Stuff and new stuff
Resources for teachers and administrators… and picture books about spring and siblings
Foundations of Responsive Caregiving—Infants, Toddlers, and Twos
Activities for Responsive Caregiving—Infants, Toddlers, and Twos
Written by Jean Barbre, Ed.D. Redleaf Press, 2013. ($24.95 - $34.95)
Two stellar volumes, covering both theory and practice, invite teachers to explore meaningful, authentic, and purposeful relationships with babies.
In the first volume, Barbre identifies six key principles that help ensure high-quality interactions between adults and children. She provides an overview of child development theory, highlights the impact of the physical environment on children’s development, explores the characteristics of responsive care, and identifies hallmarks of best practices in caring for a child from birth to age 2.
The second volume offers 101 play-based activities that reinforce the principles of responsive caregiving. The activities are easy to do, engage children in meaningful play, identify learning outcomes, and acknowledge all developmental domains. Barbre gives particular attention to language skill development, offering vocabulary, examples of open-ended questions, and songs, chants, and finger plays for each activity.
Together the volumes are an accessible primer for new teachers and caregivers. They could also serve as basic textbooks in college infant and toddler development classes. The theoretical underpinnings are sound but not heavy-handed. The tone is enthusiastic and inviting. The focus is spot-on: Responsive, theoretically grounded, and joyful caregiving gives babies the start they need in lifelong learning.
Winning Ways for Early Childhood Professionals: Being a Supervisor
Written by Gigi Schweikert. Redleaf Press, 2014. ($14.95)
In this most recent book in the Winning Ways series, Schweikert explores leadership in early childhood settings. In a workbook-like format, she asks provocative, hard-hitting questions such as the following:
Do I follow through on tasks and priorities I’ve promised myself and my team?
Can I identify and list three talents and skills of one staff member?
In what ways do I feel insecure or unsure of my role?
Schweikert then offers concrete guidance and self-assessment exercises for both those aspiring to leadership and those who have held leadership roles for years. She explores the personal and social consequences of leadership with a focus on concepts that help early childhood professionals transition from leading children to leading adults.
Key is Schweikert’s focus on team-building that helps adults succeed, encouraging a culture of collaboration, cooperation, motivation, and delegation. Often program teachers slide into supervisory positions without prior training. Further, regulatory requirements focus on business management rather than people management. Combined, these factors often leave new supervisors feeling like isolated rule-enforcers and paper-pushers.
Being a Supervisor offers an attractive alternative by encouraging and equipping early care and education professionals to draw on their skills with children (being, for example, a creative problem solver who communicates enthusiasm, honesty, and joy). Educators can then refine and expand those skills as a supervisor whose standards and integrity inspire the trust of both coworkers and families.
Written by Jill Esbaum and illustrated by Jen Corace. Dial Press, 2014. ($16.99)
Irresistibly, Esbaum’s text opens,
The killdeer chick’s head pokes through the eggshell and thus begins a day-long burst of enthusiasm, energy, and wonder expressed in continued self-congratulatory joy.
I’ve studied me, and oh, my word,
I am one amazing bird!
The day ends, Mama calls the chick back to the nest, when,
A sister chick peeks out of her shell ready to join the adventures.
Soft ink and watercolor illustrations ground the exuberant text and invite young readers to identify with the chick who’s learning about how his body works in an unfamiliar environment.
Written and illustrated by Fiona Roberton. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2014. ($16.99)
In a different bird tale, Cuckoo searches for someone who can speak his language. His siblings sing “Too-too-weet,” but Cuckoo is different. When his efforts to communicate with his nest-mates end in failure, Cuckoo leaves to find someone who can understand him.
But Cuckoo can’t get the hang of any language—not pig, snake, cow, or even rabbit—until he meets the little boy who understands him perfectly.
Written and illustrated by Lori Nichols. Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014. ($16.99)
When Maple was still a whisper, her parents planted a tiny tree in her honor. And as Maple grew, so did her tree.
Even though a tree isn’t an ideal playmate, it doesn’t complain when Maple is loud—which is often. Through the seasons Maple sings to her tree, sways with it, and shares her jacket to keep the tree warm.
Then Maple becomes a big sister and finds that babies have loud days too. In a tender ending, Maple’s maple calms the baby while readers anticipate what will happen next with Willow’s willow.