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NAEYC Lesson Plans

  • 1.  NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-11-2019 03:59 PM
    Hi all,
    We came up with bi-weekly lesson plans for each classroom to meet some accreditation criteria and I'm wondering if the lesson plans are required to be weekly or could be a longer time-frame. For our infant classroom I don't actually want our teachers changing all the toys every week; it can be disruptive to the children's exploration of what's there and can be overstimulating. I looked through the NAEYC website and can't find a requirement about the amount of time a lesson plan has to cover and am hoping it is flexible! I'd also be interested in seeing some successful lesson plans that are developmentally appropriate for infants! Thanks in advance for any evidence, thoughts, or resources you have.

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    Christa Edwards
    Assistant Program Director
    BlueSkies for Children
    Oakland CA
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-12-2019 09:45 AM
    Can you explain where this emphasis on "lesson plan" is coming from? The usual lesson planning that you find in public school classrooms is not appropriate, in my opinion, in a center serving infants and toddlers as well as preschoolers and kindergarteners. There are many different ways to show what you are doing each week that do not follow the "plan book" type of planning that most people associate with lesson planning.

    For infants and toddlers, I would hope that the thinking about what to do would focus on developmental tasks and social development appropriate for these age groups.

    ------------------------------
    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-12-2019 12:20 PM
    Sure!
    The NAEYC accreditation criteria 2J.6 (show two lesson plans that help children appreciate visual arts from different cultures), 2J.7 (show two lesson plans that help children appreciate dramatic arts from different cultures), and 2J.8 (show two lesson plans that provide infants, toddlers, or twos with chances to explore and manipulate age-appropriate art materials) all require that we have lesson plans.
    Our curriculum isn't generally lesson plan based for children this young but because it is required to be re-accredited we are trying to figure out something appropriate to use.

    ------------------------------
    Christa Edwards
    Assistant Program Director
    BlueSkies for Children
    Oakland CA
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-19-2019 06:35 AM
    Whether we call the preparation for teaching/guiding/educating infants/toddlers/young children  "lesson plans" or "learning plans", should not bother us much as long as we all understand the process of learning for infants/toddlers/young children. As a trainer for  practitioners, I have experienced over and over that the students who understood the real purpose of preparing to teach/guide/educate these age groups, become more experienced to deliver enriched and developmentally appropriate presentations to their classes. I have also find that they feel more comfortable to follow children's interest and link (link, not smother!) these interests onto the topic/theme they are busy with.
    I think the same can be said about " guided play". The idea is not to suppress the children's play but to "scaffold" it and give children more or wider scope for their play.
    Sophie. 





  • 5.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-19-2019 01:44 PM
    Labels matter as we know from other areas. The picture in people's heads when we use the term lesson plan will drive how learning unfolds in the classroom. We need new terminology to change the paradigm.

    ------------------------------
    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-23-2019 08:35 AM
    I agree completely!!! Great point! We have just made a switch, center-wide from Theme-based curriculum to a more emergent curriculum philosophy. We are in the process of finding a template that meets the "lesson plan" requirement, but accommodates a classroom that is more guided by children's interest rather than teacher's ideas. We have created one ourselves to us that includes a box for each area of the classroom, what materials/experiences are offered, expansion of learning (how teacher scaffold learning in that center... to be added as the day/week unfolds), and the developmental standards that are addressed in that center. Our challenge is figuring out how to use these over the course of a week, or if they should be created/changed more or less frequently than a week.

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    Leah Mangrum
    West Nashville Cumberland Presbyterian Preschoool
    Nashville TN
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  • 7.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-13-2019 02:29 PM
    I prefer to think of "plans for learning" rather than "lesson plans". I think this encourages thinking and being intentional about the experiences that are being provided for the children. (As a college professor, this language worked.)

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    Mira Berkley
    Quality Improvement Specialist
    QUALITYstarsNY
    Fredonia NY
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  • 8.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-13-2019 03:33 PM
    I completely agree with Mira. If the accreditation standards use the term Lesson Plan, it should probably be changed. It conveys a way of thinking about teaching young children that will steer teachers' thinking in the wrong direction. Plans for learning makes more sense and will lead teachers to think about "the why" of the experiences that they are planning for children. Teachers should be able to answer "the why" of what they are planning for children. As Mira said, thinking about planning as planning for learning should lead to intentionality when planning.

