Choosing the right early childhood program is a critical, but unguided process. The NAEYC has set 10 program standards for early childhood education. The standard acts as a guide to help families choose the right child care center, preschool, or kindergarten.
The NAEYC stands for National Association for the Education of Young Children. It promotes high-quality early learning for all children, birth through age 8, by connecting practice, policy, and research.
In developing their ECE program standards, the NAEYC received input from experts and educators from around the country. Today, the standards and criteria serve as the foundation of the NAEYC Accreditation system for early childhood programs. To earn accreditation, programs must meet all 10 standards.
Below, we’ve summarized the 10 program standards set forth by NAEYC. Despite whether or not the early childhood program you’re exploring is NAEYC accredited, use this as a guide to asking the right questions.
Overview of the NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards
Relationships: Promotes positive relationships among all children and adults. It encourages each child’s sense of individual worth and belonging as part of a community and fosters each child’s ability to contribute as a responsible community member.
Curriculum: Implements a curriculum that is consistent with its goals for children and promotes learning and development in each of the following areas: social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive.
Teaching: Uses developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching approaches that enhance each child’s learning and development in the context of the curriculum goals.
Assessment of Child Progress: The program is informed by ongoing systematic, formal, and informal assessment approaches to provide information on children’s learning and development.
Health: Promotes the nutrition and health of children and protects children and staff from illness and injury. Programs must be healthy and safe to support children’s healthy development.
Staff Competencies, Preparation, and Support: Employs and supports a teaching staff with the educational qualifications, knowledge, and professional commitment necessary to promote children’s learning and development and to support families’ diverse needs and interests.
Families: Establishes and maintains collaborative relationships with each child’s family to foster children’s development in all settings
Community Relationships: establishes relationships with and uses the resources of the children’s communities to support the achievement of program goals.
Physical Environment: safe and healthful environment that provides appropriate and well-maintained indoor and outdoor physical environments.
Leadership and Management: Program effectively implements policies, procedures, and systems that support stable staff and strong personnel, and fiscal, and program management so all children, families, and staff have high-quality experiences.
The above list is an overview of NAEYC’s program standards. For more detail about each standard and specific directive for what to look for in a program, learn more here. For a printable version of the NAEYC standards in PDF, download it here.
First Book Marketplace believes that the best way out of poverty for children in need is through education. For that reason, First Book Marketplace offers quality new books, and educational resources at deeply discounted prices to organizations and educators. First Book aims to remove barriers to quality education for all kids. Books are provided to schools and programs serving children in need, ages 0-18 for free and at low cost. To date, First Book has distributed more than 200 million books and educational resources to schools serving children from low income families.
Hear the story from an educator in Baltimore showing First Book’s impact first-hand.
How Do I Know If I Am Eligible To Sign Up?
If you work at or represent one of the following organizations/programs, you are eligible to sign up with First Book:
An emergency program supporting low-income families in response to COVID-19.
Title I or Title I eligible School
USDA Food and Nutrition Program
Federally Qualified Health Center
Title VII recipient
Military family support program
Library with an E-rate of 90
A program primarily serving children with disabilities
A program where at least 70% of children come from low-income families.
If I Am A Parent, Am I Eligible To Sign Up?
No, you can’t sign up unless you’re an educator. However, you should check with your school or program if they’re registered with First Book. If your school or program is, your child will be able to get free and low-cost new books and educational resources.
I think I’m Eligible, How Do I Sign Up?
If you’re a eligible, you can sign up for First Book here for free. Once you create an account, you’ll have access to the deeply discounted brand new books available on First Book Marketplace. You’ll also be added to email list to receive notifications about additional benefits including funding opportunities.
Support Children’s Reading With These Free Storybook-based Activities
TigerKubz supports First Book Marketplace mission by removing barriers to quality education resources for all kids. At TigerKubz’s, we empower parents with tools to engage their child in educational activities. We aim to enrich early childhood education through fun and educational engaging activities. We are also free providing comprehensive guidance to parents and hands-on products that are engaging to keep active children.
A new bill was recently passed by the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, that will help fund new mental health programs, after-school programs, and more. This new bill will help open up more opportunities for children who did not have these services and it has highlighted how important social-emotional learning is for children. But, this doesn’t mean it stops here. We as parents can continue teaching these SEL skills even at home. Especially teaching our children how to manage their emotions.
A child’s emotions can run wild throughout the day. They can go from being happy with playing with a new toy, to maybe being upset when they don’t get what they want. Emotional intelligence is still being nurtured for young children. But, rest assured all emotions are okay! At an early age, children have a hard time understanding their emotions and knowing how to handle them. That is why it is our job as parents to teach them about their different emotions and how to manage them.
What emotions should we focus on?
The main emotions that can run through a child’s day are happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust. Does this sound familiar? Maybe you have seen it in Disney’s 2015 movie Inside Out. This movie emphasized to the audience, us parents, that all emotions are okay for our child. In the beginning, Joy wanted to block sadness because she saw her as a “bad” emotion to Riley. However, towards the end of the movie, we learn that we actually need sadness in our lives because it’s a natural part of the human experience.
