Summer Professional Development with April Zajko, M.Ed.

Thanks for all those who attended “April’s Teaching Tree” trainings in May 2020! All of our trainings were held via Zoom which worked better than anticipated.

Nearly 200 Vermont based early childhood educators attended trainings this month led by April Zajko! The feedback has been amazing and I appreciate the sense of community and mutual respect that we have in our early childhood field here in Vermont.

Topics in May 2020 included:

Growing Outdoor Classrooms (6 hours) ~ introduction and practical training in how to naturalize your outdoor space

POWER: Path of Wellness, Environment, and Relationships (6 hours) ~ a personal empowerment, self-care, and community care model training offered 1 hour a week for six weeks

Natural Loose Parts (2 hours) ~ explore open ended materials that foster deep engaged play

Visioning Our Future with April & Dawn Irwin (6 hours) ~ a leadership and advocacy course offered 1 hour a week for six weeks

Finding Your Way: Ethical Decision Making (6 hours – offered as 2+2+2 model) ~ explore the NAEYC Code of Conduct and practice with real world and relevant scenarios

Sponsors in May 2020 included:

Building Bright Futures Caledonia, Essex, & Orleans

Let’s Grow Kids – “Make Way for Kids Grant” & Stephanie Carvey in Rutland, VT

Growing with Wonder in Essex, VT & Dawn Irwin

Northern Lights at Community College of Vermont

 

 

I hope to offer these same trainings again in June & July 2020! I am also designing “Nature Inspired Teacher” as a 6 hour ONLINE training. Another new training in June will be a 2 hour “Sensory Gardens”. If your network, organization, or center would like to sponsor a training send me an email! aprilzajko@gmail.com 

Please follow me at April’s Teaching Tree either on Facebook or Instagram for updates on upcoming trainings & for free ideas on nature-inspired early childhood topics!

June 2020 trainings: (I will update this as more sessions open)

“Finding Your Way: Ethical Decision Making” on June 24 & July 1 ~ There are slots open for my *FREE* 6 hour training funded by Northern Lights-   Register on the Northern Lights calendar at:  https://northernlightsccv.org/trainings/finding-your-way-ethical-decision-making-for-professionals-21/

My “Sensory Garden” training will be funded by Northern Lights at CCV. The first three sessions are full, so they will open another training on June 24 6-8pm. Registration is not yet open but check back next week on the Northern Lights calendar.

Visioning Our Future with April & Dawn Irwin (6 hours) ~ a leadership and advocacy course offered 1 hour a week for six weeks  (FULL) 

Thanks again for your ongoing support! Offering high quality professional development for early childhood educators is my teaching passion! I am honored that so many attended my trainings and I hope that they inspire your work with children!

With gratitude,

April Zajko, M.Ed.

aprilzajko@gmail.com

 

Bubble Day

~ Bubble Day ~ when my children were younger we loved to explore with bubbles and I thought I would share a post I wrote on the topic back in 2012 when I wrote about our home learning adventures! “Bubble Day” is a perfect way to celebrate the beginning of ware summer weather.

 

The Night Before:

Make a homemade bubble recipe: 1 cup of dish soap (I used Dawn, but many websites suggest Joy brand), 9 cups of water, and the secret ingredient to making super strong bubbles– glycerin. The original recipe called for 8 tablespoons of glycerin, but I don’t usually use that much.

Directions: Pour in the dish soap first then fill the rest of the bottle with water. Lastly add the glycerin and stir or shake. Then let it sit overnight! The longer you let it sit, the better the bubbles.

Let the Bubble Day festivities begin!!!

Project 1: Beaded Bubble Wands (Fine Motor)

We started the day my making our own bubble  wands by using pipe cleaners and pony beads. These are best to make BEFORE you bring out the bubbles.
Use cookie cutters to bend the pipe cleaners around to make a wide variety of shapes, then put on the beads to make them colorful and a little more durable. If you want to make really sturdy wands, make a handle out of chopstick or Popsicle stick and then wrap the pipe cleaner around it.These are so easy to make that even my 3 year old made hers on her own! Math extension ~ practice making patterns with the beads

Project 2: Wash Up Station (Sensory Play) Whenever we get bubbles I save the empty containers. On “Bubble Day” put bin on a small table. Fill a metal bowl with warm soapy water. The kids splash and play and eventually everything gets a thorough wash.
I like that this kept the kids busy for a while in the morning before it warmed up outside, and because their ‘messy play’ was just soapy water the floor in the sun room got a bit cleaner in the process!

