15 Activities to Make Week of the Young Child Memorable

This year, the Week of the Young Child (WOYC) occurs from April 11-17. As many of you know, the WOYC was established by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) to shed light on the needs of young children and families and to recognize the work of early childhood educators. This year marks the 49th celebration of WOYC! Be a part of this amazing lineage by celebrating in your setting and encouraging families to commemorate the occasion at home. Make the WOYC memorable by celebrating with something special each day! Choose from the following activities, and get the word out by choosing one of NAEYC’s recommended activities for Kick-Off Saturday.

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Welcome Spring with an Outdoor Classroom

by Teresa Narey

There is no greater sigh of relief after a long day with young ones than when you open the door and they rush past you to play outside. The benefits of outdoor play for children are well researched. Ample outdoor experiences promote exercise, executive functioning, risk-taking, socialization, and an appreciation for nature. Support children’s outside explorations by welcoming spring with an outdoor classroom. Continue reading

Children and Place: An Intro to Geography

When we think of geography, we tend to imagine maps, globes, and atlases. While these tools are relevant to learning about place, the study of geography involves so much more. For children, geography involves developing a sense of place by learning about the natural environment and understanding their relationship to it. It goes without saying that children are most in touch with the places where they live.

According to research on social studies in early childhood, geographic experiences support children’s social and emotional development by allowing them to foster relationships, use their senses, and make memories. When children are given opportunities to explore a place over time, they begin to understand how places can change and the affect humans have on them. Support children’s geographic explorations with these 7 activities: Continue reading

New Approaches to Holiday Celebrations

by Teresa Narey

The month of December can feel like a whirlwind. As educators, we often think about how to approach holidays in our classrooms this time of year. Three major holidays are highlighted this month—Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah—but culturally, we know that so much more is at play in the lives of the children in our care and in the world at large. If all of the children in your setting celebrate the same December holiday, then you may simply embrace it and move along. However, for more diverse groups, it may be a struggle to know what to do—to know what families would like for you to do. Before promoting any holiday in your setting, it is best to talk with families and caregivers about their preferences. You might also consider taking an anti-bias education approach, which seeks to promote fairness and inclusion in school settings by offering alternative and informed approaches to celebrating mainstream holidays. Here are 5 examples to consider: Continue reading

Rain Boots and Mud Pies—Gearing Up for International Mud Day

As early childhood professionals we know that learning can be messy. Children often seem to be at their happiest when they are digging, painting, or creating. In fact, if each of us paused for a moment and thought about it, we could probably easily recall a time when the children in our care were consumed by swirling paint colors and painting over the same area on the page, piling sand into large mounds, or collecting an assortment of sticks and rocks. In each of these activities, children are honing many skills—fine motor, gross motor, cognitive awareness, and math and counting. Help children and families in your setting embrace messy play by getting outside and celebrating International Mud Day on June 29.

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Cooking with Kids

Imagine having your teaching setting filled with delicious scents and seeing your children willingly dig into healthy foods. How can you make this happen? One of the best ways is to offer healthy cooking experiences. Whether you work in family care, a child care facility, or even a public school, there are many ways you can make cooking a part of your day.

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Differentiating in a Preschool Setting

by Debbie Keiser

It’s Sunday night and you have just finished creating the perfect set of lesson plans, filled with exciting activities to evoke interest and engagement in all of your little ones. Your children arrive the next day and within the first hour you realize that everything you had planned is not going to happen. What do you do?

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15 Activities to Celebrate NAEYC’S Week of the Young Child

The National Association for the Education of Young Children is hosting its annual Week of the Young Child™ (WOYC) from April 8 to 12, 2019. WOYC spotlights the importance of childhood, early learning, and family and community engagement in supporting children’s development. New this year, NAEYC is asking participants to Step It Up by expanding upon activities in unique ways. Follow the WOYC and Step It Up links to learn more about these initiatives. Below are 15 activities to help you celebrate in your child care setting. Continue reading

Promoting Play Through Independent Activity Centers

by Katie Brazerol

Children benefit from choosing and freely exploring materials in interactive learning centers throughout your setting. Providing a space that encourages children to explore, interact with others, and use critical thinking skills without constant adult direction allows them to gain independence. Children can use independent activity centers during free play or as transition activities while waiting for others to finish a task.

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