Teaching the Early Years

Oakland Schools EC Newsletter November 2015

Quote of Inspiration

"We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today."

Stacia Tauscher

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Celebrating Holidays

This is the season where holidays may be celebrated by children and their families. The question is should you celebrate the holidays in your classroom?

Some things to think about when you are considering this question are:

  • What are the goals of the celebration?
  • How disruptive is the celebration to your daily routine?
  • How are families and the community involved?
  • Are you avoiding stereotypical depictions?
  • How are the activities connected to children's interest and the curriculum?
  • What is your plan for working with children and families who don't celebrate a holiday?
  • Have you considered children's lingering interest in a holiday once it has passed?


Derman-Sparks & Edwards (2010). Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves.

Bisson (2002 ) Celebrate! An Anti-Bias Guide to Supporting Holidays.

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Sensory Exploration Promotes Physical and Cognitive Health

Here is a simple sensory recipe to try with your children:

No Cook Modeling Clay


  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • Some warm water and a bowl to mix in.


Mix the flour, salt and cornstarch in bowl. Gently add warm water until the mixture becomes slightly hard. Knead the mixture and create sculptures, beads, pendants, etc. Once dry, this clay can be painted. Tip: For longer lasting creations, dry by heating in a low temperature oven for about an hour. After painting, apply lacquer.

Resources of Interest

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

Relevant Research for You

Becoming an Anti-Bias Educator

Four core goals of anti-bias education form a framework for guiding practice in a program’s learning environment, curriculum, and child-teacher interactions. These goals take into account the body of research about how children construct their identity and attitudes and about the impact of racism and other “isms” on these developmental processes. Such research has been accumulating for more than 50 years.

The anti-bias education goals are for children of all family backgrounds and communities, and each goal interacts with and builds on the others. The four goals are the following:

GOAL 1: Each child will demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride, and positive social identities.

GOAL 2: Each child will express comfort and joy with human diversity; accurate language for human differences; and deep, caring human connections.

GOAL 3: Each child will increasingly recognize unfairness, have language to describe unfairness, and understand that unfairness hurts.

GOAL 4: Each child will demonstrate empowerment and the skills to act, with others or alone, against prejudice and/or discriminatory actions.

What do these anti-bias goals mean to you?

What do you hope anti-bias education will do for the children you teach?

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For more information, see Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves: Chapter 1 “What Is Anti-Bias Education?” https://www.naeyc.org/store/files/store/TOC/254.pdf

Source: Derman-Sparks & Edwards (2010). Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves.

Teaching in Action

Brandi Grays of Bradford Academy Great Start Readiness Program captured images of parents experiencing "Active Learning", a HighScope curriculum approach, during a parent meeting that included children.

"One of my favorite parts of my job is working with the families. I work really hard to get the parents in my classroom excited about their children’s education. Our first parent meeting was a real success. The meeting was on “Active Learning” and how the HighScope approach to early education supports children's’ learning. Families were given playdoh and other open-ended materials to explore. Parents were asked to discuss what they learned by exploring the materials at their own pace. We talked about the five ingredients of active learning and how these are present in our classrooms every day. We also encouraged parents to implement active learning in their homes. It was great to see parents actively engaged with their children. Parents genuinely seemed to understand how much children can learn when they guide their own exploration. The response to the meeting was huge and we are hoping for an even better turnout next time. I can’t wait to work with our families in November."

Photo Credit: Chloe Crosby

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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