Facilitator: Dr. Sue Eliason


What strategies have you used or would like to try to identify temperament and individual differences in the children you teach?  Why is this important? Relate your response to the book as well as to your real life examples.


Grace Curley said...

I have a child in my program who I've come to identify as a " slow to warm up" child and because of his temperament he is known throughout my center as the child you do not rush up to or try to hold if he is not comfortable with you; his needs are specific and we recognize and support those needs. Yes, there are days when I wish his temperament was that of one of the many " easy going" classmates he has so that I could spend less time comforting him and more time engaging him but for now , it is what it is. I'm grateful that whatever strategies I use with him ( mostly patience, creating a safe environment, low stress interactions and lots of one on one time) seem to be working. I wouldn't mind seeing how and when , if ever his temperament changes; too bad he wasn't in the Kagan experiment!

Rosemary Murphy said...

Galinsky describes temperment as the "uniqueness of how an individual handles a situation and how he reacts to new experiences". Although it is tied to biology and gentics, it doesn't always determine how a child will react to people or situations. Fox has stated that genes are not someone's destiny. It is the experiences he/she has that help develop a personality. Galinsky also ties in a parent's parenting style as having an influence on a child's temperment. Does a parent's expectations always fit their child's temperment?

The strategies that I have used to determine a child's temperment have been observations and conversations with parents and my preschool team. It's important to know how a child is going to react to a challenging situation so that teachers and parents can teach him/her strategies to cope with it.

Some of the stratiegies that we use are calming exercises, such as deep breathing, running, using sensory tools (squishy balls), drawing in a journal,and talking to the child to find out what works for him/her.

The same strategies might not always work, so it's up to parents and teachers to develop several ways of helping a child to cope with stress.

Debbie Drago said...

Post# 5- Temperament
In most preschool classrooms, you will usually find a wide variety of personalities and temperaments. It takes a lot of thought and planning how to create a happy classroom community where the children can get along . Teachers have to discern between what is temperament and what is just immature three year old behavior. This year, our group has many children who are very needy due to their personalities and stressful family situations. We have a few that are more cooperative and easy going but the rest take more effort and continue to test the teachers on a daily basis and can be obstinate. Some strategies that work for me are to be positive in my approach, using humor with the more difficult children and to have them be a helper where they can be an active participant in the group time , story time or activity.
As stated in the book, I agree that it is a combination of genes and environmental factors that lead to a certain type of temperament. I thought the study on page 277 by Nathan Fox was interesting. His research was about how young children in child care during the first two years of life were less likely to be fearful and anxious when they were four years old. We as teachers need to observe our children and see how they react to different situations on a daily basis. Only then we can help them to learn how to cope with their anxieties, stress, lack of patience, ability to wait their turn and share etc. Parents can also be helpful to ask what works for them at home may be a good approach for school too.

Lisa Rogers said...

Two of the most important strategies for identifying temperament and individual differences would be observation, and communication. Watching our students, tells us an awful lot about how they process life around them. What makes them feel secure and what stresses them out. Communication helps us to know their likes, dislikes, thoughts and opinions. All this goes into identifying each child's temperament.

Realizing temperament is important to knowing how to communicate and interact with each child. The book states that temperament is biological, but can be influenced. Identifying and respecting temperament can have a positive influence on each child's temperament. Some children love when you tease or joke with them. Some children do not understand a joke. Some children need an adjustment period and need to be by themselves when the first come in, other children want to be in your arms and in your face telling you all about their morning. We all want to be treated as individuals, so do children. Respecting their temperaments and individuality helps them feel comfortable and secure, which leads to a happier and calmer child and classroom, and more learning opportunities.

We have a little boy in school who had anger issues, tantrum, screaming, kicking, hitting. As he has matured, his ability to deal with stress has matured too. What has helped the most, is letting him go to a safe place with his blanket, by himself. This usually takes 15 - 20 minutes before he is ready to join the class. Trying to talk with him, calm him down, comfort him, etc. would only make his anger escalate. His parents' work schedule has just changed and he now comes in later than before. This upsets him. As soon as he comes in, we say hello, but then just let him go to his safe place. Afterwards he is ready to join the class and has been having fantastic days.

Cailin Nelson said...