    ------------------------------
    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-15-2019 10:50 AM
    Mira,

    I really like that language - "plans for learning", rather than lesson plans.  It does lean more toward what we want to be, intentional!
    Thank you for sharing that.

    Tawanda Brown
    Family Child Care Provider
    Crestview, FL

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    Tawanda Brown
    Crestview FL
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  • 10.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-12-2019 12:40 PM
    Hello Everyone,
    A lesson plan that is theme based would be easier to adjust for the very young to K. It also gives you an opportunity to extend the children's learning into many areas within a developmental milestone approach to learning.I find that using theme based as well as project based lesson plans gives the children as well as the teacher room for rapid change within the scope of active learning. You can have room for teacher discussions in what the children are learning and how they are learning.

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    Milagros Neu
    Pre-K Teacher
    French American Academy
    Edgewater NJ
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  • 11.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-13-2019 01:00 AM
    Hi Christa,

    I have been a part of several reaccreditations for centers which serve birth through kindergarten. While the centers I worked in used weekly lesson plans, I do not believe it is "required" to be weekly. Bi-weekly sounds fine for infants, especially since most of the time our infant teachers would be doing similar activities over the course of a month. I'd like to mention that just because it is a new lesson plan doesn't mean that new additions to the environment or activities have to take place. The philosophy behind NAEYC is that we are providing children with developmentally appropriate and engaging experiences that enrich their days/lives. With that comes flexibility in the day and lessons, we must always respond to the children's wants and needs. Sometimes we plan active days and realize the children are not up for it, in that moment we adapt and select a different activity.

    The goal of lesson planning is to ensure that intentional experiences are being planned for all children. This can mean both structured and open-ended activities. Teachers take the time to plan activities and environment additions based on the needs and interest of the children. For example, there may be an infant who loves throwing balls and the teacher will plan to add different types of balls into the environment for them to explore. As that infants are touching/throwing the balls, the teacher will ask them questions about their experiences and practice self-talk. Another activity that can be done with balls is painting. Maybe the teacher plans an activity where there is paint on a paper and balls get bounced on top, or the infant paints their own ball.

    I'd be happy to answer any other questions you have about what I've written. I've worked with many infant teachers and have written my own infant lesson plans over the years.


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    Erin Daddio
    Carlsbad CA
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  • 12.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-19-2019 06:32 PM
    Hi! Thanks to everyone who has responded. I agree the terminology is misleading. Our teachers do follow the children's lead, and also set out materials thoughtfully to stimulate their development in various cognitive domains, but they usually aren't all tied into a "theme."

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    Christa Edwards
    Assistant Program Director
    BlueSkies for Children
    Oakland CA
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-20-2019 07:00 AM
    What about "developmental themes"? 

    I found that term, from Margie Carter and Deb Curtis's Reflecting Children's Lives, curriculum book, to be helpful. It was the first edition that presented themes especially effectively: 

    Reflecting Children's Lives : A Handbook for Planning Child-Centered Curriculum by Margie Carter and Deb Curtis (2002, Paperback)

    Of course, all of their work is great!
    Carry on!!





  • 14.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-20-2019 10:27 AM
    I'm also concerned with how the words "lesson plans" and "curriculum" are used and agree that Margie Carter and Deb Curtis's books are great resources. I also urge everyone to give feedback on this area in the NAEYC proposed DAP statement.

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    Margery Heyl
    Chicago IL
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  • 15.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-20-2019 11:04 AM
    I agree. I gave feedback. Maybe I should give more feedback.

    Check out Ann Pelo and Marge Carter's new book: From Teaching to Thinking. There is a lot about reframing how we think about teaching.

    ------------------------------
    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-20-2019 12:14 PM
    Yes! I just finished this book and found it very thought provoking.

