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Mud Masters2

Encouraging Mud Play:

Posted by: Rhonda June 18, 2019

How to get everyone on board

Children plunge into messy play with great enthusiasm and no hesitation about getting dirty. The adults in their lives, however, may need a little more encouragement to understand the value of playing in and with mud.

Launching a mud area in your play space requires careful planning and communication with staff and families. This article offers advice on how to get over those hurdles. Then, let the fun begin! Read more.

Pretend play outdoors

Pretend Play in a Natural Setting

Posted by: Rhonda June 11, 2019

“Fantasy play is the glue that binds together all other pursuits, including the early teaching of reading and writing skills.” Vivian Gussin Paley

Fantasy play, or pretend play, is an integral part of childhood. While too often limited by the narrow confines of a dramatic play corner, pretend play can flourish outdoors if children are given the space and materials.

Fixed playground equipment like slides or swings encourage active play. What materials should you introduce to promote pretend play outdoors? Read the article.

Clothespin Paintbrushes

Painting Without Paintbrushes

Posted by: Rhonda June 4, 2019

If art is all about process, why limit creativity by limiting the tools? Add an innovative twist to a summer painting project by omitting the store-bought paintbrushes.

On an outdoor table or easel, provide paint, paper, and clothespins. Demonstrate how clipping a flower, leaf, or bunch of grass in a clothespin instantly produces a natural paintbrush. Then send the kids off in the yard to scavenge for their own unique collection of bristles.

Your budding artists will be quickly captivated as they discover how the patterns and textures of nature can be incorporated into their masterpieces.

More outdoor process art activities here.

MyPlace

Continuity of Care

Posted by: Rhonda May 21, 2019

“The importance of early relationships between children and the adults in their lives is well documented,” write Kay Albrecht and colleagues. While this fact is undisputed, traditional practices in childcare, such as moving children on to a new room or caregiver based on age or developmental milestones, easily disrupt these critical connections.

The approach of continuity of care, on the other hand, works to create “healthy, supportive, and responsive relationships through one crucial strategy—sustaining relationships over time.”

This article provides a thorough examination of the benefits of relationship continuity in early childhood and is well worth the read: Strategies for Sustaining Relationships

Music image

Raising Intelligent Children

Posted by: Rhonda May 14, 2019

“The United States faces an epidemic of unparalleled proportions,” write Gina Fontana and Ralph Barrett in this provocative call-to-action. “We have raised a generation of socially, cognitively, and physically underdeveloped children, leaving parents and teachers struggling to find solutions.” 

What can early childhood educators do to ensure that children are equipped with the skills they need to succeed in today’s society? Bring back the creative arts! Music, art, and dancing “allow children to be creative, take risks, and express themselves in innovative ways.” The whole body of a child must be involved in learning, not just their brain, for the child to develop into a productive, well-rounded citizen. Read more here.