Building Connections with Families

Posted by: Rhonda January 25, 2022

Imagine if each child in your class would bring the five most important people in their lives into your classroom. Each would offer their influence on the child’s day. Some would be positive and supportive, others may be less so. Your classroom quickly becomes very full!

“While this is an exercise of the imagination,” writes Jennifer Fiechtner, “the influence of all these people is real.” Each child has an “invisible crowd” impacting their schedules, interactions, eating and sleeping patterns, and their ability to manage their emotions.

“One way we can manage this Invisible Crowd is by mindfully cultivating positive, welcoming relationships with families—the most important people in children’s lives.”

In this article, Fiechtner offers three ways to build connections that benefit families, children, teachers, and childcare programs alike. Read it now.

The Trouble with Themes

Posted by: Rhonda January 18, 2022

“Process art” is a popular buzzword in early childhood education. It is generally recognized that art should be about the creative experience, rather than a prescribed end product.  But one of the main factors that drives product-driven art remains a highly controversial subject for teachers: Themes.

According to some, theme-of-the-week belongs in the list of outdated practices in early childhood education, along with product-driven crafts, daily calendar time, and worksheets.

What do you think? For a stimulating discussion with your staff at the beginning of this new year, read Diane Kashin’s article, “Cut Out the Pre-Cuts: The Trouble with Themes in Early Childhood”

Frosty Paintings1

Painting with Plastic Wrap

Posted by: Rhonda January 11, 2022

This is one of my favorite process art activities. Since it works best if you apply the paint fast and generously, it is a great way to loosen up tight artists!

The results may vary greatly depending on the technique used, but generally you end up with a uniquely patterned and textured paper reminiscent of frosty window panes. 

Instructions here:

A New Year to Illuminate Care

Posted by: Rhonda January 4, 2022

“The central purpose of a human community is to care for children and you are the heart and soul of that purpose.” Carol Garboden Murray

As we embark together on another year of important work with children, we hope these words encourage you and your colleagues: Watch now. 


Happy New Year from all of us at Community Playthings!

Twig Tree Ornament

Twig Tree Ornaments

Posted by: Rhonda December 14, 2021

Children naturally love gifts. They love receiving gifts, but it is hard to match the excitement children get from giving gifts—particularly gifts they created themselves. The Christmas season is a great time to provide children with opportunities to make things for the people they love.

These natural and rustic Twig Trees make attractive ornaments. Best of all, they use natural materials that are quite easy for any child to find (sticks!). 

Instructions here.