Voting Project

The Voting Project took place during October and November 2020 as many of the children’s family members were engaged in discussions about the upcoming election. Twenty-five second graders and their teacher were engaged in this three-week investigation of the meaning and procedures for voting. The project took place despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, guest experts were not allowed in the classroom, and students were not allowed to work with partners or small groups for any significant length of time.  

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Special Education Assessment for Preschool-Aged Children: Reviewing Results and Next Steps

When a child is assessed for special education services, first the assessment is conducted and then a meeting is held to review the assessment report results. There are typically two possible conclusions. One is that your child qualifies for special education services and an IEP (Individualized Education Program) is created. The other is that your child does not qualify for special education services. In this case, your LEA may suggest other ways to support your child.

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What Is an IEP?

An IEP is an Individualized Education Program for a child age 3 through 21 who has been diagnosed with disabilities or developmental delays. IEPs provide a roadmap for special education services. This is especially important for preschoolers, who may be receiving special education services in a variety of settings, such as public preschool classrooms, Head Start programs, or private childcare centers. 

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What Is Assessment?

Families may wonder about assessment for young children. It is common for a child’s caregiver, teacher, pediatrician, or other involved adult to use assessments. Assessment is one way to learn more about a child and their development. Assessment gives families, caregivers, and teachers helpful information about a child.

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Helping Young Children Get Ready to Read

Even very young children are learning to listen to words in order to gain speech and language skills. While this is happening, they are exploring print in books and throughout their environment in order to make connections between print and spoken words. This tool kit will provide information on print awareness, oral language, phonological awareness, letter knowledge, and beginning writing and how all of these pieces fit together to help children master the skill of reading.

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Helping Children with Big Feelings

Big feelings such as frustration or being upset can lead to strong reactions in adults and children. For children who have little control over their environment, these feelings can occur for reasons adults see as inconsequential or silly. Regardless of what causes a meltdown, teaching, modeling, and supporting them to calm down in that big feelings moment will help them learn a valuable life skill. Children will be faced with things that make them feel upset or mad many times in their lives. Teaching these skills early promotes resilience in the face of difficult situations.

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Developmentally Appropriate Practice 101

Developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) was developed in the 1980s to give early childhood educators a framework of high-quality and appropriate teaching practices for young children. DAP are learning experiences that promote the development (social, emotional, physical, health, cognitive) and general learning of each child served. NAEYC’s 2020 Developmentally Appropriate Practice Position Statement gives educators guidelines and recommendations for implementing DAP with children ages birth through age 8. This Q&A is intended for early childhood educators just learning about DAP who are thinking about how to use DAP in their classrooms.

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Carson’s Fishing Project

Carson’s interest in fishing began during previous trips to his grandparents’ farm in southern Missouri, where opportunities to fish in rivers and lakes are readily available. His first-hand experiences using worms and minnows for bait, and the excitement of catching a fish with his grandfather and then frying it for dinner, provided a tangible basis for understanding the basics of fishing. His interest in fishing was revived over the summer while spending days at home during the COVID-19 quarantine. He also had moved to a new home where he had access to a neighborhood lake, had spent time helping his grandpa stock his newly constructed pond, and had fished on Stockton Lake from a pontoon boat.

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Creative Arts for Young Children

Creative arts are activities that actively engage children’s imagination through movement and dance, drama and storytelling, music, and visual arts. Creative arts engage children across all domains—cognitive, language, social, emotional, and physical. This toolkit will describe four different types of creative arts and will provide ideas for encouraging and supporting young children in creative arts activities at home and in the classroom.

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Inclusive Practices and Remote Learning

During the Covid-19 pandemic, some early childhood professionals have transitioned to remote learning. This has been a new way of teaching young children for many early childhood educators. While learning remotely, children with disabilities continue to require the accommodations, modifications, and support noted in their IFSP/IEPs. This toolkit will support teachers with ideas for anytime inclusive practices, ways to become an effective remote teacher, tips for both synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning, and stories from the field with a focus on inclusive preschools.

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Childcare During COVID-19: Two Parents’ Perspectives

On this podcast, we talk with Haley and Bob about the impact of COVID-19 on childcare and their family. These parents have three young children who attend the Child Development Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

This podcast is the third in a three-part series on childcare during COVID-19. Part 1 focuses on a director’s perspective, and Part 2 focuses on a teacher’s perspective.

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Curriculum Modifications: Materials Adaptation

When you have a child with disabilities or developmental delays in your class, you will be considering how to make your day-to-day classroom life more accessible to them. One way of doing this is through materials adaptation. Materials adaptation is when you change an activity, manipulative, or toy slightly to meet the needs of a child with a disability or developmental delay.

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COVID-19 Parenting Pep Talk: Make Time for Connection

Before the COVID-19 situation, many of us, myself included, were used to taking our young children to childcare or preschool on working days. Now, we may be working from home or different hours, and we may have lost many of our predictable daily routines. In addition, many family, friends, and coworkers are no longer part of our routines. This can leave us feeling grief and sadness about the missed connections.

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How Teachers Can Help When a Child Says, “Mommy, I Don’t Want to Go to Preschool!”

While there are many reasons a child may not want to come to school, there are a few things teachers can do to support children during this difficult time. Things that help build a sense of belonging may increase the child’s willingness to come to school. These include providing positive interactions, creating equal opportunities to participate in events, and maintaining attitudes of acceptance.

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