Early Childhood Express – January 2020

Child playing with snow in winter. Kids outdoors.

Wind, rain, snow? Seems like winter has foisted itself upon us. Guess it’s that time of year! Personally, I’ve become an indoorsy type of person…I like watching winter through my office window, getting outdoors long enough to refill the bird feeders in hopes I’ll be entertained by their antics (and their greedy battles.) Meanwhile…

Did you see that OSPI has a new logo? The new logo contains diverging paths in the middle, representing the different paths students take while achieving their diploma. A sunrise hangs over the paths, representing hopefulness and opportunity. The paths are also supportive, holding up a child who is reaching for their future.

And while you’re on the site scope out the newsletter from the math people. Although much of the information focuses on K-12, there are many useful resources and ideas for preschool or activities and information that can easily be adapted for preschool as well as for families to use. The December/January newsletter has some wonderful ideas around children exploring and comparing shapes and learning math through stories. You can sign up to get the newsletter here.

Education Week has a nice article, Build a Culture of Literacy With Your Classroom Library. In my granddaughter’s first grade class they have a book exchange with other classrooms and children can also bring books from home and exchange with other children bringing books. It’s a nice way to get new books into the hands of children and find new readings that might spark their interest.

Speaking of reading (a favorite topic of mine), Zero to Three’s Baby Steps newsletter has a short but useful article on reading with understanding, Though it focuses on infants and toddlers, the concepts are equally important for preschooler’s vocabulary building needed for later success as readers.

Trauma and toxic stress are important topics in our work this past several years. Researchers from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University warn of the potential negative effects of child-hood adversities on children later in life, in the absence of a strong and stable relationship with a trusted adult. Childhood adversities, such as being separated from a parent or experiencing childhood maltreatment, can cause toxic stress, which can lead to mental and physical health issues if experienced over a long period. According to the researchers, making sure that children have a strong relationship with a trusted caregiver is the best way to prevent or reverse the damage of childhood adversity. Read more or watch a video in English or Spanish.

Last year we found the twins were not at their best when they got off the bus from school…it seemed that no matter what a great day they had they were hangry at 4:00…just not the best time for them to respond adult expectations. As teachers we also have ‘hangry’ or trigger times of the day when we may unconsciously might not use the best strategies for teaching…especially in responding to behavior. PBIS By Design, the newsletter from PBIS Apps has a great article on looking at our decision-making processes and identifying the times of the day and/or the triggers that put us a risk of not using conscious and measured responses. It’s in their Teach By Design newsletter. Oh, and what did we do? Eliminated the 45 minute bus ride by picking them up from school and getting them a snack. Life became so much smoother!

A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.   Carl Reiner

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.