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Math Play with Natural Loose Parts

Posted by: Rhonda August 11, 2020

We are approaching the time of year in which nature generously replenishes its available loose parts. Leaves fall, acorns drop, seed pods form, and there is no end to the natural materials you can collect for free just in your backyard.

“One area of early learning particularly suited for the use of these materials is math,” writes Dorie Ranheim. “There is a myriad of questions that can be asked to guide children’s thinking. For example, What did we find the most of? Tell me about your stick. Can you find something longer? Which rock is heavier? Through these playful interactions, rich math language flows and becomes part of the child’s vocabulary.

“You can also use loose parts to model mathematical skills like how to count acorns using one-to-one correspondence, how to create a pattern with fall leaves, or how to measure by comparing two feathers. All the foundational areas of early math can be explored in a playful way using natural loose parts.” More ideas here.

Why Stay Inside 3

Why Stay Inside?

Posted by: Rhonda August 4, 2020

I have always been a huge fan of Forest Kindergartens. Allowing children complete immersion in nature, regardless of the weather, offers amazing learning experiences. Now, with new restrictions due to COVID-19, moving learning outdoors not only seems like a great educational philosophy, but also the safest way to continue promoting child-directed play and exploration.

We may not all have a forest out our back door, but any steps you can take to move elements of your day outdoors will be beneficial.

Outlast furniture is highly versatile, supporting many aspects of the curriculum. Because it’s completely water-resistant, it will also withstand daily cleaning. Watch this group of children explore the possibilities of a simple outdoor table. View video here


The Ultimate Environment for Sensory Learning

Posted by: Rhonda July 28, 2020

Children learn through their senses. Provide them with a stimulating sensory environment, stand back, and observe the vast amount of development and learning that simply happens.

The ultimate setting for this, of course, is the great outdoors. Nature provides stimulation for all the senses a child needs to develop from auditory to vestibular.

Take a minute and assess what your particular outdoor environment offers. Simple things, such as planting some herbs, adding a chime, or providing binoculars can dramatically increase the sensory stimulation of your outdoor space. Read more.

Petal Prints

Petal Prints

Posted by: Rhonda July 21, 2020

Kids love to pick flowers. And some flowers love to get picked. In particular, marigolds and petunias seem to thrive when they get regularly de-headed. Kids and flowers: complementary elements in your garden!

Here’s a perfect activity to make use of all those brilliant and abundant flower petals. It’s also a great way to capture nature’s stunning colors on paper.

Besides flowers, all you will need is paper, wax paper, and a tree cookie or small stone to pound the petals with. Watch how to do it here.

Justice Statement

The Way Forward

Posted by: Rhonda July 14, 2020

Addressing Racism in Early Childhood Programs

The recent weeks of protests over racial injustice create difficult challenges for early childhood programs. What can we do to respond?

“Addressing issues of racial inequality in early childhood programs is complex and challenging,” writes Dr. Francis Wardle. “These challenges do not mean, however, that there is nothing we can do! There are positive steps we can take in our daily life and in our programs to address the serious issues of racism and inequality in this country.

“As we consider our response, there are some things that need to be kept in mind.” Continue reading.