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

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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!

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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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Science Time for Curious Kids

Household Acids

In our school district, there’s a late start day each week to allow for teacher prep.  If I’m on my mommy A-game, I like to use this little extra bubble of time to do some hands-on science activities with my boys.  This morning, as I urged my boys to step away from their exploration of household acids and pack up for the day, I jokingly said, “Enough science boys.  It’s time to go to school.”

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Book Plus! Book-Based Gifts for Kids (of All Ages)

Books Plus 2014

Book Plus.  It’s my favorite formula for gift giving.  Find a stellar book, add another meaningful item and you have a winning combination.

Books have always felt so powerful to me.  They awakens something in children.  In all of us.  And when you take that enthusiasm and extend it with another experience, you expand the magic as well!

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Holidays, Cultural Sensitivity, and a Chance to Fall on My Face

They say you should do something that scares you every now and then.  Something outside of your comfort zone.

I was so there this past week.

I was invited to be on a discussion panel for Rae Pica’s BAM! Radio show, Studentcentricity.  I was surprised and flattered to be invited, but radio is a new medium for me.

It scared me a little.

Then I found out the topic: Cultural Sensitivity During the Holidays.  A topic that is so important, but also a potential minefield of controversy.  Since I tend to prefer the sweet spot between extreme opinions on most issues, that essentially means I have plenty of opportunities to offend everyone equally.  Throw in the fact that I could very easily misspeak in my effort to be concise for this fast-moving format, and I was sweating bullets. Continue reading

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Flexibility and Consistency: Why I’m OK with “Sometimes”

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As I sat filling out the teacher information sheet for the specialist, I struggled for precise words to describe what the challenge was.  His parents were looking for help, and I was suppose to offer a teacher’s perspective, but how could I put it all on two tiny lines?  And then the word I was looking for popped into my mind.  He struggled with flexibility.  His mind was often rigid, and when experience didn’t match up with expectation, he melted down and could not be moved from his position.

I’m sure there are many ways this strong personality will help him in his future.  While this rigidity may be a challenge at times, it also helps when pursuing goals and overcoming obstacles.  I’ve seen some of the same qualities in one of my own boys.  I’ve even seen it in myself.

But my rigid thinking threatened my life. Continue reading

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