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Always Trust Your Cape

May 06, 2021

Always Trust Your Cape,

Kristen RB Peterson

If you have ever received an email from me, you may have seen my signature line.  This phrase has been near and dear to me for about 7 years.  I came upon the song “The Cape” by Guy Clarke and instantly felt connected to the lyrics.  It describes the life of a person from childhood to old age and the risks they took, always trusting their cape when they needed it the most.

I have trusted my cape.  And done some pretty epic things.  But, the cape song is not about me.  It is about you.  It is about the children we serve.  It is about your wild heart that yearns to be free.  It is the wild  inside of each of you ready to be heard.  It is the hero that will stand up for my child, your child and everyone’s child.  The hero that will fight for their right to a childhood filled with wonder, discovery, inquiry, and total cape magic.    

The children in my...

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You Can't Play - Exclusion of Others in Preschool

May 05, 2021

 

I posted this image on my Instagram and Facebook page a few days ago.  I learned really quickly that the topic of exclusion of children from other children is a controversial topic.  I believe that it is a much more in depth topic than one Instagram post or one Facebook post can dive into so I have been compiling resources for all of you (and me) to further dive into the topic of excluding children.

Here you can find an excellent podcast from Daniel Hodgins and Amy Ahola on the topic of exclusion of children and they reasons a caregiver that has built relationships with the children in their program can support all children when exclusion happens in the early childhood setting.

I came across a blog post from Teacher Tom  that explains that, if a caregiver/teacher knows the situation, exclusion can be supported in some instances.

Here is another podcast from Dan and Amy about exclusion and many reasons behind why children exclude, or if children should have...

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A Letter From Coronavirus to Parents Everywhere

Apr 13, 2020

Hey guys,

I know you probably don't want to hear from me.  I'm all you've been hearing about every day for the last month.  I'm the reason your children aren't at preschool or school or child care.  I'm the reason you might not be working right now.  I'm the reason you are all at home, for endless hours, for weeks at a time. 

But I really think you will thank me some day.  I think that I may have convinced you to take a look at life, at a day in the classroom, or a day at work.

I think you may have heard that "busy" is the new "I'm good" when someone asks you how you are or what you've been up too.

But, did you ever wonder what it would feel like to slow down and not say "busy" or "overwhelmed".  Well, I hope you know now.  It feels good, doesn't it?

I was hoping that by forcing everyone to stop all the things that aren't essential that I could show you life "on the other side of busy".

I wanted to show you what it feels like to do puzzles and...

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Preschoolers Not Paying Attention During Virtual Circle Time? Try This Instead.

Mar 28, 2020

It is hard enough to get children to sit and pay attention during an in person circle time, but try getting them to pay attention during a Zoom (or virtual) circle time and it is enough to make any teacher scream and drink vodka out of their coffee mug they have sitting nearby.  I've seen many-a-teacher asking for tips on how to get children to listen during a virtual circle time.  And I have some ideas for you to try. 

I used to DREAAAAAAADDDDDDDD circle time 8 years ago.  It was SO hard to get a class of twenty 4 and 5 year old children to sit, pay attention, learn, recite the calendar, say the ABCs, listen to the book I chose, sing the days of the week song and count the days we have been in school.

And now we are being asked to do it virtually?!?  HELL NO.

Ok, I'm not being asked to do that and I would never ask that of any of the teachers that work with me.  And I would say HELL NO if anyone even mentioned to me that I should try it.  Here is...

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A Letter to the Coronavirus From a Child Care Director

Mar 19, 2020

Dear Coronavirus,

It is 3:30am and I can't sleep.  You are making this hard.  You are making me mad.  Here are a few things that I want to talk to you about:

Child Care Crisis:

Child care workers are important.  And we have been constantly seen as unimportant by the government as evidenced by the lack of public funding for early childhood programming.  Early childhood teachers are underpaid and often don't have insurance or any other benefits of any sort.   You are making this so hard for us because we have hearts.  And we are helpers.  And we are caregivers.  But everything else is closed.  And everyone else is told to stay home.  Yet, we are encouraged to stay open.  Many of us are parents.  Yes, we need to take care of emergency workers' children.  But what about our kids?  My children are not in the age bracket our center is licensed to care for.  Where will my children go?  Am I not...

