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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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5 Tips for Building Preschoolers' Emotional Skills + CCEI Courses for CDA Training

Don't we all want to learn more ways to help our preschoolers strengthen their emotional skills? I just finished my most recent course with ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI), and I am super excited to share some things I learned about building preschoolers' emotional skills from it with you! 




SOC107: Building Social and Emotional Competence is designed for adults working with preschoolers about 2-5 years old. It helps you identify characteristics of social emotional development in children five and under, learn how to create a responsive learning environment, and select strategies that help children build self-regulation and healthy social emotional development.

Plus, this is one of the many online courses that is part of their CDA certification.

The course is designed for professionals working with young children, but I think every parent would also benefit from the information inside.

We all want our preschoolers to develop strong emotional skills so they can solve problems and deal with frustrations as they grow. 

I'm going to share 5 effective, actionable tips that I found within this course that will let you (as an adult) help your preschoolers (whether they're your children or children you care for) build this kind of emotional strength.

First, I'm going to share a little bit more about CCEI.

I first discovered ChildCare Education Institute a few years ago, and have been absolutely impressed with every course I've taken with them.

I'm not the only person who loves them. More than 47,700 early childhood professionals have graduated from their CDA or other certificate programs, and 99% of their students say they would recommend CCEI to others!

ChildCare Education Institute provides high-quality, online training courses and programs, perfect for teachers in child-care settings, center-based care, Head Start, family child care, prekindergarten classrooms, after school environments, and more. I LOVE how their courses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, in a convenient web-based system that you can access from any device. 

They have online certification programs for national credentials like the CDA, Director, and Early Childhood Credentials.

And, if you're like me, you like to know that CCEI is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and is an IACET Accredited Provider. You can get IACET CEUs through CCEI that comply with the ANSI/IACET Continuing Education and Training Standard.





With credentials like that, you can bet the tips I'm sharing from their courses are actionable and research-based. So, here are...

5 Tips for Building Preschoolers' Emotional Skills

#1: Build a relationship with your children!

SOC107 points out the fact that most discipline-related problems can be avoided by building or strengthening your relationship with your children. It includes lots of recommendations on how to build those relationships with young children, and why each one works. I am only going to share three here.
     ==> Listen to your children, and take the time to have conversations with them.
     ==> Connect individually with each child. If you work in a classroom, this might look like a brief conversation as they arrive or other short conversations throughout the day. If you're at home, this might look like a scheduled 1-on-1 activity with each child or a simple conversation where they get all of your undivided attention.
     ==> Watch for unspoken needs, and ask your children about them.

From my own personal experiences (both as a teacher and a parent), I can tell you that behavior and discipline problems almost disappear when you focus on relationships, so I really appreciated this emphasis in the course. 



#2: Acknowledge Emotions!

When our preschoolers are struggling with emotions, help them identify those emotions. Do not ignore them. Just waiting for an emotion to pass does not give your children any new coping skills. 

Ask them questions like:
* "How did that make you feel?" 
* "Do you feel sad when ____?" 
* "Are you excited about ____?"

Sometimes you can't drop everything at the moment and run to an upset child. I love using this suggestion from the course: "I hear you crying because you want my attention. I will be right over." This acknowledges their frustration, and lets them know that you will be there to support them - even if it's not right that second.

Don't try to ignore emotions or tell your preschoolers that "nothing is wrong" or that they don't need to worry when they feel like something is wrong or that they do need to worry. Identify those feelings so they can find ways to deal with them!
 
#3: Monitor Areas of Concern or Potential Problems!

When you have a relationship with children, you can often predict when they might need your help to solve problems. It's easier to solve those problems or avoid concerning situations if you provide them with the skills to work through them.

#4: Celebrate Small Successes!

Preschoolers like to feel a sense of accomplishment, so if you can point out successes (even if they seem small), it will help them gain more confidence. 

It's important to remember that social and emotional skills can take years to develop. Don't let what might feel like slow progress upset you. Celebrate the small gains!

#5: Use Teachable Moments!

Behavioral skills, asking questions, responding appropriately, and emotional responses all take a lot of practice. We might schedule time to teach these skills, but throughout the day there will be lots of "teachable moments" where we can pause what we are normally doing and reinforce those skills. It only takes an extra minute or so, but repeatedly reviewing those skills as they apply to normal, every day interactions is how our preschoolers will learn to use them throughout their normal days.


I hope you have a chance to use these tips with your preschoolers! I would love to hear your favorite tips or tricks for helping preschoolers build their emotional skills too--feel free to message me on FB, email, or leave a comment!

