Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Meal Time

At the second center I worked at we did family style meals. This meant not only did the children sit at the table but there was a seat for the teacher as well. Just like when a family sits down to eat can be an interesting time, meal times at the center were interesting. We talked and laughed just like a family does. Where I worked with toddlers the conversation mainly was two or three words at the most and there was a lot of repeating things. For example, a child would point to the chair, look at me and say, "Chair."
I would say, "Yes. That's a chair." Then the child would go around the table pointing out every child's chair.  Then it would be every child's cup of milk and on and on it went...

Meal time was a fun time though. It gave a chance to interact that doesn't occur any other way and to teach skills that can only be taught sitting at a table during meal time. It's a time to teach manners and for a child to gain independence. Because the center 's meals were family style this meant that if a child wanted to try to serve themselves they were allowed to. When a child tried, I allowed it and guided their hand until they were close to two and they didn't need the guidance as much. This way the children learned independence and their self-esteem grew.

Meal times are a great time to teach  how to have a conversation. Because there were five children plus me at the table they all wanted a chance to talk. They had to learn how to take turns and to listen to their friends. They would also have to wait for me to respond so that they learned that one person talks while the other listens and then it changes. It taught them how to wait for their turn while I finished listening to one of them and explained to them that they had to wait until their friend was done before telling me what they wanted. This also taught them patience. It also taught them a small part of etiquette as they learned what was appropriate to bring to the table. For instance the pacifier and the favorite toy that they held onto all the time had to remain in their cubby while they ate.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has a good article on how to introduce learning at meal time. Here's a link to it if anyone is interested.

naeyc article on mealtime

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Diaper Change

One day at the second center I worked at, I was changing diapers first thing in the morning before we did the activity. I was changing the diapers of my primary children while my co-teacher was sitting with the children singing songs, doing finger plays etc. to keep the children busy so we didn't have to clean the room again before a group went outside and a group stayed in to do the activity. I had only two more children to change before I was done. I walked up to one of the children and said, "Come on child, I need to check your diaper."

She shook  her head no, pointed to the other child I still needed to change and said, "Friend, first."
I said, "Okay, but then I need to change your diaper okay?"
She nodded her head yes and I went to change the other child's diaper. When I was done I went over to her and said, "Okay, child's turn."She came and got her diaper changed- no fuss.

However, that was funny!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Ever worked with people who were insecure? I've worked with many of them. Many people think that working with children is easy to do when in fact it's quite hard. Many people think dealing with children is about telling children what to do and them going to do it, but it's not. I've worked with many people who thought they were as good at their job (if not better) as me. It instead has brought out their insecurities.

When working with children the staff is made up of the babysitter's of the world. Ego's get big as everyone thinks their way of doing something would be the best way to do something. I've made a lot of my co-workers mad as they've been trying to deal with a child, I then given a suggestion and it works. These co-workers have been so busy trying to prove they were as good as me (if not better), that they didn't learn from me. I don't say that to boast. I say that because we all have things we need to learn when it comes to being able to do our job well and if we don't learn from those who know something we don't we only get resentful toward that co-worker.

When it comes to what I do, I don't apologize and I'm not going to apologize for being able to do it well. If the fact that I'm good at my job intimidates you, that  is on you. Don't try to make me change the way I do my job, gossip, or go complain to the director. The fact that I do my job well intimidates you is a reflection of who you are, who you choose to be and that you may not know as much as you're trying to prove you do. I don't have anything to prove when it comes to my job, so I'm not going to play those silly, immature games with my co-workers of who knows most and whose better at their job. It's immature and unprofessional and I have better things to do.

We all have different things we're good at and we all have things we need to learn because we never know all there is to doing a job. We might know all there is to a certain position but we should all be learning from one another instead of proving we're just as good at our job as someone else. It's part of how working on a team works.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Primary Children

At one of the centers I worked at I had a co-worker who constantly had to prove she knew as much as me. She is not the only co-worker I've worked with who was like this but she took it to a different level.

