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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Being A New Dad!

My cousin Jason just became a Dad earlier this year. I pondered as a parent coach what advice would I give him if he asked. He did not ask and I am grateful because I really had no idea. Now, that I do I thought I would share with all of you new Dads. The first thing I would say is your wife has spent a lot of time pregnant and caring for your child. Sometimes after the baby is born she can get a little selfish and try and push you away from her and the baby. This is just a phase, be sure to push back and remind her it is not her and your child against the world. It is you and she against the world on behalf of your child. Be patient it will pass, but insist on your being a part of both of their lives. Keep in mind she is not rejecting you she is focusing on attaching to your child. Sometimes we are overwhelmed with that responsibility and cannot see clearly. We need you to help us maintain an equilibrium. Do not abandon us to the overwhelming responsibility remind us you share it.

  • Hire a postpartum doula if you think your wife needs support she is not getting. They work with women for three months after the baby comes. Or if she is pregnant now a doula helps with pregnancy and childbirth. Here is an interview I did with 2 douas.
  • Hold and talk to your infant daily.
  • Be a part of daily care: feed, bathe, change diapers
  • Give your wife time to bathe and shower
  • Insist on caring for the baby while she goes out, plan for her sisters and friends to take her out for an evening while you stay home, then plan for the two of you to go out and have someone else care for the baby. She will push back do it anyway.
  • Remind her and yourself that she is a wife first. Sometimes we get bogged down in our role as mother. Remind her in 18 years this child will be leaving buy you both will still be together. You are building a life together. Be gentle do it with cards, flowers, cooking a meal, and being her partner by talking with her.
  • Speak her love language on a consistent basis. If you have not read Dr. Gary Chapman's book on the Five Love Languages do so now and find out your wife's love language and speak it often!
  • Meet with other Dad's who have kids your age and talk about being a husband and a dad. Find out how other guys are handling the issues you face and share. Support each other. Your wife is not a man and contrary to popular opinion you  are not the same. Talk with other men.
  • Read the books the books the  Gift of Honor and The Gift of Blessing
Being a new Dad is tough you need to support both your wife who has gone a little bonkers with all the new responsibility and mothers love she is feeling. You have a new child who you need to bond with , love. and begin to parent. I love the picture above because it shows how I think most men feel abvout their wife and new born child. Loving, tender, and protective! I encourage you to fight the good fight and be the loving and tender warrior for your family. Fight to be in the midst of them as the loving protector and fight to be the one who protects them from the dangers of the outside world.

Believe in Parenting
Want more information ptanda.org 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Babies R Us-Atlanta and PT&A Bring Class to Parents!

When I read the US News Insider Q&A Interview with Carla Hassan the Toys R Us Chief Marketing Officer that Babies R Us wanted to start reaching out to families and offering support through classes. I immediately knew that I wanted to work with them to bring this to light. So I contacted the local Babies $ Us store in Atlanta. Where I talked with a wonderful woman named Diane. She and I talked about what would be needed for me to teach a class and we went through the process.

The result is that we are going to offer a class to see how it goes the class is called Choosing Quality Child Care. It is based on a book and workbook I have written and the workbook is included in the cost of the class. The class is $30 a couple may attend together however. there is only one workbook per family. The class is limited to 12 participants.

This class is to coach parents in the process of identifying, investigating, and choosing a truly high-quality child care facility  which fits, supports, and enriches their family throughout their child's infant, toddler, and /or preschool years.

I am excited to join with the Babies R Us Atlanta store and will be looking to offer this class at the other stores in the Metro in the coming year. I hope you will decide to join us. I look forward to meeting you.

Registration Directions:

Zip Code 30339
Under Store Click Select
Scroll down to December 3 and click register button
Register and Pay

Click here to register!

See you on December 3rd!

Believe in Parenting

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

High quality Early Education- What are the Levels?

As a parent coach I often answer questions for parents on the difference in quality levels. It does take a little detail to understand the difference and sinch choosing quality care is one of the most important things parents can do for their child here is my explanation.

