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Preschool Shopping? What to Look for in 2018 and Beyond

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We have a great deal more knowledge today about how young children learn best and deeply than we had even five years ago.We all did letter-of-the-week.We all hung up those well-marketed, one-dimensional preschool calendars and made them a focus of circle time.We all had children created crafts – rows of nearly identical penguins and houses and farm animals were hung in our hallways as if they were evidence of learning and not actually evidence far less meaningful memorization.We were taught that way when we were young and many of us became teachers in a time when all of that was valued.We didn’t know better.In 2018, we know much better.
You want your children to become critical thinkers who can make decisions, have confidence in their own ability to analyze, can try and reflect and who have had opportunities in early childhood to learn key socialization skills.You need them to know that they can experiment, make a mistake and change course.They are growing up in a different world than …

Good-bye, Letter-of-the-Week: A Better Way to Teach Literacy

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I was clicking through the many channels on my cable television and happened upon one of my favorites – “The Miracle Worker.”I have always been fascinated by this story about when teacher Anne Sullivan started working for the Keller family in 1887.She was hired to teach 7 year old deaf and blind Helen who had no means of communication.Helen had literally no way to connect to the world – she couldn’t see and she couldn’t hear – until Anne made a connection.They went on to become lifelong companions and friends.
When I was a girl, I watched “The Miracle Worker” with great interest because I had a great uncle who was deaf.I watched my uncle sign and I knew how important his sight was in his ability to connect and function. I was enthralled by this true story of someone who couldn’t see sign language but had to feel it in her hands.
As the years went on, I watched this through a different lens – that of a person who teaches.I was inspired by the power of the relationship between Helen and A…