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GIL Ginger I. Lee, M. Ed.

WHAT TIME IS IT

The United State Naval Observatory (USNO) continues to be a major authority in the area of Precise Time. In collaboration with many national and international scientific establishments, it determines the timing and astronomical data required for accurate navigation, astrometry and fundamental calculation methods.

The USNO operates two Master Clock facilities. The primary facility in Washington D.C. maintains 57 high performance cesium atomic clocks. The alternate master clock at Schriever Air Force Base maintains 12 cesium clocks.

TIMING is a critical factor in early childhood and brain development. At birth the human brain is 25% developed and continues to grow in weight and size depending on the nurture and quality of care from birth to six years of age.

Preschoolers may be likened to a handful of flower seeds...Some bloom early, some later according to their own individual time table. We grant time and space to young plants because we know they need TIME to develop properly and grow well.

Just as you can stunt the growth or destroy young seedlings by ignoring the individual time laws that live within them, so can you inadvertently foster underachievers and school failures for "legally-age-ready" but developmentally unready children. You can't teach a child what he is not ready to learn. He can memorize the answer at the time but it won't be relevant in a different setting.

When an educational system forces academics and assessments and ignores the developmental age of young children they steal a child's personhood during a critical stage of development - intellectual, social and emotional.

Can we consider the individual time factor when starting formal education? Special counselors are provided to determine readiness for entrance to college. Could we give the same consideration for 4-year-olds? Get it right now, before entrance to school and STOP school failure before it starts.

A CHILD-CENTERED PRE-SCHOOL CLASSROOM

Child-centered teachers are some of the most successful, dedicated, passionate educators I have known. Child-centered is not CHAOS.

· Child-centered teachers greet each child warmly and individually.
· Child-centered teaching does not mean the absence of structure or curriculum.
· Child-centered teaching is the hardest way to be.
· Child-centered teachers are prepared mentally and physically for the day.
· The first 10 minutes will set the tone for the day.
· Teacher preparedness affects student behavior and performance.
· Child-centered means controlling the environment rather than people.
· Child-centered teachers are continually providing environments which:

1. Facilitate exploration and experimentation; few restrictions
2. Present problem-solving activities
3. Allow trial and error; adults acting as facilitators
4. Encourage wonder and creativity
5. Provide long periods of uninterrupted free time
6. Lots of creative outdoor time.

· Child-centered teachers create a classroom culture of value and respect to pass on the gift of friendship, caring and well-being to our children.
· Children are "science-ing" all day because the environment encourages it - puzzles, paint, brushes, easel, musical instruments, measuring tape, plants, shapes, funnels, sand, water, magnifying glass, blocks, rocks, cups, play dough, books, puppets, dramatic play, poetry, pretending, imagining, singing, dancing etc.
· Child-centered teachers know that childhood has its own imperatives.
· Child-centered teachers tend to agree with author Jim Trelease:
    "The prime PURPOSE of being FOUR is to ENJOY being FOUR; of secondary importance is to prepare for being five."

HELPS FOR DADS OF PRESCHOOLERS

1. Love your child unconditionally.

Love is the essential ingredient of the father/child relationship. Children need to hear it. Love is spending time doing what a child likes to do. Follow children's passions and interests. Give compliment. Communicate without words - a wink, a smile, a nod of acceptance, snuggling. Read to them. Be proud of their accomplishments. Let them show you what they can do.

2. Treat your preschoolers with respect.

Preschoolers mimic the behaviors they see in the important people in their lives. Let children play and do things their own way. They like to know you are watching them. Listen. Use only positive and encouraging phrases.

3. Organize their time.

Tell the child what is planned for the day. If it will be different from the ordinary, tell him and talk about the behavior you expect. Children feel a sense of empowerment when they know what to generally expect.

4. Discipline them fairly and consistently.

Set clear and consistent limits and match the punishment with the deed. Children do not automatically know what is expected of them. Tell them. They are learning behavior just as they are learning manners. It takes 21 times to build a habit. Be patient in saying the same thing 21 times.

5. Expose them to interesting things.

Show them things outdoors and take them to places that welcome preschoolers. Take them to the park and to the zoo. Consider attention span, ability and interests.

6. Talk to them-----Share your values.Pray for them.

Tell them what you do each day. Point out the manners you see in others. Model the consideration and honesty you value. Let them hear you call their name in prayer.

7. Raise them in a STABLE family.

Children need a sense of belonging. Studies show that children who live in a stable family relationship are more likely to have success in school.

WHAT IS IMPORTANT ABOUT PLAY?

Children of all ages love to play. At 5 months or at 15 years, play is the best tool for fostering learning. At different ages, a person's play styles and play interest grow and change. Through "play" children in preschool are learning to get along with others, building a foundation for academic skills and developing pride in their accomplishments. Here are some ways teacher's involvement communicates that play is important.

BUILDING WITH BLOCKS

When building with blocks a child is solving problems in creative and imaginative ways. Whether building the tallest tower in the world or a miniature network of cities, children are learning about space, dimension, weight, balance and size. And language development grows as child and teacher describe what s/he is building.

DRAMATIC PLAY

Whether a child decides to have a party, cook a pizza, play beauty shop, grocery store or be a farmer, a zoo keeper or Daddy going to work - through dramatic play a child expands imagination and works out fears and life experiences. When Teacher asks questions such as: "Who are you inviting to your party? Or is the baby sick? Or what's cooking? Or can you build a city with blocks? The Teacher shows interest in what the child has chosen. A teacher's enjoyment of make-believe enhances children's dramatic play.

BOOKS AND LIBRARY

In the Library Corner it is possible to get lost in wonder as you turn the pages of a book. Through books, children travel to far-away places and learn about people, places and things not seen every day. Through books children can expand their knowledge, learn to deal with feelings and important changes in their lives and let their imaginations run free. They also like to hear favorite stories over and over again and learn the value of pictures and the printed page.

SAND AND WATER PLAY

As children measure and use different utensils such as funnels, measuring cups, turkey basters and sponges; as they fill large and small bottles; make mud; float a boat and otherthings that float and see what sinks they are learning concepts related to math and science learning.

ART

Art enables young children to feel free to experiment and discover. Whether dropping a drop of blue paint in yellow (making green), painting at the easel, sculpting clay or playdough, pasting, cutting and tearing paper - young children express thought and translate feelings and creative powers of color, shape and design through art.
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