Build Those Fine Motor Skills!

by Katie Brazerol

Educators know how important fine motor skills are—fine motor strength provides a foundation for cutting and writing skills. However, it can sometimes be challenging to offer fresh, new activities that keep children engaged. Designate an area of the room as your “Hand Exercise” spot. Provide items for games that strengthen fine motor muscles, such as these ideas listed below. Encourage children to visit the area in between activities or during free play. Switch out the materials often to reignite interest.

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Teacher-Directed vs. Child-Directed Art

by Katie Brazerol

Teacher-directed vs. child-directed art has long been a hot topic in early childhood. Teachers and providers usually understand the importance of keeping art projects age-appropriate and child-focused, but many parents pressure them to offer crafts that are cute, theme-related, and showcase-worthy. Some teachers avoid all mass-produced crafts while others struggle with freestyle art because some children do not stay engaged long without specific instruction.

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Fun with Fall Leaves

by Judy Mullicanfall-leaves

Depending on where you live, the leaves may be changing colors or may be about to change soon. Even if you live in an area that does not experience fall color, leaves offer many opportunities for fun and learning! Some plants naturally produce leaves that are red, yellow, or orange all the time. Leaves also come in different shapes and sizes. Take your children outside to explore!

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The Importance of Play

by Kelley Jilek

Baby newborn in the shirt closeup on white background.When children play, they develop their knowledge of themselves and others, learn to make sense of the world around them, and learn to communicate with peers and adults. As children grow and develop, play changes, but the importance of it remains. There are a number of ways that educators and other adults can support play for various ages of young learners.

But first, let’s learn how it evolves:

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The Building Blocks of Reading and Writing

by Kelley Jilek

Child with the bookSchool for kids of all ages is just around the corner (or may have already started for some parts of the country)! Preschool is an exciting time for young kiddos. Along with the fun of meeting new friends comes the task of learning many new things. Reading and writing are core subjects that will build a strong foundation for learning for your child. You can help build that foundation with the following tips.

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Foster Emotional Growth

by Kelley Jilek

A 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. Such skills determine how stressful situations are handled in adulthood. The following tips can help children learn about feelings and how to manage them in socially acceptable ways.

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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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Encouraging Independence

by Kelley Jilek

“I want to do it!” How often have you heard your child utter this phrase? It’s a true sign of a child trying to establish a new level of independence.

Independence is defined as “not requiring or relying on others for care or support.” Of course, children cannot be expected to become totally independent until they’re grown. However, they do establish a higher level of independence with each stage of development.

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