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Champion for Childhood

Posted by: Rhonda August 20, 2019

Passionately devoted to the importance of childhood, Joan Almon spent decades energetically speaking out and challenging a society and educational system that was becoming increasingly hostile to play.

Often activists don’t see the results of their work in their lifetime, but in her last piece written for Community Playthings, Joan boldly stated that “after decades of steady decline, play is on the rise again.” 

Last month Joan passed on, but the work she started is not complete. To keep her vision alive, we must keep fighting and pushing back the things that hinder childhood until all children everywhere can experience the unencumbered, open-ended, free play that defines childhood.

Read Joan’s article: The Return of Play

BOYS

Creating a Boy Friendly Environment

Posted by: Rhonda August 13, 2019

Children learn best by interacting with the world around them—the physical space, the materials, and other people. What happens when there is a mismatch between a child and the elements of his environment?

It’s a fact that many boys struggle in today’s early education environment. In his  new book, Oh Boy! Strategies for Teaching Boys in Early Childhood, Francis Wardle addresses this controversial issue, offering positive, empowering solutions.

How can  your classroom environment maximize young boys’ development and learning? Try these ideas.

Blow Painting 2

Collaborative Blow Painting

Posted by: Rhonda August 6, 2019

Here’s a great outdoor collaborative art experience you can still try this summer! I’ve done blow painting before as an individual Pre-K art activity, but outside, around a big table with multiple artists was far more entertaining.

Try it:
Cover your entire Outlast Table (or any table with a smooth surface) with a large piece of paper. Using a dropper, place small drops of liquid water color paint on the paper. Have the kids blow through drinking straws at the paint, forcing it across the paper in different directions. The paint travels in unpredictable ways creating excitement as different colored rivulets intersect and mix.

Repeat with more paint and more colors until the paper is filled with unique and interesting patterns.

Constructive Play

Guidelines for Outdoor Play Yards

Posted by: Rhonda July 30, 2019

Most early childhood programs have some sort of outdoor play space. However, these spaces often don't get the thought and financial support invested into indoor classroom spaces.

How can you make the most of your outdoor space and increase the quality and benefit of outdoor activity for the young children in your care? Read these recommendations from the Outdoor Classroom Project: Ten Simple Guidelines.

First Impressions

The Impact of the First Impression

Posted by: Rhonda July 23, 2019

“As soon as I walked into this center I thought, ‘This is amazing. I love it. Please can I pay the deposit right now?’ I just had a feeling about it.”

This experience of a parent looking for child care may sound similar to what families tell you as they search for the right place for their child. They often talk about it “feeling right.” Two facilities may have the same toys and a similar layout, yet parents say they had a feeling that one was a better fit for their family and their child. Research confirms that regardless of how a center is found, it is often this “feeling” parents experience as they tour a facility that is fundamental in choosing to enroll their child.

You may only have one opportunity to show your facility to a potential family. The first meeting is a vital time to establish that feeling of “rightness.” How can you get the most out of this initial contact? Kay Albrecht and Margaret Banks share their advice. Read here.