Toxic Stress

This is a very interesting article!

Children Deserve the Best

sad boy

Early childhood professionals face many challenges working with families and children.  One of the challenges I have recently become interested in exploring is the effects of exposure to stress and trauma on young children over time.  This type of stress is often labeled as toxic stress. Toxic stress is produced when a child is exposed to “strong, frequent, and/or prolonged adversity—such as physical or emotional abuse, chronic neglect, caregiver substance abuse or mental illness, exposure to violence, and/or the accumulated burdens of family economic hardship—without adequate adult support” (“Toxic stress: The,” 2013).  According to the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (2005), this prolonged stress can disrupt the brain development and can cause cognitive impairment which may last into adulthood (p.1). I was especially interested in researching this topic due to my work with at-risk children. I see many children who live in impoverished homes, which often have dysfunctional…

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Children Living in Poverty

This Frontline article was published, along with a PBS special entitled Poor Kids, last year and discussed some very serious statistics about the number of children living in poverty in the United States. The surprising statistics for me were that Mexico and Chile are the only countries that have higher poverty rates than the U.S. and that we have more than 16 billion children or 1 in 5 are living in poverty. In working with at-risk children everyday, I believe that I need to delve deeper into how poverty affects every aspect of their life. A child’s development is compromised cognitively, physically, emotionally, and socially by the environment that they are exposed to on a daily basis. By researching the lasting effects of living in these conditions, I hope that I can positively affect social change in my classroom and my community by raising awareness of the needs of children living in poverty and encourage families to seek the resources needed to help them live a better life. My research questions for my topic will include how can early childhood professionals assist families in poverty, how can we minimize the negative effects of poverty on four and five year olds entering school, and how can we better engage families in their child’s educational journey.

“Under Construction” : Children taking the lead in their learning

Great blog from my colleague.

Kacey Deverell

On a daily basis, I walk into early childhood programs – homes and center based  – and more often than not lesson plans, the art work, and circle time are the only elements in which teachers/caregivers percieve as opportunities for teaching and learning. What I see so often is that teachers/caregivers fail to see that children can be the “constructors” of their own knowledge and teachers/caregivers are available to support, facilitate, expand, and scaffold the children’s learning. In a Reggio Emilia or Project Based Learning Approach classroom, it is the children who guide their own learning rather than the teachers dictate what is learned and what is not. In both approaches, teachers work with the children, providing materials and experiences that build upon each child’s current level of knowledge, skills, and interests. Children work together on projects to further their understanding of a particular interest or topic. Both approaches promote…

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Reading With Your Child

I believe that reading with your child offers many benefits for both parents and child.

Young Learners Preschool and Kindergarten

ReadingStart Young and Stay With It

At just a few months of age, an infant can look at pictures, listen to your voice, and point to objects on cardboard pages. Guide your child by pointing to the pictures, and say the names of the various objects. By drawing attention to pictures and associating words with both pictures and real-world objects, your child will learn the importance of language.

Children learn to love the sound of language before they even notice the existence of printed words on a page. Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word. When the rhythm and melody of language become a part of a child’s life, learning to read will be as natural as learning to walk and talk.

Even after children learn…

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Parachute ideas for play

My children love playing with the parachute and I love this new ideas!

Children Deserve the Best


Objective: Locomotor skills
Age: 5-7 year olds; early childhood

Using an old parachute, have the children spread around the chute placing their thumbs under the chute and their fingers on top.
Warm-up: Making waves. Have the children use only their wrists in a up/down motion.(baby/little) Move up to using the elbow.(middle) Move further up to using the shoulders.(big)
Merry-go-round. Using the right hand have all children move in one direction. Have word cues the children are familiar with: jog, walk, gallop, jump, skip. (Note: the younger children may not skip yet, they will substitute another movement on their own accord!). When the right hand has practiced several movements, then switch to the left hand.
Cat and Mouse. Model a tag touch using two fingers with a neighbor, then have the children practice the same skill. Several children go under the chute to be the mice. A couple of…

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Some Kids Won’t Say Sorry!

Good lesson for beginning of the year when I discuss manners and treating others with respect.

Kindergarten Nana



I bought this book in honor of one of my grandchildren who is often pretty resistant to saying “I’m sorry.”  I know that refusing to say sorry is not that unusual, and that the issue can become a battle of wills – which no one wins.  In Samantha Berger’s book, Martha’s family deals with the problem by leaving her out of fun activities and she decides to give in and apologize.  I thought this book could be followed by brainstorming and writing about a time you should say “I’m sorry.”  Here is a writing paper you might like to use.



The whole issue made me think about what is really important here.  I believe that children need to realize that their actions affect other people.  They need to develop compassion and learn to care about how other people feel.  I’m not sure rattling off an insincere “sorry” really accomplishes…

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