One Word Resolution

It's time to create a list of resolutions for the new year of 2017. Wooo-hooo! If you are like me, you have made the same old resolutions every year for probably your whole adult life. They include: exercise more, eat less junk food, lose weight, and be happier. Am I right? About five years ago, I started reading books written by Gretchen Rubin. She has emerged as one of the most thought provoking and influential writers on habits and happiness. She has written, among other things, The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, and Better Than Before.   I recommend them all, as they are good reads and not overly "preachy" like some "self-help" books. Last year as I was reading her blog, she was talking about making resolutions. Now hold onto your hat because she didn't have a list of resolutions, she had one word !  I was like whaaat? Now that was something I could buy into. How easy is that to only have a one-word resolution for the whole year? As it turns

A Routine Thing

Bumpy and I recently returned from a trip to New Jersey to visit with our daughters, son-in-law, and granddaughter. We had an early Christmas visit, complete with baking cookies, watching Christmas movies, playing games, exchanging gifts and even snow! Bumpy, Anna, and Nana While we had a wonderful time, it was also nice to return home and resume the normal routines associated with everyday life! As I thought about how getting back into my routine was comforting, I also thought about how during this very busy time of the year, it is sometimes difficult for grown ups to keep the family routines going and it can be an especially confusing and tiring time for little ones. An article by Oliver Burkeman written for the guardian, contained information about daily routines of some of history's most creative minds.  For example, Benjamin Franklin spent his mornings naked, Georgia O'Keeffe and Ernest Hemingway were both extremely early risers, and Tchaikovsky believed he h

Retirement, Simple Living and Me: Things That Are Making Me Jolly

Tis' the season to be jolly! Here are a few things that are making me jolly this week. Baking cookies: Making them for family and friends! The newest member of our "pack":  Ringo Starr came to live with us on Thanksgiving week-end! This simple holiday centerpiece: These simple decorations: "Mousemas Tree" A tiny collection of Santas This photo from a Christmas past: And this Nativity set to remind me just exactly what Christmas is all about! What's making you jolly this holiday season? That's it for now.. Check back later!

All I Want for Christmas Are Open-Ended Materials: Said No Child Ever

Ah, the smell of Christmas trees, the warmth of hot chocolate, and commercial after commercial for more and more battery operated toys is upon us!  It's the season for "I want, I want, I want" to echo throughout homes and classrooms. It's also time to make those ubiquitous paper Christmas stockings using glitter and cotton balls, but that's already been discussed in another blog post, as you may recall. I wonder how many parents of young children and teachers of young children are hearing, "You know, I think I would just like to use my imagination more and get a big stack of open-ended materials to play with this Christmas. Forget the Zoomer Chimp, the Nerf N Strike Drone Blaster, the Dance and Move Bow Wow, and the PlayStation  to name a few and just get me some good old wooden blocks and a set of markers." In this post, I want to "enlighten" parents and teachers about open-ended materials and play, so let's begin with a definition of

Retirement, Simple Living, and Me-- Warning: There Are Squirrels Involved

Anna and Nana (me) doing a little "leaf crunching." ( 20009) This fall season has been extremely weird as well as unsettling . By weird, I'm talking about the weather and by unsettling, I think you know what I mean. Even though the temperature has not been "fall" like, the leaves are turning and falling in great numbers.  The pups and I have enjoyed many morning walks that involve one of my favorite activities "leaf crunching" and one of  their favorite activities, "squirrel stalking." Regarding the unsettling part, probably the biggest concern is the fear of the unknown. What will happen to the economy? What will happen to the environment? What will happen with funding for quality early childhood education programs? Who will win Dancing With the Stars?  Okay, not so much that one, but you can tell I've been a little anxious and frankly, a little scared lately. I had a friend whose granddaughter was having trouble learning to

Jean Piaget Meets Pete the Cat

One of my favorite early education theorists has always been Jean Piaget. I have written about him in a previous post to talk about his views on the importance of play in children's development. Today, I would like to address his theories on emotional self regulation in young children. Let's start with a definition of emotional self regulation: it is the ability to respond to the ongoing demands of experience with the range of emotions in a manner that is socially tolerable and sufficiently flexible to permit spontaneous reactions as well as the ability to delay spontaneous reactions as needed.   Wikipedia In other words, it is helping children develop the tools they need to respond to situations in their life in an appropriate way.  This might include times of sadness, anger, frustration, anxiety, disappointment as well as excitement. Babies learn to soothe their upsets by being soothed by parents or care givers. Toddlers and preschoolers can learn to self regulate by be

"They" Say She Should Be Reading!

Word on the street is that children in kindergarten (age 5) should be reading. In fact, some people think that they should actually go to kindergarten reading. If you are a parent or grandparent of a preschool age child you may have been told this by a well-meaning teacher or other parent. If you have been told this, my first piece of advice is do not panic!   In order for children to learn to read there are some basic building blocks that must be in place. The building blocks necessary include: vocabulary, storytelling, and phonological awareness. I will talk about these in more detail in just a bit, but first I would like to share a story about two little girls who learned to read in two very different ways. Little Girl 1 was very verbal from a very young age. She developed a very large vocabulary, loved to listen to books and retell stories and learned the names of letters and the sounds that they made as well. Her well-meaning mother thought that she could speed up the proc