With Thanksgiving a week away, I thought this the perfect time to introduce Michelle, of MoorMindfulness, as part of my Educational Expert Series. There are a variety of factors that affect your child’s learning process, so every once in awhile, I enjoy interviewing experts in various fields and then sharing their tips/tricks and suggestions for you and your preschooler.
Thanksgiving, by definition, is the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors. For years, I have spent each morning and each night thanking the Universe for all the amazing things/people/experiences I have in my life. Having a grateful heart is not just important to me...it’s truly a way of life.
I found MoorMindfulness on Instagram, where they’re currently running a November Gratitude Challenge. Each day they post a new topic of gratitude and challenge their followers to take a moment to consider their answer (and leave a comment).
I myself, have been participating in the challenge and as a result, thought who better to interview this month than Michelle Moorhead of MoorMindfulness? Located in Princeton, New Jersey, her focus as a Mindfulness Educator is to teach mindfulness to children in the area.
I hope you enjoy our Q & A session!
Q. What services do you provide and who do you serve? A. I teach mindfulness to people of all ages, with a focus on children. I teach classes at a variety of locations including schools and yoga studios as well as private home instruction.
Q. What is ‘Gratitude’- what does being grateful mean- and why is it so important? A. Gratitude is the practice of cultivating appreciation. We are used to being grateful for big things, but it’s important to find an appreciation of the ordinary. A big component of mindfulness is “heartfulness” - a term that we use to refer to kindness, compassion, and gratitude. You really can’t have mindfulness without heartfulness.
Q. How does being grateful or having an attitude of gratitude, affect a child’s learning process? A.As humans, our minds have evolved with a negativity bias which is great for keeping us alive, but as a result, our minds are like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive. By making gratitude a practice we can incline our brains to seek the good. This can help us have a kinder attitude towards our teachers, the learning process and with ourselves. It can also help us have fun with learning!
Q. How can parents teach their preschoolers gratitude- to be more grateful? A.Like any good habit, creating opportunities that are simple and consistent are key. It may be having family members share their favorite part of the day over dinner or reflecting on something we are grateful for before bed each night. Kids will usually always list the big things like Mom, Dad, and siblings (and toys) and that is great, but once they’ve gone through those, perhaps try to prompt them on the smaller things like how yummy their snack was or how much fun they had on a playdate.
Q. What books do you recommend parents read to their preschooler to teach gratitude? A.The Thankful Book by Todd Parr, Take the Time: Mindfulness for Kids by Maud Roegiers and Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson.
Q. What’s your *number one tip* for practicing gratitude? A. Exactly that…PRACTICE! It may seem like it should just be something we’re always aware of, but sometimes we really need to make it a daily practice until our brains get in the habit.
Q. Just for fun… what is one word you would use to describe yourself as a preschooler? A. Happy! *Full disclosure, I asked my mom for the answer to this one :)
PPPS We had a *blast* listening to The University of Tampa Writing and Advertising Students present their class project to us and can't wait until December for their final presentation. Truly grateful to have been chosen as a client for this class!
At Preschool Readers, we truly *accelerate* the reading process for preschoolers; maximizing their potential, building their confidence and guaranteeing a solid foundation in reading.
We aim to work *smarter* not harder. So when I stumbled upon an article touting seven simple methods for turbocharging your brain and mastering any skill faster, I was intrigued and wondered if any of these seven brain hacks might be applicable to our Preschool Readers sessions.
#1 Hack- 50 minutes or less The article states- ...”anything less than 30 [minutes] is just not enough, but anything more than 50 is too much information for your brain to take in at one time.” To put this into practice, make sure you’re scheduling your learning sessions for short bursts of time, using quick methods like flashcards.
Preschool Readers- offers 30 minutes sessions and we use sight word flashcards.
#2 Hack- 80/20 The article states- ... you should focus first on the most important 20 percent of what you’re trying to learn, which will actually cover 80 percent of what you need to know. Ask yourself: What are the most important elements that yield the biggest return on investment? For example, if you’re learning a foreign language — what 20 percent of words are used 80 percent of the time?
