The goal in early childhood education should be to strengthen cognitive and social development. In early childhood, playful learning includes exploration and engagement. Engagement is especially import because by participating in your child’s play will help build strong family bonds. Moreover, play based learning helps develop curiosity, language, and social emotional skills in children. New York State Education Development has a tip sheet how as a parent you can explore and engage in play with your child. Click here to learn more about benefits of play based learning.
Type of Play and Highlighted Benefits Of Play Based Learning
To sum it up, play has physical, cognitive, and social benefits. Active playing helps develop fine and gross motor skills. Also, play helps cognitive thinking; problem solving, independent thinking, hand-eye coordination, and more. Children are constantly exploring, observing and processing new information in their play. Social benefits from playful activities such as hide and seek help build skills like communication, negotiation, and self awareness. You’re also forming strong family bond together.
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.
Are you looking for the best fun and easy apple crafts for preschoolers or toddlers? Look no further! I’ve curated some of the best apple crafts out there that your child will get excited about without the stress!
Fall reminds me of pumpkin spiced lattes and apple picking! It’s the perfect season to engage your preschooler in apple crafts. If you take your little one apple picking, more than likely, you’ll come back with more apples than you know what to do with!
I love to do a combination of crafts using real apples and paper crafts centered around the apple theme. Also, if your child is in daycare or preschool, I guarantee the center will be doing some form of apple theme crafts for preschoolers. This is because school starts in September, it’s apple season, and apple begins with the letter A! The best way to support your child’s learning is to engage in similar activities when they’re home too.
I’ve scoured the web for the best apple crafts that are fun, easy, and utilize items you have around the house for preschoolers. Not only are they easy, the list of apple crafts have a mix of both process and product activities. This is to give your child a mix of different experiences when embarking on their creative journey.
Are you looking for the best fun and easy apple crafts for your toddler or preschooler? Look no further! I've curated some of the best apple crafts out there that your child will get excited about without the stress!
How many books should I read to my toddler a day? I get this question a lot from parents. The rule of thumb is to read for at least 15 minutes a day. Because books vary in length, there isn’t a magic number for the number of books you need to read to your toddler.
You know the saying, quality over quantity? That applies to reading too! Going by how many minutes to read a day instead of how many books is a better gauge. The quality of the reading time matters. Quality of reading does not mean choosing the perfect book, but the engagement during reading. Are you pointing out things in the picture, making predictions, talking about the story, or relating it back to your toddler’s experiences? Engagement during reading helps toddlers build vocabulary, comprehension, and expands their world to new ideas.
I mentioned before that a quality book doesn’t mean the best book – because every person has their own preference, including our toddlers! The best books to read to your toddler are about topics they are interested in (e.g., dinosaurs, cars, trains). If you are looking for new books to add to your collection, you can never go wrong with classics that have stood the test of time. You’ll know they are interested in the book when they ask to read books over and over again. If you read their favorite book repeatedly every day for at least 15 minutes a day, you are already on a roll!
For a starter list of popular children’s classics, look for these books in your local library or at the book store:
The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is to celebrate the end of a successful rice harvesting season and to hope for another successful season next year. The festival is celebrated in many countries in Asia such as China, Japan, Vietnam, and more. In Japan, it’s called Tsukimi (Moon-Viewing). In Korea, it’s Chuseok (Autumn Eve).
As part of the mid-autumn festivities, families typically eat mooncakes and light up lanterns. The lanterns come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. You can decorate lanterns with anything, from traditional to fun designs. Likewise, you can do the same with mooncakes and decorate colorfully. Above all else, make Mid Autumn Festival for kids fun so everyone in the family enjoys it.
Below, you will find ideas to celebrate the mid-autumn festival that is great for both kids and the whole family!
Make Decorative Mid-Autumn Festival Paper Lantern Crafts for Kids
You’ll first need to get some paper lanterns and you can easily find those at amazon. After you get the paper lanterns, let your kids decorate freely. And for that, I gathered some designs you can look for inspiration.
Picture Books in English for Preschoolers Celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival
Round is a Mooncake By Rosemary Thong, Illustrated by Grace Lin
A little girl’s urban neighborhood becomes a discovery ground for all things round, square, and rectangular in this lyrical picture book. Most items are Asian in origin, others universal: round rice bowls and a found pebble, square dim sum and the boxes that the pizzas come in, rectangular Chinese lace, and a very special pencil case.
Perfect for read-aloud or one-on-one sharing. Lesson Plans can be found here.
Bunny Lune gets a letter from his Japanese friend, Pyonko, about her Otsukimi celebrations and how rabbits are an important part of the lunar holiday. Soon, Lune becomes obsessed with going to the Moon himself. Does he achieve his dream?
Korean Celebrations: Festivals, Holidays and Traditions By Tina Cho, Illustrated By Farida Zahman
This book allows children to experience Korean culture firsthand by involving them in games, crafts, stories, foods and other activities including preparing and enjoying delicious Songpyeon—sweet dumplings that everyone loves to eat on Chuseok.
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!