A Mission for Co-creating Environments through Educator Empowerment

A Mission for Co-creating Environments through Educator Empowerment

Squeals of laughter sneak into a hallway lined with pictures and stories of that month’s learning.

The images portray the children enthralled in investigation; balancing blocks that test the edges of physics, creating art that is filled with colorful emotion, using magnifying glasses to discover magic that the untrained eye cannot see. It’s a beautiful collection of moments, memories and learning through play.

 

But it’s not the whole story. 

Early learning changes have created a new issue in early childhood education classrooms. We need to support the empowerment of the educator to ensure the success and growth of the child for they are working in the environment together. Click here to read more.  #teacher #parent #ece   #curriculum  #toddler #preschooler #school #stress #booksbeesandabcs
Early learning changes have created a new issue in early childhood education classrooms. We need to support the empowerment of the educator to ensure the success and growth of the child for they are working in the environment together. Click here to read more.  #teacher #parent #ece   #curriculum  #toddler #preschooler #school #stress #booksbeesandabcs

Early childhood education is in the midst of a dramatic change.

While we bring awareness to philosophies that have long been used in other parts of the world, we now feel pressures as educators to apply these methods in our learning spaces, while meeting the needs of families and decision makers who came through a very different system; one viewed as more formal and valued learning.

These two worlds hold unique expectations.

One trusts that the learning can be found through the play; the moments between wiped noses and tied shoes, through conversations while boo-boos are healed with hugs. The value and benefit of learning through play cannot be denied when you watch a child fully engaged in the game, in the exploration and the lifelong lessons that unfold.

The other expects that the learning is constructed, created and commits to promised outcomes in small chunks of time, sitting crossed legged and quiet. In a system where the belief is still held that all children grouped by age will learn the same way, hearing and repeating what is told to them.

These two worlds pull on the heart of the educator.

 

Working to create wonder-filled environments (more on that here) where our youngest learners are invited to experience hands-on, real-time, supported learning, educators feel the obligation to take notes rather than take part.

The challenges of working in early childhood education are too vast to name in full.

Each child in the care of an educator comes with different needs (more on inclusion here), different stories and will take different journeys in their learning. Educators take on an amazing role of getting to know who these incredible beings will be, can be, and already are. They create spaces for safety and love while allowing risk-taking and trust in the “getting back up again” – all done moment to moment through the connection of educator and child.

Each day, while a child walks into their classroom, there is a wealth of unspoken expectation. Welcomed with a smile and open arms, children feel safe and understood, parents feel at ease knowing this person will love their child while they are away, administrators feel pride knowing the care and attention that will be paid to each little being in the room.

But something else is felt. In a space where we know, armed with research and models across the globe, that learning through play leads to meaningful discovery, social-emotional development, cognitive enrichment, and growth, we still ask that the educator prove and justify what was learned, accomplished and taught each day.

Educators are taking a lead in supporting and enriching who our future community members will become, in partnership with the families from which they come. I believe it our responsibility to give back to these educators, something they’ve long deserved. Trust.

By empowering early childhood educators with trust, we are communicating a bigger message. With trust comes space to learn as professionals, connect with other educators and share that learning with our communities. By opening up the conversation, involving all the members of a child’s world, holding educators up as leaders and experts in the field of early childhood development, we allow these wonder-filled environments to be spaces of true learning, involvement, co-creation and empowerment of everyone involved.

 

It’s time for another picture to join those on the wall. Empowered educators in wonder-filled environments inspire something magical in our children and the greater community.

Something we can all see for years to come.

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Empowered Educators empower children! Early learning changes have created a new issue in early childhood education classrooms. We need to support the empowerment of the educator to ensure the success and growth of the child for they are working in the environment together. Click here to read more.  #teacher #parent #ece   #curriculum  #toddler #preschooler #school #stress #booksbeesandabcs

Learning Environments for Everyone

Creating learning environments that meet everyone's needs.   This morning I attended a presentation with the hilarious and engaging Marc Battle. Marc is a passionate educator who knows and understands the value and importance of the environment in which children play...

read more

Self love and confidence through SONG: Lindsay Müller

Lindsay Müller is a creating Mindful Music for Children and Other Humans - She shared her story here: Three years ago, I was a stressed out mom of two energetic toddlers. I felt like most of the words that came out of my mouth were:    "Be careful!"  "Don't do that!" ...

read more

The Never Ending Story…

Social Skills from Storytelling I love my job. I genuinely love what I do. I get to work with educators who are changing lives every day. I get to watch the magic happen in between wiped noses and zipped zippers. That magic spot where a child feels fully heard and...

read more

What is a wonder-filled environment?

