2016-10-19 by Mark Harrington
Sensory awareness, or the act of noticing a particular sensation, can be interesting and surprising. Whether becoming aware of the blueness of a clear sky or the softness of a new shirt, these moments of awareness are often pleasant, and can let people experience familiar things in new ways.
For young children, developing senses lead to many of these kinds of moments, and this presents both opportunities and challenges for early childcare assistants.
If you’re curious about how sensory awareness can affect the way you interact with children in your workplace, here are a couple of points you might consider.
1. Considering an Early Childcare Assistant Career? Sensory Play Is Great Stimulation for Kids
Play time doesn’t need to be about “doing,” necessarily. Kids spend a lot of time in a state of sensory awareness, and can get lots of value out of simply experiencing their different senses.
PBS points out that “Children… learn best and retain the most information when they engage their senses,” and states that investigative play time—time during which kids can touch, play with, and explore an object—helps “develop and refine cognitive, social and emotional, physical, creative, and linguistic skill sets.”
Guiding children to play in ways that engage different senses is a great way to help them develop their minds. Consider playing music together, introducing different play materials like “oobleck,” or playing with shadow puppets to get kids to engage with their senses.
2. Future Early Childhood Assistants: Sensory Awareness Can Be Embarrassing for Some Kids
It might not seem like a big deal, but “getting caught” enjoying sensory stimulation like listening to a favourite song or touching a soft fabric can be embarrassing for some people. If you’re thinking about pursuing an early childcare assistant career, this is a good thing to keep in mind.
In a paper entitled “Sensory Awareness,” written for the University of Nevada’s Department of Psychology, researchers speculate that the reason for this potential embarrassment is that sensory awareness is typically a reaction to “what feels good… in a very sensual way,” and “sensual interests are intensely personal.”
The best approach to deal with this embarrassment will be different from child to child, but knowing the potential for this phenomenon will be helpful when going into the classroom.
3. Children With Disorders May React Differently to Sensory Awareness
Though sensory awareness can often be a pleasant experience, for some children—particularly those with developmental disabilities that have affected their sensory system—they can present a challenge.
According to Autism.com, for some children, “Sometimes one or more senses are either over- or under-reactive to stimulation.” which can lead to “behaviors like rocking, spinning, and hand-flapping.”
For example, once you become an early childcare assistant, if you see a child cover their ears when music plays, then they might be oversensitive to sound. Children who are under sensitive, on the other hand, might seek out loud noises or other sensory experiences. By being aware of these reactions to sensory awareness, you can adapt your lessons accordingly.
Some kids may have a difficult time reacting to sensory awareness
Sensory awareness can be great fun, and is an essential part of childhood cognitive development. It also poses a few challenges that future childcare assistants might want to keep in mind while working alongside kids.
Are you considering an early childcare assistant diploma to put yourself on the path to a rewarding career?
Contact an advisor at the National Academy of Health and Business today to discover more!
2016-08-10 by Mark Harrington
An early childcare assistant career lets you teach kids fundamental skills
Working with children is one of the most important and enriching jobs anyone could have. The ability to teach children values, manners, and the fundamentals of what they’ll learn in school is a precious job that should not be taken lightly.
Due to the level of influence in this position, it is not a job that anyone can just jump into. Luckily, there are short-term programs that teach students the different skills they will need to successfully become early childcare assistants. On top of that, some of these programs offer placements as part of the process, in order to make sure graduates are ready for this important position when they finish school.
Interested in a career in early childcare? Read on to find out three benefits of doing a hands-on placement.
1. Early Childcare Training Teaches Students How to Create a Positive, Safe Atmosphere
There are a couple of things that children need in their early years in order to thrive as they grow older. Primarily, they need to feel safe, they need to be engaged, and they need people to pay attention to them. Doing these three things will create an atmosphere in which children can explore their creativity, learn from their peers and elders, and develop into attentive, curious students. Professionals who have gone through early childcare training understand this and have taken many different classes to ensure that all children under their care have the attention and direction they need to thrive. For example, they learn the fundamentals of health and safety, first aid, and child development, among many other topics.
Completing a placement after learning all of these skills in the classroom will allow you to put those skills into practice, and develop the hands-on methods with which you will interact and engage with students throughout your career.
Early childcare training teaches you the value of creating a safe, positive environment
2. A Hands-On Placement in Early Childcare Training Allows You to Observe Pros at Work
The early years for a child are crucial to their development and offer insight into the kind of people that they’ll grow up to be. An early childcare assistant career puts you in a position to guide these children as they begin to make sense of and explore the world around them.
The easiest way to ease into this role is to see others in action and learn from them. Hands-on placements generally involve both observation and active participation, but because you can do both, you’ll never feel unprepared or overwhelmed. Watching professionals at work allows you to appreciate the value of everything you’ve been learning and see how it translates to the real world.
3. A Placement Lets You Confirm an Early Childcare Assistant Career is Right for You
A career as an early childcare assistant gives you the flexibility to work in such varied places as daycares, preschools, and not-for-profits. It is a growing field with tons of opportunities for career stability and growth. It relies on the development of interpersonal relationships between childcare workers and children, which means that it will never be phased out by technological advances. There will always be children and those children will always need to be taken care of, so working as an early childcare assistant will always be in demand. That kind of stability and the emotional satisfaction of helping a young child begin to grow are incredibly valuable.