We have a close family setting at our daycare, and most often, the child begins at infancy. So, I feel like I know and understand the children completely. The children also know what I expect out of them. With that being said, observation works best for me in figuring out a child’s temperament. I like to observe the child without them knowing – I feel like I get the best inside look at what makes them tick. (When they know I am watching – the act they way they think I want them to...) How the children interact with one another speaks for many aspects of their temperament. It is so important to understand the child’s temperament so we can give them the tools on how to handle difficult situations in life. Helping the child recognize how they feel helps them cope with there feelings. We read books on feelings, role play, draw facial expressions, and use real life examples to help identify emotions. One little one often has a complete break down at drop off time. Once the child has gained control and joins the breakfast table everyone is asking “why you cry” “you all better” “you need a hug.” So we talk. It is so rewarding to see how our group protects and looks out for each other (ages 3 and under) for I know we have been able to recognize our children’s temperament and work through the tough parts. As Nathan Foxes research reveals, more than genes effect a child’s temperament.

kelly k said...

Spending time with the children and observing how they react around others and yourself quickly reveals their temperament. I have the luxury of working in a smaller family daycare as opposed to a large center so I am observing all of the children who attend there daily. We have an assortment of personalities and temperaments. We have headstrong children and easy going ones, extroverted and shy.....and depending on the situation, I may approach them all differently. If we are having circle time and discussing something, I usually ask questions to the quieter children to sort of draw them out and help them be a part of the conversation. The ones that want to be the center of attention and take over I acknowledge but also let them know that it is someone else's turn to speak and they need to listen. It is interesting too how temperment differences show up while disciplining too. Just today I thought of this when we had a child who "left his listening ears at home". He was not allowed to take part in what the others were doing because he would not listen so he had to leave the group. This is a head strong child and if he is reprimanded in any way, he gets very upset. Initially, this child would be so upset, my reaction was to explain why he was being disciplined right away so he understood but this only made it worse. He just wanted to be left alone and 'not talk about it' until he was good and ready. Now I know that if he has a situation like that, I still talk with him about what happened but this is much more effective after he has his time to wind down.
It is very interesting to me this difference in temperament and how it is evident at such an early age too! We could have two 6 month old babies and they could be extreme opposites. I think it is cool how our environment and experiences can shape the way we respond to things but how we definitely seem to come "hard wired" with the basic temperments that we have.

Sheila said...

5. What strategies have you used or would like to try to identify temperament and individual differences in the children you teach? Why is this important? Relate your response to the book as well as to your real life examples.
Children (people) differ primarily in degree and priority of attribute, rarely totally lacking or uniquely possessing some particular quality or capacity. Because most young children have not been strongly influenced and fixed by life experience, their early mentoring can discover and provide the impetus to build use and build upon their strongest, and help children learn how to manage or improve their weakest attributes, or to re-prioritize them.
A natural way to do this is to gather a variety of children together into a group, and launch the group into a relatively unsupervised project that requires a variety of skills to accomplish, and to provide minimal supervision; only motivation. A teacher observing the individual behavior and contributions of each child to the group endeavor should be able to ascertain at least obvious propensities in each child, and the children themselves begin to learn their own measure. A sensitive teacher, continuing the process day-by-day may observe suppressed propensities in children and craft a circumstance in which such children have the opportunity and motivation to exercise these suppressed capacities.
Even without the establishment of special group projects, children’s behavior in a fairly unstructured classroom, or in unstructured times, can reveal individual traits to an observant and sensitive teacher. What traits a teacher should endeavor to suppress, if any, and which to try to amplify, is an unclear and problematical consideration in this.
Clearly, identifying individual children’s particular attributes and working with them in some manner is an important part of good teaching and parenting. Having the intuition and wisdom for the future of the child, to know which attributes in a particular child to emphasize, to nurture, or to suppress, and how much, and which attributes should have the highest priority in the child’s life, is part of the finest part of the loving art of parenting and teaching, and cannot be prescribed.
Having a small class has its advantages in that much of a particular child’s individuality and temperament shows through. However, in any size class certain children are more likely to reveal them selves than are others who have the tendency to become “lost.”

In last year’s Bridgewater class on the therapeutic classroom, I resolved to spend more time with the children my class who I didn’t know so well. This has been mostly successful but it is a constant challenge to continue listening and observing to ensure that individual differences are taken into account. Children all have different ways of processing their world. It is important to offer a variety of influences in their learning and to identifying a particular child’s individuality is essential part of good teaching.

