PLAEA Early Childhood Newsletter

November 2021

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Teacher Spotlight Idea of the Month

During a visit to Bishop Garrigan School in Algona, Iowa, I stumbled upon this classroom management technique. Wendi Meister is the preschool teacher at Bishop Garrigan preschool. She uses a color coding technique for students to choose centers. The color of the word on the "centers" poster, matches the color of the word on the wall in each center. Students use clothespins and attach the clothespin to a circle (along the sides of the poster) to choose the center they would like to work in. This encourages literacy skills because the center labels are the same color as the centers poster. This makes connections with colors to letters and letters to words! Thanks for sharing this great technique Wendi.

Picture 1 - Center choices poster (clothespins not shown)

Picture 2 - Science center word on wall is in yellow. Science center choice on poster is also yellow.

Picture 3 - Library center word on wall is in green. Library center choice on poster is also green.

For more questions on how Wendi utilizes this in her preschool classroom, she can be reached at


Do you have something to share?!?!?!

If you have a great idea that is working well in your classroom, PLEASE SHARE! We learn best from each other! can be featured in our next PLAEA Early Childhood Newsletter that reached over 115 teachers each month!
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Check out 3 more additional preschool tools below

Additional Preschool Resources To Share

1) Center Signs with Open Ended Questions - Periodically we get requests for the open ended questions to ask for interest areas. HERE you will find labels for each of your interest areas with open ended questions anyone in the classroom can ask. By asking open ended questions, you dig into critical thinking skills, deepen learning and increase engagement. Print off colored copies today, laminate and post in each of your interest areas.

2) Sensory Paths - new this year, our Creative Services department is creating sensory paths for your classroom floors. Sensory paths are a great way to transition students, quick brain breaks or a fun way to walk down the hall!!! Check out our catalog with pictures and prices!

3) Have a blind or visually impaired student? HERE you can find a brochure with several different resources that are free for students and families of a visually impaired child.

Updates for Early Childhood Teachers

1) PLAEA Early Childhood Teacher Huddle Zooms - TIME UPDATED!

You asked and we listened! Due to many of you still having students until 3:15 and 3:30 p.m., we have bumped back our Teacher Huddle Zooms to 3:30 p.m. Moving forward we will start at 3:30 p.m. and go till 4:30 p.m. (Except for the TS GOLD Booster Sessions). Below is a list of dates and headlining topics for our PLAEA EC Teacher Huddles!

** Please note - these are always the 2nd Wednesday of each month!

Zoom link for all zooms:

November 10:

Early Childhood Multi Tiered Systems of Support (EC -MTSS)

(3:30 - 4:30 p.m.)

December 8:

Behavior Supports/Strategies from PLAEA Behavior Team

(3:30 - 4:30 p.m.)

January 12:

TS GOLD Boosters

Session II

(2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.)

February 9:

Moving Away From Letter A Day

(3:30 - 4:30 p.m.)

March 9:


(3:30 - 4:30 p.m.)

April 13:

ECSE Transition

(3:30 - 4:30 p.m.)

2) TS GOLD Booster Session Recording

Our first PLAEA EC Teacher Huddle was the Teaching Strategies GOLD Booster session (Part I). Since the time did not work for everyone, we decided to record it. Hopefully you too will find value in learning a few tips and tricks around TS GOLD as the participants did.

(Heads up - there is an awkward moment of recording while others were in breakout rooms. Feel free to fast forward through that section.)

Passcode: !z9.MkW2

3) PLAEA 2021-2022 Professional Development Opportunities

PLAEA EC Consultants recently released the 2021-2022 professional development opportunities. We took into careful consideration two things: 1 - responses from our spring PD survey and 2 - current needs of districts and providing multiple avenues for learning (i.e. virtual, self-paced and face to face).

PLAEA Early Childhood 2021 -2022 Professional Development Opportunities

Didn't find what you are looking for? There are MANY other online and self-paced learning opportunities (geared towards early childhood) also available on

Reminder: per IQPPS standard 6.4 and 6.5 all early childhood staff in SWVPP are required to engage in specialized professional development each year. This can be provided (but limited to): by district, PLAEA or outside agency.

4) Paraeducator Courses Available

This winter, Prairie Lakes AEA will be offering a series of courses for associates and preschool classroom staff to obtain their Paraeducator license. Details and registration information can be found on the document below.

Additional Preschool Resources

Early Childhood Special Education Supports

i3 Website

i3 website is full of information, guidance, resources and procedures. i3 - Iowa IDEA Information - Guidance - Resources - Procedures

Procedural Safeguards Manual

Do you every have a difficult time finding an updated Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents prior to an IEP meeting? Do you ever need a copy for families in Arabic, Bosnian, Lao, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish or Vietnamese? See the links below for updated Manuals.

Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents Rights for Children Ages 3-21 - English

Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents Rights for Children Ages 2-21 - Arabic, Bosnian, Lao, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, Vietnamese

Resources Preparing Parents for IEP Meetings

Parent Information for Initial IEP Meeting

IEP Team Member Roles and Responsibilities

Parent Information of 3 year Re-evaluation

Planning for Your Child's IEP Meeting

Preschool "Go-Tos"

Teaching Strategies GOLD/myIGDI 2021-2022 Dates

NCPMI -PBIS - Challenging Behavior Site

ColorinColorado - A bilingual site for educators and families of English language learners

Early Childhood Iowa - Early Childhood Mental Health

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Katie Kauffman - Early Childhood Special Education Consultant

Supporting Districts: East Sac County, Greene County, Manson Northwest Webster, Newell Fonda, Paton-Churdan, Pocahontas Area, Schaller-Crestland, Storm Lake, South Central Calhoun, South Hamilton, Stratford (EC and ECSE), Gilmore City-Bradgate, Southeast Valley (EC & ECSE).

Marcie Lentsch - Early Childhood Education Consultant

Supporting Districts: Albert City-Truesdale, Algona, Alta-Aurelia, Clarion-Goldfield, Clay Central-Everly, Eagle Grove, Emmetsburg, Estherville Lincoln Central, Fort Dodge, Graettinger-Terril, Harris-Lake Park, Humboldt, Laurens-Marathon, North Kossuth, North Union, Okoboji, Ruthven-Ayrshire, Sioux Central, Spencer, Spirit Lake, Twin Rivers, Webster City, West Bend/Mallard.

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