How Should We Protect Children? : Read Along Section Two – What if Everybody Understood Child Development?

Everyone will agree that we want to keep children safe.  Despite all the other things that might divide us, we all want to protect our children.  The trick is in agreeing on HOW we should protect children.

little girls

In Chapter 4 of Rae Pica’s book, What If Everybody Understood Child Development?: Straight Talk About Bettering Education and Children’s Lives (*affiliate link), she examines the swing in opinions of how children should be protected and what responsibilities the adults in their lives have.  This swing has led to them being referred to as “The Bubble Wrap Generation”, as cited in the book.

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The Powerful Purpose Behind Playing Pretend

One of my favorite moments during my last Powerful Play workshop was talking with the table of teachers who were doing their in-depth study on dramatic play.  With wide eyes and excited tones they made connections between the play they saw in the classroom and the developmental benefits of playing pretend.

“Susie” played hospital for weeks after her brother was born.  “Bobby” had themes of death woven through his play for a month after going to his grandfather’s funeral.  “Lisa and Lori” spent most of their dress up time negotiating themes and characters.  And the concept that pretending is actually part of  building the foundation for reading — that one sparked a major a-ha moment.

Seeing how excited they became as they unpacked all of this, reminded me of why I love what I do.  And made me want to give the same experience to you.  So here’s a repost from the archives, originally posted in 2010.  A primer on the purpose of playing pretend.

Share your observations of powerful play in the comments!
Many parents have come to their child’s preschool teacher with the same concern.  “It seems like my child plays dress-up all day at preschool.  What could he possibly be learning from that?”  The question is understandable – what does he learn from leaping around with his cape fluttering behind him?  And yet, the question is somewhat ironic, as these very parents likely spent much of their childhood engaged in the same kind of play. Continue reading


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Teaching Children the Way They’re Meant to Learn: Read Along Section One –What if Everybody Understood Child Development?


“Developmentally Appropriate Practice”

Bring that term up in a room full of early childhood educators, and you’d better get comfy.  They’ll have a lot to say on the matter.  But bring that term up with just about anyone who is NOT an early childhood professional, and you may get blank stares.  It’s a mouthful.  I’m guessing most of your average citizens couldn’t tell you what it means.

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Weekend Reads 1.16.16

Brave - Brene

I loved this quote from Brené Brown, I found in her latest book,Rising Strong (affiliate link).  There are a million amazing take-aways and quotes in this book, but this one struck me as I thought about the importance of that small, safe place for our children as they grow, fall, and rise strong.  Check out this great read! Continue reading


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A Tale of Two Studies: What We Know About Children and What We Do


In 2005, Dr. Walter Gilliam, a researcher from Yale University, released a study examining the expulsion rates of preschoolers.  That’s right — expulsion.  As in kicked out.  Dr. Gilliam found that in his large, nationally representative sample of prekindergarten programs, preschoolers were being expelled at THREE TIMES the rate of students in grades K-12.

Are preschoolers really three times as difficult as their older counterparts?

I don’t think so.

There are many factors that contribute to this elevated rate of expulsions.  Gilliam outlined several in a presentation he made at an NAEYC conference in 2009.  All deserve our consideration as we create quality early childhood programs, but two in particular catch my attention. Continue reading



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First Friday Q&A: How Do You Help Teachers Understand DAP?

I received a fantastic question for First Friday Q&A:

I was reading your article on DAP and was impressed. I am running a preschool in Mumbai, India and would like to conduct a workshop for my teachers on DAP . I would like to understand how I can help teachers understand what is DAP and what that means in their classrooms.

I love speaking on this topic — but that’s part of the problem.  I talk about this for an hour and just cover some of the basics.  So what I do I say with just a few minutes?  Here’s where I’d start:

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Join the Read Along: What if Everybody Understood Child Development?

When I first read Rae Pica’s piece, What if Everybody Understood Child Development?, as it was shared in the Huffington Post a few years ago, I wanted to hold up a printed copy and shout from my rooftop:  “THIS!  THIS is what needs to change!”

And now, there is a printed copy.  Along with 28 similar essays.  And so, here I am on my social media rooftop, sharing it with all of you.

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The Best of 2015 and Exciting News for 2016!


Another year is getting ready to close.  It must be true that the older you get, the faster the years go by.  This past one is almost a blur.  (I suppose that could also be due to the sleep deprivation that accompanied this year’s “adventures”.)

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