Loosening Our Grip: Embracing a culture of “Why Not?” to find teachable moments so infants and toddlers can flourish

255A2950Seventeen enthusiastic and dedicated early childhood teachers attended an early childhood in-service workshop on July 7 sponsored by the UMKC School of Education’s Edgar L. and Rheta A. Berkley Child and Family Development Center (Berkley CFDC) and its Continuing and Professional Education that encouraged teachers to slow down and be more intentional in child observations.


Instructor Kathleen Cross (M.A., ‘09) stated “we’ve noticed a trend of teachers hurrying children to accomplish adult aims. For example, children are rushed through putting their coats on and past interesting people and materials, only to be made to sit down for a song before heading outdoors.”


With that in mind, Cross developed a continuing education course/in-service training to encourage infant-toddler professionals to think about routine moments from the child’s perspective. A question teachers might consider is whether they provide the richest possible learning experiences for the children in their care.


When Cross began to implement such changes in her own classroom, she developed more delightful, easygoing times with the children. She also stressed the need to consider parts of children’s daily routines and transitions. This supports teachers to step back and try to determine the child’s “plan”: Watching from a safe distance provides teachers the opportunity to think about the child’s goal.


Teachers working in child care and early learning centers must obtain a minimum of 12 hours of in-service/professional development classes each calendar year. For the past six years Berkley CFDC and the School of Education’s Continuing and Professional Education have offered early childhood workshops each spring and fall with the vision and goal to provide high quality early childhood trainings that put theory into practice.