Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

Here is a jack-o'-lantern that our preschool class had. One of the families donated it to us. One of our teachers carved it and then the children scooped out all the pumpkin seeds and the pulp. The kids loved it when we would turn the lights off and like the jack-o'-lantern during lunch. We would use battery operated candles or the flashlight on our phones. I hope everyone is enjoying their Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Growing Halloween Creatures

Today was a windy rainy day so we were all stuck inside.  We decided to do an experiment with Halloween tablets. They are these tablets that if you put them in water, they will dissolve into different objects or creatures. These happen to be Halloween related. So we chose to use black, green, orange and blue. As we put the tablets in the water, I asked each child to guess what the object inside might be. I did this for each color. Guesses included a pumpkin, a ghost, a jet, an A, purple beans, green beans, flowers, trees, a witch's hat and a W. I don't know where the letters came from. The jet was a little out of place too, but it makes things interesting. It took a while for the tablets to dissolve so we kept ourselves busy by singing songs, reading a story and rolling a ball back and forth. Eventually, the capsules had broken and spongy Halloween creatures emerged. The kids were excited to see them. Since the objects looked a bit strange, I went around the room and asked what the kids thought grew in the jars. A couple of them were correct and could see a pumpkin. Others saw jets, skulls, skeletons, a witch, a sea horse and others were not sure. After closer inspection, we discovered that three out of the four were different shaped pumpkins and the fourth was a bat. Overall, I'd say this activity was a success even with rowdy kids who just finished eating cake for snack!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Our Library

Here is our library. Right now, we have the light table in there. We have artificial leaves along with sticks to make trees on the light table. We also have colored blocks so the kids can build on the light table and watch the light through their creations.

We have stuffed animals to cuddle with, sensory bottles to help children relax and a mirror for self reflection. It's also neat to watch while working at the light table. We always have the book shelf, and couch. In the past, we've had felt boards, mini chalk boards for drawing, a small doll house etc. We try to have a couple different quiet activities for the children to do when they need to calm down or want some alone time.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Pumpkin Seeds

Today, we scooped out a pumpkin! The children really enjoyed this activity. Although, it was a sticky mess! We got all the seeds out of the pumpkin. We divided the seeds into two cups. One for  roasting and the other for planting. We also have pumpkin seeds for art projects that somebody donated. So we will be having lots of fun with pumpkin seeds! I also wanted to link to a few fun pumpkin books.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sink or Float

Last week, we did a sink or float activity for science. I had everyone gather around the table and I had ten items. Before putting each item in the water, we went around the table asking each child if the particular item would sink or float. We created a chart showing how many children thought each item would sink or float and the real results. The items were:
A cotton ball,
A pompom,
A smaller black rock,
A larger gray rock,
A clam shell,
A leggo,
A cork,
A golf ball,
A plastic turtle shell
And an apple.
I asked the children what sink meant and one child said that it meant where you wash your hands. That was right, but I explained that in this case, it meant that the object would go to the bottom of the bucket. When I asked what float meant, one girl said that it would stay on top of the water. So as the experiment went on, we talked about concepts such as the weight of the different items and heavy vs. light. The children were surprised that the cotton ball appeared to float at first, but then sank to the bottom as it absorbed water. We were all surprised to see the apple stayed afloat. The children really enjoyed this activity so at the end, I let them drop each item in a second time and then help me dry everything off. I'm sure we'll experiment again with different items in the near future. Here is the chart that we made.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Our Pizza Parlor

We've recently been rearranging our classroom and redoing our learning centers. We have redone our dramatic play corner. It is now a pizza parlor. It has everything to make and serve pizzas. We have pretend pizzas, vegetables, plates, measuring cups, mixing bowls, pizza boxes, a timer, a cash register, pretend money, books showing pizzas and even phones for ordering. The kids really seem to like it so far! My favorite thing is the pizza that zips together! You unzip it and the slices come apart. It's great! I've attached some pictures so you can see the whole area.1

