8 Things your Teacher Wishes you Knew
Ok! So this question got us on a roll… it turns out there are loads of things we would love for you all to know. We put this message out to our teachers here at Emerald City Nursery… “what things do we as teachers wish parents knew” and here is a list of our favourite answers that came back.
- Zero to three years are the most important years in your child’s life – for real! This isn’t just something people say on a whim; see this series of videos by the Harvard University for the Center for the Developing Child on Brain Architecture for an insight into how your little ones brain is developing. An infant’s potential depends on powerful, nurturing connected experiences from pre-birth to 36 months. When you have to head back to work, you want to be sure that the adult who cares for your most precious smallest thing in the whole world is focusing on developing these connections as these experiences are literally shaping your baby and toddlers brain.
- Your child is learning every minute of every day – their play is their work. We can never underestimate their scribbles, their babbling, their make believe play. This is the good stuff and we need support it every chance we get. Imagination and creativity is a critical part of early childhood and fostering this is in a young person’s best interest.
- Before children learn to read and write there are a number of milestones and experiences children must progress through. Motor control, Phonic sounds, letter representations, text direction, text shape. The same goes for walking and toilet training – in short don’t rush milestones. Children reach their milestones when they are ready… toileting, crawling, reading and writing will happen when your child is ready for it. For example, make the mistake and start toilet training too soon and the end result will take much longer. If you need some more help with understanding toilet training, read our blog on what signs to look for.
- A little note on tantrums – Ignoring works the best, don’t entertain a tantrum, as this is a learning stage where children are simply put… ‘testing boundaries.’ Ignoring negative behaviour and reinforcing positive behaviour works most of the time. We also recommend redirecting or distraction as a fantastic strategy to curbing the unwanted supermarket “give me sweets” style meltdown.
- Always consider bedtime routines and healthy food as this is the foundation for a healthy brain. Babies and children need 10-12 hours of sleep during the night and extra naps during the day to ‘reboot.’ Aim for a bedtime of 7pm! Also avoid foods, high in sugar, (learn about fructose – which is in everything by the way… watch documentaries, read food labels, the reality is very concerning), avoid foods that contain the dreaded E numbers and preservatives, artificial flavour enhancers; these foods are literally toxic and out in the community we watch them being fed to the youngest, most precious age range in a humans lifespan. See our Pinterest page for some fantastic, healthy, easy recipe ideas. Think of it like this – Food is medicine and sleep is for the mind and soul. Start healthy routines and foods young, as the later you leave it the harder it will become.
- Confidence, critical thinking, divergent thinking – these are the skills that your child will need for their future. Our world is changing very quickly and the skills we were taught at school are now not as important; new priorities are taking precedent. Watch this fantastic YouTube link for more information on what skills children will actually need for their future and changing paradigms in education.
- It takes 3-4 years for us to qualify as teachers, as does any university degree. At university they do not teach us how to make play dough! (Erghh… our skin crawls at such comments.) We learn about the brain, the importance of the first 5 years and how love and nurturing impacts brain development. We learn extensively about child development, theorists and theories that support learning, curriculums (from our own countries and successful curriculums from around the world), we learn how to assess play and plan for extensions of play. Child protection, inclusion and health and safety… and we could go on and on. In a nutshell, there is a method behind everything that we do and we know what we are doing.
- Do the final year in Nursery. Life might become a little easier time wise for a year by moving your child into school with a sibling or there might be threats of no space in big school, but trust us! The final year in a quality Nursery environment sets your child up for life! They become the big fish in the little pond for the last year and this does wonders for their life skills, this is the secret to their success. We say this as parents and as professionals, you will not regret the decision as you watch your child make the transition into a very competent, capable and confident human being.
It’s pretty clear that at Emerald City Nursery we are passionate about what we do, early childhood teachers most often are. It takes a special kind of person that has the energy and enthusiasm day after day to play and jump around; we find it not challenging but a pleasure, more often than not we are born teachers and could not imagine doing anything else. I believe it’s fair to say teaching young children is our calling, and often we are misunderstood, so we hope these few points help you understand us and the youngest people in our care a little clearer.