The human brain is a complex organ capable of learning and adapting throughout our lives. Scientists have made amazing discoveries about the development of the human brain, and today we know that babies are born ready to learn. In fact, these early years are the most active period of brain development in a person’s life and form the foundation of who that child becomes. Every sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell that the baby experiences has a direct effect on the way the baby’s brain develops. Relationships in the future are greatly impacted by what happens during these formative years. Therefore, every person involved in a child’s early life plays an important role in shaping the development of the child’s brain.
MyCourseRoom offers an important course for everyone who works with children. Abuse Prevention, SIDS Awareness, and Brain Development is an 8 clock hour course and is FREE to everyone who registers at www.MyCourseRoom.com.
Below are four interesting pieces of information about a child’s brain development.
- Nature and nurture are equal.
While genetics play an important role in the development of the human brain, a child’s early years are equally as important. A child’s brain is only about 25% developed when born. Education and enrichment are essential from the very beginning.
- Early care and nurturing have a critical and enduring effect on how people develop and attempt to regulate their emotions.
Infant brain development is much more than simply providing sensory experiences for a child. Brain development occurs within the moment-to-moment interactions with the people who care for the child. Children will pattern their actions and emotional responses after what they have received. Reacting to a child with warm, nurturing and loving methods will help teach a child to regulate and control their emotions. In addition, the more that a bond between a child and a caregiver is nurtured, the better the child will do. Attachments between a child and caregiver will actually help the child’s brain to develop and will aid in the learning process. These strong attachments will help the child feel more secure and as they age will help give them more self-confidence.
- Responsive care helps control stress during infancy and in later life.
Warm, responsive care has not only been shown to comfort a baby but also to have a protective function and to help organize the brain. It helps to ‘immunize’ the baby against the effects of stress, both during infancy and later in life. Children who have received responsive care tend to have lower levels of stress hormones. They are better able to calm themselves more quickly than children who lacked such responsive care. Because they are able to calm themselves more effectively when stressed, they are less likely to lash out.
- The human brain has the unique ability to continuously create new neural pathways due to its high plasticity.
The ability for a human to learn does not stop at a certain age. We learn from the moment we are born to the moment we die. While we learn and build neural pathways throughout life, the early years of a child’s life is a critical time. Neurons can create connections to other neurons with more ease and effectiveness. This is the reason why a baby or young child can learn multiple languages and recognize voices and faces with relative ease, but learning a language as an adult is more complicated.
To learn more about brain development, take the FREE Abuse Prevention, SIDS Awareness, and Brain Development course from MyCourseRoom.com.
MyCourseRoom has created a new way to help centers implement an affordable and consistent center-based training process to ensure ‘just-in-time’ training is provided to staff year-around. The purpose of this initiative is to help child care centers sustain their quality despite staff turnover and to help prevent Director burnout.
The cycle of training is demanding and time consuming for Directors and includes orienting new staff, ensuring knowledge of regulations, and diving deep into center philosophies. Our approach allows you to systemize all of this and positions you as a mentor and coach instead of the first responder in delivering knowledge. It’s easy and incredibly productive.
The CQM initiative includes an online private course catalog (for the individual center) complete with courses for the center’s employees. Progress reports for all enrolled learners are available to the Director. Learners receive formal digital certificates with clock hours and CEU as well as their transcripts. This opportunity includes a competency assessment covering 37 skills in 8 competencies. This assessment can be used to evaluate the skills of individual employees and new hires.
Child care center Directors can sign up for MyCourseRoom’s Business Premium Basic Plan for $150 per annum. This plan includes up to 10 named learners. Additional learners can be added at any time during your subscription year for just $13 per learner. Additionally, our Basic Plan includes 25 clock hours of your choice of courses in your private course catalog. Courses can be rotated in and out of your catalog as long as they don’t exceed the 25 clock hours.
To sign up go to http://www.mycourseroom.com/businessPremium.htm, click on subscribe and follow the payment process.
Special Offer: If you register and sign up for the Business Premium Basic Plan by November 2014, MyCourseRoom will include ALL of the following courses (51 clock hours) in your private course catalog.
