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  • A critical learning period for all children is the time from birth until they enter kindergarten. The articles below provide many activities, suggestions and background information to help your child learn during their preschool years. Related areas at KidSource Online include: Early Learning . If you are looking for more articles on kindergarten, visit our K-12 area.

    Our rating system for these Learning and Education articles is:
    • - Best, in depth and most helpful overall
    • - Very Good, but more specific in focus
    • - Good reference material

    Early Childhood: Where Learning Begins: Geography

    With this book we hope you as parents will get ideas that will use your children's play to help them learn more geography--the study of the Earth and its human, animal, and plant population. Most of the suggestions in this book are geared to children from 2 to 5 years of age. Parents of children with disabilities can use the activities in this book, although some may have to be adapted.

    Read*Write*Now! Activities for Reading and Writing Fun

    Read Write Now! Activities for Reading and Writing Fun has been developed by national reading experts for you to use with children, ages birth to Grade 6. The booklet has three sections, one for activities for infants and preschoolers, the second for children through Grade Two, and the third for older children.

    How Do I Know If My Child's Teacher Is Qualified?

    If we search our memories when asked to think of a person who made a difference in our lives, the individual we remember will, most likely, be a teacher. Teachers frequently are remembered as caring and empathetic, as enthusiastic,positive individuals with a love for learning; as experts in their subject area; and as believers in the worth of all students and their ability to succeed. There are other qualities, traits, skills and knowledge that a teacher must possess. This article will help parents evaluate the qualifications of their child's teacher.

    Helping Your Child Get Ready for School

    A great article with many activities for children from birth through age 5. The activities are practical, low-cost (or no-cost) and are a great source for inspiration for what to do "on a rainy day". The article also includes supporting information about what it takes to be ready for school, both academically and socially. A must read for every parent.

    How Can I Improve My Child's Reading

    How Can I Improve My Child's Reading Parents are more concerned about their child's progress in reading than in any other subject taught in school, and rightfully so. In order for students to achieve in math, science, English, history, geography, and other subjects, reading skills must be developed to the point that most of them are automatic. This very good article will give parents suggestions and techniques to encourage reading by their children, beginning during the child's preschool years.

    ADHD and Children Who Are Gifted

    Frequently, bright children have been referred to psychologists or pediatricians because they exhibited certain behaviors (e.g., restlessness, inattention, impulsivity, high activity level, day-dreaming) commonly associated with a diagnosis of ADHD. Almost all of these behaviors, however, might be found in bright, talented, creative, gifted children. Until now, little attention has been given to the similarities and differences between the two groups, thus raising the potential for misidentification in both areas-giftedness and ADHD. This digest provides specific differences between the two groups that will help parents and educators better understand and evaluate their children.

    Raising a Reader

    Children learn to love the sound of language before they ever notice the existence of printed words on a page. As parents and caregivers, you can help lay down the foundation for a love of reading and nurture children's development. Here are some things you can do to raise a lifelong reader.

    Summertime Funtime Activities

    A new activity for you to do with your child each day during the summer - they're fun, educational and can be done with children of all ages!

    More Read*Write*Now! Activities for Reading and Writing Fun

    This booklet has been specially prepared to provide ideas for families, teachers, librarians, and other learning partners to use with all children -- including those with disabilities -- to help them read well and independently by the end of the third grade. The booklet also includes activities to help improve children's reading and writing skills through sixth grade.

    Nurturing Giftedness In Young Children

    With young gifted children, their uneven development may confuse and concern parents and educators and may mask the extent of their giftedness. This digest helps parents and educators recognize and understand the early development of gifted children and helps the adults chose a program or school that is best for their child.

    Learning Partners -- Let's Do Geography!

    Geography is the study of Planet Earth. Help your child learn Geography with this Learning Partners article where it has suggestions and activities you can do with your child to learn more about Geography.

    Seven Stages of Growth

    A calendar for seven weeks of learning activities based on the President's "Call to Action".

    I Want It My Way! Problem-Solving Techniques with Children Two to Eight

    An excerpt from I Want It My Way! by Sue Dinwiddie, a book containing problem-solving techniques with children two to eight. It teachs problem-solving skills from a skilled facilitator with young children. This book contains effective strategies to deal successfully with about children's quarrels, group problems, adult-child problems, and conflicts of developmentally young children. It also has over 15 real-life episodes from child care professionals to help you hone your skills.

    Gifted Children - Activity and Resource Calendar for Parents

    This great calendar provides a wealth of information, ideas, activities and resources for parents of gifted and talented children. Use it as a reference for articles, books, websites, mailing lists, associations and more.

    Joy and Loss: The Emotional Lives of Gifted Children

    As Ellen Winner explains in her outstanding book, Gifted Children, there is a myth that gifted children are better adjusted, more popular, and happier than average children. The challenging reality is that more frequently, nearly the opposite is true. For most gifted children, childhood is more pleasurable and more fulfilling because they derive joy from challenge and reward from work. At the same time, it is a childhood that is more painful, more isolated, and more stressful because they do not fit in with their peers and they set high expectations.

    Helping Your Child Learn To Read

    Another very good article with many activities for children from infancy through age 10 with many of these activities designed for parents and children to do together. You can show that learning is fun and important and can encourage a love of reading in your child.

    Early Childhood: Where Learning Begins - Mathematics

    The activities in this booklet are designed to promote the learning and development of the "whole child" In other words, they don't just focus on developing mathematics in young children. Instead, these are sets of activities that provide young children with experiences that will help to get them ready for kindergarten. These activities build language skills, increase thinking and problem-solving abilities, develop social skills, promote large and small muscle development, and increase general knowledge.

    Meet Professor Tobbs - Educational Activities

    Educational activities for children ages 3 to 10 for developing important mathematical and thinking skills. Over 150 activities, divided into 3 age groups.

    Kindergarten Readiness

    Is my child ready for kindergarten? What are the readiness factors for kindergarten? Should I send my child with a late summer or fall birthday to kindergarten, or should I wait another year? These are some of the questions puzzling parents as they look ahead to elementary school.

    Block Play: Building A Child's Mind

    Unit blocks may not be as sophisticated as some toys we find in stores or on TV commercials, but they are ideal for learning because they involve the child as a whole -- the way she moves her muscles, the way she discovers how different objects feel in her hands, the way she thinks about spaces and shapes, and the way she develops thoughts and interests of her own.

    How Can Parents Identify a High Quality Preschool

    This article talks about the identifying preschools and how even though most preschool programs must conform to state regulations and satisfy minimum standards of health and safety, it is a good idea to ask the staff whether the program is up to date with its state license and is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

    Books for Children

    This is a great list of noteworthy children's books published in 1993 and was compiled by the Children's Literature Center at the Library of Congress. It is a good complement to the list of Timeless Classics.

    Phonemic Awareness: An Important Early Step in Learning To Read

    This Digest discusses the concept of the awareness that spoken language is made up of discrete sounds, why this concept is so important to early childhood educators, its relation to the debate on the best type of reading instruction, and finally, teaching methods that may help children in developing such an awareness.

    Seven Ways For Young Children To Be Smart

    Each of us possesses seven "intelligences," or ways to be smart. Some of us are more adept at using our hands; others are good at making rhymes, or singing songs. Each type of intelligence gives us something to offer to the world. What makes us unique is the way each intelligence expresses itself in our lives.

    Math and the Myth of 1,2,3

    Adults should recognize that games such as sorting and putting objects in sequence are actually early experiments in math, even if they don't look much like geometry! Here are some everyday opportunities for children to begin thinking about numbers.

    Early Childhood Growth Chart

    An Early Childhood Growth Chart for families and caregivers which gives age-appropriate activities to promote language development for young children.

    Creativity for Emotional Intelligence: Ideas and Activities

    One key component of emotional intelligence is creativity. What is creativity and how do parents foster it in their children? In this article you'll find activities that you can do with your children to foster a creative spirit. You'll also find some thought provoking questions that your children will enjoy puzzling over.

    Ready*Set*Read, An America Reads Challenge

    Ready*Set*Read, An America Reads Challenge is a booklet that is filled with activities and ideas that you can use to help your young children learn about language. Most of the activities in READY*SET*READ are simple to do with materials found in your home or at the library. The activities can be added to your life at home as you and your children play, work, and grow together.

    Homeschooling Gifted Students: An Introductory Guide for Parents

    During the last 20 years, increasing numbers of families in the United States have chosen to educate their children at home or outside the conventional school environment. Current estimates range from 500,000 to 1.2 million students. Of that number, a significant percentage of families have chosen homeschooling as the educational option for their gifted children. There are many issues to explore when families consider homeschooling their children.

    Top 10 Simple Tips to Help Keep Children Safe When They Go Back-To-School

    RUN * YELL * TELL, Ltd., has 10 tips for parentsgearing up to send their children back-to-school. According to Jones,"Children must be prepared, as early as age four, with pro-active rules that will help keep them safe. If parents communicate this in a casual manner, the process doesn't have to be scary."

    Integrate Computers in the Early Childhood Curriculum

    Despite revolutionary advances in the field of educational computing, technology remains simply a tool. How teachers implement computer use in their schools is critical. Only when computers are integrated into the curriculum as a vital element for instruction and are applied to real problems for a real purpose, will children gain the most valuable computer skill--the ability to use computers as natural tools for learning.

    Doing Science with Your Children

    Helping your children acquire skills for understanding the world will enhance their success in science. Being excited about your children's science interests and schoolwork can promote further growth and quests for knowledge. This article is full of ideas, activities and additional references to encourage an interest in science, or an awareness of the physical world, in your child. While most of the ideas are for young children (4 and up), some apply even to newborn infants.

    Top 10 Signs of a Good Kindergarten Classroom

    Kindergarten is a time for children to expand their love of learning, their general knowledge, their ability to get along with others, and their interest in reaching out to the world. While kindergarten marks an important transition from preschool to the primary grades, it is important that children still get to be childrenAt this stage, children are already eager to learn and possess an innate curiosity. Teachers with a strong background in early childhood education and child development can best provide for children what they need to grow physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Here are 10 signs of a good kindergarten classroom.

    What Should Be Learned In Kindergarten?

    Most American children attend kindergarten, and many participate in all-day kindergarten programs. While recent reform efforts have focused on extending the kindergarten day, research suggests that how kindergartners spend their time may be more critical than the amount of time children spend in class. In other words, longer kindergarten days in unsuitable activities yield no educational advantages over the traditional half-day kindergarten program. This article provides a good overview of the key elements for a kindergarten program.

    Helping Children Learn About Reading

    Some parents assume that learning to read starts with memorizing the alphabet and sounding out words, but actually the fundamentals of reading begin much earlier. Adults lay the foundation for reading every day, when they point out objects and describe what they are doing while dressing an infant, grocery shopping with a toddler, or cooking with a preschooler.

    Parents As Partners In Children's Learning

    Parents and teachers may look at young children's learning from different perspectives, but they share a common goal: making sure that children receive the best possible education. Mutual respect and communication between programs and families takes advantage of both perspectives to provide children with the kind of care and education that will help them thrive.

    10 Signs of a Great Preschool

    If your child is between the ages of 3 and 6 and attends a child care center, preschool, or kindergarten program, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) suggests you look for these 10 signs to make sure your child is in a good classroom.

    Helping Your Highly Gifted Child

    Most parents greet the discovery that their child is not merely gifted but highly or profoundly gifted with a combination of pride, excitement, and fear. They may set out to find experts or books to help them cope with raising such a child, only to find there are no real experts, only a couple of books, and very little understanding of extreme intellectual potential and how to develop it. This digest deals with some areas of concern and provides a few practical suggestions based on the experience of other parents and the modest amount of research available.

    Academic Redshirting and Young Children

    Academic redshirting for young children refers to the practice of postponing entrance into kindergarten of age-eligible children in order to allow extra time for socioemotional, intellectual, or physical growth. This Digest discusses what studies have said thus far about redshirting and its potential effects, and offers suggestions for parents considering delaying their child's entrance into kindergarten.

    Assessing the Development of Preschoolers

    Parents often wonder if the development of their preschooler is going well. This article focuses on the question of individual growth - is the preschooler's development going so well that he or she can be described as thriving? As parents look at their own children's behavior and achievements in the categories given, they can determine if any aspect of their child's development needs special encouragement, support, or intervention.

    A Guide to Help Children with Reading, Writing, Math and Science

    This is a four-part article providing general activities for toddlers to gradeschool children. The activities are fun, practical and will be enjoyed by you and your child. Another great source for ideas for what to do on a rainy day!

    How Can I Find A High Quality Preschool Program?

    When looking for a preschool program, you will first need to consider your particular needs and preferences. Next, not only should the program conform to state regulations and satisfy standards of health and safety, you should consider the characteristics of your child, of the program, of the preschool staff, and of the program's physical environment. This article will guide you through each of these considerations.

    Discovering Mathematical Talent

    The fate of mathematically talented students will be determined largely by the ability of their parents and educators to discover and nurture the special ability of the students. This digest shows that by discovering the mathematical talent of these students early and by using that knowledge to provide appropriate academic nurture, we have the greatest chance to help these individuals reach their gifted potential.

    Encouraging Creativity in Early Childhood Classrooms

    When educators fully understand how exploration, representation, and communication feed one other, they can best help children achieve their creative potential. This digest considers both teacher-initiated and child-initiated strategies for enhancing young children's self-expression and creativity. Examples of how a classroom may be modified to best support children's emerging creativity are given.

    Nurturing Social-Emotional Development Of Gifted Children

    Gifted children can have social- emotional developmental problems arising from their characteristic strengths. This article shows how these problems are associated with their strengths and it provides ways that parents and teachers can prevent or minimize these problems.

    Children's Literacy Development: Suggestions for Parent Involvement

    Parents are a child's first and most influential teachers! Free and inexpensive resources are available to help you fulfill the important responsibility of raising a literate child. This article gives a quick digest of ideas and resources to get you started.

    Fostering Academic Creativity in Gifted Students

    Creative learning is a natural, healthy human process that occurs when people become curious and excited. Children prefer to learn in creative ways rather than just memorizing information provided by a teacher or parents and they can learn better and sometimes faster. This digest covers creative behavior in children and outlines what parents and teachers can do to foster creativity, for all types of students, not just gifted ones.

    Readiness For Kindergarten

    This article covers the key issues involved in becoming ready for kindergarten, including social, behavioral, language and sensory-motor expectations.

    Ideas for More Reading Fun

    A fun article from the Hooked on Phonics Program with examples of teaching techniques for pre- and early-readers.

    What Can I Teach My Young Child About the Environment?

    When should environmental education begin - in the third grade? first grade? kindergarten? The answer is -- even earlier. Environmental education based on life experiences should begin during the very earliest years of life. Such experiences play a critical role in shaping lifelong attitudes, values, and patterns of behavior toward natural environments.

    How Parents Can Support Gifted Children

    The key to raising gifted children is respect: respect for their uniqueness, respect for their opinions and ideas and respect for their dreams. Gifted children need parents who are responsive and flexible, who will go to bat for them when they are too young to do so for themselves. At home, children need to know that their uniqueness is cherished and that they are appreciated as persons just for being themselves. This digest helps parents understand their unique roll in raising gifted children and it contains a good list of indicators to help parents recognize giftedness in their children.

    Can you see what I see? Cultivating Self-expression Through Art

    This publication from the National Association for the Education of Young Children discusses the importance and the benefits of developing a child's involvement in art. Some 'useful tips to inspire the Picasso in your child' are included.

    Puzzles in Early Childhood Education

    When children work on puzzles, they are actually 'putting the pieces together' in more ways than one. Puzzles help children build the skills they need to read, write, solve problems, and coordinate their thoughts and actions- all of which they will use in school and beyond.

    Ready or not...Preparing young children for the classroom

    Just when you've settled into the routine of the school year, it's time to think ahead to next year. With many preschools and kindergartens now taking applications for next fall, parents may find themselves asking: Will my child be ready? Will he measure up?

    On Standardized Testing

    How many of us really believe that a child's intelligence, achievement, and competence can be represented adequately by standardized tests? Do we believe that any distribution curve is capable of classifying all children? These are important issues for parents and educators and are discussed in this article which presents the case for reducing standardized testing in the primary grade classrooms.

    Adopted Children in the Early Childhood Classroom

    Adoption in the United States is on the rise--national estimates indicate that 1 million children live with adoptive parents (Stolley, 1993). As the number of adopted children in classrooms continues to rise each year, early childhood programs must begin to educate teachers about adoption issues. Adoption awareness will help teachers support young children who are trying to understand, and adjust to, their adoptive status.

    Language and Literacy Environments in Preschools

    Children live in homes that support literacy development to differing degrees. Because of this variation in the home environment, many children need high-quality preschool and school environments and excellent primary instruction to be sure of reading success.

    Motivation and Transfer in Language Learning

    Transfer and motivation play important roles in learning. Transfer, the application of prior knowledge to new learning situations, is often seen as a learning goal, and thus the extent to which transfer occurs is a measure of learning success. Motivation, defined as the impetus to create and sustain intentions and goal-seeking acts, is important because it determines the extent of the learner's active involvement and attitude toward learning.

    Planning for Parent Participation in Schools for Young Children

    Parents need to be actively involved in their child's education. However, it is not always easy for parents to become involved given the many demands upon them. This article outlines how teachers can plan parent participation strategies for their own classrooms to take into account the complexity of today's family life. The guidelines here will also help parents become more involved and will help parents know what to expect when working with their child's teacher.

    Technology and young children: What Parents Should Know

    It is not unusual to see a young child today slip a CD into a stereo system, set a digital alarm clock, or even program a VCR. Children quickly learn to use technology that is part of their daily lives, often with greater ease than their parents or other adults. But does their ability to do these complex tasks really enhance children's development? Does using technology really teach children new skills? What should parents know about the role of technology in children's learning?

    Early Ways To Predict Poor Readers

    The article describes how children who have trouble reading often have underlying speech and language problems. Being able to predict which children will have trouble reading would allow speech-language pathologists and others to begin to work with them before they fail.

    Family Literacy

    This Digest discusses the family as a preferred place of literacy development and highlights family literacy initiatives that reflect respect for the family as a site of learning.

    Celebrating Holidays In Early Childhood Programs

    Holiday celebrations can be wonderful opportunities for children to learn about the traditions and values that are cherished parts of people's lives. But many early childhood professionals wonder what holidays to celebrate in the program or classroom and how to respect the cultures represented by all children. Many parents, too, wonder why programs celebrate specific holidays or why they discourage any celebration at all.

    Phonics and whole language learning: a balanced approach to beginning reading

    Children cannot learn to read without an understanding of phonics. All children must know their ABCs and the sounds that letters make in order to communicate verbally. The question in early childhood programs is not whether to teach "phonics" or "whole language learning" but how to teach phonics in context - rather than in isolation - so that children make connections between letters, sounds, and meaning.

    Technology in Early Childhood Programs

    As technology becomes more accessible to early childhood programs and computer software becomes more user-friendly, early childhood educators have a responsibility to examine its impact on children and prepare themselves to use it for all children's benefit. Here are some tips for professionals in evaluating computer programs, which can be used -- like any other learning tool -- in developmentally appropriate or inappropriate ways.

    Helping children learn about reading

    Some parents assume that learning to read starts with memorizing the alphabet and sounding out words, but actually the fundamentals of reading begin much earlier. Adults lay the foundation for reading every day. The most important thing is that teaching children about reading becomes an activity that brings children closer to the caring adults in their lives. Here are some tips for families who want to help their children make connections between meaning and words.

    Assessment of Preschool Children

    Major changes in the level of interest and evaluation methods employed in preschool assessment have occurred in the past decade. The current trend is toward an ecological, child-centered approach which includes trans- or multi-disciplinary evaluations. Such approaches evaluate the "total child" rather than a specific area.

    The Portfolio and Its Use: Developmentally Appropriate Assessment of Young Children

    The portfolio is a record of the child's process of learning: what the child has learned and how she has gone about learning; how she thinks, questions, analyzes, synthesizes, produces, creates; and how she interacts - intellectually, emotionally and socially - with others. Wide use of portfolios can stimulate a shift in classroom practices and education policies toward schooling that more fully meets the range of children's developmental needs.

    Holidays Celebrations Around The World

    The growing ethnic and cultural diversity of children in programs and schools throughout the United States provides teachers and child care professionals the opportunity to rethink how to introduce culturally and developmentally appropriate holiday activities to young children. If used sparingly, holiday activities can contribute to anti-bias curriculum because they are fun to do and participating in celebrations and rituals enhances children's feelings of being part of a close-knit group.

    Music Appreciation: A Universal Language For All Ages

    Children are natural musicians, and exposure to music during the early years enhances the learning process by promoting language development, creativity, coordination, and social interaction. Caregivers can play an important role in incorporating music and movement into a child's life.

    Educating Exceptional Children

    They are the more than 4.5 million children and youth in this country who have physical, mental, or behavioral handicaps. Ranging in age from birth to 21, these children and youth with exceptionalities require the assistance of special educators in order to benefit from education. This digest provides a good overview of key issues, trends and programs for exceptional children.

    Helping Early Childhood Teacher Education Students Learn Internet

    The Internet is a vast community of people and resources. By integrating Internet use into early childhood teacher education programs, early childhood teacher educators enhance the educational experiences of their students and prepare them to be active participants in the global ECE community.

    Fall: Colorful and crunchy

    The fall is a great time for children to explore the outdoors, learn about seasonal transitions and develop a variety of cognitive skills. Nature-related experiences can foster a child's emerging sense of wonder, and the earliest years of life are the best time to begin providing direct, on-going interactions with the natural world.

    Music Beats Computers at Enhancing Early Childhood Development

    A research team exploring the link between music and intelligence reports that music training -- specifically piano instruction -- is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children's abstract reasoning skills necessary for learning math and science.

    Another Look at What Young Children Should Be Learning

    This Digest first defines the concept of development for young children and then outlines some ways to approach both the "what" and "when" questions in terms of what we are learning from research about the effects of various curriculum approaches.

    A Developmental Approach to Assessment of Young Children

    For more than a decade, early childhood educators have been discussing issues of curriculum and teaching methods in terms of their developmental appropriateness. Clarifying the main purpose for which young children are assessed can help determine what kinds of assessments would be most appropriate and awareness of the potential errors of each evaluation or assessment strategy can help minimize errors in interpretation.

    Giftedness and the Gifted: What's It All About?

    Using a broad definition of giftedness, a school system could expect to identify 10% to 15% or more of its student population as gifted and talented. This digest helps parents and educators understand the definition of gifted and how to recognize gifted children.

    Five Ways to Stimulate Brain Power in Your Child

    Now, new brain research shows that there are specific things parents can do that will have a permanent and positive effect on a child's ability to learn.

    A Lesson from CPAs on the New Education Tax Breaks

    The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 includes some education-related tax provisions that can benefit families with children in college.

    Parents of Younger Children Should 'Get Ready for College' During Financial Aid Month

    Whether children are enrolled in elementary school or just preparing for kindergarten, it's never too early to begin planning and saving for college. This news story describes how parents can obtain a free booklet from Nellie Mae, the nation's largest nonprofit student loan provider.

    Professional Training for Teachers of the Gifted and Talented

    This Digest examines the roles of teachers of the gifted and talented, the roles of regular classroom teachers, and ways they work together. It also discusses necessary qualifications, ways to locate programs, and career opportunities in this field.

    Escalating Kindergarten Curriculum

    This article discusses the practice of kindergarten retention, which is increasing dramatically. In some districts, as many as 60% of kindergartners are judged to be unready for first grade. These children are provided with alternative programming: developmental kindergarten (followed by regular kindergarten), transition or pre-first grade, or the repeating of kindergarten.

    Understanding and Facilitating Preschool Children's Peer Acceptance

    Children's understanding of emotional expressions and situations has been found to relate to how well peers like or dislike them. Not only does this article explain these issues, but provides parents and teachers with coping strategies to help preschool children interact and communicate more successfully with his or her peers.

    Encouraging Young Children's Writing

    Recent studies in emergent literacy--the early stages of learning to write and read--have shown that young children compose before they know much about the conventions of writing and reading or have the skill to control the formation of letters. As young children gradually realize the usefulness of writing--even unconventional writing--they are encouraged to develop related literacy skills.

    Children and Bilingualism

    If you are considering teaching your child a second language at a young age, then this is a good reference article for you to read. In addition, it covers questions you may have regarding speech-language problems and bilingualism.

    Four-Year-Olds and Public Schooling

    This digest addresses public schooling for four-year-olds and preschoolers, structural and demographic trends, research results, age and child and family characteristics, subgroups that might be served, types of programs, and location of programs.

    Lasting Benefits of Preschool Programs

    The programs examined in the longitudinal studies reported in this digest served young children living in poverty who were at special risk of school failure. Children entered the programs at some time before age five and remained in them for at least one school year. The studies examined a variety of high-quality early childhood programs that included either classes for children or home visits to parents and children or both. Some of the studies lasted only a few years, while others followed program participants into adulthood.

    Water play: A key to children's living-learning environment

    When it comes to play materials, children don't mind getting messy or wet. That's why water play is both enjoyable and educational and perfect for hot days that call for cooling off. Indoor water play can go on all year long, and like outdoor play, helps children develop eye-hand coordination and math and science concepts. It may also enhance social skills and encourage cooperation. There is no right or wrong way to play with this familiar, inexpensive "toy" that comes not from a package, but from our very own environment.

    Exploring the weather: A fun way to learn

    The study of weather actually integrates science, math, and reading/writing. When parents or caregivers take the time to explore weather with children, they can help them work on many skills at once. There's something to learn for children of all ages, and adults, too!

    Celebrating Transitions in the Early Years

    The end of the school year is a time for celebration by young children, their families, teachers, and caregivers. Yet while some families and programs see 'graduation' as an important symbol to recognize their child. Others worry that too much pomp and circumstance can lead to frustration. The important thing is to acknowledge the validity of both perspectives. Administrators, teachers, and parents can then work together. Here are some ways to consider celebrating.

    Appropriate Public School Programs for Young Children

    Many public school districts are making changes to ensure that curricula are responsive to children's developmental needs and programs are responsive to the more comprehensive needs of children and their families. Each district needs to consider certain issues in its efforts to provide high-quality early childhood education. A discussion of these issues follows.

    The Shifting Kindergarten Curriculum

    This digest reviews factors influencing kindergarten curriculum, and contrasts characteristics of skill-based and developmentally oriented programs. Redefinition of the kindergarten-primary curriculum from a developmental perspective is more beneficial for children than the use of retention and extra-year placement. Advocates of developmental kindergarten programs should emphasize the effectiveness of an active learning setting for advancing children's growth and development

    Toys: Tools for Learning

    Through toys, children learn about their world, themselves, and others. Choosing toys that appeal to your children and foster their learning will help you make their early years count. Here are some tips to help you choose toys wisely for your child.

    Why Are Books Such as Everyone Poops Bestsellers?

    All the books focus on various aspects of the human body and human body by-products, and they are written for preschool children. Some hope that openly talking about and acknowledging these by-products may make them less of a source of embarrassment or giggles once kids enter school. Parents report using <i>Everyone Poops</i> when they are helping their child make the transition from diapers to using the toilet.

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