Tag Archives: infant

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

 

 

 

Authentic Caregiving in Centers

Authenticity: authentic caregivers, authentic baby

The RIE® method is one that makes caregiving a pleasant experience for every party involved. One of the ways this concept is best demonstrated is through the belief and practice of authenticity that Beverly Kovach discusses in her video series, Being with Infants.

As caregivers, we understand that children are coming to school on their good days as well as their bad days. For the most part, we are able to keep our expectations for them at an appropriate level. That means that we don’t expect the children to just stop being tired, stop being upset, or do anything to repress their mood on their own.

The Greeting

In my experience in centers, most adults feel the complete opposite way when it concerns themselves. Perhaps they didn’t sleep well the night before. Perhaps they are going through a situation that is causing them emotional turmoil. Despite the way they are feeling, they feel they must put on a happy face in order to be with the children.

Children can easily feel the tension in our bodies and have insight to what we are feeling – even if we don’t want to admit our feelings! Having a tensed and stressed body while having a smiling face can be confusing to any child and send them mixed messages. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to be honest with the children you are caring for? This not only helps the caregivers by being honest with her emotions, but also teaches the children about their emotions and empathy for others.

DSC_0852

In Magda Gerber’s book, Your Self-Confident Baby, she tells a story about a mother who learned to be authentic with her daughter. When the daughter was sick, of course the mother cared for her. When the mother got sick, she was honest with her daughter from the start. “I hear you crying, I want to give you what you need, but right now I don’t feel well.” The mother said the daughter was less demanding than she was ordinarily!

Children understand more than most caregivers might think they do. We can be authentic and honest with them.

Note: Thank you, Ms. Rebekah for sharing your thoughts on Authenticity: authentic caregivers, authentic baby. Ms. Rebekah began working with infants at the center May 2017

Sources:

Being with Infants Video Guide

Your Self Confident Baby

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

Our Top 3 Picks for Mobile Infant Winter Wonderland Playwear

Well, the weather outside might not be frightful, but it is a little chilly. Still, we are making every effort to keep our classroom doors open after the morning chill abates. The lessons learned in nature can not be replicated inside. How could one reproduce the trill of migratory birds heading south or the changing colors of swirling pecan leaves falling to the earth?

As the children at the center bundle up for winter play, one group finds itself in a quandary- our Mobiles.

Photo: David Vigliotti
Photo: David Vigliotti

Mobile Infants while out and about, are not yet up and about. They scoot on hands, knees, forearms, and bellies propelled forward oftentimes by one little big toe. For them, stockinged feet are slippery while leggings or pants cause ramps, steps and slides to be a bit more hazardous. Ideally, your child should be able to touch skin to surface along all points of contact with the ground while learning to motivate his body in space. For most Mobiles this means hands, knees and feet should be bare.

But that doesn’t mean your little one needs to chilly during her play. In layering up your child to brace the elements for winter fun, make sure your Mobile Infant is equipped with these 3 favorites:

infant leg warmers
infant leg warmers

Socks and pants pose the greatest safety hazard for Mobiles making their way up inclines, stairs and ramps designed to challenge and strengthen their gross motor dexterity. Leaving a baby bare from the waist down, though, also leaves her stripped down as her maturing body learns to regulate her body temperature. LEG WARMERS TO THE RESCUE- keeping a good part of her leg’s surface area under warm wrap.

long sleeved onsie
long sleeved onsie

No one should under estimate the power of the LONG SLEEVED ONSIE. Snapped in, the onsie is sure to stay in place as your little one climbs, rolls, and creeps about his day. It’s the essential bottom layer.

winter coat
winter coat

Even if bare from the waist down, your baby is warm if her core is warm. Look for fleece over padding to ensure a fuller range of motion. Check out hoodies for strings or buttons that could pose choke hazards. A nice, warm hoody when checked out for safety is preferred over a conventional hat. Those rarely make it on more than a few minutes before becoming a play object of its own.

Often times the adult monitoring the play space has not been as active as the Mobiles residing within. If you’re unsure of the child’s comfort, observe. Does he seem happy? Is he engaged? Is he actively playing?

Still not sure- take an opportunity to touch her skin. If she feels chilled to you, try adding another layer to the core. If you feel leggings or pants are in order, adjust your environment to avoid slip and trip hazards. Oh, and feel free to close the door when it’s a wee too chilly and moderation is in order.