A Mission for Change in Early Childhood Education

A Mission for Change in Early Childhood Education

I cannot think of a better time of year to forge forward with change.

As I look outside at my big beautiful oak tree that provides a canopy to the space where my daughter plays, I see TRANSFORMATION before my eyes and it inspires me.

 

I cannot think of a better time of year to forge forward with change. As I look outside at my big beautiful oak tree that provides a canopy to the space where my daughter plays, I see TRANSFORMATION before my eyes and it inspires me.  #earlychildhoodeducation #transformeducation

Learning social-emotional skills early on in life is an important part of our development. These are the skills that support our interactions with those around us while we build long-lasting relationships with friends and loved ones, help us work through the tough times as well as celebrate the good, give us the courage to strive for our goals and the resilience to get there one step at a time. #teacher #parent #ece #educator #lifeskills #socialskills #emotionalskills #books #compassion

Looking at education today

In a space where we are constantly undergoing change to meet the needs of our surroundings, to adjust to the world we live in, we have yet to see a notable change in education.
We continue to educate our children in a way we have been for countless years, despite the fact that the world around us has changed dramatically.
The needs of our children have changed as our primary industries have shifted and the pressures of social media weigh heavily on us, relentlessly.
As with the changes we have seen in the last number of years, so should our approaches to creating enriching environments that allow our children to flourish.

 

Work with Jessica

I cannot think of a better time of year to forge forward with change. As I look outside at my big beautiful oak tree that provides a canopy to the space where my daughter plays, I see TRANSFORMATION before my eyes and it inspires me.  #earlychildhoodeducation #transformeducation
I cannot think of a better time of year to forge forward with change. As I look outside at my big beautiful oak tree that provides a canopy to the space where my daughter plays, I see TRANSFORMATION before my eyes and it inspires me.  #earlychildhoodeducation #transformeducation
Much like the tiny acorn that grew into the great big oak in my yard, there were challenges, struggles and freedoms to succeed. There was space to grow, nourishment and opportunity. Don’t our children deserve the same freedoms? The same space to thrive?
In my role, I have the opportunity to meet with change-makers in an attempt to bring my mission forward, to provoke the need for change, to stand up for the youngest of learners in our community and to work for enrichment in early childhood education. 

I would love to hear your thoughts on early childhood education.

 

Share your perspective with me so I can share it with those who make the decisions that impact us all. Let me know your experience, and what you would love to see happen in early childhood education.

 

I’m here, I’m listening. It’s time for change.

1 + 10 =

A Mission for Change in Early Childhood Education

I cannot think of a better time of year to forge forward with change. As I look outside at my big beautiful oak tree that provides a canopy to the space where my daughter plays, I see TRANSFORMATION before my eyes and it inspires me.  ...

read more

Teaching Social-Emotional Skills to Children

Strategies for Teaching Social-Emotional Skills to Children Especially for those who have difficulty expressing themselves What is social-emotional learning in early childhood? Children are learning so much in their early years as the world opens up before their eyes....

read more

Less is More in the Classroom

Benefits of Minimalism in the Classroom and Playroom Walking into a typical early childhood education classroom, you are drawn to the colourful posters, toys, projects, and decor that tend to line the walls. We know that colours can be uplifting, energizing and...

read more

How do you raise a successful and happy child?

Connecting with Kids at Home The pressure of raising successful children for parents As an educator, I know exactly what expectations wait for my daughter when she enters the classroom - still a few years away. I know the journey through school, the pressure to carry...

read more

The Best Gift Ideas for Kids that AREN’T Toys

Alternative gifts for children with more than enough toys Thinking of gift-giving season that is very fast approaching us, I dread the idea of more “stuff” entering my house. Although it is an ongoing battle with the memories I’ve attached to the simplest of things,...

read more
Books That Empower Children in their Social Emotional Development

Books That Empower Children in their Social Emotional Development

Teaching social-emotional skills through story

Learning social-emotional skills early on in life is an important part of our development. These are the skills that support our interactions with those around us while we build long-lasting relationships with friends and loved ones, help us work through the tough times as well as celebrate the good, give us the courage to strive for our goals and the resilience to get there one step at a time. 

Teaching social-emotional skills to young children can be a daunting task – I have outlined 9 practical tips for supporting social-emotional understanding in children in another post (click here) – but it holds a higher importance than the traditionally viewed academic ability that we believe children need to prepare them for life. I truly believe for a child to be successful academically, we need to support their BELIEF in their ABILITY to be successful.