 

Project 3: Homemade Bubble Machines (Art) – to make simply hole punch two holes on opposites side of a plastic lid of short container (such as cottage cheese, dip, etc). Fill the container with a small amount of water and dish soap, and then blow until bubbles come pouring out of the top.
Be sure kids know how to blow out so they don’t get soap in their mouth. The first time I did this my then 2.5 year old could not remember to blow out and got a large mouthful of soapy water.  (Tip:Put a pin prick at the top of the straw to prevent, or slow down, soap being sucked up. Use shorter containers like hummus tubs for little hands. The cottage cheese container worked well for my six year old.) These bubble machines are great for tub time too!

Project 4: Filling Station (Math – Volume) Explain to the kids that we wanted to fill up all of our bubble jars so that we could play bubbles anytime we wanted. We filled them in a dishpan and then used the dishpan “overflow” as our main bubble tub for outside bubble time. I stashed the majority of the filled bubble bottles away so we could use them over the next few weeks. I also immediately put the remaining mixture away and out of reach so we didn’t use it all in one playtime. Math – filling bottles is a great way to explore volume. Add plastic measuring cups and spoons and talk to further explore math concepts.

My three year old loves to just dump the bubbles so I got her busy at the wash station filling her bottles with soapy water (not the concentrated bubble mix). This way she could fill, dump, fill, dump (repeat, repeat) and I didn’t have to get all bent out of shape that she was wasting our mix. {This was a challenge before….but I think giving her alternatives and me being a bit more understanding has made Bubble Day more fun for all parties involved!}

Project 5: Play with the bubbles outside while mommy mops the floor!
To make this a peaceful playtime, I set up two stations for my kids. My son got the dishpan and selected a bunch of wands. For my three year old, I set up the outdoor water table with soapy water on one side, and bubble jars on the other side. I explained why we don’t dump them…but then I left her to play to her hearts content without policing the bottles. The next time I checked on her the bottles were dumped but she has having a blast. {Deep breath…it’s all good!}

Project 6: Bubble Challenges! (Cognitive)
Playing bubbles is fun and very open ended. Certainly you don’t need to make Bubble Day structured but I thought that it might make my older child more engaged if he had some challenges to complete. So I came up with a little list that I would whip out when he began to lose interest~

Bubble Challenges:
Catch a bubble upside down
Find the largest bubble
Find the smallest bubble
Count how many seconds you can hold a bubble for
How many bubbles can you get to connect together? Talk about double, triple, quadruple

Other thoughts that bubbled into my mind as we played today:

Indoors? We have had a successful indoor bubble station at Dabble Day, which is our local children’s day. We found that if you do the activity on a tile or linoleum floor and then lay down huge pieces of cardboard, it’s not slippery and very easy to clean up afterwards. Obviously outdoors is more fun though!

The beginning of summer is the perfect time to make a big batch of bubbles! If the bubbles are going to be stored for awhile you may want to use distilled water. I didn’t worry about it because I am pretty sure we will use up our batch pretty quickly!

Tell the kids about “Bubble Hands”. If the kids dip their hands into the soapy mixture they have a better chance of catching bubbles without them popping. It’s a great cooperative game to have the kids work together to see how many bubbles they can catch.

Saving up empty bubble bottles, wands, and mini bubble jars is an economical way to have a huge selection of bubble jars for the kids. My kids love having a wide variety of wands and after saving them for a few years we have gathered a nice selection of different shapes, sizes, and lengths.

Other fun wand making ideas:
LIDS: Draw shapes onto recycled plastic yogurt lids, and then I cut out the design. (These are fun to use as tracers at the Writing Center as well.)

CYLINDERS: Raid the recycling bin for cylinder shaped containers and then cut off the bottoms so they are tubes. Kids can dip and then blow through to make bubbles. Small sections of PVC pipe or PVC connectors would be good…I’ll add that to list of important play things to buy!

Next time we do bubble day I want to:

  • Straighten wire coat hangers and make them into over sized shapes. One tip is to use duct tape to make sure the ends are not sharp.
  • Borrow a mini baby pool from someone and try the hula hoop bubble making trick
  • Create a pulley with a straight bar so the kids can make a ‘bubble wall’ like they have at our local children’s science museum
  • Bubble painting
  • Bubble Machine, Electric version – I don’t think I would buy one of these, but maybe a friend has one we could borrow one day.
  • Bubble Wrap Rubbings – lay it on a table, place paper over it and do a crayon rubbing. A Lego base board is fun to do rubbings on as well.
  • Bubble Wrap dance party – put large pieces of bubble wrap on the floor and jump & dance!