 Licensing is an approval by the state which says you have me the minimum standards you need to meet to open your doors for business. It has nothing to do with how well the center takes care of children. The knowledge of the director or staff, whether the center has a quality educational program or was just opened last week with a brand-new director and barely trained staff.

Licensing has some general requirements: first it must meet the obligation of any business including: fire, sewer, water, occupancy, and zoning approval and permits. Then every state has specific requirements for child care programs. These are the basics a certain amount of space to approve a certain number of children, the age of these children, the number of materials needed to care for and provide food for the children. This is a detailed and specific list or requirements. However, again this is simply to say you may open your center and provide childcare.

Quality Rated is provided by states to get child care centers on the path to improving the quality of their centers. These programs vary in scope and design. Here in Georgia a childcare program must be in Good Standing or Support status to be eligible for the Rating Program. They must apply and be accepted. Once accepted they begin the process of working to collect data for their portfolio to become quality rated. This is the first of several; steps om the effort to become a quality rated center. The manual for the program has this to say about it.

Quality Rated is a systemic approach to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early care and education programs. Similar to rating systems for other service related industries, Quality Rated assigns a quality rating to early care and education programs that meet a set of defined program standards. By participating in Quality Rated, early care and education programs embark on a path of continuous quality improvement.

Though not this is far from the level of accreditation quality rating is a way for states to ensure the centers in their stats are growing in quality and that they to show which centers are striving to get to the highest level of quality possible. This process takes between 4-12 months.

Accreditation is the highest level of quality in the US. Child care centers who receive this rating are among the best 2-5% in the country. There are several forms of accreditations, you can be accredited ty a state or any one of another agency which specializes in the care of children (early childhood, after-school, family home care). The level of accreditation varies. Each state does have a process. However, most states statues for “high-quality” fall far beneath the industry standards as set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. This is important to know and understand because there is more stringent standard in the industry than is present in state acceptability.

Thus, if a center is claiming to be of high-quality it is important to recognize even within the context of quality there are degrees. The term ‘consumer beware” is one which applies in child care. Ask questions about the accreditation authority and check out their website, ask about the accreditation process. How did the canter obtain it? The most stringent accreditation process in the US is done by the National Association for the Education of Young Children or the NAEYC. The process generally takes two years of self-study, preparation for all 10 standards which have detailed and direct specifications of what it takes to meet each one. A center must work as a team with families and staff members to get the right balance of interactions and communication to get and maintain this accreditation.  Do not assume because a center was once an accredited center it still meets that standard, because change of staff especially the director can cause a center to lose the level of quality fast!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Being an Effective Early Childhood Teacher is about Living and Breathing the Four Domains of Development

Parents and educators need to know the following information. Parents because as you choose a place for your child you want teachers who can and do focus on this in their classrooms. Teachers because you need this information to be the best possible teacher you can!

In 1995 I created and developed an Early Childhood Development Program for Ozarks Technical Community College. I purposely set the program up to be different than any other program in the country. I was heavily focused on the deep study of each of the four area of domains. In fact I wanted the students of this program to be able to walk into a classroom and with in two weeks be able to see where children were having issues in the domain areas and be able to ascertain the best way to help them. Most early educators have only a 3 hour course in the  understanding of development and an overemphasis on classroom management and other "teaching" practices. 

The Early Childhood and frankly the Elementary education field has put more emphasis on what teaching is versus who we are teaching. If teachers were more focused on understanding child development with a lesser focus on how 5to teach. We would be a lot further along with learning in America.

In my opinion educating children is more about having the agility to see what is happening with the child and have the ability to pivot to meet the needs of each individual child rather than knowing the techniques to teach him or her. Teaching is not about the subject matter. It is about helping the children to absorb the subject matter in such a way it becomes a part of they way they think about, interact with, and change the world in which they live.