How can we teach emotion-management to our children?
Well, one fun way of teaching it to our children is through stories! Yes, books are so important to our children not just to learn about grammar, but to learn about emotions.
The best method to teach emotions through reading are:
Ask how the characters of the story are feeling
Follow up with how they know that character is feeling a specific emotion
Ask them about a time in their life when they felt that emotion
A character’s emotion is what drives a story
Many stories are driven through a character’s emotions. No matter the story, you will see one character either sad, upset, joyful, or even scared. Let your child notice these emotions in the story!
Knowing how to identify an emotion
It is very important that our children know how to identify emotions. It is actually one of the best ways to learn about emotion management is recognizing how one is feeling. Your child could identify emotions through expressions! Maybe the main character is happy because your child notices the wide smile across their face. The main character could also be angry because their face is red and they have furrowed eyebrows!
Your child could also identify emotions through actions a character does. For example, maybe if a character is scared they have a fearful look on their face and they are shivering. Maybe this character is hiding behind a wall or in a closet.
Another way to identify emotions is through verbal interaction. If a character in the story is angry they could be yelling at someone or breaking an object. If a character is very happy maybe they are humming a song or skipping around!
After you have identified emotions within the story it’s time to ask your child when they have felt those emotions.
It’s very simple to ask your child. Let’s use the example of happiness. Ask your child these questions.
When have you felt happy?
Why were you happy?
What do you do when you are happy?
What if you want to identify anger
When and why have you felt angry?
What do you do when you are angry?
What calms you down?
Or how about sadness?
Whenand why have you felt sad?
What do you do when you are sad?
What makes you feel better?
Notice on bullet point three for both anger and sadness that we point out how to calm ourselves down after feeling such strong emotions. This is where most of the “management” part of emotion management comes in. It’s 100% okay to feel these emotions and we as parents need to emphasize that to our children.
In fact, there are multiple ways to destress after feeling such emotions. Here are a couple of suggestions…
Meditation! There are many videos on YouTube just for children.
Drawing, just plain doodling can help distract the mind.
Taking a walk, being around nature can always be calming for many people.
The possibilities are endless! There is no right or wrong way when it comes to relaxing. As a parent, it’s encouraged to help your child find what they like so they have a source to help deal with their emotions.
However, the most important way is to also talk it out with someone.
Even if your child may feel reluctant to share with you, as parents, just letting them know they have a shoulder to lean on helps open so many doors for your child. This will also help nurture them because once they grow up, hopefully, they have an adult they can trust by their side when they need someone to talk to.
Emotion-management important to a child’s wellbeing
If a child cannot communicate their emotions properly they will have a hard time interacting with other people and also containing all those buried emotions deep inside of themselves. Hopefully, this article has helped you gain some tips on how to be emotionally aware and open with your child.
It’s back to school once again in a pandemic. And like last August, we went shopping for school supplies, shoes (why do their feet grow so fast?!), and masks.
After spending many hours and dollars trying every kind of mask imaginable last school year, we learned many things and hope these tips will help other families have a successful school year.
Four Tips To Make Masks Comfortable, Safer and Habitable
Quality – Buy from a company that specializes in face masks and not from a well meaning local seamstress (that said, please support your local businesses). There are so many masks available now to fit every budget. Look for breathable fabrics that offer built in filtration like ones made with nano fibers when possible. Look for nose clips and adjustable ear loops. Avoid vents and gaiters (many schools don’t accept them). And if looking at disposables, look for ones that are individually wrapped (makes it easy to send extra masks to school in backpacks), and triple or more layered. Do take a moment to check the durability of the ear loops. Some disposable masks have ear loops that snap very easily.
Fit and Shape – Can you understand your child’s speech with a mask on? We found that cone shaped or 3D/folding masks that create a pocket away from the mouth not only made breathing easier but also reduced the muffling of our son’s speech. Is the mask often soaking wet with saliva? Most young kids are mouth breathers and we found many soft shapeless fabric masks got sucked into our son’s mouth. Pay close attention to the sizing chart for each mask because no two are the same. Test to see if the mask rides up and down when speaking. A proper fitting mask should have as little of a gap as possible around the nose, sides, hug the chin and stay on the nose even when speaking.
Comfort – Like shoes, if it isn’t comfortable, the child won’t wear it. Proper fit and lightweight breathable material will make the mask more comfortable to keep on during the school day. Practice until the child is comfortable putting it on and off by themselves. We also found that using a lanyard with breakaway connectors helped our son not lose his mask and kept it off the ground/dirty surfaces when he was eating or drinking.
Attitude – We all started wearing our masks as a family before our son went back to school last year. And even after we got vaccinated, we kept ours on when going to public indoor places because he was not. We discussed why we are wearing masks. We made it part of our routine for leaving the house like putting on shoes. We made wearing a mask no big deal and so he doesn’t think it is a big deal.
What our rising Kindergartener is wearing to school this year
Happy Masks, has implemented a regular restocking schedule and waitlist. Follow them on Instagram for updates. (s/ preschool and primary school age kids, m/older kids).
