There’s a really fascinating article in last week’s New Yorker about best practices in providing care for patients with dementia. It focuses on a particular care center in Arizona where they’ve dramatically reduced the use of behavior-altering drugs and physical restraints, and dramatically improved the quality of life and happiness of the patients. It’s not an article about early childhood at all—but it’s quite striking how many of the interventions described line up perfectly with best practices in preschool. Making special efforts toward authentic communication with non-verbal people; attending carefully to the messages the environment sends; creating schedules and routines that meet patients’/children’s needs, rather than making people conform to schedules that are convenient for caregivers/teachers; attending to the importance of eating for general well-being; avoiding pathologizing developmentally normal behaviors; adapting the environment and activities to appeal to patients’/children’s interests; giving patients/children the opportunity to fail for the sake of building self-confidence; attending to family and cultural context; and creative problem-solving about how to meet a patient’s/child’s needs. (The whole article is only available online if you have a subscription.)
A nice post from Toddler Approved: Simple Independent Play Activities for Toddlers. That about covers it. Good ideas in here.
A great idea from Tom Bedard: a sensory table covering with holes in it. I can’t get over how this guy plays with not just the content but the STRUCTURE of sensory tables. I can’t imagine any kid worth his salt not being excited about this stuff.
Lovely art idea from Teacher Tom: kids making their own “chalk paint,” which is secretly a math and science activity. Kids will like this one, for sure.
A thoughtful column about raising girls (and boys) to have healthy body images, in this crazy screwed-up culture we live in. Also, a nice shout-out to Ellen Sattyr, who has by far the best guidelines for feeding children I know of.