Tag Archives: parenting

Parents versus Friends

In the Toronto Globe & Mail on January 15th I (Clive) read an interesting excerpt from a book by Leonard Sax called The Collapse of Parenting. According to Sax, young people are IMG_3128increasingly looking to friends for support rather than their parents; and the problem with that is whereas parents tend to stick by their children through thick and thin, many young people just drop their friends after a dispute or perceived minor infraction. As a result, children are becoming more vulnerable and anxious (a phenomenon others have noticed).

I think teachers should discuss this set of issues with their students as part of ongoing way of life education (and also introduce them to children’s books or young adult novels that deal with friendship, family life, etc.). Why do young people turn to friends rather than parents? Are they taking this too far? Do they realize the dangers (whatever they are)? Are friends less supportive than family? Support from friends often comes at a price (loyalty, obedience, etc.), but does family support also have a price? Should we go to friends for some things and parents for others? These are tricky questions, but I think exploring issues in a safe environment is always better than leaving young people to grapple with them on their own. And we will learn a lot through the discussions too!


How was your day? And more inspiring ways to ask Children about school

We know that if we ask children, “How was your day?” Often we will hear the response “Fine”… or if we ask “What did you do at school today?” Often we will hear the ever so painful response “nothing”.

I (Yiola) came across this list of questions to ask children as a way to stimulate conversation about their schooling experience. I will be sharing this list with my student teachers this year as I find it to be a helpful tool to share with parents.

1) What was the best thing that happened at school today? (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)

2. Tell me something that made you laugh today.

3. If you could choose, who would you like to sit by in class? (Who would you NOT want to sit by in class? Why?)

4. Where is the coolest place at the school?

5. Tell me a weird word that you heard today. (Or something weird that someone said.)

6. If I called your teacher tonight, what would she tell me about you?

7. How did you help somebody today?

8. How did somebody help you today?

9. Tell me one thing that you learned today.

10. When were you the happiest today?

11. When were you bored today?

12. If an alien spaceship came to your class and beamed someone up, who would you want them to take?

13. Who would you like to play with at recess that you’ve never played with before?

14. Tell me something good that happened today.

15. What word did your teacher say most today?

16. What do you think you should do/learn more of at school?

17. What do you think you should do/learn less of at school?

18. Who in your class do you think you could be nicer to?

19. Where do you play the most at recess?

20. Who is the funniest person in your class? Why is he/she so funny?

21. What was your favorite part of lunch?

22. If you got to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you do?

23. Is there anyone in your class who needs a time-out?

24. If you could switch seats with anyone in the class, who would you trade with? Why?

25. Tell me about three different times you used your pencil today at school.


The list came from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/liz-evans/25-ways-to-ask-your-kids-so-how-was-school-today-without-asking-them-so-how-was-school-today_b_5738338.html

Researchers in the area of parenting and parent involvement have offered the same advice to parents for speaking to their children about school.


Self-portraits and sparkling feet: Communication & representation in the early years

It seems my (yiola’s) blog posts run parallel to the foci in my life. This makes good sense as it seems the blog genre, whether an MAB or personal, pulls from the writer their interests, latest happenings and experiences. This past month I have had the privilege of  spending a great deal of time with my two young children; hence the sharing of teaching and learning and literacy in the early years in many of my posts.

My four year old has been busy communicating, sharing and representing. Through her drawings she expresses her feelings and is able to share stories and ideas.

In March she drew and spoke about our family:


Her most recent self portrait:


Note the addition of the ears and arms that are now present in every drawing she creates.

For me, these developments are huge; for ECE researchers and educators these drawings are nothing new:


And yet, I still marvel at my child’s ability to communicate and represent in such meaningful ways.  My daughter expressed the other day  “momma, my feet are sparkling”… I did not bother to explain that wasn’t the case, that instead, her “feet fell asleep” because really, is one expression more accurate than the other?

An interesting and short description of stages of art development:  http://www.artjunction.org/young_in_art.pdf

What caught my attention from the article was the statement below:

Of course, what children seem to do naturally and what they are capable of doing are entirely different matters. It is likely that teachers will find that students within their classrooms are at varied points in their graphic development since some have had abundant prior experiences with art, whereas others, may have had limited creative opportunities. Thus, teachers should avoid the temptation to place children at a particular stage simply because of their age or grade level.

… and how true this is of exposure to all subject/school related matter.

As I read about child development and literacy I appreciate  the stages of development. As a teacher (and now parent) I have seen the stages unfold; however, as I read and observe the effects of providing opportunities for creative development and the use of multi literacies with young children I am more excited about the possibilities for language and literacy development  in areas such as: creative thinking, communication, problem solving and representation.

In keeping with ‘you teach who you are’, I cannot help but think about these areas of interest for my work.  As I prepare my courses for the coming year I am searching for readings and experiences for student teachers that will encourage discussion about creative thinking/problem solving and the implementation of various kinds of opportunities for pupil’s acquiring literacy both in and out of classrooms.