Why do children need to use their bodies – both indoors and outdoors – in strong and active ways? It’s more than just “getting their wiggles out” so they can participate cooperatively in the less active parts of their days. Children deserve access to active – even risky – play, in order to help their brains develop.
We encourage young children to work together, play with friends, negotiate, and collaborate. We believe that the best and most interesting learning happens when children are thinking together, challenging each others’ theories, and offering up new, sometimes conflicting, understandings. But what about the grownups? How can we encourage co-constructed learning for educators?
A conversation shouted through a cardboard tube gets one of our educators thinking about the value of giving children space to make some noise. She suggests that a healthy classroom is noisy with children connecting, engaging, playing. Emotions are messy, and we want children to get in that mess, in order to practice skills like self-advocacy, social risk-taking, and honest communication.
We, as Hilltop’s Board of Directors, are taking stock of what has transpired this year on the national level and how to keep moving forward as an organization. This message is for our community – parents, educators, partners – both within Hilltop and throughout the wider early learning community.
We know that the first 5 years of life are a critical time for children’s brain development, but when you count that period in days rather than years, it adds a sense of urgency and importance to how we spend each and every day with the children in our care.
Children naturally separate themselves from others from time to time. Some need space to focus, others need it to cool down, and some need it to recharge. Whatever the reason, it’s important to make sure that we are providing our kids with opportunities and resources to step away and chill, when the need arises.
Recently Hilltop Educators used our annual Day of Advocacy to support several organizations addressing social justice issues with diverse populations. One group partnered with Solid Ground, an organization working to fight poverty and undo the effects of institutionalized racism.
It may sound like a no-brainer, but the meat of reflective practice is asking yourself questions. If that doesn’t feel quite natural to you, imagine a three-year old living in your brain constantly asking “Why?”. Implementing a reflective practice means that everything is up for questioning.