How about you….what are some bubble ideas you like? I’d love to hear some feedback!!!

Children’s Books to Inspire Building & Architecture Study

 

Building with Blocks:

Architecture and Construction by Scholastic

Block City by Robert Louis Stevenson

Building Things by David Evans

Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale

When I Build with Blocks by Niki Alling

 

Tools for Building:

Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming

Building a House by Byron Barton

Let’s Build! by Jane Chapman

Old MacDonald had a Woodshop by Lisa Shulman

The Toolbox by Anne Rockwell (need to find)

The House I’ll Build for the Wrens by Shirley Neitzel

This is the House That Jack Built by Simms Taback

 

Homes Around the World:

A World of Homes by Kari Jensen Gold (big book)

Amazing Buildings by Kate Hayden

Castles: A First Discovery Book by G. Jeunesse

Homes Around the World by Max Moore

Homes: Shelter and Living Space by J. Foster

House and Homes by Ann Morris

 

Three Little Pigs

“Three Little Pigs” by James Marshall

“Three Little Pigs” by Patricia Siebert

“Three Little Pigs” by Paul Galdone

“The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” by Jon Scieszka

“The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf” by Mark Teague

The Three Little Pigs by James Marshall

The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell

The Fourth Pig by Teresa Celsi (the sister is the 4th pig, and helps her brothers)

The Three Pigs by David Wiesner

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas

 

 

 

Boxes for Building:

A Box Can Be Many Things by Dana Meachen Rau

A Box Story by Kenneth Kit Lamug

Christina Katerina & The Box by P.L. Gauch

Not a Box

 

 

 

Measuring Length:

How Big is a Foot by Rolf Myller

Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni

Length by H. Pluckrose

Short, Tall, Big, or Small  (big book)

Show Me How Big It Is! By Jerry Pallotta (skyscraper, p. 9)

Super Sand Castle Saturday by S.J. Murphy

Houses:

A House is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hoberman

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

The Napping House by Audrey Wood

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

 

Animal Homes:

A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle (big book)

And So They Build

Animal Homes

Animal Houses

Animals and their Hiding Places

Animals that Build Their Homes

Animals That Live in Trees

Who Lives Here?

 

Children’s Books to Inspire Collecting & Playing with Natural Materials

Thanks for dropping my April’s Teaching Tree. I am April Zajko, M.Ed. and I am nature-inspired early childhood educator. Through my blog, writing, and professional development offerings I aim toward ‘growing a holistic view of childhood’.

Children need nature now more than ever ~ fresh air, freedom, movement, and play….all important parts of raising happy and healthy children. Please subscribe to my blog by putting your email address in the top right corner!

Follow along with April’s Teaching Tree on Facebook or Instagram for a daily photo and idea to for “Growing Outdoor Classrooms”!

Books are perfect way to inspire children and families to collect and play with natural materials. Loose parts are open ended play materials foster children’s creativity and imagination!

No book list is ever complete but here is a start. I’d love to hear about books that you like to read aloud to children to inspire playing with natural loose parts! I have tried to create categories…but near the top of the list is a new book I added this year to my book collection called “Anywhere Artist” and an old favorite “Hannah’s Collection”. 

 

“In any environment, both the degree of inventiveness and creativity, and the possibility of discovery, are directly proportional to the number and kinds of variables in it.” ~Simon Nicholson

 

 

 Collections:

Collections by Margaret Ballinger and Rachel Gosset

Hannah’s Collections by Marthe Jocelyn

Look What I Found! By Deborah Schecter (Level A Reader)

Small Treasures by Akimi Gibson

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert (collection of good snowman making things)

When This Box is Full by Patricia Lillie

 

Nature:

A Stick is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play by LeUyen Pham

Bees, Snails, & Peacock Tails by Betsy Franco & Steve Jenkins

Discovering Nature’s Alphabet by Krystina Castella and Brian Boyl

No One But You by Douglas Wood

One Little Balsam Fir: A Northwoods Counting Book by Lesley A. DuTemple

Stranger in the Woods by Carl R. Sams II

 

Rocks:

A Rock is Lively by Dianna Hutts Aston

Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor

If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered Alphabet

If You Find a Rock by Peggy Christian

Let’s Go Rock Collecting by Roma Gans

Stone Soup by Jess Stockham

Rocks: Hard, Soft, Smooth, Rough

On My Beach There are Many Pebbles

Elizabeti’s Doll

Rocks, Fossils, & Arrowheads (Take Along Guides) by Laura Evert

Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran

 

Sticks, & Bark:

The Alphabet Tree by Leo Lionni

Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson

Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld

Trees, Leaves, & Bark (Take Along Guides) by Diane Burns

Clay:

When Clay Sings by Byrd Baylor

Clay Boy by Mirra Ginsburg

 

Leaves:

Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber

Leaf Man – Lois Ehlert

Leaves by Violet Findley

Leaves on the Trees by Thom Wiley

Leaves! Leaves! Leaves! By M & G. Berger

Look What I Did with a Leaf! By Morteza E. Sohi

Make a Leaf Rubbing by M. Ballinger,Gosset

The Leaves are Falling One by One by Metzger

We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by S. Metzger

When the Leaf Blew In by Steve Metzger

Why Do Leaves Change Color? By Betsy Maestro

Acorns & Squirrels

Acorns Everywhere! by Kevin Sherry

Busy Squirrels by Melvin and Gilda Berger

Chipmunk at Hollow Tree Lane by Victoria Sherrow

Earl the Squirrel by Dan Freeman

Just One! by Sam McBratney

Nuts to You! by Lois Ehlert

Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt

Squirrels by Brian Wildsmith

The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri (board book)

The Secret Life of Squirrels by Nancy Rose

Those Darn Squirrels! by Adam Rubin

 

Pinecones:

Evergreens are Green by Susan Canizares

The Pinecone Walk by Barbara Springfield

Night Tree by Eve Bunting

Shells:

What Lives in a Shell? By Kathleen Weidner Zoehfelf

Seashells, Crabs, and Sea Stars (Take Along Guide) by C.K.Tibbitts

Seashells by the Seashore by Marianne Berkes

April’s Teaching Tree ~ Upcoming Trainings Spring 2020

*Big news ~ April’s Teaching Tree has moved all of our early childhood professional development training sessions online for the remainder of Spring 2020! These sessions are approved for Vermont Northern Lights/ BFIS hours and are offered to early childhood educators for FREE thanks to our sponsors!

These sessions will fill fast but if you would like April Zajko, M.Ed. to offer a training for your ECE network or staff please send me to aprilzajko@gmail.com

~~ Growing a holistic view of childhood! ~~

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Finding Your Way: Ethical Decision Making  – 6 hours (Advance Specialized Care)

“This training uses reflection and conversation to introduce critical concepts in the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct. Participants will practice strategies to effectively manage ethical dilemmas that arise in their work with children, families, and coworkers.”  FREE  – Register at the link (Max 20) 

Choose which session works for your schedule:

A.Wednesdays, April 22 & 29  9-11 a.m. 

https://northernlightsccv.org/trainings/finding-your-way-ethical-decision-making-for-professionals-6/

B. Wednesdays, April 22 & 29  1 – 3 p.m.

https://northernlightsccv.org/trainings/finding-your-way-ethical-decision-making-for-professionals-9/

 

Building Collective Resilience = 3 day, 6 hour mini-conference — FREE — April 27-29, 2020 — Six different presenters are coming together to present a powerful online conference.  April’s session is “Powerful Tools for Community Care”  – Description: For years we have heard about the importance of self care and this continues to be important, but through the last few weeks we have seen the powerful influence and collective impact of a “Community Care”. This session will be packed with practical “Community Care” strategies we can use to support one another (both in person and through digital spaces). Topics will include: story circles, peer support chats, collaborative process art, professional reflective partner work, and finding your tribe.

Register at this link: https://www.theultimatemomentum.com/online-conference
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Growing Outdoor Classroom 6 hours – via Zoom – FREE – Max 20! 

Online sponsored by Stephanie Carvey in Rutland, Vermont 

(See description below) 

May 4, 2020 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

May 6, 2020 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

May 11, 2020 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

May 13, 2020 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm

https://northernlightsccv.org/trainings/introduction-to-growing-outdoor-classrooms-and-design-elements/

 

 

Growing Outdoor Classrooms with April Zajko, M.Ed.

