Author Archives: Jaclyn Russell

CCAEYC 2018 Keynote Speaker Reflection

I just returned from attending and presenting at the California Association for the Education of Young Children (CAAEYC). These three days were filled with learning, meeting new educators, sharing our love for early education, and spreading our knowledge from AIMS regarding early mathematics through play and spatial activities. On Friday I attended the keynote presentation: Brain Rules, by Dr. John Medina. Dr. Medina delivered a highly energetic presentation that helped us educators understand how the brains of our young learners really work.

Dr. Medina took the audience through the steps of an infant’s brain, how they react to human contact and interaction. He emphasized the importance of infants having a relationship with others and how another person’s voice and their interaction with the infant helps the infant’s brain develop. Through the caregiver connection, the baby learns trust, safety, comfort, self-regulation, and empathy.

Dr. Medina also shared the trials parents go through with their children. He read quotes from some blogs about how hard, tiring, and frustrating it can be to be a parent at certain times. Dr. Medina captivated the audience when reading parenting situations from a blog where parents would vent their frustrations, “My two-year-old child has become the devil overnight. Continues to step on my 9-month old’s fingers and is running around like crazy! What do I do?” Dr. Medina then went through the stages of a child’s brain and how their brain develops with four types of parenting. He shared his own research, as well as other research and studies that have shown how authoritative parenting has the biggest impacts on children. He talked about the how and why behind all the research and how children cope with various situations throughout their lives.

Dr. Medina’s keynote speech was not just beneficial for parents but has the ability to help and guide teachers and educators in helping our students in the classroom. We can now better understand how the children’s brain are formed, work, and how important interactions are with the children. We as educators can instill some of these “parenting skills” in our classroom to guide students to be the very best version of themselves. We have an emotional, social, caring connection with the students and we can help them to understand their own feelings (anger, excitement, confidence, sadness, joy, ect).

Dr. John Medina’s keynote speech was great learning experience and I look forward to researching his work.


Families Engaging in Math Beyond the Classroom Walls

The Early Math team at AIMS recently had the opportunity to present at a Head Start site last week. Each Head Start site has monthly parent meetings. At these meetings, site coordinators, facilitators, and teachers present information to the parents/families. At this last meeting our team gave a presentation entitled, “Mathematical Language to Use at… Continue Reading

In Their Voices (Part 3)

As I walk into Mrs. Martinez’s preschool classroom, I am immediately taken in by a sense of warmth and sunshine instead of the cold, foggy January day outside. Inside the classroom, I see children working in small groups, huddled around adults, playing with objects, building towers, and reading books. I hear laughter, questions, and the… Continue Reading

Venn Diagrams and Early Childhood Teachers

My guess is most people probably wouldn’t say “Venn diagrams” and “preschool” in the same sentence. Here at AIMS, where the early math team has partnered with Head Start, I am working at a preschool site that has an amazing staff and loves implementing new math lessons and activities. The focus of the lesson this… Continue Reading

Be the Reason Someone SMILES Today

As a former kindergarten teacher, I must say I am a big Pinterest fan. When I was looking up ideas for classroom inspirational sayings and quotes, a recurring saying kept coming up, “Be the reason someone smiles today.” What does this look like in a classroom? Why is this important? And how in the world… Continue Reading