As a lover of stories, and the value of reading with a child, I’m going to share the favorite titles I have found that will help you on your journey of enriching the skills that will set children up for success. 

Below are the books I’ve used for teaching social-emotional skills through story:

  • Leadership
  • Fairness
  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Patience
  • Friendship

*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!*

Books About Leadership

Books About Fairness

Books About Empathy

Books About Compassion

Books About Patience

Books About Friendship

Learning social-emotional skills early on in life is an important part of our development. These are the skills that support our interactions with those around us while we build long-lasting relationships with friends and loved ones, help us work through the tough times as well as celebrate the good, give us the courage to strive for our goals and the resilience to get there one step at a time. #teacher #parent #ece #educator #lifeskills #socialskills #emotionalskills #books #empathy
Learning social-emotional skills early on in life is an important part of our development. These are the skills that support our interactions with those around us while we build long-lasting relationships with friends and loved ones, help us work through the tough times as well as celebrate the good, give us the courage to strive for our goals and the resilience to get there one step at a time. #teacher #parent #ece #educator #lifeskills #socialskills #emotionalskills #books #leadership
Learning social-emotional skills early on in life is an important part of our development. These are the skills that support our interactions with those around us while we build long-lasting relationships with friends and loved ones, help us work through the tough times as well as celebrate the good, give us the courage to strive for our goals and the resilience to get there one step at a time. #teacher #parent #ece #educator #lifeskills #socialskills #emotionalskills #books #friendship

A Mission for Change in Early Childhood Education

I cannot think of a better time of year to forge forward with change. As I look outside at my big beautiful oak tree that provides a canopy to the space where my daughter plays, I see TRANSFORMATION before my eyes and it inspires me.  ...

read more

Teaching Social-Emotional Skills to Children

Strategies for Teaching Social-Emotional Skills to Children Especially for those who have difficulty expressing themselves What is social-emotional learning in early childhood? Children are learning so much in their early years as the world opens up before their eyes....

read more

Less is More in the Classroom

Benefits of Minimalism in the Classroom and Playroom Walking into a typical early childhood education classroom, you are drawn to the colourful posters, toys, projects, and decor that tend to line the walls. We know that colours can be uplifting, energizing and...

read more

How do you raise a successful and happy child?

Connecting with Kids at Home The pressure of raising successful children for parents As an educator, I know exactly what expectations wait for my daughter when she enters the classroom - still a few years away. I know the journey through school, the pressure to carry...

read more

The Best Gift Ideas for Kids that AREN’T Toys

Alternative gifts for children with more than enough toys Thinking of gift-giving season that is very fast approaching us, I dread the idea of more “stuff” entering my house. Although it is an ongoing battle with the memories I’ve attached to the simplest of things,...

read more
Teaching Social-Emotional Skills to Children

Teaching Social-Emotional Skills to Children

Strategies for Teaching Social-Emotional Skills to Children

Especially for those who have difficulty expressing themselves

What is social-emotional learning in early childhood?

Children are learning so much in their early years as the world opens up before their eyes. A large part of this learning is about whom they are and their place in the world. As they watch the behaviors of those around them and experience the feelings such as happiness, sadness, frustration and overwhelm, they are learning to name these emotions as well as how to express them in a meaningful way.

Children need these skills to be successful not only in making friends, expressing themselves, learning academic skills but also in later years and into adulthood.

When we see behavior issues in children we are often watching them struggle with expressing their actual needs, wants, and feelings.

Read on to hear the Practical Tips for Supporting Social-Emotional Development in Our Children

*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 see behavior issues in preschool children we are often watching them struggle with expressing their actual needs, wants, and feelings. Click to read more about what is going on and how we can support these lessons for toddlers to elementary school students with ideas and strategies for success. #teacher #parent #ece #educator #home #lifeskills #socialskills #emotionalskills #behaviour

Promoting social-emotional learning in preschool years

Whether in the classroom, preschool, daycare or at home, there are many moments with children learning about the rush of their emotions where the feelings are just too much for them to handle. Our role in supporting their growth and development is to guide them through it safely and help them understand the role our emotions play in who we are and how we act.

Children’s actions; biting, hitting, throwing toys, screaming – are all signs that the child needs additional support learning a new skill and naming their needs, wants and feelings.

We can help them learn a more socially acceptable and safe way to feel heard and understood.

