Our Trip to Ecosource Garden of the Valley

Our Trip to Ecosource Green’s 

Garden of the Valley was simply beautiful.

First, we meet as a class in our mindfulness circle. The children were led through a series of breathing, listening and relaxation exercises. This helped the children to understand and engage their senses, and tune into their personal well-being every day.

Students’ explored the garden using magnifying glasses, picked mint and made mint tea, used loose parts, tended to the garden. 


Students picked a handfuls or so of large mint leaves, washed them well and gently dried the mint with some paper towel.


Children love the natural world. An outdoor space that is rich in natural features can powerfully stimulate their sense of wonder and discovery. Where do ants live? Where do they get their purple colour? Looking for bees: Bee hunting, finding and following honeybees, is a mix of excitement and mindful meditation that provides valuable insight into the lives of bees.



Students found a quiet space in the garden to rest and explore the shells.

By providing props and making spaces that allow children to act out their imaginary worlds. Environments that facilitate storytelling and dramatic play. Set the stage for children to imagine themselves in many different roles.


Students explored a variety of shells on a tray so they could explore them in whatever fashion they wanted to. Students were observed using their olfactory sense to find out what the shells smelled like. (The answer? “Not much.” :-)) Students also used their sense of touch to decide if the shells were rough or smooth.

In childhood one is more open to sensory impressions than ever again in one’s life. Smells, sensations of heat, softness, weight, beauty and much more, form the basis of all of life’s later sensations.

– Eva Insulander, Swedish School Ground Designer and Planner

After meeting again and reflecting on our learning for the day, the children were given time for free play. During this time the students exercised their social skills while engaging in cooperative, imaginative play in the garden, and with loose parts. By encouraging the children to explore and understand the space independently, children are learning to be self-reliant.

Student voices from the garden…



“The water collected in the garden comes from the rain!” H.J.


“Our water smells like mint, we picked fresh mint.” A.F.


“There are so many bees looking for nectar.” T.S.


“This is our mini world, the animals love the garden.” M.D.

Children role play real-life situations through imagining scenarios and building small worlds. Plants, sand, and soil are materials that small children can relate to and manipulate for building and creating their own small worlds.




Our Month of October

Wow! What an October… we had soo much fun. Below are some of the daily experiences we engaged in!!

I’ll begin with math…

Ten frames are a simple tool that can help children immensely when it comes to counting, adding, and subitizing. It’s really amazing how much learning children get from these simple activities.

I noticed that even if a child can recognize the numeral symbol for a number they may not truly understand what that numeral represents unless they count each item one-to-one. Working with ten frames helps develop number sense because they actually understand number quantity rather than just identifying the number symbol.

Subitizing is the ability to instantly recognize the number of objects in a small set or arrangement without counting.

Using ten frames helps children see the quantity of each number and understand “how many” without counting. For example, eventually children will see the top row full and automatically know that’s five. This is the base skill needed for the ability to combine numbers from sets (like 5+2) and develop mathematical fluency.

What I observed children doing when they used the Ten Frames…



Here pictured above I observed a children sorting objects and counting each one. This was a very popular activity for children to naturally extend after using the ten frames. We focused on developing success, one of the most important goals was to help the students engage in using one-to-one correspondence.

While some students can recite the number sequence accurately (i.e. say 1, 2, 3, etc.) they are developing their understanding of maintaining one-to-one correspondence when counting a set of objects. Children not using one-to-one correspondence will not co-ordinate saying the number names with taking the counters one by one. Some will say more than one number per object; others will take more than one object per number.

I used google eyes as a counting manipulative and spiders on webs, I noticed these dice games helped strengthen number recognition, base 10 understanding, and addition and subtraction skills. Students roll a dice and then place that number of spiders on the web or google eyes. You may use a standard dice, numeral dice or any type of number representation type of dice to differentiate, support or extend

Students also picked a recipe card and counted out the objects to create the witches’ brew in the witches house, —dramatic centre!!