Pam Hanna said...

Some strategies I have used to identify temperament and individual differences in my classroom start with observations, written as well as visual. Also reviewing the child’s intake information may reveal some clues. A child’s temperament is something that always comes up in parent/teacher conference. Sometimes the temperament does not show up the same way or as clearly at school than at home and sometimes the other way around. How many times have I heard: “I wish he/she would act like that at home?”Or why their child acts like “that” at school. As said in the book, that scientists agree that temperaments are inborn and tied to biological and genetic differences. You may be born with a certain set of genes but those genes only give you the disposition to be shy, boisterous, or whatever. As early learning professionals, do you know the child of parents who are more nervous or anxious about coming to school than the child? How is that child’s temperament? Does the apple ever fall far from the tree? I had some parents that were at the end of their ropes with their child. They could not understand why their kid was so “wild.” Before this could potentially become problematic, we had a conference. The father had an “Aha” moment and told me he was being treated for ADHD, and he was a “wild child” also. The family was concerned their little girl may have it too. I am happy to report this child is just fine. I feel her temperament should be fostered in ways like having plenty of physical activities and concentrating on her love for horses. Well, the wildness has turned into motivation as well as confidence with herself since her differences have been fostered and her needs met by both parent and teacher (all while covering our objectives for learning.) She is a “remarkable child.” Not a “wild child.” Parent/Teacher communication seems to be key with coming up with strategies as well as communicating with other staff members on a regular basis.

Susan Trisoline said...

As mentioned many times in the blog discussion; I agree that the best way to figure out a childs temperament is by observation. I too work in a small home daycare where most of the children have been coming since they were infants. It is interesting to me to watch them grow and how they have learned to react to and with each other. They too seem to know how each other will react to certain situations. We have many different type of personalities among the age groups. Most are very easy going but everyone has their own temperament that comes out in one way or another. I do feel that as Fox stated in the book; genes do have a play in our temperament. If you know the parents of your children you can almost see sometimes why a child acts the way they do. I even see it among my own children; not always for the best either. It is nice knowing that temperament can be influenced by other factors and by working with children that we have been observing can really help guide us to directing them to handle different situations as they arrise.
We have one child that has a real hard time transitioning between activities the other children just seem to know that is how he will be until he can settle himself down. We usually all help he count to ten and he is usually fine. Another 2 year old will just sometimes go up to another child and do something just because she knows how that child will react.
So we take these situations and use them a learning experiences for everyone.

Grace Curley said...

I'm making the connection that identifying temperament in a smaller, or family setting type child care might be quicker than in a large or corporate type facility based on the experience of the women above. This is an aspect of that never occured to me and yet it makes perfect sense ! It is indeed harder to identify temperament in a larger class as well as school; one may just not get the one on one time needed with each student. School age children, by this theory, are even less likely to be receiving the teacher's time or encouragement that their individual temperament needs. It seems no matter the issues that time is really what we as educators need more of! ( And chocolate:))

Lisa Rogers said...

Kelly, I have a child at school similar to the one you described. I wasted a lot of energy and patience on his part and mine, when he first joined the school. We didn't know him well enough to get a full picture of his temperament and what works and what doesn't. Now we know, he needs some alone time. He doesn't want other children apologizing to him, he doesn't want me explaining why something happened. He needs to sort through it himself. After a while he will be ready to talk with the rest of us. I think that is the hardest part when a new child begins, or the beginning of the school year when we have multiple new children starting school. It takes some time to really know each child's temperament. It takes some time and work to realize what works best for each child. All the books we have read, and the classes we have taken are wonderful places to start...but it really comes down to each child; their temperament, their likes, dislikes, their backgrounds etc. Because they are all individuals, all their own persons, and they need us to treat them as such. Once again, time, always seems to be the thing we need the most. :)

Mary Beth Hunt said...

I believe that observation and interaction with the children in my class are key strategies for identifying temperament. Most of the children in our program are full-time students. That means that our teachers spend a great deal of time with them throughout their days. Debbie Drago mentioned "children who are very needy due to their personalities and stressful family situations". I have children in my group who are being raised by grandparents and other family members as well as several children who have had to deal with divorce. It has been my experience that all of these situations influence children and how they cope with experiences and expectations.