Why do we need to have this conversation? What is the importance of a wonder-filled environment?!  Watch this incredible video from Education Inspire Change - where they so creatively depict a problem that I believe we are facing.There are so many beautiful...

read more

What is a Beautiful Things Box?

WHAT IS A BEAUTIFUL THINGS BOX? I've had quite a few readers reach out - asking about something I mention quite often.  I walk you through a Beautiful Things Box that we are currently using and what we have inside - to learn more about why I love these and why they...

read more
Learning Environments for Everyone

Learning Environments for Everyone

Creating learning environments that meet everyone’s needs.

 

This morning I attended a presentation with the hilarious and engaging Marc Battle. Marc is a passionate educator who knows and understands the value and importance of the environment in which children play (more about that here).

For Marc, that means blending in his passion for the arts, more specifically music, and the beautiful connection that can be found from the power of song (click here for a beautiful example of learning positive affirmations through song).

What struck me most was Marc’s view on emergent curriculum; building on the interests of the children in our care, co-creating the environments where the children are ignited and filled with wonder (learn more here).

This is not a new theory. It’s a widely believed and supported theory.

But how does that apply to children who have special needs?

How does it apply to those who may not be able to voice their interests in the same way as the other children in a group do?

How do we create emergent curriculum and co-create environments for the children who have unrecognized abilities?

*This post contains affiliate links which if used cost you nothing extra, but a small percentage comes back to me to support more learning! You’re welcome to check out my privacy policy or reach out to me directly with questions anytime!*

When we consider the learning through play that is critical in the successful skill development of the children in our care, how does this apply to those children with disabilities and special needs? Click here to read about how changing perspective can create environments for everyone.  #teacher #parent #ece #educator #emergent #curriculum  #toddler #preschooler #early #childhood #education #booksbeesandabcs
When we consider the learning through play that is critical in the successful skill development of the children in our care, how does this apply to those children with disabilities and special needs? Click here to read about how changing perspective can create environments for everyone.  #teacher #parent #ece #educator #emergent #curriculum  #toddler #preschooler #early #childhood #education #booksbeesandabcs

Unrecognized abilities. What a beautiful term (coined by Shafik Asante, shared by Marc).

I had never heard this term used in this way before and it struck me whole-heartedly.

When we have children in our care that have disabilities, visible or not, we work to support their inclusion into a group. And this, under these terms, is not very inclusive at all.

Looking at unrecognized abilities allows us to put the focus on the work we do as parents and educators, to find what makes this child special, what voice they have, the passions that ignite them in a way that works for them, what strengths they have to share with us.

This is a very different view from the traditional where we have been looking at it as the child’s disability as the barrier for inclusion.

With this view we are stating that it is all the things they cannot do that removes them from the group.

The barrier here is really our mindset.

Marc gave an example about how we feel we need to invite, accept and welcome everyone INTO a group and how flawed this view is. Turning this view around completely, realizing that we are all already in the group, and that is our job to ensure that no one is EXCLUDED from it.

This reshapes that initial thought of environments that allow everyone, including children with unrecognized abilities to be an active part of the community of little ones in your care.

By removing the barriers that exclude them, viewing these children as ALREADY part of the group, and finding the parts of us all that are common, we are changing our perception on what needs to be done.

This term has really opened my eyes to a new definition of community – one where everyone’s gifts are celebrated, where we can change how we look at our environment and adjust it to the needs of everyone in the room; where are all filled with wonder.

I would love to hear about your experience in co-creating environments for the children in your care – comment below or reach out to me directly here.

