Teachers Role

Facilitating Learning in the Block Area

Posted by: Rhonda August 2, 2022

Unit Blocks are one of the most powerful learning tools available for young children. However, their full potential in a classroom is only realized with the support and interest of the teacher.

“It is very important for teachers in the beginning of the school year to create a culture around block building,” states Nancy McKeever of Bank Street College of Education, “and that happens before the children even come into the classroom.”

What does this look like in practice? This short video serves as a great staff development tool to deepen engagement and learning in your block area. Watch now:  The Role of a Teacher in Block Play

Designing Classrooms for Collaboration

Posted by: Rhonda July 26, 2022

The ability to work together with others to solve problems and generate innovative ideas is critical to success, both in education and career. Since collaboration is a skill that is acquired through much practice it must be intentionally promoted and nurtured from an early age.

Specific design features in your early childhood classroom can either support or impede collaboration. In a series of classroom makeovers designed to increase purposeful play, researchers noticed a surprising and dramatic increase in collaborative activity. In this article, Pradnya Padet identifies five features of design that empower children to “PITCH in and work together successfully.” Read here.

Less Is More

More with Less

Posted by: Rhonda July 19, 2022

“Imagine not offering babies any toys until they find their hands for play!" writes Deb Curtis, describing the approach used by the Pikler Institute in Hungary. “This is such a different emphasis than what I often see in early childhood programs in the United States. Babies are regularly surrounded by colors and images on walls and fabrics, along with toys that beep, rattle, and flash.

“The story of the Pikler babies and their hands challenged me to rethink my practice. In my desire to give children all they need to grow and learn, am I giving them too much?” Continue reading.

Why is this a controversial topic?

Posted by: Rhonda July 12, 2022

Free Play vs. Guided Play

I recently read a blog post by Rae Pica highlighting a surprising controversy among early childhood educators about play. Is free play the only kind of play that matters? Or is there value in guided play?

What do you think?

Read Rae’s piece here.

Clothespin Paintbrushes

Painting Without Paintbrushes

Posted by: Rhonda July 5, 2022

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.