Charlie’s Cues: Using Your Concept Cube

by Chalimar Ríos

Twelve years ago, when I was still studying in college to graduate as a teacher and educator, we were asked to create a teaching material that would stand out in some way or that would involve a different way of teaching. With a thousand ideas in mind, I went to a department store and bought different colors of felt, Velcro, hot glue, and fiberfill. I came up with the great idea to create a “concept cube.” I imagined it as a tool that I could use easily by changing the pictures often to work on multiple skills with the children and teach new concepts. The day came, I presented my idea, and it was a success. I saved that concept cube as one of my best teaching tools and used it for years in my classroom.

Years later, I find myself working for FunShine Express, where I have the great opportunity to see and be a part of creating good, quality educational materials to help teachers and caregivers make the teaching process easier and more effective. And guess what? They have a Concept Cube! The idea I had more than 10 years ago was already being implemented by FunShine Express as part of the materials sent in their monthly kits. Teachers receive Concept Cube Cards, a mix of drawings and real pictures, to place in the Concept Cube to play games with children, making learning fun and interactive and helping children make connections between learning and the real world. Join me in discovering how to use one of my all-time favorite learning tools by reviewing our February Concept Cube components.

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15 Creative Greetings to Start Your Day

A typical morning in child care might involve greeting children with hugs, high fives, and snuggles for those who are still waking up or having a hard time saying goodbye to loved ones for the day. However, some children (and adults!) are slow to warm in the morning, preferring quiet, space, and independent activities. In general, morning greetings may have changed in your setting this fall, as you work to implement safety procedures for COVID-19. Regardless of how children are entering your setting, it’s important to make space and time to acknowledge each other. Below are 15 creative greetings to support you in promoting safety, personal space, and rapport in your setting:

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Celebrating Sukkot

Harvest BasketThe Jewish holiday of Sukkot is the perfect time of year for family engagement and community-building in preschool settings. This year, the holiday begins at sundown on October 2 and continues through October 9. Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which Israelites wandered the desert, living in temporary shelters. Sukkot is also a harvest holiday about coming together and sharing food. Perhaps the most recognizable symbol of Sukkot is a structure built for outdoor eating and sleeping called a sukkah. The sukkah, emblematic of the temporary shelters used during this period of wandering, can be made of any material, as long as it is stable enough to survive the wind. The roof, however, is typically made of natural materials, i.e., leaves, bamboo, etc. Once established, the sukkah is a space for family and community gatherings.

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Welcoming Kindergarteners in Your Setting: Tips and Resources

gatePolicies regarding the coronavirus are changing rapidly and schools are uncertain about whether it will be safe to open for in-person learning this fall. We’ve heard from many child care providers that children expected to transition to kindergarten will be remaining in child care. While our Fireflies® curriculum tackles and reinforces many skills and concepts essential to kindergarten, we felt it important to offer you resources that will support you in extending our curriculum to meet the needs of and challenge the kindergarten children in your care.  

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