Early Learning News

February 2016

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Global School Play Day is February 3rd!

What a great opportunity to join others across the continent in professing the importance of play for our early learners. Embedding opportunities for children to be individually creative is priceless, and research reveals the benefits of play as it correlates with academic gains. This information has been shared with administrators, and we hope you engage in this opportunity. www.globalschoolplayday.com
Here's to Creativity: A new way to play

Creativity and Curiosity

I am reading the book entitled Sparking Student Creativity by Patti Drapeau. In the text, there are multiple ideas to foster creativity and curiosity.

Try this one which is designed to build deep meaning of the content.

"Be The Thing"...

1. Students are asked to place themselves in the role of an object. (Example: Square)

2. Three questions are posed (Either aloud or on chart paper/projected device, etc.)

3. Questions: How do you feel? What are your thoughts? What will you do?

If you were to use the object "square", students may answer the questions the following way.

1. How do you feel? (equal, straight, boxed in, etc.)

2. What are your thoughts? (Will anyone come inside? Can I move? I am made up of other shapes)

3. What will you do? (I will build houses. I will be stepped on. I will be useful).

Obviously this activity should be modeled first, but it will allow the fostering of creative ideas, and encourage those that aren't willing to share their creative side an opportunity to do so. Let me know if you try it. I would love to know the outcome!

Pre-K Early Learning Assessment

The state of Maryland has been in the process of designing an Early Learning Assessment (ELA). Many of you have seen bits and pieces of this in the news, and I'm sure you are very curious. However, it appears that next year will be a Field Test for this assessment. For now, the assessment will only be administered by Special Education Teachers to students with new IEP's. The Special Education Department will be working closely with this assessment, and when we feel it is appropriate, we will share any additional updates to those of you teaching Pre-K. This year any training given to Pre-K teachers will be minimal and informative in nature .

Kindergarten Readiness Assessment

Updates for the 2016-2017 KRA...all assessment questions will be the same!!!!

Yay!!! However, coming in 2017-2018 a 2.0 KRA version will be available. One of the changes you may notice involves the manner of assessment. Currently 50% of the test is based on observational data. The 2.0 version will only include 35%-40% observable items, and the remainder will be either direct response or performance based.

County-wide data for the most recent administration is projected to be made public after the March 2016 State Board Meeting.

Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten Registration Begins!

Monday, March 14th, 12am

All Elementary Schools, Hagerstown, MD

The first day to begin registering Kindergartners is March 14th. Remaining days include...April 25, May 16, and June 13th. Please help by communicating this to your school families.

Pre-K registration begins in March. New applications will be sent to each elementary school, and an updated application will be available on the web-site.

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Social and Emotional Visual Tip of The Month!

As a quick mini-lesson to reiterate the importance of kindness, try this activity with your class:

Invite a child to squirt out all of the toothpaste in the tube. (Cheap brand :))

Invite a second child to come up and "put all the toothpaste back into the tube".

Discuss the fact that once words slip out of your mouth, it is impossible to put them back in. Sometimes our little ones need these quick visuals as a method of remembering necessary social skills.

Q's Race To The Top!

Every Kindergarten and Pre-K Classroom will be receiving this "on the go" set of cards that encourages conversations around appropriate emotional intelligence! Enjoy!!!

Product Description

When life doesn't allow time to sit down and play, this on-the-go pack offers 90 fun question and action cards to promote social skills, better behavior, balance and coordination. With a convenient carrying case, Q's On-The-Go pack is perfect for road trips or wait-time anywhere! Join the revolution of parents and kids across the country who have fallen in love with this fun and easy way to practice emotional intelligence skills for school readiness and life success.

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Calling All Child Care Providers!

Please sign up below if you are interested in attending any of the upcoming Professional Development Opportunities! We have had some wonderful, collaborative conversations with one another, and we hope to continue those meaningful dialogues.

Valentine's Day Idea

Below is a suggested project for Mother/Father's Day. However, those holidays can be a bit challenging for our little ones that don't always have a mother/father figure to recognize. Why not incorporate this into a Valentine's Day activity? Students hold up a written sign they have created for someone they love. You snap the photo, and a quick hand-written message in the form of a photo is ready to be sent. (Caveat: I would make the "I" a capital and perhaps a comma before "because"...there is always that one person that notices. :))
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