Alphabet Brew provides opportunities for students to recognise letters and practise the sounds that they make. Spooky Eyes are labelled with each letter of the alphabet and placed in a cauldron (Clear container). Students then select a spooky eyeball and say the sound of the letter written on the eyeball and use a bingo dabber to mark off the letter.


I am learning more about how to use our classroom word wall, I am discovering that an INTERACTIVE Word wall that allows children to access daily is most beneficial. Words used on the word wall are most helpful when they’re meaningful to the children. I believe this means the children’s names and certain words they like to write often should always be included. I also decided to include words and pictures used during specific lessons and surrounding holidays or special events relevant to the children’s daily experiences. Pictured below, is a photograph of a child’s inspirational drawing after i added some words.


Simple enough that the children could memorize it and recite it! The Halloween Sound Poem for Halloween was a hot –such a great way to encourage children to get creative with making sound effects and practicing our popcorn words!IMG_1346


Classroom Field Trip

We learned all about pumpkins, picked various classroom pumpkins (cinderella, knucklehead pumpkins, Jack-o-lantern pumpkins)… this sparked our interested into learning more about pumpkins.

We learned that Pumpkins have thick shells which contain pulp and seeds. Scientifically speaking, pumpkins are a fruit (they contain seeds) but when it comes to cooking, they are often referred to as vegetables. Pumpkins are usually shaped like a sphere (ball).

We extended our learning by reflecting on what we learned on our field trip… 

On the trip students noticed some pumpkins were open on the pumpkin patch… I used the photograph pictured above to help use reflect on what we wanted to learn more about the pumpkin… and begin exploring deeper the inside of the pumpkin. (I pictured the photograph on the smart board as we shared what we learned thus far).


Exploring a pumpkin activity

Fall is the perfect time of year to explore pumpkins! We got to see what was inside the pumpkin… I started by holding up the pumpkin for the children to see and asked them to predict what the inside of a pumpkin looks like. What color will the inside be? Will it be wet or dry? Once opened… I asked questions such as, “How does it feel?” or “What does it smell like?” to develop oral language, communication, and vocabulary.

Example of questions: (Connect these to the 5 senses)

  • How does it feel?
  • Is it hard, soft, mushy, slimy?
  • What does it smell like?
  • Can you hear anything?
  • Do you think we can eat this pumpkin?
  • Does it remind you of anything else you have smelled or touched before?
  • What color is the pumpkin?
  • What color are the seeds?


Inspired by real pumpkins –We used the pumpkins to create some Pumpkin Still Life Art using black markers and watercolours. Students observed the “ribs” (lines), the “skin” (green, orange, brown, purple), and the textures, size and weight or pumpkins.


“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of Autumn” –Joe. L. Wheeler

Indigenous + Early Childhood Education

In Canada, Indigenous children are less likely to attend ECE programs compared to non-Indigenous children. This lag in attendance presents an immediate opportunity for policy intervention and a look into what we can do as educators to deepen or awareness, this blog post is just a starting point for the much learning that is ahead of me as I am certain I have much to learn.

As perhaps the most vulnerable segment of Canada’s population, Indigenous children may stand to benefit the most from having access to high-quality early childhood care and education.


“It represents a history, it represents a home, it represents a dwelling where families came together over the fire.”


Creating the culturally competent classroom involves the recognition of Indigenous culture and language.

I do understand many educators struggle to identify and use appropriate resources, and to create contexts in which such knowledge can be embedded. Educators with limited connections to Aboriginal peoples and cultures may require support to incorporate Indigenous knowledge respectfully and appropriately in the classroom.

Rather than just an add-on, the histories and cultures of Indigenous people can be integrated into each learning area to bring new perspectives to existing knowledge and practice, and to encourage interesting and innovative ways to incorporate this knowledge.

