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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

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Brain, Learning, Child Development & Courses from ChildCare Education Institute

National Child Care Provider Day is coming up, so I am excited to share my favorite online training for providers with you! They are perfect for preschool teachers, daycare providers, and even parents who  sometimes wish early childhood came with a training manual!

ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI) provides high-quality, online training courses and programs for anyone who works with young children. They have certification programs that provide coursework for national credentials like CDA and over 150 courses in English and Spanish that cover a huge variety of topics, including the three I'm featuring today! 

More than 35,000 early childhood professionals have graduated from their CDA and other certificate programs and 99% of their students say they would recommend CCEI to others. 

I have taken eight of their courses now, and I can absolutely say I highly recommend them! Here are a few of my favorite things about their courses:

** ChildCare Education Institute courses are available online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! They are web-based and accessible on any device! It is super user-friendly! It makes getting professional development so convenient! 

** ChildCare Education Institute is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET)

** ChildCare Education Institute courses are full of practical, useful information! I have loved taking their courses--they always include practical, hands-on ideas and relevant research!

Today I want to introduce three of their courses to you that I recently took:

  1. CCEI 810: Brain Development and Learning: What Every Early Care and Education Professional Should Know
  2. CHD 110: Birth to Five: Child Development in Young Children
  3. ADM 102: Family Child Care Basics

1. CCEI 810: Brain Development and Learning: What Every Early Care and Education Professional Should Know

This course was absolutely delightful! The biology teacher and mom in me found everything in it so fascinating and useful!

The course teaches the most basic parts and developmental processes in the human brain, and then goes over the teaching practices and strategies that child care providers should know to help young children develop to their full potential!

Like all the courses I've taken with CCEI, the information is presented in slides (like the one above) that are interspersed with one multiple choice quiz questions to make sure you are retaining some of the most important information. There are also reflective questions and interactive activities, like the drag and drop activity directly below:

The course provides a nice overview of why parents and educators should invest time in learning about brain development, and includes basic facts about young children's brains like how stress and play affect brain development. It looks at potential developmental delays and includes practical strategies, activities, and games to promote healthy brain development!

It's a relatively quick course (only 1 credit hour) and, like all courses, ends with a short exam. This one had 11 multiple choice questions. After you pass the exam, you can download a certificate showing your course completion:

2. CHD 110: Birth to Five: Child Development in Young Children

This course was more in depth (3 hours), and covered detailed information about how young children (birth - 5 years old) develop physically, cognitively, socially, and emotionally!

There was SO much great information in this course! There were a lot of times that I found myself thinking this and the brain development course should be recommended for all new parents! Yes, child-care providers need this information to provide effective child care, but all parents could really benefit from it too!

Here are a few highlights that I enjoyed:

** Detailed descriptions of how vision and depth perception changes from newborns to five-year olds!
** Detailed descriptions of sleep needs and how they change.
** Fine motor and gross motor skill development progression and ways you can encourage that development!
** Detailed discussions of different aspects of cognitive development, including concrete v. abstract thought, separation anxiety (and tips to dealing with it), common fears, and even behavior issues like biting and tantrums!

** Different types of play for different ages, benefits, and practical ideas!
** Psychosocial and emotional development, and practical ways to encourage each stage!

** Detailed discussions on emotional skills and emotional labeling.
This course ends with a 30-question multiple choice exam. 

3.  ADM 102: Family Child Care Basics

Family Child Care Basics provides a broad overview of what is involved in running a home-daycare. It is a 3-hour course that would be very helpful for anyone considering starting their own daycare at home. As I went through this course, there were many times when I thought back to my years as an in-home daycare provider, and I thought this would have been great information to have had as an introduction to the process!

This course included SO much!! Here are a few highlights:

** An introduction to the logistics of in-home daycare!
** Health and safety considerations.
** Paperwork suggestions.
** Child development, language acquisition, early math, and curriculum!
** Educational issues for young children, and practical ideas for encouraging growth!
** Developmentally appropriate practices for a range of activities!
** Links to professional organizations and quite a few additional resources for different help you might need!
** Suggestions for dealing with behavior!
** Tips for first aid, vacations, and so much more!

This course ends with a 25-question exam. 