I took a look at OTC's website today and saw the proaram is now like everyone else's it makes me sad because it means my vision was lost to the wide space of the establishment of education based not on innovation or what is best for children. But, based on what the educational establishment has deemed important. 

This is what can happen if you need to move on and are not there to protect the innovation of your efforts. Keep this in mind. I know moving on is exactly what I was supposed to do. Sometimes, being unique and innovative can be threatening to others. All I know is while I was at OTC my students became experts in the four domains of development. They told me how learning about the domains made being in the classroom easier because they knew the children better and were able to pivot to meet the needs of that child and often became a resource within their center to support their teams. If you are seeking to become a stellar teacher drill down and focus on becoming and expert in the four domains of development. I promise it will serve you better!

Believe in Parenting

Want more information? ptanda.org

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Why do Early Childhood Teachers need a College Degree?

Over the last ten years there has been an ongoing debate  do teachers of children younger than five need college degrees? There are those who believe that taking care of children who "play all day" do not need a college degree. If it were true and all children did all day was play I would probably agree with them. However, child play in early education goes beyond enjoyment by a wide margin.

Let me tell you my story:

After two and  a half years in  college,I started my degree in elementary education and the following year I began to serve in the two and three year old class st Grace Church St. Louis. I fell in love with the two's and decided to switch my major to early childhood education. I was surprised to find out there were 90-semester hours difference between the two majors.I was perplexed, how could two fields that shared one title education be so different that they basically shared only the college general requirements? Upon counsel from my college advisor I opted to get my Masters of Art in ECE rather than start all over since I was a second semester junior.

I graduated and taught first grade and junior high school science before I went back to school to get my Masters of Art in Early Childhood Education. It was over the course of this year, I began to realize why there was so much difference in the two fields. It was literally necessary for me to set my elementary education degree  on a shelf and ignore what I knew before in order to learn about early education. It is not an exaggeration to say they are polar opposite in theory and practical application.

First an early childhood teacher has to know the ins and outs of the four domains of development (physical, intellectual, language, and social/emotional). Knowledge of these four areas has to become almost innate. Early Childhood is based on observation, interaction, listening, and asking questions.   Using these foundations a teacher then must set up the environment to support each child's individual scope of learning. This scope of learning shifts and changes depending on the child and what other lessons the children are developing. A teacher has to keep up with every shift of development for each child and change the environment accordingly.

Young children use play to act out, practice, and absorb all the things they have observed, heard, been involved in, or want to know more about. Kids under 5 can not yet think in abstract terms. So, as they play they often think out loud to themselves. Teachers listen to what is called thought-speech and ask questions that get kids to expand their thinking and move along the process of learning more about what they are thinking. Based on this teachers choose books, activities, and cooking experiences that will help the children build on what they are learning.

In addition, the largest area of development in the ECE classroom is social/emotional development. This starts by teachers learning about and using a standardized assessment called the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. This assessment is a combination of teacher observations, questions discussed with parents, and evaluating a series of developmental exercises children are asked to perform. All the data is collected and sent off to the testing center where it is evaluated and returned. This one time assessment is used as an starting point on which teachers  can build upon to guide each child's learning start.

Teachers of children from birth to age 5 are teaching children how to put things where they belong, how to follow directions, sitting still during circle time, waiting their turn, and learn to listen. Teachers also guide children in how to interact with one another learning to negotiate, consider the feelings of others, share, and be kind. This is the greatest impact teachers have on children as they get ready for the Kindergarten classroom.

Brain research shows that in the first five years of life is when the brain makes it possible to develop these pathways. The early childhood classroom is an ever changing environment allowing children the opportunity to look at a situations and circumstances in a variety of ways. A teacher who has studied child development, classroom organization, classroom environment, observation techniques, open-ended questions, and a variety of other skills learned in a college classroom is far more equipped to support children in their learning and development.

