What does it mean to inquire? Grownups would say it means to question, to search for information, or to finding out about a topic of interest. For children in an early childhood classroom, the definition is no different. From the time of their birth, children want to know how the world works and actively seek out information. Inquiry-Based Early Learning Environments takes an in-depth look at children’s inquiry. What does inquiry look like in early childhood settings? How does the environment affect children’s inquiries and teachers’ thought processes?
Julia Yeary, ACSW, LCSW, IMH-E, is the Director of Training and Resources for Military Family Projects at ZERO TO THREE and is an expert on the needs of military and veteran families. Julia speaks to how child care and preschool programs can support children whose parents are deployed and/or being reunified after a deployment, and how family separation can impact young children, and be mitigated by early educators.
Maria is an expert in mindfulness and project lead on ZTT’s mindfulness work, www.zerotothree.org/mindfulness. She joins The Preschool Podcast to speak beautifully to the use of mindfulness by early educators and the benefits it offers in terms of provided supportive care to children; a model of emotional regulation; and a calm, nurturing environment.
As many as 17,000 preschoolers were expelled nationwide from private and public preschools in 2016 and 50,000 suspended at least once last year. Scott Moore joins The Preschool Podcast to explain how expulsion happens from as young an age as preschool, and what California is doing about it.
Scott brings over 20 years of education policy and management experience to Kidango. As Chief Policy Advisor for Early Edge California, he helped lead the expansion of preschool access to over 170,000 children each year through the establishment of the new Transitional Kindergarten grade and the consolidation of existing preschool programs into the new California State Preschool Program.
Every time you reread your child's favorite book you're throwing a pebble in a pond...building foundational reading skills. Reading sets the stage for learning. Maureen Grier is an educational consultant and literacy expert with a proven track record of helping students achieve. Ron and Maureen discuss the connection between listening skills and learning to read, and how parents can support children in learning to read. "Fire it until you wire it!"
Dr. Robin Alter is chair of the Kids Have Stress Too!® committee and a Trustee at The Psychology Foundation of Canada. Dr. Alter co-led the development of this ground-breaking program targeted to parents raising awareness that children do experience stress, and providing parents and caregivers with the tools to help their children identify and manage stress. Dr. Alter is a registered clinical psychologist in practice since 1979. Her current practice includes both the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents and adults. She has been senior consultant to the Hincks-Dellcrest Children's Centre and Blue Hills Child and Family Centre since 1980. In her consulting capacity, she also consults to the native community regarding fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and conducts FAS assessments. She has authored two books: Anxiety and the Gift of Imagination and The Anxiety Workbook for Kids.
Rusty Keeler is a play space designer who has worked over the past 20 years with hundreds of community, school, parks, university, and child care leaders to dream, design, and construct beautiful outdoor environments for children. He has worked in more than 30 states and throughout Canada, Europe, China, Australia, and New Zealand. He is one of the pioneers in the movement to reconnect children to nature, and his designs reflect his sincere desire to create a more beautiful world in which to grow and explore.
"We need to embrace the experience of parents, who bring unique strengths and unique challenges." Rebecca Parlakian is ZERO TO THREE's Senior Director of Programs and develops resources for parents, alongside training of parents and early childhood professionals. In this episode, Rebecca describes the age-appropriate STEM activities and the connection to observation and exploration. If you are the parent of a young child aged zero to three, don't panic if you haven't spent time thinking about how to develop your child's STEM skills - this episode will set you up with the right train of thought, and give you the tools to consider as you learn together with your child.
Loose Parts is all about inspiring creativity and inviting learning variables. Miriam Beloglovsky is a professor of early childhood education in Sacramento, California, where she has taught as full-time faculty since 2000. She has been advising, guiding and supporting college students for the past 25 years. She is a keynote speaker, and presents numerous workshops on child development, loose parts, play, play equity and social justice, and early learning.
No Small Matter is a feature-length documentary film and national engagement campaign that brings public attention to this vital question by sharing powerful stories and stunning truths about the human capacity for early intelligence and the potential for quality early care and education to benefit America’s social and economic future. Rachel Giannini & Rachel Pikelny join Ron to discuss why, when the importance of quality early care and education is so widely accepted, do we continue to fail so many?
How can early childhood educators lay a foundation in STEM education? Jean Barbre, EdD, holds a master's degree in child and family studies from California State University Long Beach, a master's degree in counseling from California State University Fullerton, and a doctorate degree in educational leadership from Pepperdine University. She joins us to discuss the 'baby steps to STEM" and why it's important for caregivers, parents, and educators to identify and label STEM learning, to normalize learning science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Conor P. Williams is a senior researcher in New America's Education Policy Program. His work addresses policies and practices related to educational equity, dual language learners, immigration, and school choice. Williams founded New America's Dual Language Learners National Work Group in 2014. Before joining New America, Williams taught first grade in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Connor recently wrote in an article: "Which raises an unwelcome possibility: absent a shift in early access to the outdoors, the country will be able to add nature deficits to the many inequities already plaguing American childhood, things like resource inequities and academic achievement gaps. Somehow, someway, time exploring outside — the freest possible resource — will become a marker of privilege."
Part two of our trauma series. The new Salud America!research review shows that Latino youth (77.8 percent) are more likely than all youth (70 percent) to face “adverse childhood experiences” – poverty, neglect, abuse, or household dysfunction such as parental divorce, violence, substance abuse, mental health issues. Amanda Merck is spearheading our new toolkit, tentatively set for release on June 19, that assists schools in becoming trauma-sensitive.