ChildCare Education Institute

These three courses were awesome, and ChildCare Education Institute has over a hundred others! They are applicable for those who work in a variety of child-care settings, including daycare, family child care, pre-kindergarten classrooms, after-school care, Head Start, and more! There really is something for everyone!

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

Happy Educating,

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, May 6, 2022

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{FREE Preschool Printable} Roll a Bug Game!!

This fun printable Roll a Bug game is perfect for ladybug-loving preschoolers who are learning to recognize colors, match, and count!

This game works for two or more players! There are four "jars" (gameboards) in the file, so if you have more than four players, print additional sets!

To play, you just take turns rolling the dice and filling up your jar! There is one die showing the color of ladybug and one die showing how many ladybugs you get to put in your jar on your turn!

My kids have learned all sorts of things through games! This particular game strengthens the following skills:

** counting
** subitizing
** color recognition
** concept of one-to-one correspondence (important for reading!)
** taking turns
** sportsmanship skills (I encourage younger players to keep playing until everyone wins!)

I'd love to see you playing! Feel free to tag me on Instagram at @Carla.Mae.Jansen or Facebook at @PreschoolPowolPackets ! 

Happy Educating,

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, April 15, 2022

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2021 Best Picture Books for Preschoolers Awards

Welcome to the 2021 Best Picture Books for Preschoolers Awards!

I started this award last year, and am now delighted to share the best books for preschoolers (two-six year old children) published in 2021!

We have had books nominated by dozens of publishers, authors, teachers, and parents! I have literally read hundreds of books in preparing this list! Narrowing it down to only 21 winners was extraordinarily difficult! There are many other good books, but I truly believe every preschooler should be exposed to these books!

These award winners were judged on the following criteria:
1- Does this book add significant value to the literature available for preschoolers?
2- Do preschoolers enjoy having someone read this book to them?
3- Do adults enjoy reading these books and/or see value in reading them to children?
4- Was this book published between October 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021?

Obviously awards have a subjective nature to them, and as the host of the award, I retain the final verdict in choosing each title. I hope you enjoy the winners!

A quick note from your sponsor: These awards are brought to you by Preschool Powol Packets (your host here!), and Turtle Trails Publishing! Turtle Trails Publishing released three paperback books last year (Ten Very Merry Yetis, Who Needs a Volcano?, and When Will Cicada Sing?), but they were not included in the contest because we don't want to create a conflict of interest!

And now, on to the awards! I have divided the winning books into eight categories: Most Important, Laugh Out Loud Fun, Inspiration, Emotions & Social Skills, Disability Awareness, Nonfiction, For New Readers, and Great Explanations:

The MOST IMPORTANT picture books from 2021 focus on personal strength and the power we each have for good:

Change Sings by Amanda Gorman encourages us to be the change we need in the world. I love this quote from the author: "My hope was to craft a poem that would take young readers on a journey of self-discovery and ultimately empower them to see how they could become change-makers..."

The Tree in Me by Corinna Luyken reminds us that we all have strength and potential that we sometimes forget.

Apple's Big Dream by Jessica Collaco is a poignant reminder that sometimes disappointment can lead to happiness, and if we can allow our plans to change, sometimes they turn out even better than we expect!

LAUGH OUT LOUD FUN books are especially delightful to read and reread, for both children and adults:

A Pizza With Everything On It by Kyle Scheele explores what happens when you want everything on the pizza! I especially love the space tie-ins!

The Leaf Thief by Alice Hemming follows a paranoid squirrel that thinks someone is stealing his leaves! I especially like the seasons and science connections!

These INSPIRATION books inspire our world-views and encourage us tor reach higher:

Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Pena reminds us that we can't judge others while encouraging our own creative outlook.

Born to Stand Out by Nikki Rogers is a creative and adorable reminder that the world needs all of our unique preferences! My kids especially loved matching up each species of chameleon that was represented in the story with its picture in the backmatter pages, and "finding" the main character throughout the book!

The EMOTIONS & SOCIAL SKILLS books use fantastic and simple stories to address feelings that are common in preschoolers:

Big Feelings by Alexandra Penfold looks at disappointment, excitement, sharing, and problem-solving all in the context of a creative playground creation!

