Cheri M. Gioe, Merrill, Thomas A.
Young children, who today spend most of their waking moments in child-care programs, need to have the knowledge and security of a reminder from home, says LSU AgCenter expert Cheri Gioe.
Gioe says such feelings may be associated with items such as blankets, dolls, pacifiers or toys – just to name a few.
"The problem is that many teachers do not allow children to bring items from home into the child-care environment, because they say the items lead to discipline problems among the children," says Gioe. "But teachers really should think about making accommodations for children to bring these small comforts of home to school."
The LSU AgCenter child-care associate says allowing the items actually can make teachers’ jobs a little easier.
"When teachers refuse to allow children to bring things from home, children feel stifled and lonely, and those feelings may cause children to become frustrated and ultimately lead to misbehavior," Gioe says.
Potential problems may be avoided if teachers put a little thought and planning into how they deal with items from home, and she offers a variety of tips:
–All children should have a place they can call their own. This may be a cubbyhole or shelf or hook. As children enter the room each day, have them put their items from home in their own special place. Then allow children to take their items out during rest time and return them once rest time is over. Although they won’t literally have the item with them all day, many times just the notion that the item is there is enough to ease a child’s mind.
–Allow children to play with toys they bring from home during a designated time. Establish some rules about "sharing" at the beginning of the year. Once the designated time is over, have children put the items up.
–Try show and tell times. Once a week each child has the opportunity to bring something from home to share with the class. Incorporate show and tell into the curriculum. If your color of the week is blue, have them bring something to school that is blue.
"When children become upset, agitated, angry or sick, items from home may have a very calming effect on a child," Gioe stresses, adding, "Items from home also help children get through that home/school adjustment period.
"And they also may help children who are experiencing the results of divorce to have some sense of security."
The LSU AgCenter’s "Be Child Care Aware!" educational program is designed to educate parents and child-care providers about quality child care. It is funded, in part, through a contract with the Louisiana Department of Social Services’ Office of Family Support.