How to support social and emotional development in preschoolers

Amazing Books that Support Social Emotional Learning in Children

When we see behavior issues in preschool children we are often watching them struggle with expressing their actual needs, wants, and feelings. Click to read more about what is going on and how we can support these lessons for toddlers to elementary school students with ideas and strategies for success. #teacher #parent #ece #educator #home #lifeskills #socialskills #emotionalskills #behaviour
When we see behavior issues in preschool children we are often watching them struggle with expressing their actual needs, wants, and feelings. Click to read more about what is going on and how we can support these lessons for toddlers to elementary school students with ideas and strategies for success. #teacher #parent #ece #educator #home #lifeskills #socialskills #emotionalskills #behaviour #educatorquotes #earlychildhoodeducation

Practical Tips for Supporting Social-Emotional Understanding in Children

  1. Name the emotions that the child is feeling in the moment – this helps them to vocalize and understand what the feeling is called (or clarify to you what they believe they are feeling) while they are experiencing it. It can be hard for anyone, of any age, to understand an emotion while they are in it. But it helps to put a name to what is felt to support its normalcy. Keeping it simple while the child is feeling the weight of their experience is more than enough at this time. Working to put teaching to the experience comes later.

“Little Bee it looks like you are feeling frustrated right now. Is that how you feel?”

“No! I feel sad. They took my toy and now I don’t have anything left and they won’t give it back.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re feeling sad. Should we all talk about the toy together? Would you like me to help?”

  1. Name the emotions that someone else is feeling– children learn a lot from the people around them and being able to see what it looks like when someone else is feeling an emotion they have also felt allows them to see how emotions change our behavior, and the response of those around us.

“It sounds like our friend is feeling sad right now. It looks like his Mommy is going to give him a snuggle and chat about it to see if they can make it feel better. What do you notice about how our friend is feeling?”

 

  1. Embrace the moment as a teachable one – Allowing a conversation to come from what is being experienced in the moment, allowing the child to label and express how they are feeling as best they can, while you are there to support them through it. But more so afterward, you can refer to how they felt, what it felt like, what that looks like in someone else, what it looks like in books we have read.
  2. Teach the naming of emotions throughout the day – classrooms often use circle time as a change to look at a chart of faces and expressions to open up conversation about how everyone might be feeling. This is a wonderful practice but would be even more impactful if used as a regular reference throughout the day. During a heated moment, pointing to the chart where a child could find the face that most matches his/her experience, afterward if that is an easier space for a child to express, during stories as you talk about how the characters are feeling, and as the day ends.
  3. Naming all emotions, not just those that are negative – So often as educators, we focus on the negative behaviors we hope to support and address. But focusing on only the “negative emotions” sends a message. We want to teach children that they are allowed to feel exactly what they need to feel, but that the actions that we choose to take to illustrate our emotions are impactful to those around us as well as possibly harmful to ourselves. Ensuring that we talk about all emotions, name them all and share in it creates an open space for conversation.
  4. Love them through it – It can be incredibly overwhelming to feel the rush of emotions that come to a child when something has happened in their world; no matter how big or small. Anger, frustration, sadness and excitement all deserve the same response of our understanding and support. Sharing with children that we will not be leaving them to work through this alone but if they are going to hurt us, we need to step away helps them to understand that there is an acceptable way to share this emotion with someone.
  5. Teach through play – As a fellow lover of learning through play,  Barb O’Neill of Transform Challenging Behavior says that play is the best way to connect with children who are exhibiting challenging behavior. Play gives us the space to act in the moment and share learning opportunities through play and story. Through play we are building children’s attention spans and connecting with them, setting the stage for meaningful discovery when those overwhelming moments arise.
  6. Modeling and prompting – as those who work the most closely with children, we are most aware and prepared for when these challenging moments occur. Being proactive in engaging in the play and interactions that are most likely to lead to the social-emotional skills we are working through, we can be there through an entire activity to help them vocalize when it would otherwise be difficult.
  7. Use meaningful tools to support learning through play and story – using a puppet (as recommended by Barb O’Neill), books, songs, games and meaningful play, you can support the reinforcement of the social-emotional skill development as well as the naming of actions and emotions that help our children understand this area of their life in many different ways, through many different means.

Check out this post for a list of amazing book titles to support social-emotional learning

Amazing Resources for Supporting Social-Emotional Learning

Emotions Stones
Excellerations Changing Emotions Block Puzzle
Exploring Emotions Kit
Excellerations Fabric Photo Album - 13 Pockets

Children need these skills to be successful not only in the early years but throughout their life and through meaningful interactions and proactive planning we can support the development of these skills.