Thinking about traditional indigenous child rearing – baby doll in coolamon in home corner
Coolamon (plural coolamons)
An indigenous container with curved sides, typically used for collecting berries

It is essential to incorporate the unique learning values of Indigenous people in creating successful Indigenous-centred early education programs and policies. Unlike many programs based on western pedagogy, the concept of “holism” is a vital aspect of Indigenous-centred education.

Holism treats learning as a process that is spiritual as well as experiential, that has its foundations in language and culture, that spreads across all stages of life, and that integrates western as well as Indigenous knowledge.

Lovely way to incorporate indigenous play into the classroom! These could be used for matching or for storytelling!
Aboriginal story stones live in a basket in Story Corner
Exploring indigenous symbols at Pied Piper Preschool

Early childhood provides an enormous opportunity to build the roots for native language learning. This is particularly important in the Indigenous context, as the loss of culture and language is greatly felt by Indigenous communities due to a long history of colonization and marginalization. Preservation and continuation of languages and culture is a top priority for Indigenous people, and early childhood is the best time to focus on achieving this goal.

Here is a beautiful invitation to play and explore. The inclusion of this culturally specific way of communicating open a dialogue of the “many facets of natural language.


I end by describing my thoughts about learning … All people benefit from a sense of belonging, to their families, culture and communities. It is especially important in the case of parents caring for young children. Parents need to feel supported by family, friends, the community and by ECE’s.

Aboriginal people, through a long history of assimilation and discrimination, may not have this sense of belonging. This may impact their health and sense of worth, and may result in feelings of despair and hopelessness. There are many things that ECE’s can do to foster a sense of belonging in Aboriginal families with young children, connecting parents to the information and supports that they need in a respectful and caring manner, and acknowledging their strengths.

We must ask questions and seek current information about factors that influence Aboriginal children in today’s society and find ways that respect Aboriginal realities in our classrooms.


*Photographs do not belong to me, I am completely thankful for the beauty and dedication that has gone into allowing users to use these photographs for learning and dialogue.

STEM in the Early Years… Is it Possible??

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM Education, a term initiated by the National Science Foundation, refers to an educational approach which integrates more than one of these disciplines.

My favorite way of better understanding STEM: STEM really is a philosophy. STEM is a way of thinking about how educators at all levels—including parents—should be helping children integrate knowledge across disciplines, encouraging them to think in a more connected and holistic way.

Behind the magnifying glass! Exploring outdoors—👧🏻🌾🍃grasshopper with Sophia

STEM/STEAM for infants and toddlers is about providing multisensory experiences: Seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling are all important parts of meaningful learning experiences.


When my daughter Sophia was an infant and toddler, at home we began allowing her to touch leaves, watch spiders, hold sticks, listen to water and take her on nature walks.

Were we doing STEM infancy and toddler-hood?

Yes, I truly believe so. She was investigating the natural world around her, beginning to learn about how it works by testing it with her tiny fingers, watching it change, listening to its sounds, and feeling its textures.

The secret is to tap into their natural and innate curiosity about the living world. By simply allowing them to investigate, by encouraging them to ask questions about the real world, you are engaging children in STEM.

… something I feel that I am continually exploring in my own life as a mother and educator.

Become more intentional about what you are doing.  If you start by reflecting on what you are doing already, you will find you that you are already doing things in STEM and with an increase intention in your language and your ability to support children to predict what might happen next or explore or question, you will already be advancing those ideas of science, technology, engineering, and math.” (Dr. Killins on Bam Radio)

How Adults support STEM for Infants and Toddlers:
  • Provide materials
  • Join infants and toddlers in exploration
  • Connect experiences to what children have done or experienced before
  • Invite children to use their senses and describe their observations
    • How do they feel?
    • What do they look like?
    • How do they smell?
    • How do they taste?
    • How does it sound?

Now that my daughter is much older, we often go on “nature walks” as a family, where we encourage her natural curiosity for exploration. She loves the opportunity to collect, pick up and look at or ask simple questions about almost anything: rocks, fossils, seeds, leaves, sticks, bugs, or whatever seems to be peaking her interest that day. As we collect, observe or discuss with her we are encouraging her to create hypotheses about the things we see, and look at the different designs and shapes that we find in nature, as an initial inquiry into engineering design. I would love to extend her experience by bringing along binoculars, magnifying glasses, and a child’s field microscope to deepen her investigations.