Sponsored by the Caledonia &, S. Essex and the Orleans & N. Essex Building Bright Futures 

Format: Delivered by Zoom 

Time: Mondays & Thursdays, 10:30 am- Noon 

Dates: May 4, 7, 11, 14    (6 hours) Cost: FREE

Open first to early childhood educators who work in Caledonia, Orleans, Essex  until 4/27/2020. (After 4/27/2020 if slots remain the workshop will be open to other Vermont ECE professionals)

To register email aprilzajko@gmail.com

Registration is limited to 20 ~ first come first served!

 

Description: Every outdoor classroom is as unique as the school or program that designs and builds it. This training will define terms related to outdoor classrooms, give an overview of what an outdoor classroom can become, help define key factors in how outdoor classrooms differ from typical playgrounds. Participants will explore the developmental benefits of teaching in an outdoor classroom and learn how to communicate these benefits to parents. Research confirms that learning outdoors promotes child development and learning in all domains – physical, cognitive, and social emotional. By understanding the benefits of outdoor learning, participants will learn ways to share information with stakeholders as a powerful way to communicate the value of creating nature inspired learning spaces. Once stakeholders understand how outdoor classrooms positively impacts student growth, development, and learning they will be more confident in investing time and money into building or expanding the outdoor learning space. ** Whether you are starting from scratch, transforming a traditional playground into a nature-inspired play area, or expanding an existing outdoor classroom – this training will help you define and prioritize design elements for your space. Participants will create the “Outdoor Classroom Map and Vision” which is a scaled map of your current space and how you would like to transform the space. In this model participants will also list their current resources, identify barriers, and create a wish list so that their vision of an outdoor classroom begins to take shape. 

 Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will create a glossary of terms related to  outdoor classrooms and explore an overview of what an outdoor classroom can become in early childhood programs.
  2. Participants will identify key factors in how outdoor classrooms differ from typical playgrounds. 
  3. Participants will explore the developmental benefits of teaching in an outdoor classroom and learn how to communicate these benefits to parents. 
  4. Participants will learn ways to share information with stakeholders as a powerful way to communicate the value of creating nature inspired learning spaces. 
  5. Participants will create the “Outdoor Classroom Map and Vision” which is a scaled map of the current space and how you would like to transform the space.
  6. Participants will define and prioritize design elements for their space. Participants will be guided to list their current resources, identify barriers, and create a wish list so that their vision of an outdoor classroom.

 

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P.O.W.E.R. – Path of Wellness Environment and Relationships  

Sponsored by the Caledonia &, S. Essex and the Orleans & N. Essex Building Bright Futures 

Format: Delivered by Zoom 

Time: Friday mornings 8-9 a.m. 

Dates:  May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, & June 5

6 hours 

Cost: FREE

Open first to early childhood educators who work in Caledonia, Orleans, Essex  until 4/27/2020. 

 

To register email aprilzajko@gmail.com 

Registration is limited to 20 ~ first come first served!

 

(After 4/27/2020 if slots remain the workshop will be open to other Vermont ECE professionals)

Description: As childcare providers it is easy to feel like we are giving away our power and begin to feel burned out. During this time of social distancing and facing the COVID 19 pandemic we are even more overwhelmed in how to care for ourselves. We will explore the eight domains of wellness and determine which areas in life we need to add focus and attention. We will discuss ways to improve the environments that we live, work, and socialize that align with our core values. We will brainstorm how to develop nurturing and supportive relationships as a way to build support for one another.  Throughout the six week session participants will have the support of an ongoing group that will give them the opportunity for growth and transformation as they find their own path back to reclaiming their inner power. 

 Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will practice recognizing and addressing issues related to vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue.
  • Participants will explore the eight domains of wellness and determine which areas in their life they need to add focus and attention as a powerful way to develop meaning self-care routines.
  • Participants will discuss ways to improve the environments that we live, work, and socialize to align with our core values. Journal prompts and guidance on how to begin a Reflective Practice will help providers become intentional in how they create safe, nurturing learning and work environments.
  • Participants will create self-care actions plans with daily, monthly, and yearly goals to revitalize their own personal wellness.
  • Participants will brainstorm how to develop nurturing and supportive relationships with other child care providers as a powerful way to find support in the field.
  • Participants will explore how to establish “professional support teams” and “community care” models in order to foster joy and longevity in the field of Early Childhood Education

 

Virtual Teaching with Young Children

“Virtual Teaching with Young Children ~ Out of the Box thinking for Early Childhood Educators” 

By April Zajko, M.Ed.