Excellerations Girl & Boy Puppet Pairs
When we see behavior issues in preschool children we are often watching them struggle with expressing their actual needs, wants, and feelings. Click to read more about what is going on and how we can support these lessons for toddlers to elementary school students with ideas and strategies for success. #teacher #parent #ece #educator #home #lifeskills #socialskills #emotionalskills #behaviour #educatorquotes #earlychildhoodeducation #empowereducators

A Mission for Change in Early Childhood Education

I cannot think of a better time of year to forge forward with change. As I look outside at my big beautiful oak tree that provides a canopy to the space where my daughter plays, I see TRANSFORMATION before my eyes and it inspires me.  ...

read more

Teaching Social-Emotional Skills to Children

Strategies for Teaching Social-Emotional Skills to Children Especially for those who have difficulty expressing themselves What is social-emotional learning in early childhood? Children are learning so much in their early years as the world opens up before their eyes....

read more

Less is More in the Classroom

Benefits of Minimalism in the Classroom and Playroom Walking into a typical early childhood education classroom, you are drawn to the colourful posters, toys, projects, and decor that tend to line the walls. We know that colours can be uplifting, energizing and...

read more

How do you raise a successful and happy child?

Connecting with Kids at Home The pressure of raising successful children for parents As an educator, I know exactly what expectations wait for my daughter when she enters the classroom - still a few years away. I know the journey through school, the pressure to carry...

read more

The Best Gift Ideas for Kids that AREN’T Toys

Alternative gifts for children with more than enough toys Thinking of gift-giving season that is very fast approaching us, I dread the idea of more “stuff” entering my house. Although it is an ongoing battle with the memories I’ve attached to the simplest of things,...

read more
Less is More in the Classroom

Less is More in the Classroom

Benefits of Minimalism in the Classroom and Playroom

Walking into a typical early childhood education classroom, you are drawn to the colourful posters, toys, projects, and decor that tend to line the walls. We know that colours can be uplifting, energizing and powerful and any company in charge of marketing to children would tell you that brightly coloured toys and games sell.

As I glance over to my own “supply closet” I see pops of colour, overly animated cartoon faces and bubble letters on just about every material that has been tucked away. I stopped using these ages ago (but haven’t gotten rid of them yet… more on my decluttering challenge here), choosing instead to follow my heart when it comes to child directed learning.

Minimalism in the Classroom

*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!*

Early childhood classroom are making a dramatic shift in how they look and for good reason. Recent research suggests that the classroom decor can heavily impact a child’s learning #design #ideas #organization #modern #learningtheories #earlychildhood #life #toddlers #preschooler #kindergartener #elementary #transition #athome

Applying Minimalism in the Classroom and Play Spaces

In many of the theories that have been around for a very long time, (Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and Waldorf for example) but are newly emerging in main stream early childhood classrooms, there is a focus on natural decor: bringing the outdoors in, allowing children to use their imaginations and proving fewer “things” in exchange for multi-use items.

When I think of the invitations for play I create for my daughter and her friends in my care, I gravitate toward toys like wooden blocks – open ended and multi-use. Blocks and toys like this have the ability to become everything from stacking items, to cars, to food for cooking, to musical instruments, obstacles to be jumped over, and everything in between.

In a world where we are so often tempted by “the best and newest stuff” it’s hard to imagine going down to a minimum for toys and decor in a playroom or classroom — but there is research supporting the benefits of a “less is more” attitude in creating spaces for our youngest learners.

The Research Behind Minimalism in the Classroom

In a recent study, researchers Anna V. Fisher, Karrie E. Godwin and Howard Seltman of Carnegie Mellon University dove into the topic of a highly decorated classroom and the impact this had on children’s ability to concentrate.

Their study (which you can read about more here), found that it was about creating a display of more meaningful decorations, which I think can be supported by those who run Montessori, Reggio Emilia and, Waldorf classrooms.

Maximizing Your Classroom with Minimalism  – Creating Spaces that Invite Learning

For me, this challenge began as a need to make intentional use of the space shared by my little learners, and my family (more here). I wanted my learning environment to have a homey feel, while still engaging and inspiring self directed learning.

Teacher Tip!

Using a classroom garden as an interactive decor is also: science lessons, life lessons, air purifier, sensory work, caring for the world around us and so much more!

Hello intential learning!