SOC 107: Building Social and Emotional Competence is a 2-hour course that's part of CCEI's CDA certification program, and I highly recommend it. In addition to the tips I shared above, it covers building social competence, building relationships, Erikson's theory of Psychosocial Development, preschool learning outcomes, modeling, bonding, attachment, self-regulation, temperament, and more. 



This article is sponsored by ChildCare Education Institute. All opinions are mine--you know I only recommend products and companies I love!



Happy Educating,
Carla


Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze!
This awesome book introduces the rock cycle with dinosaurs, volcanoes, and more!
(hint: You can buy it on Amazon or use the code Dinosaur25 at OakieBees.com!!)



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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Friday, March 17, 2023

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Playdough Planets -- fun preschool space activity

Space, astronomy, and planets have always been some of my favorite themes, so I love sharing them with my preschoolers! This little Playdough Planets activity can be a whole project on its own, or just a fun extension you can add in to your day next time you pull out some playdough!


We started with Jupiter because I was talking about how you can see both Jupiter and Venus right now, easily, shortly after sunset, with my older kids. (If you live in the northern hemisphere, look for the two bright planets after sunset in the western sky.)

My preschooler joined us while we talked about how some awesome Jupiter Fun Facts (see below), and then I pulled out the play dough. I limited the colors to red, orange, and yellow. He happily designed four different "Jupiters" and then -- on a different day -- asked to repeat the entire activity!

Play dough is awesome for developing fine motor skills and pre-writing muscles. Pulling it out when you talk about science lets kids stretch their imagination, creativity, and design habits! And, it's a pretty clean sensory activity!

Here are some of our favorite planet Jupiter Fun Facts:


** Jupiter's atmosphere has a lot of hydrogen and helium! (I might have made some hydrogen with my kids... it's a fun little chemical reaction, but it has the potential to be dangerous.)
** Over 1,000 planets the size of Earth can fit inside Jupiter.
** Jupiter has enough gravity to hold on to more than 80 moons!
** A year on Jupiter takes more than 11 years on Earth!

If you make playdough planets, I'd love to see them! Tag me on Facebook (@PreschoolPowolPackets) or on Instagram (@Carla.Mae.Jansen)!

And click here for more awesome space themed activities, projects, experiments, and printables!




Happy Educating,
Carla


Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze!
This awesome book introduces the rock cycle with dinosaurs, volcanoes, and more!
(hint: You can buy it on Amazon or use the code Dinosaur25 at OakieBees.com!!)



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

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

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Preschool Music Class: Dinosaur Theme

Today I'm sharing my dinosaur lesson plan for our preschool music class.  I'm teaching a preschool class this year that combines music and movement to teach basic music concepts like pitch and listening skills while letting our preschoolers sing, run, and play! 



You can also use a lot of these ideas and activities with toddlers or kindergarteners...just adapt them for your kid's abilities!

I'm sharing my lesson plans here in case anyone else wants some ideas for Music Time!

You can see more music lessons here!

This lesson is already tested--we had a great time! This is a 40-minute class, and includes transition and movement time. :) 

Theme: Dinosaurs (1)

Gathering Activity: Play with musical instrument toys.

Hello Song: Hello Song:   
Hello *kid's name*
Hello *kid's name
Hello *kid's name*
We're glad you're here today!

to the tune of "Goodnight, Ladies."

Warm-up SongWhen I Sing La, La, La by Janeen Brady with sock puppets. Check out my Moon & Space Music Time post for more background on this song! Emphasize opening your mouth really big like the puppet when you sing, lift the puppets high for high notes, and lower the puppets low near the floor for low notes.




Action SongWe are the Dinosaurs (Let's Go Swimming) by Laurie Berkner. We stomp around, roar, and pretend we're dinosaurs while we sing along.




Instrument: Rhythm Sticks. Play Dinosaur Copy. Make a short rhythm with your sticks and then let the kids copy you. Take turns letting each child create a rhythm or beat for everyone else to copy.


Instrument: Shaker Eggs: Dinosaurs laid eggs! Talk about egg fossils, and then take shake your shaker eggs while marching, sneaking, walking, and running (as suggested) to the song "I Can Shake My Shaker Egg" by Mr. Eric and Mr. Michael.




Theme & Counting SongDinosaurs by Kiboomers. Use your fingers to count the dinosaurs and make action movements based on the words.




