Learned optimism

Turning Life's Lemons Into Lemonade

Posted by: Rhonda January 14, 2020

Optimism. That sought-after character trait that turns life’s lemons into lemonade. While pessimists brace for the worst, optimists focus on the positive. But what determines a person’s outlook on life? Is it solely genetics, or can optimism be taught and learned?

According to research, you can teach young children to become optimistic thinkers. And, as with most foundational life skills, the earlier one starts thinking optimistically the easier it will be to reap the astounding benefits that come from being an optimist.

You, as an early childhood educator, are uniquely positioned to equip children with the thinking style they need to become successful. Read more.

Erika Christakis Play

Give children more time and space to play!

Posted by: Rhonda January 7, 2020

“Why is it still so hard to give young children the space and time to play?” asks Erika Christakis in a recent post on the Defending the Early Years blog.

“Like all young mammals, children are prewired for play. But having a play impulse isn’t the same thing as having play know-how. The latter actually requires time and practice to cultivate. And in today’s world, young children have less time and space to develop their play know-how.

“To reap the full benefits of play, therefore, we need to cultivate the play habitat in which children can become experts in play. We need to adopt the rhythms of childhood more often, allowing kids to dawdle, to repeat things, to be aimless, to make messes and mistakes, to have conflicts and get mad, and sometimes to have exactly zero objective in mind.”

Continue reading.

Christmas blog

Let the Children Be Free!

December 10, 2019

Thank you for all you do on behalf of children. May these beautiful words from Maria Montessori give you courage and joy to continue in 2020. View here

Wishing you a joyous Christmas
and a happy New Year!

From all your friends at Community Playthings


Twig Tree Ornament

Twig Tree Ornaments

Posted by: Rhonda December 10, 2019

These natural and rustic Twig Trees make attractive Christmas decorations or gifts. Best of all, the materials are super easy to gather. We did all our collecting and gluing one warm afternoon last week.

Instructions here.



Crisscross Applesauce: It's Time to Move On!

Posted by: Rhonda December 3, 2019

Crisscross-Applesauce. . .” This idiomatic mantra has been dictated in early education settings for decades. “Legs crossed, hands in lap, eyes on me. . .” The idea, of course, is that kids will pay greater attention to the teacher if they are required to sit still. But now, with abundant research showing the benefits of movement for learning, isn’t it time to call this practice obsolete?

Even for a limber adult, sitting on the floor, cross-legged, back straight, with hands in your lap, is a challenging position to maintain for more than a few minutes. So what are the alternatives? Read Rae Pica’s popular and controversial blog post here.