Friday, October 31, 2008

We who wash nappies live close to nature and Summer just is better.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm reading Northern Lights to Hazel, she says my daemon is a wolf.

Monday, October 27, 2008

We're going to the zoo.

My Introduction to Schemas in Early Childhood Education

Susan Harper's Introduction to Schemas in Early Childhood Education

1. Welcome.

2. Waiata: with schema connection e.g. Enveloping and Trajectory

Jack in the box is a funny wee man,
He sits in his box as long as he can,
He sits in his box as long as he can
And then he jumps out like this: BOING!

3. Ice Breaker: “Is there something your child loves doing over and over again?”

4. Aims and learning outcomes of this introduction: Start participants thinking and talking about the notion of schema. Introduce the use of schema in early childhood education, i.e. noticing repeated behaviour, recognising schemas, responding within the schema recognised.

5. Definition:

A schema is a pattern that a child loves to repeat in their play.

6. Noticeable characteristics of schemas:

  • Schemas repeat.

  • While working on schemas children often seem fascinated; they concentrate and are deeply engaged.

  • But to adults schemas can seem compulsive and perplexing.

7. Noticing, recognising and responding to schemas:

    If a child is working on a schema it will be noticeable as it crops up again and again, all over the place.

    It's worth being able to recognise schemas because they are sources of much learning and development in children as well as confusion and frustration in adults.

    Therefore, understanding schemas makes responding to children's behaviour more effective and fun in many ways and on many levels.

However, not all children have schemas that are easy to recognise and work with. Schemas are just one way of thinking and talking about children, there are lots of others. Use whatever works for you and the child at hand.

9. Do you have a passion?

Do you remember a time when you were so into what you were doing that you didn't notice the irrelevant extras around you, you disappeared and there was just the doing of the activity?

... pause for thought...

That kind of “being in the zone” or “flow state” is what doing their schema seems to feel like to a child.

I think that this sort of flow is something worth paying a bit of respectful interest to, as well as being a great motivation for and indicator of learning, it's certainly my favourite thing about all my favourite things, and there's evidence to suggest that getting into that state on a regular basis is a very good habit for promoting mental wellness.

8. Using the “Schemas in Areas of Play” chart:

  1. Notice repeated behaviour.

  2. Recognise a schema (or two).

  3. Respond to schemas using Te Whaariki:
    If you also recognised a lovely piece of learning going on you might

  • help the child to consolidate or extend their thinking within their schema,

  • use words relevant to their schema,

  • help them make friends with you, or other children who are interested in that schema.

If you also recognised a problematic behaviour (see the last column) redirection within the schema is often taken surprisingly well.

Reference: Harper, Susan "Schemas in Areas of Play" first published as pages 18 and 19 in the Playcentre Journal Issue 121: Spring 2004.
It's under Crown Copyright as Wilton Playcentre was a Centre of Innovation at the time.

Note: Transporting, transforming, trajectory, rotation (and circularity), enclosure (and enveloping), connecting and disconnecting are not the only schemas. They are some common ones which are fairly easy to spot. Other repeating behaviour can be thought about and facilitated in the same way.

Further Reading:

Meade, Anne and Pam Cubey (2008); Thinking Children: Learning about schemas [2nd ed]

van Wijk, Nikolien (forthcoming 2008); Getting Started With Schemas, Playcentre Federation of New Zealand.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Yahoo! I have finished being the Treasurer!

Friday, October 24, 2008

So I finally made it to Facebook.

Best thing a newborn sibling can do.

Back in the day, if Hazel put her lovely soft child cheek beside Iris's, Iris would root around on it for a nipple. Hazel used to love these "funny baby kisses".

I'm thinking of this because my inbox seems to have another baby sister or baby brother announcement every time I look at it, each one reminds me of the day that Sean went through to Hazel's bedroom and said
"The baby came out of Mum's tummy last night, you're a big sister now."

When Iris was born Hazel was very keen on her, but, you know, newborns are extraordinarily frustrating people to love. Getting positive feedback out of a newborn is a matter of hope and kind interpretation on the part of loving and experienced adults; people who are new at trying to understand babies often find newborns completely opaque.

Newborns are used to a comfortable, friendly but impersonal environment, not unlike a private spa pool at a resort famous for its unobtrusive but efficient service. Newborns tell you something's wrong, but they don't know to tell that you've got it right. Newborns do love to breastfeed but not everyone has the superpower of making their milk, and their tummies are often a bit dicky. Newborns aren't as tolerant as a doll or as grateful as a cat, they can't even hold onto their presents.

Hazel cared desperately and wanted to know that Iris loved her back or even noticed her, and the only feedback Hazel had found out how to get reliably was negative, I was feeling a bit panicky about their relationship spiralling down for the 6 or 8 weeks before Iris learnt to smile when a friend, who'd had had 5 of her 6 babies by the time I'd had 2, told me about the funny baby kisses.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Iris is on form.

And now to collect the lovely H and K from school (thank goodness we live in walking distance) and then to play my violin.


Let's get a really tiny car.

Car seats and booster seats do not make my life easier. Without them children are small and squash into the car easily, without them children are people who can walk or catch a train, a bus, or a plane to somewhere to be met by a loved one and a car as easily as I can, this is a wonderful freedom.

But death and internal injuries have only disadvantages.

Dr. Liz Segedin's powerpoint summary of quite a few years of Starship's statistics shows how very much less likely your car is to ruin or end your life if you sit in a booster seat until you're 1.5m tall (Hazel is 1.25m, Iris 1.15m). Booster seat research, Dr Liz Segedin.ppt

The NZ Child Restraints' site's Booster Seats section includes this little gem:

What is "sub-marining"?

When a small, undersized child, (a child who is unable to pass the 5 step test) is placed into an adult belt there are a number of risks that the child is exposed to. Such risks include injuries to the neck, spine and internal organs, as well as injuries caused when the child slides out the lap portion of the seat belt in an accident. The effect of this is known as "sub-marining" and is shown in the image below.


A child will scoot forward in an adult belt simply because they cannot comfortably sit with their back and bottom against the back of the vehicle seat, nor can they sit with their knees comfortably bent over the seat edge.

When a child is uncomfortable, they will find ways to make sure they are comfortable, this means they will pull their lower body forward to rest their knees on the seat edge, leaving a gap behind their back. The child is also likely to place the sash portion of their seat belt behind their neck, since their shoulder is now lower down and the seat belt cuts into their neck causing discomfort.

Useful info for parents.pdf (a pdf summary of how to tell if a child is sitting safely).

Safekids' position statement.pdf They say "It's booster seat time for Kiwi kids" and provide 17 pdf pages of argument for that.

Oh, botheration! Another inconvenient truth.

Labels: , ,

Monday, October 20, 2008

The auditors are satisfied with our record-keeping!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Y'know that Jonathan Coulton I made you a pony-monkey creature song? Sometimes I feel that way about gifts I make myself.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Hazel... is not here but you are, so I'll tell you this, the mermaid tail was itchy."

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Jim, Cousin Dim, actually my grandma's cousin, teasing, aquatic and pragmatic, left suddenly for the last time yesterday.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Yesterday Hazel saw Moab in the apple tree, today the bird feeder is broken.