Monday, October 17, 2016

Our Science Area

I'm back. I don't know how often I will write. I will explain where I have been in another entry, but I will start by writing about things we are doing in our classroom. Today, I'm posting about our science area. We have recently updated it to match our fall theme. Recently, we've switched from having materials in plastic bins to using open wooden bowls or baskets. In our science area, we have included pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, pinecones, acorns, leaves, magnifying glasses a scale and the world globe is always there. On some of the shelves, we have books and water play materials. We have a water table and rice table near by. Next to the shelf pictured is a small table with a box of animals. The children are really enjoying our new set up. We have these objects out simply for the children to explore. The children just noticed the scale today so tomorrow, we will show them how to use it. It should be interesting to see what they will do with the items.

I will keep these entries short and I will be posting pictures of other areas in the classroom as well as the activities we've been doing. I hope to blog regularly again.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Where I've Been

I know that I haven’t written here for almost a year. The last time I wrote, I had just finished my capstone project and was about to graduate. With that accomplished, I focused mostly on my job. At that time, I was working almost full-time in the toddler room again. This lasted until May when more staffing changes occurred which brought me back to my previous schedule of floating between the infant and toddler rooms. I have been doing that since then. A lot has happened, which has lead me to look for new opportunities both in and outside of the early childhood field. The fact that I do not have my own classroom is one of the reasons for my lack of posts. As the floater, I am mostly supposed to follow the lead of the full-time teachers which leaves little room to come up with my own activities and ideas for setting up the classroom environment. I have a couple of posts that I never finished from my work in the toddler room from last spring. I plan to post those in the coming weeks.


I have other ideas for posts in mind that will be more research based which will take longer to write, but I hope you find them useful. As always, I will focus on play. I have recently contacted one of my instructors about teaching assistant opportunities so my blog may go in another direction. I am hoping to assist with teaching early childhood courses. Thank you for following my blog and stay tuned for future posts.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Assignment: Time Well Spent

When I first began the masters in early childhood studies program through Walden two years ago, I was overwhelmed. When I looked at the list of courses and thought about the time it would take, I wasn’t sure how I would balance a job, school and other obligations. It was a challenge. There were many nights when I’d come home after a stressful day working with the kids. Schoolwork was the last thing I wanted to do, but I am glad to say that I made it! Part of me is relieved that I am done with the program because I will have time for other things. The other part of me is uncertain because I’m not sure what my next step should be. The mountain in the picture represents overcoming challenges, accomplishing goals and achieving success.

We were asked to share three things that we learned from our course of study.


I have learned so much from the individuals that I have connected with because of this program. I have learned a lot of information through discussion and blog posts from my classmates. Thank you all for sharing information and your experiences as educators. In our Trends in Early Childhood course, we were asked to connect with people who work in the field from other parts of the world. My contacts were Kierna from Northern Ireland and Sherry from Australia. They are both early childhood educators. I learned that many parts of the early childhood systems in other countries are very similar to ours. Early childhood professionals are struggling to be valued and recognized for their work. In most cases, we need to fund our own studies or professional development opportunities. There are also concerns about what is developmentally appropriate. Children around the world do not get to play as much and are forced into learning they aren’t ready for at younger and younger ages. We also have similar concerns with budgeting and paying quality teachers what they deserve. Kierna has a blog called Learning for Life if you would like to check it out. Sherry shares a blog with Donna, another educator called Irresistible Ideas for play based learning. They share many activities that they have done in their classrooms over the years.

Through blogging, I have found likeminded educators throughout the country and around the world. Their posts and ideas have been informative and have influenced the work I have done in my own classrooms. It is amazing how technology has changed and how it allows us to connect with people we would never know otherwise.


I learned what it means to really do research.

In our research competencies course, I designed a research simulation on infant friendships. Before I never understood how to properly read a research article or that there was even a method to do so. I also didn’t understand the concepts involved in designing a research study, but completing the simulation made it clearer. If it weren’t for researchers, we wouldn’t have the necessary information that we use to guide our practices with children. I learned that we are all researchers. We are doing research every day when we ask questions and try to find the answers. When we experiment with a new activity or technique in our classrooms, we are doing research. I want to continue encouraging the children that I work with to become little researchers by experimenting and asking questions.