Jenny Mei is Sad by Tracy Subisak is a gentle reminder that we don't always know how others are feeling. Children who have experienced great sadness might still show up and smile sometimes, and we need to remember to be kind to everyone.

Gilly Ghost Loves Scaring the Most by Heather Robyn teaches kids about boundaries (both respecting others and insisting that others respect yours) with a hilarious and adorable ghost story. My preschoolers found cute little Gilly so adorable that we "had" to re-read the book several times, which of course emphasized the very important lesson (without feeling "preachy") as well! 

These DISABILITY AWARENESS books are each wonderful stories that can serve as a springboard for much bigger topics:

What Happened to You? by James Catchpole shows kids how children with those disabilities should be recognized for themselves, and not any disabilities they might have. Backmatter even includes suggestions on how to talk to your kids about children with visible disabilities and what kinds of questions they might be tired of hearing.

This Kid Can Hyperfocus by Patty DeDurr is all about determination and friendship, but the subtle challenges and strengths that can come with ADHD ride just below the surface throughout the entire story. My preschoolers love this kid, and the story emphasizes some important aspects of ADHD that I shared with my older kids as well.

Mighty Mila by Katie Petruzziello is a story about Mila wanting to do everything by herself, a struggle every preschooler can relate to! It just happens that Mila also has cochlear implants, which creates a great springboard for discussions with your children, ranging from the science behind hearing loss to how much children have in common (whether or not they have visible disabilities). 

These NONFICTION books include history, counting, and hidden pictures:

Try It!: How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat by Mara Rockliff includes a history lesson about our grocery stores while encouraging preschoolers to try new foods!

Ten Little Sandpipers by Kim Ann is a counting book for young children. One of my preschoolers kept this book within arm's reach for about three weeks, and we read it several times a day! They love the adorable sandpipers, predictable rhymes, hidden pictures, and counting practice!

There it is! Ahi Esta! A Search & Find Book in English & Spanish by Marta Almansa Esteva features a set of themed "hidden" pictures on every page, with labels in English and Spanish. The hidden pictures are absolutely irresistible, and this book came with us on every car drive for about a month! They are "hidden" just hard enough that young children feel very successful as they find them without assistance, and I appreciate the bilingual aspect of the book as well.


See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog by David LaRochelle could easily fit in the Laugh Out Loud category above -- it is absolutely hilarious! The story proceeds between a narrator who says things like "See the cat." and the main character, a dog, who replies with things like "I am not a cat!" The humor is brilliant! I am putting it in this category, however, because most of the words are decodable, which makes it perfect for kids who are ready to start reading some of the words in their books!

What's an Og? by Mary Barry became another most-requested book the first time we read it. With fun word play and rhymes, the reader is introduced to an "og" -- a creature made from logs, dogs, frogs, and other hilarious combinations of words that end with '-og.'  My preschoolers love when I read it to them, and my beginning reader loved seeing so many words that she could decode as we read.

These GREAT EXPLANATIONS books range from fable to flower anatomy--they all have a very unique way of explaining things:

How the Zebras Lost Their Colors by Janet R. Adams is a modern fable about how the zebras colored the world around while finding their own identity. My preschoolers loved tracking the colors, seeing what changed, and discussing how some animals are colorful and others are black and white.

One Drop, Endless Ripples by Jayshree L. Patel introduces the water cycle with a gentle poem. My preschoolers were entranced by the illustrations, and insisted on finding and counting the "hidden" drops on every page. I also love the unusual approach to the water cycle!

What's Inside a Flower by Rachel Ignotofsky has preschooler-friendly diagrams of flower anatomy, along with wonderful explanations of how plants work! This is a fantastic child-friendly reference book! (Yes, this also fits in the Nonfiction category, but I love its explanations too much to not put it here!)

A Note to Authors & Publishers:

Authors and publishers who were featured are welcome to share this list, link to it, and share the collage images. You are also welcome to use this digital badge for your own promotional purposes:

If you are an author or publisher who would like to have your 2022 books considered for next year's awards, please plan on submitting your book between November 1st, 2022 and February 1st, 2023. You can sign up here to receive an email when submissions open in November.


Happy Educating,

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