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Friday, August 23, 2019

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10 Hot Topics in Early Childhood Education (That Weren't Necessarily Issues 10 Years Ago!)

In 1999, Nokia sold the first mobile phone with a WAP browser. Ten years ago smartphones were just becoming commonplace; today they come with cameras that take better pictures than many point-and-shoots! If you had told me 10 years ago that I could carry a phone in my pocket that is as powerful as a computer and has a camera on it, I would not have believed you! Yet, here we are!! You can see just as dramatic changes in topics that early childhood educators are studying now compared with what was important 10 years ago! If you're a parent or in an ECE classroom, some of these will probably resonate with you, and if you're just getting started in the field they are critical topics to be informed about and have opinions on!

Here are 10 trending topics that ECE teachers are studying today that they wouldn’t have 10 years ago, according to ChildCare Education Institute, and ways that you can use CCEI to learn more about those topics: 

1- Children on Devices: In the 80's we discussed, wondered, and researched how healthy television was for kids. Now technology has found its way into almost every aspect of our children's lives. Is this healthy? Is it safe? Your opinions on these issues will determine how you structure your day and what activities your kiddos will do. CCEI’s (CHD103: The Child’s Digital Universe: Technology and Digital Media in Early Childhood) online course shares the latest research and recommendations regarding children's use of technology and digital media and ways in which digital devices are reshaping childhood and early childhood education. 

2- STEM and Robotics: Children are growing up in an increasingly digital world, and technology, coding and robotics in schools are getting a lot of attention. Young children LOVE both STEM and robots! There are a lot of learning activities you can do to help encourage that love and teach topics that your kids are already excited about. Did you know that there are robotics kits designed specifically for young children? CCEI’s course CUR123: Robotics in Early Childhood Education: Hands-On and Playful Approaches explains some of these kits and teaches ways to use robotics to create a hands-on, playful early learning environment! And did you know that you can use art in STEM? CCEI's course CUR113- STEAM: Enhancing STEM Education with the Arts includes a variety of art activities and teaches you to integrate them into STEM learning!

3- Trauma Informed Care: Trauma is not a new topic, but some of the social stigma that at one time surrounded mental illness is now being talked about and supported more in our society. ECE providers work with diverse groups of students from all walks of life, and need to be prepared to work with children who have had traumatic experiences. Statistics show that 26% of children living in America will experience some sort of trauma in their life prior to the age of four. CCEI offers SOC108: Establishing Trauma Informed Practices in Early Learning Environments which focuses on ways to incorporate trauma informed practices into the environment and interactions with children. The course explains what trauma is, how it can affect young children, and practical ways to create a safe environment for all children to thrive in. 

4- Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a topic that has been around for a long time, but is becoming more accepted in public spaces. Mindfulness practices can prevent instances of undesired behavior, increase focus and engagement and promote a feeling of ownership and empowerment for children. As an additional benefit, classroom communities tend to be more empathetic and kind. CCEI offers SOC106: The Value of Mindfulness in Early Childhood which explores calming and reflective approaches when working with young children. The course first explains the need and benefits for mindful practices in early childhood, and then includes lots of activity ideas and ways that teachers can immediately implement mindful practices and ways to teach social emotional skills.

5- Spirituality: Dictionaries tell us that spirituality includes non-physical aspects of ourselves like emotions and character topics that can sometimes be challenging to teach preschoolers! CCEI’s CHD109: Supporting Spiritual Development in Early Learning Environments is based upon the work of Deborah Schein, author of the book titled Inspiring Wonder, Awe and Empathy – Spiritual Development in Young Children. The course explores what spiritual development is and why it is important to overall development. Participants will also learn how to create moments within their learning environments that promote spiritual development in young children.

6- Caring for Allergies: Child food allergies are on the rise in the United States and continue to be a public health concern. CCEI’s CCEI119: Food Allergies in the Early Care Setting online course provides an overview of food allergies and basic safety principles to employ in the early care setting. Upon completion of this course, teachers will be able to provide a safe environment for children and staff who suffer from food allergies, identify the eight major food allergens, list the theories associated with the rise in food allergies and identify the importance of food labeling and packaging.

7- Dual-Language Learning: Okay, so this was a big deal 10 years ago, but it's still so important that I had to include it. In some areas, non-native English speakers may make up the majority of a classroom, but even if you only have one dual-language student, it is important to be able to meet his or her needs! All early childhood educators need to be prepared to meet the challenges of guiding a child toward English fluency while maintaining fluency in (and respect for) their home languages and culture. CCEI offers CHD102: Dual Language Learning in the Early Childhood Environment to provide early childhood professionals with strategies and tools for helping young children develop language and early literacy skills in both English and their native language. The course also includes the benefits of dual language and ways to engage the families of children to create rich language development for all children.

