Early Childhood Express March 2020

friends of preschool kids playing lying on the grass in the Park on a summer day

Spring:  A lovely reminder of how beautiful change can be.

Well, it’s the first day of March (as I write…such dedication) and, in spite of the presence of a few sunny February days, it’s looking like March is about to live up to its reputation…rainy, windy, rainy again with the occasional sun break so you can see your tulips before their petals start drooping. But take heart…rain and literacy go together and those sun breaks are really good for nature walks and a little puddle stomping. Go for it!

Of course, big news right now is the advent of the coronavirus…a good time to reinforce hand washing and other health practices with your children and their families. The best advice I’ve seen is ‘wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.’ This goes for adults as well as children. We should be washing after a sneeze or a cough, coming in from outside, and regularly during class time as we touch tables and counters and materials.  We should wash with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds and I heard on NPR the other day that 20 seconds is equal to the first three verses of Baby Shark (if you can stand it.) Meanwhile, OSPI has an information bulletin for schools for dealing with the virus. You might want to share the information with your families.

If you are interested in Evidence-Based, actionable information about supporting children and their parents, The Positive Parenting Newsfeed project produces eight monthly video news reports in English and Spanish based on the latest child development research. While not all videos are specific to young children, many are. Sign up for email notifications here. You can also view the collection of videos to date. The videos might find uses in parent meetings, home visits, or for your own information.

Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child has many resources that I’ve talked about here in the past.  If you are night signed up for the Brain Architects podcasts I highly recommend them…a nice and informative listen on your commute. In addition, the Center has a new Spanish video, Estres Toxico y Resiliencia that looks at toxic stress and how it affects children, families, and the communities.  Another winner, possibly for your next parent meeting.

Working with young children is, of necessity, a collaborative activity. You’re working with families, other teaching staff, therapists, administrators. I ran across an article mentioned in Choice Teaching recently that, though it is not specifically about teaching, has many good ideas for those of us in positions where collaboration is needed. Collaboration Without Burnout by Rob Cross, Scott Taylor, and Deb Zehner, looks at ways to be an effective collaborator.

ESIT (Early Support for Infants and Toddlers) has an updated version of their Guiding Principles PosterEven if you are not working with infants and toddlers, the Guiding Principles provide good code for being with children and families. You can order it in English and Spanish at the bottom of the ESIT Forms and Publications Page.

The Center for American Progress has released a new analysis that shows parents of young children with disabilities experience severe child care challenges and consequences from not finding care. The report examines families’ child care experiences when they have children ages 0 to 5 with disabilities and offers policy solutions that are critical to supporting these families. This was shared with me from the folks at ESIT.

If you have any feedback you’d like to share about the EXPRESS or requests for topics you’d be interested in, please let me know. Also, I know that some of you are doing amazing things with kids that would be so worth sharing with your colleagues in other districts and programs. If you send them along to me at [email protected] I can take care of the sharing for you without you ever having to leave your classroom. Thanks.

Spring is when you feel like whistling, even with a shoe full of slush.

This article was contributed by Mary Perkins for the Early Childhood Express newsletter.