High-quality child care produces a stimulating, secure and loving atmosphere for the little one.

Focusing on children's wellbeing and ecological exposures in child care centers is Essential for several reasons: Since they display exploratory behaviors that put them in direct contact with contaminated surfaces, they're more likely to be vulnerable to some contaminants found. They're also less developed immunologically, physiologically, and neurologically and are more prone to the negative effects of toxins and chemicals. Children spend a whole lot of time in child care settings. Many babies and young children spend as many as 50 hours each week, in child care.

Nationally, 13 million children, or 65 percent of U.S. kids, spend some part of the afternoon in child care and at California alone, roughly 1.1 million children five decades or younger attend child care. In this exact same condition, many adults might also be subjected as roughly 146,000 employees work 40 hours or more a week child care centers. Child care environments include substances which may be harmful for kids. Recent studies suggest that lots of child care environments might contain pesticides, allergens, volatile organic compounds from cleaning agents and sanitizers, and other contaminants which may be toxic to children's wellbeing.

Nevertheless, little is understood about what environmental and chemical exposures they might be getting in these configurations. To fill this gap, we quantified. Outcomes of the study were reported on the California Air Resources Board. Our findings help inform policies to lower accidents to children, encourage training and workshops to educate child care providers about methods to lower children's environmental exposures (ex. Using integrated pest management to decrease pesticide usage ), and search for future research.

Washing Your Baby’s Clothes
Washing Your Baby’s Clothes
Washing Your Baby’s Clothes – How to do it Rightly
Washing Dishes
Washing Dishes
Cleaning up after oneself is an important life skill
Make a Bed
Make a Bed
It might be a dying art, but learning how to make a bed is a valuable skill.
Sweep a Floor
Sweep a Floor
Give a kid a broom, and you are likely to see dirt flipping everywhere except in a pile.
Mop a Floor
Mop a Floor
Be sure to give them instructions on how to mop different floor types you may have in your home.

Visual Learning As A Teaching Practice

Episode 156 – Teaching young children should be a fun and creative process. In this episode, Stuart J Murphy, children’s author, shares his experience developing his book series, Math Start...

The post Visual Learning As A Teaching Practice appeared first on HiMama Blog - Resources for Daycare Centers.


Episode 156 – Teaching young children should be a fun and creative process. In this episode, Stuart J Murphy, children’s author, shares his experience developing his book series, Math Start...

The post Visual Learning As A Teaching Practice appeared first on HiMama Blog - Resources for Daycare Centers.

Episode 156 – Teaching young children should be a fun and creative process. In this episode, Stuart J Murphy, children’s author, shares his experience developing his book series, Math Start and I See I Learn. He gives us tips on combining an engaging storyline, illustrations and the learning material through visual learning. Stuart emphasizes that children learn through contextualizing their experience and why he’s passionate about using stories as a teaching tool.

Resources:

  • Check out Stuart’s Website
  • I See I Learn book series
  • MathStart book series

Stuart J. MURPHY:

And that’s what drives me the most, is the ability kids to move forward in these rather complex topics and do it at a very early age because that’s where it all starts. That’s where their love of learning can begin.

Ron SPREEUWENBERG: 

Stuart, welcome to the Preschool Podcast!

MURPHY:

Thank you very much, Ron. I’m happy to be here.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

So we’re delighted today to have on our show Stuart J. Murphy. He is the author of books for children including the MathStart series and the I See I Learn series that we’re going to learn more about on the Podcast today. Stuart, let’s start off learning a bit about you and how you got to this point in your career creating books for children.

MURPHY:

You know, most people when they ask that question automatically assume that I am a mathematician because so much of my work has been involved in the field of early mathematics. But in fact much I’m an art school graduate and I graduated from art school from Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island. And I started a career working in educational publishing as a designer and art director.

And that career led me to be concerned about how our children learn from visual stimuli and other things other than words. Because I find that children are in fact very adept at learning from charts and graphs and diagrams of the visual stimuli. And because of my art school background I became very interested in that process.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And so what’s the art connection and the visual connection to math?

MURPHY:

Well, visual learning is all about how to make things more explicit than make making the math visible, helping kids to be able to see the math, how the processes work in mathematics. And so that very much fits with my art background, diagramming, charting, graphing, making things visual and verbal together.

And I found in my work that kids can get more easily bored by math if it’s just an array of numbers, if it’s just math facts being tossed at them. But if they can actually see diagrams of the math and better understand complex math topics in a way that they can grasp them and better comprehend them, that it not only is better for them instructing them and providing them with knowledge, but it’s better for them and inspiring them and engaging them in the mathematics process.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And so how do you go about creating a book like this? Do you go and talk to teachers to learn about what their challenges are? Do you talk to children? How do you… where do you even begin?