Getting More from Classroom Decor

I took down those things that weren’t multi-use, and put away toys that tended to be for a specific type of play (labeled with something or branded).

I found that by doing this, the children were more engaged with each other, used the room in a more meaningful way and took better care of the items they used in their play.

Less is More in the Classroom

Children are natural investigators and will take the opportunity to learn just about anywhere (as supported by the research as well), but it is in those thoughtfully created spaces where learning can flourish, where children can concentrate and play in a more meaningful way.

Tips for Doing MORE with LESS in Learning

Check this post:

Early childhood classroom are making a dramatic shift in how they look and for good reason. Recent research suggests that the classroom decor can heavily impact a child’s learning #design #ideas #organization #modern #learningtheories #earlychildhood #life #toddlers #preschooler #kindergartener #elementary #transition #athome

 

I would love to hear from you about how you set up your learning and play spaces – do you feel less is more?

A Mission for Change in Early Childhood Education

I cannot think of a better time of year to forge forward with change. As I look outside at my big beautiful oak tree that provides a canopy to the space where my daughter plays, I see TRANSFORMATION before my eyes and it inspires me.  ...

read more

Teaching Social-Emotional Skills to Children

Strategies for Teaching Social-Emotional Skills to Children Especially for those who have difficulty expressing themselves What is social-emotional learning in early childhood? Children are learning so much in their early years as the world opens up before their eyes....

read more

Less is More in the Classroom

Benefits of Minimalism in the Classroom and Playroom Walking into a typical early childhood education classroom, you are drawn to the colourful posters, toys, projects, and decor that tend to line the walls. We know that colours can be uplifting, energizing and...

read more

How do you raise a successful and happy child?

Connecting with Kids at Home The pressure of raising successful children for parents As an educator, I know exactly what expectations wait for my daughter when she enters the classroom - still a few years away. I know the journey through school, the pressure to carry...

read more

The Best Gift Ideas for Kids that AREN’T Toys

Alternative gifts for children with more than enough toys Thinking of gift-giving season that is very fast approaching us, I dread the idea of more “stuff” entering my house. Although it is an ongoing battle with the memories I’ve attached to the simplest of things,...

read more
How do you raise a successful and happy child?

How do you raise a successful and happy child?

Connecting with Kids at Home

The pressure of raising successful children for parents

As an educator, I know exactly what expectations wait for my daughter when she enters the classroom – still a few years away. I know the journey through school, the pressure to carry on beyond those foundational years into the great halls of universities and colleges, to boardrooms and beyond.

The pressure to succeed – the pressure to have your child succeed; it’s terrifying.

I think back to my own pressure growing up. Of wondering what success would be for me (more on that here), wondering what role I was supposed to play in my community, what job would take me from Monday to Friday, what books I should read to get me there.

It was exhausting. It placed me into a tiny space of checklists and due dates and grey walls.

*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!*

How can you raise a happy and successful child? It’s time to take the pressure off of being a mom and realize you have the tools you need at home with you while you are connecting with your child. Click here to read how a simple activity empowers you child to learn a wealth of information. #momguilt #learning #tips #life #toddlers #preschooler #kindergartener
A Spirited Child on the Path to Success.

That first flicker of my daughter’s eyes looking up at me the night she was born changed my perspective. A fire already in her, keeping her awake while every other baby in playgroup slept soundly in its mother’s arms. I trusted her.

I trusted that she would figure it out, with my support. I trusted that if I let her crawl around the corner she would learn that I was nearby. I trusted that when she took her first steps and fell, she would be motivated enough to give it another shot.

I want so much for my daughter. To open our front door and for the world to welcome her with open arms. If only it was that friendly beyond our adorable neighborhood.

I want to give my daughter everything under the sun. I want her to have everything, to laugh always and to only carry the best memories with her.

But I’m also realistic.

How can you raise a happy and successful child? It’s time to take the pressure off of being a mom and realize you have the tools you need at home with you while you are connecting with your child. Click here to read how a simple activity empowers you child to learn a wealth of information. #momguilt #learning #tips #life #toddlers #preschooler #kindergartener
How can you raise a happy and successful child? It’s time to take the pressure off of being a mom and realize you have the tools you need at home with you while you are connecting with your child. Click here to read how a simple activity empowers you child to learn a wealth of information. #momguilt #learning #tips #life #toddlers #preschooler #kindergartener

Magic in the Mundane

I also have to do the things that normal families do. I have to clean up after supper, to sweep the floor, to change that light bulb, to move the laundry into the dryer.