Finally, I learned that play is essential for child development.

This concept isn’t news to me, but my research especially in this capstone strengthened my belief that early childhood programs should be play based. Play keeps children physically and mentally healthy. Through play children learn about relationships, sharing, empathy and playing different roles. Play helps children process both good and bad events that occur in their lives. Play even helps children learn those important math, science and literacy concepts that are necessary for later success in school. One of my goals is to advocate for play. This capstone course has helped me develop a way to do that. Click here for a list of organizations and links related to play.


To close this entry, I want to thank my classmates for sharing their experiences, offering feedback and being a source of support. There are a few of you who were there when I needed help with some of the assignments. I want to thank Dr. Davis for offering feedback as well. You helped me narrow down my topic which was difficult. You also made me rethink my goals and turn them into something measurable and manageable. I wish you all success and I hope you achieve your goals. If any of you would like to keep in touch, my E-mail address is or I can be found on Twitter @play2grow. I hope to cross paths with some of you in the future.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Assignment: International Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community

I have never thought of looking for a job internationally. First, I have never thought of actually living in another country. Also, I do not know a second language so finding work in another country especially in this field would be difficult. You really need to be able to communicate with the families and children you work with. However, this week, we were asked to explore roles and or jobs in the field on an international level. It gave me an idea of what is out there.

The first organization I explored is Save the Children. This is an organization that makes a difference in the lives of children around the world. They assist in the rebuilding of areas that have been devastated by natural or other disasters. One position that is currently available is the coordinator for their Early Steps to School Success program. “Early Steps to School Success provides early childhood education services to pregnant women and children birth to five years of age, education services to their parents, and ongoing staff training to the community early childhood educators” (Save the Children, n.d.). Responsibilities of the job include recruiting pregnant families and children ages birth to five into the program, developing and scheduling the program activities, including home visiting parent/child groups, toddler playgroups, transition to school activities and other programmatic activities and providing regular home visits to families using STC approved home visiting curriculum. The candidate must also organize and conduct parent/child groups in the elementary schools, conduct child screenings and make referrals to community providers and coordinate/Collaborate with program partners. This job sounds interesting, but I am not sure how I feel about home visits. They require someone with a degree in early childhood or a related field which I have. However, I do not have experience working for a program that does home visits. However, I do have experience working with infants and toddlers.

I was having difficulty finding other positions that interested me so the rest of this entry will focus on international communities of practice. The next organization I came across is OMEP. “OMEP is an international, non-governmental and non-profit organization concerned with all aspects of early childhood education and care (ECEC). OMEP defends and promotes the rights of the child to education and care worldwide and supports activities which improve accessibility to high quality education and care. OMEP is currently established in over 60 countries and is represented at meetings of UNESCO, UNICEF, and other international organizations with similar aims” (OMEP, n.d.). OMEP USA

This organization interested me because they work on a variety of projects around the world. Their current projects include donating books or materials that support preschools and or programs that teach early childhood educators in other countries, earthquake and other natural disaster relief and Collaborating with UNICEF in the development of OMEP's Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) initiatives in early childhood settings in the developing world. Members of this organization include policy makers, lawyers, therapists, early childhood educators, students and parents or grandparents. this organization invites anyone who wishes to advocate for and make a difference in the lives of children and families around the world.

Another interesting organization I found is The International Society on Infant Studies I had never heard of this organization before, but I am interested in learning more about them and reading some of their journals. “The International Society on Infant Studies The International Society on Infant Studies is a not-for-profit professional organization devoted to the promotion and dissemination of research on the development of infants through its official journal and a biennial conference where researchers and practitioners gather and discuss the latest research and theory in infant development” (The International Society on Infant Studies, n.d.). Membership is open to anyone with an advanced degree in any discipline related to infant development. This organization caught my attention because I work with infants and I think it’s important to stay up to date with the latest research.