Do you know how kids fall down and need someone to kiss their booboos? It seems like the tears won’t stop and the pouts on their faces remain until they receive that magical kiss.

 Well, a few months ago I was visiting my niece, Ashley. Let me tell you she’s a personality rich 3-year old. I was sitting on the back deck with a few family members while the kids were playing in front of us, around us, and sometimes on top of us. You know what I mean, right?

 As they were playing, Ashley fell down and hurt her knee. I observed her from across the deck and noticed the corners of her mouth were beginning to veer down toward her chin. I thought for sure tears were coming with a frantic call for mom to kiss her knee and make it feel better.

 But to my surprise she quickly looked around, noticed mom was not close by, and then bent over to kiss her own booboo. She looked up with a smile on her face and then took off running to play with the other kids. It was as if she thought: Hmmm, do I wait for someone to kiss it and make it better or do I kiss it myself so I can get on with playing and having fun? Yes, I’ll kiss it myself! Why wait?

 I’ve reflected on this situation many times. Thinking about this little girl deciding to kiss her own booboo. Also thinking about how many times adults wait and wait and wait for someone to kiss their booboos. Yes, mostly their internal ones.

 Perhaps it’s the feeling of not be appreciated or valued. You think your efforts are worth gold but it seems nobody notices. Or perhaps it’s the staff member who you bend over backward for but your efforts are hardly recognized. Or maybe it’s the team member who spreads rumors about you.

 There’s one success strategy that I’ll share with you. It comes straight from a 3-year old child.

 Kiss your own booboo!

When you’re in a place where you think nobody appreciates you, appreciate yourself. On your way to work buy yourself your favorite flowers and proudly display them. Write yourself a thank you note for all the wonderful things you’ve done. Indulge in your favorite treat. Buy yourself something to celebrate. Bake yourself a cake. See one of your favorite movies in honor of yourself.

 Sometimes you have to decide that it’s not worth the wait for someone else to recognize you or for a co-worker to stop her hurtful behaviors. Sometimes you have to kiss it and get on with it!

 © 2012


Observing the Whole Child

From Child Care Exchange…

“Observing young children requires the gathering of evidence of growth in a natural setting,” noted Kay Stritzel Rencken in her article “Observation – The Primary Tool in Assessment”.

“An early childhood classroom is a familiar place where the child feels at ease in experimenting and exploring with blocks, various art media, writing, computers, and puppets. This experimentation and exploration provides a rich storehouse of observable information for the teacher skilled in gleaning it from the play that surrounds the child. Observing in this setting looks at the whole child – not fragments or skills that are out of context. When a child is counting to see how many friends are at school today, there is authenticity; but when asked to count objects for a test, the reason is absent.

“One of the important benefits of doing observations is that teachers are viewing many components at the same time. Unlike standardized tests, which focus only on cognition, observations allow the teacher to see the whole child. The emotional, physical, social, and cultural dimensions of the child are equally important, especially with the younger child.”

ECE Science by Kristen Halverson

Why teach science in early childhood?

  • Young children are naturally curious and constantly exploring the world around them
  • Classroom science provides the opportunity for children to extend this natural curiosity and building of theories
  • From classroom experiences, children can develop a greater appreciation and understanding of the natural world
  • Provides children with direct experience with materials, events, and ideas that are important to later learning
  • Science exploration in early childhood is science inquiry – exploring materials/events, asking questions, investigating, recording/representing their work, reflecting on what they have done and what it means – allowing them to create new theories or ideas about how the world works
  • These skills, attitudes, and ways of thinking are important to many areas of learning throughout life
  • Build self-confidence and confidence in their environment
  • Gain necessary firsthand experiences
  • Develop basic concepts
  • Increase observation skills
  • Receive opportunities to use tools, equipment and familiar materials
  • Receive aid in problem solving
  • Stimulate their curiosity for exploration and discovery while increasing basic knowledge
  • Develop sensory, physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and social attributes
  • Develop language through increased vocabulary and an opportunity to ask and answer questions

(A Child Goes Forth: A Curriculum Guide for Preschool Children, Ch. 8)

 What are the characteristics of a high-quality science program?

  • It builds on children’s prior experiences, backgrounds, and early theories
  • It draws on children’s curiosity and encourages children to pursue their own questions and develop their own ideas
  • It engages children in in-depth exploration of a topic over time in a carefully prepared environment
  • It encourages children to reflect on, represent, and document their experiences and share and discuss their ideas with others
  • It is embedded in children’s daily work and play and is integrated with other domains
  • It provides access to science experiences for all children

What is the teacher’s role in early childhood science?

