Tikkun Olam: Repairing the World on Earth Day

As early childhood educators, we know that supporting children’s social-emotional development is crucial to their success in the primary grades, their relationships, their choice-making, and in essence, life. Every child has his own unique challenges in developing a sense of responsibility, self-regulation, and self-care. As we support children’s personal growth, we also need to consider how to encourage them to care for one another and for the world at large.

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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

A Purim Celebration

by Teresa Narey

The holiday of Purim is arguably the most joyous day of the Jewish year. Purim marks the time that Queen Esther helped save the Jewish people from being harmed by Haman, a confidant to King Achashverosh, who did not agree with the customs of Jewish people. (You can read a detailed account of the story here.) If you are approaching Purim from a Christian lens, it is helpful to know that King Achashverosh is referred to as King Xerxes in the book of Esther in the New International Version of the Bible (it will also explain variations in the spellings of certain names).

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Vibrant and Sweet: Celebrating Diwali

by Teresa Narey

A quick Internet search for Diwali (pronounced dee-VAH-lee) yields many results that compare this Indian holiday to Christmas. While the bright colors and flowers associated with India’s most cherished festival may not immediately draw up images of a snowy Christmas, its emphasis on sweets, gift-giving, and spirituality will certainly resonate with you.

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Not Halloween: An Introduction to Dia de los Muertos

by Teresa Narey

Introduction and Background:

In the U.S., the end of October is traditionally marked by the celebration of Halloween. In greater America, however, another holiday emphasizing fun, food, and costumes calls attention to the passing of time. Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is celebrated in Mexico and throughout Latin America on November 1 and 2, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, respectively (click here for help pronouncing Spanish words). On the surface, Dia de los Muertos and Halloween appear to have much in common, but a closer look at customs tells us otherwise.

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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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Shana Tova: Bringing Rosh Hashanah into the Early Childhood Classroom

by Teresa Narey

The beginning of the school year signals the beginning of many things: meeting new children and families, observing children becoming friends, setting rules and expectations, implementing new ideas and activities—the list goes on. It’s fitting, then, that Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs during September. Rosh Hashanah literally translates to “Head of the Year.” (For help pronouncing Jewish holidays and Hebrew words, search here.) In addition to praying and attending services, Rosh Hashanah is a time when Jewish people reflect on their feelings and actions and consider how they may enter the new year with the best of intentions.

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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.

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