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9 Magic Tips: A Collective Insight Into Our LEiN Journey 2020-2021

Translated from Jing

LEiN Graduate, China



I am grateful for the company of Dr. Chen and Laura this year. Every practice sharing and special lecture has made me feel like my head has been patted lightly. In times of confusion and anxiety, Laura’s words always remind me: Don’t worry, slow down, be with the children, enjoy the moment, be present for the children... When I lack motivation and inspiration in practice, I often look back on the training materials and find inspiration in the practice of the Stone Hen kindergarten. This always works well -sometimes you will get the inspiration to continue to promote the children's learning, and more often you will feel inner peace. This is really a wonderful learning journey. I seem to have discovered some "tips" from the practice sharing of the Stone Hen kindergarten, but I know that these "tips" should really be described as "magic within practice", allowing us to constantly reflect on our own experience, or be illuminated by a certain moment.


🌳 Tip 1: Create a positive and reassuring emotional environment

In Stone Hen kindergarten, children are in a very comfortable state. They feel the joy of discovery in a relaxed and happy mood, and are completely immersed in exploration and learning. A positive and reassuring emotional environment is the foundation of all effective learning, and a warm teacher-child relationship is the cornerstone of children's independent promotion of learning. Children’s inner pleasure is their inner motivation to explore nature and to develop their own clues. Only in this way will their brains be ready to learn new knowledge, because they want and they like it, rather than being instilled by adults, with no need to get external rewards. Caring for children's inner pleasure is the backbone of education. When children are full of joy, they can truly be themselves, and endless learning opportunities will follow. Laura often associates inquiry clues with children’s experiences and emotions, allowing them to participate in emotional discussions, focusing on their own breathing with the children, experiencing emotions, learning emotions, opening the door in the children’s heart, and offering a feeling of acceptance and safety. In this way, when they are required to create and express freely, they will not be afraid of making mistakes or fear that they will not be able to meet the teacher’s expectations. In the interaction with children, teachers should learn to relax, let go, and watch children explore with appreciation. I think that when children see this kind of appreciation in the eyes of teachers, they will definitely increase their confidence and feel that they are capable and respected individuals. This will empower and encourage them to the greatest extent. Carry out self-enrichment. A positive emotional environment allows children to feel surrounded by people they can fully trust, and can receive support and guidance when encountering difficulties and needing help. In a high-quality emotional environment, children can feel a peaceful atmosphere and grow up. You can get inner peace and satisfaction, and finally get the growth and development that suits you.

🦊Tip 2: Create an "inviting" environment

The overall environment of the Stone Hen Kindergarten feels beautiful and full of natural atmosphere. A beautiful environment can nourish children's hearts. Such a beautiful environment is naturally "inviting" for children, and it can naturally attract children to appreciate, feel and express beauty. The creation of the kindergarten environment should be based on the teacher's observation and professional ability, and it should be "inviting" and can trigger children to continue to participate in exploration and learning. For example, the provocation area of ​​the Stone Hen kindergarten is sending out a "private" "invitation" to each unique child, and more "invitations" appear in the children's exploration process. Some of these "invitations" come from materials, Some come from peers, and some come from teachers. Through these small "invitations", children are attracted to continue construction and exploration. Children are picking up a handful of keys and constantly opening magic doors full of surprises. In addition we are shown how, creating an "inviting" environment does not actually cost too much, we need to make full use of resources we already have. Laura often mentions “you don’t need to buy”, “These are activities that don’t cost money”, etc. The Stone Hen Kindergarten uses bamboo poles to create natural trails, uses materials donated by parents and the community to build underground tunnels, and of course The gift of Mother Nature-a wealth of natural materials. As long as the teacher is full of enthusiasm in every activity, even simple materials go along was as long as they incorporate real feelings. These experiences can stimulate unlimited learning and development possibilities.

🐴 Tip 3: Embracing the outdoor environment is essential

Every child can reap happiness and growth in nature. For children, nature should not be a background, not a place to travel and sightseeing, but a place for them to study and live. The best advocate for relationships, play and wonder. Children reach out for adults to walk with them hand in hand through the slowly flowing stream, feel the sensation of smooth stones and cool water passing through their toes, listen to the chirping of the birds on the branches, and breathe the light scent of flowers and soil... …The experience of full contact with nature is an indispensable part of the good life for both children and adults. The outdoor natural environment opens its arms to every child and sends out an "invitation" to explore, which can provide children with free play space and materials, full of possibilities for exploration and discovery, and provide a rich sensory experience. Every child can Play their own way outdoors. The outdoor environment is full of opportunities. Slow down and feel the little things around you, draw inspiration from the surrounding environment, make full use of the opportunities in the surrounding environment to support the growth of children, and be a caring person who can live. When you don't know what you should do, immerse yourself in the embrace of nature with the children, absorb the energy endowed by nature, embrace the infinite possibilities in the outdoor environment, and enjoy the time of emptying and dreaming in nature.