Instrument: Bells: Dinosaur Stomp! I use this to reinforce high notes and low notes. Pull out two bells, and line the kids up at one side of the room. They are dinosaurs crossing a river. Whenever I play two high notes, they take two steps forward and whenever I play one lower note, they take one step backwards. 
I absolutely love the Preschool Prodigies music curriculum, and pull their bells out whenever I can! 

Parachute Fun: We absolutely adore parachute games and songs! Today we did a Dinosaur Race! Everyone stands and waves the parachute while I call out two kids names to run underneath it and trade places. We ended with making a rainforest for the dinosaurs by pulling the parachute down by our ankles, lifting it high above our heads, stepping underneath it, and sitting down on the parachute, creating a mushroom-y "ocean" above us. 

Walk Around (the Moon) by Music With Nancy: I love ending our parachute time with this! Everyone holds one handle of the parachute and walk in a circle...or jump, or whatever the song suggests. ;)  When it finishes, everyone sat on top of the parachute in the middle, and the adults made a few final waves around all the kids.




Goodbye Song: I'm doing the same tune for this as the Hello Song, just singing "Goodbye *name*."  


I know I've mentioned this before, but it's related so I'll tell you again! If you're looking for a music curriculum that teaches all the music basics like pitch, rhythm, and even reading notes I have a program that I 100% recommend!  Here's my affiliate link: Preschool Prodigies is absolutely "open and go!" AND your kids learn a musical instrument (bells) through the program! We are actually using this as well, and ALL my kids LOVE it (this includes my preschoolers, elementary kiddos, and my middleschooler)!! In addition to the bells curriculum for preschoolers, they have lessons for recorder, ukulele, and more!  I am super excited about this program and am sharing it with everyone I know! I simply have not seen any other system as fun and effective for teaching music. 


I hope all of this is helpful for you! Let me know if you use any of it in your Music Time!!



Happy Educating,
Carla


Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze!
This awesome book introduces the rock cycle with dinosaurs, volcanoes, and more!
(hint: You can buy it on Amazon or use the code Dinosaur25 at OakieBees.com!!)



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

Friday, December 16, 2022

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New Year Goals: Increasing Early Literacy Opportunities & CCEI

Happy December!

As another year wraps up, I like to look ahead and make some goal-based plans to start in January. 

One of my goals for next year is to create more early literacy opportunities. I have a four-year old who is extremely obsessed with letters and reading, and I want to make sure he has all the support he wants to enjoy language, reading, and writing as much as possible.




These two courses are super well-organized and full of ideas that are easy-to-implement and will help me meet my literacy goals for next year.

I will tell you more about these two courses, and CCEI in general, below. 

First, I want to share my new, actionable, and measurable goals! I like goals that are super specific, so I have a very detailed little plan for what I want to try next semester. "Plans" might actually be a better word for me than "Goals." Plans feel more actionable, which is really the ultimate goal for goals! 

So my plan has three goals:

1- Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, and Fables Weekly Story. I'm getting a Fairy Tales Around the World story book, and every week we'll focus on a new story. We might read the story on the first two days, or I might tell my own version of it. On the next two days, the kids will tell their version on the story. I'll also choose a story that ties into other themed work we're doing that week. 

2- 15-minute craft or activity. My kids love art and crafts, so we'll probably do a lot of those, but at a minimum I want to do at least one hands-on activity related to the story three days a week. A few ideas I've already had include making puppets, painting, food from the story or the place the story is from,  and making characters from the story out of rocks and/or recycled supplies! Oooh, and a Story Bin, with objects or pictures from the story for them to play with on their own.

3- Fairy Tale Word Wall. I'm going to add a new little word wall with images and words from the story for that week. I'll also include a map that shows where the story is from. 

This will add in about an extra 30-minute literacy activity every day, which I think will go a long way toward increasing our general literacy activities. I think it will be awesome! 

If I'm really organized, I'll put it all together in a downloadable format for you too... buuuuut, short of that, I'll share each week's activities on the blog here so you can get it as we go along. ;) 

I'm sure you're curious how the courses I took with CCEI helped inspire these plans! 

Well, let me tell you!

First of all, Lit100: Storytelling for Enrichment, Early Literacy, and Fun introduced a variety of story-telling methods, styles, techniques, and even enrichment activities! The course explained why story-telling is important, and how it is different than just reading.

Aside from all the awesome vocabulary-building and language exposure that stories help with, they prepare and motivate children to do hard things. I love this quote from G.K. Chesterton: "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."


