Ask Jacky

Featured Question

Q. I recently attended your workshop session on “Creating Experiences WITH Young Children”, which I found very helpful as well as thought-provoking. I had a question; you spoke about creating a culture of inquiry. I was wondering where I might find further information about HOW to create a culture of inquiry in my classroom? Any ideas or resources would be appreciated! I also wanted to say the quote you used, “If we already know the answer to the question, why are we asking children the question?” really made me think….Thank you and look forward to another workshop with you.

Thank you for attending this session. You may want to consider checking with your program about bringing the 3 part session of this workshop to you. It always makes a difference when the whole staff can discuss and ponder ideas on a topic together! There are many great resources to consider to investigate the ideas around creating a culture of inquiry. Here are a few to consider:
1. Margie Carter and Ann Pelo’s new book, From Thinking to Teaching: A Pedagogy for Reimagining Our Work” is an excellent resource to really consider not only a culture of inquiry, yet many other ideas on how we can create even better classrooms for children, families and staff.
2. From the above book, Child Care Information Exchange is sponsoring an ongoing group on Reimagining Our Work. It may be something you would like to join as the discussions are amazing! Here is the resource in case you want to join: https://www.childcareexchange.com/row/
3. In addition, another book by Deb Curtis and Nadia Jaboneta’s book on Children’s Lively Minds: Schema Theory Made Visible is a great resource too.
4. Last but not least, all those authors and I present through Early Childhood Investigations webinars: https://www.earlychildhoodinvestigations.com/. Past sessions can be viewed there. I have a webinar coming up in September—check it out!
Thanks again for your question and I hope this sets you on your way with an inquiring mind!

Q. I recently attended your workshop session on “Creating Experiences WITH Young Children”, which I found very helpful as well as thought-provoking. I had a question; you spoke about creating a culture of inquiry. I was wondering where I might find further information about HOW to create a culture of inquiry in my classroom? Any ideas or resources would be appreciated! I also wanted to say the quote you used, “If we already know the answer to the question, why are we asking children the question?” really made me think….Thank you and look forward to another workshop with you.

Thank you for attending this session. You may want to consider checking with your program about bringing the 3 part session of this workshop to you. It always makes a difference when the whole staff can discuss and ponder ideas on a topic together! There are many great resources to consider to investigate the ideas around creating a culture of inquiry. Here are a few to consider:
1. Margie Carter and Ann Pelo’s new book, From Thinking to Teaching: A Pedagogy for Reimagining Our Work” is an excellent resource to really consider not only a culture of inquiry, yet many other ideas on how we can create even better classrooms for children, families and staff.
2. From the above book, Child Care Information Exchange is sponsoring an ongoing group on Reimagining Our Work. It may be something you would like to join as the discussions are amazing! Here is the resource in case you want to join: https://www.childcareexchange.com/row/
3. In addition, another book by Deb Curtis and Nadia Jaboneta’s book on Children’s Lively Minds: Schema Theory Made Visible is a great resource too.
4. Last but not least, all those authors and I present through Early Childhood Investigations webinars: https://www.earlychildhoodinvestigations.com/. Past sessions can be viewed there. I have a webinar coming up in September—check it out!
Thanks again for your question and I hope this sets you on your way with an inquiring mind!

Q. So much is going on in the world today for not only we teachers to handle, yet I have concern for the children in our care. I feel I have been doing all I can with the safety concerns of the pandemic. Yet I am not sure of the direction in my work with children around issues of diversity and equity. Where would you recommend starting?

Thanks for the question as it is certainly an area where I continue to learn, grow and do considerable work with! I would love to know more about your program and what you may have already done in the area of diversity, anti-bias curriculum, and equity. A very long and complicated answer revolves around the fact we as educators ALL need to being doing work in this area. Yet if I was to recommend one place to start, have you studied/used the newest version of Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves published by NAEYC? Using BOTH the goals for children AND adults is incredibly useful to prompt discussion and find places to start. In addition, I would find groups to join, start a discussion group in your own program, and keep self-educating! I do a workshop session for staff on an Introduction to Anti-Bias Curriculum that may be helpful. Also, check out this resource: https://www.teachingforchange.org/. Let me know what else may be helpful!

Q. Hi Jacky! I took a workshop from you awhile ago on Reflecting on Positive Discipline. I left with many ideas yet also left with many more questions. I am going to ask some of them here. **I chose one of your questions to answer—may add more later** What strategies would you recommend that help preschool children learn self-control? We struggle with conflicts and helping children know how to best express their feelings without hurting another child.

A. I would love to get to ALL of your questions, yet just choosing one today to answer in this column. I am planning to add videos to this new website and this topic will be perfect for sharing additional thoughts and ideas. First I will say to you I have been struggling with the concept of “strategies” for awhile now. I am using the word “experiences”—many which just occur naturally and some that are prompted. I believe in three things very strongly which I may have shared in the workshop. One, we need to create ENVIRONMENTS that are physically wonderful, engaging, warm and interesting. AND those environments also need to be based on creating a sense of community, belonging, and mutual respect. This is true not only for the children, but for the staff and the families. Bev Bos used to say that (and I am paraphrasing) that 100% of behavior management issues could be changed by creating the best possible environment for children. And when I visited her school in Roseville, CA for a week—I will tell you that the environment she created—again physically and socially/emotionally really lent itself to so few issues. She used to tell the story that I asked her why I wasn’t seeing any behavior issues and it hit me, because they truly created an amazing environment for children. I still miss Bev! The second piece is looking at OURSELVES and really seeing how we relate to children in terms of how we talk, create learning experiences together, etc. I have found HOW we talk and WHAT we say to me, continues to have such a strong impact on what children believe about themselves, others and the world. SO much more to say on that. And last, THE CHILD—how do we connect to the soul of each child? Truly take the time to be present and know that child from the inside out. That knowledge and relationship with each child helps us find the best direction to go as, Ann Pelo would say, become their companion in their learning. I do many more sessions on this topic including some mini-courses. Expect to hear and see a great deal more over time!

Q. “I attended your puppet webinar and had a question. How do I pick the right puppet for my classroom and what would be the best way to introduce the puppet?”

A.Thanks for the question. A couple of things to consider in choosing a puppet include:
1. Is it one that YOU are interested in using? Maybe an alligator puppet is not the best if you are afraid of alligators!
2. Is it comfortable for you to use? There are MANY styles of puppets—some with moving mouths and limbs, some that are rod puppets, and more. Choose the easiest puppet for you to grow comfortable in using.
3. Develop the puppet as a character that ‘lives’ in your classroom—as the webinar said—give it a name, a personality, something the puppet is known for—like always being sleepy for example!
4. Let the children ‘meet’ the puppet by touching, trying on, holding, etc BEFORE you actually use it. This minimizes children being frightened.
5. Bring the puppet to group/circle/gathering time and introduce like you would a new classmate.
6. Let the children create a ‘home’ or space for the puppet to live. The children then can use the puppet also. My only exception has been breakable puppets.

**Many more ideas can be shared by booking Jacky for a puppet workshop!**

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“With her expansive background in early childhood education, Jacky has been an instrumental part of our school for many years. Though she is the curriculum consultant for our school, many times we ask for her support and recommendations in other critical parts of the work. Jacky’s perspective on various subjects, including the best practices, as an educator, a trainer and an advocate is absolutely invaluable to all of us.”

–Berna Artis, Head of School, School for Friends, Washington, DC

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