A hands-on placement lets you experience working in this rewarding profession so that you can confirm this is the right career and right path for you.
An early childcare assistant diploma lets you work in multiple fields
Careers that offer stability and a strong future outlook are hard to come by, not to mention ones that offer an immense sense of emotional satisfaction. Early childcare assistants help shape the future generations; why not take part in that?
Are you interested in obtaining an early childcare assistant diploma?
Contact NAHB for more information or to speak with an advisor!
2015-05-06 by Mark Harrington
Many educators feel that conflict resolution strategies are the best way to eliminate or at least reduce fights in elementary and high school. But what if it were possible to instill the values of amicable conflict resolution and cooperation in even younger children? Would that carry over into the elementary and high school setting and possibly stay with children the rest of their lives?
There is a growing movement of people who think that yes, it would. They have developed strategies which early childhood assistants can use to deal with conflicts in a preschool classroom while imparting the fundamentals of conflict resolution and cooperation to children at a very young age.
Why Early Childcare Assistants Should Implement Conflict Resolution Strategies
In addition to the immediately apparent benefits, such as a more manageable preschool classroom, implementing conflict resolution strategies early on can have lasting positive repercussions for young children. These include:
- A sense of confidence through knowing their opinions and feelings are heard and valid
- A concept of how teamwork can solve problems
- The ability to look at problems from an outside perspective
- Association of conflict resolution with fundamental concepts of the alphabet and numbers
Early Childcare Conflict Resolution Ground Rules
Before an early childcare assistant can begin demonstrating to children how a conflict can and should be resolved, it is important to find a quiet place where everyone can discuss. By placing the resolution process in a different part of the room from where the conflict occurred, it creates a separation between the disagreement and the potential agreement, which promotes looking at the situation rationally instead of emotionally.
Once the group has been relocated, it is important to lay down some ground rules. Good ones to use are:
- Every child gets to have their input
- No interruptions from the other children when a child is speaking
- Each child must propose a solution which will be discussed by the group
- The group will select the best solution and will respect it
Steps in Early Childcare Conflict Resolution
Once ground rules have been established by the early childcare assistant training graduate, the conflict resolution process can begin. It is important that the education assistant follows an established procedure so the young students can get used to it. A typical order of stages could go like this:
- Go around the circle and let each child tell their side of events
- The childcare assistant summarizes their understanding of what has happened and asks for confirmation on their analysis of events from the children
- Each child proposes a solution
- The group decides on a finals solution together
- The childcare assistant monitors the children to make sure the resolution is followed
Do you plan on employing the principles of conflict resolution after you earn your early childcare assistant diploma?
2015-04-15 by Mark Harrington
Every early childhood assistant knows that having effective communication skills is an essential part of the job. This is mainly because they are required to communicate with children, parents and colleagues on a daily basis. Of course it should come as no surprise that the skills required to communicate with a child are very different than those required to communicate with an adult. Additionally, an early childhood assistant would not speak to a student’s parents in the same manner that they would speak to a colleague or peer. Here’s a quick guide to the communication skill-set that every early childhood assistant should have:
When Communicating with Children
Individuals holding early childcare assistant diplomas understand the importance of using positive reinforcement when communicating with their students. This means that when a child does something good, like follows the rules or lends a helping hand to his or her peers, a childcare assistant should provide specific praise. For example, by saying “it was very nice of you to help Marco clean up his toys, Timmy” instead of “that was nice of you, Timmy,” Timmy will understand exactly what it is that he is being praised for and will likely continue to help others.
Experts know that when communicating with young children, it is always best to advise them on what they should be doing, rather than what they should not be doing. This is again because children respond well to positive encouragement. For instance, if a child is running when he or she should be walking, a skilled childcare assistant might tell him or her to walk instead of saying not to run.
When Communicating with Colleagues
Since a certain level of communication is required within any professional environment, having the ability to effectively communicate with colleagues and peers is important when pursuing a career in virtually any field. Any and all communication between colleagues should be kept professional at all times. Experts know that providing negative feedback can be difficult, however, if this feedback is sandwiched between a few positive observations it might be a lot easier to swallow.
Individuals pursuing childcare training should also consider the fact that, for the most part, they will always be surrounded by children during work hours. This means that a child might be watching and listening to a conversation that is being had between two colleagues. And, since young children are very impressionable, it’s important that all conversations are kept respectful.
When Communicating with Parents
Any communication between a childhood assistant and a student’s parents should always come from a place of mutual respect. Early childcare assistants know that it’s important to communicate regularly with their student’s families. This will enable families to keep track of their child’s educational progress and it will also allow the educators and assistants to have access to information about how that child is doing at home. When communicating with a student’s parents, it is important to speak in a casual manner and use simple language. This will ensure that there are no miscommunications or misunderstandings.
Do you have any other tips for effectively communicating with children and their families as an early childcare assistant?