I’m Amanda Morgan. I’m a mom. I’m an educator. And I’m the creator of Not Just Cute. I created this site as a resource for parents and teachers of young children, who want to support intentional, whole child development. My readers are passionate about protecting childhood from the too-much, too-soon culture of today, and recognize that childhood is not just cute but also powerful and incredibly important. I work to help my readers make intentional choices about educating and raising children based on solid, research-backed information, well rooted in child development.
At the same time, we keep things real here. Children are human, not factory-built machines. There is no input = output programming system or a nice clean flowchart to follow. If you do “this” you don’t always get “that”. I emphasize that human element right along with the theory. It’s a balance I’m very much familiar with personally.
With a bachelor’s degree in elementary and early childhood education and a master’s degree in human development, I thought I might have an unfair advantage when it came time to raise a family. But the actual work of developing little humans is a challenge no matter how many textbooks you’ve read or how many accolades your professors wrote on your term papers.
My learning didn’t stop when I graduated, and those four boys I’ve been raising with my husband over the past 17 years have taught me a lot about what happens when theory meets up with reality. I share what I learn about that balance here, and with the parents and teachers I work with.
Read more about my background, how NJC came to be, and how it got its name, here.
I’d love to share what I’ve found with you. Here are a few great places to start:
Straight to Your Inbox:
Signing up for the Not Just Cute Newsletter is the best way to keep up to date. You’ll get a newsletter every other week(ish) with a little bit about what I’ve been up to on the blog and elsewhere, as well as some of my favorite resources from around the internet.
As soon as you sign up, you’ll get a curated developmental “guidelist” (because I hate the word checklist when it comes to development) outlining typical, healthy, whole child development in the preschool years.
Plus, there’s this cute print. (This is called Not Just Cute, not Never Ever Anything Cute At All.) You’ll get that soon after.
Get both, plus all the goodness of the newsletter and a quick start welcome series right to your inbox.
If you’re new here, you can catch up on some of my best writing (and probably stumble onto some of my worst as well!). I’ve been capturing and sharing my thoughts here on Not Just Cute for about 8 years now, in which time the site has gone through an evolutionary process. Here are a dozen or so of my most popular posts:
On Child Development and Early Childhood Education
- Developmentally Appropriate Practice and Why We Don’t Push Kids Down the Stairs (Series)
- Resources for Defending Childhood
- Why Don’t You Teach Reading? A Look at Emergent Reading (Series)
- A Handful of Fun: Why Preschoolers Need Sensory Play
- The Vital Importance of a Strong Foundation: Why Early Learning Matters
- A Tale of Two Studies: What We Know About Children and What We Do
- A Love Letter to Early Childhood Teachers: You Are SO Valuable
- Why Play Pretend When We’re Trying to Build Readers?
- 6 Ways You’re (Unintentionally) Telling Kids Not to Listen
- 9 Words for Ending Fights Over Toys
- How to Pull it Together When You’re Parenting on Empty
- 3 Principles for Positive Parents
- Noticing the Seeds: A Mantra For Parents Who Feel They Haven’t Accomplished Anything Today
Invite Me to Work with Your Group
I love writing. But the teacher in me still lights up when I get to personally see new understanding spread across someone’s face. Whether it’s an audience member sharing a new realization after a conference keynote address, a room of teachers enthusiastically teaming up during a workshop event, or parents feeling like they’ve finally connected the dots in a parent education class, I thrive on that excitement and passion for knowledge. To learn more about what I can do for your group, check out my Speaking Page.
Help with Positive Child Guidance
As a student studying elementary and early childhood education, and later, child development, I studied theories and methods of positive child guidance. As a teacher, I used them. As a head teacher and trainer, I taught them to other teachers. Then, one day, I was sitting in an office, discussing a child’s challenging behaviors with a school’s director and the child’s parents. I pointed out the positive guidance courses available to the school, professional development that would help the teachers effectively approach this behavior.
Then the parents said something that has motivated me for years since.
“What about us?”
“Where do we go for training?”
As a parent, I realized I was using these same theories and methods in my own home. Because they were founded on solid principles of child development, they weren’t specific to one environment, they were specific to children in all their environments.
So I’ve worked to create resources that share this approach to positive child guidance in several forms. Find the one that will best help you serve the children you love and teach.
Positive Parenting: The Basics
Parenting with Positive Guidance: Tools for Building Discipline from the Inside Out
Parenting with Positive Guidance – The Ecourse
Interested in creating a cohesive approach to positive guidance that spans the home-school gap? Contact me for special group rates for your school that will include access to the ecourse for all parents in your school at a discounted rate, as well as a live, interactive webinar training for your teachers. Email me for an estimate based on your group’s size.
Bookshelf & Read Alongs
I am fascinated and inspired by the work of others as it pertains to children, families, education, and parenting. I share many of those favorite resources here on the blog and then add those recommended books to my bookshelf. I also do the occasional read along, covering the book section by section and often engaging the author for a Q&A or discussion. Some of my favorites have been:
Mind in the Making by Ellen Galinsky
It’s OK NOT to Share by Heather Shumaker
What if Everybody Understood Child Development? by Rae Pica
Keep in Touch
As soon as I hit PUBLISH anything here at Not Just Cute, there’s something new that comes right after it. A new article to share, a new post to write, a new activity to try. Make sure you’re following on your favorite platform and keep in touch.
- Sign up for the Not Just Cute Newsletter (a few newsletter emails a month).
- Be notified by email every time a new post goes up on the blog.
- Follow Not Just Cute on Facebook and Twitter.
I’m Glad You’re Here.
My journey as a professional and as a mother has been surprising, amazing, overwhelming, and wonderful. I’m so grateful to have had a community of friends and readers to learn from and share with along the way. Please share your own experience, perspective, and expertise here on Not Just Cute. We’re in this together. Each in our own sphere and in our own story, but together making a difference for children and for childhood.