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.

Set Up the Centers

  • Include materials to support current concepts and topics of interest to the children.
  • Offer age-appropriate materials that can be used with minimal adult supervision.
  • Promote multiple learning domains. Rotate activities that focus on language/literacy, math, science, social studies, social/emotional well-being, physical development, and creative arts (music, art, and dramatic play).

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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!

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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.

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Goldilocks and the Three Bears Read-Aloud

And the Benefits of Classic Fairy Tales

by Katie Brazerol

Our second theme in January is all about classic stories. Classic stories and fairy tales have long been passed down from generation to generation. Stories such as “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” and “The Three Little Pigs” are well-known all around the world. Recently, however, classic stories have come under scrutiny for being violent or inappropriate for children. While original versions of traditional classics often have disturbing endings, many authors have done a fantastic job retelling the original stories so the events and outcomes are less harsh—without compromising the moral or the flow of the story.

In addition to exposing children to classic tales, we also encourage you to offer stories in a variety of ways. Offer audiobooks, look for online video versions, and invite local community members or the children’s families to come to your setting to read aloud to the group. Here we have provided two read-aloud versions of the story “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, as part of an activity in the Fireflies guide on Tuesday, January 24 (p. 45). The first story is traditional while the second option provides a little spin on the classic tale. Invite the children to view one of the stories. Continue reading

Singing Through the Day

by Judy Mullican

Singing and Clapping During Circle TimeSongs and young children go together like cake and ice cream! I once asked a mother of young children if she thought her children were ready to learn a certain concept. She told me, “They can learn anything if you put it in a song.” There’s a lot of truth to that! Just think how easily children learn advertising jingles they hear only a few times!

There are many ways you can use songs to make your day go more smoothly. Here are a few ideas.

Welcome
Sing a song to welcome the children to your group. Including their names will personalize the song and make each child feel special. Here’s one to try.

Hello Friends!
Sung to “Good Night, Ladies”

Hello, (Emily)!
Hello, (Emily)!
Hello, (Emily)!
We’re glad you’re here today.
Hello, (Emily)!
Hello, (Emily)!
Hello, (Emily)!
Oh, won’t you come and play?

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New Curriculum Features for 2016-2017

FunShine Express is always looking for ways to Simplify Your Day. With that goal in mind, we launched our Three Guarantees:

  • Save you one hour per day in prep time
  • Alignment to your state standards
  • Provide you with support and training

You can read more about these guarantees here. Another way we strive to Simplify Your Day, is by making changes and improvements to the components included in our curriculum kits! Check out what is new with our Fireflies® preschool program starting September 2016:

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