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    Margery Heyl
    Chicago IL
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  • 17.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-22-2019 01:31 PM
    I appreciate the opportunity to be part of this important discussion. I, too, am inspired by Ann Pelo and Margie Carter's book about "Reimagining Our Work". I agree it's time to re-think the terms we have used for many years, such as "lesson plans", that give educators, families, and those who hold us accountable mental images that are no longer valid. I believe this discussion is as critical as other discussions about "Power to the Profession". Exploring and questioning terms we use is a reflective practice I plan to initiate in my college courses. Those of us who are responsible for the professional development of educators can model the same process of "inquiry" we expect directors to foster with their staff and educators to engage in with the children they support.

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    Linda Boss
    Instructor
    University of WI - Platteville
    Lewistown PA
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  • 18.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-23-2019 08:38 AM
    ​Hi to all!
    I have been following these posts on lesson planning. We all have to have a guide to get us through the day and be intentional in our teaching. When I was in school for early childhood, it focused so much on themes presented to children. Our program changed to the HIgh Scope curriculum back in the late 1990's and I admit I felt like I couldn't teach effectively without a 'theme'. High Scope focuses on 'intentionally teaching through what the children show interest in' or child initiated instruction. It is so much easier to follow the child's lead. you learn much more about the child(ren) plus you can bring in diversity, culture, individualism, and at the same time exhibit that we are all alike in many ways. The curriculum is the base and should allow the academics to flow right through it. Following children's interests gives you a whole realm of possibilities to teach these young ones what they need to succeed in ways that apply to them and their lives.

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    Sue Miller
    team leader
    Child Development Center
    Hawarden IA
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  • 19.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 28 days ago
    Hello Nora,

    I am using Margie and Ann's book in a book study group--our third meeting is this month.

    I think it provokes a great deal of thinking and conversation in this whole area and as someone who has been in the field over 40 years, I have GREAT concerns about the "curriculum" and "lesson plans" I am seeing now.

    Let me know how you are using the book!

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    Jacky Howell, MA
    Early Childhood Consultant/Author
    azspire, llc
    Silver Spring, MD
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 28 days ago
    I am a Board member of New Jersey Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia. We are planning to put together a book study using Ann Pelo and Marge Carter's book. I will let you know as we get it underway. I would be very interested in how you have organized the book study. Do you do it online or in-person? How often do you meet? Who facilitates and how do they see their role?

    ------------------------------
    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-21-2019 10:14 AM
    Hi Christa,
    Our Lab School's curriculum is Project based, rather than theme based, this give our teachers latitude to intentionally develop plans based on the interests of the children. We call our plan a, "Weekly Learning Experience Plan". The teachers plan using our State Standards , it is a week long plan that literally can go a month based on the children's interest. The teachers will change the standards focus based on the needs of the children but the experiences might be focused on the interest of the children. The plan evolves over time depending on the children.

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    Joan Parris
    Stamford CT
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  • 22.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-22-2019 06:46 AM
    As one who has the opportunity to serve as a mentor/coach for Directors and Teachers, I found some interpret lesson plans as an activity or materials a teacher uses  with a whole or small group of children. As I learn from and with those I serve, my understanding of focusing on the child(ren) first and then planning experiences to support the growth and development of the child(ren) is most important. I support intentional action to observe young children as they engage with adults in experiences to learn that are connected to their interest, Standards and current research in child development that identifies skills, behaviors, etc. of typically development of children at the age of the children the teacher is working with at any given time. Planning activities connected to observations of children in previous activities, where I find what is of interest to the child(ren), connected to Standard and the social, emotional, cognitive and physical development of the child(ren) is what I believe is most important. Continuous, high quality opportunities to learn where children are able to develop in ways that is moving them along in reaching their full potential is what I think, at this time, is most important in interactions with young children.

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    Robert Gundling, Ed.D.
    Better Futures LLC
    Senior Consultant
    Washington, DC
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-22-2019 10:00 AM
    It is such a privilege to get to know so many experts stating their viewpoints and knowledge. I never miss "Hello" !! Thanks to Dr. Gundling for his contribution.It really seems as if  the conception regarding "lessen plans" vary in many ways. His explanation seems to cover the understanding that the emphasis  should be on the planning of lessons to help the teacher/educator to plan for the potential of the whole child and not on formal presentation of such "lessons". It is understandable that where formal presentations and ridged curriculum are still a large problem in the Early Childhood setting, the experts have reason to be concerned when misunderstandings are possible. Thank you for caring for teachers and children.  
    Sophie  





