Friday, January 27, 2012

Water Play Tools for Less than $1

I have been able to find (most of) these items at our local dollar store or other places like Goodwill for children to experiment or explore while visiting the water table in all of our classrooms for birth-age 5.  

Ms. DanL's Top 20 Water Play Manipulatives:

1.      Whisk
2.      Funnel
3.      Colander
4.      Spoons
5.      Small cups
6.      Tubes
7.      Corks
8.      Tongs
9.      Measuring cups
10.  Sponges
11.  Aquarium nets
12.  Measuring spoons
13.  Aquarium nets
14.  Eyedroppers
15.  Plastic squeeze bottles
16.  Water wheel
17.  Spray bottles
18.  Sea shells
19.  Pebbles
20.  Paint brushes

Where do you find materials for open-ended investigations at the water table?

What's your favorite material for use in the water table?

Friday, January 13, 2012

The PD Shakedown

The need for and benefit of professional development is often hard to bring to light when speaking with the "higher ups" in early childhood education. I attribute this to the fact that many of them are "done" with school and feel they have the tools needed to successfully do their jobs. While this may be the case, others of us out here are lifelong learners, reaching for every article published, gathering on Twitter to network and support, and registering for classes just to maintain that level of thrill. I admit, I finished grad school in 2010 and wondered almost immediately what I could do next.

If the professional development isn't required by a funder, it's incredibly difficult sometimes to explain the need to the admin but also to some teachers. It's usually because the next question is "Well, who's going to pay for this?" And I must admit, the reason I have not yet pursued my doctorate is largely because if I have to tell my husband that I'd like to incur more student loan debt, his head may explode. But there are opportunities out there for "people like me" who have the thirst for knowledge. Is cost really the limiting factor?

I've often brought up the idea of starting a book club, usually around the time my new NAEYC books arrive in the mail and I'm chomping at the bit to get started and share my learning. Ive yet to receive positive feedback on the notion. Actually, most people laugh when I suggest it. I'd really like to say it's just my group of people and that a new position will change everything... But I'm pretty certain that's not the case. If I've learned anything in the past four years I've been in this "culture" it's that every agency in the city has the same issues and drama, just different people.

So today I take my stand.

I refuse to stop growing and learning just because I have no one in my immediate work circle to push... I mean nudge and support me in my adventures. In fact, I believe this is my call to be the nudger. (Is that really a word? If not, it is now. Enjoy.)

What if we're all waiting for something amazing to happen to inspire our groups and in fact, we are that something amazing? Be the catalyst.

Inspire someone today.