Science and Literacy Links: How Science Skill Development can Enhance Literacy Instruction in the ECE Classroom
Young learners are continuously engaged in the inquiry cycle; their questions lead them to more questions, exploration, and, eventual synthesis through our guidance as teachers. Looking for patterns, understanding relationships, and making comparisons are some of the important skills used both in science inquiry and early literacy. One Paddington PreK teacher and our Paddington Librarian attended this session to learn how to use students’ curiosity and questions as a basis for scientific exploration and early literacy skill development and to explore techniques for embedding science learning into everyday literacy activities. It was presented through the Qualistar STEAM through Literacy Series in conjunction with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Public Library.
Creating a Sensory-Friendly, Inclusive Classroom
Five Paddington teachers attended this Denver Early Childhood Council training to increase their knowledge on supporting children with sensory processing challenges. They focused on low-tech environmental strategies that can benefit all children and will also increase the likelihood of success with children who have different learning styles (sensory, social and communication challenges) such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD and Down Syndrome as well as those who have experienced trauma, children who were born prematurely and the highly gifted.
This professional development experience was provided by the Denver Preschool Program. Four Paddington teachers and two Paddington administrators attended. The focus of the forum was on the importance of developing meaningful relationships with all children and families, especially when children exhibit challenging behaviors. Small group activities and discussions explored these types of behaviors and the participants reflected upon approaches to family partnerships. The training concluded with a review of the Pyramid Model which focuses on teaching social emotional skills and working with families to address challenging behavior at home and at school.
The entire Paddington Team took a professional day and attended this event, sponsored by Denver’s Early Childhood Council. The focus was examining the needs of today’s society and culture with regard to children and family support; how other developed nations approach supporting working families with children; a brief history of U.S. policy as it relates to universal child care and social welfare, current local and state policy and advocacy efforts; how to engage communities, families and local businesses; reflective leadership; finding and making the most of your leadership style; basics of business, administration, outreach and marketing; and the diversity of career pathways in Early Childhood.
How can artwork unleash our youngest learners’ stories? How can students’ growing writing skills activate the creative process? The Denver Art Museum and the Denver Public Library teamed up for an interactive workshop to uncover playful strategies and tools for supporting early learners on their journey through language and visual arts. One of our two-year-old teachers attended this class and discovered many new and creative ways to engage students!
Paddington’s Head of School attended the Wonder Women conference in Oakland, California where bold and daring women to came together for four days to build their leadership capacity, foster honest introspection and practice the habits, mindsets and skill sets of successful leaders.
Paddington’s Director of Advancement attended the 2016 NAEYC Institute in Baltimore to learn more about putting Early Learning at the Top of the Ticket. This four day conference welcomed over 5,000 early childhood professionals to participate in workshops and sessions primarily focused on race, politics and young children. Additional topics included quality rating systems, generational differences in the workplace as well as promoting and supporting higher education for early childhood providers.
In February 2016, five Paddington teachers took participated in an Ooey Gooey workshop. Ooey Gooey, Inc. is dedicated to the creation of child-centered, hands-on, play-based environments for young children and provides workshops, training, technical support and curriculum resources to those who wish the same. When this workshop was offered again in May of 2016, we hosted the event at Paddington in our Big Room!
In January 2016, our teachers participated in a KODO Kids Inspiring Exploration Learning Lab. During the workshop they learned how to demystify engineering by clarifying what it is and identifying ways that engineering is already happening every day in the classroom. Teachers learned how to broaden and deepen children’s thinking and how to intentionally facilitate children’s investigation to promote an engineering mindset. They engaged with the materials and experienced how skills are enhanced through play and investigation. They also examined how to create a learning culture in which mistakes and constraints are a normal part of learning in the design process that is used by engineers to solve problems. This workshop was made possible by Denver Preschool Program funding.
Paddington’s Head of School and several faculty members attended this DPP forum. The training promoted an understanding of social emotional responsive strategies embedded in a positive behavioral management system. Implicit bias was discussed and de-biasing activities were provided. Each participant left the training with an action plan in development.
Paddington’s entire team met with Kendra Dunn from the Colorado Department of Human Services. Kendra is the Child Maltreatment Prevention Director with the Colorado Office of Early Childhood. The presentation and discussion provided valuable information and understanding of healthy behaviors and potentially unhealthy behaviors at each age and stage of child development.