The purpose of creating a calm down area is to provide a space to support the child in learning to self-regulate. It is a safe place for a child to take a break away from a stimulus that is causing stress, anxiety or anger (e.g., loud noises, having to share, feeling tired, or being excited). The child learns to identify overwhelming feelings and step away to regain self-control. Through this process the child engages in calming and relaxing activities and, once calm, is able to return to the activity or routine in progress. A calm down area should never be used as a time out or as a punishment.
There are a lot of different things you can include in a calm down kit and you will want to tailor it to your child(ren) and ensure the calm down area is supervised at all times. The kit should be readily available for both indoor and outdoor and can include: Continue reading
This uplifting book was the winner of 8 Mom’s Choice Awards. It is a great reminder for everyone about the importance of kindness and lifting each other up. I referenced a lot of thoughts and ideas that I had while reading this book during several conversations with educators in school age programs. It made me think about positive group reinforcements for being kind to one another every day. Through conversations with both the educators and children, we came up with an idea to have physical buckets for each child in the program and a big jar of pom poms to put in another child’s bucket when someone noticed them doing something nice for a peer, or just being kind throughout the afternoon. Continue reading
It seems there is a new article or research every week about the adverse effects of screen time on children. Too much screen time has been linked to child obesity, attachment issues, lack of sleep, delay in language acquisition and sensory overload to name just a few.
While children are watching TV, using a computer, gaming device, tablet or smartphone, they are missing out on opportunities. Opportunities to make connections with the world around them including forging real relationships with peers and adults in their life; opportunities to problem solve, to be creative, to feel, touch, smell and make sense of their environment. Continue reading
This book is a unique memoir written by Naoki Higashida, a thirteen year old boy with Autism. Naoki is unable to use expressive language to communicate however he has developed the skill of using an alphabet grid to construct sentences. His book allows the reader to enter into his world. He formats the book as a series of questions and answers such as “Why are your facial expressions so limited?” and “Is it true you hate being touched?”. Naoki’s answers are personal; however at times he does use the pronoun “we”. I think it is important for the reader to reflect and not generalize as no two children on the Autism Spectrum are alike. Continue reading
This wonderful book written Teri Kaminski-Peterson, a Speech Language Pathologist explains how you can use a book in many ways. This is not a typical book to read, in fact, there is no written story! It is designed for the reader to interact with children to help develop language skills. The 6 engaging and dynamic scenes contain a description of what you can say and do to encourage the child to interact and mimic sounds, words and gestures. Continue reading
You Can’t Say You Can’t Play by Vivian Gussin Paley explores inclusion and how story-telling and role playing in the classroom can encourage learning and positive social change. It is a reminder of how powerful observing, asking the right questions, and listening to the children we care for can be in our effort to create a space that is inviting for all. The author engages with each grade, Kindergarten through Grade 6 to discuss how they feel about the new rule and to wonder together about how to make it work. Continue reading