Many have spoken out on the ethics of separating parents and children at the border. But what is the impact on social-emotional development for children who have already been separated? Dr. Deborah MacNamara has written extensively about emotional sensitivity, anxiety and development of children. She says what children need is strong caring relationships with parents. They need to be anchored with parents. "There could be no greater trauma than to be taken away from the foundation, their adult relationships". The result of detachment is that a child is stuck - they revert to survival mode, to desperation in a way that prevents growth. Safety and security is removed. Children need strong adults to make them feel safe in the world. Transference of care does not replace caring for a child with attachment, reliability and consistency. The greatest human need is not food and education - it is the need for connection. What more can we do to learn about the child migrant crisis? Listen and find out.
At a time when U.S. and Canadian trade policy is heavily studied in the media, this week we take a look at the evolution of early childhood education in Canada, the growth in the sector and focus on quality early education. Kerry McCuaig co-developed and produces the Early Childhood Education Report, which tracks provincial/territorial progress in early years program development. She co-authored Early Years Study 3, Making Decisions, Taking Action with Margaret McCain and the late Fraser Mustard. Kerry has had a long involvement in early childhood policy including as a founder of Toronto First Duty, a pioneer in the integrated delivery of early childhood programming. What are the differences between American and Canadian early childhood development programs? Listen and find out. You can follow Kerry on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/kerry_earlyyear
"It's such a missed opportunity not to just turn it off and engage with your children" - you can be IN the moment. For our 100th episode we welcome Dr. Jean to the Preschool Podcast. Her videos The Banana Dance has 24,267,316 million views on YouTube. Hear why and how Dr. Jean recommends that early childhood educators bring more music into their day.
Should we teach to a child's age or their stage? Daniel identifies why there can and should be attention paid to gender and sex differences in early childhood education. Daniel describes why gunplay, for example, is a symptom of our culture and environment more than an inherent gender difference. "It's ok not to focus on gender but it's not ok not to focus on individual differences."
As a consultant, Daniel works with educators, parents and other professionals, helping them to understand the research-based theory and how to adapt curriculum and environments that support the continued development of children and families. Daniel has a unique grasp of children and family issues learned from over 30 plus years of experience working as a teacher, director, educator and parent in both the private and public sector. Daniel's interactive style is both informative and entertaining.
"We are not deliberately developmental with our teaching staff. We need to be creating plans and visions that help teachers to grow and evolve".
Susan MacDonald is the founder of Inspiring New Perspectives, a consulting group focused on empowering school leaders and educators to create learning environments that deeply respect and nurture the possibilities that lie within each teacher, child, and parent.
Episode 97 - Urban Thinkscape, a program working with Frontiers of Innovation that transforms public spaces by infusing them with activities that challenge the mind while encouraging joyful interactions between children and caregivers. Dr. Brenna Hassinger-Das describes her research on how kids learn best and how the thinkscape helps children play and learn.
Our favourite story is of the bus stop and the metal bench. Which thinkscape installation is your favourite?
Our daily lives are filled with layered complex legal decisions, yet our teachers aren't trained on these core competencies. If you are going to prepare educators the way we could prepare any other professional field (like lawyers, doctors, judges, etc), then we need to include compliance as part of our professional development training. Unfortunately, what is valuable to child care owners may not be aligned with what is important for parents and families. How do you reconcile our expectations as child care providers and the expectations about the quality of care from parents? What does quality child care truly mean? Michelle McGinnis says "when you are in a quality child care center you can hear it - it is palatable".
What is the state of play in America? Ms. Yudina is spearheading the Association’s consumer-directed The Genius of Play™ movement to raise awareness of play as a crucial part of child development and encourage families to make time for play in their daily lives. Listen and find out why play is so critical to childhood development.
Learn about the Genius of Play and read their report here.
Barb O'Neill is the Owner and Creator of the upcoming conference Transform Challenging Behavior. The biggest risk factor for being suspended or expelled from school is before the age of five. Barb returns to the podcast to discuss how not to approach expulsions and suspensions with blame but with support for challenging behaviour that assists everyone involved - teachers, parents and children. The mindset of dealing with challenging behavior is critical for reflecting on your teaching practice and identifying the unique needs of a child.
Janis Keyser, Early Childhood Education Specialist & Author is here to talk about a family-centered approach to early learning. Imagine a parent who begins their journey in early childhood education with an open dialogue about how their child's care can match the values, routine and goals of their individual family.
Establishing deep trust between child care professionals and parents is about expanding the relationship of parents in the classroom. How can we bring parents into the early learning experience to create a wholesome experience?
Hear all about the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The initiative (one of the largest funding of early childhood education initiatives in history) focuses on the knowledge, professional learning and collective action necessary to cultivate optimal early learning environments and experiences. They’ve recently launched a first-of-its-kind study on examining the environments where 3- and 4-year-olds learn best. Yet little is known about the children who are looked after under informal arrangements involving neighbors, relatives, friends, or nannies, even though these cover 40 percent of children in Massachusetts. Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) professors Nonie Lesaux and Stephanie Jones, both developmental psychologists, are launching an ambitious study to follow 5,000 children, ages 3 and 4, for four years. The study will track some students before and after their elementary school years, and perhaps into adulthood. The cohort, recruited from 168 communities, is designed to reflect the changing demographics of children across the state. "We want to understand and unpack the insides of child care environments - not just large centers - homes and elsewhere".
Kepler Academy means "big things". Lynette Ventura describes what prioritizing professional development for staff has done to help children thrive. Through professional development, teachers have identified what their impact really is - hear about the Brain Story - a 30 hour, 19 module course that helps educators certify their skills. Play and professional development are connected at Kepler Academy - Using play to assist children with anxiety and stress has been researched and proved to be an excellent tool. "By creating a safe environment for children to have a desire to learn and by having a solid team that takes pride in the actual growth and development of all children."