Helpful Resources

Each month the preschool teachers will recommend a book, documentary, or other resource that we feel parents may find helpful. We will try to suggest resources across a wide spectrum of child development.

October 2017

This month we would like to suggest the book "Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World" by Michele Borba, Dr. UnSelfie

Dr. Borba has spent years studying empathy and its decrease in our society. While this may sound depressing, Dr. Borba shares a framework that helps us all develop children that are resilient, happy, kind, successful, and courageous. She demonstrates how perspective taking is a critical skill for our children to develop and how it directly benefits them.

Empathy can be taught and improved like any other personality trait or skill. It just takes practice. This book shares studies that have demonstrated empathy in incredibly young children and ways that we adults often teach children to have less concern for others. Each chapter shares research and advice on how to work with children. The advice is divided by age, which makes it very easy to find a tool that may work for a high schooler, an elementary student, a toddler, and even an infant. This organization makes it an easy quick resource to grab as well as a book to read cover to cover.

In addition to empathy the book discusses other areas that adults can help children develop emotion based skills. There is a very useful chapter on self regulation and helping children have better control over their emotions. Self-regulation is a key skill in helping children socially as well as academically.

Resources from the 2016-2017 School Year

Recently there has been an increased understanding of the importance of spatial awareness, and how it can impact future achievement in math and science.  Education Week and Mind Shift recently published articles on this topic (links below). I thought you may find them interesting.

Many of the activities in our preschool program help students visualize an object and mentally rotate it.  One way we engage these skills is when we ask students to create a plan before they build something.  This requires a clear mental picture of a final object.  A two dimensional image can only show a portion, and the student needs to hold on to what is not shown in the picture.  We also improve spatial awareness when students build the same idea with a different building material.

Many of the numeracy items on our math shelves use spatial awareness skills to demonstrate quantity to numeral.  Some of the project room challenges are designed around an understanding of the importance of spatial reasoning.

We enjoyed reading and discussing this book as a preschool team and thought parents with preschool age children would find it interesting as well.  This book titled, The Importance of Being Little –What Preschoolers Really Need From Grownups, written by Yale early childhood expert Erika Christakis, gives one perspective and theory behind the adult role in the developing preschooler.  In an ever changing and fast paced world that is becoming more and more structured, academic and adult driven, we found it to be a refreshing take on the importance of play and giving children opportunities to guide their own learning.   She stresses the idea that sometimes we underestimate what a young child can do when given the time, space, curiosity and opportunities to do so.  This book does an excellent job of encouraging us to take a deeper look at the role we play as “grown-ups” in children’s lives and gives many wonderful examples, ideas, and practices teachers and parents can be using with preschool age children.

Check it out here:  The Importance of Being Little

Our first suggestion ties into the work the children have done with our new butterfly garden. 

It has become increasingly difficult for many families to have productive outdoor time.  Children learn a lot by simply being in natural areas, and it can be a lot of fun too! This small book is a resource of 52 outdoor activities that can be done with your child. Most of them do not require a lot of organization or preparation. There are suggestions for all four seasons.  Activities include rock scavenger hunts, watching the shadows cast from moonlight, looking for signs of animals in the middle of winter, building nests, and much more. Most of the suggestions could be done in your backyard or in a large nature preserve.


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