Teaching the Early Years

Oakland Schools EC Newsletter December 2015

Quote of Inspiration

"Sometimes real superheroes live in the hearts of small children fighting big battles."

Author Unknown

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How to Beat Teacher Burnout

As a teacher you face many stresses in your daily work. Those stressors can affect you mentally and physically. It is important that you take care of yourself and think about what you need to be the most effective teacher you can be. Teacher burnout is real and affects many people. Here are 10 tips to help you beat teacher burnout:

  1. Do something you enjoy--Make time for your hobbies, even if it's a few minutes a week. A little bit goes a long way.
  2. Get support from other teachers--The beauty of early childhood is that we often are paired with other teachers. Use each other's strengths.
  3. Exercise regularly--Take a walk during your break-time. Ten minutes can make a huge difference.
  4. Eat a healthy diet--Add in a bit of healthy food to each of your meals.
  5. Get enough sleep--Adults typically need 7 and a half to 9 hours a sleep nightly to function at their best.
  6. Adjust expectations--Yes, teachers are superheroes, but not super-human.
  7. Put yourself first--Take the time you need. Honor and respect your needs.
  8. Ask for support when you need it--This is a sign of strength!
  9. Practice stress-relief techniques--Take a few minutes each day to breathe. Breathe deeply, in and out.
  10. Get inspired--Remember why you do what you do. Use this reminder to re-establish your focus.


Excerpted from the article: "How to Reduce Stress and Beat Burnout", Teaching Young Children, Vol 3 No 1.


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Using Painting as a Way of Expression

Creative arts help children represent and express in ways they may not be able to verbally. Value children's creativity and in doing so, you are supporting their emotional development.

Puffy Paint Recipe


  • 1 tbsp self-rising flour
  • tempera paint or food coloring
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp water

  1. Combine flour and salt in a small bowl
  2. Add a little bit of water, stirring until you get a smooth, thin paste
  3. Add tempera paint or food coloring
  4. Mix well

Extension Activity Ideas:

Children can paint on paper, foil, wax paper, wood, or cardboard. Offer children a variety of tools to use in their painting: brushes, utensils, straws, toothbrushes, paper tubes, small blocks, Q-tips, etc.

Resources of Interest

It's always a good idea to check Amazon too.

Relevant Research for You

Social and Emotional Benefits of Arts Participation

A December 2015 literature review has been published to synthesize contemporary research (2000-2015) on the links between arts participation and early childhood social-emotional development. In particular, several studies have emerged that focus on the relationship between arts participation and emotion regulation. For example, compared with a matched-control group, toddlers in an arts integration program comprised of daily music, creative movement (dance), and visual arts displayed improvements in teacher rated positive and negative emotion regulation over the course of the school year (Brown & Sax, 2013). Participation in visual arts activities was also associated with positive emotional development. Many of the arts-based studies that assessed for emotion regulation also included a social component to the arts activity.

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Source: THE ARTS IN EARLY CHILDHOOD: SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL BENEFITS OF ARTS PARTICIPATION A LITERATURE REVIEW AND GAP-ANALYSIS (2000-2015): https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/arts-in-early-childhood-dec2015-rev.pdf

Teaching in Action

Milah Clark, Pre-K teacher of McGregor Elementary, shared a snapshot of her students engaged in exploration of styrofoam.

"Yesterday, our students had 2 large styrofoam pieces to decide what they wanted to do with them. They first started in the woodworking area hammering pegs, and sawing the pieces. More students arrived with more ideas. The foam pieces started to break up and while some students decided to stay in the woodworking area, some took them to the floor. They brought over animals to play in the "snow." They brought over a colander and large spoons from the Pretend Play Area and began scooping up the "snow." Some students brought over magnatiles and animals to play in the "snow". Some students laid on the floor and began making snow angels. I may even be forgetting some of the things they were doing but this lasted all of work time. The students were even excited to help clean the room with our room vacuum and the custodian's vacuum. ...this is a brief snapshot of a very rich experience."

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Classroom Resource GIVEAWAY!!

Would you like to win a FREE resource for your classroom? Submit a photo of your teaching in action for a chance to win in our monthly drawing!! Please make sure you have received photo clearance from all of your staff and families before submission, as your photo may be in our next newsletter. Good luck!

Submit photo entries to mailto:Gerri.Smalley@oakland.k12.mi.us