Once again the teachers of Manaia Kindergarten, along with other Early Childhood teachers who are part of the ICT ECE PL Program, spent a great Saturday presenting and sharing ICT initiatives and resources to 180 ECE teachers from around the North Island. And once again we found it inspiring and motivating with the added element of meeting new people and new theories and ideas.
One resource we like to promote for Early Childhood centres and schools, is blogging. This is a FREE resource and provides children/students with a new medium for self expression, story telling, celebrating achievements (be it final results or showcasing their determination and enjoyment of learning), and to teach others what they themselves have recently learned. Blogging provides a number of positive elements that traditional forms of writing, self expression and teaching are unable to offer.
The first is that blogging provides an authentic audience. It is not just the teacher who assesses children's learning. It is not just the Mums, Dads and Grandparents who smile with pride at their children's progress proudly displayed on the kitchen fridge (although both the afore-mentioned are naturally and vitally important). There is however, a world of bloggers, blog readers, children and educators who are addressed, considered, and valued by children who blog. And the idea that there are people out there and are interested, is easily accepted by the C generation. For young children, their own learning and achievements are the central parts of their world and they naturally accept that their learning and achievements are central parts of your world too!! They are all eager to share accomplishments with you.
I have not noticed children blogging for comments. Checking the blog (or checking with teachers) to see if comments have been left on their posts is not the first port of call when they arrive at Kindergarten. The swings and sandpit still rank high as the activities of choice! However they are stoked, chuffed, overjoyed when a comment is left by a loved one, by friends and actually by anyone who shows an interest in their contributions. Both known and unknown commentators are valued as comments invite children into the global conversation and recognise children's contributions on a level playing field.
Those interested in education, of students achieving goals, for those who value displays of determination - you are given a unique opportunity to encourage, to respond, and generally to contribute to individual children's learning, and to communities of children at schools, at home and at kindergartens around the world.
So my challenge for you is - Have you left a child an encouraging comment on their blog this week?
Hunter Park Kindergarten
Whangarei Heads Primary
Parua Bay Primary