When you work in child care each teacher in the classroom has what is called 'primary children.' These are the children you as the teacher are primarily responsible for. You call the parents when they're sick, change their diaper, fill out their daily sheets etc. When parents pick their child up at the end of the day you are the one who speaks to them and tells them how their day went.

The co-worker at this particular center wouldn't let me talk to my primary children's parents. When a parent walked in at the end of the day regardless of whose primary child they were she would run up to them and start talking to them and telling them about their child's day. When I say run up to them I mean literally she would put down what she was doing and run across the room to speak to them before I could get there. On those days I got there first she was so mad. I don't know what she had to prove but I've never worked with anyone before who insisted on talking to the parents regardless of whether the child was her primary child or not like this co-worker.

The parents of one of my primary children finally went and said something to the director. When she called me in and told me of the parents concern I told her what my co-teacher was doing. The director asked me if I had said something to her and I told her I had said something multiple times but she kept doing it. The director called her in and asked her to stop and to let me talk to the parents if the child was my primary child. She was so mad....

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


There are some parents who raise their children in a bubble. Sometimes this bubble is really big and it leads to the children learning to fear the world. These are the parents who expect their child's caregiver to stand over them all day long and prevent them from getting hurt in any way or even hold them all day long so that nothing ever happens to them. The thing is though, that not only is this harmful for the child but in a day care center it can't happen. There are other children who need to be taken care of and sometimes even though an adult is right there a child can fall so fast you can't catch them. Bumps, bruises and scratches are going to happen to children as they grow up. There is no way to prevent this, although most of the time you can prevent the severity of the injury.

Everyone knows you need to be careful of your head especially when hitting it because it can cause damage. However, most of the bumps and bruises a child will get on their head will never need more than ice or your basic first aid. If more is needed you know that immediately. All centers have what the parents want done in these cases in the child's file (I have only seen once when this needed to happen and a child hurt themselves bad enough to have to call an ambulance and the child taken to the ER). Like I said if it's this bad you know immediately.

I had a parent who was raising their child in a bubble and expected us as the teachers to hover over her child all day long and despite the fact that we constantly told her we couldn't and why, she still expected it. There was one day her child fell and bumped his head (remember toddlers are still learning to walk and obtain balance so they fall a lot) so I got the ice pack to put on it and he was sitting with one of the teachers. I got the parents information and was on my way to call the mom. I was walking down the hallway when I saw her coming and I said, "Oh I was just on my way to call you." I proceeded to tell her what happened.  I got as far as bumped his head when she said, "He bumped his head!" then took off running down the hallway to the classroom. I"m not kidding she ran down the hallway to the classroom. The director saw all of this so she came with me into the room.

When I got there she was holding her child like he had not been taken care of all day long, cradling him like he was going to die. She started yelling at me about why I had let him fall and why wasn't I watching him, and why didn't I stop him from falling and how bumps on the head can be serious and cause brain damage.

The director got her to calm down and looked at the child's forehead. It was red and you could tell he was going to have a bump but that was all. She asked me what happened and I told her what happened to cause him to fall and bump his head. The director took the parent into her office and talked to her and got her to calm down and then came back and told me and my co-teachers what happened. The parent wanted the piece of furniture he bumped his head on removed from the room. She explained that it couldn't be because certain furniture had to be in the room to meet state standards for the center to be open. The parent eventually left the center and got a nanny.

The thing is even a nanny can't prevent a child from ever getting hurt. It's going to happen. A child can't develop the skills they need to when placed in a bubble and everything expected to be prevented. They don't learn things because we learn from our mistakes and bad choices and if these are always prevented the child doesn't grow and develop like they need to. Am I for preventing accidents particularly ones to the head? Yes. However, at some point or another a child will hit their head on something hard enough to cause a bump or bruise or both.

What's important is for the parent not to overreact like this parent did. Staff in a center are trained in CPR and first aid and know how to treat injuries. Trust them to take care of your child or it will be hard to develop a relationship with them if one ever is.