These can be my moments too. To invite her to take part in acts communities long before her took part in. I welcome her to join me, a smile on my face as we lift the heavy wet pants and socks from one machine and put them into the next.

A conversation begins.

First about hippos, then about texture, and counting, and colors.

To the untrained eye this is all random. And it is – she’s in the lead and I have no idea what we are going to talk about next. It’s taking longer than it should. I could have finished this task in seconds, not the many minutes that have already passed.

But it’s also my magical moment with her. So there’s no rush.

While we lift the wet clothes my daughter uses her whole body – every muscle in her being for they weigh nearly as much as her. How does the laundry feel? How do you feel when you help Mommy? I’m so happy to have you here, helping me.

She solves the issue of reaching to the back of the machine by finding a stool to stand on; problem-solving beyond her years.

She talks of hippos; sharing the knowledge we learned together in a book the day before. I encourage her to tell me more. How big is a hippo? What color? Paws or feet? Two legs or four?

Her language grows each time she shares with me. Her words more descriptive than the last time I heard her express her love for story. She feels that I am engaged and listening and it encourages her creativity. She adds a wild twist, I’ve not heard before, smiling from ear to ear with excitement.

We count socks. Talk about colors, textures and size.

The drum of the machine – which way does it spin? Why are there holes on the side? The science nerd in me thrilled that she noticed the details.

We begin to close the door. What’s written here? Can this sticker come off?

No time to answer.

SLAM! Music to her ears. Pride on her face that part of the job is done. What else makes noise around us?

Turn the dial. Click. Click. Click. Agonizingly slow to some. Satisfying slow to her.

Press the button in (a whole hand needed) and it pops back out. Processes and routine.

Why this, then that? It makes it go!

Listen to that? Tumble, rumble, mumble.

I didn’t have time today to show her the world.

Instead, I prepared her for it.

Doing such a simple task we learned: language and literacy, the beauty of storytelling, cognition and early mathematics, science, discovery, fine and gross motor skills, large muscle movement, social and emotional development, spatial awareness, depth perception, problem solving. Love.

How do you raise a successful and happy child?

Be present.

 

You are doing enough.

You are enough.

You are exactly who your child needs.

Is Your Child Heading to Kindergarten soon?!

Looking over at that amazing child of yours, thinking of slipping the straps of a backpack far too big for their still tiny shoulders as you send them off to kindergarten for the first time, armed with the perfectly packed lunch and all the love in your heart; what a milestone!

Well, Mama. I can help you prepare for this amazing adventure.

In a FREE email course, I walk you through

the 5 MOST IMPORTANT steps to preparing your child for kindergarten.

A Mission for Change in Early Childhood Education

I cannot think of a better time of year to forge forward with change. As I look outside at my big beautiful oak tree that provides a canopy to the space where my daughter plays, I see TRANSFORMATION before my eyes and it inspires me.  ...

read more

Teaching Social-Emotional Skills to Children

Strategies for Teaching Social-Emotional Skills to Children Especially for those who have difficulty expressing themselves What is social-emotional learning in early childhood? Children are learning so much in their early years as the world opens up before their eyes....

read more

Less is More in the Classroom

Benefits of Minimalism in the Classroom and Playroom Walking into a typical early childhood education classroom, you are drawn to the colourful posters, toys, projects, and decor that tend to line the walls. We know that colours can be uplifting, energizing and...

read more

How do you raise a successful and happy child?

Connecting with Kids at Home The pressure of raising successful children for parents As an educator, I know exactly what expectations wait for my daughter when she enters the classroom - still a few years away. I know the journey through school, the pressure to carry...

read more

The Best Gift Ideas for Kids that AREN’T Toys

Alternative gifts for children with more than enough toys Thinking of gift-giving season that is very fast approaching us, I dread the idea of more “stuff” entering my house. Although it is an ongoing battle with the memories I’ve attached to the simplest of things,...

read more
My Favorite Crayola Products for Back to School

My Favorite Crayola Products for Back to School

Why I love Crayola Products

I love Crayola products! Who doesn’t?! Crayola makes reliable, dependable, arts and crafts products geared toward children while keeping parent needs in mind. And they cannot be compared to in regard to quality. Have you used a crayon at a restaurant with your child while waiting for your dinner? I’m sure you have and I’m sure you know without a doubt that if it doesn’t say Crayola, it will snap with a vigorous filling in of a flower or racecar. Every time. SNAP!

