Sunday, November 22, 2015


It's been on my heart so to speak to start blogging again... So here I am, with a month and a half left in 2015 and a goal! 

So I am a big reader. I love to read and try to read every day. I live in a fairly small community so professional development is very limited unless I want to travel. So I read a lot of books about child development and best practices in Early Childhood. I wanted to share a few with you. I'm not being paid in any way shape or form for this... these are 100% my opinions. As I finish books, I will add to this. 

First up is: Use Your Words: How Teacher Talk Helps Children Learn by Carol Garhart Mooney.

There is no doubt that as Early Childhood Educators we talk A LOT. This book gives a lot of practical, sound advice for how we use our words to make the most of it in the following areas: giving directions and instructions, correcting behavior, developing skills and concepts, and conversations, discussions, and stories. This book is an easy read at 118 pages with skills you can use the next day. I highly recommend. 
"The ideas presented here are not new. As you read this book, I'm sure you will find yourself saying, "I know that." A trip through most preschools, however, shows us that we all need to remind ourselves to use our words more carefully!"

If you believe that Early Childhood Education is all about Relationships, then you need to add this next book to your professional library ASAP: The Dance of Interaction A Guide to Managing Children's Challenging Behavior by Jeanine Fitzgerald.  My copy of this book is almost unreadable. It's highlighted, marked, written in, notes sticking out of it. I have read this book over the holiday break two years in a row because it's such a good reminder about how relationships are the most important factor in what we do. She examines relationships from all aspects and gives you solid information and strategies to use. The book is broken into three sections: The Anatomy of the Dance, Understanding Your Dance Partner, and Learning the Steps. Don't expect a magic pill to correct challenging behavior, but expect to do a lot of reflecting on yourself, the child, and how your interactions can benefit the child or encourage those pesky behaviors.

"My purpose for writing this book is simple- to share some child development theory and many experiences that will empower you to become an unforgettable, positive influence in the life of every child you touch, even those whose behaviors you find disturbing, frustrating, or challenging." 

I am currently reading: Beyond Behavior Management- The Six Life Skills Children Need by Jenna Bilmes. So far I'm loving this book as well. I'm only two chapters in right now but will update this when I'm done. 

What good books have you read lately? Please comment and let me know! I am always looking for the next book to read. 

Have a great week! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Self Control & Art - Spray Painting!

Here is a fun, inexpensive project to do in the warm summer sun-- Spray Painting!

1. White twin flat sheet (~$5 at Walmart)
2. Spray Bottles (~$1 at Walmart/Target/Dollar Tree)
3. Tempera Paint
4. Water
5. Clothespins

Mix a squirt of washable paint with water into the spray bottles.
Shake it up real good! Test the color darkness, add more paint if you like.
Hang up your white sheet with the clothespins and explain:

We spray the sheet, not our friends or ourselves.
(This is where self-control comes in!)

**Bonus-- strengthens little hand muscles for fine motor control!**

When you're done, just throw the sheet in the washing machine and you have a blank canvas for next time.
This is always a hit with my preschoolers (and the two year olds loved this as well!), and it's simple enough you can pull it out as a last minute-outside boredom buster this summer. I am planning on letting them full on paint the sheet at some point this summer during a water-play day so we can hose off the ground/ourselves if need be. :-)

What kinds of art activities are you doing outside this summer?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It's Summertime! :)

It's hard to believe yet another summer has unofficially began. Our building today was buzzing with school-agers excited about being off for another summer and some preschoolers who were excited to about graduating to Kindergarten. There was definitely more noise today than last week.

I was fortunate to be trusted to develop my own Summer Camp for my group this summer and since a majority of them are going off to Kindergarten in the Fall, I felt like I had a big task ahead of me-- to keep them busy, engaged, and keep those "Kindergarten readiness" skills sharp. I wanted to share with you what I decided on doing....

So it's pretty self explanatory- Mondays we work on a big art project, Tuesdays we are going to be "visiting" different places (reading books and doing an activity related to that culture), Wednesdays is all about hosing them down- I mean them experiencing full-on water play, Thursdays we will be cooking, and Fridays we break out the Science experiments. I decided against a weekly "theme" to keep it open to ideas. I have 14 weeks of activities lined up, but if there is something in particular they really enjoy I am open to extending that.  In fact since I'm still getting to know these kiddos, I hope this lends itself to a lot of creativity on their parts.

We will also rotate centers and different materials through out the room as I don't expect all 17 of them to sit and do the same "camp activity" every day. I'm still working on room organization, and layout, and the walls (those dreaded walls...). I'm really excited to see how this goes. :)

What are your summer plans?