3/27/2020  – rough draft form for now! 🙂

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None of us have a page in our early childhood education (ECE) programs about what to do when a worldwide pandemic hits. None of us as schools, whether preschool or higher education, have a detailed plan for what to do when we need to close our program to protect the health and well being of our students or staff. None of us were ready for the cascading events that unfolded over the last two weeks.

So please….do not for one second feel like you didn’t do enough this week to meet the needs of the children or families in your early childhood programs. We each are doing the best we can to figure out how to precede.

It’s the end of week and I promised the participants on my plethora of Zoom Calls entitled “Virtual Teaching with Young Children” that I would create a blog post as a “round- up” of the information and resources I had gathered. My voice is hoarse from all the Zooms, webinars, and Facetimes I hosted and participated in this week. When the WiFi didn’t hold out….we even moved to chatting by landline!

 

I also promised my family I would log off the computer by 5 pm on Friday and would be screen-free on Saturday 3/28/2020. So I am going to keep my word to both my ECE friends and to my family…this is what I have to share so far.

 

*Please subscribe to my blog  www.aprilsteachingtree.com as I will update and refine this post next week.

 

 

Rooted in best practice ~ Guiding Thoughts:

  • There is no such thing as online preschool! These virtual methods are to help serve the needs of our children and the families we support. We will always need high quality early childhood programs!
  • Self care is more essential now than ever ~ please care for yourself first, then parent, then serve as an early childhood educator ~ this sequence is essential!
  • Developmentally appropriate practice – this is the opportunity to share practical, easy to understand ideas for parents so they know how to help their child learn through PLAY
  • Content that we deliver must be play based
  • Nature helps us during times of crisis ~ content needs to encourage outdoor play
  • PLAY is the curriculum in early childhood
  • Even our online offerings should promote the holistic development of children ~ physical, cognitive, and social-emotional. We are growing healthy and happy children and so during a pandemic we need to protect children and PLAY is a powerful way to do this!
  • Worksheets are not developmentally appropriate for preschool age children. Sending home a packet of ‘sheets’ is not the way to provide for families in crisis.
  • If you already sent home a packet of worksheets or are required to continue to send home worksheets….it’s okay. No guilt.
  • Apps do not replace real life interactions
  • Screen time limits are important for preschoolers (link to guidelines)
  • Infants and toddlers should not be on screens (link to research)

 

Virtual platforms are tools that we are learning and implementing but it takes time to learn how to use these effectively.

Live & Interactive Platforms (link to comparisons)

Morning Meeting Model using Zoom (link to Miss April’s video)

Interactive Family Art Lesson (link to Miss April’s video)

 

 

Parental involvement:

Poll for time availability

Inventory access to technology

Clear feedback will help us figure out how to make this work – survey questions

 

Questions and Worries:

 

Children’s Privacy –

 

Equity –

 

Copyright infringement – artists include children’s authors and illustrators; if you are reading a book in a public forum or posting to YouTube be sure you have read information about this (link)

 

 

“What does the research say about Virtual Teaching with Young Children?”

 

Still working on:

 

Schedule of Zoom Q&A calls the week of March 29th:   (will be posted by Sunday evening)

 

Schedule of “April’s Teaching Tree” online trainings that will count for Professional Development hours:  (will be posted by April 1, 2020)

 

This blog post is clearly in draft form….check back next week for a little more polished document! I need to log off and go back to my own family! ((BIG VIRTUAL HUGS))

 

 

 

Resources

  

Watch the video “Working Virtually with Children” that can be found at my friend, Sally Haughey’s website “Fairy Dust Teaching”.  If you are going to offer live group chats (such as Zoom) check out her free printable at the same line, “20 Zoom Activities: Simple and Engaging Activities with Young Children” https://fairydustteaching.com/elibrary/

 “How to Tell Stories to Children” – Brush up on your own story telling skills by watching this   video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJ6PRdA14So

Play by Age – ideas for ways to playfully support learning and development The activities are developmentally appropriate for each age category and support multiple domains. https://www.learning4kids.net/

 

“Virtual Teaching with Young Children” ~ Zoom calls

Join the “Virtual Teaching with Young Children Zoom calls”  hosted by April Zajko, M.Ed.

Do you want to learn more about “Virtual Teaching with Young Children”?

Are you finding yourself learning technology that you never thought you would need to use with your young students?