Suggestion 7 (p. 289) is to "understand your child's temperament - observe what your child does to calm down, and build on his or her strengths." Galinsky mentions how a child reacts to an experience and how they respond. By observing the children in my group as they work and play, I have a sense of how they will react and respond. I try to always be mindful of children who may not do well sitting together, as well as activities that may be more difficult for certain children. Identifying temperament is important because it helps a teacher know how to best teach his or her children.

Pam Hanna said...

Thank you Sheila, for reminding me about spending more time with the children I don’t know so well. I agree it is a challenge. In response to the book, I read that children’s temperaments have two components: how they react (to a new experience) and how they regulate their response (how much time it takes them to manage) I like the quote in MIM, “language of their behavior” It is hard sometimes to figure out and cope with challenging circumstances. A lot times I have to turn my “adult” switch to off, and become completely with the child until the crises is over. While doing this, other children will try out the same behaviors to get my attention as well. While recognizing this (potential risk) at an early stage of the challenge, I make sure I talk with the other children as well, letting them know that when they need me for special help, I will be there for them as well.

Sue Eliason said...

Temperament seems to be a factor in how we cope with stress. It was interesting to me to see how you used the seven skills to determine temperament and to use your understanding of children to more effectively teach.
1. Focus and self-control (Sheila has made an effort to spend more time with the children my class who I didn’t know so well).
2. Perspective taking (Pam H. comment that temperament does not show up the same way or as clearly at school than at home and sometimes the other way around).
3. Communicating (Lisa’s temperament identification strategy)
4. Making connections (Caitlin’s use of observations to determine a child’s temperament– I feel like I get the best inside look at what makes them tick.)
5. Critical thinking (Debbie’s ability to discern between temperament and age-appropriate behavior )
6. Taking on challenges (Graces’ slow to warm child)
7. Pursuing ongoing learning (Lisa respects each child’s temperaments and helps them feel comfortable and secure, which leads to a happier and calmer child and classroom, and more learning opportunities.)

As I read the responses, I thought about my reactions to events. Some days I react differently based on how I’ve met my needs for sleep, food (especially chocolate), and comfort. I wonder how much of my response is based on mood and how much is my temperament. Do you think the difference between mood and temperament influences children’s responses to situations? Do you think your temperament has changed as a result of environmental influences?

Joanne Hogan said...

In response to Sue's comments, I think that temperament and mood are connected and both play a part in how children react to things. Most children respond to things differently when they are hungry, tired, or just having a bad day. I find that they often control their behavior depending on the environment and the people they are with. At the end of the day, the full-time children in my class often show signs of being tired and I can usually help them to refocus by offering more quiet activities to enable them to relax and rest a little. Often times, though, the minute that a tired child sees his or her parent, they will engage in a temper tantrum or will begin whining and giving their mom or dad a hard time. With parents, the emotional connection is much stronger and the child feels more comfortable expressing themselves with their parents than they do in our more structured environment. We also need to be aware of temperament. For example, most children are tired at the end of the day, but some children's reactions to being tired or hungry might be much stronger than others as a result of their particular temperament. Whether it's mood or temperament, we should be ready to adapt or modify the environment and we can do this by observing the children closely and understanding what works for them individually.

Sheila said...

This thought is posted under Temperment because there is no other place to post it:

6. Cascade of Fear (A Thought)

Children’s personalities are built upon the foundation of their genetic makeup, and are then shaped by a succession of intertwined life experiences. However, it may be possible in this process, if an early experience has been strongly fear-inducing, that some children are sidetracked by the experience, off on to a fearful developmental track. A sensitive and caring mentor should be aware of this possibility, and if such “derailment” is suspected in a child, should attempt to put the child back on to a happier track.

Psychology advises that fear, unlike other experiences, once imprinted in a person, is permanent. This requires that for healthy development, a child must learn to “think-around” the imprinted fear when a fear response does not pertain to a situation.

If in infancy a child has a fearful experience, and has not yet had the opportunity to learn to “think-around” the fear response, the child’s fear responses might grow inordinately, expanding outward with each new experience, each new experience being based in the fear setting of the last. This could actually leave a child generally fearful. This might be expressed in a child as a sort of unfocused anxiety, a preoccupation, or lack of ability to concentrate, and it could mask curiosity and sap energy.

