Sunday, January 15, 2012

Promoting Physical Activity/Setting the Foundation - Meeting Dan Gartrell

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to attend a workshop hosted by the iconic Dan Gartrell. His books have been integral to the development of my guidance techniques and philosophies. So as one might expect he is a celebrity in my world of early childhood education. He ranks right up with Dr. Jean (Whom I have also met and even had my picture taken with her... "nerd" I know!) What a delightful man I might add! I absolutely fell in love with his contagious laugh!
 Mr. Gartrell talked about the importance of being responsive to the activity levels of the children in your classroom, especially the boys. He discussed how classrooms are failing to help boys succeed because often the expectations are not developmental appropriate for young children.
Many times there is not enough active learning and physical activity happening in classrooms. This puts the very active learners, many of whom tend to be boys, at a disadvantage. Dan proposes that teachers take a closer look at the structure of their schedule and the expectations of their classroom to determine if they can better support the learning for all students. He suggests that promoting physical activity is proactive guidance. This seems like common sense when you think about it... But then there is always the question, "Yes, we understand that, but how do we address those who are telling us get them ready for kindergarten...") And by that they often mean teach them to sit and listen....
Dan's answer was welcomed by everyone in the workshop. His response was this...
He talked about setting the "foundation for learning" and how when we teach children the skills they need in developmental appropriate ways, those skills will not be lost or unlearned when they move on to classrooms that might not be as developmentally appropriate.  This fundamental statement brought a nod of agreement from our workshop group, as well as, much needed reassurance for many of us to continue to focus on creating developmentally appropriate classrooms without guilt! Thanks Dan, for a great learning experience!

This is Dan's book which I think is essential reading material concerning guidance and creating responsive, respectful, learning communities.


And here are a couple more of his books...
Enjoy!