👦🏻 Tip 4: Witness the charm of the play within Greg Bottrill's book "Can I Go and Play Now?"

There is such a sentence: "Isn’t it time to put play at the core? Dear readers, life is too short, and we don’t have time to do other things." Every day of childhood is precious. One day is the youngest day of the rest of our lives. We have no reason to use the boringness of the adult world to deprive children of the freedom to play. This is to liberate children and ourselves. Therefore, teachers should embrace the power of play and witness the charm of play. When we want children to prepare for school and prepare for the future, we must not ignore the power of play and see the "miracle" brought about by play. Children use play to prepare for school and have the fun of learning at the same time. Building self-awareness and social cooperation ability. In the Stone Hen kindergarten, I can see the teacher’s creation of play within the environment based on the children’s next step, which provides children with time to play without being disturbed by adults. While embracing the power of play, I am actually embracing the play intergenerational belt. A "miracle" for children, teachers, kindergartens, and the entire community. When we join in with children’s play and become children’s co-players and adventurers, we can see children use their way-a way of playing to prove their learning and acquired abilities, without the need for teachers to pass evaluation or provide uninteresting questions to get children to respond. Teachers need to keep getting closer to children, keep getting closer to children’s real play, support them in a way they prefer and accept, and witness the charm of play together.

🐾 Tip 5: Understand each child’s next steps

In Laura’s sharing, I can feel that every child in the Stone Hen kindergarten is real, specific, and alive in her eyes by the way She treats her children. The stage of development and what support is needed are clear to her heart. Therefore, when different children need different help, she can always find the most suitable way of support to help the child make continuous progress on her original basis. Paying attention to the true needs of every child is not what adults feel, nor is it a general or abstract child’s need. This requires teachers’ eyes to see that every child should be specific, follow the children’s interests, follow their next steps, and Discuss with children and listen to their voices. spend time together to ask questions and think of ways to observe the next development of the child through play, in order to provide the child with the support he really needs, to obtain real quality development, promote each unique child to achieve learning progress, and guide the child’s learning To a broader possibility. In this process, teachers should take a holistic view of children’s learning and development, be sensitive in dialogue with children, and have a map of children’s development in their minds, clarify the level of children’s development, and know that their scaffolding will guide children Where to go, this will trigger you to discover more clues for children's learning and let creativity flow in the kindergarten.

🪶 Tip 6: Value parents along this journey

We must create relationships between practitioners, communities and parents to establish a good homeland connection will bring more possibilities for children's learning and development, and parents will also have a sense of participation in this process. For example, Laura provides parents every week The homeland communication sheet that focuses on children's learning and wellbeing. This can not only present professionalism to parents, but also provide a full and effectively link the homeland to form an educational synergy. The kindergarten supports every child, and then through the children, the concept of the kindergarten is passed on to every family and family members. The effective cooperation and communication of the homeland reach the consensus of the concept, let the parents participate in the education of the children, and jointly promote the children’s learning. Only by co-development can children get a more balanced overall education inside and outside the kindergarten. At the same time, teachers not only need to support children, but also need to listen to and support parents’ problems and needs, and work with parents to establish high-quality professional partnerships. This kind of sincere connection can not only support adults and families, but also work together for children. The healthy growth of people creates a good emotional environment. In addition, the input, support and focus of the community is also one of the guarantees of high-quality early childcare education. Kindergartens can learn from the community and the people around them for inspiration. At the same time, the process of establishing a connection with others is also a process of constantly reflecting on oneself, strengthening one's connection with family, kindergarten, community, country, and the world, and remembering one's "root". The establishment of a community begins with the acceptance from the heart. We must first accept ourselves before we can further accept others. Through sincere acceptance and consideration, we can establish care and tolerance for each other, and be proud of who we are today.