It therefore seems to me that the sensitive and caring mentor should be observant of children, looking for signs of the possibility of this cascade of fear in a child, and if it is suspected, take steps to create new learning experiences which enable the child to “think-around” and “live-around” the fear responses that the child has accumulated in early development, as the child grows to adulthood.

Sheila said...

This reflection is posted under temperment because there is no other place to post it:

7. Fantasy and Imagination.

“The most priceless possession of the human race is the wonder of the world. Yet, latterly, the utmost endeavors of mankind have been directed towards the dissipation of that wonder… Science analyses everything to its component parts, and neglects to put them together again…. Nobody, any longer, may hope to entertain an angel unawares, or to meet Sir Lancelot in shining armor on a moonlit road.

But what is the use of living in a world devoid of wonderment? Children whose spirits are properly nourished need not miss this wonder, for children are not merely people: they are the only really living people that have been left to us in an over weary world…. Their simple acceptance of the mood of wonderment and their readiness to welcome a perfect miracle at any hour of the day or night is a thing more precious than any of the labored acquisitions of adult mankind…”
These words from Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham were written long ago, but their message is more timely than ever. In my opinion the role of fantasy and imagination is vital to an individual’s over all well-being. Although the author of our book alludes to imagination and child play, especially in music, she does not give it the attention I believe it should receive. In our classroom we encourage and allow much free play and fantasy. At my home, in warm weather I hold outdoor fairy tea parties in which children are drawn into a world of magic. Happy fantasy, I believe, is important in three ways: First, it makes children happy, Second and most important, it teaches and encourages the expansion of one’s world to unknown and unseen possibilities. Third, it helps alleviate the oppressive elements in our materialistic society.

8. A World of Electronic Interaction.

First television and now computers, and now other electronic devices are changing our society forever. Much is written, pro and con, about the impact of these devices. The author of our book recognizes these good and bad influences and encourages the use of all forms of communication, interaction, and sharing, be it drawing or dancing, singing, photography, or other. The author is concerned for parents, children and all society about the immense possibilities that these devices bring, and their overwhelming temptation. Her theory is that a young person faced with these temptations must remain focused and in control, making sensible choices, making good use of “executive functions”. In my view there are important downsides to these device. What I observe about Facebook for instance, is that it is damaging to socialization in that it creates an abstract, electronic world of interaction that is not visceral. It is fun. it is captivating, it is useful, and it creates a wide-ranging relationships, but it provides for no touching, no reading of body language, and no skill is developed in reading the subtleties of emotion and feeling, etc. In my view, we may well ask ourselves if perhaps Facebook is creating a generation of induced autism in society.

Will we become so used to a flat screen not requiring facial or bodily response, that over time, a large part of our society will appear to be autistic?

Jackie Whitford said...

I completly understand and agree with Grace's comment about how if Kids coming from a small family day care or have had a nanny and go to a large center with alot of kids there temperment will be harder to identify. I had a child that was new to our school and had this problem. The child was at home with a nanny since infancy. The nanny did take the child to playgroups and had playdates with one or two other children. You could tell the child had never been in a large setting before. They needed almost one on one attention and wanted to be held all day - which as we all know it is almost impossible when you have 9 toddlers or 18 preschoolers. Once the child got acclamted with the teachers and classroom he was completely fine and now loves coming to school and playing with the other children.

Ellen Gallager said...

In the program where I work before the child’s first day the teacher does a home visit with the family and child. This visit is very beneficial to have the opportunity to see the child in their home environment. You see their reaction to you and interaction with their family. You also get an in-depth background from the parent about the child and one of the first things the parent wants you to know is about their child’s temperament. With this information we can start on the first day with this knowledge to make the child comfortable in their new setting. When we have behaviors in the classroom that need regulating we again ask the parent what they do at home to divert or encourage a particular behavior. One aspect of temperament, that I’ve always heard about is a child’s order of birth. I wonder how this has an effect on their temperament?
I think as teachers we have so many tools to use to help temperaments in the classroom once we have identified them. For the little boy who has difficulty with transitions he could hold a timer to tell everyone “5 more minutes” before the transition starts. Or he could be the transition monitor .I
I think working as a team with the child, the parent and the teacher to help the child assimilate into the classroom is critical to future development.
I look forward to continuing this discussion and would also like to talk about children with special needs. How do auditory and processing challenges affect their temperament and how to help them be successful in the classroom.

