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TEACHING & LEARNING with YOUNG CHILDREN MORE EFFECTIVELY

This is a distance learning course, concentrating on uses of the Internet for teaching, learning and professional development. It also is intended to give you enough web sites and leads-in to more web sites to be a continuously useful resource for your learning and doing.

This is a PASS/FAIL course. Therefore, SELECT and BASE YOUR WORK on those areas that best match your current interests. You can return any time to areas that match future concerns and changing interests--one of the many advantages of on-line learning

Assessment is based on work you produce in series of essays/listings for each Essential Question or topic you "connect with," and with an annotated list of sites supporting your views and reflecting your web work. Note the Rubric for Course Portfolio Assessment.

For instance, you might write “The site XXXX [http://www.xxx.com] gave me a different perspective on how to help students learn _____. It also cleared up for me something I was confused about, and that is what educators mean by __________.” Certainly you would want to elaborate more.

This work may be emailed to me at ozpk100@aol.com, or snail-mailed to me at Chad C. Osborne 923 W. Mission St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101. If you email the work, you may wish to put it in a Zip file, which compresses text and makes it easier to send over the 'Net.


Essential Question 1: Based on links from the sites below, develop a mission statement for a preschool or kindergarten program.

  1. The Needs of Young Children -- "Whatever their backgrounds, all children have similar needs."
  2. Characteristics of Kindergarten Children -- "Kindergarten children, no matter what their cultural and experiential background, have characteristics in common with other children of their age and characteristics that are particularly their own."
  3. Kindergarten Aims, Goals, and Philosophy
  4. Suggestions for Evaluating and Improving the Kindergarten Program -- Great goals to use in planning, too.
  5. Children First: A Curriculum Guide for Kindergarten
  6. What Does Research Say About Early Childhood Education?
  7. Developmentally Appropriate Practices in Early Childhood Education -- "...practices which are both age appropriate and individually appropriate for each child."
  8. Developmentally Appropriate and Culturally Responsive Education: Theory in Practice -- Extensive information and resources in chapter format
  9. Answers to Commonly Asked Questions Concerning Developmentally Appropriate Practice
  10. Integrating Community Services for Young Children and Their Families -- A comprehensive policy review

Essential Question 2: Based on links from the sites below, what is the role of play in a balanced preschool program, and what resources would you recommend to parents and colleagues?

  1. Academic Studies and Play on a Collision Course ... and Play is Losing -- Study Shows Pressure on Children Leaves Less Time for Play
  2. Play Is the Business of Kids -- "Young children do not learn in the same manner as older children do. Young children learn by actual contact with real objects, events, and people. (That's why field trips, outdoor play, and other exciting activities are so important.)"
  3. The Importance of Play in Your Pre-Schooler's Life -- Research suggests that free play may actually be healthier for young children than more structured activities.
  4. Making the Case for Play as Learning
  5. Games Kids Play -- 100's of games
  6. 101 Activities to Do With Your Toddler -- "...activities, songs, fingerplays, and more for children aged 1-3 years. These constructive activities help encourage motor development and eye-hand coordination, and they will promote mental and social growth. As if that weren't enough, they are also a lot of fun!! Most of these activities can be done at home with little or no expense." A great site to share with parents.
  7. Play and Learning
  8. Make Cookies, Not War -- Activities to encourage creative play and thwart the "I want that" syndrome

Essential Question 3: Based on links from the sites below, try to develop a realistic perspective on the difficulties and opportunities in child care. Suummarize this in a "letter to a young colleague" about the perils and possibilities of work in this field.

