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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Offering Loose Parts

by Judy Mullicanhappy family mother and baby daughter in an empty apartment wit

Loose parts is a term that we often see in early childhood articles these days. While that specific term may not have always been in use, the idea behind it is not new. Loose parts are objects that children can move around and combine or arrange in many different ways. While many people prefer to use natural materials as loose parts, manmade materials can also work very well. Some popular loose parts include rocks, shells, twigs, leaves, cardboard tubes, jar lids, boxes, bits of ribbon, and more. Any materials that are intriguing to children and offer many possibilities for play will work.

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Capturing Teachable Moments

by Judy Mullican

Imagine a day when you have a fantastic lesson planned. You’ve gathered all the materials you need and can’t wait for the children to arrive and enjoy all of the great activities. Just as the day begins, little Katie bursts into the room with a branch of colorful fall leaves. The children crowd around her oohing and aahing over the bright colors. What happens next? Well, you could quickly thank Katie, put the leaves in the science center, and move on with the lesson you planned. On the other hand, you could see this as a teachable moment.

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Fostering Children’s Social and Emotional Growth

Real People: Black African American Mother Talking with Toddler BoyA child’s ability to manage feelings, understand the feelings of others, and interact positively with others can affect all areas of his or her life. Research shows that children with good mental health are happier, motivated, interested in learning, and develop healthy relationships with their peers and adults. A child’s ability to develop strong social-emotional skills determines how well he or she will handle stressful situations during adulthood. Use the following tips to support children in identifying and managing feelings.

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Curiosity and Lifelong Learning

by Kelley Jilek

Children are naturally curious. They ask “Why?” and “What’s that?” several times a day, they take things apart, they wonder how things work, they are drawn to new things, and “messes” seem to find them within a matter of minutes. What a wonderful, exciting way to spend a day! Imagine having the natural desire to learn, explore, discover, and understand. Children have this drive. Curiosity can be sustained throughout life, leading to a lifelong love of learning. Here are a few things parents and providers can do to nourish children’s curiosity:

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