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September 2015 
Vol. 45 No. 3
Cooperatively Speaking
Latest News from PCPI

A New School Year is starting and PCPI wants to help you have a successful one that encourages parent involvement, parent participation and parent education in early childhood education.

At the Core of Co-ops: Parent Education
Aptly, on Earth Day 2015, parents and staff of Fort Hunt Preschool in Alexandria, Virginia participated in a workshop entitled Enriching Your Child's Time in Nature.  The presenters were Peggy Ashcraft and Sissy Walker, two well-known early childhood educators with expertise in science and nature.  Participants learned why risk-taking in nature is such an important part of children's healthy growth and development, from problem solving to a sense of self-competence and direction. The program also demonstrated the importance of both adult-guided and child-directed time in nature. Since hands on and experiential learning is developmentally appropriate for both children and adults, part of the program was conducted outside, exploring the natural world.
The workshop was funded by the Becky Allen Fund. The Becky Allen Fund offers an annual grant to one or more cooperative preschools to help fund a parent education project.  Over the years the fund has sponsored parent education programs on a range of  topics including recognizing special needs, dealing with challenging behaviors, healthy eating habits and early literacy development.  
Your school could be the next recipient of funds to support a parent education program.  Recipients must be U.S. members of PCPI.  The total grant amount is $500 to fund programs in one or more schools. Grant requests can be sent in letter or document form and should include the following information:
-School name and address
-Contact person's name, phone and email.
-Your parent education goals
-Your program content
-Estimated number of participants
-Your program staff/presenters
-The length of your program and timelines
-Your program budget
In sum, your request should clearly describe a program that will be of value to your school/community with as many specifics as possible.  Please send your requests via email to Lisa Meyer, Chairperson for the Becky Allen Fund, at gns@greenbeltnurseryschool.org.  (Please expect confirmation of receipt within two business days, otherwise, resend or contact the Chair at 301-474-5570).
The Grant request deadline is December 14, 2015.  The grant award decision will be made by January 11, 2016.  Please consider taking advantage of this opportunity to enhance parent education at your school. Perhaps you might create a program that discusses the importance of play to mathematics as the following article explains.

Play and Math: Partners in Learning

Summarized by Kathryn Ems, MS....... from multiple articles in the Journal of Research in Childhood Education by Leigh Pretnar Cousins and by Constance Kamil, Yoko Miyakawa and Yasuhiko Kato

Why does play in the early years especially support future mathematical skills?  Longitudinal studies have almost always found that programs based on "Learning through Play" result in in higher test scores in the later grades, especially in mathematics.  Learning through play appears to strongly support mathematical development.
Piaget has one answer.  He divides learning into three categories:  Social, physical, and logico-mathematics. Logico-mathematical knowledge is constructed inside the brain and is the knowledge of relationships.  Relationships don't exist until we make them. It's the sort of knowledge only humans (and perhaps some very intelligent animals to a limited degree) can make.  Relationships include all abstract nouns, "mathematical" or not: number, area, length, equal...as well as fairness, love, peace, justice...
Here's an example.  You can physically learn that a rubber ball can bounce.  But if you have more than one rubber ball, you can find ways that they are similar or different.  That information comes from your head - you construct that logico-mathematical relationship. 
Even the concept of a number is logico-mathematical.  Piaget argues that knowing number is not an inherent trait but something that is constructed within the minds of human beings because number is a construct of relationships.
Logico-mathematical knowledge develops when children think about phenomena and problems that are interesting to them (i.e., when they are mentally active and make many mental relationships). Piaget's (1971/1974) words.          Logico-mathematical knowledge is constructed by each individual, inside his or her own head. It doesn't come from the outside. It can't be seen, heard, felt or told. It develops as each person makes logical connections. Schooling and other experiences stimulate the development of logico-mathematical knowledge, but the actual neural connections which represent this knowledge are built from the inside (Cousins).
The educational implication drawn from research on logico-mathematical development is that it is better to define objectives for preschool mathematics education in terms of the development of logico-mathematical knowledge rather than the learning of specific aspects of elementary school mathematics. More broadly, an argument is made in favor of encouraging preschool children to think and make many mental relationships rather than to teach them specific subject matter. 

The reason for our making this statement is that 1) logico-mathematical thinking corresponds better to the way young children think, and 2) logico-mathematical knowledge serves as the foundation for all the school subjects, especially mathematics and science
(Kamil, Miyakawa and Kato, 2009).

Preschoolers have important work to do; among those tasks, to get along with other people and to increase their language and vocabulary, to that we add the important skill of constructing mental relationships so that later math instruction has its essential foundation.

Please forward this message to your council network email lists. Parent Cooperatives Preschool International welcomes both parents and staff of member schools, councils, and libraries to serve on PCPI Board and Committees.

Coming Soon: PCPI Renewal Invoices. Be sure to send in your dues by November 1 to be included in the print directory.
To submit an article, please email pcpinewsletter@gmail.com
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