MURPHY:

 My books are storybooks about math. And that’s a very important statement because they are storybooks and so therefore the story has to be believable and real and hopefully well-written and well-presented. And they’re about math, and so the math has to be correct and it has to be well-presented.

And so one of the most difficult parts of my work is that meshing together of the verbal and visual and the story and the math. If the story takes over and the math gets buried I’m not succeeding in getting my goal across. And if it goes the other way around the math takes over the books would tend to become too pedantic and more textbook-y than storybook-like.

And so what I do is, for the storybook part of it, I’ve spent a lot of my a lot of my life following kids around , going into bookstores and see what they’re reading, talking to librarians and teachers about what their interests are, even getting kids to empty out their backpacks – which is kind of a scary thought – and show me what’s in them because that’s a sure way to find out what they’re interested in.

And on the math side I spend a lot of time with teachers at mathematics conventions. And I keep long lists of the things that kids have struggles with, things that are difficult for them, if I could find a way to make that math topic more and more accessible to them.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And so oftentimes in the Podcast we’re focusing on what the output of your work is – in this case, books. But we also like to learn about the journey and what you may have learned through this process. Anything that surprised you? Any learnings that you took away through this process?

MURPHY:

Well, I think a couple of things come to mind, Ron: One of them is the whole idea that kids are more ready to be engaged in the learning process than we sometimes give them credit for. I had a chance fairly early in my book development process to be working with some kids that were called “reluctant learners”. It turns out they were reluctant at all, they weren’t reluctant about learning at all. They were more reluctant about the methodology that was used to teach them. They were bored.

And I found if I could in fact make, in that case, the mathematics more visual and if I could make the storyline engaging and about their lives and they could see in fact the math in a context they wouldn’t be able to say, “When am I ever going to use this?” because they would see math in the context of the story.

And that whole process of engaging them and talking their language about the things that interested them and putting the math into that and really bridge that gap between disinterest and boredom to engagement and excitement. And so I think that’s probably one of the big learnings for me, was just how much I could really motivate kids about mathematics through storytelling and visual modeling.

I also became involved in creating another series besides my MathStart series. MathStart has 63 books in it so it’s quite an endeavor. And I created a series called I See I Learn, which is a younger series about social and emotional skills like cooperation and self-regulation and working together with others. And I did that because I found in my work – and this was another thing that kind of surprised me – I found in my work that things like self-regulation and social-emotional skills are bigger predictors of success in school than, say, knowing your numbers or knowing how to read when you’re at school.

And so because of that and because of my visual learning practice I decided to create some books that addressed that as well, kind of foundational books before you begin the journey into math and into some of the more traditional topics that are school-related.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And those are storybooks as well?

MURPHY:

Yes, they are storybooks as well. They look and feel and act like storybooks. They’re beautifully illustrated, they’re all in full color, they’re multiple languages, etc. And yet they do have a learning component to them that suggests, for example, visually how kids might cooperate with one another, just like my math books look like storybooks but they suggest visually how things, for example, double and so therefore a precursor to learning multiplication or whatever other topic one of my books is focused on.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And for both of these series, what is the typical age range that they are geared towards? And are they typically purchased by parents for their children or are they used in schools or in preschools?

MURPHY:

The I See I Learn series is basically from three- to six-years-old. It’s a pre-school, kindergarten, grade one series, although a few of the books end up being purchased for spouses – for example, one of my books dealing with the frustration. But the books are really meant for kids in the very early years of school.

And then my MathStart series is in three levels: The first level – level one, which has 21 books – is for a pre-K [pre-kindergarten] grade one, and level two for grade two, grade three, and level three for grade three and four, really – there’s quite a bit of overlap there. And thy’re purchased by teachers, they’re used a lot by teachers, purchased for schools and then also purchased by parents.

And so they came out in both hardcover and softcover. The parents tend to buy the softcover books because they’re a lot less expensive and therefore easier to purchase, and the hardcover books are used in libraries and schools.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And what’s the feedback been so far?

MURPHY:

Oh, it’s been fabulous. First of all the MathStart series has roughly… we’re trending around 15 million units sold worldwide right now. And so that’s a lot of books in a children’s book series. It’s in five different languages. There are a number of big developments going on in the series right now. And the first books were published back in 1996. And I’m very pleased and honored and proud in all of that to say that all of the books are still in print, all 63, which is great.

And the feedback to the I See I Learn series has been very good also, fabulous also, because people are more and more realizing the importance of social and emotional skills and the learning process. And so I think we’ll see much more of that in the immediate years to come because people are just getting really onto that wave right now.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And what’s your big motivation? Like, what’s your passion for creating books for children? You mentioned the art background, and of course it’s such an important thing. But why have you decided to dedicate your life to doing this?

MURPHY:

Yeah, my real passion is helping the kids be successful. I mean, let’s face it, that’s what we all want. That’s what every parent wants is for the kids to succeed. And there are barriers to that that aren’t really necessary, I think. I think that we can make learning more fun, more interesting and more… I’ll use the word “engaging”, again, to our children, and by doing so help them to be more successful students.

That’s what drives me the most is the ability of kids to move forward in these rather complex topics and do it at a very early age because that’s where it all starts. That’s where their love of learning can begin. And so kind of like my interest in visual learning and what that’s all about and contextual learning and putting things in the context of stories kind of all meshed with that passion, that interest, that desire to help kids be successful. And that’s what drives me.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

What about inspiration? Do you get inspiration from any other people or books or places?

MURPHY:

My inspiration more comes from kids. I mean, surely I look at other books and ideas and surely I love to be in special places to write and that sort of thing. But I think my biggest inspiration comes from spending time with kids – I mean, my own kids and grandkids, but also spending time with kids in general, being in classrooms with kids, hearing what they’re talking about, getting a chance to hear them describe what they’re excited about, asking them the right questions, getting down to their eye level and sitting on the floor and talking to them about what’s going on today.

And you come away with just lots and lots of notes. I take notebooks with me all the time and just make quick, quick notes that I can later transcribe into something to put in the file for when that idea might be useful to me. But that’s where my best ideas come from, the kids themselves.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Wonderful. And so you’ve spent many years writing all this great content to be used with young children. And our audience is primarily educators, preschool teachers. And you’ve had some exposure there for sure working with the children that are inspiring the content for these books. Any advice or learnings that you’ve had over these years that you can provide to those preschool teachers and early-childhood educators out there that are looking to take something away from your experience?

MURPHY:

One of the things I’ve been talking about quite a bit lately at the various conferences I’ve spoken at and that sort of thing is the whole notion of creativity. I’ve been encouraging teachers… I use “creativity” and “mathematics” in the same sentence at least once or twice every day because they’re usually separated from one another. People don’t think about mathematics as being a creative topic necessarily. And yet our kids can get very, very creative with mathematics and come up with ideas about how to use math and ways in which to explore mathematical concepts and so on.

And then of course because my practice, my academic work is in the field of visual learning I’m trying to make sure that the teachers employ visual learning strategies and presentations in their classrooms. And I think it’s really important to do that. I have resources on my website that help teachers understand how to do it. I give professional development workshops about employing visual learning strategies in your everyday classroom practice.

And I just think that kind of thing, that kind of movement into the… I’ll say “friendly delivery system” of visual and verbal coming together is something that I try and encourage teachers to employ. And it makes math, it makes learning, it makes social-emotional skills all very exciting to kids.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Awesome. And if I want to learn more about these topics generally, like visual learning and early math, any ideas on where I can go to get more information generally? And also maybe you can tell us specifically if I want to get the MathStart or any books in the I See I Learn series, where can I go to find those?

MURPHY:

The best resource we have is my own website: www.StuartJMurphy.com. And it’s the best resource that I can come up with because we have some professional papers on there that deal with the very topics I’m talking about right now, Ron. And we also have some videos, a number of videos that teachers can use. We’ve got a set of activities that are easily adaptable into any classroom environment. So teachers often use them and modify them because teachers themselves tend to be very creative in how they know their audience, they know their kids, they know their classroom. And so they adapt those activities to fit their own situations.

And we also have connections for purchasing the books there, not only connections to purchasing individual books but importantly connections to purchasing entire sets of books from companies that have those available. So I think the answer to your question is that probably that’s the easiest way to go, is to get into the website. It’s got two divisions, one for MathStart and one for I See I Learn. Go to either one of those and I believe that teachers and parents will find the resources that they need to be able to find the books but also some great stuff to do along with them.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Wonderful, and it’s www.StuartJMurphy.com, correct?

MURPHY:

Right.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Stuart, thank you so much for coming on the Podcast today. It’s been great having you as a guest, learning more about visual and contextual learning. And [we] encourage our listeners to check out these great book series, MathStart and I See I Learn from www.StuartJMurphy.com. Thanks again, Stuart.

MURPHY:

Thank you, Ron, this was a lot of fun. Have a great day.

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