8- Attention Disorders: The numbers of preschoolers and other children diagnosed with attention disorders are rising, and both parents and teachers can benefit from a little extra training in this area. CCEI offers courses like SPN102: Attention Deficit Disorders to help child care providers understand the symptoms, sub-types and common treatment strategies associated with attention disorders.  It also includes a wide variety of classroom modifications that can be used to help young children with attention disorders be successful.

9- Diversity and Inclusion: We are seeing more conversations than ever about diversity and inclusion, and it is a wonderful thing--even at the preschool level! CCEI’s CCEI640: Creating a Multicultural Environment online training course helps teachers define the goals of multiculturalism, plan and implement a classroom that avoids bias, incorporate multiculturalism into learning centers and other classroom activities and promote cooperative social skills in diverse classrooms.

10- Bullying in the Classroom: Although bullying has also been around for years, today’s teachers are more proactive about reducing bullying. CCEI’s GUI100: Bullying in the Preschool Environment online course helps teachers bring empathy and compassion to the classroom as a way of reducing bullying behaviors. It also teaches educators how to identify bullying and positive guidance strategies to help both bullies, victims, and other children.

I've shared a lot of information about ChildCare Education Institute's select courses in each of the topics above because they are a wonderful source of accredited, online professional development for teachers and education for parents.

ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI) is the industry leader for online professional development for early childhood educators. You can take individual courses, have a subscription to their entire course catalog for one year, or complete certificate programs with them! a CCEI's courses are super user-friendly, research-based, cover important topics, and always end with a short assessment so you can review everything you just learned. They are instrumental in teaching important ECE information in a friendly and convenient way! And 99% of students would recommend CCEI to others, so you are sure to be in good hands! You can see more details about some of the courses I have personally taken like CCEI122 Active Learning in Early Childhood and CCEI440 Sensational Science or visit the ChildCare Education Institute website to learn more! I have absolutely loved all of the courses I have taken with them and am happy to recommend them to other educators!

Do you have strong feelings about any of these topics? I would love to hear from you! Let's keep the conversations about important issues going!

Disclosure: This article is sponsored by ChildCare Education Institute. As always, you get my real opinions, and I only recommend companies that I love!

Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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Pumpkin Life Cycle Packet

It's fall! It's fall! It's fall!!! I absolutely adore fall and am super excited to share this Pumpkin Life Cycle Packet with you this year!!

My preschoolers have already asked if we're going to go to a farm this year and pick pumpkins, and I was like, "OF COURSE!!"  

Then yesterday we passed the candle isle at the grocery store and bought a Pumpkin scented candle. It is wonderful, and we enjoyed it the very same night we bought it!

So, back to the topic at hand: I have been working on a series of life cycle printables to use to teach different life cycles.  This pumpkin packet is the next life cycle in that series. If you want to grab the other ones, here are the links:

Pumpkin Life Cycle (with spinner) -- YOU ARE HERE--the sign-up is below!

Let me know if you'd like to see the insects (butterflies, ladybugs, and honeybees) in a spinner format. We're really enjoying making spinners lately, but sometimes it's also nice to have a little variety! If you don't want to make a spinner, there is a "flat" pumpkin life cycle page with arrows on it too! 

Cutting and pasting each phase in the pumpkin life cycle is awesome fine motor exercise for your preschoolers too!

Pumpkins are a really fantastic plant to use to talk about life cycles because each stage is so beautiful, bright, and easy to find! You can cut open a pumpkin and pull out the seeds, you can visit a farm and see green and orange pumpkins, and you can plant your own and see sprouts and flowers pretty quickly!

Or you can just print off this packet and see it all at once!

You can sort the pieces, put them in order, and make a pumpkin spinner (like I said, my preschoolers are loving the spinners right now)! There are both color images and black and white images, so you can use whatever suits your printing needs the best!

And the best part? You could buy the packet HERE, BUT I am giving you these files FREE when you subscribe to receive email updates from me! This is actually a double win for you because 1- you won't miss any future freebies and 2- I like to give my email friends huge discounts on paid products (usually, I even give you the product free for three days)! It's totally worth the 45 seconds to subscribe...and if you decide you don't like getting emails from me there is always an "unsubscribe" button at the bottom of every email I send. ๐Ÿ’•

You can sign up HERE:

After you subscribe you will receive an email from me with the free pumpkin life cycle file! ๐Ÿ’• Please wait up to an hour to give the system time to send you the email before panicking about it not arriving. ๐Ÿ’• Thank you!!

Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!

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Thursday, August 15, 2019

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Letter L Free Printable Minibook Alphabet Series

These minibooks are part of a series I made for my daughter who is getting ready to read! You can print each one individually for free! Each minibook focuses on a letter of the alphabet and since I know a lot of preschoolers work on letters, I am sharing them here! Today's book is the Letter L!

