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Teach young children math through play – it’s easy with LittleCounters®

When are children ready to be introduced to mathematics? Far earlier than most parents and even educators realize. In Let's Talk About Math, the developers of the LittleCounters® early numeracy program show how mathematical learning can be taught through play. And, it can be easy when the learning involves toys, games, songs, and books that are already part of a young child's everyday experience! Once you get in the habit of keeping your eyes open to the possibilities for math learning, you'll recognize them everywhere! Read More

High-quality preschool inclusion: A few basics to help get you started

Consider this: It has been more than 35 years since the Education for All Handicapped Children Act passed in 1975, but only 50% of preschoolers with disabilities in the U.S. are being included in general ed settings for more than 80% of the time. This is surprising when you consider that preschool inclusion studies uniformly demonstrate positive benefits for all participants. Get answers to 13 frequently asked questions about preschool inclusion from First Steps to Preschool Inclusion. Read More

Infusing mental health care into services for young children

The more points of service where states can provide mental health care for young children, the greater the prognosis for those children's overall development and school readiness. One of the biggest challenges states face is a lack of coordination of services and funding sources to ensure that effective mental health services are supported and sustained. States need an organized, cross-system effort, according to Deborah Perry, co-editor of Social and Emotional Health in Early Childhood: Building Bridges Between Services and Systems. See what it takes to get started. Read More

Let children’s natural interests and instinct for play lead literacy learning

In its recommendations for teaching young children early reading skills, the National Reading Panel advised educators to keep a sense of playfulness and fun; avoid drill and rote memorization use group settings that encourage interaction among children encourage children's curiosity about and experimentation with language and print Take a look at these three approaches for examples of how to immerse children in early literacy by harnessing their natural interests and sense of play. Read More

Beautiful Beginnings: Building on Babies’ Strengths

Babies learn without any special prompting from us. We can, however, help them learn by paying close attention to where they are in their development and when they're ready for the next step. Studies have shown that as babies– skills emerge and evolve, the introduction of a new skill at just the right time propels them toward the next level of development. During their many years working in Early Head Start, Helen Raikes and Jane Whitmer developed and fine-tuned more than 350 sequential activities for caregivers to have ready to put in front of babies at "just the right time." Read our Q&A to learn how a number of programs are using the Beautiful Beginnings curriculum to help caregivers encourage their babies' development. Read More

Could Mental Health Training Be the Missing Link in Your Work?

In her work with families, Carola D'Emery would sometimes finish for the day and then get in her car and cry. This highly competent pediatric physical therapist could not figure out why her efforts were not working. Only when she took a course on working with difficult families for mental health professionals did she realize what had been missing. Read Dr. D'Emery's story, from the book Mental Health in Early Intervention, and see how her discovery might help you. Read More

Cross-Pollination of Practices in Inclusive Settings Helps Young Learners Grow

One third of children with disabilities in early childhood settings are receiving services right alongside children without disabilities. As the number of children in inclusive programs rises, general and special education teachers will be called upon to borrow more and more from each other. For integrated techniques that have already been shown to work, read the perspective of veteran inclusive educator Jennifer Grisham-Brown, co-author of Blended Practices for Teaching Young Children in Inclusive Settings. Read More

Cultural diversity: 4 easy steps to help second-language learners

As our population becomes more diverse, you are more likely to have children who speak a language other than English in your classroom and whose families come from a different country or culture. Here are four easy steps you can take to promote positive development of your second-language learners along with all the rest of the children in your class. Read More

Early childhood inclusion: 4 must-dos for every program leader

Many of today's early childhood leaders evolved into their position without training on how to lead a successful inclusive program. And, yet, most programs include children with special needs so how can a leader equip herself with the skills needed to build a high-quality program? Here are 4 specific tips you can incorporate right away that will help you ensure every child in your program makes progress. Read More