Collecting with Daddy at Riverwood Conservancy
STEM Playground Engineering

STEM Activities for Preschoolers… you’ve probably already done some…

  • Go on a nature walk. Can be a great outdoor STEM activity for preschoolers. Take a reusable bag and encourage children to collect interesting objects (i.e., small round stones, leaves, seed pods, or flowers). Later children can sort their found nature materials into categories, such as color, texture, size, and shape. Skills used: math and science


  • Cook together. Find a simple recipe for preschoolers. Follow the recipe letting children help measure and mix. Skills used: science, technology, and math
  • Build ramps to test which cars, balls, or marbles go the fastest. Use a board, sheet of cardboard, or small table with one side elevated to make a ramp, this is often easiest in the block area. Roll a variety of objects, two at a time down the ramp to see which is fastest. Record your findings on a chart, or verbally share in the excitement with children. Skills used: engineering and math
  • Play with water. Water is a rich STEM material. At the sensory table (bin with water). Provide tools to experiment with like a turkey baster, empty dish detergent bottles, plastic measuring cups, etc. to fill and compare. Skills used: math and science


  • Set-up building activities with paper or plastic cups. Give a challenge such as, “How high can you make a tower of cups?” Measure each tower and record their height. Skills used: engineering and math


According to Dr. Sherri Killins, “What STEM does is give a label to what you are already doing… helping children to explore, observe, ask questions, predict, integrate their learning… its what we’ve always done in early childhood education.”

Some Resources I liked:

Be sure to check out the Children and Nature Network. Their site has a wealth of information on the back-to-nature movement.

The Boston Children’s Museum’s excellent STEM Sprouts Teaching Guide assists preschool educators in focusing and refining the naturally inquisitive behaviors of three-to-five-year-olds in STEM.

Infant: Mini Provocations

Students often ask me for list of infant learning experiences they could use on placements. This post is dedicated to students that are seeking to be inspired, take risks and dive deeper into learning experiences for infants.

“Absolutely everything is something to explore and wonder at when experiencing it for the first time!”


To get you started, take a look at some of the inspirational work I’ve collected from various childcare programs (Source: Tinker Tots Discovery Atelier). I am in awe at such professionalism, care that has gone into thoughtfully and intentionally planning activities for infants.

I hope that you feel as inspired as I was by the beautiful work of the educators.

In Reggio thinking there is a belief that the environment is the “third teacher” and that it is crucial to provide children with plenty of natural light, space for movement, stimulation and access to open-ended play resources. For babies and young children it is important that these are highly tactile and varied so that they can investigate them using their primary way of interacting with the world; the senses.

I am continually moved to create play spaces for infants inspired by Reggio principles, that encourage independent play, interaction with stimulating materials and curiosity about the world.



As educators we set out play objects purposefully and deliberately and give children loads of time and space to explore and experiment we are respecting children’s play urges, and giving them the opportunity to grow in self mastery.

So MUCH POTENTIAL FOR: gathering, dumping, transporting, mixing, rolling, posting and more in these simple ideas. All that from cardboard tubes, paper carry bags and tissue boxes! Who’d have thought?


Safe tastes, hands on exploring and tactile investigating

Play together to increase the opportunities for sharing and communicating as they explore and make this a special bonding time! Remember, infants attention spans are not long at this stage and that is fine. A few minutes of one of these ideas per day is plenty, and come back to revisit them often as repetition is what leads to familiarity and building on learning skills later.

Exploring fabric and textures. A beautiful set-up in an infant 🚼classroom, to promote exploration and 💭problem solving.



Tip: Rotate often to keep baby interested

Infants tend to focus the most on high contrast images, particularly black on white and white on black, followed by bright, complementary colours.