Think back to your own experience cracking open a brand new box of perfectly sharpened crayons – all beautifully organized with the colors of the rainbow and every tone in between. Ahhhh. An organizational addict’s dream come true.

Well, Mama, it’s even better now. The products that we know so well have been used to inspire an even brighter, more child welcoming world of creativity. It’s amazing.

As an educator, I am always looking for the best products at the best price, because I run through them like crazy. I keep a constant supply of open-ended arts and crafts tools within reach to illustrate how welcome children in my care are to take their imagination and turn them into beauty to be shared. But, doing this means I go through a lot of products, and more so, am cleaning up the wildness of creativity (read: the mess that is constantly on my floor at the art table.) So I need something I can buy a lot of, without spending an arm and a leg.

As a mother, after the day is done, I’m looking for activities that need a little less engagement from me, and allow my daughter to color outside the lines, to grow and learn, but to allow me the opportunity to step away to attend to the other needs of my family and home. I needed safe, reliable, and welcoming activities that would encourage my daughter to play independently.

I’ve done a lot of research. I’ve tried a lot of products and I always come back to what I know, love and trust. Crayola.

*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!*

Is Your Child Heading to Kindergarten soon?!

Looking over at that amazing child of yours, thinking of slipping the straps of a backpack far too big for their still tiny shoulders as you send them off to kindergarten for the first time, armed with the perfectly packed lunch and all the love in your heart; what a milestone!

Well, Mama. I can help you prepare for this amazing adventure.

In a FREE email course, I walk you through

the 5 MOST IMPORTANT steps to preparing your child for kindergarten.

The 11 Best Crayola Products for Back to School and at Home Play!

Here is a list of the products I most regularly use in my home, daycare and on the go with my family. This is not a full list as it would go on and on, from the giant box of crayons and classroom box of markers I buy to the papers I use that hold up to the earliest of finger painters, or the modeling clay that builds those important muscles in the hands and arms.

But I have shared those products that I think you could most use at home to allow you watch your little one playing, learning, dreaming, and creating, while you join in play or while letting you have a cup of coffee, or pick away at something else for a little mom time. 

Wait until you see what Crayola has created to make life as a mom with little ones at home that much easier. I share my favorite products from a teacher’s perspective as well as a busy mom! #teacher #organize #resources #classroom #home #daughter #son #girl #boy #learning #backtoschool #ideas #preschool #toddler #schoolaged #kindergarten #teachers #moms #products #children #student #athome #giftideas #holiday #gift #crafts #traditions #easy #activities #best
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My Favorite Crayola Products for Back to School

1. Window writers – I’ve talked about these before in a post about the ways you can keep your little one entertained at home, and do they deliver! Little Bee and her daycare friends have loved turning our front window into a masterpiece, which wipes away super easily. I don’t know if it’s the idea of writing on something you never thought you were allowed to write on before, the way it looks on the window, or the fact that everyone that walks by sees it, but this has become a very requested activity at my house. It works great on a mirror as well!

2. Twist Crayons –Okay, so take that image of crayon awesomeness and jack it up a notch. These are one of my favorite things that Crayola makes. The crayon twists up so it’s always in perfect coloring readiness, but acts like a pen or pencil, which is perfection for early writers looking to develop those fine motor skills.

3. Side Walk Chalk –  This item could be a list within itself as Crayola makes countless types of chalk play. I have yet to meet a child who isn’t lost in the idea of writing on the driveway, or sidewalk in early spring, of creating chalk paint, or creating a blackboard inside. We use chalk in so many ways but Crayola makes it pretty easy with all the types that they offer. Small, wide, multi colors, chalk paint, the list goes on. So cool.

4. Bath Dropz and Bath Crayons –  Well, that’s two things I suppose but we love them both so I had to share both of them. As I mentioned in a recent post, I am working to declutter our home (and keep the clutter out… not sure which is worse or more challenging) and part of that means we don’t have any “bath toys”. We use the things we already have around the house; bowls, spoons, sponges, that encourage and promote learning through play while promoting the benefits of water play (more on that here). But the one thing I think has such value in tub play are these colorful creations. Promoting writing practice in the tub is so much fun (and it helps that it washes away so simply), and changing the color of the tub water makes a task that formerly used to cue bedtime woes in my house, that now encourage Little Bee to willingly hop in the tub.

