All children need immediate feedback to assist in developing the neuron connections within the frontal cortex that are associated with self-regulation, including decision making.

One form of feedback is encouragement, the acknowledgement of a young child’s effort. When a child feels that his effort is recognized and appreciated, he develops a desire to try harder in the future. You can also use encourage-ment before and after an activity to help the child improve his behavior.

It’s important to remember that PRAISE and ENCOURAGEMENT are not the same.

 Encouragement focuses on effort.

 Encouragement is specific and honest.

 Encouragement does not set children up for failure or comparison.

 Encouragement helps children develop an appreciation of their own behaviors.


Four Great Reasons to Read to a Child Every Day

Þ Basic Speech Skills—Throughout Head Start, children are learning crucial language and enunciation skills.  By listening to you read, you reinforce the basic sounds that form language. 

Þ Better Communication Skills—When you spend time reading, they’ll be much more likely to express themselves and relate to others in a healthy way.  By witnessing the interactions between the characters in the books read, as well as the contact with you during story time, children gain valuable communication skills. 

Þ Mastery of Language—Early reading for infants and toddlers has been linked to a better grasp of the fundamentals of language as they approach school age.

Academic Excellence—One of the primary benefits of reading to children is a higher aptitude for learning in general.  Numerous studies have shown that children who are exposed to reading before kindergarten are more likely to do well in all facets of formal education.


5 Tips for Engaging Parents

1. Provide handouts at the beginning of every school year.  Include words to songs that will be sung in your classroom, at home activities, and other tips for connecting to a particular skill at home.

2. Provide nametags for parents too.  When parents are identified by name in your program, it is better communicated that they are an important part of the classroom.

3. Greet every parent and child.  Making eye contact and addressing each participant relays the message that you see them as an important part of the program.

4. Make an announcement at the beginning.  Explain to adult participants at the very beginning of your school year that they are important to helping their child prepare for kindergarten.  Explain that parents are their child's first and best teacher and explain that children will value the things that their parents see as important.  For this reason, parents/caregivers should be an active part of the program.

5. Activities should be fun for adult, too!  Choose activities and books that you enjoy and-it will be obvious to children and adults, and will encourage them to participate, too. 



Big Brains and Big EQ 

by Carol Belcher
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage your own emotions in ways
 that are acceptable to the others around you.  EQ also involves our ability to read other’s emotions and understand what they are feeling.  In preschoolers, we are challenged to help our little students begin the process of building their EQ.
EQ has 4 components:
Self-awareness -  recognizing your own emotions, and being able to figure out why you feel the way you do
Self-management – controlling strong or impulsive emotions, and adapting to changes
Social awareness -  understanding other’s emotions and being able to read other people’s emotions
Relationship management – developing and maintaining good relationships through good communication and managing disagreements
In preschool, we need to start with helping our students recognize and label their own emotions.  There are activities in the Second Step kits that help build these skills and there are Apps on the mini iPads that help practice identifying emotions. 
Next, we can help our students with learning what they can do when they are in the midst of a strong emotion.  Role playing what to do when a friend won’t give you your favorite toy or the teachers can model a scenario for the class that involves conflict that the teachers must work out successfully.  Reading stories about resolving conflicts, disagreements, or disappointments can teach children about what they could and should do.  For children that have challenging behaviors around conflict with their peers, creating a social story for that child might reach the child in ways that other activities have not.
All of the current research on child development points to the great importance of EQ, and while academics are important, EQ is the best predictor of success and happiness.  We all know people who are very intelligent, but socially inept and unsuccessful at work due to a high IQ but a lower EQ.  Preschoolers are at the starting line with developing their preschooler EQ and we are charged with helping them build big brains and big EQ.



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