  • They choose a focus for inquiry
  • They prepare themselves to teach a topic
  • They create a physical environment that supports inquiry
  • They plan a schedule that allows time for inquiry
  • They foster children’s questioning
  • They encourage children’s work and deepen their understanding
  • They observe and assess individual children in the group

What you can do:

  • Allow extra time – exploring, becoming comfortable and really taking something in takes time.
  • Look at your attitude towards being outside, nature, science – children will most likely mimic your feelings.  Model caring for the environment – ecologically sound behaviors such as recycling, not letting water run unnecessarily, saving paper scraps for collages…
  • If you’re entering a new environment, make sure children understand the boundaries, rules and expectations for being there.
  • Safety – be observant!
  • Watch for what the children are most interested in, expand on this.
  • Flexibility is key.
  • Go outside often – for many children this is the only experience they will have with the outdoors and nature, especially if they live in an urban environment.
  • You don’t need to know what everything is – children usually do not just want to know the name of something.  Ask a question about what it is doing, what it eats, where it lives, etc. and then do further research with the children when back inside if they want.
  • Encourage curiosity and questions.
  • Instill a sense of wonder in the children.  “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder…he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the natural world we live in.”  – Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

 How can I incorporate science into my classroom?

 The easiest way to incorporate science into the early childhood classroom is to “find” the science in the activities you are already doing. A lesson about “me” can include making pasta skeletons with the children’s pictures as the head. Color mixing, exploring which materials dissolve in water, comparing similarities and difference in objects, and cooking are all science activities.

 Set up a science center.

This does not need to be expensive. Large and small magnifiers, prisms, balance scales, mirrors, magnets, color paddles, and a variety of objects to observe and measure are a great way to start. Models and animal puppets are always a hit. Throw in a few theme-related books, puzzles, and writing materials and you’re set. Change the materials on a regular basis to keep things interesting.

Teach what you know.
If you like animals or plants, start there. Meal worms make great class pets. They are easy to care for and you can observe their life cycle. Plants come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and textures. They can be observed and measured. Lima bean seeds are easy to plant and grow. Don’t forget to include “Jack and the Beanstalk” with this activity. Even teachers without a green thumb can provide plant science activities for their students by bringing in flowers and leaves for children to observe and take apart.

Use your surroundings.
Get pine needles from your Christmas tree vendor, dog fur from your local groomer, pick up pine cones, feathers, leaves, etc. whenever you find them. Ask you local pet shop for snakeskin, feathers, and other animal items. Once the word gets out that you collect these things, people will save them for you.

Be a good observer.
If your students start to do something unusual with an item or use it in a non-standard way, step back and watch. He/she may be making a new discovery and just might teach you a thing or two.

Introduce new items and concepts to the group.
The children need to understand what things are for, and how to use and take care of them. Let them play. Children must have time to freely explore new things before participating in a structured activity.

Answer their questions honestly.
If you don’t know an answer, find out. Then, tell the children where you found the answer. Even preschoolers understand looking up information in books, on computer programs, and on the Internet.

The best way to promote science literacy is to expose your students to a variety of books, from preschool level to adult. Just make sure the adult books have lots of pictures. You will need the information in the adult books to answer the children’s questions.

A few simple additions to your classroom and curriculum will provide endless opportunities for creative thinking, problem solving, and exploration. You’re students will be on their way to becoming “Super Scientists.”

 ( )

 How should early childhood science be taught and how is it different from elementary/middle/secondary science?

  • Foster inquiry by building on children’s spontaneous exploration and gradually guide them to become more focused and systematic in their observations and investigations.
  • Give children many and varied opportunities to use inquiry skills, but not isolated from interesting topics and ideas and children’s ongoing play
  • Science for early childhood MUST be experiential, hands-on activities and materials that children can explore.  Science should be integrated into other content areas and used in songs, fingerplays, and other daily activities and pointed out in every day life.

 What are the skills of inquiry?

  • Raise questions about objects and events around them
  • Explore objects, materials, and events by acting upon them and noticing what happens
  • Make careful observations of objects, organisms, and events using all of their senses
  • Describe, compare, sort, classify, and order in terms of observable characteristics and properties
  • Use a variety of simple tools to extend their observations (e.g., hand lenses, measuring tools, eyedroppers, a balance)
  • Engage in simple investigations including making predictions, gathering and interpreting data, recognizing simple patterns, and drawing conclusions
  • Record observations, explanations, and ideas through multiple forms of representation including drawings, simple graphs, writing, and movement
  • Work collaboratively with others
  • Share and discuss ideas and listen to new perspectives

Preschool children are capable of:

“For the most part, children can participate fully in the process of inquiry at age-appropriate levels. Simplifying the process, or even the vocabulary, is a disservice to the students’ interest and ability to observe closely, ask questions, wonder, use tools, collect data, use logical thinking, consider alternative explanations, record findings, share information, and build on new experiences to develop new ideas about the world.”  (Ashbrook, P. (2005).

What can young children do as scientists? (Science & Children, p 24-27)

  • Scientific Method:
    • Observing and predicting
    • testing predictions or answering questions by using simple experiments (cracking a nut to see what’s inside)
    • recording findings (draw picture in journal, make leaf rubbings)
  • Living Things:
    • Acquiring basic vocabulary for plants, animals and humans
    • explaining that living things have specific needs (water, air, food, light)
    • demonstrating knowledge that living things exist in different environments (fish can live in water because they can breathe underwater)
    • explaining differences between living and non-living things
  • Changes:
    • Using language to demonstrate knowledge of physical change (when I add red paint to white paint it will change)
    • describing how matter can change form (snow melting in water table, making cookies)
    • demonstrating understanding that living things change as they grow (life cycle)
    • using words related to weather and environmental phenomena (sunny, cloudy, rainy) and night and sky objects (sun, moon, stars)
    • associating the seasons with changes in the climate and environment
  • Environmental Responsibility:
    • Demonstrating care for environment
    • sorting materials for recycling
    • discussing in simple terms how humans can care for or harm the environment (if you throw garbage in the water it can hurt fish, the water gets too dirty)

(New Jersey State Department of Education)

 What are some ideas to get me started?

  • Cooking:
    • Measuring
    • Mixing
  • Water table:
    • Colored ice cubes
    • Objects frozen inside ice cubes
    • Sinking/floating
    • Different sized containers
    • Tubes and funnels
  • Blocks:
    • Bridges
    • How tall can you build a tower?
    • Ramps/cars
  • Literacy:
    • Resource books at a wide range of abilities
    • Picture books
    • Magazines
    • Computers – Peep and the Big Wide World, PBS, see resources
    • Journals/Writing/Recording
    • Science word wall
  • Colors:
    • Coffee filters/eye droppers/food coloring
    • Paper chromatography
    • Carnation/celery and food coloring
    • Knox gelatin in sensory table to explore texture/add different colors/mixing colors
  • Magnets
    • What is magnetic in our classroom?
    • Magnet painting
  • Nature Walks
    • What sounds do I hear?
    • Classification of objects found outside
    • How do animals hear/see/use camouflage
  • Observation Stations
    • Tree “cookies”
    • Insects
    • Plant growth – in classroom or pick a tree outside and observe over the course of the year
  • Planting seeds
    • What makes a plant grow big and strong?
  • Feely box
    • Write predictions/observations on a chart (with assistance if necessary)
  • Smelling jars
  • Old mechanical objects (radios, telephones, etc.)
    • Make sure they are safe (remove any hazardous or potentially hazardous materials) and allow children to explore how they are put together
  • Bubbles:
    • How can you make a really big bubble?
  • Textures:
    • Variety of materials could be used in the sensory table

 Where can I find resources?

Peep, Chirp, and Quack show you science activities and online games for preschool children.

National  Wildlife Federation Publications such as Wild Animal Babies, Ranger Rick, and Your Big Backyard

These pages are full of Snacks…but they’re not the kind you eat. They’re the kind you can learn from and have fun with. Exploratorium Science Snacks are miniature versions of some of the most popular exhibits at the Exploratorium

Preschool science website

PBS kids ZOOMisc activities in a variety of areas of science for a variety of ages.

  • Worms, Shadows, and Whirlpools: Science in the Early Childhood Classroom by Karen Worth and Sharon Grollman
  • Building Structures with Young Children by Ingrid Chalufour and Karen Worth
  • Exploring Water with Young Children by Ingrid Chalufour and Karen Worth
  • Discovering Nature with Young Children by Ingrid Chalufour and Karen Worth

NSTA “The Early Years” – resources and conversation on PreK-2 science

  • What Is a Scientist? by Barbara Lehn


January Summary

This is a summary of important information you will need moving forward for the month of January.  You will receive this to each month so that you will have one reference point for information so keep this email in your inbox or handy for reference.

The focus for January will be on STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics as a Theme.  Please continue working with your staff to make sure that they are compliant with their training requirements and continue learning how to utilize all of the new online reporting mechanisms available in your Google Drive account.