Learning Environments for Everyone

Creating learning environments that meet everyone's needs.   This morning I attended a presentation with the hilarious and engaging Marc Battle. Marc is a passionate educator who knows and understands the value and importance of the environment in which children play...

read more

Self love and confidence through SONG: Lindsay Müller

Lindsay Müller is a creating Mindful Music for Children and Other Humans - She shared her story here: Three years ago, I was a stressed out mom of two energetic toddlers. I felt like most of the words that came out of my mouth were:    "Be careful!"  "Don't do that!" ...

read more

The Never Ending Story…

Social Skills from Storytelling I love my job. I genuinely love what I do. I get to work with educators who are changing lives every day. I get to watch the magic happen in between wiped noses and zipped zippers. That magic spot where a child feels fully heard and...

read more

What is a wonder-filled environment?

Why do we need to have this conversation? What is the importance of a wonder-filled environment?!  Watch this incredible video from Education Inspire Change - where they so creatively depict a problem that I believe we are facing.There are so many beautiful...

read more

What is a Beautiful Things Box?

WHAT IS A BEAUTIFUL THINGS BOX? I've had quite a few readers reach out - asking about something I mention quite often.  I walk you through a Beautiful Things Box that we are currently using and what we have inside - to learn more about why I love these and why they...

read more
Self love and confidence through SONG: Lindsay Müller

Self love and confidence through SONG: Lindsay Müller

Lindsay Müller is a creating Mindful Music for Children and Other Humans – She shared her story here:

Three years ago, I was a stressed out mom of two energetic toddlers.
I felt like most of the words that came out of my mouth were: 
 
“Be careful!” 
“Don’t do that!” 
“Be gentle with your brother!”
 
Deep down, I wanted to speak positive, loving words to my boys because what we say to our children is POWERFUL.

Our words become their inner voice!

But I was so busy and frustrated with the demands of my little boys that I often forgot.
What we say to children becomes their inner voice. Check out this post where we share a beautiful song that inspires confidence and self love through affirmations that are meaningful for children of all ages as well as the adults who love them. #toddler #infant #preschool #school

Affirmations for Children & Those Who Adore Them

At the same time, I was learning about SELF LOVE and POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS. As I spoke affirmations to myself I noticed a huge shift. I became so much happier, more confident and less stressed. I wanted to make sure my kids heard these affirmations from a young age because I knew they would believe them easily, and hopefully keep them tucked in their hearts for the rest of their lives.

So I came up with a list of positive affirmations from A-Z, starting with “You are Amazing” for the letter A. I’d whisper this list each night as I tucked them into bed, and eventually it developed into the song that has become my main message as a parent, musician and human: that every single one of us is AMAZING; that we are all loved, unique, and valuable.

 
I didn’t want this message to be solely for the kids, so eventually, a second verse developed. I wanted my boys to know that I believed in these affirmations as well. This time I turned the words around: “You Are Amazing” became “I Am Amazing.” It turned into my personal anthem and boosted my self-confidence and self-love even further.
 
Without further ado, here is the song and the lyrics can be found below. I hope they will serve as a tool to help instill self-love and confidence in your children’s hearts – and in yours as well.

Lyrics that Empower Children and Support Confidence

Verse 1: 

You are amazing, and I believe in you,  
You’re beautiful inside and out 
You are capable of anything you wanna do,   
And you’re doing a great job 

You are excellent, 
and I have faith in you, 
you have great ideas 
And I’m so happy that you’re in my life 

You are important, intelligent, 
You are filled with joy 
You are kind, you are loved, 
you’re allowed to make mistakes 
You’re never alone, and it’s okay to be sad, to be mad, to be scared 

You are precious, and I’m so proud of you, 
We are all equal 
You radiate love and joy, 
You’re special and you’re safe 
I trust in you, for you are unique, valuable, wonderful 

I’m so excited to get to know you.  
Love yourself, be yourself and 
go crazy once in awhile

I love you in the good, I love you in the bad, 
When you’re happy, and when you’re sad 
I will love you, I will love you, always! 