Here's the slide from the course where this concept is taught:


I love how you can extend this so the kids become the heroes of each of their stories! I want to emphasize reflecting on our lives as story telling and look at ways we can solve problems with kindness and courage.

After the course discussed the importance of storytelling and different kinds of stories, it provided a lot of great instructions on how to make your own storytelling more effective, covering everything from presentation tips to ways to discuss stories with children to play acting!

Even if my weekly Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, and Fables lessons don't work out, I am feeling highly motivated right now to include some new form of story telling on a regular basis. We really just can't get enough!

So then I took Cur102: Environmental and Functional Print. This course is one of the shorter ones (only one credit hour), but it is a wonderful introduction to Environmental and Functional Print. 

Just like the Storytelling course, the Environmental and Functional Print course begins by explaining what these terms mean and why they are important:


Environmental Print is a print found in a child's every day life. It includes product labels, signs, logos, packaging, etc. Functional Print is environmental print that includes instructions or directions. For example, most preschoolers will recognize a stop sign in the street or their name on a rotation or station chart. 

As parents and teachers, we can create a print-rich environment that will help prepare our children to read and write! The course includes dozens of different ways we can do this!! 

Here are a few of my favorites that the course talked about:

** Word Walls!! You can make word walls with words your kids are actually learning to write, names for the kids in your class or home, or even words relevant to other things you're learning (like my plan to include words and maps from the stories we read).

** Provide books and writing materials in several places where the children can use them.
** Display print and change the signs occasionally.

** Point out signs during drives.

** Point out packaging and logos on products we use.

** Model reading and writing.

** Introduce children to a wide variety of literature.



Every time we increase our kids' exposure to print, their brains register the letters and words as symbols and prepare to decode them more in the future. The more exposure kids have to print, and the more they recognize it, the better! 

I love all the suggestions Cur102: Environmental and Functional Print had for practical and fun ways to increase that exposure. 

Both courses had CCEI's typical multiple choice in-course assessment questions and exam at the end of the course. Both courses also had an interactive sorting activity to help you remember and apply concepts.

CCEI courses are all super organized and full of practical ideas you can use immediately in your own teaching situation, whether it's at home or in a classroom. 

My other favorite aspect of CCEI courses is that they are available 24/7/365... any day of the year, any time of the day, I can log on to the system and take my course. This works particularly well for teachers and parents who are usually busy during normal "business hours." You can get IACET CEU credits whenever it is convenient for you! 

And, of course, I love how their courses, programs, and certificates are accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

I think it's also worth pointing out that their course catalog has OVER 150 high-quality online courses in English and Spanish for teachers and parents in a huge variety of settings, including daycares, preschools, after-school programs, Head Start, and more! 

You can take courses a la carte, choosing the ones that will meet your specific needs like I did, or you can earn national certifications like the CDA Certificate and Director's Certificate and Early Childhood Credentials.

When you finish a course, the certificate is available immediately. You can also print a transcript of courses you've already taken.

 This is a copy of the certificate I got from their course CCEI110: Brain Development and Learning: What Every Early Care and Education Professional Should Know:


I love recommending ChildCare Education Institute for any early childhood professional development needs you might have! I have taken more than a dozen courses with them now, and I truly enjoy every one of them! 

Every single course has activity and project suggestions that you can implement immediately--it is like hands-on learning for adults! 

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about them--I am happy to share my experiences!

And be sure to follow along next year as we jump into storytelling and word walls! 


Happy Educating,
Carla

This article is sponsored by ChildCare Education Institute. All opinions are mine--you know I only recommend products and companies I love!




Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze!
This awesome book introduces the rock cycle with dinosaurs, volcanoes, and more!
(hint: You can buy it on Amazon or use the code Dinosaur25 at OakieBees.com!!)



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

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

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FREE Unicorn Tic-Tac-Toe Preschool Printable

Who loves unicorns?!

My kids do! They also love to play Tic-Tac-Toe, so I am super excited to share this re-usable free printable game board... with unicorn pieces!!



Isn't it adorable?!

You can choose your unicorn from six different designs, cut them out quickly (because they're in easy-to-cut squares!), and start playing!!

Laminate them if you want them to last longer, or pop them in a plastic baggie!

They would also make an awesome file folder game: glue the tick-tac-toe "board" onto a file folder and put the pieces in an envelope. Glue the envelope onto the folder as well, so you can keep it with the game!

