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Leaf Prints

Leaf Prints

October 20, 2020

If you're looking for a quick, easy-to-set-up art activity that capitalizes on back-yard nature, try this one. Highly versatile in its simplicity, it can be set up either on-site in your outdoor classroom, or in your indoor art area—bringing nature right into the classroom.

All you need is some paper, markers, and freshly picked leaves. Instructions here.

Wisdom of Nature

Planet Earth: Right Outside Your Back Door

October 13, 2020

“What is the most important place on the planet for children?” asks Rusty Keeler. “As adults we may think of lofty places of great natural importance, and yet the most important place for young children is your back yard. That small simple place that children visit every day is actually the most important place in the world. It is the place where children use their senses to explore the planet and experience the wonders of nature.

“All it takes is someone like you to decide to bring nature into your back yard and allow children to explore. Plant bulbs that pop into flowers in spring. Bring dirt, sand, and water into your yard. Plant shade trees and fruit trees and trees that burst into fragrant bloom. Allow corners of your yard to grow wild.

“As we beautify our back yards we are beautifying the world and beautifying children’s introduction to the planet.”

From The Wisdom of Nature. Download your free copy here.

Optimism in Covid 191

Choosing Optimism

October 6, 2020

In these challenging and stressful times, choosing to face the unknowns with an optimistic outlook is essential. However, this is easier said than done.

“Optimism is the expectation that good things will happen—to you, to others, and the world. It is not, however, a Pollyannaish belief that life is all rainbows, unicorns, and heart emoji,” write Laura J. Colker and Derry Koralek.

“Realistic optimism is about the ability to acknowledge problems and still maintain a positive outlook. It is the backbone of resilience. Choosing to be optimistic can be an invaluable tool during this period when resilience is what we need and crave.

“Even if you weren’t born that way (only 25% of us are), you can learn to be optimistic.” Read more

caring

Courageous Care Givers

September 29, 2020

This spring—perhaps for the first time—early childhood educators were recognized as an “essential” part of the workforce. Why has it taken a global health crisis to acknowledge that caring for the youngest and most vulnerable citizens is an invaluable and vital service?

In Carol Gardoben Murray’s timeless piece, “The Pedagogy of Care”, she addresses this chronic blind spot and urges educators to “teach in a way that demonstrates the essential role of care in building an infrastructure for a strong society.”

How do we make caring a visible and respected pedagogy? A must-read for early educators. Read here.

shadows

Shadow Portraits

September 22, 2020

Some sunshine, pavement, and sidewalk chalk are all you need for this simple activity incorporating both art and science (plus a lot of fun).

Find a suitable space of pavement in full sun. Have one child pose, as still as possible, while a partner carefully traces around his shadow. Once the outlines are done, color or decorate in any creative way.

Creating shadow portraits at different times of day will provide an interesting discussion about how shadows work—morning people will be much taller than noon people!