Preschoolers and Praise: What Kinds of Messages Help Kids Grow?

A three-year-old dressed in a superhero cape collapses in a corner and yells, “I can’t put on my shoes! I can’t!” A four-year-old proudly sets the table “all by myself,” only to fall apart when a glass of water tips over.

Preschool children are in the early stages of  developing their self concept — their mental picture of who they are, what they can do, and who they are capable of becoming. During this pivotal time, the language parents and educators use with preschoolers — particularly when they face challenges or struggle to learn new skills — can help them shape a healthy mental model of how people learn and grow.

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Helping Others Understand Academic Rigor in Teachers’ Developmentally Appropriate Practices

When children and their families enter the prekindergarten classroom, they see a room designed to engage children in intentional and active learning. Within the first 20 minutes of the day, children sign in, answer a yes-or-no poll question (“Do you like to swim?”), and then consult a chart to determine at which learning center they will start their morning. The teacher, Ms. Price, circulates to help children achieve specified learning goals. In the writing center she helps Angela print her name by referring to the alphabet chart to help her find the letter that makes the L sound. She asks José about his new shoes, which they will sing a song about later at circle time. She assists Steven by dictating words for a message he will share with his classmates during circle time. Ms. Price talks directly to the children (“Tell me about your new shoes”), offers reminders when needed (“We will start cleaning up in 10 minutes”), and comments on their work (“Angela, I see you wrote all of the letters in your name”).

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2-1-1 Service to be Suspended For Montcalm and Ionia Counties


The 2-1-1 service for Montcalm and Ionia Counties will be suspended effective January 2, 2016.  Discussions have been ongoing for months regarding the importance of this service and the need for sustainable funding. United Way Resources Button

On December 3, 2015 the Montcalm Human Services Coalition voted unanimously that it “does not support the continued diversion of local funds for 2-1-1 and recommends that the service be suspended until a sustainable source of funding can be found”.

Residents needing assistance may visit for a directory of community resources.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month


National Children’s Dental Health observances began with a one-day event in Cleveland, Ohio and a one-week event in Akron, Ohio during February 1941. Since then, the concept has grown from a two-city event into a nationwide program. The American Dental Association held the first national observance of Children’s Dental Health Day on February 8, 1949. The single day observance became a weeklong event in 1955. And in 1981, the program was extended to a month-long celebration known today as National Children’s Dental Health Month. NCDHM messages reach millions of people in communities across the country and at numerous armed service bases. Local observances often include poster, coloring and essay contests, health fairs, free dental screenings, museum exhibits, classroom presentations and dental office tours. Attitudes and habits established at an early age are critical in maintaining good oral health throughout life. By participating in the annual celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month, members of the dental team, parents, teachers and others can help keep children’s smiles beautiful now and for years to come.

This year’s NCDHM campaign slogan “Sugar Wars” is displayed on this Poster. The Smileys, McGrinns and K9 are in a spaceship, the USS SweetSwatter. It is equipped with toothbrush swatters, fighting against the Sweet Tooth Invaders for good oral health.

Dental Activity Book 2016 (American Dental Association)

Understanding and Addressing the Early Childhood Origins of “Mean” Behavior and Bullying: Resources for Practitioners

This brief first provides a summary of the developmental trajectory to bullying behavior and theories about social and environmental contributors to bullying. The remainder summarizes promising strategies and evidence-based intervention models designed to prevent bullying by addressing factors that contribute to the development of “mean” behavior and aggression in early childhood.

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Think Tank Calls for States, Not Feds, to Take the Lead on Early Education

State governments, based on regional needs and abilities, should be the primary force behind expanding early care and education programs for young children, according to a Nov. 3 report by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-leaning public policy think tank.

“It makes sense that governors are paying attention to early childhood. States, not the federal government, bear the brunt of down-the-line social and economic costs incurred when children’s earliest foundations are not well laid,” writes report author Katharine B. Stevens.

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Teachers Use Social-Emotional Programs to Manage Classes

Lessons help build students’ empathy: One morning early this fall, 1st graders in Nydia Mendez’s class at Public School 24 in Brooklyn were working on identifying feelings.

“It’s your birthday. Make a face and show me how you feel,” Ms. Mendez said to students, who instantly became all smiles and flapping arms. “You lost your favorite pencil.” Their puppy-dog eyes hit the ground. “Your body’s showing me that you’re disappointed,” she said to one boy.

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How ‘twisted’ early childhood education has become — from a child development expert

Nancy Carlsson-Paige is an early childhood development expert who has been at the forefront of the debate on how best to educate — and not educate — the youngest students. She is a professor emerita of education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Ma., where she taught teachers for more than 30 years and was a founder of the university’s Center for Peaceable Schools. She is also a founding member of a nonprofit called Defending the Early Years, which commissions research about early childhood education and advocates for sane policies for young children. Read Full Article: