Author Archives: Peggy Ashbrook

Recess: Outdoors and sometimes indoors






When the children and I leave the school building for playground time or recess, I feel a sense of relaxation and heightened awareness. We can see farther and the input from the surrounding environment to our senses changes every minute as the wind blows, the sun moves across the sky, and we cross paths with […]

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Taking a nature walk






Upon reflection on last year’s practice of taking children on “nature walks” outside, I see how much they enjoyed nature, made gains in vocabulary and became familiar with diversity in plants. In June, at the end of the school year, I had the occasion to write to the school families about their children’s nature learning from experiences in the […]

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Manipulating Contents & Containers, and representing 3-D objects in block play






It is so fascinating how obvious it is that children have different prior experiences, different developmental ages, and different interests when we teachers present them with a set of materials and don’t ask them to use them in a particular way! This post is a reflection on how two different sets of objects are used […]

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Wooden unit blocks and representing their use in early childhood education






Working with and reading about the work of other educators is inspiring. While observing or mentoring in different programs I am given an education and opportunity to reflect on my own practice. The teachers in the Clarendon Child Care Center had been closely observing children’s block play and discussing it. The director introduced the Thinking […]

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Water play…exploration…science inquiry






Water explorations are a popular in early childhood programs during the summer. Exuberant water explorations can happen outdoors. The experience of wetness is enjoyable and clothes that get wet accidentally can dry on the child rather than having to be changed. Natural materials such as leaves and twigs can be incorporated into the exploration. To […]

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What goes into a small science starter kit?






A colleague asked me, “If you were going to provide a small starter set of science materials for family child care providers, what would you buy?” This group will be participating in some science education professional development. Most of these early childhood educators speak English as a second language but they might not read it […]

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Attend a conference, virtually






I remember the first time I attended a professional association conference when I was a child care provider beginning my career and was thrilled to be among so many educators who were passionate about improving themselves professionally. If you can’t attend a conference in person, a virtual conference may meet some of your needs for […]

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Beginning-of-the-year explorations: get them ready for fall






If you have not yet packed up for the summer break, consider picking out two or three lessons to begin the next school year. Choose the resources that will guide you, scan or read them, and pack them up along with the materials students will need so the school year can begin with a developmentally […]

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Connecting with families






Establishing close communication with families is an objective for early childhood educators and the programs they work in (NAEYC, ECERS-R, Head Start). You might be connecting with family members when greeting children at the door to the classroom in the morning or at pick-up time at the end of the day, sending email and paper newsletters, posting on […]

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Sound inquiry–open exploration and direct teaching?






As early childhood educators, no matter what program we teach in or administer, we want to help children build knowledge of the world through experiences, teacher-supported investigations, and direct teaching. A conversation I had recently with a teacher made me think about how we balance direct teaching with open exploration: Teacher: So, as I thought […]

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