Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Nov 24, 2016 in Autumn, Blog, Developmentally Appropriate Practice, Families, Holidays, November Themes, Thanks Giving |

November Themes Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)

November Themes Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)

November Themes:

I was recently asked if teachers can uphold developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) with a theme based curriculum. I quickly answerd “Of course we can! We do it every day!” So here I am a few days later double checking. On second thought, I’d say, there’s always room for improvement but it can be done. Here are the fundamentals of DAP from NAEYC:   Knowing about child development and learning. So learning about the theories and findings of psychologist Jean Piaget, cognitive development theorist Lev Vygotsky, and Erik Erikson, psychosocial theorist, is an important beginning. Knowing what is individually appropriate. Forming strong relationships with children and observing their play is the only way to know what’s individually appropriate in your classroom. Knowing what is culturally important. Again, strong relationships are the answer here. Only the families you work with can tell you what’s culturally important to them.

Now probobly not all of the activities below are DAP, but all of the children, and even the teachers had fun!

Our themes for November are Farm, Healthy Food, Family, Giving Thanks.


cows in the barn    Classifying Farm Animals By Type

Farm animals for sorting and classifying.

Take a cow for a walk. Or try pigs in the mud!

Take a cow for a walk. Or try pigs in the mud!

“Milking” the cows-

Use vinal gloves. Fill with warm water and a drop of white paint and tie closed. Use a pin to poke holes in each finger. Kids squeeze the "milk" out.

Use vinal gloves. Fill with warm water and a drop of white paint and tie closed. Use a pin to poke holes in each finger. Kids squeeze the “milk” out.

The 3 Little Pigs story goes nicely with ths theme. We tell the strory on the felt board, we watch the old classic on You Tube and we read this version of the story. The children love to  act out the story with the masks pictured below.

3 Little Pigs Straw House    3 Little Pigs Stick House   3 Pigs Brick House   3 Little Pigs Masks

3 Little Pigs Houses. Mask patterns are FREE at Printables! 

Butterscotch chips melted   Chow mein noodles mixed into melted butterscotch   Tip the treat out of cup onto wax paper. Be sure to get a picture before the hey stacks are gone!   Edible Hay Stacks

Hay Stacks Cookies. Butterscotch chips melted over chow mein noodles.

Large Motor Games

a Gym isn’t required for these games any large open space like your circle time area will do.

In the gym we pretend to be animals running all around. So we show them at first then it becomes a crazy free for all! Chickens and horses are the favorites!

Another fun game is called “Seeping Cows”. The children lie down and pretend to sleep. While they lay there they listen carfully to the little song I sing to find out what farm animal they should be when they wake up. The song goes like this: See the sleeping cows, till it’s nearly noon. Come let us wake them with a merry tune. Oh so still, are they ill? WAKE  UP Sleeping Cows! So they wake up making cow sounds. Fun stuff!

Healthy Foods

Healthy Food - Unhealthy Junk Food  We made a chart to differentiate healthy from junk food.

Animals in the grass   Cream Cheese with a drop or two green food color. Put your animal in!

Animals in the grass

Animals in the grass

Healthy foods in the cornucopia.

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-1-11-22-am  Children filling the cornucopia  Full Cornucopia


We have the parents send in family photos which we scrapbook onto an individual house patterens, one for each child. We hang the houses on a large bulletin board through December. Then we bind them into a book which becomes so popular the kids argue over who gets a turn with the family book! I can’t show you the book here because I won’t put the children’s pictures online.

Our Homes - dictate who kids say is in their families onto the inside folds of these homes

Our Homes – dictate who kids say is in their families onto the inside folds of these homes.

We can flip this house!

We can flip this house!

Giving Thanks

The first thing we do is talk about the feeling of thankfulness. We relate it to reccieving a gift. We teach the children to say thank you with words and sign.

ASL Thank You

Thankful Turkey Every child gets a feather and dictates what or who they’re thankful for.

And for open ended art the children paint with feathers, because you know feathers grow on turkeys!

Painting With Feathers   Painting With Feathers 2

Read More

Posted by on Aug 4, 2016 in Bedtime, Blog, Blog, Families, My Child Won't, Sleep Issues |

My 2 Year Old Won’t…

My 2 Year Old Won’t…

My 2 year old won't  My 2 year old won’t…

We’ve all at least heard of the “terrible two’s” many parents have experienced the phenomena first hand.  Whining, refusing to eat; sleep; or cooperate in general, and temper tantrums are all characteristics we associate with 2 year olds. Many toddler’s first an favorite word is “no” which can continue the negativity.