  1. All In A Day's Work -- "... it is critical to be aware that your daily experiences on the job do have an effect on you and your family."
  2. Stress -- Six sites with useful advice
  3. Dealing with Stress on the Job and Elsewhere -- "According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the workplace is the greatest single source of stress, no matter what you do or how much you earn."
  4. Study of 50 States and the District of Columbia Finds Growing Investments in Early-Childhood Education, But Large Gaps in Quality -- "As a nation, the United States pays about as much to parking-lot attendants and dry-cleaning workers as it does to early-childhood educators, according to the most recent data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average annual salary of child-care workers in 1999 was $15,430. Preschool teachers, who typically work with 3- to 5-year-olds, had annual salaries of $19,610, less than half what the average elementary school teacher earned." Ouch!
  5. Should I Be a Family Day Care Provider? -- "This fact sheet will help you decide if family day care provider is the job for you."
  6. Support for Those Starting a Career in Early Childhood -- Particularly important as we look to enlist many new people into work with children
  7. A Profile of the Child Care Work Force -- "Approximately three million child care teachers, assistants, and family child care providers in the U.S. care for 10 million children each day."
  8. Creating Family-Friendly Schools -- Are you ready to participate in collaborative arrangements?
  9. Infant Day Care: The Critical Issues -- "In March 1970, 24% of mothers with children under 2 years old were in the labor force. By March 1984, the figure was 46.8%...The crisis in day care is such that the choice of care is often determined by cost and availability, rather than quality.
  10. Day Care Issues -- Guidelines for quality day care
  11. What's New in Title I? -- "Major changes in a massive federal program provide fresh opportunities for school improvement."

Essential Question 4: Based on links from the sites below, where in the balance of an early childhood program would you put literacy learning, and what approaches and activities do you want to use with the children you are working with?.

  1. Issues in Literacy Development -- "...the best available research and professional expertise to help teachers provide high-quality literacy instruction for students from kindergarten through Grade 8."
  2. Reading: The First Chapter In Education -- Builds the case for a balanced, research-based approach to both learning to read and reading to learn.
  3. Learning To Read, Reading To Learn -- Extremely enlightened site from the ERIC Clearinghouse.
  4. Early Literacy Development -- A wise and resouceful site from the Bank Street College
  5. Balanced Reading Instruction: Review of Literature -- Simple, but not easy: balance phonics and meaning-making approaches and give plent of time for actual reading and writing.
  6. What Is Balanced Literacy? -- A graphic chart showing the elements of a balance approach
  7. The Four Blocks Literacy Center -- A widely acclaimed and extremely adaptable reading program with resources for all levels
  8. Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children -- On-line portions a book, extremely valuable in themselves; reinforces a balanced approach.
    From the Report:
    "Reading is essential to success in our society. The ability to read is highly valued and important for social and economic advancement. Of course, most children learn to read fairly well. In this report, we are most concerned with the large numbers of children in America whose educational careers are imperiled because they do not read well enough to ensure understanding and to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive economy. Current difficulties in reading largely originate from rising demands for literacy, not from declining absolute levels of literacy. In a technological society, the demands for higher literacy are ever increasing, creating more grievous consequences for those who fall short."
    " All members agreed that reading should be defined as a process of getting meaning from print, using knowledge about the written alphabet and about the sound structure of oral language for purposes of achieving understanding. All thus also agreed that early reading instruction should include direct teaching of information about sound-symbol relationships to children who do not know about them and that it must also maintain a focus on the communicative purposes and personal value of reading."
  9. Kindergarten Classroom -- Thematic reading and math readiness activities for kindergarten science and social studies units. Technology connected lessons for each unit plus links to age appropriate sites.
  10. Fact Sheet on the Importance of Reading to Infants and Young Children -- "Most parents know that it is nice to read to children every day, but are unaware of the newest discoveries in neuroscience showing that reading aloud actually stimulates the growth of a baby's brain. The AAP has put together a short list of citations to help adults understand that reading aloud to children is as important as fastening their seat belts and providing good nutrition."
  11. Developing Reading Skills in Young Children --
  12. Handbook for Storytellers

Essential Question 5: Based on links from the sites below, where in the balance of an early childhood program would you put project approaches, and what projects do you find you want to try with the children you are working with?.