My mother once told me that the only thing that children share willingly is germs. As we enter the flu season, it is important to remind ourselves and the children in our care how to be protected. Since the flu can stay active on a surface anywhere from a few minutes to over 48 hours, we need to stay vigilant. The first line of defense is hand washing. The National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs (NAC), sets out guidelines for accreditation which include providing a healthy environment for the children.
Let’s start with the easy one, when to wash your hands. To be in accordance with NAC’s standards, you should wash your hands:
- Upon arrival for the day and when moving from one child care group to another
- Before and after
- Eating, handling (cooked and uncooked) food, and feeding a child
- Giving medication
- Playing in water that is used by more than one person
- Using the toilet or helping a child use the toilet
- Handling bodily fluid (mucus, blood, vomit) from sneezing, wiping and blowing noses, from mouths, or from sores
- Handling pets and other animals
- Playing in sandboxes
- Cleaning or handling the garbage
Just as important as ‘when’ to wash your hands is ‘how’ to properly wash your hands. Teaching this to the children is also extremely important. The most effective way to wash your hands is to:
- Use running water when you wash your hands; scrub your hands together while they are under the water.
- Use liquid soap.
- Use paper towels.
- Turn off running water on a manual sink with the paper towel.
Washing your hands and making sure the children wash theirs is one of the most important ways to keep your children and yourself germ free. This is just one of the many topics covered in MyCourseRoom’s free Roadmap to Accreditation course. Sign up today!
Did you know that October 25th is National Make a Difference Day? As such, MyCourseRoom.com would like to thank all of the childcare educators for making a difference with our children. The first few years of a child’s life are some of the most important, and quality care for children during those years increases their probability for future success. In honor of all of the hard work you do, we would like to help make a difference in the lives of these children as well. We welcome all child care workers to take our Child Care Competency Assessment for FREE. Throughout the month of October, we are offering our assessment that is normally $35 for free.
The best way to make a difference in the community as a whole is by making a difference in the lives of our children. However, over 70% of childcare centers receive one or more citations during their compliance visits, and in most states these citations are available online to help parents make informed choices. The Child Care Competency Assessment helps early childhood educators and caregivers achieve the highest level of care possible, without breaking the bank.
This assessment evaluates mastery of 37 skills within 8 competencies from minimum standards, rules and regulations, as well as from personal skills such as communication, organization, and time management. If there are areas where there are competency gaps, we suggest CPE/CEU certified courses that will help you master those skills. This helps determine where there may be compliance issues and get them resolved before the next compliance visit.
These skills evaluate the following 8 competencies:
- Facilities Management
- Classroom Management
- Student Development
- Interpersonal Communication
Do you know your personal learning style? Knowing your own personal learning preferences helps you grasp not only new material but also how to help yourself remember those “little things.” This is a great tool to use not just for yourself but for your children as well. Each person learns differently, and knowing how your children learn will help you teach them not only academics but the skills needed in life.
This assessment is based off of research done by Richard M. Felder and Barbara A. Soloman from North Carolina State University. Their research shows that there are four categories that affect your learning style.
- Active/Reflective – Active leaners tend to be more hands on and do best when they are actively involved with it. These people tend to like working in groups over individual work. A reflective learner, on the other hand, tends to think things through and do more research. A reflective learner usually prefers working by themselves over working with a group. Using an example of a person making an omelet for the first time, active learners may jump right in and start making the omelet to see what happens. The reflective learner will try to think things through and reason how to make the omelet prior to starting.
- Sensing/Intuitive – Sensing learners tend to like learning facts. These individuals prefer solving problems with pre-proven methods. Sensing learners are good at memorizing facts and do not like taking classes that are not obviously applicable for the real world. An intuitive learner, on the other hand, prefers to discover new ways of doing things and often works faster. They are not big fans of tasks that require lots of memorization.
- Visual/Verbal – Visual learners tend to learn best with things they can see such as pictures, info-graphs, diagrams, demonstrations, etc. These people get the most out of visual cues. Verbal learners do best with material presented in a word format. This can be in a written or audible. If a person is attempting to study for an upcoming test, the tactics are a bit different for the two learning styles. A visual learner may create charts or info-graphs to help them remember the material that is presented to them. A verbal learner may want to take notes, record classes or join a study group.
