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.

Encourage STEAM Thinking In Early Childhood with Language

Episode 189 – The developmental domains in early learning are all interconnected. In this episode, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek shares how capable young children truly are and how adults can encourage development...

The post Encourage STEAM Thinking In Early Childhood with Language appeared first on HiMama Blog - Resources for Daycare Centers.


Episode 189 – The developmental domains in early learning are all interconnected. In this episode, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek shares how capable young children truly are and how adults can encourage development...

The post Encourage STEAM Thinking In Early Childhood with Language appeared first on HiMama Blog - Resources for Daycare Centers.

Episode 189 – The developmental domains in early learning are all interconnected. In this episode, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek shares how capable young children truly are and how adults can encourage development in the early years through being curious with children. She also shares some real-world examples of how she applies her research when working with children to give them a rich learning experience.

Resources: 

  • Kathy Hirsh-Pasek Website
  • Temple University Infant Lab
  • Ultimate Block Party

Episode Transcript

HIRSH-PASEK:

All of this together starts to build a head of steam, which is putting the information in the hands of the most important people who exist in our society: the parents and the teachers of young children.

Ron SPREEUWENBERG: 

Kathy, welcome to the Preschool Podcast!

HIRSH-PASEK:

Thank you so much for inviting me, I’m so honored to be here!

SPREEUWENBERG: 

It’s our pleasure to have you, Kathy. To our listeners: you’re lucky today because we’ve got Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek on the show. She, among many titles and accomplishments – including being an author, professor of psychology at Temple University and a senior fellow at Brookings Institution – she is also a mother and a grandmother and has told me just before we started this podcast episode that her favorite title is the one that her four-year-old granddaughter gave her, which is “a little grown up.”

HIRSH-PASEK:

Yeah, don’t you love it? I mean, that’s just the best!

SPREEUWENBERG: 

That’s the best, absolutely. And I think [it] speaks really well to what you do among your many roles in early-childhood education and in your research and studies relating to that. And so that’s what we wanted to dive in with you on today.

Before we do that we’d love for you to tell the audience a little bit more about yourself and how you got into studying development at a young age and why you’re passionate about that.

HIRSH-PASEK:

Oh, sure. Well, I mean, mine starts from a very simple place. I am amazed by children, by what they come up with, by their boundless energy, by the opportunities that they bring us every day if we just know to look for it. So, I see their infinite potential and, of course, the window into how we all grow and develop as human beings. So, when I think about studying the human potential there was no better place for me to go than children.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And you’ve accomplished a lot over your career. But tell us how that journey proceeded over time because I personally love to hear stories of folks that have gotten involved in early-childhood education and have always sort of taken that to the next level, in particular when it comes to spreading the word about the importance of education at that age.

HIRSH-PASEK:

We’ve been learning over the years that there really is no more important time than [ages] zero to five for setting the foundation for the way we’re going to think and behaves and love for the rest of our lives. So, thinking of this scientifically, we’re finding more and more and more evidence to support this.

And I was lucky enough to be in graduate school at a time when this realization was just happening. And so I literally jumped on… I would say “jumped on the bandwagon” but for much of it we were clearing the forest, if you know what I mean. And if you know – and most of your audience does – how to look into a child’s eyes and see the dreams and see the fire and see the excitement, then you know what that potential is about. And it’s just about unlocking it.

In our lab we always say that it’s the place where children teach adults. And I take that line very, very seriously. So, I’ve always been an observer. And [I once] observed a young kid coming out of the pool who was only but three and yet using the most sophisticated language to explain why he or she felt that the other kids weren’t including her in the ballgame.

And when you start realizing that before they can tie their shoes, they’re using something as complicated as language, you not only want to study it but you want to share what you’ve found with the world around you.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Absolutely. And so the one thing that I’m pretty passionate about – and I think you’re passionate about, too – is bridging the gap between research and application. And so what we want to try to avoid is where researchers that are studying early-childhood development in universities and colleges and other academic sort of environments are learning all these cool things but then making sure that gets connected to the early-childhood educators who are spending that time in the classroom with little children every day.

HIRSH-PASEK:

Yeah, well, I mean, it’s really, really important to do, right? Because part of what’s happened in the past is that often scientists write in a lingo that very few people understand because it becomes very cryptic. And really, most people [and] teachers would rather not read anything that heavy that’s not really all that understandable.

And so they kind of hear about it through a mommy blog or through something that is published in the newspaper. And then maybe a newspaper will pick up on it or you’ll find a mommy blog that will pick up on it. And then as it goes further and further down, by the time it reaches parents and educators it’s almost unrecognizable.