  1. The Project Approach to Learning
  2. Where Is the Learning? -- How project-based learning works
  3. The Project Approach in Early Childhood -- Versatile site. "Both research and developments in education have recently led to instructional innovations designed to make the classroom into a learning environment which is more responsive to the varying learning needs and interests of individual children. For example, there is increasing curriculum integration: continuity between the children's learning in the different subjects. There is more opportunity to relate home and school learning. There is concern for memorable learning as well as memorized learning. Children are expected to work cooperatively on complex and open-ended tasks as well as follow instructions in step by step learning. The project approach provides one way to introduce a wider range of learning opportunities into the classroom."
  4. Project Approach -- Varied examples
  5. Reggio Emilia: Its Visions and its Challenges For Educators in the United States -- "How can we ask teachers to collaborate with parents who are too busy to come to school meetings, to implement long-term projects in the face of growing curriculum demands, to acknowledge and respond to children's many symbolic languages in the face of pressures to emphasize formal academic skills, and to participate in ongoing professional development through the documentation and constant reexamination of their work with children when their contract says the workday ends at 3:15?"
  6. Keypals
  7. Preschool Education.com -- Interesting site with lots of materials plus an "Ask A Preschool Teacher" advice feature.
  8. Welcome To Everything Preschool -- Projects and resources galore


Essential Question 6: Based on links from the sites below, how would you connect with and involve parents and families in early education? Consider both what teachers and schools can do as well as educating parents and families

  1. Parents As Partners In Children's Learning -- "It takes extra effort on both sides to build strong partnerships."
  2. Reaching All Families -- Creating family-friendly schools
  3. Working Hand-in-Hand to Educate Children -- Suggests a nice division of responsibilities
  4. Bridges Between Home and School: Literacy Building Activities for Non- Native English Speaking Homes -- "Creating the aforementioned overlaps between home and school--sharing students' language and culture at school and literacy building and reinforcing academic concepts at home--helps teachers, parents, and students to establish and maintain that communication which is so essential to academic success. "
  5. How to Involve Parents in a Multicultural School -- Not easy, but worth it
  6. Critical Issues in Family & Community -- Good range of considerations
  7. School, Family, and Community Partnerships -- Children thrive academically when the family and the school agree that they are stronger together than apart.
  8. Parenting Information -- Numerous sites with links helful to parents
  9. Raising A Reader -- Some things you can do to raise a lifelong reader
  10. Helping Your Child Learn To Read -- With Activities for Children from Infancy through Age 10
  11. How Can Parents Identify a High Quality Preschool -- "A vital role for parents lies in the careful selection of a preschool to ensure that the program gives a child the right start."
  12. Technology and young children: What Parents Should Know -- Does using technology really really enhance children’s development, or teach children new skills? What should parents know about the role of technology in children’s learning?
  13. Doing Science with Your Children -- "Experience and research show that young children are excited about science when they are given the chance to 'do' science. To give your children a firm foundation in science they should be encouraged to think about and interact with the world around them. Concrete experiences that require the use of children's senses, such as planting and watching a seed germinate, provide a strong framework for abstract thinking later in life."
  14. Math and the Myth of 1,2,3 -- Through hands-on activities, children expand their true understanding of math.
  15. Early Childhood: Where Learning Begins - Mathematics -- Mathematical activities for parents and their 2- to 5-year-old children
  16. I Want It My Way! -- "It is in the very early years that children develop their coping skills for how they handle conflict: fighting back, running away from the conflict, or problem-solving a win-win solution."
  17. Guidance and Discipline -- Guidelines from the National Network for Child Care; extensive links
  18. Toddlers: Learning and Other Disabilities -- Lists and ranks websites regarding a wide variety of disabilities
  19. Transition From Preschool to Kindergarten -- Very useful suggestions and insights
  20. Lycos Directory on Preschool Special Needs -- Ten valuable and insightful links, covering autism, brain injury, learning disabilities, and related concerns


Essential Question 7: Based on links from the sites below, what web sites do you find most useful, for both ideas and activities for your young students?