One of the best things about the challenges we have faced over the last couple of weeks is that we have learned how to innovate and learn new skills!

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Thursday 3/26 10 a.m.

Thursday 3/26 2 p.m.

Friday 3/27 9 a.m.

Tuesday 3/31 2-3 p.m.

Thursday 4/2 2-3 p.m.

Join me on Tuesdays and Thursday 2-3 p.m. throughout the month of April 2020 for informational support calls via Zoom

Email me for a link:  aprilzajko@gmail.com

 

 

Description: There are so many wonderful examples of how early childhood educators (ECE) have stepped up these last two weeks to connect with both children and families in these times of quarantine. We know that there is ‘no such thing as online preschool’ but in this time of quarantine Early Childhood Educators are looking for ways to stay connected to their students and the families that they serve. Join April Zajko for one, two, or three Zoom calls to get some ideas, have a few laughs, and socialize with other ECE folks while working from home!

NOTE: If you are *NEW* to Zoom and want to practice some of the tools…log in 10 minutes early for a short tutorial. The calls will begin at the time listed and will last 1 hour.

Email April ahead of time if you have specific questions or concerns you’d like answered. aprilzajko@gmail.com

 

These Zooms are FREE. There will be no Professional Development hours offered since the structure is open and there is ample time for Q&A

April Zajko, M.Ed. is a licensed Early Childhood Educator and runs an educational consulting business, April’s Teaching Tree, based in Vermont. She teaches early childhood community college courses and has led in-person professional development since 2011.

Garden Grants Opportunities

While presenting my “Growing Outdoor Classroom” professional development this fall many participants asked for help in locating grants to help defray the costs. In an upcoming Module called “Funding & Power of Story”, I will share lots of tips and tricks to finding money and resources for your Outdoor Classroom. (Keep in touch by subscribing to my blog by adding your email to my newsletter subscription on the top right column.)

This blog post is a collection of  Garden Grant Opportunities to help you get started. Many funders have annual awards with various deadlines, so you will need to click around and mark the calendar for when grants open and when deadlines are approaching. Writing grants is easier than it sounds. The best tip is to read through ALL of the guidelines and make sure to pick grants that match the focus of your outdoor classroom or garden. There are literally thousands of grants out there….and this is just a sampling!

KidsGardening Grant Opportunities
KidsGardening has the most extensive list of different grants that are awarded throughout the year. https://kidsgardening.org/grant-opportunities/

Youth Garden Grant 2020 = deadline is Dec. 17th and it looks pretty easy to apply. Garden grant for any nonprofit organization, public or private school, or youth program in the United States or US Territories planning a new garden program or expanding an established one that serves at least 15 youth between the ages of 3 and 18 is eligible to apply! https://kidsgardening.org/2020-youth-garden-grant/

Head Start Garden Grant Program
Sponsored by Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation, this grant program is specifically available to Head Start Programs https://www.nhsa.org/our-work/initiative/gro-more-good-garden-grants

KaBOOM! Playground Grants
KaBoom! offers grants to improve playgrounds  https://kaboom.org/grants/build_it_with_kaboom

Seed Money
Seed Money is a national nonprofit based in Maine that provides grants, crowdfunding opportunities, and training to food garden projects around the country and world. Check out their website to see the kinds of projects that have already been funded. https://seedmoney.org/

Shade Structure Grant
“The American Academy of Dermatology offers a “Shade Structure Grant Program” which awards grants of up to $8,000 to public schools and non-profit organizations for installing permanent shade structures for outdoor locations that are not protected from the sun, such as playgrounds, pools, or recreation spaces.” https://www.aad.org/member/career/volunteer/shade

Wild Ones Seeds for Education Grants
If adding native plants to your landscape is your garden focus, research the Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Fund which awards from $150 to $500 to each selected grant project to purchase native plants and seeds to help establish a hands-on nature education area for youth engagement.  https://wildones.org/ (Click on Seeds for Education near top of website)

Annies Grants for Gardens Program Grants are open each year in August, https://www.annies.com/giving-back/grants-for-gardens  Or  you can download a beginner’s guide to creating a school garden anytime at this link –https://www.annies.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Growing-School-Gardens_Annies-Homegrown.pdf

 

Check out other “April’s Teaching Tree” blog posts related to Gardening and Food Education:

Gardening Book for Teachers

Communicating Food Education & Mealtime to Families

Seeds, seeds, seeds

Farm to School Early Education Resources

Sprouting in a Jar