Pam Fantaroni said...

Temperment is how a child react to a new situation or experience. Some are eager and adventurious and other are shy and worried. Strategies I use are how they react on the first day they are exposed to their new classroom on Open House night with Mom and Dad. Some are fearful and shy and others jump in and explore and get busy. I,also, have the pleasure to meet them and their families on a home visit before they begin school. We have lots of forms to fill out about their development, but it is great to observe them in their home setting and ask parents about how their react is to new situations.
I found the statements about high reactive children who became physically agitated and distressed and low reactive children who were more relaxed and social very interesting. I,also, thought it was interesting that a shy child can learn to behave in a relaxed way. Learning our students temperments is important. We can help them overcome their anxiety and fearfulness or shyness. I thought it was interesting that children who attended child care in their first 2 years were more likely to change if they were inhibited be new situations or experiences. This is great news for us and the benefits of putting your little one in child care. Teachers can guide children to feel more comfortabe with new experiences and guide them to be more independent. This is why it is important to identify their temperments, so we can guide them and help them meet their full potential. Teachers can help children when they get upset to take deep breaths, hold a stuffed anima, jump or run in place, use playdough,etc. to help them calm down and refocus.
I have a little guy in my class who has sensory, processing and emotional issues. He gets upset easily. We sometimes remove him from a situation, we might take a walk with him down the hall, have him go in our quiet tent which has sensory items, use playdough or a puzzle have him hold a stuffed animal or give him a special classroom job(he might carry a weighted backpack to the playground.) This helps him calm down and keeps him focused and able to experience new situations and transitions more easily.

Denise Jones said...

What strategies do I use or would like to try to identify temperament and individual differences in children, and why is it important?

Every child has special rights! One needs emotional support, one needs help with spelling, one needs help with sorting, another needs assistance on the toilet. Each one is different! Being in tune with your class’s individual strengths and weaknesses help you prepare for, or anticipate events and needs of the children. The most important strategy I use to determine strengths and weaknesses and individual temperaments with the children in my classroom is communication or conversation and observation or listening to the children.

I want to ask the children to do what they are capable of, and to have them help each other with the things that are more difficult. I don’t want to be the “football dad in chapter 6, suggestion #8, asking a child to do something their temperament is “not cut out” to do. That only leads to “disappointment, anxiety and tension”

Denise Jones said...

In addition to my previous post, I find it very interesting the children's behavior change when parents are with them. Some children become more shy and reserved with mom and dad there, and others test the waters of who is in control- teacher? or parent? They are looking for an adult to redirect their misbehaviors.

I make it my job to figure out what strategies work with which children, and help them tune in to those strategies. I had one boy who needed to chill out in his cubby when he was upset, and if you gave him that time, and returned to him (not forget about him) he could explain what the dilemma was, and how he could try different things next time. It was a great time for lessons on perspective, too. Why do you think he did that? Let's ask him. He really need a cool down moment. Eventually, the cool down moment became shorter, and he would come out to me for the discussion.

Sarah Lockwood said...

In my class I have a varied group of children with all different temperaments. All of these children I speak to, and handle differently because they are all very different and we should be flexible to their needs. Some children when asked to clean up their toys once, will do it. Others will need a second reminder and will not get offended by this, while others in my room, if told twice will get extremely emotional and cry, out of frustration that play time is over or that they are embarrassed that they needed to be reminded twice. I like to treat all of the kids according to their temperament. I think getting to know the children is the most important thing you can do and you don't want to rush and "assumptions," you have but instead make proper observations of the child to learn more about them. I have one child who is a very big follower. He is quiet when playing individually or in a group. When in a group though, he follows behaviors that get attention, but the behaviors are typically not positive so he becomes a child you may need to speak to but speaking to him you must modify things because he is extremely quiet and emotional. I always speak to him, and all the children, calmly and word my concerns differently because I know his sensitivity with many situations he may get in to with those that he follows. Observation is by far the best tool I have used to track temperament. It is something you can keep track of during the school year to see progression or degression.

Sandy Durazzano said...

