Are you feeling grumpy or experiencing the winter blues? Do you feel frustrated at work? If you need some motivation to get through the rest of the school year, want to revamp your instructional strategies, or want to work on changing your mindset for the better, check out these 10 “instead of” statements featured in Judy Fujawa’s (Almost) Everything You Need to Know About Early Childhood Education.

  • Instead of making an example of the negative—highlight the positive. Focusing on the positive can improve your mindset and your overall mood.
  • Instead of playing competitive games—play cooperative games. Encouraging children to work together to accomplish a goal will have a positive impact on their social and emotional development.
  • Instead of rote memorization drills—choose meaningful learning experiences. Children will be more likely to understand and remember what they’re learning if you provide them with hands-on learning opportunities that are based in the real world.
  • Instead of complaining about what’s wrong—do something to make it right. It doesn’t have to be something big—you can simply ask someone for advice or ask for their point of view on the issue. 
  • Instead of providing a model at the art center for children to copy—encourage creative art. Fostering creativity in the classroom gives students opportunities for self-expression and makes learning more fun.
  • Instead of a teacher-directed atmosphere—provide a child-centered environment. Giving children choices and encouraging child-directed play helps children explore their environment while also fostering their independence. 
  • Instead of telling a parent about problems—share successes. Telling parents about any concerns you have is important, but it’s also important that you recognize what their child excels at and what he or she is working on improving in the classroom. Share both the small and big victories students have with their parents.
  • Instead of saying “I’m too busy”—make time. Time management is essential to having a healthy mindset. Struggling to get everything done or not scheduling time for yourself will make you feel depressed and impact your performance at work.
  • Instead of children competing against each other—strive for each child to achieve his or her personal best. This will lead to a much more positive learning environment in the classroom and will help children be more comfortable with trying new things and participating in class.
  • Instead of recycling old lesson plans year after year—try new ideas that work for the children you teach now! Remember every child and group of children is unique!

Want more tips on improving your mindset and increasing your resilience in 2016?

On Thursday, January 21 at 2 p.m. EST, Nefertiti Bruce Poyner, M.Ed., will present a webinar on how educators, child care providers, and parents can reflect on and improve their health and wellness. The webinar is free—all you have to do is join Kaplan’s Classroom Management for Early Learning community on edWeb to participate. Visit the community page to learn more!