Early Childhood Express February 2020

A young girl is playing in the rain.

I’m hearing complaints of rain, rain, rain!  And it’s only January (as I write this.) I’m noticing the birds, usually so abundant at my feeders, are hiding away somewhere just when it would be lovely to see them pecking away on my deck…those chickadees, sparrows, and flickers!  Rain, rain, go away…let those birds come back today!

And in the news…

PBS Kids has resources including videos, activities, and background information that can be filtered for the most appropriate activities for preschool children. You’ll find everything from using the Arthur books as part of your curriculum, geography, and exploring kindness.  Check it out!

Worth reading is a new research document by Beth Maschinot, Ph.D, The Changing Face of the United States:  The Influence of Culture on Early Child Development  from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Zero to Three.  In it she touches on identifying our own cultural scripts as we work with families; influence of culture on language development; the influence of culture and ethnicity on cognitive development and many other topics that build our knowledge as we continue to work with multiple cultures coming into our programs.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I subscribe to a newsletter The Big Fresh from Choice Literacy. Although it focuses more on Elementary through high school students, often I find articles that reflect our younger children.  The other day there was a link to an article from Laura Markham on using Peaceful Parenting strategies in early childhood classrooms. It contains some great tips for creating a peaceful classroom where adults and children connect in meaningful ways; needs are met and reasons for behavior are explored; and time out is turned into the ‘cozy corner’ available to all children.

Though most of you are no longer serving infants and toddlers, the resources available on the ESIT (Early Support for Infants and Toddlers) have much that could be of value and helpful for several tasks that preschool teachers may need to be aware of and perform.  At the ESIT website are Practice Guides that include information on transition, eligibility evaluation, and lots of resources for child outcomes reporting.

Great news for parents of children with special needs. According to an opinion released by the Labor Department, IEP meetings qualify for leave coverage under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This means parents won’t have to use vacation time or risk losing their jobs in order to attend these crucial school functions. It’s a clear and strong message to employees that IEPs are critical for parents to attend.

The Brain Matters folk out of Florida have released a nice documentary about the importance of early childhood activities in developing ready to learn brains. Although just short of an hour long, the video makes some great points to help families learn about the importance of their interactions with children. But also, if you can rope administrators and other teachers into sitting for an hour (maybe a professional development day) it would be terrific for people program-wide to get a better understanding of what you are doing and how it impacts later learning.

To go along with the video, The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard is developing a series of podcasts called The Brain Architects which will look at why the early years are so significant for child development and how connections are made in the brain. Subscribe and maybe make your commute a professional development experience.

Primarily of interest to administrators, the ESIT Funding Transfer Bill (Completing the transfer of the early support for infants and toddlers program from the office of the superintendent of public instruction to the department of children, youth, and families.”) dropped on January 22.  As the bill’s title states, it takes the money for services to infants and toddlers who have disabilities that currently flows through OSPI’s Special Education Department and sends it directly to Early Support for Infants and Toddlers in the Department of Children, Youth, and Families.  Still to come will be changed reporting requirements and funding methods as well as access to funds if you are currently serving infants and toddlers.  If you are not providing 0-3 services but flowing through funding to local lead agencies for services, they will be applying for and receiving funds directly from ESIT.

There is always in February some one day, at least, when one smells the yet distant, but surely coming, summer.

Gertrude Jekyll

This article was contributed by Mary Perkins for the Early Childhood Express newsletter. Subscribe to Early Childhood Express for monthly articles, tips, and professional development opportunities delivered to your inbox.