 
Verse 2:

I am amazing, I believe in myself,  
I am beautiful inside and out
I am capable of anything I wanna do,  
And I’m doing a great job

I am excellent, and I have faith in me, 
I have great ideas
And I’m so happy that I am alive

I am important, intelligent, 
I am filled with joy
I am kind, I am loved, 
I’m allowed to make mistakes 
I am never alone, 
and it’s okay to be sad, to be mad, to be scared  

I am precious, and I’m proud of myself, 
We are all equal 
I radiate love and joy, 
I’m special and I’m safe 
I trust in myself, 
For I am unique, valuable, and wonderful

I’m so excited to get to know me.  
I will Love myself, be myself and I’ll go crazy once in awhile.

I love me in the good, I love me in the bad, 
When I’m happy, and when I’m sad 
I will love me, and I will love you always

Article written and shared by Lindsay Müller

Article written and shared by Lindsay Müller

Mindful Music for Children and Other Humans

Lindsay is a passionate mother and musician, sharing her voice with those of us looking to empower our children. 

Little Bee and I have been listening to Lindsay’s music and have fallen in love with the message. Nothing is more heartwarming than to hear my daughter ask for the “Amazing Song.” 

Thank you for all you do for the world, Lindsay!

~Jessica & Little Bee

Learning Environments for Everyone

Creating learning environments that meet everyone's needs.   This morning I attended a presentation with the hilarious and engaging Marc Battle. Marc is a passionate educator who knows and understands the value and importance of the environment in which children play...

read more

Self love and confidence through SONG: Lindsay Müller

Lindsay Müller is a creating Mindful Music for Children and Other Humans - She shared her story here: Three years ago, I was a stressed out mom of two energetic toddlers. I felt like most of the words that came out of my mouth were:    "Be careful!"  "Don't do that!" ...

read more

The Never Ending Story…

Social Skills from Storytelling I love my job. I genuinely love what I do. I get to work with educators who are changing lives every day. I get to watch the magic happen in between wiped noses and zipped zippers. That magic spot where a child feels fully heard and...

read more

What is a wonder-filled environment?

Why do we need to have this conversation? What is the importance of a wonder-filled environment?!  Watch this incredible video from Education Inspire Change - where they so creatively depict a problem that I believe we are facing.There are so many beautiful...

read more

What is a Beautiful Things Box?

WHAT IS A BEAUTIFUL THINGS BOX? I've had quite a few readers reach out - asking about something I mention quite often.  I walk you through a Beautiful Things Box that we are currently using and what we have inside - to learn more about why I love these and why they...

read more
30 Tips to Prepare Your Child for a Successful Start to School and ensure the first day back is a great one. #ideas #routine #tradition #howtoget #firstgrade #kindergarten #preschool #anxious #jitters
The Never Ending Story…

The Never Ending Story…

Social Skills from Storytelling

I love my job. I genuinely love what I do.

I get to work with educators who are changing lives every day. I get to watch the magic happen in between wiped noses and zipped zippers. That magic spot where a child feels fully heard and understood, with someone waiting as long as it takes for the story to be told.

Those are hard moments, right? Sometimes that story takes….. aaaaages. That little one looking up to you wants so desperately to tell you something amazing they just saw, something they just thought of, something that happened two weeks ago, something they need. RIGHT NOW! But they don’t always have the words, or the story comes out a little jumbled… 

You know the one?…

The connection between a child and the adult who spends the time to get to know them is like no other. Working out exactly what the littles in our lives are saying sometimes feels like a superpower or an unspoken language. Because that’s exactly what it is.

93% of communication is non-verbal

WAIT. WHAT?! 

Now, I’m no math genius but that means that only 7% of what I’m actually saying is remembered, registered and retained.

Umm…. Then what am I saying all this stuff for?!

Paired with all the words, stories, and songs, are the snuggles, hands to be held, smiles and winks. And those contain the magic of the social-emotional development for the children we love so much.

There are those tiny gestures and expressions that tell us the story where the words haven’t come quite yet. And in those moments, reading those mini messages between the newly forming phrases is an opportunity for empowerment.

It’s incredible.

Although your mind is also moving a mile a minute with #allthethings that need to happen in a day filled with responsibility, know that you taking that moment with a child has given them an opportunity to blossom. It has filled their whole heart and sent signals to their brain like fireworks.