  1. Best Practices Portfolio -- All areas of early schooling
  2. Child Care Resources -- Numerous links and resources
  3. PALS Literacy Activities -- Reading support
  4. K-7 Phys Ed. -- Curriculum resources
  5. Encouraging Creativity in Early Childhood Classrooms -- "This digest considers both teacher-initiated and child-initiated strategies for enhancing young children's self-expression and creativity."
  6. Elementary P.E. -- Great site for movement, games, activities
  7. Using the Arts in Teaching and Learning
  8. Activities for Kids at ChildFun.com -- Lots of resources
  9. Kids Stuff -- Links from Kathy Schrock's site
  10. Scholastic's Early Childhood Today -- "a must for all early childhood professionals
  11. Berit's Best Sites for Children -- The Web's 1000 best sites for kids
  12. Content Sites for Kids on the Internet -- Superb range of site and sources
  13. The Monarch Watch -- Quite an array of butterfly related resources
  14. The Fun School -- Fun, interactive site
  15. Games for Children 1-5 -- Great basic interactive games
  16. Daily Themes for Toddlers -- Lots of resources
  17. Touching the Life of a Child -- Whales and dinosaurs, and lots more
  18. The Amazing Picture Machine? -- Find graphic resources on the Internet.
  19. Zeek List of All Games -- On-line versions of numerous games
  20. Guided Meditations for Children -- Stress reduction
  21. Circle Time Activies -- From many teachers
  22. Pre-School Ideas -- Provides preschool theme ideas for everyone involved with young children. Includes activities, songs and rhymes and preschool curriculum plans
  23. Kid's HomeMade Recipes -- Fun and learning in the kitchen
  24. Using the Internet As a Teaching Tool -- "Pairing young children with buddies from another grade level may make the internet more accessible. The following sites are rich in information about using the internet as a teaching tool. Caution: young children should not spend inordinate amounts of time in front of a computer monitor when more meaningful learning occurs with real materials and peers."


Essential Question 8: Based on links from the sites below, in what ways might you assess your young students so as to foster learning and growth?

  1. The Portfolio and Its Use: Developmentally Appropriate Assessment of Young Children -- Excellent summary of best practices and rationale
  2. Young Children's Social Development: A Checklist -- "...the single best childhood predictor of adult adaptation is NOT IQ, NOT school grades, and NOT classroom behavior but, rather the adequacy with which the child gets along with other children."
  3. Dispositions: Definitions and Implications for Early Childhood Practice -- Habits of mind in young children
  4. Coverage, Multiple Intelligences, and Standardized Tests -- "The root of the word evaluation is value. Early childhood educators advocate the use of assessments that provide information about what is valued, by teachers, parents, and children."
  5. Standardized Testing for Young Children? Not Yet! -- Why aren't these types of tests good measures of what young children know and can do? Should we be working to convince our communities that there are better ways to assess student growth?
  6. WestEd Assessment -- Of the 10 Regional Educational Laboratories, WestEd has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education to provide national leadership in the area of assessment.
  7. Performance Assessment in Early Childhood Education: The Work Sampling System -- "Group-administered tests focus on the acquisition of simple facts, low-level skills, superficial memorization, and isolated evidence of achievement. The tests hold great power, and that power can be abused. Of greatest concern is that they rob teachers of their sense of judgment about how to help children develop to their optimal potential."
  8. Assessment and Rubrics -- Extensive collection of links on assessment and rubrics
  9. Rubric from the Staff Room for Ontario Teachers -- An awesome collection
  10. Assessment Issues in Special Education and Inclusion
  11. Critical Issue: Assessing Young Children's Progress Appropriately -- "OVERVIEW: In recent years, teachers and administrators have recognized the problems unique to assessing young children. These problems arise from a combination of the developmental characteristics of 3- to 8-year-olds and the kind of curriculum that is appropriate in early childhood programs."

Note the Rubric for Course Portfolio Assessment.