The Richmond Register

Education

November 23, 2012

The bornlearning Academy

Workshop 1: The science of early learning

BEREA — Editor’s note: The Register published an article in November about the addition of the Toyota “bornlearning Academy” at Berea Community School. The school received a $11,500 grant to fund the academy, which includes monthly workshops for parents and children 0 to 5. The workshops teach parents and caregivers how to turn everyday activities into learning activities. Three Register reporters have children age 2 and under and decided to sign up for the Academy. This is the first in a series about what was learned at the bornlearning workshops.

Although my partner Jimmy and I feel like we’re good parents, when it comes to our son Ryker, we can always be better.

He’s in such a formative stage at 21 months. He repeats everything I say, mimics everything I do and (usually) ignores me when he’s misbehaving — I could use all the help I can get.

When I was pregnant, a former co-worker thought I was strange because I read books about child-raising. She had already “reared three kids,” she said, there was nothing a book could tell her.

But, I realize I don’t know everything, as much as I would like to think so. The bornlearning Academy was an opportunity to learn how to enhance my son’s learning — and it’s free (even better).

The workshop began at 5:30 p.m. at the Berea Community School. Most parents, at this point in the evening, would be worrying about dinner plans. But we were welcomed with cold drinks and a hot meal of chicken strips, mashed potatoes and green beans — Ryker’s fave.

After spilled water was wiped up and green beans picked off the floor, BCHS seniors Sativa Thompson and Olivia Jacobs kept an eye on our children in another classroom.

Being the parent of a toddler, I was a little apprehensive about how Ryker would react to being left alone with someone he didn’t know. But the program’s coordinator, Diane Smith, rolled out a crate full of toys and the desperate cries for “momma” soon died down.

Awww, peace and quiet, a precious commodity to parents. How often do we get a free babysitter?

For around 30 minutes, Barb Mills, the workshop facilitator (and who also is an Eastern Kentucky University health professor), introduced the science of early learning. Every parent was given a binder with all the material covered in the workshop. 

We started off by discussing common misconceptions about early learning and rebuttals supported by the research of scientists, doctors and professors. Two misconceptions stood out.

Misconception: Social, emotional and intellectual learning are separate, and intellectual or cognitive learning is most important

Studies show that all types of learning are interconnected. Children learn through their important relationships (social learning); they learn when they feel good and are engaged and motivated in what they are learning (emotional learning); and they learn when they are making sense of their world (intellectual learning).

Misconception: The adult’s role is to “teach” children, making every moment a teaching moment

The adult’s role is to encourage or increase children’s engagement in learning. Adults who bombard children with factual information — like colors or numbers or letters — every moment or who feel that they must entertain children nonstop, are likely to overstimulate and turn children away from learning, just as much as if they criticize or ignore children’s engagement in learning.

The last misconception was the biggest “whoa, wait-a-minute” moment for me because sometimes I feel guilty that I’m not “teaching” my kid enough. With a full-time work schedule, I’d rather spend those few precious evening hours squeezing into my son’s tent with him or playing with his endless number of toys. I thought maybe we were playing too much.

Monday night after the workshop, I understood what Mills meant by “following the child’s lead” to engage them in learning.

When we got home, Ryker handed me his magnetic drawing board, put his arm in front of his nose and pretended to be an elephant.

He wanted me to draw an elephant, and then Elmo, and then a dog, and so on, until we went through every animal/object in his vocabulary.

I always doodled on his drawing board as we played, but I never thought he paid attention. This is what Mills meant — we’re “playing,” but he’s learning, and I didn’t have to force it.

Pushing children to memorize information can result in “drill and kill,” she said, and can turn your child away from learning.

My co-worker Sarah said her son Johnny names every color yellow and is apparently pretty insistent about his claim.

Mill advised to correct Johnny, but “let it drop and eventually it will sink in,” she said.

Another point Mills made was that learning should be about the child and not about the adult keeping up with other people’s children or proving themselves as a perfect parent or caregiver.

I admit, I take pride in my son excelling over other children his age. I don’t know any parent who doesn’t. But we should remember having those bragging rights is not what its about.

Mills also said children, like adults, need “hang around” times to explore, reflect, imagine and learn on their own.

My co-worker Ronica said she feels bad when she’s doing chores in the kitchen and her daughter Erica is just quietly “piddling around” in the living room.

“When she gets too quiet, I know she’s up to something,” her husband Chad joked.

But Mills said that is necessary and valuable time for children and it is good for them to learn how to play by themselves.