You are welcome to print off as many as you personally need for your family or classroom. Please encourage other teachers and parents to come download their own copy--this allows me to continue to create resources like this for you!

Like all the other letter books, this one has about nine coloring-book style pictures that start with the featured letter. You just print them off, cut out the pages, and staple them together! Or, even better, let your preschooler or kindergarten kiddo cut out the pages! They get to practice writing their name on the front page, trace the letter on the front page, and see the letter again on each page in the minibook!

If you don't want to use the book format, you can also print two sets, paste them on construction paper, cut them out, and play memory or matching games. It just reinforces the sounds that L can make as you remind your preschoolers that all the words in this book start with L. My kiddos LOVE "reading" their books after they color them! You could also display the pages, though my kiddos would not be willing to part with theirs!

If your child isn't ready to focus on letters and the sounds they make, you can still print the little books off and just use them as coloring books! 

I will be sharing about one a week, so if you follow along you can get them all free! You can click HERE to see the whole collection! And if you don't want to wait for them to come out weekly, you're welcome to click HERE for instructions on buying the whole set at once.

Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

  Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!

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Monday, August 12, 2019

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Confetti Sight Words & Letter Activity

I have one little girl who is going to learn to read this month, so our reading lesson today included "confetti sight words!" Of course, my younger preschooler saw the fun and wanted in on it!

It's a fun way to practice words and letters, so it is perfectly appropriate for any preschoolers from about three to six years old...as long as they enjoy gluing things!

Actually, doing something like this would have been torture for my second child. But for these two...they seriously love it!  All kids are different, and I strongly think that preschoolers who act like sitting is torture should not have to do seat work!

But, since these two love letters, love gluing, and are working on reading, it is perfect!

The supply list is simple: construction paper, scissors, glue

The whole project is pretty easy too, but it reinforces the letter shape, letter recognition, word shape, and word recognition.

You can pre-cut lots of little squares of construction paper, or do it with your preschoolers. I did it with them because preparation time is so extremely limited in my life!

Then "write" the word or letter you're working on with glue.

Let them start "building" the word with the "confetti" of their choice!

One of my girls even cut out a border and added it to hers: 

They loved them so much that they asked to keep them in their "art folders!" I think it's pretty adorable when their reading lesson gets "special art" status!

Do you have any favorite sight-word-learning activities? I'd love to hear about them!

Here are some other things we've done to help letter-recognition and/or sight-word recognition:

Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!

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Thursday, August 1, 2019

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Preschool Apple Pie Sequencing Fun

We are bringing in fall preschool themes with this fun Apple Pie Sequencing Mat set!

Honestly, I *cannot* believe it is August already, but my calendar says that it is, so I guess I'm going with it!

As I type this I am literally eating apple pie. I know it sounds crazy, but there it is. We have actually been a little obsessed with pies lately, so I am delighted to share this sequencing set for preschoolers and toddlers!

I remember the first time I saw someone make an apple pie without a recipe--it was my husband's aunt at Thanksgiving time, and I was blown away! But it turns out that making an apple pie really is as easy as these adorable little cards make it look! Last week when we made an apple pie we didn't even peel the apple! We just sliced it really thin, boiled the apples for a few minutes, sweetened them, added cinnamon, and poured it into the pie crust. We added a few teaspoon-sized plops of butter and sprinkled flour across the top to thicken the sauce. Then we topped with another pie crust, and stuck it in the oven! It was amazingly easy...and amazingly delicious!

You can let them set up the "recipe" before you make pie, then make it with them, and then review the steps! Sequencing is an important pre-math and pre-reading skill, and practicing it while cooking is doubly fun! Especially when the apple pie comes out and you get to eat it!

Inside this set you'll find several different kids who each go through the same apple pie making steps: cutting the apples, mixing the ingredients, and eating the pie!

The set also includes color cards and black and white cards!

If you don't want to use these with a cooking project, they would be perfect for an Apple Theme, a Harvest Theme, a Thanksgiving Theme, or even a Fall Theme! Use them as a center/rotation, a math activity, or tuck them in your purse for the next time you get stuck in a line!

I hope you love them!

And if you're getting ready for an Apple Theme, be sure to check out all my other apple-y preschool activities HERE! I have science experiments, literacy activities, and much more!

Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

I may share at any of these parties!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

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Shark Activities for Shark Theme & Fun Learning

Sharks are one of our favorite summer themes--we love Shark Week, we do lots of shark activities, study shark science, play shark games, and even enjoy learning about sharks! 

I am putting all of our shark themed activities, games, and printable resources here so you can find them easily! We'll keep adding to them as we spend more time learning about sharks. be sure to let us me know what your favorites are!

