Teaching the Early Years

Oakland Schools EC Newsletter September/October 2016

Quote of Inspiration

"Begin today. Declare out loud to the universe that you are willing to let go of struggle and eager to learn through joy."--Sarah Ban Breathnach
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Considering the Sight and Sound Needs of Children During Transition Times

Transitions occur whenever there is a change in a child's routine. Types of transitions can happen during these key times of the day:

  • Drop off and Pick up
  • Eating Meals
  • Rest Time
  • Going Outdoors
  • Cleaning Up

Each of these transition times can offer their own unique challenges and can be overwhelming for children. When planning transition times, consider the learning styles and needs of the children you teach.

Here are some questions to help you consider the sight and sound needs of your children during transitions:


  • How is the lighting in your classroom? Can children see well during clean up?
  • Is your bathroom well lit for children to have success while using it?
  • Are shelves and room areas labeled in a way that is large and clear enough to see?
  • Is the schedule of the day printed large enough for children to interpret?
  • Do you provide visual cues and warnings to let children know a transition is coming?


  • How is the noise level in your classroom?
  • Do you provide audible warnings for children to know a transition is coming.?
  • Do you intentionally play music during transitions? What is the volume level of that music?
  • Are you in close proximity to children when offering them verbal reminders of transitions?
  • Are you using a clear and audible tone for children during transitions?

Children rely on us to help set the tone during the beginning of the school year. Be sure that you consider their sight and sound needs to set them up for transition success!

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Cooking with Children

Try this wonderful and healthy option to traditional pizza with your children.

Apple Pizza


  • Sliced bread
  • Shredded cheese
  • Washed, cut and diced apples (skin on)
  • Butter


  1. Lightly butter each slice of bread
  2. Add shredded cheese to each buttered bread
  3. Sprinkle chopped apples to the cheese covered bread
  4. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until cheese is melted
  5. Cool for a couple of minutes
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Variations: add other diced fruit or veggies to offer different tastes and textures to the pizza!

Source: http://www.education.com/activity/article/apple-pizza-recipe/

Resources of Interest

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

Key Developmental Indicators Occur During Sensory Play

When children participate in activities such as, cooking, playing in the sand and water table, using clay, forming dough, or engaging in nature outside, they are experiencing sensory learning opportunities.

During these opportunities, you can scaffold children's learning to help them develop key scientific skills. The Science and Technology Key Developmental Indicators seen during sensory play are:

  • Observing: Children observe the materials and processes in their environment.
  • Classifying: Children classify materials, actions, people, and events.
  • Experimenting: Children experiment to test their ideas.
  • Predicting: Children predict what they expect will happen.
  • Drawing conclusions: Children draw conclusions based on their experiences and observations.
  • Communicating ideas: Children communicate their ideas about the characteristics of things and how they work.
  • Natural and physical world: Children gather knowledge about the natural and physical world.
  • Tools and technology: Children explore and use tools and technology.

Source: http://www.highscope.org/Content.asp?ContentId=566

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Relevant Research for You

The Brain and Children with Sensory Processing Disorders

Researchers at UC San Francisco have found that boys and girls with sensory processing disorder (SPD) have different brain connection paths compared to typically developing children. The difference can show future challenges in the way children process through hearing and touch.

The research, published Jan. 26, 2016 in the journal Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, is the biggest imaging study ever done in children with SPD. It is also the first to compare the white matter tracts in the brain of typically developing boys and girls versus those with an SPD diagnosis.

The brain’s white matter forms the “wiring” that links different areas of the brain and is therefore crucial for perceiving, thinking and action. Children with SPD struggle with handling stimulation, which can cause a wide range of symptoms, including hypersensitivity to sound, sight and touch.

“The children with SPD and the typically developing kids form a continuum, with the children with SPD at one extreme and sensory-typical at the other. This builds on the idea that SPD is a spectrum disorder and for the first time we have direct measurements,” said senior author Pratik Mukherjee, MD, PhD, a professor of radiology and biomedical imaging and bioengineering at UCSF.

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Source: Yi-Shin Chang, Mathilde Gratiot, Julia P. Owen, Anne Brandes-Aitken, Shivani S. Desai, Susanna S. Hill, Anne B. Arnett, Julia Harris, Elysa J. Marco, Pratik Mukherjee. White Matter Microstructure is Associated with Auditory and Tactile Processing in Children with and without Sensory Processing Disorder. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, 2016; 9 DOI: 10.3389/fnana.2015.00169

Teachers in Action

These "Daily Routine-Naptime" photos are from two GSRP classrooms belonging to Michelle Apruzzese and Diana Baldes at PEACE Academy in Pontiac.

During this transition, teachers encourage socialization as children begin to settle into rest time. Children also participate in setting up their resting cots.
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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