Children—what’s best for them, providing activities and experiences that are engaging and enriching (and FUN!) all with an eye on helping them to reach their fullest potential—that’s what has been the driving force in what I do. Whether personally, as volunteer or in my work life, the welfare and well-being of children has been my focus.
My entrance into early childhood education began as a volunteer in my children’s co-op preschools. Thoroughly loving the experience and the enthusiasm of the kidlets I decided to go back to school myself. The first time, I came out with an engineering degree. Engineers are inherently problem-solvers–often using models to replicate or represent real world situations. My engineering education and experience was codified in my early childhood education classes: Children need ample hands-on activities with concrete ideas and real materials before they can transition to the abstract. As Bev Bos said: “If if hasn’t been in the Hand…and the Body…it can’t be in the Brain.
Plateau families had a new option in preschools beginning in the Fall of 1995. That’s when I co-founded and co-taught at Red Gate Preschool. A key characteristic of Red Gate was facilitating learning through play. Play is the natural, organic way for children to learn…in fact, they may not even realize they’re learning if it’s done right—it’s just fun…and it builds on itself. All life-long learners are self-motivated. These were the seeds I wanted to plant in the preschool kidlets.
Values that were important to me then and are still central to my philosophy on early childhood education: Teachers and/or the adults in young children’s lives need to provide them with:
•A sensory-rich environment
•Ample time in Mother Nature
•Ways to move their bodies
•Music and art because these are forms of self-expression (among other benefits)
•The opportunity to risk….to make mistakes & know that’s okay, that’s how we learn!
Children are meant to move their bodies. It’s another way they learn and it’s also a way they master control over their bodies. Yoga is a great way for children to gain an understanding of how their bodies move; where their bodies are in space; the concept of stillness; and the mind-body connection that the breath provides. I enjoy teaching yoga to all ages of students, but it’s especially gratifying when kidlets begin practicing as it’s something they will continue to find beneficial for years to come.
Yours in Play!