Choosing Words Wisely

by Judy Mullican

“Wow! You are a great builder!” Ms. Tammy says as she looks at Josh’s complex block construction. No doubt Ms. Tammy means her words to be encouraging, and Josh probably enjoys hearing them. But research shows us that these words are not the most likely to lead Josh to develop persistence and a willingness to try challenging tasks. Ms. Tammy’s words can be termed people praise. That is, they focus on the type of person Josh is rather than his actions. In contrast, process praise focuses on a child’s actions and efforts. Using this type of praise, Ms. Tammy might say, “You worked on that building a long time, Josh. You balanced the blocks carefully so they didn’t fall. I think it’s the tallest one I have seen you build so far! Did it turn out the way you were hoping?” These words draw attention to Josh’s efforts and actions.

Continue reading

Getting Preschoolers to Eat Vegetables

by Kelley Jilek

A healthy diet and lifestyle can never start early enough. MyPlate suggests that half our plates should consist of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, kids are inundated with misinformation from media and advertisements every day. There are many factors that shape food habits and behaviors in children. Here are some tips for getting your little ones to try some healthier foods:

Continue reading

Scaffolding: One Way to Individualize Instruction

by Debbie Keiser

What happens when a child is not ready for a skill he experiences in the classroom? In most situations, the teacher provides assistance, perhaps by modeling, giving hints, or directly teaching the skill. This is called scaffolding. Many states are revising their standards for birth to five with increasingly difficult indicators to be mastered. Providers using state standards as a basis for creating lesson plans are challenged to find ways to scaffold these skills so children are adequately prepared for kindergarten. More and more pressure is falling on teachers to make sure children are meeting these stringent guidelines.

When a teacher scaffolds learning, she considers the current skill level of the child and uses different instructional techniques with him to help him progress toward understanding and independently performing the skill. Scaffolding shifts the responsibility of learning from the teacher to the child, with the teacher providing ongoing diagnosis and adjustment to related activities. Here are a few simple scaffolding strategies you can use with your children right away.

Continue reading

Meeting Standards Using Themes

by Judy Mullican

More and more states are now publishing standards for early childhood programs. These lists are often long and may look intimidating! But when you dig deeper, most often you will find that the standards just put into words the good practices that you have been using for years.

Depending on where you live, your state standards may cover a few basic learning domains or a long list of domains, subdomains, goals, and indicators. Using themes can make it easier for you to plan activities that will address all areas of learning. Themes also help you build connections from one learning domain to another. High-interest themes can also promote excitement about learning and inspire both care givers and children to express creativity and joy!

Continue reading

The Inclusion of STEM/STEAM in Preschool

by Katie Brazerol

In recent years there has been a push to include more science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills in education. As the trend has shown success, educators have recommended the application of STEM activities in early childhood as well. Incorporation of STEM activities will help children observe, analyze, and make predictions about things in their environment. They will learn to fulfill their natural curiosity and develop inquisitiveness about subjects and how things work. They will also strengthen math skills beyond shapes, colors, and counting, such as analyzing quantities, measuring, collecting data, and recording results.

Continue reading