5. Mess Free Everything! Well, not everything, but just about! This is another one that could be a giant list itself. We love the Mess Free Paint and Mess Free Markers the most but I hadn’t realized just how many “mess free” products they made! The Mess Free Markers are genius for long car trips that mean marker doesn’t end up EVERYWHERE and make a perfect Doctor’s office waiting activity. But, I use this stuff at home too because as I noted above, after a long day and I’m making supper or cleaning up from the day, I don’t want to discourage creativity in my daughter, but I also don’t want to clean up another giant mess. The Mess Free Paint is currently my favorite office art that my daughter made for me. It truely is beautiful and worthy of a frame.

6. Light Up Tracing Table – move over whiteboard, there’s a new awesome activity in town. Seriously Mama, this one is pretty cool. We actually use this light table for lots of different things beyond the tracing feature. Using translucent paper, you can overlay to blend colors, or use colorful plastic blocks and watch the light shine through.

Art Buddy Pack
Color Wonder Mess Free Activity Set
Light Up Tracing Pad-Blue
Picture Projector
Signature Series Crayoligraphy Activity Set
7. Picture Projector – My daughter got this one as a gift and it was a huge hit! Having Little Bee’s creations blow up onto the wall makes for an amazing response each time we do it. It’s pretty neat and makes an awesome gift. If you brought this one to a birthday party, you’d be a pretty popular mom.

8. Light Board – We don’t actually have this one in play yet. I have purchased it for my daughter and am saving it for her for her birthday and a trip that we are soon taking. She is going to LOVE IT! I think this would really encourage reluctant writers to get practice holding pens and pencils to see their art shine like a billboard!

9. Finger Paint – I go through A LOT of paint at my house. I love using paint for play which you can read more about here. Having children of different ages around, I really needed something safe for those who would be covered in their art by the end of the day, but not leave anyone out of the play. Finding a good quality finger paint is surprisingly challenging, and I fell in love with what Crayola offered.

10. Color and Erase Mat – Little Bee found this under the Christmas Tree last year which was perfect for her age then, as well as now (2.5). Having the art stay in one play, be travel ready, allow for open-ended play… all my favorites in one place.

11. Washable Glue – I’m seeing a trend of categories that could be long lists. Imagine the disaster of learning to use glue, having to share glue among a group of children, and wanting children to have the freedom to create anything they like… with glue. It’s a mess. Finding a washable glue that actually washes away was something I celebrated (alone, because no one really felt as passionately about this as I did…) when I finally found it and then coming to realize Crayola carried everything from glue that little ones could open themselves, to glitter glue, and colored glue… alllll washable. So great!

Everything from art supplies at home, on the go, quick activities, printables and coloring pages, classroom supplies, and fun for moms as well, Crayola carries it all. I love Crayola. If you were looking for a list of gift ideas, supported and recommended by an educator, and very particular mom, you found it here!

Wait until you see what Crayola has created to make life as a mom with little ones at home that much easier. Everything from supported activities to the tools for open-ended wonder, I share my favorite Crayola products from a teacher’s perspective as well as a busy mom! #teacher #organize #resources #classroom #home #daughter #son #girl #boy #learning #backtoschool #ideas #preschool #toddler #schoolaged #kindergarten #teachers #moms #products #children #student #athome #giftideas

A Mission for Change in Early Childhood Education

I cannot think of a better time of year to forge forward with change. As I look outside at my big beautiful oak tree that provides a canopy to the space where my daughter plays, I see TRANSFORMATION before my eyes and it inspires me.  ...

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Teaching Social-Emotional Skills to Children

Strategies for Teaching Social-Emotional Skills to Children Especially for those who have difficulty expressing themselves What is social-emotional learning in early childhood? Children are learning so much in their early years as the world opens up before their eyes....

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Less is More in the Classroom

Benefits of Minimalism in the Classroom and Playroom Walking into a typical early childhood education classroom, you are drawn to the colourful posters, toys, projects, and decor that tend to line the walls. We know that colours can be uplifting, energizing and...

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How do you raise a successful and happy child?

Connecting with Kids at Home The pressure of raising successful children for parents As an educator, I know exactly what expectations wait for my daughter when she enters the classroom - still a few years away. I know the journey through school, the pressure to carry...

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The Best Gift Ideas for Kids that AREN’T Toys

Alternative gifts for children with more than enough toys Thinking of gift-giving season that is very fast approaching us, I dread the idea of more “stuff” entering my house. Although it is an ongoing battle with the memories I’ve attached to the simplest of things,...

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

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