So now that you have planned a mini infant provocation … what comes next?

I have put together some of my favourite tips for talking with babies/toddlers and engaging in high-quality back-and-forth interactions.

  •  Move to the child’s level and make eye contact.
  • Mirror the child’s tone. For example, if the child is smiling and happy, use a happy, upbeat tone of voice.
  • Use Parent-ese! Parent-ese is a type of adult speech where an adult talks to a child in an exaggerated, animated, and repetitive way. Babies and toddlers get excited when they are spoken to in fun and interesting ways. Parent-ese captures babies’ attention and can help them learn.
  • Comment! Comment about everything in the baby’s environment, such as their actions and other people’s actions, objects, toys, foods, activities, and daily events.
  • Label! Babies and toddlers are learning to match words with different things in their world. Labeling at every opportunity helps babies and toddlers learn new words and understand their meaning.
  • Point and look at objects when describing them for babies/toddlers. Make sure the baby/toddler looks at who or what you are pointing to.
  • Follow the child’s lead and talk about it! Identify what the child is looking at, playing with, holding, doing, or interested in.
  • Have conversations! Some babies and toddlers may not have words yet, but they still communicate in their own “baby language”. This is usually in the form of babbles, coos, laughter, smiles, looks, and gestures. Talk to them and reply to their “baby language”. That is called a “back-and-forth conversation”- baby style!


As always, never leave infants unattended when playing with any of these ideas.

Dot Day as Process Art: Why we ❤️ it so much!

International Dot Day is a celebration of creativity inspired by The Dot written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.  It is a day to think about ways in which we can use our special talents to make the world a better place.



What began as a simple story in a picture book has become so much more. As more and more teachers celebrate International Dot Day with their students, entire classrooms are being transformed as children and teachers alike rediscover the power of creativity in the learning process.

What is process art for kids?

Process ART is a contemporary artistic movement recognized within the world’s art communities. The Guggenheim states “process art emphasizes the ‘process’ of making art”. The MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) points out that “in process art, the means count for more than the ends.”

These definitions apply directly to process art for children! 

Process art is all about the experience the children have while they’re creating. If it has a nice end product, that’s great, but the end product isn’t the focus of process art. Ask yourself the questions below if you’re unsure. If the answer to either is “YES!” then it is not a process art activity.

  • “Will I be upset if the end result doesn’t look a specific way?”
  • “Do I have a preconceived notion about what the end result ‘should’ look like?”

Teacher Reflection: How do you dream of “making your mark” in the world. Whats one small way you can start working on it now?

One other aspect of International Dot Day that has helped it spread across the globe is the interactive, collaborative nature of celebrations. Teachers are encouraged to document and share their International Dot Day celebrations via blogs and social media. In this way, other teachers can be inspired to participate in new and exciting ways in the future.

Some Ideas that can be easily applied to childcare:



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Wonderful opportunity for parental engagement on DOT DAY! 

Encourage children’s creativity through developmentally appropriate art experiences

Tips for leading process-focused art

1. Approach art like open-ended play—for example, provide a variety of materials and see what happens as the child leads the art experience
2. Make art a joyful experience. Let children use more paint, more colors, and make more and more artwork
3. Provide plenty of time for children to carry out their plans and explorations
4. Let children come and go from their art at will
5. Notice and comment on what you see: Look at all the yellow dots you painted
6. Say YES to children’s ideas
7. Offer new and interesting materials
8. Play music in the background
9. Take art materials outside in the natural light
10. Display children’s books with artful illustrations, such as those by Eric Carle, Lois Ehlert, and Javaka Steptoe
11. Let the children choose whether their art goes home or stays in the classroom
12. Remember that it’s the children’s art, not yours


More Than Painting, Preschool and Kindergarten: Exploring the Wonders of Art, by Sally Moomaw and Brenda Hieronymus. This book provides many process art activity ideas.

The Creative Arts: A Process Approach for Teachers and Children, by Linda Carol Edwards. A textbook format that provides a foundation for understanding process in art, music, and drama activities with young children.

