During the week of April 10, communities across the country will commemorate the Week of the Young Child (WOYC), sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This year, the week takes on a special tone, as WOYC turns 50! WOYC offers a time for you to focus special attention on the important work of early childhood programs. Communities have held family workshops, parades, potlucks, and even declared proclamations to recognize the contributions of the early childhood workforce during WOYC. We have used the daily themes for WOYC to help you plan meaningful activities for your setting and community. Additionally, you can view the NAEYC website for activity and advocacy ideas. Each set of activities listed below includes a NAEYC resource that you can share with families. Continue reading
Using Documentation Panels to Showcase Children’s Experiences
Documentation is a powerful tool in the early childhood classroom. Put simply, documentation is any evidence collected over a period of time that describes, narrates, or demonstrates a child’s experience. Documentation can involve teacher and parent notes, a child’s drawings and dictations, and recordings/photos of an event or interaction. Such evidence allows for parents, teachers, children, and other stakeholders to engage in meaningful discussions about children’s learning and growing.
New Approaches to Holiday Celebrations
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
Promoting Community in a Preschool Setting
A tenet of developmentally appropriate practice is establishing and nurturing a sense of community in your classroom or setting. This sense of community should encompass your relationships with the children, their families and caregivers, and with your colleagues.
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.