Teaching Children about Goal Setting

As an early childhood educator, you have it in your power to create the next generation of goal setters. Just as with most other skills of successful adults, the foundation skills can be traced back to early childhood. While Infants and toddlers probably won’t be interested in goal setting, it is possible that some of the preschoolers in your care will be capable of and even excited by setting and achieving goals for themselves.

The goal setting process for children may look a bit different, but many of the elements of adult goal setting apply. Children’s goals will most likely need to be concrete, short-term, and related to the children’s immediate interests.

You can introduce goal setting with children by incorporating language associated with goal setting into your everyday language:

  • When children choose a learning center, ask them if they have a plan for their play
  • When they are running on the playground, ask if they have a goal for how fast they want to run
  • When they are creating with playdough, ask if they have an end result in mind
  • When they are building with blocks, ask how many blocks they want to use in their tower
  • When they are at the writing center, ask then what they want to accomplish

If children appear interested in the conversation, continue by asking a few more questions:

  • Is there any way I can help you with your plan?
  • What do you need to do to reach your goal?
  • What tools will help you create your end result?
  • What steps can you make sure that you are successful?
  • Remind them that to achieve some goals takes time and practice

This type of critical thinking is a precursor to more formal goal setting that will take place later in life.

Ask children to think about the skills they do really well. See if they can identify how they learned those skills. Encourage children to think of new skills that they want to learn. Ask the children to think about the steps they need to learn to reach the final skill. Document all of this information. Ask children to draw a picture of themselves reaching their goals. Hang the pictures on a classroom goal board.

Here are a few other ways to promote goal setting with children:

  • Record a child’s goal on paper, then take a picture once the goal has been achieved. Ask the child to list the steps they took to achieve the goal.
  • Share goals that you have created and update children as you meet those goals.
  • Create a group goal and plan a celebration once the goal is reached. During the celebration, review the steps the children took to meet the goal.
  • Read books about characters (fictional and nonfictional) who have set and achieved goals.
  • For older children, ask “What’s Working?” and “What’s Not Working?” Encourage children to make a plan to fix items on the “What’s Not Working” list.

We would love to hear about your experiences goal setting with children. Visit us on Facebook to tell us all about it!

New Course from CCEI Exploring Theater Arts in Early Childhood Education

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, is proud to introduce CUR119: Theater Arts in Early Childhood Education to the online child care training course catalog.

The research is consistent and extensive: engagement with “the arts” brings significant benefits to young children of all ages. From the time they first hear music, make their first dance move, lift their first crayon, or play “house” for the first time, arts-related activities provide physical, cognitive, and social-emotional benefits to young children. An arts-integrated curriculum can help young children learn about themselves and the world around them. In addition to opportunities for fun and self-expression, the arts serve as a platform for developing vocabulary and other language skills, critical thinking skills, cultural knowledge, physical skills, and much more.

This intermediate-level course explores ways to incorporate theater arts into the early childhood curriculum to promote development of social-emotional, cognitive, and early literacy/language skills. Course content is relevant to teachers of all age groups, though many of the activities will be appropriate for pre-K and up. Participants will learn about the connection between early dramatic play and structured, teacher-planned activities that build cultural knowledge and skills related to critical thinking, creativity, and emotional expression. This course provides numerous ideas for activities and teaching strategies teachers can start using right away, plus resources and guidance to assist in creating staged theatrical performances.

“The theater arts provide an amazing, limitless gateway to a world of literacy and language development, cognitive growth, and social emotional skills,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI. “Through theater arts, children can put their imaginations and creativity to the test, and teachers can address an incredibly wide range of learning goals.”

CUR119: Theater Arts in Early Childhood Education is a two-hour, intermediate-level course and grants 0.2 IACET CEU upon successful completion. Current CCEI users with active, unlimited annual subscriptions can register for professional development courses at no additional cost when logged in to their CCEI account. Users without subscriptions can purchase child care training courses as block hours through CCEI online enrollment.

For more information, visit www.cceionline.edu or call 1.800.499.9907, prompt 3, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST

CCEI Offers No-Cost Online Course Examining Inclusion and Children with Special Needs

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers CCEI968: Inclusion and Children with Special Needs as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users December 1-31, 2017.

According to the American Heritage dictionary, the term to include means “to take in as a part, element, or member; to consider with or place into a group or class.” In education, inclusion is the practice of placing children with disabilities, or special needs, into educational environments with “typically developing” peers. But inclusion is much more than just the physical placement of children into typical, or mainstream, learning environments. This dictionary definition of include stops short of the actual spirit of inclusion, which is better defined by words such as embrace and involve. The definitions of these three words together—inclusion, embrace, and involve—describe the vision for inclusion in education today. It is not enough that a child with a disability is present in a classroom; he or she must be embraced by others as an active participant. Children with disabilities benefit from interacting with their peers, who model appropriate communication, problem solving, self−help skills, and use of materials.

There are many children enrolled in child care facilities with undiagnosed disabilities. Because children enter child care at such a young age, it is quite common for child care providers to be the first people to notice the possible signs of a disability. For this reason, it is extremely important to create an inclusive environment regardless of whether a child with a diagnosed disability is enrolled in the facility. In inclusive programs, providers consider each child as essential to the classroom community. Providers take the responsibility for ensuring each child can participate in the daily routine, planned activities, and special events. Each family member feels welcomed and respected. Each child knows they are a valued member of the community.

This course provides participants with a greater understanding of the importance of including children with disabilities in the early childhood environment. Participants will learn basic characteristics of various disabilities or conditions, along with strategies for making reasonable accommodations for all children and
their families.

“The inclusive practices listed in this course are beneficial to all students and should be present in all learning environments,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.

CCEI968: Inclusion and Children with Special Needs is a one-hour, beginner-level course and grants 0.1 IACET CEU upon successful completion. Current CCEI users with active, unlimited annual subscriptions can register for professional development courses at no additional cost when logged in to their CCEI account. Users without subscriptions can purchase child care training courses as block hours through CCEI online enrollment.

For more information, visit www.cceionline.edu or call 1.800.499.9907, prompt 3, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST