I admit it...I am not the perfect Early Years teacher...
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    Unhappy I admit it...I am not the perfect Early Years teacher...

    Hi everyone,
    When I was teaching in the states, I worked with kids 5-12. This is a great age range, the kids can be reasoned with, explanations for their own behavior can be asked for and conflict resolution is normally quick and painless.
    Since coming to China, however, I've worked (am working) with much younger children.

    "Come on honey, we've got to go..." (the 3 year old says "but...my shoe..."
    "We can't worry about that now, we're late..."
    "but...my shoe!!!"
    etc...

    Well, as I am now the Head Teacher for 3 classrooms, and about 50 kids total, the issues are a little different.
    Essentially, we've got no less than 6 babies in our youngest class(2yr-3yr) who absolutely will not stop crying...
    My teachers are exhausted, the kids are not learning and I am at a loss.

    Could I have some suggestions please?
    (If we've got any Chinese/British moms on board...that would help too)

    The EYFS guy in China

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    Can you get on any early years training? They really are very different to manage than older ones as you are finding...

    Welcome to the forum

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChinaEYFSguy View Post
    Hi everyone,
    When I was teaching in the states, I worked with kids 5-12. This is a great age range, the kids can be reasoned with, explanations for their own behavior can be asked for and conflict resolution is normally quick and painless.
    Since coming to China, however, I've worked (am working) with much younger children.

    "Come on honey, we've got to go..." (the 3 year old says "but...my shoe..."
    "We can't worry about that now, we're late..."
    "but...my shoe!!!"
    etc...

    Well, as I am now the Head Teacher for 3 classrooms, and about 50 kids total, the issues are a little different.
    Essentially, we've got no less than 6 babies in our youngest class(2yr-3yr) who absolutely will not stop crying...
    My teachers are exhausted, the kids are not learning and I am at a loss.

    Could I have some suggestions please?
    (If we've got any Chinese/British moms on board...that would help too)

    The EYFS guy in China


    Bold highlights your issue I think...

    children age 2/3 should not be 'learning' they should be exploring and experiencing!

    Have a look at the environment and the way the 'teachers' are working, what curriculum are you following? are you trying too many adult led activities? How much outdoor play time do the children have?
    boo

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    I agree with the previous comment, children at this age are learning through play....do you have questionnaires about each child before they start so you know what they enjoy and try to distract them with things they enjoy doing. Also assign each child their key worker and then get the key worker to spend some one to one time with the upset child to help them settle, they will settle a lot quicker when they feel safe with an adult there....I'd say go back to the beginning with the upset children - ask parents what they enjoy at home, lots of fun play opportunities out, one to one time with key worker.....

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    How is the classroom set up, what is the day like? Is there a routine, do the children make choices about their play or is there set things you expect them to do. How much does your daily routine reflect their home experiences.

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    set the rooms (not classrooms) up as a homely environment - home corner, cosy areas, dressing up. No tables (apart from those to put messy play and smallworld resources on) and play WITH them.

    However, before this, settling in is about getting to know them and how they trust you. Use the outdoors more - children love to be outdoors, use the resources you have and just take them out.

    Agree with Sarah though - def. book urgently onto some early years training. Children who cry all day will be soooo damaged by an environment where they feel insecure. The urgency is in making them feel secure. Getting the parents to stay or get in more volunteers for a while who are used to working with young children.

    Good luck
    if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got

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    Quote Originally Posted by sarah707 View Post
    Can you get on any early years training? They really are very different to manage than older ones as you are finding...

    Welcome to the forum
    Hi Sarah,
    Under ordinary circumstances training would have been part of the gig but in China it's not regulated, required or rewarded.
    I've found managing younger kids to be not that much different, actually, as I use the motto:
    "Show kids respect, and they'll respect you."
    The only real difference is the one I mentioned.
    I am simply asking for some tips on "constant criers"
    Thanks
    M

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    Quote Originally Posted by VeggieSausage View Post
    I agree with the previous comment, children at this age are learning through play....do you have questionnaires about each child before they start so you know what they enjoy and try to distract them with things they enjoy doing. Also assign each child their key worker and then get the key worker to spend some one to one time with the upset child to help them settle, they will settle a lot quicker when they feel safe with an adult there....I'd say go back to the beginning with the upset children - ask parents what they enjoy at home, lots of fun play opportunities out, one to one time with key worker.....
    All children learn through play, regardless of age.
    No questionnaires yet....soon.

