Always Learning! Information About Dr. Steve’s Mindfulness Presentation

Thank you for allowing the entire staff to participate in the NAEYC Annual Conference. It’s only in D.C. every once in a while and it was a great professional development opportunity for our staff. We all went down for two full days on Thursday and Friday and I know the teachers will come back tomorrow invigorated with lots of new inspiration and ideas.

It is important to always be learning. For the staff, it’s incredibly important for them to take time to return to the role of student every so often to keep up with current practices and research. If we love learning and growing, we can impart that love to the children we teach, which is one of the primary goals of a child’s preschool experience; to learn to love school and the process of learning.

With that in mind, I want to share information about Dr. Steve Silvestro’s parenting presentation on mindfulness that MNS hosted a few weeks ago. If you weren’t able to attend this event, this will be your opportunity to LEARN a little more about it. Dr. Steve hosts the Child Repair Guide podcast that covers many relevant topics for parents from pregnancy and breastfeeding to empathy, tantrums and nutrition. I highly encourage you to check out Dr. Steve’s website as a tool for your growth and learning.

For our presentation, Dr. Steve talked about mindfulness: being present in the moment. He talked a lot about practicing mindfulness techniques to grow your brain’s ability to find that place of calm when you most need it, which, he noted, is often for parents dealing regularly with the many joys and struggles of life with young children. He also talked about how helpful it can be to start building this skill with your children. Like good muscle-memory, the earlier we begin the practice, the more skilled we can become. He shared with us the Cloud Story his mom told to him that he now shares on his podcast. If you start using this story with your child(ren) now at bedtime, imagine how well they will be able to use the skill of being able to relax their body as they get older.

Please take a moment to check out Dr. Steve’s website and to subscribe to his podcast. You will be impressed by the variety of useful information. Have fun listening and learning!

Tips for Great Parent Teacher Conferences

Successful parent-teacher conferences are all about being comfortable. As a parent, I know they can be a time of high anxiety for parents. As an educator, I can assure you, it is also an anxiety provoking experience for teachers. Teachers, as part of their yearly professional development, are often provided with skills, tips and practice that make the experience easier. For many nursery school parents, this is the first chance to sit down and conference with a teacher about their child. I would like to suggest the following things in order to minimize nerves and make your parent-teacher conference as successful as possible:

  1. Relax, breath, and remember everyone in the meeting loves and wants what is best for your child. You and the teachers are on the same team, and in most cases, have shared goals.

  2. Come prepared with questions and don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask them. Remember, your child’s teachers have spent a lot of time getting to know your child, assessing specific skills, and preparing for the conference. They are ready to answer your questions and they don’t expect you to be experts in child development (even though some of our parents may be). Your teachers will also let you know if they need more time to observe or allow your child to develop before they answer your question. If you have specific questions you would like to know the answer to during conference time (e.g., applying out, behavioral concerns), email or call the teacher before-hand to let them know what those questions are. This gives them time to make sure they are prepared an can answer them.

  3. Don’t feel you have only this time to communicate with your teacher and that it must all be crammed into this tiny time slot. If you have a specific goal for the conference, make sure you cover it. Any other items you remember later or can not fit in can always be emailed, phoned in, or asked in a meeting scheduled for a later time. Help the teachers stay on time. Nothing makes a conference less productive than starting late and rushing it.

  4. Finally, if the teachers discuss with you anything you need additional information to process, please set up a meeting with them or me for further discussion. We have a wealth of information ready to share with our parents, and lots of ideas on how to follow through on teacher suggestions.

If you have any other questions, or would like more information about having productive conferences with your child’s teachers, please let me know.