Patterns and Loose Parts

Pattern: When items are in a repeated sequence, they form a pattern.


Children will recognize and create patterns.

For example, when coloring they may shade a shirt in a “blue-red-blue-red” pattern. As they mature, the patterns will become more complex. When playing with blocks they may be able to put them in a “triangle-circle-square-triangle-circle-square” sequence.

Working on pattern recognition is an important area to practice with children in childcare. The ability to recognize, follow and predict patterns is an important early math skill. Understanding patterns helps children to understand and deal with the chaotic environment around them, as they learn to do things in the correct order.


The ECE’s role involves posing questions that alert children to patterns which occur naturally in the sequence of the day, such as in the songs sung, the books read, and the games played in outdoors and indoors. This is an ongoing and natural process. Activities should highlight patterns that are visual, kinesthetic, and auditory.

Tip: Experiences with sorting and classifying may help with the learning of patterns. The ability to work with patterns is strengthened by the recognition and identification of attributes such as colour, size, and shape.


Patterns are everywhere in math!

I have discovered the art of setting out materials in the classroom to be so inviting, and encourages children to explore with all their senses.

Math Language: Repeating pattern, position words (after, between, beside, before, next), attribute vocabulary (colour, size and shape).

Loose Parts = More Complex Play

Architect Simon Nicholson used the term “loose parts” to describe materials with varied properties that can be moved and manipulated in many ways. He theorized that the richness of an environment depends on the opportunity it allows for people to interact with it and make connections.


The term loose parts relates to any object which was can moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up and taken apart and put back together. Playing with loose parts is a popular activity in preschools and upwards to help children develop their skills in creativity, flexibility and independence.


Love the open ended nature of these activities. The children can be as creative as they want and all approach it in their own way. Very inviting and so gorgeously place loose parts.

When children are encouraged to use loose parts and try their own ideas, they are driven to learn. They are driven to not only ask their own questions, but also discover their own answers and create new possibilities. A child’s play with loose parts even begins to match their developing skill level (Daly and Beloglovsky, 2015), providing opportunities for divergent and creative problem solving.


Daly, L., & Beloglovsky, M. (2015) Loose parts: Inspiring play in young children. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press

Thank you to all the Early Childhood Educators and Elementary Teachers who have worked so hard to create activities for children. –credits to the photographs


A Welcome Stone: A Sense of Belonging

Arrival stones for attendance at a child care, fosters a sense Belonging. 

Belonging happens when a child has a sense of connectedness. Forming strong, trusting relationships are important to feel safe, explore and learn.  Children need to feel part of a community within their family, friends and the natural world.

Introducing Rocks to Children: Classroom Belonging Activity

“Everybody Has a Rock.”  Each child blindly selects a pebble from the basket.

Share with the children that their rock is waiting for them and that it will choose them.

Each child is responsible for putting his or her rock in the basket each morning and afternoon. Take attendance from the rocks remaining on the table.

“It is symbolic of their presence and gives them a little more responsibility.”


This is a wonderful nostalgic book for adults who collected rocks when they were children; I’ve observed my daughter collect rocks. And, some children who enjoy the natural world might appreciate it because it stresses their autonomy in the pursuit of choosing a rock of their very own. I also like how the girl stresses play with her rock can be more fun than playing with the kinds of things that have to be purchased.


Love this rock name idea from Stimulating Learning with Rachel.

Making the surroundings welcoming for all children and families

Welcome stones …

  • Children take the lead; actively shaping their day right in the morning.
  • Invite and engage others in the continuing process of program development including parents, the children themselves.
  • Educators listen and learn from the children as much as the children listen and learn from the educators.
  • Educators encourage children to explore nature and their natural environments.


Routines and activities to help children develop a sense of belonging in a child care program.



Looking at the environment and our practices with a critical lens can help us to strengthen our programs and thus foster positive development in the children we care for.

