We all had hoped that this pandemic would be over quickly. But, to our dismay, it is still with us. We now recognize it may be in the distant future before we can return to “live,” or on-site conferences and training.

We know that professional development for Early Childhood Teachers is essential and should be continual and of high quality. These planned sessions should provide support for teachers during this difficult time, help them reflect on their practices, and encourage new inspiring possibilities.

To address the need for specialized and “up-to-date” experiences, my team and I have developed and experimented with various virtual platforms. After eight months of experimentation we can now announce that we are ready to provide you with a collection of high-quality virtual training offerings!

These keynotes and sessions can be provided using Zoom or offered to you through prerecorded sessions of your choice for a longer period of viewing. You will be able to experience the training in a timeframe that works best for you. We can help!

It has always been a great joy for me to meet early childhood educators, hear their stories, and share hugs as we have done at conferences and trainings in the past. Now we have a new way of connecting, working together, and sparking the creative thinking of young children!

Click here to see what exciting opportunities are available for you today! Let us know how we can collaborate.

Stay safe and positive,

A group project is just what you need.

Our little community members in Jonesborough, Tennessee, were feeling isolated although we were only living a few doors apart. The problem we shared was how we could connect again without being too close to each other while maintaining our social distance.

Several years ago, my husband created a metal sculpture of a man in a rocking chair reading a book. Since this creation was built, we have added mannequins of children to sit around him, and each Fall, we would celebrate the Storytelling Weekend.

This year we expanded our small project to include our neighbors. We built wooden frames for the head, arms, and body so they could create people to add to our circle. Next, we gave each of our neighbors the frame to serve as a base to create an interesting mannequin to be displayed in our reading circle.

This was an open-ended activity, with many choices, different costumes, and distinctive facial expressions. Each neighbor created an amazing addition to our circle. Each figure also complied to CDC mask rules.

Each creative work was unique, colorful, and full of intriguing characteristics. They were made in their home and chosen elements of their choice were included.

After the mannequins were completed, they were added to the growing group. The project was individually completed but combined into a fabulous group collection.

Here are some pictures of our Community Reading Circle!

 

Let each child create a painting, sculpture, or design. Then combine them in unique ways to turn their individual effort into a group effort!

Stay safe and positive,

Gardening has long been one of my interests, but I have seldom had the sufficient time to obtain great results. I have always tried to grow flowers and not vegetables.

This summer, along with many more people, I have had the time to focus on planting, watering, fertilizing, and enjoying the beauty of my very own flowers. Today I have fresh flowers on my table, in the kitchen, and next to my computer. They bring me joy!

As I watched my flowers bloom, I was reminded how we, as early childhood educators, nurture the growth of young children. Fröbel called the first preschool programs he designed in Germany as Kindergarten or Children’s Garden. It is a name that is appropriate for many early childhood programs in 2020.

We plant the seeds of learning in young minds that will develop for many years. We water their creative ideas as they think and express their thoughts. We fertilize their possibilities as we provide unique materials, variety of choices, and encourage curiosity.

As early childhood educators, you have the amazing opportunity to provide the support, environment, and foundation that will have wonderful results – young children who grow and bloom!

During these difficult times let us not forget how important you are in helping young children bloom!

 

I am forever encouraging you to try something new, and now that I have some time, I am venturing out into a different territory. Although I have enjoyed music and the arts for years, I have never painted.

So, this week I had my first lesson on painting with acrylics. I knew that the right teacher would make all the difference in my beginning experiences, so I chose carefully. Beverly, my teacher, is a talented local artist who is known for her innovative and unique mosaics as well as colorful paintings. In my contacts with her, I knew she would help me gain the basic skills but allow me to do it my own way.

In this new endeavor, I would need lots of support as I collected new techniques, tried new materials, and made choices.  It was a little scary when I first looked at the blank canvas. What could it be? Could I do it? Were my expectations too high?

As we began painting Three Trees in a Forest, I was cautious, shaky, and intimidated.  Beverly’s positive words encouraged me: “That’s the way,” “Looking good!”, “Nice!” and “It doesn’t have to be perfect!” Interwoven in her conversations were instructions for how to hold the brush, thin the thick paint, and make my own color.

It was exciting and exhilarating!

As I grow as a painter, I will share with you my feelings and hesitations.

So, today I am challenging you to venture into something new…and feel the excitement of your creative juices being set free!

Growing creatively,