By listening to the story that took forever, you supported the child’s ability to:

  • identify and express emotion
  • identify and express needs and wants
  • regulate emotion
  • follow direction (through the general rules of conversation – you talk, I listen. I talk, you listen; taking turns, creating community)
  • focus and sustain attention

Take a quick scan over that list again because guess what? 

These are the skills we need to be successful in school, in relationships, in work, in adulthood. 

Yup. You are setting the stage for amazing things in this child’s future by hearing that story for the hundredth time.

You have set the foundation for the next story, the next moment when things feel a little bit hard and heavy, the next time they need support to work out what is going on around them, learning how to share what they want to say.

You are creating those wonder-filled environments (hear more on that here with a quick video) that are allowing that child to flourish.

So, that story that took forever, that took all sorts of twists and turns, that was almost the exact story you heard yesterday, and all the days before that… was a window of wonder.

Your job is hard. It takes incredible patience to do this, and the million other things required in a day. But in those mini-moments, you are empowering a child with the skills they need for the rest of their life.

I love my job. It’s hard. It’s exhausting. AND I get to have moments like this one. I get to watch someone like you having a moment like this one when I step into a daycare and watch it all unfold.

You empowered a child today. Who knows what they will do tomorrow.

Thank you for all you do.

I’d love to hear about your day, what you are wondering about and how I can help.

Let’s chat. Pop a comment in the box below – or over here on the contact me page.

Talk soon,

Jessica

Children so desperately want to tell you something amazing they just saw, but they don’t always have the words, or the story comes out a little jumbled… and you also have a million other things to do. Click here to read about the development that comes from listening to this story, empowering this child and setting them up for the future.  #teacher #parent #ece #educator  #lifeskills #socialskills #emotionalskills #story #toddler #preschooler #infant

Learning Environments for Everyone

Creating learning environments that meet everyone's needs.   This morning I attended a presentation with the hilarious and engaging Marc Battle. Marc is a passionate educator who knows and understands the value and importance of the environment in which children play...

read more

Self love and confidence through SONG: Lindsay Müller

Lindsay Müller is a creating Mindful Music for Children and Other Humans - She shared her story here: Three years ago, I was a stressed out mom of two energetic toddlers. I felt like most of the words that came out of my mouth were:    "Be careful!"  "Don't do that!" ...

read more

The Never Ending Story…

Social Skills from Storytelling I love my job. I genuinely love what I do. I get to work with educators who are changing lives every day. I get to watch the magic happen in between wiped noses and zipped zippers. That magic spot where a child feels fully heard and...

read more

What is a wonder-filled environment?

Why do we need to have this conversation? What is the importance of a wonder-filled environment?!  Watch this incredible video from Education Inspire Change - where they so creatively depict a problem that I believe we are facing.There are so many beautiful...

read more

What is a Beautiful Things Box?

WHAT IS A BEAUTIFUL THINGS BOX? I've had quite a few readers reach out - asking about something I mention quite often.  I walk you through a Beautiful Things Box that we are currently using and what we have inside - to learn more about why I love these and why they...

read more
What is a wonder-filled environment?

What is a wonder-filled environment?

Why do we need to have this conversation? What is the importance of a wonder-filled environment?! 

Watch this incredible video from Education Inspire Change – where they so creatively depict a problem that I believe we are facing.

There are so many beautiful philosophies when it comes to supporting how you approach early childhood education.

 

From Montessori to Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, Forest Schools, Child-Led, Theme Based Education, Play Based, Child-Centered, Curriculum Guided… the list could get very long.

 

Something that most, if not all of these educational foundations have in common is the value placed on the environment where the learning occurs: be it outside in nature or inside a beautifully and thoughtfully created space –  or a combination of the two. There is a research-based belief that the space in which the learning occurs has an incredible impact on each child’s experience.

I love the idea of a “wonder-filled environment”, a phrase I first heard from Sally of Fairy Dust Teaching.

 

But what exactly is a wonder-filled learning environment?

