transitions together.

 

  • Physical and Emotional Needs Met – Primary Caregiving helps ensure that a child’s physical and emotional needs are met by encouraging one adult to build a long-standing and trusting relationship with a small group of children. During physical care, the adult is fully present with each individual child- giving the baby all the time he needs to be satisfied physically and emotionally. No other task at hand exists. As a result, when the child is outside physical care, she “wants nothing” and is free to explore and interact with her environment and peers.

 

  • Prepared Environment – The environment itself must be prepared to be physically safe, cognitively challenging, and emotionally nurturing with consistent and clearly defined limits and expectations to develop discipline. Appreciating the value self-directed play and learning, the adult is free to observe, set safety expectations, and prepare the environment for continued child development. The child is the curriculum and the lesson found in the environment.

 

  • Time for Uninterrupted Play – It’s not enough to simply allow for time to freely move, play and interact with the environment. Babies need this time to be uninterrupted. Interruptions in group care take many forms: photos for documentation, lesson plans, doors opening/closing as adults enter or leave the space, adults walking though the play space, tours and observers involving those outside the center community, and more…

and, of course-

  • Freedom to Explore and Interact with Other Infants – How close do you allow babies to come together in play without moving proximal and, thus, interfering with what may transpire. Do you allow them to pass toys? Can they crawl over each other? Can they mouth an item and then place it down? Knowing if, when, and how to intercede is a dance. Sometimes even the simple act of observing can distract an infant’s exploration when the adult enters her space.

Although important, being with babies is so much more than feeding, diapering, sleeping and reading stories. Being with Babies is about encouraging the next generation to enjoy, discover, and collaborate in peace with each other. We sometimes forget that given the pay and regard for childcare providers that it all starts here. Fortunately, we have the assistance from each other, from involved parents, and from our littlest ones in seeing this task successfully though.

Resources:

On peer learning

3 hour Video Training supporting Frontline Caregivers

The well-being of young children in institutions

Parent Resource in Raising Self-Confident Babies

 

 

 

New Video Training Series!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Launch of new Video Course

Being with Infants and Toddlers: A Curriculum that Works
By Beverly A. Kovach, MN

After fifteen years in psychiatric nursing, Beverly Kovach began her early childhood profession with the founding of Little Learners Lodge daycare in 1977. She has spent the past four decades researching and studying best practices as it relates to the care and well-being of children in centers and institutions and is considered an expert in the field. We are excited to announce the launch of Ms. Kovach’s curriculum guide, Being with Infants and Toddlers, in video format.

This course provides early childhood providers with direct access to Beverly Kovach’s expertise in easy to digest chapters of philosophy, body care, play and learning, administration & more. Beverly concretely describes how to integrate the curriculum immediately into childcare situations involving demonstrations by certified Infant and Toddler Teachers.

Photo: David Vigliotti
Photo: David Vigliotti

The course fee of $390.00 includes over five hours of video content and a copy of the curriculum guide Being with Babies and Toddlers. During the promotional period until January 1st, participants will receive the course at the promotional offering of $200.00 which will include the guide and live webinar support.

BEVERLY KOVACH MMPSchool Founder AMS 0-3 Teacher Trainer RIE Associate Pikler Trainer, USA Author
BEVERLY KOVACH
MMPSchool Founder
AMS 0-3 Teacher Trainer
RIE Associate
Pikler Trainer, USA
Author

About Beverly Kovach, MN
Beverly Kovach is a renowned Infant/Toddler Specialists and founder of Little Learners Lodge. Ms. Kovach mentored directly with Magda Gerber and is one of only two North American pedagogues certified by Anna Tardos to train in the Pikler® Model of education for young children. Beverly is published in the field and has authored two books on the topic of infant/todder curriculum. She is a keynote speaker, Trainer of Trainers facilitator, and is certified to train in Montessori (MACTE 0-3), Pikler® and Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE®). She currently serves as President and Founder of Waverly Place providing childcare training and consultation services. Contact: theCHILDcentered@gmail.com

Infant Play

About Little Learners Lodge
Little Learners Lodge provides childcare services for children ages infancy through Kindergarten on a year ‘round daily basis. The center serves as a demonstration site for Beverly Kovach and resource center for educators and parents. Little Learners Lodge provides the video demonstration and bonus features for the video course, Being with Babies and Toddlers.

For more information please contact
Nicole Vigliotti, Executive Director
Little Learners Lodge
208 Church Street
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
http://www.mmpschool.com
theRIEway@gmail.com

Cooking with Kids @the Center (with video)

Each day at the center, we involve the children, from young toddlers through Kindergarten, in the process of creating the daily bread which will nourish the community throughout the day for snack.

Challenged by Dr. Angeline Lillard in 2007 to make our Practical Life Area more practical, we seized the opportunity to utilize the young child’s budding independence, order, coordination, self-confidence and love of learning in a way that would fuel all developmental planes.

Regardless of age, race, gender or ability- you will find children gravitating towards the Slow Food Inspired Cooking Curriculum which links not only the program’s gardening, but also the areas of Math and Cultural Studies. Each child has the opportunity to cook every day, throughout the day, as long as an apron is available. If one is not, the child is welcome to watch the process nearby.

Cooking together can become much more than getting a bite to eat- watch as Ms. Jaime begins the morning bread baking routine:

In making bread together, we see evidence of all Eight Principles of Optimal Education described in Dr. Lillard’s research.

According her findings, learning occurs best when:

1. movement is linked with cognition,
2. children are interested in the topic,
3. extrinsic rewards are left out of the mix,
4. choice and control are offered to the child,
5. it is situated in meaningful contexts,
6. children are grouped in blended ages amongst their peers,
7. the environment is orderly with consistent routines and rituals, &
8. the adult guides in a firm and warm manner.

“The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future in life.”
Plato

Storytelling and the Art of Character Development

Enter one Jonathan Wolff and the Self Awakened Child Series (http://www.jonathanwolff.org/peace-book.htm).

At the time the value of social and emotional intelligence was just gaining ground.   Then Fate seemingly drops Mr. Wolff at our doorstep with his fresh pressed character development series- a new idea in supporting social and emotional learning with primary and lower elementary aged children.

Each month, Mr. Wolff drove almost three hours to meet faculty and parents in developing a culture of support as children transitioned from the Absorbent Mind to that of abstraction and morality.

His tool – STORYTELLING.

Throughout the ages, predating even written history,  community elders have relied on the art of storytelling to share values with  younger members in an effort to cultivate a shared  attitude.  We thank Jonathan Wolff for his contribution to our social fabric and to the friends and family who shared with us today:

DISCIPLINE