About Me

My photo
Certified PreK-6. Masters in Child Development. Advocate for play, teacher & children choice, & the family's voice. Believe in volunteering as social justice.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I just wanted to share these pictures that I took last week as the little person was observing the worms on the sidewalk.  I love how observant he is and how he takes such care to not harm the worms.  

If only all adult caretakers were as observant of their little people as he is of the worms!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

negotiating through big body play

Little people are very creative in how they use their environment.  They will often come up with ideas for materials that aren't necessarily what the original uses for those materials are.  When they do this I think it's a wonderful thing.  Who's really to say what the purpose of a material is?  I believe that any action that a little person is making in play serves a purpose.  It then becomes our job to observe them and discover what that purpose is.  It is not our job to stop them from using the materials simply because they are using them in a different way.

Yes, as early childhood workers we must facilitate a safe environment for our little people, but not to the extent where creativity, risk taking, and problem solving are missing.  Little people are competent and when we do our job of modeling for them how to problem solve and how to show compassion when their play may interfere with another's play they are able to successfully explore their environment.

At playgroup today the little person decided that the foam balance beam pieces simply must be taken apart and used in a different manner.  This big body play of his didn't come without negotiation.  He and another boy who were interested in carrying the pieces around had to convince the girls who were walking on it to allow them to disassemble it.  The boys then had to negotiate how they would move around the gym without knocking over other people.  They also had to negotiate with their bodies as they found the best way to pick up and move these objects that are much bigger than they are.

Through their play, these crucial problem solving and getting along with people skills were able to be practiced.  In addition, the boys were also able to engage in that big body play that is essential to their growth and development.  Rather than sit passively by, they were engaging in such movements as crossing their midline, lifting things over their heads, pushing and pulling objects, and navigating obstacles.  All of which are necessary for them to read, write, and think in the future.  

As the caregiver had I stepped in and intervened, making them stop this activity, I would have taken all of these opportunities away from them.  Instead, I trusted them to experiment and observed them, knowing that I was there if the need arose for me to step in.  

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I know that there has been quite a bit of talk in regards to a little person's need to climb.  Many of my peers in the child development world recognize the benefits of allowing a child to climb.  What better way to explore one's body and capabilities than to climb?  What an incredible experience in problem solving, being courageous, and testing the limits.  

While at the park last week another caregiver admonished me for allowing the three year old to climb up and down and around on the playground equipment while I stood and observed.  What if he fell, she exclaimed.  Don't I worry about him getting hurt or lost?  She offered up several other reasons about why I was not a good caretaker.  I then began to explain to her that the little person knew where I was and how he could find me if he needed me, that he trusted me to come if he needed help.  I explained that I trusted him to explore in this very developmentally appropriate play structure.  I also told her (much to her shock) that yes, he may fall, but don't we all fall at some point in life and that's how we learn to get back up?  Exasperated she left before I could go on about the benefits I saw him gaining from climbing, but I spoke my piece and went back to observing my little person.

These photos are pieces of what I observed and I believe that they serve as a strong documentation in support of the power of climbing.  When I go back and look at these photos I see a little person who is curiously exploring not only the space around him, but his own body's movements.  I see him figure out how to move across different types of structures and I see him overcoming his own reservations about moving on certain pieces.

Climb On!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

top 10: materials for the science area

Here is a list of my top 10 favorite items that I like to make sure are always in a science area.

1.  live plants
2.  a fish or other animal
3.  magnifying glasses
4.  trays of petals, seeds, grass, bark, or other nature items
5.  pencils/sharpies and notebooks
6.  items for measuring such as paperclips/popsicle sticks/coins
7.  a scale
8.  empty containers for the little people to use in collecting and sorting
9.  tweezers
10. materials and picture instructions to make play dough

What items do you like to include in science areas?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

top 10: materials for the writing area

Here is a list of my top ten favorite materials to include in the writing area.

1.  charcoal
2.  oil pastels
3.  clipboards
4.  dry erase boards and markers
5.  greeting cards and envelopes
6.  stapler
7.  tape
8.  a variety of lined and unlined paper
9.  pens
10. calendars

What materials do you like to include in the writing area?