Early Childhood Express December 2020

Child catching snowflakes on their tongue

Oh, just as I was sitting down to write about thankfulness, John Denver came on my television singing Farewell Andromeda. What memories that brings back! For ages it was my go-to morning welcome song…so perfect for a gang of three- and four-year-olds. I learned to play it on the autoharp (hmmm, maybe it would be worthwhile to start playing that again.) Do you know it? It basically has three chords…all on Google. Give it a listen. Maybe it’ll become your morning song, too.

Whether you celebrate Solstice, Channukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or any of the 26 other holidays that come between now and New Year’s, I hope you can celebrate in ways appropriate for the families you serve and remember for in person gatherings to stay in your bubble and keep yourselves safe for next year when we can all resume our traditions with family and friends at some point. Or, perhaps the differences forced on us by the ‘Rona (as my granddaughter calls it) will provide some new traditions and new ways of celebrating.

Almost everything we know about friendship in schools was learned from research conducted in classrooms and intended for use during in-person education. Now that many children in the United States are learning at a distance, teachers and parents need new strategies to make the most of peer relationships. Phyllis Fagell, a school counselor in Washington, D.C. and author of Middle School Matters, spoke with MindShift about how best to support existing friendships, promote the formation of new ones, encourage healthy friendship, and put friendships to work as an academic resource. Though this article focuses on middle school, I think it has some interesting ideas for preschoolers.

The research is clear and consistent: families are among the biggest influences on young people’s outcomes and career choices. Families don’t need to be STEM experts themselves, or have a STEM background, in order to support young people in STEM. The Family Engagement Project from the STEM NEXT Opportunity Fund has published this document to encourage families to get involved with their child’s STEM/STEAM education.

“Could a little foot-tapping and gum-chewing actually help ADHD students concentrate and stay on task?” The ADDITUDE website Learning Series For Educators answers this question with a very useful article on fidgeting and ADHD. The article contains tips that will be helpful for you and especially useful for families as they work—and live—with their active child. Because preschoolers are naturally busy, I think the tips in the article are useful for families with any young child who is constantly on the move, exploring, discovering, and being curious.

OSPI has developed a series of webinars with case studies on LRE. This 3-part webinar series was co-hosted by OSPI and the Association of Educational Service Districts (AESD) as a technical assistance companion to the LRE Case Studies resource. The series was recorded and will be posted to our Monthly Webinars page. Early Childhood is webinar 3.

“Each and every child, birth through age 8, has the right to equitable learning opportunities—in centers, family child care homes, or schools—that fully support their optimal development and learning across all domains and content areas.” So begins the updated Developmentally Appropriate Practice Position Statement. NAEYC’s DAP has served as our guidance for working with young children since I, frankly, cannot remember when… let’s just say since forever… this is the third edition and guided my practice as a teacher and teacher educator. You’ll discover the position statement with a link to download and the links for purchasing the new DAP book on the NAEYC website.

“The prime purpose of being four is to enjoy being four—of secondary importance is to prepare for being five.” – Jim Trelease

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