And so my collaborator, Roberta [Michnick] Golinkoff – who I’ve been working with for about 40 years – and I decided that that wasn’t working. What we needed was a more direct line with the people who could benefit most from what we were doing.

And not just what we were doing – when I say “we” I mean… oh, my gosh, the team of people who are working in this area [are] the most impressive folks you’ve ever met. And they really care – care about the science, care about kids and care about making a difference for every child out there. So, it’s time to transform the field a little bit so we can give it to you direct. And that’s what we’re doing.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And so would you say that is sort of the newer developing way of thinking, in terms of, as a researcher, of course the findings and the insights are critical. But you’re obviously now spending more of your time on the communication part and the impact of those insights and findings.

HIRSH-PASEK:

Yeah, I think you’re right. And I think it’s really very new. For many years – in fact largely I would say in the science, still – scientists spend their time looking at what we don’t know rather than what we do know. And at this point in history we’ve accumulated a lot. And why not give that body of evidence in a coordinated way to people so it’s what I call “edible science” – accessible, digestible and usable?

And that’s what my colleague and I are doing. And I would bet that we’re spending a good, oh, probably 50% of our time doing that, “What do we know? How do we share?” Which is a different perspective and a very exciting one.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And just to make that a little bit more tangible for the audience, what are some of the ways that you are getting that information out to the world?

HIRSH-PASEK:

Oh, sure, absolutely. Well, a lot of the ways we’re doing it are through blogs. We have a Twitter, which is @KathyAndRo1. And we tweet out the latest findings and try to put a little commentary on it – that means a short commentary – so that people can actually get the gist of what’s going on.

And we are very willing to go on podcasts, like the one I mind right now. And we give public speeches all over. So, when you put that all together and our Popular Press books – like Becoming Brilliant [What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children] that came out a couple of years ago, and Einstein Never Used Flash Cards [How Our Children Really Learn — and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less], which came out, I think, it was in 2003 – all of this together starts to build the head of steam, which is putting the information in the hands of the most important people who exist in our society: the parents and the teachers of young children.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And so I think that’s a good segue to my next question, which was: so, we’ve talked about the role of researchers and scientists helping to get their insights and findings out there because, as you said, we already know a lot. It’s making sure we’re applying those learnings. What about from the perspective of the teachers of young children? What can they do from their side to apply some of the insights and research findings that are out there?

HIRSH-PASEK:

Sure. Well, let me give you a couple that we’ve done that are making it pretty easy, okay? And we’ll give you some real concrete examples. The first one comes from the world of language because we know that early language is the single best predictor of how our kids are going to do in reading, in math, [and] in social skills as they get into formal school. Could teachers help to make a difference in their own classrooms?

And we looked at the literature. And more and more what we are seeing in that literature is that having conversations – real conversations where it’s balanced, where there’s a flow back and forth – turns out to be really important for young children. And we’re introducing the complexity of the world to them in these conversations.

So, if you work out what the science has to say in language development, there are six things that we can do that would make a difference in our classroom. And for the moment I’ll call these six things, “six principles for language-izing the classroom.”

Number one: Children learn what they hear most. So, if we stay on a theme for a little while, whether it’s weather or animals, then our children are going to start picking up on it and integrating and looking for the similarities and differences. And they might even come to understand what an aardvark is if we use that term a little bit more than once.

Then let’s go to children learn through the words and events that interest them. I never much liked slugs, frankly, but I had a son who really loved looking under rocks when he was three. We looked up information about slugs, we talked about slugs, and, by gosh, my kid learned about slugs. In fact, my two-year-old grandson now can name a lot of the dinosaurs that I didn’t even know existed, like allosaurus – I didn’t know about that one. But he taught me because it’s something that interests him.

Children learn words and their responsive environments build language learning. So, that means having that conversation. Don’t talk at kids – talk with kids. Children learn in a meaningful context. So, if we talk about things when we’re building or using blocks and we use the terms like “in, around, through, on top of”, we’re using the kinds of spatial language. Children need to hear diverse examples of words and language structures. We’re not scripted; we’re not robots. So, when we talk about the couch, next time, maybe we think of using the word “sofa”, expanding and expanding their word choices around those themes, around those cores.

And we’ve somehow gone on to believe that we should give kids lists of vocabulary. But they don’t need lists of vocabulary like we memorized for the tests that we got to go to college. Instead, having those conversations shows us that vocabulary and grammar, they develop together. And the reason our vocabulary is rich is because we’re also developing rich grammar. They learn the words for events that interest them; they learn in conversation. When things are meaningful they need to hear diverse examples. And vocabulary and grammar develop in tandem. Six principles that come from the science of learning.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

I love it. That’s, like, super-practical things that we can apply in our classrooms from research. And I know we’ve talked about it on the Podcast before in terms of just how important language is and how much of a predictor it is. But, like, the way you’ve talked about it here just really solidifies that.

