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The Preschool Podcast

The Preschool Podcast, by HiMama, is a platform for early childhood educators to share their experiences with their community. Each week, CEO of HiMama, Ron Spreeuwenberg, sits down with someone making a difference to improve learning outcomes for children in child care centers, preschools, daycares and anywhere else children ages 0 to 5 are learning their foundational skills that will last a lifetime.
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The Preschool Podcast, brought to you by HiMama, is a platform for learning from leading professionals in early childhood education. If you work in a daycare, childcare or preschool setting, The Preschool Podcast will provide you with both practical advice for managing your organization, center or classroom, as well as thought provoking content and insights about the field of early childhood education.

 

Each week, we chat with leaders in early childhood education, from teachers and educators in the classroom with innovative curriculum approaches, to directors who are excelling at empowering their team, and leaders outside of the child care environment that are passionate about making a positive impact on outcomes for young children.

 

Our goal with The Preschool Podcast is to provide knowledge and inspiration to the future leaders of early childhood education by speaking with experienced and insightful leaders in the world of preschool and early learning today. At HiMama, it is our belief that leadership within early childhood education is crucial to the future of the child care sector and, of course, the future of our most important asset in this world, our youngest children.

Aug 7, 2018

"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.

Jul 31, 2018

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.

Jul 23, 2018

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?

Jul 17, 2018

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.

Jul 10, 2018

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."

Jul 3, 2018

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.

Jun 26, 2018

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.

Jun 19, 2018

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

Jun 12, 2018

"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.

Jun 5, 2018

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.

May 29, 2018

"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.

May 22, 2018

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?

May 15, 2018

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". 

May 8, 2018

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.

 

Resources:

Learn about the Genius of Play and read their report here.

May 1, 2018

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.

Apr 24, 2018

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? 

Apr 17, 2018

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".

Apr 10, 2018

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."

Apr 3, 2018

<p>Episode #90: Tracy Cutchlow says that you can pretty easily guess whether the child is looking for a connection, that sense of belonging or relationship, or an experience with how their bodies work, how the world works, or the need for power to have some control over their own lives. Cutchlow uses a coaching framework "Language of Listening" where the first step is to “Say What You See”. Acknowledging what the child is feeling, saying, doing, thinking to hope you and them cope with intense feelings.</p>

<p>For example, maybe the child is screaming because you just told them that it was time to go. Acknowledging their feelings before taking action is critical to helping them manage disappointment and surprise.</p>

<p>Resources in this episode:</p>
<p>- Word-for-word examples using <a href="http://www.zerotofive.net/language-of-listening-examples" target="_blank">Language of Listening® in specific scenarios</a></p>

Mar 27, 2018

This week, we hear from a parent of a child who experiences behaviour challenges that are linked to a learning disability. Listen to a Pierre Seguin's experience in navigating the education system with a child displaying challenging behavior that led to a special needs diagnosis. As an early childhood educator, you take on a responsibility to serve the needs of each child with their unique needs. Pierre is also the Founder of Brili. Through consultations with psychologists and other child behaviour experts, he learned and then realized the benefits of routines and visual schedules.

As a professional technology manager, Pierre knew that software development teams use big screen digital dashboards to give them project information at a glance while working, without becoming a distraction. So why not, he thought, create similar technology to help families by making visual schedules, simple, powerful and fun.

Resources in this episode:
- www.brili.com

Mar 20, 2018

It is a powerful thing to watch a child discover the magical properties of fruits and vegetables. We eat with our senses and what appeals to us. For younger eaters, allowing a natural curiosity in exploring food is an ideal way to build strong relationships with food and eating. "Eat it because it's good for you" can backfire as an approach, so Janet Nezon walks us through why having fun with eating, instead of preaching, will help to foster positive relationships with food. A child should be in charge with what and how much they eat - so it's time to start trusting a child's relationship with food. If the table is a place of stress and rules then fun and enjoyment can be in conflict with this. "The healthiest ingredient at any family meal is laughter".

