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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in early learning

Posted by on in Early Childhood

Do you remember the first time you had a sleep-over? Along with that first loose tooth, this is one great big rite of passage.

Lately I find myself spending more time listening to the ever-present Eugene rain, Soundscapes and relaxation music. If I look at social media I get fixated on mindless, fun stuff or very inspirational real life stories and musings.

Except for the littles, not much makes sense to me right now. I kind of feel like that scene in the movie "2012" where the North and South Poles switch places. Maybe I am sort of like the Woody Harrelson character, sure those secret ships will take us up and away. 

Now a fan of therapy dogs Max and companion Ruby, Esther the Wonder Pig, cat videos, although I am allergic to cats. A lot of wonder and wonderful, kind-hearted people in this world. That's what I'm focusing on.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

kindergarten classroom

I've been thinking about mistakes in the classroom...mostly the ones I make. The first one that comes to mind happened when I was teaching first graders. I had put up a wonder wall and received lots of great questions and wonders. One day, when reading some of the wonders in our group, I read a great question about rainbows - and then I proceeded to answer it instead of leading the group in ways to discover the answer. I realized that mistake as I drove home. I'd missed a great opportunity to lead children in discovering their own answers to questions.

I've made spelling mistakes and factual mistakes in the classroom. I've tried things that just didn't work or that just didn't interest the children like I thought it would.

I think about how to take advantage of mistakes when I make them - showing the children that we all make mistakes and mistakes help us learn. I think about how plan to avoid general mistakes. I think about how to laugh when I make them and how to encourage when kids make them. Making mistakes is a great way to learn. So often, children are afraid to be wrong, to make mistakes. But I hope to create classrooms that welcome mistakes and use them for more learning.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

b2ap3_thumbnail_curious-child.jpg

I was once asked during a presentation for a parent’s group what it is that preschoolers need most to prepare them academically.

I’m sure some would have loved tips on building early readers or how to get a jump start on math skills (both important, to be sure), but what I really believe young children need goes beyond even those basic skills.


“Honestly,” I said, “if I had to pick one thing, it would be for them to simply keep their curiosity.  Everything else will follow.”

Passionately Curious

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

kindergarten classroom

Recent news continues to highlight the increasing demands on teachers, students and families during the first year of school. Kindergarten is the "New First Grade" has been said many times during the past few years, however increased academic expectations can be met with developmentally appropriate instructional strategies…play included.  The benefits of play in the new first grade are seen throughout a child’s day in multiple domains.

1. Development of the whole child.  Play-based activities reach a wide scope and sequence of skills.  From critical thinking to problem solving skills-students have a very concrete and motivating way to learn the foundation skills that will support their learning K-12 and beyond.

2. Reaches the diverse learning styles of our students.  Play is a universal language.  I have observed students of all native languages interact together at a sensory table with water and sink/float activities.  We don’t always need our words to learn-but for our students who thrive in modes of learning that incorporate kinesthetic and visual activities- play can be the spark that supports more meaningful understanding of concepts.

3. Opportunities for development of oral language skills.  So much research has come out in regards to the importance of meaningful talk time for our early learners.  Playful learning offers intentional opportunities for students to enhance their vocabulary skills, while having student models and teacher facilitation of conversations.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

Tonight I am writing about Hope. Every Child a Star! Leo The Early Bloomer.

One of my favorite children's books, Leo the Late Bloomer, resonates for us all. Regardless of who we are teaching, there are lessons galore in this special book written by Kraus, illustrated by Aruego in 1971.

Maybe even more relevant today, as we push children to exceed, meet sometimes unreasonable standards and expectations, at least as measured by standardized testing. My opinion, as a believer in DAP, developmentally appropriate instruction. 

Poor Leo. He couldn't do anything right, couldn't read, write, draw, was a sloppy eater and never said a word. His father, in particular watched him for signs of blooming but pretty much gave up. In our class, many of the children have no daddies, only tired working mothers who trust our teachers to provide a seamless sense of family from home to school. Parents are our partners. 

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