    Interesting, I wondered how soon I would have to laboriously explain the differences in Chinese education:
    We've tried the "key person" thing, but, because of a matter of 'STATUS' the parents of the children
    who were not the "key kids" of the Foreign Teacher complained....oi.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blue bear View Post
    How is the classroom set up, what is the day like? Is there a routine, do the children make choices about their play or is there set things you expect them to do. How much does your daily routine reflect their home experiences.
    1. Like a typical EYFS classroom
    2. Usually: Reception. Breakfast. Provision. Outside. Circle time/teacher led activity. Lunch. Nap. Special class (always teacher led) Outside. Dinner. Home
    3. Yes.
    4. Yes and No (I'm currently battling the management for more child-led space)
    5. Probably not at all. Chinese children are normally raised by their grandparents and are not encouraged to socialize....(sigh)

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Juggler View Post
    set the rooms (not classrooms) up as a homely environment - home corner, cosy areas, dressing up. No tables (apart from those to put messy play and smallworld resources on) and play WITH them.

    However, before this, settling in is about getting to know them and how they trust you. Use the outdoors more - children love to be outdoors, use the resources you have and just take them out.

    Agree with Sarah though - def. book urgently onto some early years training. Children who cry all day will be soooo damaged by an environment where they feel insecure. The urgency is in making them feel secure. Getting the parents to stay or get in more volunteers for a while who are used to working with young children.

    Good luck
    Yah...well, I've been struggling with my Chinese teachers about engaging the kids...they're doing better but...they are not Jedi yet.
    See my reply to Sara (did they post? I don't see my replies to your comments anywhere)

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    You guys, there is a huge gulf between China and the UK in terms of Early Years Provision.

    Am I still right in thinking, OP , that China is relatively new to Early Years teaching, since previously most children that age were looked after by extended family? It's only because so many parents are now economic migrants that facilities like Early Years providers are now necessary. Young couples move to cities to earn money, and leave their extended family behind in their home village, which means that when they have children the traditional forms of childcare are no longer available to them.

    The really big thing to remember is don't expect too much from them. If you can keep them interested and stimulated then they will learn.

    Think about what kind of activities they would have done with their grandparents or family: cleaning the house, preparing food, going to the shops. Singing songs, being told stories, maybe learning a dance. Those are the kind of experiences you can replicate.

    Also (and I apologise if I am stating the obvious here!), make sure that their more basic needs are met. They will need a lot more sleep, or quiet time than 5+ children. They will probably need a morning and an afternoon snack too. If they don't have things like that, then they're much more likely to get either grumpy and cry, or hyperactive and uncontrollable. Spend some time watching them to see if this is something you could change to help manage their behaviour. When they start, give parents a forum to fill in, which details their home routine, and some of their likes/dislikes, so you can work them into your planning.

    Most of all, Keep It Simple. Simple daily routine, simple activities, simple expectations from the teachers. For example, for a simple daily routine for a group of under 5's:

    • Arrive,
    • Circle time,
    • Free play,
    • Snack time,
    • Sleep,
    • Story time,
    • Lunch,
    • Free play,
    • Snack time,
    • Guided activity (singing, dancing, etc)
    • Circle time
    • Home time


    If you can get a good routine going, you'll have pretty much won the battle.

    Are you working in an International school, with Western staff, or a Chinese school, with Chinese staff who might not be as familiar with recent western Early Years philosophies? Look at things like High/Scope, Montessori and Reggio Emilia, if you're not familiar with them (If you're US trained, you probably are, but it never hurts to refresh your knowledge, particularly if you're in charge of an age range you're not familiar with!).

