Jean serves as a consultant to a wide variety of early childhood and elementary school programs and provides guidance to parents in both individual and group settings.
I'm happy to have my work featured in the following publications:
We live in a fast-paced society fueled by technology. Young children now have access to computers and other “screens” early in their lives. As preschoolers, many are adept at entertaining themselves with engaging, virtual characters who teach them letters, numbers, and even feelings. Children appear to be happy and having fun. But, as a teacher, wouldn’t you like to look deeper and gain a greater understanding into the budding character of the child? Would you like to help children develop the strength of personality needed to sustain them throughout their lives? The block corner is one place where this growth can unfold--and with a lot of fun in the process.
Although we may try to shield our children from information that may be upsetting to them, inevitably they will be exposed to life's challenges and painful realities. We live in the 'information age' and children are frequently bombarded with overwhelming news from the media. Since children are very aware of the emotions of the adults who care for them, they can quickly tune into the anxieties of their parents and teachers. When dangerous events occur in the world, adults are understandably worried. Often we have not had enough time to deal with our own reactions before we are faced with pointed questions from our children. How can we respond to these questions honestly, age appropriately, and as reassuringly as is possible?
Block play offers it all. Through exploration with unit blocks children become competent learners in all areas of development: cognitive, physical, social and emotional. From the youngest age, children are drawn to wooden blocks. The smooth, sensual feel of the wood is satisfying to the touch; the sturdiness of the blocks allows a child to use them freely without fear of breakage; and the open-ended quality of block play provides an opportunity for creativity and cognitive development to soar. Blocks are a clean material, and, for children who are uneasy with getting their hands dirty, they offer a comfortable tactile experience. Lastly, children know that when they play with blocks, they are using real materials with weight, form and function.
The dramatic play corner is far more than a “dress up” area. It is a small universe where children inhabit the world of imaginary play giving teachers a window into the child’s inner life…taking what’s private and making it public. It is here that children rehearse important themes in their lives and practice and gain mastery in social skills. Attuned and engaged teachers recognize the importance of their role as a listener, observer, and facilitator so that all children experience the richness of the dramatic play corner.