  • 24.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-23-2019 04:19 AM
    Hi everyone,
    i think this discussion reflects some of the difficult areas to find consensus in our profession again. Lesson plan, learning plan, guided play experience, emergent curriculum, project-based, theme-based... it gets confusing. Personally, I have stumbled over the word curriculum often. Although "curriculum" has one, rather clearly defined meaning in the context of early childhood education or child development as taught on campus, leave the campus for the broader field and the word, " curriculum" can have a variety of meanings.  A popular meaning for curriculum that is found in the context of online teacher to teacher resources is actually "lesson plan".  I have sort of been banging my head over folks talking about creating curriculum when they mean lesson plans for a while. To correct some one on this point reeks of elitism, and dredges up the prickly subject of the value of experience and the value of developmental course work... Yet forget what goes into the word "curriculum" as defined in the context of the study of child development, and you easily fall short of creating the enriched experiences that form a strong base for lifetime learning and meet the needs of children & families that don't fit easily into neurotypical-based early childhood environments.  It's 3 am.,  Hope I am making sense! What I mean is: a lot of people think curriculum means lesson plan, they go the sort of "old school preschool" path, and follow the daily plan that includes - welcome/arrival ( free choice of table activities that include small manipulatives, couple worksheets that focus on the weekly theme, say "Letter M" or "transportation" , a couple manips with numbers on them, a couple manips with letters on them, a couple manips that feature science, usually this means, wait for it, magnets... or butterflies... or, as "nature-based" play is growing more popular, possibly balancing stones in realistic colors, or wax bendy sticks, these are rotated on a daily/ weekly basis. Lead teacher greets at the door, caregiver says good bye at the door ( we have all been in settings where there is the "magic line" that parents do not cross, as it supposedly holds the magic touch to make separation more efficient, like ripping off a band aid).  After arrival time comes circle time with calendar, jobs, maybe sharing time, but that is often cut to to make sure there is enough time for a couple songs with finger plays, and a short, shared story book that will serve to organized our art project, and maybe also our dramatic play area or science project. Then line up, potty break, snack ( might also fit the theme, especially on special shape or color days), book and puzzle time until every one is finished with snack ( nothing too interesting while some children are eating snack or lunch, because we do not want to encourage children to rush through eating or get distracted). Snack and lunch may include teachers sitting & eating with the kids, but usually teachers walk around nibbling and setting up while kids eat. If it gets too noisy, a song or recorded story might be played so children eat quietly. After that, we fit in centers, including dramatic play area that may rotate with monthly theme, or it could be house keeping, and our big art project of the day, or maybe it is a science, or cooking project day instead of art. Some classrooms will have awesome art projects they take home, others will have "process-based" art, like shaving cream on tables, or large group paintings with veggies as brushes, or marbles, or toy cars, anything different from a standard paint brush. There will be outside free play, maybe another short circle with book or song and a short review before it is time to sing the good bye song and go home. Nothing wrong with daily plan too much; it can be incredibly enriched and actually gives most preschoolers what they need for good development just fine. Of course, it will not work for infants and 1-2's classrooms. And it can collapse when a student or family with special needs comes to class, say a child who is a dual language learner, a precocious learner, a developmental delay, or a child who has experienced trauma.  Because humans are robust learners, and generally resilient, development will fold largely according to plan.  But what is missing is the underlying curriculum that could be guiding this classroom and informing the daily lesson plans and projects. The curriculum that explains how we think actual individual learning takes place; what makes learning happen, what triggers developmental change? And when we step back from "weekly letters" and "transportation," we may see that the main fuel of development is experience, and we may leave calendars and worksheets for kindergarten or later. We may see that children learn best when they feel safe, so talking about our feelings may be more important than talking about butterfly metamorphosis. We may decide that children in our classroom have many language learning needs, and learning to take short turns in conversations is more appropriate than listening quietly while the teacher reads, for now.  We may begin to value peer interactions including conflicts as great learning opportunities. We may even decide that spending some time asking questions together may help us generate highly enriching classroom environments, and that by following the children's lead, instead of leading the children will do a better job for reducing problem behavior than "time outs."  Of course, coming in with an entirely open program, and bouncing from toy to toy without some kind of a schedule will hardly meet most children's need for daily routine, repetition and expectations will create an environment where children can feel safe, and get back to the business of serious play.  An experienced teacher understands this, an educated educator is ready for the day ahead- the classroom environments, indoor & outdoor is modified and ready, so that children can play safely and are not bored or overwhelmed ( order the classroom, not the child...).  Although art projects, science projects, cultural experiences - lesson plans, are helpful, they are less important than a trained adult watching how development is unfolding, ready to discuss red flags and guide families to help when there are questions.  Although bugs and bubbles and letters and numbers are wonderful, and preliteracy and math foundations start in the infant & toddler room, even in the pre-k's class, the subjects matter less than the opportunity for interaction, conversation and problem solving. It's awesome if my teacher can show me tadpoles transforming to toads, but it is more critical that she has a chance to model pro social play, and has an opportunity to see how I am doing with my peers. Am I anxious? Do I get a turn? Am I excluding other children, or being excluded by my classmates?
    Possibly, my response has drifted far afield from the original question: lesson plans to meet accreditation standards- having examples of specific lesson plans, whatever we call them, helps gives us a framework to ensure that the early childhood school/center/ environment is introducing critical learning domains and following developmentally appropriate practices.  Sadly, when we focus too intensely on the idea of lesson plans and learning objectives or we risk forgetting the core needs of of early childhood development and how to provide those needs. From age 0-5, it's not really about "what" is being taught, but "how" we are "teaching." It's too early, or too late for me to reread this, so my apologies for sending out at rough draft. I love The NAEYC forums, and reading and interacting with all of on it is a constant source of growth and passion for me!
    thanks for the opportunity to join in!
    Margro Purple
    Rockville, MD