    If it helps, you can find the Chinese language version of the Australian Early Years Framework here, if you share it with the staff it might help to familiarise them with the kind of realistic level the children are at, developmentally. (I'd give you a link for a translation of the UK one, but there isn't one )
    Last edited by Jiorjiina; 12-09-2013 at 10:58 PM.

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    Children at that age are by nature very ego centric. The most important thing to the little three year old was his shoe - so that should not have been ignored! Why couldn't you worry about it 'now'? If you were late then the daily routine maybe needs looking at. You need to allow children lots of time to dress themselves or support them in dressing themselves (not sure exactly what the issue was with the shoe). If he had an issue (his shoe)then he should have been listened to, not dismissed like that. Was his shoe hurting him? Sorry, don't mean to sound harsh.

    I think it is great that you are reflecting on your practice, seeing that something is not working and then asking for advice. As well as getting training, do keep coming on here, we all learn from each other! Would love to hear about your setting as you develop it! x

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    Ok, specific stuff for the criers. I would suggest if possible you assign one member of staff for each child (don't make this formal so parents aren't worried about the status). Their job is to get to know the child, be there to cuddle them, find out what they like to play with and be a constant for them. Ask parents to bring a comfort item or favourite toy from home to help settle them. Use different strategies to try to distract the criers. Funny voices and faces, bubbles, pretend you're a children's party entertainer and describe everything as if it's the first time you've ever seen it and it's amazing: Wow, look at that car going down the ramp, isn't it going fast, whee, see it go! Shall we try that again? Move from area to area, toy to toy to find something that grabs their interest. I find music and singing really help - what are their favourite songs? I presume there are Chinese nursery rhymes (are these universal, are there songs they will almost all know? Would love to know!) encourage your teachers that it will take a while and to be as patient and persistent as they can. As manager, you need to see the small steps of progress and tell the staff that they are doing really well and it will get better. Especially with crying children, this can be hard to see and it is easy to get discouraged.

    With the key workers, would it work to have the foreign member of staff as the first point of contact for parents? They can then ask the other staff to tell parents about their child. It does help to have key workers, however all staff should know enough about each child to be able to answer questions. Alternatively, staff could tell the foreign 'contact person' details about each child. Might have to write this down.

    Hope that helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sing-low View Post
    Ok, specific stuff for the criers. I would suggest if possible you assign one member of staff for each child (don't make this formal so parents aren't worried about the status). Their job is to get to know the child, be there to cuddle them, find out what they like to play with and be a constant for them. Ask parents to bring a comfort item or favourite toy from home to help settle them. Use different strategies to try to distract the criers. Funny voices and faces, bubbles, pretend you're a children's party entertainer and describe everything as if it's the first time you've ever seen it and it's amazing: Wow, look at that car going down the ramp, isn't it going fast, whee, see it go! Shall we try that again? Move from area to area, toy to toy to find something that grabs their interest. I find music and singing really help - what are their favourite songs? I presume there are Chinese nursery rhymes (are these universal, are there songs they will almost all know? Would love to know!) encourage your teachers that it will take a while and to be as patient and persistent as they can. As manager, you need to see the small steps of progress and tell the staff that they are doing really well and it will get better. Especially with crying children, this can be hard to see and it is easy to get discouraged.

    With the key workers, would it work to have the foreign member of staff as the first point of contact for parents? They can then ask the other staff to tell parents about their child. It does help to have key workers, however all staff should know enough about each child to be able to answer questions. Alternatively, staff could tell the foreign 'contact person' details about each child. Might have to write this down.

    Hope that helps.
    Thanks so much. I couldn't have put it better myself. Here's my 2nd confession, I needed you folks to say it...so I could send the link to my Chinese teachers, so they would view it as "not coming from me", so they would follow the suggestions ....(sigh...)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maza View Post
    Children at that age are by nature very ego centric. The most important thing to the little three year old was his shoe - so that should not have been ignored! Why couldn't you worry about it 'now'? If you were late then the daily routine maybe needs looking at. You need to allow children lots of time to dress themselves or support them in dressing themselves (not sure exactly what the issue was with the shoe). If he had an issue (his shoe)then he should have been listened to, not dismissed like that. Was his shoe hurting him? Sorry, don't mean to sound harsh.