- Sequential/Global – Sequential learners gain understanding in a more linear fashion, one step at a time. Global learners, on the other hand, tend to absorb information in an almost random fashion. They seem to pick up and grasp bits and pieces of information as they go through things until it “just clicks.” Global learners do difficult problems very quickly and come up with novel ways of attacking these problems. However, while they can find the solution quickly and come up with the correct answer, they will have difficulty explaining or even showing how they came to the answer. Sequential learners, in comparison, will have an easier time showing how they came to their answer. They solve problems in a step-by-step manner using pre-proven methods.
It is important to note that every person is somewhere along the spectrum in each of these categories. There is no such thing as a totally sequential learner. Although a balance between the two is optimal, most of us have a strong, moderate, or mild preference for one over the other. Learning your preferences in each category gives you the ability to understand how you learn best and apply this to everyday life.
If you have children of you own or if you are a teacher, you should consider finding out what their learning styles are. This will help them as they grow. Knowing how they learn will help them find ways to study, and if you are a teacher, this knowledge will assist you in teaching a child, specifically those children who need some extra help in grasping a subject. MyCourseRoom.com has a FREE learning style assessment to help you figure out your personal learning style.
Communication is critical in conflict management, and much of the communication is done by non-verbal means. If you really want to resolve conflict, you not only have to be tuned into what a person is saying but also the person’s body language. Physical cues are just as important, if not more so, in dealing with conflicts. The way that a person is standing, how his arms and hands are positioned, and the tension in his facial muscles are all signals to help determine what a person is feeling. Body language goes both ways. It is important to remember that as you manage conflict, you are also providing physical cues that a person will use to interpret what you are saying. So the next time you are trying to resolve a conflict, remember your ROLE.
ROLE stands for Receptive, Open, Lean and Eye Contact. These are the non-verbal signals to use in conflict management.
Receptive – Make sure your facial expressions are relaxed and show that you are receptive to what the person is saying. The last thing that is needed during conflict is for you to have your teeth and jaw clenched. This gives the impression that you are ready for a fight and really do not care what is being said. Instead, take a deep breath, relax your facial muscles, and soften your eyes. This allows the other person to feel that you do care about what he is saying and, more importantly, how he feels.
Open – Use an open posture when you are talking and especially when you are listening. Try keeping your arms by your side in a relaxed position, rather than having your arms folded or on your hips. When you have your arms folded, the person may think that you are closed off and cause him to become more defensive.
Lean – Lean/tilt your head or even your body toward the person. For example, if you are sitting at a table across from the person, lean your body toward him slightly. This shows that you are interested in what the person is saying. Leaning back or reclining may be interpreted as indifference.
Eye contact – Maintain eye contact. This lets the person know that you consider this situation and what he is saying more important than anything else at this moment. If you look around the room while the person is talking, you are in essence implying that you have more important things to do.
Learn more strategies for managing conflict by taking the FREE Conflict Management course from MyCourseRoom.com.
When dealing with children, parents and teachers look for new methods for behavior modification and teaching/promoting good behavior. Below is an easy, fun and inexpensive way to help children recognize and work on good behavior.
Try using colorful game chips to create a fun way to provide immediate consequences for positive and negative behavior. This method is very simple; desirable behavior earns blue chips and undesirable earns red chips. As the child earns blue chips, (s)he can save up for different privileges. These behaviors, chip colors and rewards can be customized based upon the ages, setting and availability.
To implement this method, simply follow these instructions:
- Make a list of desirable behaviors.
- Decide when to reward children with a chip when they exhibit these qualities as well as their chip value.
- Clearly identify the specific behaviors that will cause children to lose chips. Ensure that the rules are clear to everyone.
- Make a list of rewards that the children can earn with the number of chips needed to cash in for that reward.
- Introduce the plan in a positive way and let the children personalize their chip boxes with markers, etc.
While this idea is fantastic for elementary school and younger children, it can be adapted for older children (i.e. middle school age) and for home use.
The chips method is a low cost and easy method to encourage kids to practice good behavior without being asked. If you would like to learn more positive discipline strategies, take the FREE Child Guidance and Discipline course from MyCourseRoom.com.