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Preschool Fight Club? Or Developmentally Appropriate Play?

Feb 26, 2020

I often wonder what people think as they drive by our outdoor classroom and see preschool children gathered around watching two children wrestle each other to the ground.  Do they think that we have a preschool fight club?  Do they throw around that 'bully' word that is so often misused in preschool age programs.  I sometimes want to step in and shield their wrestling from "people who don't get it" so that we aren't talked about in a negative way in our community.  And if you are reading this and are appalled that we let (and encourage) children to wrestle, well you should keep on reading so you can gain the confidence to let children engage in rough and tumble play in your program or home.

I hear many of you thinking, "Oh my gosh.  We could never let that happen.  They would take it too far and someone would get hurt."  Let me calm you down.

There is this thing called 'play face' that some early childhood educators use to describe what they see...

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We Ditched Our Lesson Plans for Child Led Learning

Jan 27, 2020

Today we ditched a cool thing we (the teachers) spent a lot of time on yesterday.  We had some cool items set up in the sensory table that would be good for all the cognitive and fine motor practice.  (We ended up making a makeshift sensory table later on with the same materials - see pic below)

 

We ALSO had a bunch of mannequin heads and stuff set up to play hair salon (my favorite time of the year!!!!).  We added a bunch of empty shampoo and hair spray bottles to the area as well as some squirt bottles with water.  RIGHT away, we noticed many kiddos trying to drench the mannequin's hair.  They were heading to the sink to fill bottles and cups with water.  We told them they could use the water in the spray bottles.  BUT, after having to repeat ourselves a bajillion times, we recognized that the children's needs were definitely different than what we planned for.  We ditched our beautifully set up sensory table and filled it with all the...

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The Early Childhood Education Book That Changed My Life

Jan 09, 2020

Rewind 10 years ago.  I was teaching preschool at a traditional preschool complete with circle time, calendar and teacher directed centers.  I thought I was doing what was best for children, teaching at them and filling their time with activities that I thought they could learn from.  My days were filled with "sit down, crisscross applesauce, hands in your lap" and "Shirley, are you paying attention?  Eyes on me." I had headaches when I would leave and spent hours looking for transition activities and attention grabbing songs and strategies to get kids to LEARN and PAY ATTENTION.  I was worn out directing the children in what I thought was play.  Then, I went to a conference.  I saw Lisa (Ooey Gooey Lady) Murphy as a keynote in a local ECE conference.  I took notes furiously, started following her on Facebook and then the rest of my life took a huge turn.

Lisa told her Facebook world to read a book called "Let Them Play: An Early Learning...

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The Struggle Is... OK in Early Childhood Education

Jan 06, 2020

I don't want children to be happy.  Nope.  They need to be angry and sad and have some struggles.  Here is why...

I once was a parent where I wanted to make sure my children were happy.  I went out of my way to ensure they were happy.  I wanted to feel good about my adulting because they were happy.  Happy feels good to them, it feels even better to me, and that was the way I understood life to be.

As an adult who has learned a few things in life, I have found that we learn from mistakes.  We learn through leaning into struggle and embracing it to grow from it in some way.  And this is hard.  And it doesn't feel good and it can be ugly.  But we come out stronger on the other side.  

The same is true for struggle in childhood.  We need to allow our children to feel all the feelings.  Feel happy, mad, angry, struggle, giddy, vibrant, sad and content.  When we give children the time and space to feel all the...

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Dressing Children For Outdoor Winter Play

Jan 04, 2020

You've heard this before.  But living in the arctic circle, we find that our toes still get cold and our chins freeze off it we don't wear the "right" things.  Here is the down and dirty of what your child's teacher or caregiver wishes the children would wear.  If you don't want to read all of this, there is a cool little info-graphic at the bottom of this blog post to break it all down for you.  We will start at the base and then head outward!  Also, there are links included but I am not a rep for any of these.  These are just things I have found that work well over the years.


Baselayers:  I don't wear them.  Some people do.  What is their purpose?  Helps to regulate your child's body temperature! Moves moisture away from their body during play. Synthetic materials and merino wool are materials to look for in base layers.  I don't have any favorites I recommend - these are easy to find at big box stores or outdoor gear...

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