    I think it is great that you are reflecting on your practice, seeing that something is not working and then asking for advice. As well as getting training, do keep coming on here, we all learn from each other! Would love to hear about your setting as you develop it! x
    Sorry, you misunderstood. I was using a random simile to describe the feelings of 3 year olds, not an example of an actual event.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiorjiina View Post
    You guys, there is a huge gulf between China and the UK in terms of Early Years Provision.

    Am I still right in thinking, OP , that China is relatively new to Early Years teaching, since previously most children that age were looked after by extended family? It's only because so many parents are now economic migrants that facilities like Early Years providers are now necessary. Young couples move to cities to earn money, and leave their extended family behind in their home village, which means that when they have children the traditional forms of childcare are no longer available to them.

    The really big thing to remember is don't expect too much from them. If you can keep them interested and stimulated then they will learn.

    Think about what kind of activities they would have done with their grandparents or family: cleaning the house, preparing food, going to the shops. Singing songs, being told stories, maybe learning a dance. Those are the kind of experiences you can replicate.

    Also (and I apologise if I am stating the obvious here!), make sure that their more basic needs are met. They will need a lot more sleep, or quiet time than 5+ children. They will probably need a morning and an afternoon snack too. If they don't have things like that, then they're much more likely to get either grumpy and cry, or hyperactive and uncontrollable. Spend some time watching them to see if this is something you could change to help manage their behaviour. When they start, give parents a forum to fill in, which details their home routine, and some of their likes/dislikes, so you can work them into your planning.

    Most of all, Keep It Simple. Simple daily routine, simple activities, simple expectations from the teachers. For example, for a simple daily routine for a group of under 5's:

    • Arrive,
    • Circle time,
    • Free play,
    • Snack time,
    • Sleep,
    • Story time,
    • Lunch,
    • Free play,
    • Snack time,
    • Guided activity (singing, dancing, etc)
    • Circle time
    • Home time


    If you can get a good routine going, you'll have pretty much won the battle.

    Are you working in an International school, with Western staff, or a Chinese school, with Chinese staff who might not be as familiar with recent western Early Years philosophies? Look at things like High/Scope, Montessori and Reggio Emilia, if you're not familiar with them (If you're US trained, you probably are, but it never hurts to refresh your knowledge, particularly if you're in charge of an age range you're not familiar with!).

    If it helps, you can find the Chinese language version of the Australian Early Years Framework here, if you share it with the staff it might help to familiarise them with the kind of realistic level the children are at, developmentally. (I'd give you a link for a translation of the UK one, but there isn't one )
    Actually, the situation is the same basic cause, but a different motivation.
    The rise of the moneyed middle class here has turned into a pseudo-capitalism, the school where I work has 2 areas:
    the local section and the international section. (This is pretty standard for 'private' schools)
    The kids in my international department pay 3x as much, get gourmet (western) meals and have a foreign teacher all day.

    It's a Chinese school, with Chinese staff. I have 2 foreign teachers working in our K1 and K4 (the KS1 class)
    Thanks for this link!!! Yah, your suggested routine is fairly similar to what we have set up.
    Well...we've bee trying to train them for over a year now and I swear it seems some of them are either too apathetic/reactionary or too ignorant to simply do what they're supposed to...ARGH!

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Juggler View Post
    set the rooms (not classrooms) up as a homely environment - home corner, cosy areas, dressing up. No tables (apart from those to put messy play and smallworld resources on) and play WITH them.

    However, before this, settling in is about getting to know them and how they trust you. Use the outdoors more - children love to be outdoors, use the resources you have and just take them out.

    Agree with Sarah though - def. book urgently onto some early years training. Children who cry all day will be soooo damaged by an environment where they feel insecure. The urgency is in making them feel secure. Getting the parents to stay or get in more volunteers for a while who are used to working with young children.