The last 30 minutes of class, Mills got out the crayons, styrofoam plates, dried pasta and duct tape so we could make homemade maracas. This was an activity we could do with our children using items we may have sitting around our home.

Here we were, seven adults drawing “hand turkeys” on plates with crayons. It felt like kindergarten all over again. I’ve discovered one advantage to being a parent is that I can color and play with toys, and nobody thinks I’m weird because I have a kid.

The children rejoined the group and played/destroyed the maracas we made. As we left, each was given the book “1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12” — I needed that. 

During the workshop, I realized we all had heard some of this information before. But for me, Mills not only taught new ways to be involved but reminded me of ways I was already engaged in Ryker’s early learning without even knowing it.  

The next bornlearning workshop is Dec. 11 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Those who are interested in joining may contact Diane Smith at 986-1021 by Dec. 7 to reserve a spot.

Crystal Wylie can be reached at cwylie@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.

1
Text Only
Education
  • 4-16 CMMShealthfair5.jpg Health fairs cover contemporary teenage topics

    Berea Community High School health students coordinated their first all-day health fair in November that was catered to elementary students.

    But their spring fair Monday handled more mature issues that targeted the middle and high school crowd, said health teacher Cathy Jones.

    April 16, 2014 13 Photos

  • Regents approve smoke-free campus policy

    The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents on Monday approved a tobacco-free campus policy and set 2014-15 rates for tuition, housing and meal plans.

    Effective June 1, the use of tobacco on all property that is owned, leased, occupied or controlled by the university will be prohibited.

    April 14, 2014

  • 4-10 EKUDanceTheatre1.jpg EKU Dance Theatre tonight

    Performances are 8 p.m. tonight, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building.
    Tickets are available at the Whitlock Building ticket window or by calling 622-2171 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.
    Tickets are $5 for students, $10 general admission and free for children under the age of 12. Tickets also may be purchased at the door.
    This semester’s concert offers a variety of dance forms including modern/contemporary, hip hop, Middle Eastern, musical theater and Latin jazz.

    April 10, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-11 ChildAbusePrevPinwheels.jpg Pinwheels for prevention

    Madison Central High School CIA, or Central in Action club, placed 473 silver and blue pinwheels in the flower beds in front of the school, each representing a substantiated child abuse case reported in Madison County in 2013 to show support for Child Abuse Prevention Month.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-10 TibetanMonks1.jpg Tibetan monks provide week of cultural experiences

    Berea College has had a special relationship with the Tibetan government-in-exile dating back to the 1990s. That is when the late John Stephenson, then Berea’s president, befriended the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, according to Jeff Richey, chair of Asian Studies at the college.

    April 10, 2014 13 Photos

  • 4-10 RedCedar4.jpg Open for learning

    While some may not have known all of the words or the exact notes to sing, parents and children in the Red Cedar Learning Cooperative enjoyed an afternoon jam session together Tuesday, complete with guitars, a ukulele, drums and a harmonica.

    April 9, 2014 13 Photos

  • 4-4 MightyCasey1a.jpg ‘The Mighty Casey’

    Show times for the 19th-century poem turned opera, “The Mighty Casey,” are 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday in the Black Box Theatre of the EKU Center for the Arts.
    It is presented by the Eastern Kentucky University music department’s Opera Workshop and the EKU Opera Guild, a student organization.
    Opera-goers will have seats right behind the pitcher’s mound as the story of the Mudville Nine and its star player, “the Mighty Casey,” unfolds.
    While living in a “sad little run-down town,” Mudville townspeople rally around their baseball hero to lift their spirits, said director and music professor Joyce Wolf.
     

    April 4, 2014 8 Photos

  • Science building ground breaking planned for summer

    A $66.3 million appropriation in the new state budget will fully fund completion of Eastern Kentucky University’s New Science Building, according to EKU President Michael Benson.
    A summer ground breaking ceremony is planned for the project, he said.
    Although the building’s $64 million first phase began use in January 2012, completion has awaited funding until now.

    April 1, 2014

  • 4-1 EKUDanceTheatre3.jpg Eastern Kentucky University Dance Theatre - Spring concert set April 9-12

    The Eastern Kentucky University Dance Theatre will present its spring concert Wednesday, April 9, though Saturday, April 12, in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building
    Performances will be 8 p.m. April 9-12 with an additional 2 p.m. Saturday show.

    April 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Scholarship available to those providing early childhood education

    Kentucky’s child care providers and those who train child care providers may be eligible for the Early Childhood Development Scholarship to further their college education.

    March 31, 2014

AP Video
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should the Richmond City Commission stop rezoning property to allow construction of apartments?

Yes.
No
     View Results