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Less Is More

More with Less

Posted by: Rhonda November 17, 2020

“Imagine not offering babies any toys until they find their hands for play. My mind started spinning as I listened to Janet Gonzalez-Mena describe the approach used by the Pikler Institute in Hungary,” writes Deb Curtis. “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.

Liberating Care

Posted by: Rhonda November 10, 2020

“In my career, I have learned to talk the talk,” writes Carol Murray. “I know how to pin academic standards on just about every aspect of child care and early human development . . . but as I do so I wonder, why can’t we appreciate care of children for its own sake?

“I am no longer willing to rank care, hide care, or disguise care. We need to name care and show that the most basic rituals of care, which society typically thinks of as custodial, are intellectual encounters. This is knowledge that cannot be categorized, measured, and standardized. Care is the making of humans.

“As fellow early childhood teachers, I invite you to be ambassadors of care.

Together let’s liberate care!” Continue reading.

Virtual Learning

Delivering Play Opportunities to Children

Posted by: Rhonda October 27, 2020

Virtual learning? The combination of these two words defies everything we know to be true about early childhood education. We believe that children learn best through direct, hands-on experiences and face-to-face relationships. Is it possible to stay true to our beliefs during this time of necessitated distancing?

Luckily educators are some of the most creative people around and, over the last months, many have found ways to continue to deliver quality play experiences to children—even when forced to do so remotely. Now it’s important to share those ideas with others to ward off fatigue as we continue through challenging times.

In today’s article, Miriam Belogovsky, coauthor of the popular Loose Parts series, offers ideas of how to transfer your beliefs in play-based learning to your current teaching situation.

Read here.

Leaf Prints

Leaf Prints

Posted by: Rhonda 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.