I think if you asked a fellow educator, a home schooling parent, or a mother with little ones at home, you would come to find an incredible collection of answers. Check out this video to hear what I feel a wonder filled environment is.

What does “Wonder-Filled Environment” mean to you when it comes to early learning?! Share with your comments below or reach out to me directly!

 

Learning Environments for Everyone

Creating learning environments that meet everyone's needs.   This morning I attended a presentation with the hilarious and engaging Marc Battle. Marc is a passionate educator who knows and understands the value and importance of the environment in which children play...

read more

Self love and confidence through SONG: Lindsay Müller

Lindsay Müller is a creating Mindful Music for Children and Other Humans - She shared her story here: Three years ago, I was a stressed out mom of two energetic toddlers. I felt like most of the words that came out of my mouth were:    "Be careful!"  "Don't do that!" ...

read more

The Never Ending Story…

Social Skills from Storytelling I love my job. I genuinely love what I do. I get to work with educators who are changing lives every day. I get to watch the magic happen in between wiped noses and zipped zippers. That magic spot where a child feels fully heard and...

read more

What is a wonder-filled environment?

Why do we need to have this conversation? What is the importance of a wonder-filled environment?!  Watch this incredible video from Education Inspire Change - where they so creatively depict a problem that I believe we are facing.There are so many beautiful...

read more

What is a Beautiful Things Box?

WHAT IS A BEAUTIFUL THINGS BOX? I've had quite a few readers reach out - asking about something I mention quite often.  I walk you through a Beautiful Things Box that we are currently using and what we have inside - to learn more about why I love these and why they...

read more
30 Tips to Prepare Your Child for a Successful Start to School and ensure the first day back is a great one. #ideas #routine #tradition #howtoget #firstgrade #kindergarten #preschool #anxious #jitters
What is a Beautiful Things Box?

What is a Beautiful Things Box?

WHAT IS A BEAUTIFUL THINGS BOX?

I’ve had quite a few readers reach out – asking about something I mention quite often. 

I walk you through a Beautiful Things Box that we are currently using and what we have inside – to learn more about why I love these and why they are important to development read the post where I first mentioned this resource (Benefits of Sensory Play and Plenty of Ideas for Enriching It!)

In early childhood education educators have the ability to create an environment that inspires creativity and excitement within the children in their care - be it for arts and crafts activity ideas or sensory activities, loose parts play, the spark can come from an easily accessible box of beautiful things. click here for a video #preschool #toddler #infant #daycare #childcare

Check out these other posts with connections to the Beautiful Things Box!

In early childhood education educators have the ability to create an environment that inspires creativity and excitement within the children in their care - be it for arts and crafts activity ideas or sensory activities, loose parts play, the spark can come from an easily accessible box of beautiful things. click here for a video #preschool #toddler #infant #daycare #childcare

Learning Environments for Everyone

Creating learning environments that meet everyone's needs.   This morning I attended a presentation with the hilarious and engaging Marc Battle. Marc is a passionate educator who knows and understands the value and importance of the environment in which children play...

read more

Self love and confidence through SONG: Lindsay Müller

Lindsay Müller is a creating Mindful Music for Children and Other Humans - She shared her story here: Three years ago, I was a stressed out mom of two energetic toddlers. I felt like most of the words that came out of my mouth were:    "Be careful!"  "Don't do that!" ...

read more

The Never Ending Story…

Social Skills from Storytelling I love my job. I genuinely love what I do. I get to work with educators who are changing lives every day. I get to watch the magic happen in between wiped noses and zipped zippers. That magic spot where a child feels fully heard and...

read more

What is a wonder-filled environment?

Why do we need to have this conversation? What is the importance of a wonder-filled environment?!  Watch this incredible video from Education Inspire Change - where they so creatively depict a problem that I believe we are facing.There are so many beautiful...

read more

What is a Beautiful Things Box?

WHAT IS A BEAUTIFUL THINGS BOX? I've had quite a few readers reach out - asking about something I mention quite often.  I walk you through a Beautiful Things Box that we are currently using and what we have inside - to learn more about why I love these and why they...

read more
learning through play every day books bees and abcs toddler preschooler learning activities

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