🕊 Tip 7: Participate in active reflection, full of enthusiasm

Continuous reflection is a compulsory journey for every teacher. Teachers and children are constantly growing. Conscious reflection is a way of growth. Teachers should constantly reflect on their practice, evaluating Links that can be improved, what are the strategies for improvement, and why should they be improved like this, instead of being reluctant to admit their shortcomings. "Learning for children, learning with children, and learning from children". In this process, maintaining enthusiasm for work and children requires reflection as a "booster". Reflection is a skill that teachers should practice throughout their lives. Through continuous reflection With evaluation and adjustment of teaching, we enjoy every moment with children. Teachers who reflect and grow together with children are lucky. Constant reflection and practice will eventually help you to become a teacher who is committed to being "present" for children, nourishing children's emotions, and providing free space for play and creativity. Enthusiastic teachers can inspire children's interest in learning. Such teachers can discover the beauty of nature and the beauty of play with children. In this process, they may encounter many difficulties, but as long as they are always motivated, passionate and confident, Nothing can stop us from being in company with nature and with children. It is fortunate for the children to meet a enthusiastic teacher. At the same time, when we reconnect our childhood and maintain our innocence and passion, we are also lucky to be such a enthusiastic teacher, because we can lead the imagination of children together. Ride in a world full of magical imagination, and meet your childhood self.

🌿 Tip 8: Enjoy the present and be present for children

Kindergarten's learning and life should be happy and fulfilling. Kindergarten is not a training camp that imposes adult goals on children. It is a paradise that children really like and feel fulfilled. Children’s learning opportunities are fleeting, and every activity can have rich learning opportunities. Teachers need to be able to identify the current level of development of children and promote the development of children’s learning to their next step. Such learning is not The learning prescribed by the teacher is one of the meanings of the teacher's "presence". Laura reminds us that when we don’t know how to advance learning, we just need to take a moment to embrace the moment you are in, to be “present”, to embrace the surrounding environment, and to calm down and think about the surrounding environment. What are the things in it, and what learning opportunities may be available, start from this moment. At the same time, it is also necessary to listen to the child's voice, return the learning process to the child, embrace the child's effective learning characteristics, and give full play to the creativity of the teacher, so that clues can be found to promote learning. At the end of each study, celebrating the results of learning together will make the children feel that they and their results are seen and shared... These are all "present" for the children. Teachers should feel attentively in the process of being "present" for children, because "process is more important than result", being with children, giving them the sense of security of being "present", and being sensitive and flexible, and going at the right time Approach and support children, know when to "take a step back", and create more "not teach" moments. In fact, being "present" for children does not require much ambitious or well-planned plans. Going back to life itself, facing the things and children in front of you, cherishing everything, being grateful, and sharing the good time at this time with each other is " The meaning of "Presence".

🌾 Tips 9: Find your own balance and take care of your own inner peace

Only teachers who can become the best companions and supporters of children's learning and growth, so teachers should take care of and regulate their own emotions by themselves, and don't ignore and supress them. Your inner anxiety and anxiety may seem to be full of vitality on the surface, but you have gradually lost your inspiration and ability. Children can also sensitively capture the tension you convey, and even negative emotions that have been suppressed for too long will be in a certain place. Broke out in a moment,Hurt yourself and your children, therefore, accept and recognize any emotions you have, learn to feel what you are in different emotions, and learn to discover the small beauty in life, draw the power to move forward from the subtle beauty, and take care of everything around you. Stay curious, so that you can comfort yourself, and after taking good care of yourself, you can create a positive emotional atmosphere and better support children. One of the magic in the Stone Hen kindergarten is to be good at finding balance, find what suits your kindergarten and what suits your children, find the balance between listening and scaffolding. There is no universal method that can solve all problems. We need patience and time, we can become better ourselves and better teachers in balance. It’s okay to slow down a bit. Sometimes adults’ "quick quick success" can make themselves and their children feel depressed and anxious. In such an environment, children will become more sensitive and insecure. Children who are pushed forward by the teacher can hardly feel inner peace. Laura told us more than once to slow down, even if we have an idea that cannot be realized right away, don't be frustrated, embrace everything we have, and let the children be driven by the magic within the play and freed by unrestricted expectations.

- Jing

- Images taken by Jing from the mandarin version of 'The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

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Dr Kathryn Murray
Dr Kathryn Murray
May 07, 2021

The environment is the platform for... warm relationships, security, self love, play, resilience, collaborations, self identity, feelings of acceptance & being worthy, problem solving, creativity and learning. The emotional and physical environment dictates the engagement and joy of learning for children and teachers. It’s important to spend time assessing, reflecting and shaping the environment. We spend a lot of time there! 💐

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