  • The theme for January is STEM.
  • We will be focusing marketing efforts on DFCS or other children’s services and support providers. If community connections come and tour our school, they get a free movie ticket or a $10 Starbucks gift card (you have a stock of movie tickets and get their address to mail the Starbucks card with a thank you note).
  • For new enrollments, we are continuing our offer of a scholarship opportunity valued at $600.  See the flyer or section below for details.    The first award will occur on or about January 15th for qualifying schools.  Participating parents will be notified of their eligibility and invited to be present for the drawing.
  • Parents will continue to receive a free movie ticket (or) Starbucks Gift Card for an online review.  Let us know if you need more stock and remember the goal is 2 reviews per month.  You must ASK for these reviews.  They will not happen by themselves.  They need to be on Yahoo Local, Google Places, etc.
  • The participation pays event is a classroom enrichment contest.  Teachers should design an activity or addition to their classroom for the students that focuses on a STEM experience.  The school videographer can video child engagement with the activity and these can be posted on Facebook for parent viewing and the executive team will review and award a winner at each school…prize is $40 cash or gift card of choice for same value.
  • School Events focus around Spirit Week at three centers and a Fashion Show too!  We look forward to seeing pictures of all the fun events posted on your pages….2 posts per week please.  Try not to overload families with too many posts as they will tune FB out.  Each school is asked to present a Science Fair which can be employees designing an experiment and children touring the experiments (or) children designing an experiment to share.
  • Referrals from enrolled families will be awarded with the regular tuition credit after 4 weeks of attendance by the referred family and their names will go in a drawing for a Family Pack of 4 tickets to Fernbank Museum of Natural History.


Due to some extended needs in some areas of our schools, the intended weekly rotation for Kristi Lachlan at each site has shifted.  You may always reach out for assistance or inquiry to her via phone at (hidden) or by email at (hidden).  If you’d like a tentative schedule of her visits, please email your request.


We are offering a $600 scholarship to a family at each school that enrolls during January -February.  There are a variety of publications which are promoting this at this time.  The award will be made by drawing on March 15th as long as each school has had the minimum number of students enroll (4).  Candidates must be in good standing with the school – student and family.  See the enrollment flyer and memo for details.


Meliora has a Groupon that went live on 11/25/2013.  I have provided each of you with an independent login to the merchant center in order to redeem any vouchers.  Vouchers are for a series of 5 or 10 drop in visits, a 4 week enrollment, or an 8 week enrollment.  They cannot be combined with any other special.  This will remain active through January.  If a tour comes and they are “on the fence”, you may suggest the Groupon as a means of trying us out.


The next postcard mailing for all schools should be sent the first full week of January (6th-10th).  I have spoken with all of you and you are in process.  Please call with questions.  The final mailing will be schedule for the first full week of February.  Left over cards should be distributed manually within your community.  I recommend pre-boxing the routes at this time for ease of processing later.


Participation pays was a lot of fun in December with a variety of activities from an elf dress up to deliver Toys for Tots donations, an ugly Christmas Sweater contest, and themed door contests.  Encourage participation in the STEM activity this month!!  The initial payments for the enrollment bonus for November were paid out mid-December.  Special thanks to all who are helping our centers grow.

For those who committed to an engagement role for your school, the directors will need to report on your participation and level of commitment activity for the month of December.  If positive results were achieved, that individual will receive up to a $25 bonus for December / $50 if the committed at the beginning of November.


Congratulations to Bouldercrest for being the first school to hit consistency of lesson plan reporting and quality within the Meliora group.  You guys ROCK!!  The first quarter results indicate you are a positive leader and example to your peers.

All other schools please continue to work with your teachers on consistent and high quality planning and reporting.  I like giving spontaneous gifts…please give me a reason!


BA is currently exempt from reporting due to a technical hiccup.  Once resolved I will instruct you on the process.  BC and LAW are moving to personal entry for each of their schools.  I am continuing to work with DAC on this exercise and we should have it ready for personal entry mid-January.  Great work!!  Don’t forget to insert notes for deviations from the planned hours…or to explain unplanned overtime.  I will be monitoring entry.  Please continue to enter your data each morning for the day prior.


Participation in weekly updates has slipped somewhat in the last 30 days.  Please be mindful to get your entry done weekly.  If a day other than Friday works best for you, this is acceptable as long as you communicate it to the Executive Director.  Marketing updates need to be entered directly into the marketing spreadsheet and supply/maintenance requests should be entered directly as well.  I am considering adjusting the format to require this going forward.  You will be provided a minimum of 1 week notice if the format changes.  If we can use the existing one efficiently, there will be no need to consider change.  Thanks for your help!!


This has been extended until January 7th because of staffing hours inconsistencies over the break.