All of these activities, experiments, and printables are fun for preschoolers, and most of them will work great with older kids too! 

There are quite a lot in this collection, so I'm dividing them into the following categories:

Shark Games
Shark Science Experiments
Shark Art & Crafts
More Shark Learning

Shark Games:


Shark Science Experiments:


Shark Art & Crafts:

More Shark Learning:


If you have a shark theme this summer/fall, let me know! I'd love to hear your favorite shark activities and games and what you like to include for shark learning fun!  These projects are all perfect for preschool kiddos, but we have also included our older kids in a lot of the lessons and activities. Let me know what you think!

Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

I may share at any of these parties!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!

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Friday, July 26, 2019

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Preschool Teacher Training: CCEI's 35+ Certificate Programs to Take this Summer

Are you a preschool teacher, administrator, director, or owner? If so, then summer is the perfect time to obtain professional development training!

Today I'm excited to feature the training programs that ChildCare Education Institute offers ECE professionals! They are perfect if you need to earn a CDA or really any professional development certification for that matter! In fact, their high-quality online training courses are applicable to anyone who works with young children, whether you're in a child care center, homeschool, Head Start, family child care, preschool, after-school programs, and more!

I have personally taken several courses from ChildCare Education Institute (they have over 150 courses!) and loved every one! The website is easy to use, the courses are engaging and relevant, and customer service is super friendly. I have been recommending them to everyone! (I'm not the only one...99% of their users say they'd recommend them too!)

It is simply the best way I have seen to take professional development courses and earn certifications! I think you will love it too! Some of my favorites are LIT102: Building Literacy Through Nursery Rhymes and Children's Poetry and CCEI122: Active Learning in Early Childhood. I learned so much from them! Check out my reviews on LIT102: Building Literacy Through Nursery Rhymes and Children's Poetry and CCEI122: Active Learning in Early Childhood today! If you're looking to further your ECE professional development and certifications, then I recommend you try them..

My favorite thing about courses from ChildCare Education Institute is that you can take them at your convenience online! Their website has everything you need for the courses including the lessons, assessments, and printable certificates! It is absolutely the most user-friendly way to stay current in your field, get the training and IACET CEU credits you might need, and do it all on your own schedule.

Before I sign up for any professional development training, I want to know if I can obtain IACET CEU credit and if the provider is accredited. So, I imagine you will be happy to know that ChildCare Education Institute is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commisssion (DEAC) and is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

ChildCare Education Institute offers more than 35 certificate programs, including these popular programs:

* Self Study CDA Certificate & Renewals
* Early Childhood Credential
* Director's Certificate (also available in state specific for FL, GA, and TX)
* Infant-Toddler Certificate
* Florida Child Care Professional Credential (FCCPC) & Renewals
* NECPA National Administrator Credential ® (NAC) ® Certificate
* Health and Hygiene Certificate
* Inclusion and Special Needs Certificate
* Mandated Reporter Certificate
* and many more

They have over 150+ courses in English and Spanish and many whole certificate programs offered in Spanish too!

Are you in good hands with you online provider? The numbers really speak for themselves with CCEI. They have graduated over 13,000 students from their CDA and other certificate programs!

ChildCare Education Institute is a Council for Professional Recognition CDA Gold Standard Training provider and their CDA certification program is amazing! Students are assigned a personal Education Coach to guidde them through the program, the entire certification program can be obtained online, and they even have assistance available for completing the credential application with the CDA Council. This is extra helpful if you live in Florida (or other similar states), where daycare centers have to have one (or more, depending on how many children you have) credentialed providers(s).

The Self Study CDA Certificate meets the 120 clock hours of professional development required by The Council for Professional Recognition in order to obtain the National CDA Credential. The CDA online training program is comprised of eight Instructional Units. These units focus on the six CDA Competency  Standards established by The Council for Professional Recognition.

You can also articulate courses that you take through ChildCare Education Institute towards a degree program. Want to learn more? Check out these short videos of CCEI's top certificate programs like the CDA and FCCPC today!

Students love CCEI because they offer such an extensive course list and have in-depth programs for CDA, FCCPC, and Director's Certificate.

Plus, did you know 49 states accept CCEI coursework? Some staff training material for child care certification courses may differ by state or local regulatory agencies and other compliance organizations. Some jurisdictions also limit the number of courses per day or course hours that will be recognized for licensing or other child care requirements.

See if your state accepts CCEI's IACET CEUs for the coursework you complete by clicking here.

As summer comes to an end, now is the time to advance your professional development and try these amazing courses at CCEI. Don't wait! Enroll now! I'm so glad I did!

Disclosure: This article is sponsored by Child Care Education Institute. As always, you get my real opinions, and I only recommend companies that I love!

Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!

Read More