More Early Years

Early Years Websites/Blogs

(Focus: Early Years,  play-based, whole-child early learning)
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The Trust for Learning website, founded in 2011 by a small group of philanthropists who saw the potential to expand developmentally appropriate, play-based, whole-child early learning approaches like Montessori to serve far more children and families, has a wealth of early childhood resources that focus on ideal learning environments for young children.

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(Focus: Early Years, Unpacking Pedagogy, Relationships, Agency, Collaboration)
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(Focus: Play, Early Years, PYP, Reggio Emilia)
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This website/blog created by Miki and Josh Barr is a growing treasure trove of resources for educators, parents and all people interested in learning more about early childhood education. 

Their guiding principles are:

Sample Pages

(Focus: Early Years, Reggio Emilia Inspired, Literacy, Play, Science)
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Fairy Dust Teaching is a business that is built on the passion for the wonder and magic of early childhood. The six owners that believe young children have the right to play, to be collaborators in learning, and to dream. Their Blog has many beneficial Early Years posts. Well worth a read.

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(Focus: Early Years, Reggio Emilia Inspired, Preparing Materials, Play, Inspiring Inventiveness)
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Opal School began as a seed of an idea inspired by a 1996 study tour of the municipal preprimary schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy attended by a group of 10 educators from Portland, OR. Unfortunately, Opal School and the Center for Learning is now permanently closed, but the website and its resources remain available to educators for now.

Website Sections

The Art of Awareness: How Observation Can Transform Your Teaching, Third Edition

By: Deb Curtis, Margie Carter 

How do we see children? How do we observe what they are doing? The art of observing children is more than merely the act of watching them—it is also using what you see and hear to craft new opportunities in your classroom. The book provides a wealth of inspiration and practice and will help early childhood educators learn to observe in new ways, witness children's remarkable competencies as they experience childhood, and find new joy in their work with children

Click/Tap to Continue ISBN-13 :‎978-1605547305 / Redleaf Press; 3rd edition (June 14, 2022) / 304 pages

"When we neglect to see who children really are, we deprive ourselves of deeper sources of delight. We miss the opportunity to witness the profound process of human development that is unfolding before our eyes. Becoming a careful observer of young children reminds us that what might seem ordinary at a superficial glance is actually quite extraordinary" Deb Curtis and Maggie Carter

The third edition updates include:

I'm the Kind of Kid Who . . .: Invitations That Support Learner Identity and Agency

By: Debbie Miller and Emily Callahan

"I'm the Kind of Kid Who . . .: Invitations That Support Learner Identity and Agency" is a professional development book for educators written by Debbie Miller and Emily Callahan. The book provides guidance and strategies for helping students develop their identities and agency as learners.

Click/Tap to Continue ISBN-13 :‎978-0325132389 / Heinemann (April 25, 2022) / 168 pages

As a professional development resource, "I'm the Kind of Kid Who . . .: Invitations That Support Learner Identity and Agency" could be used in an inquiry-based instructional setting to support the professional growth of educators and help them develop strategies for promoting student agency and identity in their classrooms. 

Here are a few ways that the book could be used in an inquiry-based lesson:

As a starting point for a discussion about student identity and agency: After reading the book, you could ask educators to reflect on their own practices and consider how they can create an environment that supports student identity and agency.

As a source of ideas and strategies: Educators could use the book as a resource for finding new ideas and strategies for promoting student identity and agency in their classrooms.

As a basis for an inquiry-based project: Educators could use the book as a starting point for an inquiry-based project focused on student identity and agency. This could involve researching best practices and developing a plan for implementing these strategies in their classrooms.

Debbie Miller and Emily Callahan believe that it all begins with choice. In "I'm the Kind of Kid Who . . .: Invitations That Support Learner Identity and Agency" they provide a framework for introducing choice making in small, medium, and large ways through "invitations" that ask children to consider:

Debbie and Emily use a predictable structure to describe each invitation from beginning to end, offering practical suggestions for how to fit invitations within the day and across the year.

"There are no magical programs to call upon to develop learner identity and agency" write Debbie and Emily, "because the truth is, children and their teachers don't need them! What kids really need are invitations from their teachers to discover themselves for themselves, invitations that encourage them to find out even more about who they are, how they learn and what they need to thrive."

Overall, "I'm the Kind of Kid Who . . .: Invitations That Support Learner Identity and Agency" is a valuable resource for educators looking to support the development of student identity and agency in their classrooms.

Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life

by Peter Gray

A leading expert in childhood development makes the case for why self-directed learning -- "unschooling" -- is the best way to get kids to learn. In Free to Learn, developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that in order to foster children who will thrive in today's constantly changing world, we must entrust them to steer their own learning and development.

Click/Tap to Continue ISBN-13: 978-0465084999 /  Basic Books; 1st edition (February 10, 2015) / 289pp

Drawing on evidence from anthropology, psychology, and history, he demonstrates that free play is the primary means by which children learn to control their lives, solve problems, get along with peers, and become emotionally resilient. A brave, counterintuitive proposal for freeing our children from the shackles of the curiosity-killing institution we call school, Free to Learn suggests that it's time to stop asking what's wrong with our children, and start asking what's wrong with the system. It shows how we can act—both as parents and as members of society—to improve children's lives and to promote their happiness and learning.


Early Years Videos

Inside Montessori

Are you curious to learn about Montessori education? Inside Montessori is an engaging documentary that offers an informative look at Montessori education over the years and how it sets itself apart from traditional teaching methods. 

With a library of additional short videos, Inside Montessori emphasizes the importance of creating learning environments that enable children to reach their full potential.

Run Time: 1:22:05 - Feb 7, 2023

Every Child Can Thrive By Five

Want to be blown away...then watch this TED Talk by Molly Wright, a Grade 2 student from Queensland, Australia, who is a passionate advocate for early childhood development. At just seven years old, she's one of the youngest people ever to give a TED Talk. Here's a young girl who demonstrates agency, self-efficacy, wonderful oracy and bundles of confidence. One has to wonder how this came to be

Run Time: 7:26 - July 2021

Insight on Inquiry: Starting the Year in Kindergarten

Kindergarten teacher Carol Stephenson brings us inside her classroom to share how she fosters inquiry-based learning at the very beginning of the school year. Carol teaches at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, the lab school at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (University of Toronto).

To see how Carol concluded this inquiry, please watch this video

Run Time: 7:03 - Oct 17, 2016

Learning is a Team Sport: Kindergartners Study the Boston Marathon

Ben Mardell's documentary about teachers' and students' learning while engaging in an MLV-inspired study of the Boston Marathon. This video shares the strategies the teachers employed and what the children learned along the way.

Run Time: 32:58 - Mar 22, 2011

The Best Kindergarten You've Ever Seen

At this school in Tokyo, five-year-olds cause traffic jams and windows are for Santa to climb into. Meet: the world's cutest kindergarten, designed by architect Takaharu Tezuka. In this charming talk, he walks us through a design process that really lets kids be kids.

Run Time: 9:47 - Sept 2014

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