Early Childhood News

students and teacher coloring with crayons

September is here…summer, though not officially over yet, is behind us with some great experiences to share and a feeling of being rested and ready for the new year. We have been lucky (so far) to have had little of the smoke we’ve seen the past few years so everyone should be breathing better. In other news:

Welcome Kerri Blankenship!

I am elated to join the ESD as the Regional Administrator for Special Education & Early Learning. I come from Centralia School District where I began as a Resource Room teacher and most recently served as the Education Specialist for Special Education. Previously I worked as a paraeducator in a rural school in Wyoming where my primary responsibility was all tiers of interventions support for K-5 students.

In education, I am passionate about creating inclusive opportunities for all students in the general education setting by strengthening instruction with best practices and universal lesson design. I ardently believe strategic, targeted Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions must be intentionally implemented in the early elementary grades. Too many children are referred to special education and labeled with a disability when in reality they just process information differently and have been allowed to struggle for far too long.  I am dedicated to advocating, educating, coaching and supporting every level of our education system to revolutionize how we educate our children.

Supporting me in passions are my husband and two sons (15 & 12). My oldest is an amazing percussionist who intends to enter a trade after high school and is currently exploring several options. My youngest is active in many sports and aspires to be a surgeon. As a family, we enjoy camping, beaches, Yankees baseball and time together on our little farm in Chehalis. Personally, my hobbies include photography, quilting, and reading.

Welcome, Kerri!

Learning Decks

Have you used the Division for Early Childhood Learning Decks? Learning Decks are professional development webinars for those who work with, or on behalf of, young children with special needs. Webinars are presented by experts in the field, last approximately one hour each, and include handouts from the presenters. They are inexpensive and archived so that if you can’t participate in a topic you’re interested on the day it’s broadcast you can access the archived session for the same price. Find out about DEC Learning Decks here!

Helpful Tips for Your First Week

Well, Facebook is good for something after all. I was scrolling for gossip and political things to rant about and came across a terrific blog article
5 Mistakes Pre-K Teachers Make the First Week of School. I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, I’ve done all of these things!’ The author, Karen Cox, makes some very good points and backs them up with her experiences.

Topical Issue Brief 

Our federal Office of Special Education Programs has two Topical Issue Briefs focusing on children born with alcohol or opioid effects. Each brief contains information on symptoms as well as intervention resources.

Even More Benefits to Reading

We know that reading to young children early promotes literacy and relationships and helps families establish positive routines and interactions with their children. To add to our resources on this is a new study from Rutgers University in Science News has discovered that parents who regularly read with their toddlers are less likely to engage in harsh parenting and the children are less likely to be hyperactive or disruptive.

We Want to Hear from You!

As your wordsmith for the Express, I’d like to ask all of you faithful readers to have a part in what we share. Two contributions you can make:  What topics, information on resources, activities are you interested in having included in the Express; what ideas do you have to share on topics we address. For example, this month we’re looking at building on children’s experiences and prior knowledge. What are some cool things you do in that area that you might want to share with others? We’ll include your good ideas in future editions.
Send your ideas to me at [email protected]