Grace Curley commented that identifying temperment in a smaller setting seems to be quicker and easier. This is true, I have worked both in centers and FCC, and have found that with FCC because the numbers are smaller
(I can have a max of 6 children at a time), there is more available time for individual one on one interaction and observation. Another factor to consider is the children spend the day with only one caregiver which may not be the case in larger centers. Going along with one care giver, as an FCC provider I talk to all my parents at least twice a day. At drop offs I get a feel from the parents as to how the childs/families night and morning were as well as how the child seems to be feeling (of course if they aren't feeling well, their temperment for the day might be off) this gives me an indication as to how their day will be. At the end of the day, again I am the one who the parent will see and will report to them how the day was for their child. Becaue I have the small group I also have a good grasp of how approachable the parents are during their work
day if I have a question or concern. I know if I can give them a quick call or send a text. One thing I like to do for my parents is take a picture of the children engaged in an activity whether it is funny or silly or something they built and send it out as a text to the parents. The parents love getting these pictures. I guess it is a way for the parents to connect with what their child is doing during the day. Anyway, because I am the one that sees the parents at both ends of the day it is easier for me to get an assesment on the child's temperment.

Alexandra Trudo said...

A teacher I worked with a long time ago, when I was doing my student-teaching, used to say "Fair isn't that everyone gets the same thing, fair is that everyone gets what he or she needs." I reflect back on that quote many times when developing curriculum and planning day-to-day activites. It is important to take children's temperaments (as well as learning styles, interests and capabilities) into consideration, because each child will approach learning differently and we, as educators, need to be flexible in order to meet their individual needs.

Cailin Nelson said...

Denise, I am glad you acknowledged the difference in childrens temperament with parents. I often joke with parents that if their child acted the way they are at pick up time – they would not be enrolled. Children test parents – at such a young age they already understand unconditional love. I often wonder more as to why? Not knowing anything, I would think feeling safe and secure would be the biggest factor. I know each child feels safe and secure with me, I can tell in the open dialog we have and the love they show me but yet each one of my children acts in a unique way for their mom and dad. Some are down right fresh, lack confidence, eager to go home, reluctant to go home, full of love, or cold. Might it be a lack of structure at home that causes the child to lose control? Might home be missing special time, causing the lashing out?
We have this one little girl – who honestly is the best in the group. Not one thing I could complain about. Well, soon after enrolled mom shared she was in disbelief. Mom insists her child is a screaming, wake the neighbors, temper tantrum kid. Mom drops off child at least once a week almost in tears. Mom seems to have a good grip on basic parenting techniques, so why is it that this beautiful little girl changes so much once she leaves our home? (I will note – over the year and a half child has been enrolled, we have gotten a taste of this behavior a handful of times and it is ugly, lol!)

ellen gallager said...

I was interested in Denise and Calin’s comments. Often when talking to parents it’s apparent that they have a street angel and a house devil or reverse. Children often act so differently with their parents and parents are frustrated.
In our Center we have several parenting videos we offer to parents. Our Family Worker makes monthly visits with families and this is a good time to bring them a video or even watch it with them.
I have been thinking about how useful it might be for parents to have information about temperament. I have often gone to workshops given by Jeannine Fitzgerald and find all of her insight helpful not only in the classroom but my personal life. I have suggested to our Family Worker that I think it would be good to let parents know when Jeannine might be speaking in the area to give them an opportunity to hear her speak.
Reading Mind in the Making and reflecting on the blogs, I am thinking a lot about how temperament effects a child’s outlook.

Jackie Whitford said...

Galinsky talks about temperment being an "uniqueness of how an individual handles a situation and how he reacts to new experiences". Children have all different types of temperment. There are some children who can jump into a new situation and meet new people with no problem at all. There are also some children who need a little time to get know someone and feel comfortable in new situations. I think that is important for children to attend daycare or some time of playgroup where they can be away from their parents, even if it's just for a little wile so they can learn to be comfortable around other people and be exposed to different situations. I have had many children in my class that when they first started it would take them a while to get used to a new caregiver and being with alot of children. Once they get used to this there temperent will go from crying all day because they want their parents to love going to school and playing with their friends and teachers and not want to go home at the end of the day.

Pam Hanna said...