Mar 13, 2018

<p>Episode #87: "You have to be found and then build trust". How effectively are you using digital marketing to maintain and improve enrollment? New famlies, especially millenial parents will use social media to solve their challenge and share moments with their family online. A strong Google presence is critically for improving enrollment numbers. "If you are under enrolled - you're leaving revenue on the table by not investing in digital marketing" How much revenue? $100,000, says Murray.

Have you considered the nuance of which keywords to use on your website to better appear in Google search results? Kris Murray of Child Care Marketing Solutions provides valuable concrete tips on how to improve your digital marketing and social media presence to improve enrollment which in turn allows you to dedicate more resources to paying Educators and creating high-quality child care environments. The landscape for how you need to market your center has completely shifted. We're so thankful to have Kris join us this week to help us navigate the wild world of the web!</p>

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<p>Resources in this episode:</p>
<p>- Kris Murray's <a href="http://www.childcare-marketing.com/training-products/" target="_blank"></a>Training Programs, Courses and Books</p>
<p>- Child Care Marketing Strategies <a href="http://www.enrollmentbootcamp.com" target="_blank"></a>Enrollment Bootcamp</p>
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Mar 6, 2018

Episode #86: Educators, childcare providers, teachers. Language matters. Accountability matters. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) recognizes the important role that early childhood educators play in the development of young children. Power to the Profession is about educators standing together, united in a voice to reclaim the power of the role. Marica Cox Mitchell clarifies the misconceptions about early childhood education and how NAEYC is advocating for the careers of educators today.

<p>Resources in this episode:</p>
<p>- NAEYC's <a href="https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/initiatives/profession" target="_blank">Power to the Profession</a></p>
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Feb 27, 2018

<p>Episode #85: If you haven't made sense of your environment and found the patterns that apply to your daily activities, you would likely feel unease and anxiety. It's easy to forget that children need help establishing these familiar routines. Why do routines really matter? Higher levels of aggression, lower vocabulary, challenging behaviour, hyperactivity are all connected to chaotic homes and a lack of routine with young children. </p>

<p>Alyson Schafer explains why every parent and teacher needs training in non-punitive tactics to manage challenging behaviour. A tactical approach like "When and then" statements help parents to control the environment instead of the children. Helping children to be autonomous is directly connected to predictability and the importance of routines. Alyson suggests diligence with parents in following predictable non-punitive responses to behaviour so children can thrive. This is the podcast episode every parent needs - practical, concise and positive. If you are a caregiver or parent of a preschooler, dealing with challenging behaviour or not, this week is FOR YOU!</p>

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<p>Resources in this episode:</p>
<p>- Follow Alyson and Her Work <a href="http://alysonschafer.com/" target="_blank">on her website</a></p>
<p>- Buy Alyson's Book<a href="https://www.amazon.ca/Honey-Wrecked-Kids-Alyson-Schafer/dp/1443427780" target="_blank"> Honey I Wrecked The Kids</a></p>

Feb 20, 2018

Episode #84: Abbie Lieberman of New America guides the conversation on paying educators a fair wage. It's not an easy solution! Working with young children is highly skilled work - so why do so many people view childcare as babysitting? Abbie Lieberman describes the complexity around the work needed to have early childhood educators earn a fair wage. Public awareness, education, the professionalization of the field are all important and nuanced factors that affect change. Ron and Abbie delve into why our important educators are routinely under-resourced and why we need to honour the profession and demand better.


<p>Resources in this episode:</p>
<p>- Learn more about Abbie Lieberman's <a href="https://www.newamerica.org/our-people/abbie-lieberman/" target="_blank">work here</a></p>
<p>- New York Times Article -<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/09/magazine/why-are-our-most-important-teachers-paid-the-least.html" target="_blank"> Why are our most important teachers paid the least?</a></p>

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