Preschool Readers- I wrote a previous newsletter about how Preschool Readers uses the 80/20 rule. Check it out here >> My Secret Is Out.
#3 Hack- Stop the multitasking The article states- Research shows that working on multiple tasks at once detracts from the quality of all of them….Multitasking slows down your learning and inhibits your brain from performing at its highest function.
Preschool Readers- We focus solely on reading for 30 minutes :)
#4 Hack-Change up your learning methods The article states- A Johns Hopkins study found that “if you perform a slightly modified version of a task you want to master, you actually learn more and faster than if you just keep practicing the exact same thing multiple times in a row.”
#5 Hack- Learn from the masters The article states- Robert Greene emphasizes the need for an expert mentor in his book Mastery. He talks about the “ideal apprenticeship,” noting that having guidance from people who have already mastered the skill you want to learn is invaluable.
Preschool Readers- all of Preschool Reading Specialists are well- educated, highly qualified and experienced in the field of early literacy development. They hold at minimum, an M.Ed or M.A., teacher certification, and at least 5 years experience working with children. I recently wrote about them here >> Here's what the girls said...
#6 Hack- Take notes the old-fashioned way The article states- Princeton University and UCLA researchers found that taking notes by hand leads to more active listening and the ability to identify important concepts.
Preschool Readers- Check ✔
Happy reading, Lisa
PS Join us forPreschool Readers Presents our version of 13 Nights of Halloween 👻 Each evening leading up to Halloween we’ll post to social media a recommended Halloween bedtime story 📚 with a matching sweet treat you can make with your preschooler 🍭 Not following us? You can find us at @PreschoolReaders on Instagram and PreschoolReaders, LLCon Facebook!
PPS We had so much fun at Preschool Readers Presents Storytime In The Park With Moana! Such adorable little princesses!
BOOK OF THE MONTH 📕 Room On The Broom by Julia Donaldson. Not only a great book, but check out the website, roomonthebroom.com to purchase the movie version of the book, download printable activities related to the story, and download fun apps with games related to the story! ‘The story of a witch, a group of animals who help her, good manners, friendship, and cooperation is fun to read aloud because of its rhythm and rhyme. Kids love the repetition, the appealing story, and the illustrations.’
EDUCATIONAL TOY OF THE MONTH 🎮 Alpha-Bots. ‘Ordinary letters one moment...extraordinary robots the next! With just a few twists & turns, our chunky letters transform into super-cool robots that kids can’t resist. 26 Alpha-Bots each change into a different letter of the alphabet—helping kids boost letter skills as they play!’
MAGAZINE OF THE MONTH 📰 TIME The Science of Childhood. ‘Every moment is a learning experience for babies and young children. Now the editors of TIME bring you the latest science and research to guide you in understanding your children’
QUOTE OF THE MONTH 🍎 "Once children learn how to learn, nothing is going to narrow their mind. The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another." -- Marva Collins
All of our Preschool Reading Specialists are classroom teachers and hold either an M.Ed or M.A. In addition, they’ve obtained a variety of teaching certifications and endorsements.
Before they were teachers, many were babysitters, camp counselors, tutors... In other words, they’ve been working with and around children for a while!
So I was curious to know what children’s books they feel all children should have on their bookshelf. I asked a few of our reading specialists and here’s what they said...
"Children should have 'Where the Wild Things Are' on their bookshelf."- Ms. Michelle
"Olivia the Pig and the rest of her series, and other books that empower students to form opinions while helping them to love reading." - Ms. Jacqueline
"I love all Dr. Seuss books. My students always get excited when I read them and most of the books are great for beginning readers." - Ms. Ashton
"I love all books by Mo Willems (Knuffle Bunny, Elephant, and Piggie, Don’t Let the Pigeon....). I think that he is a great author for emergent readers, as his stories are interactive and engaging." - Ms. Tara
As for me, The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. The perfect book to read before sending your child off to preschool, kindergarten… or college! - Ms. Lisa