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Indiana AEYC Conference, 2012

Vivian Paley


Keynoter FRIDAY



She walked on stage and said:

“I see the Mr. Roger’s chair… this means we will have a conversation.”


If we don’t know where we’ve been, we can’t tell how far we’ve wandered off the path.


Real school began in 1st grade and there were no objections from anyone. And we took it for granted.  We created a vacuum that was filled with workbooks and numbers.


Transformation doesn’t emerge from manuals, but in the spontaneous interactions between children and their teachers.


Not only do they need to play, but they need to know there will be time for play


I have a cape.  I keep it in my cubby. Teacher will tell me when I can wear it.  Not today.


From the play to the page to the stage to the lesson plan.


She said in Ireland the ece teachers have started referring to themselves as “Child Minders”






You are the Sunshine of Your Life


Out the gate: We are here to discuss if you should even be in the field.


36 years ago, I asked myself if I should be in the field because everyone said they loved kids.  And I didn’t.  Then I realized they didn’t love all the kids.  They loved SOME of them.


when was the last time you did something really different  – he had a list of things. if you have done more than 3 you are a part of the “weird” club


can’t be a part of a team if you aren’t successful yourself – how do we become a successful person:


learn more from mistakes

do you remember the worst teacher you had?


Become passionate about something

Your beliefs and practices need to fit together

Tell someone what you are passionate about that is not KID related


at a parent teacher conference teacher said, “she talks a lot”

parents said, we already know that – what are you going to do to get over it??


Look forward not back.

Forward ahead looking can change the direction we are going.


Move forward and learn from your mistakes.

What can I learn from this mistake??


This profession can occupy your life.

Stretch your intellect


Activity: Do we really listen?

#1 #2

#1 tell #2 everything you know about dirty socks.

#2, tell #1 what they told you!


get the feedback

the female brain must report in.

females have to tell someone to fully assimilate the info.


Learning styles:


Let me see it

Let me move it

Let me touch it

Let me taste it

Let me talk about it

Do it alone

Do it in a group


We lead with our preference and resonate with similar styles.


We don’t listen.


Child: Why did the chicken cross the road?

Teacher: I don’t know!

Child:  I don’t know either! (hysterical laughter)


The female brain clicks ON with lots of details

The male brain will shut DOWN when too many details


As soon as you nod, it says, I agree. But the person might not need agreement!


Make sure that your talking, nodding, questions, are not stopping the conversation. Make sure your visual cues are not shutting down the conversations.


I’m not really sorry

I just announced it so you’d hear it and get out of my face


Is it true?

Why do I need to say it?

Is it necessary? (or am I just “checking in” ??)


Jellyfish teachers

Brickwall teachers

Backbone teachers


Support, don’t rescue.


Who are the people in your life??

Chicken soup person

Crisis person

Off the wall person

Health nut person

Spiritual personal

Listener no matter what person

I need a hug person

Budget person (so you are not out on the street broke and naked)

I’ve been there myself person

Intellectual stretcher


If you have the same person in more than 3 spots, you are in trouble. Why?

You might rely on the same person too much – You need to branch out.  Especially in this field.


High creativity = high intelligence


Creativity supports thinking skills


Creativity killers!!


Too many excuses:

Not my job

We get in trouble

Our funding was cut

We tried it last year

I’m too old

It might offend someone

Regs don’t allow it



Do it as quick as you can


Start in comfort

Stop trying to change others


When you change – do it quick and flamboyantly


When your life flashes in front of you – will it keep your interest??


Dev Stages of Teachers


The learner stage  (when you are always saying, “what the hell?” Questioning)

Surviving (I made it!)

Inquirer stage (when you want to learn as much as you can!)

Experimenter stage (I know it, so I’m ready to step into the unknown!)


You can bounce around!





