Thinking Outside the Box — Thanks to Eric Carle

At this gift-giving time of the year, we usually think about presents that come in a box. But for this newsletter, I wanted to give you a "gift" of one of our favorite Neighborhood videos that has a great example of thinking "outside the box."  It's Fred's visit with author-illustrator Eric Carle, who has given us such wonderful books as The...

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Reflecting on Fred’s First NAEYC Keynote

As I'm getting ready to attend the Annual Conference of NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children), I've been thinking about the first time I was there. It was 1983, and not only was I presenting my first workshop at a national conference, but I also had the privilege of watching Fred inspire an audience of thousands...

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Meta-Cognition: The Follow-Up Questions

I wonder if you've heard of "meta-cognition"? It's a relatively new concept in education, and it literally means "thinking beyond" or "thinking about what you're thinking." People are just now starting to talk about it in early childhood, but I'll bet you've been encouraging it without realizing it. The focus in education used to be about asking questions to get children...

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Strengthening Social Skills

"Kindergarten Social Skills Hold Key to Success." That was the headline for a recent USA Today article about a 20-year study published in the American Journal of Public Health which followed more than 750 children. The researchers found that kindergarteners with the highest scores on "social competence" were more likely to graduate high school on time, earn a college degree and hold full-time jobs. Think about all the time and energy you...

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Helping Kids “Get” Science

There's an intriguing sign at our Pittsburgh airport: "Kids who get science get jobs." When you think about it, "getting" science starts way back in the early years. Children are natural scientists. They're curious. They're fascinated by things in the world around them. And you have many ways to support their interest in the sciences -- through the activities you offer,...

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Open-Ended Questions – “What Do You Think?”

I came back from this month's NAEYC Professional Development Institute with a renewed appreciation for open-ended questions, after hearing a number of speakers emphasizing them in all kinds of situations -- for story time, for STEM concepts, and for social-emotional development. There's a real concern that teaching has become "asking a question so you can get the right answer." But think about...

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Creativity: Why it’s so important

I just learned something fascinating about creativity. Creativity is a much better predictor of achievement in life than IQ! That's come out of the follow-up research of thousands of children who have taken the Torrence Creativity Test since 1958.  But research also shows us that since 1984, children's creativity scores have dramatically decreased. That's a major concern. But we in early...

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