Free Unicorn Tic-Tac-Toe Preschool Printable:


And let me know if you have any other games or activities you would like me to make a printable set for!  💖



Happy Educating,
Carla


Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze!
This awesome book introduces the rock cycle with dinosaurs, volcanoes, and more!
(hint: You can buy it on Amazon or use the code Dinosaur25 at OakieBees.com!!)



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

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

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Growth Mindset Posters & ChildCare Education Institute Courses

Have you ever been curious about how growth mindset or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) might affect you and your preschoolers? I've just finished taking courses about both topics with ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI), and I am super excited to share a few things I've learned with you about them! I also made some awesome little growth mindset posters that you can print and use for free!


In this post, I'm going to share:


1- An introduction to CCEI.
4- FREE Growth Mindset Posters!

Introduction to ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI):


I love taking courses with CCEI! They are well-organized and present useful, research-backed information with fun hands-on teaching ideas and tips for organizing learning spaces. 

I've taken more than 10 courses with them, and each time I am impressed with how the courses focus on the most useful material I would look for in the course topic. 

Here are a few of my other favorite things about CCEI:


1- Everything is online! You can access your web-based account and the courses anywhere at any time--24/7/365! For busy teachers and parents, this is the ultimate in convenient professional development! You can get IACET CEU credits whenever you are ready.

2- The courses, credentials, and programs are accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commision (DEAC) and the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). 

3- They have courses on EVERYTHING! ChildCare Education Institute specializes in high-quality online courses and programs for teachers and parents in a huge variety of settings, including daycares, preschools, after-school programs, Head Start, and more! You can take individual courses with them (they have over 150 English and Spanish training courses) or you can earn national certifications like the CDA Certificate and Director's Certificate and Early Childhood Credential.

When you finish a course, you can download the certificate immediately. This is a copy of the certificate I got from their course CCEI110: Brain Development and Learning: What Every Early Care and Education Professional Should Know:


A little about the CCEI CUR121: Establishing Growth Mindset Practices in Early Learning Environments course:


I think every parent and teacher needs this course! It is a 2-clock hour course that introduces you to what growth mindset is, why it is important, and how you can help children create growth mindset beliefs and skills. I really love the brief introduction to how brain development is affected by a growth mindset and the suggestions to help teach children these skills. 

Developing a growth mindset helps children stress less about trying new things. Children with a growth mindset worry less about failure because they know that they can always try again!

CUR 121: Establishing Growth Mindset Practices in Early Learning Environments includes a lot of practical activities, discussion prompts, and ways to set up the learning environments that are effective and can be implemented immediately! One of the suggestions was to put up growth mindset posters, so I made two sets of fun little posters to put on our walls, and I'm sharing them below! Just scroll down and click on the yellow highlighted text!

The courses all have interactive activities, reflection questions, and polls. This drag-and-drop activity from the growth mindset course lets you practice identifying growth mindset communication patterns:



Like all courses, this one ends with a short exam. Immediately upon completion, you can download a certificate.

A little about the CCEI SPN107: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder course from CCEI

I was particularly interested in SPN 107: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) because of who I work with. 

CCEI's course covers the forms of ADHD, important facts and statistics, brief diagnostics, and different ways to support children and adults with ADHD. I liked the discussions about the relationships between brain development and common characteristics in adults and children with ADHD.

Many of the instructional slides are similar to this one on the ADHD course. They present concise, helpful information that is later reviewed and included in the exam:



Some of my favorite suggestions for ways to support and teach children with ADHD included proximity control, organized spaces with reduced visual clutter, illustrated instructions, having private conversations, and using "When-Then" statements.

"When-Then" statements help kids focus on the task at hand with positive reinforcement. For example, saying the statement, "When the blocks are put away, then you can paint" is more effective than telling your children "no painting." Plus, they will be held accountable for their cleaning before moving on to the next activity.

This course also ends with a short exam. 

FREE Growth Mindset Posters!

I had so much fun making these posters that I had to make two sets! They print out perfectly on 12x18 paper, but you can also resize it to anything smaller that you'd like!


This file has both sets of posters, so you can just print whichever ones you like!
CLICK HERE to grab a copy!


I am always happy to recommend ChildCare Education Institute for any early childhood professional development needs you have! I have been absolutely happy with every course I've taken with them, including the growth mindset and ADHD courses I've shared!


Happy Educating,
Carla

This article is sponsored by ChildCare Education Institute. All opinions are mine--you know I only recommend products and companies I love!




Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze!
This awesome book introduces the rock cycle with dinosaurs, volcanoes, and more!
(hint: You can buy it on Amazon or use the code Dinosaur25 at OakieBees.com!!)



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