Sunday, April 23

MINDFULNESS AND PURPOSE IN CHILD CARE - A Minimalist Approach to Programming


MINDFUL  Attentive.  Aware.  Conscious.
PURPOSE – Intention.  Aim.  Reason.
MINIMALIST – Essential.  Moderation. Calm.

We hear so much about mindfulness, purpose and minimalism in relation to our adult lifestyle, but they can also be applied to child care and programming.
·         Mindful teaching.
·         Purposeful programming.
·         Minimalist play environments.

If you would like to be MINDFUL IN YOUR APPROACH to teaching and programming for children, think about what you're putting out (toys, materials and activities), and why.

Everything you put out for the children should be DONE WITH PURPOSE AND MINDFUL INTENT, not just for the sake of being out there or to fill space.  There should be a rhyme and reason to your choice of materials, a main purpose with a base – the children's interests, part of a larger blueprint for play.  

Children should have a vested interest in everything you set out.  All too often there are playrooms with a wealth of materials piled all around, yet THE CHILDREN'S PLAY HAS NO FOCUS; not that play need to be focused, but the children should not be moving aimlessly through the room, so overwhelmed by the materials and toys that they do not engage.

Take a walk around your playroom and ask yourself:

WHY DID I PUT OUT THOSE MATERIALS?  
WHY DID I PLACE THAT ACTIVITY THERE? 

Why have I chosen river rock story stones and why are they out this week?  Is it because the children are interested in storytelling, or because it's spring and part of a theme?  Did you see a Pinterest Pin where the idea looked great, but the children don't use them, or did you want the children to explore the rock textures, feel the smooth surface while exploring the little pictures, maybe handle the stones as part of greater SENSORY EXPERIENCE of oral storytelling?  

Whatever the motivation, there should be a purpose, and TEACHERS NEED TO BE MINDFUL of that purpose when creating and maintaining their child care environment.

Declutter.  

Think about what you're adding the environment.  Use care and purpose to keep things minimal.  Only add or keep out things that have meaningful.
 
Be Mindful.  Have Purpose.  Maintain Minimal. 

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