Well what if it doesn’t have to be like that? I’d like to help parents learn how to defuse some of these situations when they come up. Even better I’d like to help parents prevent these behaviors all together. Let’s end the notion that two year olds are terrible!

The new section of this blog called My child won’t… is designed to help parents understand where some childhood behaviors come from. With an understanding of developmental milestones parents can work through issues more confidently.

First some background on toddlers. Two year olds are not small adults, they are still developing their understanding of the world. Reasoning with a 2 year old isn’t advisable! Certainly parents should explain things to their toddler but long explanations will not help you get the desired behavior.

Toddlers are just realizing their autonomy. They are beginning to understand they’re parents are separate entities from themselves. Infants and very young toddlers operate from the notion that you are somehow attached to them.

With this new found autonomy also comes a sense that they can control their environment, and maybe even you mom and dad! You will be smart to allow your toddler much control during this time. You’ll also be smart to set a few wise limits and stick by them.

As a former toddler teacher (currently teaching preschool) I’ve listened to many parent say “My two year old won’t clean up their toys at home.” I’ve advised countless parents to use the same techniques we use at school. I’ll share some of those techniques with you below.

My 2 Year Old Won’t Clean Up Toys 

There are several ways to approach clean up time with your toddler. The tasks should be fun and easy. Approach your toddler with a daunting chore, and you’ll likely get your two to be terrible.

  • Have reasonable expectations and make them clear and easy to understand.
  • Make the rules clear and firm. You choose the rules because you know what’s safe in your home.
  • A one toy at a time rule might be too much for a child who plays alone or with siblings. Although if you are there playing too (preferably for the most part) you might want to employ this rule.
  • With the one toy at a time rule the child chooses a toy and the expectation is to put it away before choosing the next.
  • Toys for toddlers need to be on low shelves, in bins or baskets. Make sure your toddler can control the environment with out much help from you.
  • Rotate toys. Your child doesn’t need to have every toy in the house accessible. We find in the classroom children master most toys and activities in about two weeks.
  • Rotate books as well. You might want to do this seasonally, or with holidays. In the classroom we rotate the books weekly.
  • Make clean up fun. If it’s a huge chore, with angry parents shouting orders you’ll get resistance. There are lots of ways to make clean up more fun.

Here’s a great video of how cute it is when toddlers clean up.

My 2 Year Old Won’t Take A Nap

Napping can be effected by the same developmental milestone (autonomy) that can effect a two year olds’ willingness to clean up toys. Toddlers are just learning that they can have control over their own bodies. This autonomy can make them try to control you too! Children this age need grown ups that can hold their ground on the family expectations and rules.

Again I can tell you that teachers at thousands of child care centers get groups of 2 year old children to nap every day. Of course not every child sleeps everyday and that’s an important point for parents to remember at home.

Finally, a key factor in getting any child to nap is tiredness. If a child sleeps in late, and sits idle all morning passively watching TV, a nap might not be possible, or at least not until late in the day. The take away here is to get your toddler up and active early in their day. These tips might help with a child who won’t take a nap.

  • Routine is everything. You choose the routine as you know what works for your family.
  • Physical activity (out doors if possible) will help any child be tired by nap time.
  • The rest of the house should be calm but silence should be necessary.
  • Expect your child to sleep. Children strive to meet your expectations.
  • Busy yourself during nap time. Checking on the toddler will be disruptive. Don’t be the reason your child stays awake.
My 2 Year Old Won’t Stay In Their Bed

Right around the second birthday most parent introduce the big kid bed. This can pose new problems for parents including safety hazards. Let’s address safety first. If your home isn’t “child safe” you’ll be smart to make it so before introducing the new bed. Even if you’re home is safe for your child during the day, while you’re awake, can you be sure your child would be safe wandering around the house while you are sound asleep? If that sounds a little scary there are some solutions to consider.

  • Bed rails will prevent children from falling out of bed, and might help keep them in the bed just as a deterrent but determined kids will find their way out.
  • Consider a gate on the bedroom door that will allow the door to be closed. Like a second stop gap.
  • Consider gating staircases in your home. 

Some tips for parents introducing the big kid bed.

  • Set clear expectations and limits.
  • Have a “can do” attitude.
  • Just as with napping- routine is everything!
  • Bath, brush teeth, potty, story (or two), sleep.
  • Be sure your child is tired.
  • The rest of the house should be clam but silence shouldn’t be necessary.
  • Remember, as parents, you deserve some “us time” in the evening.

See how these parents get their toddler to bed in this cute video.



Read More