Questions to consider:

  • How do I foster relationships within my program to create a sense of belonging with both the families and the children?
  • How does the environment I provide support belonging?
  • Are there policies or practices I might reconsider?


“Growing” belonging

A sense of belonging doesn’t just happen; it takes time and effort to grow. Focused, planned ideas are important. Growing with your families creates not only a positive sense of belonging, but also helps foster the circle of nurturing: “You’ve taken such good care of me; I want to take good care of you.” This adds to what is special and unique about your program.

OMG Reading Aloud!

Reading children’s storybooks is one of my [OMG!!] absolutely personal favorite activities, so it’s only fitting that I dedicate this blog to the BEST ACTIVITY–READING ALOUD!

Before I get into some of what I’ve learned about reading children storybooks I would like to share how this passion for reading stories developed.

While I was in the Early Childhood Education Program at Sheridan College one of my professors Cathy Coulthard said “Anytime is a great time for a story!”, this resonated with me ever since, it was such a powerful statement one that at the moment didn’t mean much to me but has become one the truest parts of who I am as a mother, educator and instructor.

Around the age of 3 months I started reading aloud to my daughter Sophia (now 7 years old). I can confidently say that for the past 6 years of Sophia’s life she has had a book read each night (give or take a couple late nights). I think that for any parent who wants to cultivate a love of reading it has to become a “lifestyle choice.”


How it all started…

I started off by buying a low shelve for her to easily access books independently, I researched best titles for babies, toddlers and preschoolers (the librarians can help with this if your not sure where to begin). I placed all the books so she could see the covers. Use a front-facing book rack or stand some books up on a table or shelf. Setting out many books for children to choose from can be overwhelming for young children, so limit the number of books, surprise children with books by placing them around the house or incorporate them into different areas of the classroom or your home (I would bring some along for car rides.)



Plan a book area that is cozy and inviting, away from distractions and busy traffic flow at home. Place soft items, so children can feel a sense of security and so they can lean and sit on — pillows, blankets, or cushions — and a bean bag chair, love seat, small mattress, and/ or rocking chair. Make the area cozy!

I also made it a point to read to her during down times, or anytime (getting ready for naps, sitting around at the doctors office, at home, riding in the car)–I literally started off taking books everywhere. As she grew the interests in different stories also changed, the stories and how she understood them began to evolve. –Reading was simply for pleasure. After years of reading stories she now independently looks for books to read.


Tips for Reading Aloud

“The Read-Aloud Handbook” by Jim Trelease, I have the pleasure of sharing chapter 4 with you which is titled “The Do’s and Don’ts of Read-Alouds”


  • Begin reading to children as soon as possible. The younger you start them, the easier it is.
  • Choose books for infants and toddlers that include rhymes, songs, and repetition to stimulate language and listening.
  • Read as often as you and the child have time for.
  • Start with pictures books with only a few words on the page then gradually move on to books with more and more text and fewer pictures.
  • Before you begin to read, always say the name of the book and introduce the author and illustrator, no matter how many times you have read the book.
  • The first time you read the book, discuss the illustrations on the cover of the book and ask the child(ren) what they think the book will be about.
  • Occasionally, read above children’s intellectual levels and challenge their minds.
  • Allow your listeners a few minutes to settle down and adjust their minds and bodies to the story.
  • Mood is an important factor in listening. The authoritative, “Now stop that and settle down! Sit up straight! Pay attention!” doesn’t create a receptive atmosphere.
  • When reading a picture book, make sure the children can easily see the pictures.
  • Remember, reading aloud comes naturally to very few people. To do it successfully and with ease, you must practice.
  • The most common mistake in reading aloud is reading too fast. Read slowly enough for the child to build mental pictures of what he just heard you read.
  • Slow down enough for the children to see the pictures without feeling hurried. Reading quickly allows no time for the reader to use vocal expression.
  • Preview the book before reading it aloud to your children. This will allow you to know ahead of time if there is any part of the book you want to shorten, eliminate, or elaborate on.