Pros: Built in nano fiber filter. The cone shape keeps the mask away from the mouth. It also has a built-in nose clip and adjustable ears.
Cons: Cleaning process (hand wash and air dry). Relatively high initial cost ($25 each), but each one lasts about 50 washes (only $0.50 per wear).
Social-emotional learning is the new age of learning for children. Now, have you ever heard of a maker mindset? A maker mindset is a new term directly connected to social-emotional learning. A maker mindset describes a child or even an adult who are:
Having a growth mindset is a component of a maker mindset. The second component is creativity. Learning to have a maker mindset at an early age will only benefit children. This is because the future of work will require a maker mindset. Many characteristics that a child or an adult with a maker mindset include many “soft skills” such as leadership, communication, collaboration, and more! Notice that most of these skills are now highly sought-after in the workforce.
How important is it to have a maker mindset?
The idea of a maker mindset only became mainstream recently. As parents, it’s essential to pay attention to the latest in education trends since we play an integral role in the system. The U.S. Department of Education had the initiative to revamp hundreds of high schools across the country with a makerspace. Makerspaces provide students the materials and environment they need to create, invent, tinker, and explore. This helps them build vital career skills, including critical thinking, planning, communication, and problem-solving.
Because this concept is so new and we are planning for the future – it’s difficult to say what role having a maker mindset will play in our children’s future. However, due to massive investments in educational spaces to promote creative thinking and problem solving and the advocacy for maker mindset by thought leaders, it’s safe to say it’s not going anywhere.
Now how exactly can you help your young child have a maker mindset?
One way to encourage a maker mindset in children is to let them be curious about the world! At an early age, I’m sure your child has questioned the world. “How do plants grow?”. “Where does milk come from?”. “Where do cows live?”.
Yes, all the questions can sometimes be maddening. If you think about the questions your child is asking – it’s actually pretty admirable. Keep encouraging the questioning and seize the opportunity to further explore these questions with your child.
For children interested in dinosaurs, read a book about dinosaurs. Take it one step further and find a museum with a dinosaur exhibit! The real-life experience with the life-sized majestic creatures that used to roam our Earth is a fun and engaging way to learn about dinosaurs. Children are like sponges, they will absorb any information given to them.
While exploring with your child you can also ask questions right back at them. For example, if you are at a park ask them about what they notice in their surroundings. Ask questions identifying objects such as leaves and ask why they think they are green. Most likely, your young child would not understand why, but you can be the one to explain to your child why leaves are green. Everywhere and in everything you do with your child there is always a teachable moment!
Teach children how to problem solve!
Problem-solving involves three simple steps:
Identifying a problem
Figuring out a solution to the problem
Implementing the solution
To put the steps into action let’s take reading as an example. You and your child encounter a new word in a story you are reading. The problem would be that you and your child do not understand this word, if you can’t understand this word maybe you cannot understand the context of the sentence.
A solution to this problem would be doing a quick internet search or even better, you can even expose your child to reading the dictionary. Although it seems old-fashioned, using a physical dictionary as a resource will help encourage your child to reach out for it if they have any future words they do not understand and even encourage reading!
While your child problem-solves they may encounter obstacles such as making mistakes or feeling stuck.
Making mistakes is all a part of being human. Everyone makes a mistake at different points in their lives. But, what is really important is being able to understand and learn from those mistakes. As a child it is easy to make simple mistakes, maybe such as doing a math problem wrong, using the wrong tense in a sentence, or maybe your child could be building a lego set and misread a step.
When it comes to making mistakes as a child it is important for you as a parent to help navigate them through it in a positive way. That means…
1. Encourage mistakes!
We don’t want to label mistakes as something bad. If children have a negative connotation towards mistakes they could feel scared if they make another mistake. They could also be unwilling to learn from their mistake and could simply give up on finding a solution. Let them know that it is perfectly okay to make mistakes and that no matter what that does not change your love from them.
2. Let them take action to solve it
It is tempting to help children stuck on a problem right away. This is especially true if the solution is clear to yourself. However, our children will need to learn from their mistakes on their own. Try asking them questions that can help them figure out the solution and what they should do next time. But, giving them the answer right away diminishes them from understanding, learning, and developing patience.
3. Think on the bright side
When children are in a difficult situation while doing a homework assignment, a project, or even a simple game, it can be frustrating. However, we need to always encourage them to have a positive mindset. Learning to have a positive mindset goes a long way.
The Children Are the Future
With a maker mindset, your child can develop soft skills that are essential to the future of our society. Sounds dramatic? Maybe. But you can’t deny they are the future. At the rate technology is advancing, who knows where we’ll be when our little ones graduate college.
You can incorporate maker mindset concepts with our learning kits and learning mats! This is because our learning products encourage children to have a maker mindset with problem-solving activities and making deeper connections with ideas in stories.
Hopefully, through this article, you’ve learned more about a maker mindset and how to encourage it when teaching your children! If you have any questions about maker mindset, let us know in the comments below!