Charlie’s Cues: Using Your Concept Cube

by Chalimar Ríos

Twelve years ago, when I was still studying in college to graduate as a teacher and educator, we were asked to create a teaching material that would stand out in some way or that would involve a different way of teaching. With a thousand ideas in mind, I went to a department store and bought different colors of felt, Velcro, hot glue, and fiberfill. I came up with the great idea to create a “concept cube.” I imagined it as a tool that I could use easily by changing the pictures often to work on multiple skills with the children and teach new concepts. The day came, I presented my idea, and it was a success. I saved that concept cube as one of my best teaching tools and used it for years in my classroom.

Years later, I find myself working for FunShine Express, where I have the great opportunity to see and be a part of creating good, quality educational materials to help teachers and caregivers make the teaching process easier and more effective. And guess what? They have a Concept Cube! The idea I had more than 10 years ago was already being implemented by FunShine Express as part of the materials sent in their monthly kits. Teachers receive Concept Cube Cards, a mix of drawings and real pictures, to place in the Concept Cube to play games with children, making learning fun and interactive and helping children make connections between learning and the real world. Join me in discovering how to use one of my all-time favorite learning tools by reviewing our February Concept Cube components.

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15 Creative Greetings to Start Your Day

A typical morning in child care might involve greeting children with hugs, high fives, and snuggles for those who are still waking up or having a hard time saying goodbye to loved ones for the day. However, some children (and adults!) are slow to warm in the morning, preferring quiet, space, and independent activities. In general, morning greetings may have changed in your setting this fall, as you work to implement safety procedures for COVID-19. Regardless of how children are entering your setting, it’s important to make space and time to acknowledge each other. Below are 15 creative greetings to support you in promoting safety, personal space, and rapport in your setting:

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Parents Are a Child’s First Teacher: Homeschooling with FunShine

As news rapidly evolves regarding the spread of COVID-19 and precautions we should take, parents continue to face child care challenges. Questions about how to care for children and how to maintain and promote learning are abundant. While K-12 institutions have widely moved to online learning, parents of young children, especially those in preschool or Pre-K, are at a disadvantage. It is likely that many child care providers and early learning centers will offer parents guidance and resources for working with their children, however, these items may be limited and only reflect a fraction of what your child’s experience might have been like in child care.

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Tips for a Successful Circle Time

What is circle time?

Most early child care or preschool educators will tell you that circle time Singing and Clapping During Circle Timeis a staple in their settings. But what is circle time, and how can we do it well? Circle time comes from the tradition of Friedrich Froebel, a German educator responsible for implementing the first organized kindergarten in the mid-19th century. For Froebel,  circle time was a time for children to learn and play in group activities. Circle time then was much like it is now in many school communities—it happened at the beginning and end of each day to help children focus and to reinforce community. Circle time included music and movement, as well as fingerplays and storytelling, and in many settings, these activities still comprise the time. The word “circle” describes the position of the educator and children during the activities—they may sit or move in a circle depending on the activity.

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