Session #1 pre-keynote

Making room for rough and tumble play




Play wrestling


Worries shared by the audience:

Someone is going to get hurt

We are really good at thinking about worse case scenarios


Taking chances



“I was tense watching the clips and didn’t realize it until the clip was over”



if we are going to affect change:

deal w/ attitudes and beliefs

functional/structural issues (how can I make it happen? Set up space?)

how does it become a part of the day?

Children as young as 4 can identify playing vs. aggression

Even in footage from clips w kids not speaking home language




When the smiles stop, the play stops.


Pelligrini showed that RT play leads to aggression more often with BOYS who’s FATHERS didn’t set clear boundaries when playing in any capacity.


One study showed that

7.0% of all rough and tumble play leads to aggression

but only 0.6 % with children who were called “social”


some kids can’t read body language


wrestling 1) respects the child’s need for full body contact, 2) provides tools to recog own limits (and those of others), 3) they are learning to be gentle, and 4) for MOST children it does not turn into aggression.


For rejected and challenged children you need to pay attention, it is more likely to lead to aggression with them.


Scaffolding success in wrestling.


In every fiber of their body the children need to know there will be time for play.



(suggested) Rules for rough/tumble play:

No kicking

Tag with open hands

Hands away from hair and heads

Smile stop = play stops

No choking



Code word = eagle = “I need some help”

Then teacher would move in…



What is play?

It begins with … Anticipation which leads up to …

Surprise which leads to…

Pleasure and the pleasure we feel leads to new understanding..

And this new Understanding  gives us…

Strength and from strength we develop

Poise and strength under pressure.




Benefits of Active Play:


Spatial awareness






Problem solving





Team work











Helps us develop a sense of narrative. If we allow it to emerge and evolve it will have a beginning, middle and an end. This is literacy. A shared story, sense of community.  Shared signals.


The highest activity level you’ll ever have is when you are 4.



make friends with bad guys

gun play

superhero play


when you ban it you send message that what the children are doing is not important, but it pushes it underground. Takes energy away from the play and instead they are “on guard”.


Teachers who have problem with rough/tumble play have even harder time with gun/superhero play


One school created a child-designed “school” where they had to get a “license” to use the weapons for gun play.  Had to take a test, get a license. If you messed up, you lost your license…


Problem is more of when it’s just SCRIPTED story – not the superhero play itself.  That’s a good point!


Who’s story is it?


Is there a back and forth in the play?



Ways to be powerful in your room:

Help each other

When you make new friend

When you say you are sorry

When you stop a fight

Walk away when someone bothers you

When you invite someone to play with you

When you ASK if you can join a group

When you help someone who is sad or hurt


She referenced BIG BODY PLAY  (book) a lot too.

Superhero ABC book






Nefertiti Bruce


Do you have an occupation or an occupassion?!?!


Handshake, hug, high 5, or a hello wave – add hand hug, thumb kiss etc.


Until the next time I see you, see beyond the hitting, biting, pushing and see their soul.


Nefertiti’s ABCs

It take a village to raise a child, but all the people in the village are sick. And that will make the children sick.


Sticky notes in the kids’ pocket.  Teacher, what does it say? What does it say? You Are Amazing!


Get your mind right and everything will fall into place


The only reason you are in the same space is because you have not thought about where you want to go


If you have lost hope, you have no business working with children.


Most of our shadows are caused by standing in our own sunshine


We are not guaranteed tomorrow


Optimistic/pessimistic children

With that much shit there’s gotta be a pony in here somewhere!



Squeeze your toes.



You must learn to navigate life’s BUMPS.


Build your bounce!


A = attitude

B = believe in yourself

C = choices

D = dream

E = enthusiasm

F = fortitude

G = gratitude

H = hope

I = initiative


J = joy

K = keep trying

L = live your life

M = mentor

N = learn/do something new

O = optimistic

P = perseverance

Q = quiet

R = reward yourself


S = strength/strategies

T = time

U = unimaginable

V = vision

W = work

X = eXtra

Y = you

Z = zealous





Notes taken at the Indiana AEYC Conference

April 2012


Shared with you by Lisa Murphy, Ooey Gooey, Inc.



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