Face-to Face Communication

Face-to-face communication develops language in young children. Face-to-screen does not.

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Loose Parts: Simple Materials, Big Outcomes – Natural Materials

Loose Parts: Simple Materials, Big Outcomes
What are loose parts? Simple, movable, open-ended, engaging, imaginative, and creative materials that produce major outcomes! There are endless possibilities and benefits of implementing loose parts into your classroom and outside on the playground. Check out some natural loose parts to include in your learning environment.

Loose Parts: Simple Materials, Big Outcomes – Synthetic Materials

Loose Parts: Simple Materials, Big Outcomes
What are loose parts? Simple, movable, open-ended, engaging, imaginative, and creative materials that produce major outcomes! There are endless possibilities and benefits of implementing loose parts into your classroom and outside on the playground. Check out some synthetic loose parts to include in your learning environment.

My Top 10 Resources for Curriculum Planning

Looking for ideas when writing curriculum for your early childhood classroom? Check out 10 of my favorite “go-to” resources. This is not an all-inclusive list, but these are books I use often and recommend frequently.

Process Based Experiences

Why are process-based experiences important? Watch and discover how open-ended experiences such as process-based art can help enhance skills and get children ready for kindergarten.

How do I find a preschool that teaches my child to write?

How do I find a preschool that teaches my child to write?

As parents, we always want to ensure our children are adequately prepared for school if not ahead.  One of the criteria we look for involves teaching children how to write their names and the alphabet.  Although this is important and is a skill that is eventually needed in elementary school, learning to create a story and a message and then convey it to paper is just as important and is learned best through play.  With this video, discover standards to look for in preschools as well as questions to ask the school administration and staff about their approach to the writing process.

Other information pertaining to looking for developmentally appropriate preschools:

 

How does play teach my child to write?

How does play teach my child to write?

Play is the best way to prepare young children for kindergarten.  It is amazing the educational skills learned when playing including the ability to write and create stories.  Explore how dramatic play, block play, and outside play all provide opportunities for young children to develop creative storytelling skills needed to be successful writers in the elementary, middle, and high school years.

What are the early writing stages of preschool age children?

What are the early stages of writing for preschool age children? 

An essential and early part of the writing process involves children having ample opportunities to draw.  Around the age of three, you will notice that children’s scribbling will start to look like something and say something.  See samples of the different developmental stages you can expect children to progress through as they are learning to write.  Also learn best practices to help promote the emergent writing process.     

Practical Approaches with Play Dough!

  • Instead of using the constant drilling tactics of flash cards to learn the alphabet, create the letters with play dough.

Start by separating the play dough into small pieces then have your children roll the play dough between their hands to create long, skinny, cylinder shapes. Using these pieces, children can manipulate them to make different letters. If your children are alphabet novices, it is okay to have a card for each upper and lower case letter available to use as a model so they can either create the letter next to the card or on it. If your children are the alphabet experts already, tell them the letters and have them make those from memory. Make it challenging by encouraging the creation of both the upper and lower case letters! To extend this activity, have pictures of different items available so your children can select the pictures that start with the letters made. This fun activity will enhance letter recognition and is a great basis for literacy development.

  • Order the play dough by different sizes.

Create different sizes of squares, stars, or whatever shapes you choose and have your children put them in order from biggest to smallest or smallest to biggest. (Cookie cutters work great for creating the shapes.) Start with three different sizes then add more if your children need to be challenged. To extend this activity, ask your children to make the different sizes then put them in order from smallest to largest. Like before, ask the children to add more sizes to add a degree of difficulty. Ordering by size develops the ability to compare objects as well as pattern and sequence them which supports the beginnings of math success.

  • Sort play dough by color or shapes.

Buy different colors of play dough and have your children create small balls with them. Place the different color balls in a pile on the table. Have your children sort the balls by the different colors. For more of a challenge, create different shapes with the different colors such as stars, squares, triangles, etc. Encourage your children to sort by just color, just shape, or by color and shape. Have them create their own categories and sort how they desire.  Be sure to have them tell you how they sorted them and how they came up with that category. Categorizing and comparing objects is essential for both math and literacy development.

  • Mix all the colors together!

Okay, for some it is a pet peeve to mix the different colors of play dough, but what a great experiment to see what will happen if you did mix the colors together. Ask your children to predict what they think will happen, and then do it! Ask questions during the activity such as: What is happening to the colors?, Why do you think the colors are looking this way?, and What will happen if we continue to squish them together? Take before, during, and after pictures to document the process. After the colors are mixed, ask your children if they can separate them again? Why or why not? Encourage a lot of dialogue and ask plenty of questions to get their minds turning while doing this activity. Doing basic science experiments like this will encourage exploration and thinking outside of the box!

These activities are simple and fun, but they are also educational and academic! Children need hands on experiences, even when learning the ABCs, 123s, and more! What else, besides play dough, can you use to create academic and engaging learning experiences for children? The possibilities are endless!