I enjoyed reading the story “You’re not the boss of my legs” This really hit home with me, because for so long, I have been trying to explain to parents their child’s yearning for control. I usually get the “three headed stare,” and seem to get stuck on my words when it happens. But this story really sums it up. How come my child listens to you and not me? Some of my advice to parents is pick and choose your battles. (I know when this is effective when the child comes to school in their pajamas!) In the book it talks about helping the child comply with rules and guidelines and setting consequences. She says this is an essential point in helping children take on challenges. I am not really the “boss” of these children I work with every day. I help them come up with their own ideas and strategies to solve problems, which in turn puts the ball in their court, the consequence becomes obvious to the child, and they have learned something valuable or I sure have!

Sarah Lockwood said...

Recently this week I had a child have a very hard time during rest. Some children will go right onto their cots, get their appropriate sleep time things and take a nap. During this time I had one child disrupt many sleepers. They were provided with a book to look at during this time. Having to communicate with this child I really had to modify my way to speaking to them because of her temperament. Many children will listen to what you are saying right away while others you need to word it differently and give them choices in order for them to appropriately respond to your requests. It immediately came to mind to me at how different children are even though they still may be the same age.

Sarah Lockwood said...

I am often amazed at how much children of the same age, having identical birthdays can be so opposite when it comes to temperament and behavior. Often I see siblings come into our center to pick up or drop off a brother and sister and although some are younger and older it also amazes me at how different they are from each other. I just last week had a father say to me "Suzie doesn't mind if i tell her to pick up her room, but Elle would be so offended if i ever had to speak to her to get it done." Having a parent say this to me but a big standout to me when it comes to temperament. His children are only one year apart and very similar in alot of ways but he knows that Suzie and Elle need to be spoken to differently because what is no big deal to one child is huge to the other. It definitely is a clear cut example of temperament, even within the same household and family.

Mary Beth Hunt said...

Alexandra mentioned a teacher she had who once said "Fair isn't that everyone gets the same thing, fair is that everyone gets what he or she needs". I recently attended an autism spectrum information training and the facilitator used the same quote. Children's abilities are not one-size fits all. Ellen Gallagher mentioned the child with special needs and auditory and processing challenges. I think that we, as teachers, have to take challenges into account. Dealing with the stress of a learning challenge has got to have an impact on temperament and or mood. I have one child in my class who has delays. By the time information is processed, most of the children in the class are steps ahead. Many children want to help or "do it" for the child I mentioned. I think it is important to take the time to help the child who needs help have the tools to accomplish tasks independently or with little assistance. Ellen Galinsky discusses the research done by Fox with regard to "parenting styles" and states "if children who get upset and stressed by new experiences have parents who don't help them regulate their emotions, they're likely to become more fearful and anxious as preschoolers and school-age children." (p.276). I think that teachers have to help children regulate their emotions and have to keep their own (teachers) stress levels and "teaching styles" in check. I realize that it's not always an easy task.

Mary Beth Hunt said...

The importance of perspective taking can not be stressed enough at all ages and in all walks of life. Jackie talked about the importance of teaching children about diversity. I also agree that it is very important to learn about cultural diversity as well as people who are physically or mentally different. We need to learn about many different people with different life challenges and not just our peer group. Many people have mentioned people with autism or autism spectrum disorder. We have a close family connection with someone "on the spectrum" and it is challenging to know what the child is feeling. That child works very hard at using words to say how he is feeling and has been working on learning what emotions look like "on someone else". Susan T. mentioned children who, because of their individual situation, might not know that they are being made fun of. Susan, I think just the fact that you are talking with your children about the child that takes things so literally is a good start. Perhaps the more we talk about the child who is different the more sensitive others will become. Let's hope!

Denise Jones said...

Responding to Pam and YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF MY LEGS!

That story hit home for me! I have been talking with my own children, and my preschool class about talking to their body when something needs to change. For example, if someone is running inside- “your feet forgot something, tell your feet to walk inside- they can run when we get outside.” Or, if someone has hurt themselves-(not too bad) - "Oh, no! If you hurt yourself should you be in trouble?" "You need to tell yourself to be careful!"

It helps them realize they have choices, and I am helping them take responsibility for those choices. It was those feet, not the child running! The child can correct that behavior. They are in charge. And there is a consistent consequence, good or bad, for each choice we make.