    Good luck
    ah, young lady...such a thing does not exist in this magical land....

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    I do understand a little of the different culture of bringing up children in China as my sister in law in chinese and they have 2 boys. They are brought up, although are now living in the uk, quite differently to how we do. There is no emphasis on play in any way and toys are almost not approved of and presents put away, never to be got out again. My nephews are not socialised or encouraged to develop but must look lovely and almost kept babies for much longer. Formal education is what is important to her......my nephews are behind in many ways but are developing despite of their upbringing and are very sweet boys, i know my parents find this difficult. There is no such thing in their lives as days out or playing in the park although as my eldest nephew gets older (3 now) she is starting to see that he needs entertaining and has put him in whole day nursery care to start his education even though she is at home (went from 22 months). Luckily he does go to nursery I think as otherwise goodness knows what his social skills would be like, at home to prevent mess he is still fed by them etc When my sister in laws parents came over after the babies were born there was a real respect thing expected and the grandparents rather disapproved of my nephew running about, my sister in law found it very stressful and she was expected to be dutiful daughter when she had just had a baby.....the grandparents didn't know how to look after a baby as they had had a wet nurse to look after my SIL when she was a baby......sorry went off on a tangent....

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChinaEYFSguy View Post
    1. Like a typical EYFS classroom
    2. Usually: Reception. Breakfast. Provision. Outside. Circle time/teacher led activity. Lunch. Nap. Special class (always teacher led) Outside. Dinner. Home
    3. Yes.
    4. Yes and No (I'm currently battling the management for more child-led space)
    5. Probably not at all. Chinese children are normally raised by their grandparents and are not encouraged to socialize....(sigh)
    The things that stand out to me are lack of snacks.
    Outside time, why do you have an allotted time can the children not access the outdoors when ever they want, I have the outdoors set up just like indoors is set up daily.
    The children don't socialise at home and are raised by grandparents, so no wonder they scream, I find screamers respond to a variety of techniques, these are some I use, not all of them work on all children.
    Babe starts off glued to my hip, I play with child attached, child graduates to me knee, then alongside me but touching, the next to with a gap, slowly slowly increasing the gap and the time child spends unattached and the colds self confidence and social skills increase.
    Times babe can't be on my hip I use a chair (bouncy chair, high chair or pushchair) child feels a bit safer enclosed and can watch what is going on but not touched by the other children.
    I find they settle better out doors,sometimes that means pushing them around the garden singing to them, they concentrate on nature, wind blowing leaves, bird singing etc and it helps to calm them. Music in general quite often calms and reassures screamers,I had a baby who only stopped crying when the iPod was in the chair with him.
    A calm quite environment or a busy enviornment can settle them, depending what they find familiar so it's important to find out from the family what they prefer.
    Lots and lots of eye contact or minimal eye contact, depending what settles the child, sometime if they see you it reminds them mum is not there so sitting them on your lap facing away from you can help. Find out what they like playing with at home, I find pegs, plastic containers, shoes remote controls help as they are familiar from home.

    I use the term babe for all under threes

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChinaEYFSguy View Post
    1. Like a typical EYFS classroom
    2. Usually: Reception. Breakfast. Provision. Outside. Circle time/teacher led activity. Lunch. Nap. Special class (always teacher led) Outside. Dinner. Home
    3. Yes.
    4. Yes and No (I'm currently battling the management for more child-led space)
    5. Probably not at all. Chinese children are normally raised by their grandparents and are not encouraged to socialize....(sigh)
    see to me that is a very restrictive set up for 2-3 year olds. at 3-4 they are perhaps more ready for this but 2-3 years in a class environment is very different.

    I would dispense with set times for anything other than breakfast and lunch/nap. Can they freeflow in and outside when they want? circle time - well I would just do a story time for older children and let the younger ones come and listen if they want too and the teacher led activity _ i'd just have an adult at a table and let the children come when they want - if they want with no pressure to do it if they don't want to.
    if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got

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