The final reason an adult in an early childhood classroom needs a college education is above all the most important is called Developmentally Appropriate Practices or DAP for short. This is the concept of ensuring children are in an environment and are participating in activities which are geared toward the development of where they are in age and developmental stage. When children are pushed it can cause stress and overwhelm which  can damage brain development, but also can keep children from gaining the skills necessary for future success. ECE Teachers are tasked with ensuring children have a balance of activities which help kids build upon the skill they already have and stretching them to acquire the ones in a way which causes them to grow without causing undue stress. This is the purpose of knowing and understanding the principles of developmentally appropriate practices and the  signs of stress in children and doing everything necessary to maintain this balance.

Do adults who teach young children need college degrees? The answer is yes. There is so much going on in a child's life and development, that they need adults who understand how they learn and what to do to support that learning. This by the way is the foundation for everything they will learn in the future. ECE professionals are our first line of care and support for our youngest learners. They deserve to have adults who are fully able to help and support their learning and development. Childcare is very expensive parent should get what they are paying for someone who can step in and help their child to develop fully and be ready to step into the Kindergarten classroom ready to learn.

Believe in Parenting

Want more information? ptanda.org

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Sometimes the answer is: 'Because I Said So'

I remember being a kid and my Dad saying "because I said so". As a kid I said I will never say that to my kids. That was before I reached adulthood and realize that sometimes that is the only answer. One of my favorite ages is the curious, questioning, adorable, laughing 4-year-old. This is the age of the infinite list of questions and where many parents are endlessly answering questions. Why? Where? When? Next, there are those times when your eight-year-old really wants to do something ridiculous like build a treehouse on their own in the tree in the backyard. You discuss doing it together and they they do not need either help or supervision. Then the greatest of all challenges the teen who wants to go to the  rock concert 500 miles away with a group of unsupervised kids.

These are all times when parents may drag out the dreaded statement by all kids.

Because I said so!

Do you feel guilty for using it sometimes. Of course. This past Saturday Rabbi Kevin Solomon made the point; it is about the fact that you simply have lived longer and know a few more things our kids do not. Sometimes we need to assert our authority, not because we want to "Lord it" over our children. But, simply because it is our job to keep them safe and see dangers that exist from benefit of having lived longer than our children have lived.

I am writing this blog to offer you some support! You love your kids and much of the time you know best. While it is our job to ensure our children can look at a situation and figure out and do the right thing. Sometimes, this is beyond the scope of their years; because of this you may need to say no. When the challenge is on and the real reason is because you have lived longer and see the dangers they can not. You may find yourself using the dreaded "Because I said so!" It is okay because that is a valid response.

Believe in Parenting

Want more information ptanda.org

Monday, October 23, 2017

Parent Classes For Centers

In 1995 as I was creating the early childhood training program for Ozarks Technical Community College, I went all over the city talking with child care providers. I met many directors and owners looking for ways to support their parents. It turned out their parents wanted to be able to ask questions of an expert and other parents. Parent support groups became a regular practice among centers. I was asked to lead several a month. It was an exciting time as I watched parents grow and expand their knowledge.

Once I moved to Georgia I tested out my parent program called PT*A Parent Program. It is a curriculum designed to first help parents reach Maslow's top tier of self-actualization. Then moves on into child development and other programs. PT&A is short for Parents, Teachers, and Advocates. We are a parent development group in Atlanta, GA. We offer trainings here for parents and have worked with two of the most noted centers in the Metro Atlanta area: Child Development Association of Roswell and Gate City Day Nursery established in 1905. We are looking to expand into more areas of Metro Atlanta. It our goal to bring parent programs to early childhood enters around the city.

 We are also looking to train others to do our program. We require out teachers to have a minimum of a AA in early childhood. Our 16-week training program would allow staff members to carry on parent programming as a long-term program where parents would have ongoing direct access to their parent development coach.

Would you like to check out the curriculum? Click here.

If you would be interested in starting a conversation about which option would be best for your agency. Please call Coach Barb Harvey at 770-256-3281. 

Believe in Parenting

More information at ptanda.org