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    Margro Purple
    Rockville MD
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  • 25.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 07-23-2019 09:03 AM
    Thank you for sharing. I found your passion inspiring! And I agree with your perspective completely! We have just made the switch at our center from themed lesson plans to child-guided, meaningful experiences. We are working on a way to document these "plans." We are also in the phase of educating our parents in the direction that we are going. Some of them GET it and are so grateful, while we've had a few that are hung up on shapes, colors, and counting. But the conversation has started and change is taking place, so that's a win. Your thoughts gave me more ideas of how to communicate our values with the parents and continue to inspire our staff toward this philosophy. I look forward to seeing the implications of this change in the years to come for our center!

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    Leah Mangrum
    West Nashville Cumberland Presbyterian Preschoool
    Nashville TN
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  • 26.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 28 days ago
    Hello Margo,

    Very much appreciated your thoughts on this topic.  "Sadly, when we focus too intensely on the idea of lesson plans and learning objectives or we risk forgetting the core needs of of early childhood development and how to provide those needs. From age 0-5, it's not really about "what" is being taught, but "how" we are "teaching."

    I so agree and after being a teacher for over 35 years and a consultant/adult educator for over 30 years--(been in the field since i was two! :))

    I am doing an upcoming webinar on Creating Experiences....as opposed to activities---taking a risk here yet I am greatly concerned about what I am seeing in terms of "curriculum"   Lilian Katz has said, "We overestimate children academically and underestimate them intellectually."

    I am local to you!

    Thanks for you thoughts!


    ------------------------------
    Jacky Howell
    Silver Spring MD
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  • 27.  RE: NAEYC Lesson Plans

    Posted 28 days ago
    Help Jacky Howell,
    thanks for reaching out. Please keep me posted on the webinar, I am very interested..  I would love to create a network of local early childhood educators for support and idea exchanges in some way- face to face, online, etc.  It is so easy to get bogged down in routines, and burned out on making big or small changes in early child care settings.  When I connected with NAEYC, & started participating in the forum, activities & workshops and articles & books, it really helped me take risks & to go in new & better directions. We are fortunate in the DC / MD/VA area to have so many great resources, but it can still feel isolated depending on your workplace contacts.  I recently participated in a educamp seminar with MPT,  PBS & MSDE, and was so excited to learn the great network of resources for home daycare providers, as well as center and school based in our area.
    Let's stay in contact!
    Margro Purple

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    Margro Purple
    Rockville MD
    ------------------------------