And it’s so interesting because sometimes when I think about my two-and-a-half-year-old [child] at home I’m, like, “Maybe I don’t want to use too much vocabulary with him because he won’t understand or it’s too complicated or too complex.” But maybe I should be using different types of words to expose him to more vocabulary, it sounds like you’re saying?

HIRSH-PASEK:

Yeah, I mean, we sure can. Obviously, we don’t want to talk about adult things, like, I don’t want to bring up the economy or the wage system. But if it’s stuff that they’re interested in, why the heck not? They will amaze us. They’re so darn smart!

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Yeah, I know! And that’s the thing is, it’s so easy to underestimate how much they know!

HIRSH-PASEK:

Oh, my gosh, all the time! Yeah, and other things that we’ve learned from the science, just to give you a couple more quickies that you can do, quick fix-y things: so, little kids, when we talk about things we often don’t use a lot of number words when we’re talking, but we sure can. And when we do, we talk about ones and twos and threes. But it turns out that using larger number words is just fine.

I just learned from my four-year-old the other day that “googolplex” is where we’re at right now. And I said, “You actually understand googolplex?” And she said, “Of course!” When they’re four [years old] they’re just really smart; they’re somewhere in another stratosphere.

But you can show them so much that you think we can’t. I remember one three-year-old… we don’t think of them as critical thinkers, right? Like, they’re [age] three. But I was talking to a three-year-old and the three-year-old said to me, “Do all vehicles have wheels?” And I thought about it – I mean, most do for sure.

But a boat doesn’t, right? I said, “I think most do, but a boat doesn’t!” There was silence on the other end as the three-year-old marched upstairs and got a book and then came down to me with an open page to show me that [children’s cartoon character] Babar had just given [co-character] Zephir a boat and was taking the boat over to the lake. And when that boat went to the lake it was on a little trolley and it had wheels. That’s critical thinking, right?

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Absolutely, interesting.

HIRSH-PASEK:

It’s amazing. And I’ll just… I’ve got to give you one more, I just have to, my little science experiment: We were walking through the woods one day and I said to Ellie, “Ellie, look! What’s down there?” There was this weird thing moving. Of course, what it was, was the shadow. But the cool thing about her shadow is that every time we went under a tree, it disappeared. And every time we came out from under the tree, it reappeared.

“We can figure out when this is disappearing and when it is reappearing. Do you have a hypothesis?” I said to her. And we checked and checked and made predictions. And finally she said, “I do!” And I said, “What?” And she said, “It appears when there’s sun.” Bingo! And she had learned the words “predict” and “hypothesis”.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Cool. And it’s so cool to see their eyes light up when they come to that conclusion or that finding on their own, right?

HIRSH-PASEK:

Oh, it’s unbelievable, right?

SPREEUWENBERG: 

So, these are really great examples. And I think we could go on for a very long time on this but I know we’re running out of time, unfortunately. Kathy, if I’m listening to the Podcast here today and I would like to learn more about you or your work, maybe check out one of the books that you’ve published about some of your research, where can I go to get more information?

HIRSH-PASEK:

Oh, you bet! Well, one of the best places to go is to just www.KathyHirshPasek.com, which is my website. I do try to keep it pretty up to date. And when you let me know we have this podcast up and running I’ll put that up as well. So, [you can see] pretty much everything we’re doing.

I also welcome people joining us on Twitter, and that’s @KathyAndRo1. And you’ll see what gets posted, which is usually some of the cool stuff that I know about as I hear about it. I put it up for other people to join it.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Awesome. Kathy, thank you so, so much for joining us on the Podcast today. I know you’re very busy wearing a lot of hats but it was great to hear some of your insights on how we can apply research from folks like yourself in the real world with the children every single day. And the beauty of it, is you’ve got that experience from your kids and grandkids, too. So, you’re living and breathing the whole experience, which is awesome.

HIRSH-PASEK:

Gosh, this is cool! And hey, I can’t wait to hear more from you and from all the wonderful teachers you have in Canada. If I can just take one more second to say gosh, you do a good job in Canada. Keep up the good work!

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Thank you, we do our best!

HIRSH-PASEK:

Okay, cheers! Bye!

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Thanks, Kathy, bye!

The post Encourage STEAM Thinking In Early Childhood with Language appeared first on HiMama Blog - Resources for Daycare Centers.


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