The earlier, the better? Three important conditions for early intervention and prevention

The earlier, the better? Three important conditions for early intervention and prevention

This blog post was contributed by Pauline Slot (Utrecht University). Pedagogues, special education teachers or other types of specialists working in ECEC sometimes have to deal with teacher’s concerns about a child’s development, behaviour or home situation. It is good

Three reasons to value the first languages of all children in the classroom

Three reasons to value the first languages of all children in the classroom

Not all children attending early childhood education classrooms speak the same first language. What to do when children express themselves in their mother tongue, and not in the language of instruction? If we invest in the first language (i.e., the mother tongue), can we delay learning the language of instruction or, conversely, can we foster the successful development of the two languages? How to respond to immigrant or ethnic minority parents when they ask what they should do at home to promote language development in general or to promote the learning of the language of instruction?

“What does the child have?” – 6 questions about the meaning of a child’s diagnosis

“What does the child have?” – 6 questions about the meaning of a child’s diagnosis

“We still don’t know what the child has…”, told me a teacher about the difficulties she was experiencing with a child who demonstrated behavioural problems. That sentence kept me wondering. Gathering information about what the child “has”, i.e., trying to know “his/her” diagnosis, underlies a genuine concern. But are those difficulties due primarily to something he/she “has”? To what extent knowing the diagnosis is essential to plan interventions at home, daycare or kindergarten?

How come our preschoolers do not move enough? And what should we do?

How come our preschoolers do not move enough? And what should we do?

“Ooh, too little exercise? No, my preschoolers move more than enough and can hardly sit still!” This is how teacher Nathalie describes her 4-year-olds during my class visit. However… recent research in Flemish preschoolers reveals a completely different picture. Slightly less than 90% of the preschoolers do not reach the international guidelines for physical activity on weekdays.

‘That pencil is not flesh coloured. It’s brown’: talking about skin colours in the classroom

‘That pencil is not flesh coloured. It’s brown’: talking about skin colours in the classroom

Teacher, why is that girl so dirty? When young children make such statements, we are inclined to pass over them (‘she does not know what she is saying’), to blame the parents (‘they must have picked it up at home’) or to quickly and generally condemn these statements (‘you cannot say that, that is not nice’). We assume that children will grow up to be unprejudiced adults if we do not talk about ‘it’. Contrary to what we believe, young children are not ‘colour-blind’.

I can always count on her. What migrant parents value in their relationships with the (pre)school.

I can always count on her.  What migrant parents value in their relationships with the (pre)school.

“When I have something on my mind, I just walk to the teacher. Yes, I’ll ask for suggestions like ‘how do I need to do these things at home? Do you have suggestions?’ Yes, I can always count on her..” – Batoul, parent of Dahbi (4 years old).