Parents and caregivers spend more time with their children than librarians do. Giving short “developmental tips” to parents during a program explains what you are doing, why you are doing it (the benefit to the child or what skill the activity helps them to practice), and how it can be replicated at home. The way parents interact with their children, the amount of time they spend together, and the activities that they share all make a difference in the child’s forming personality. That’s why adding developmental tips to library programs is important. Tips can be used for letting parents know that loving interactions with their children set them on a positive course for life; they can also be used to tell parents that a specific fingerplay or knee bounce helps build their child’s vocabulary as well as their math skills.
An easy way to impart information to parents, the tips should be short, matter-of-fact, and related to a book you have read or an activity that you are about to do or have just done. Use conversational words, not scientific terms! Keeping your tip to a maximum of four sentences means that parents will be able to hear and absorb what you have to say.
Many librarians find it time-consuming to look for different developmental tips each week. In addition, while language and literacy tips are readily available for librarians, tips pertaining to the other domains of school readiness are often not so easy to find. In order to help make the use of developmental tips easier, I partnered with colleague Saroj Nadkarni Ghoting to create developmental tip cards. We designed our development tips to include the full range of school readiness domains on large index cards that included directions for fingerplays, songs, movement activities, book connections, or activities for parents at home with their children. Originally published by ALA Editions, “The Early Literacy Kit: A Handbook and Tip Cards” is now out-of-print, although it might still be available on Amazon.
However, since Saroj and I created those tip cards, the idea of “school readiness domains” has expanded greatly. Most educators no longer look at School Readiness as being the five domains that were defined by the National Educational Goals Panel in 1997:
- Approach to learning,
- Language & literacy,
- Social and emotional skills,
- General knowledge, and
- Physical development.
Our tip cards were based on those domains, but since then, the definition of school readiness been revised over and over again.
The Bay Area Discovery Museum (BADM) in California felt it was time to create their own definition of School Readiness. They also wanted to promote the “growth mindset”, a belief that everyone has the capability to improve their capacities and talents over time as long as they keep an open mind, are willing to be flexible, and will try new things. They believe that with the growth mindset, children will welcome challenges rather than being intimidated by them. Using research findings, The folks at BADM have redefined School Readiness as having skills in all three of these categories:
- Talk & Play
- Science & Math
- Body & Brain
BADM received IMLS funding for a “Reimagining School Readiness” project. They designed activities and programs that can be used in the library setting which expose children and the adults in their lives to new experiences with the intention of building their growth mindset and school readiness skills. BADM has created an expansive toolkit with research-backed resources created for librarians “to help families prepare children ages 0 to 8 for success in school and in life. The toolkit is completely downloadable and printable.”
Saroj and I both serve as advisors for this project. Through monthly conversations with the participating librarians about the variety of activities, we’ve noticed confusion about the difference between free play, lightly guided play, guided play, and direct instruction. In order to give concrete examples for the librarians involved in this project, Saroj created a continuum chart with easy explanations and examples. (I contributed examples related to colored scarves.) This is a great resource; it gives lots of developmental tips along with concrete examples of activities, leading to clear understanding of the difference between the different types of play. You can download the PDF by clicking here.
Below is a list of links that I complied for this website 10 years ago! They were chosen for their good tips relating to child development categorized by the original definition of school readiness. Most of these Websites do not actually list the tips. Rather they are incorporated into the research papers or information on child development. However, the sentences are written in such an easy-to-understand language that you can choose a few sentences and use them word-for-word as your tip. If asked by program attendees for further information on that particular tip topic, you can refer them to the related Website.
Jump to a section:
|Physical Development||Social and Emotional Development||Executive Function|
|Approaches to Learning||Cognition and General Knowledge||The Arts|
|Math & Scientific Thought||Language and Literacy||Parenting|
- National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs. “The Foundations of Lifelong Health are Built in Early Childhood.” http://developingchild.harvard.edu/library/reports_and_working_papers/foundations-of-lifelong-health/
- Reading Rockets (2010), ” Good Night, Sleep Tight: Preschoolers and Sleep.” http://www.colorincolorado.org/article/35929
- Born Learning, Promoting Health. http://www.bornlearning.org/default.aspx?id=24
- Zero to Three. “Healthy Minds: Promoting Your Child’s Development from 9 to 12 Months.” http://www.zerotothree.org/child-development/brain-development/9-12months.pdf
Social and Emotional Development
- National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs. “Young Children Develop in the Environment of Relationships.“ http://developingchild.harvard.edu/library/reports_and_working_papers/working_papers/wp1/
- National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs. “Children’s Emotional Development is Built into the Architecture of their Brains.”http://developingchild.harvard.edu/library/reports_and_working_papers/working_papers/wp2/
- BornLearning.org. “Connecting Leads to Learning.” http://www.bornlearning.org/default.aspx?id=20
- Zero to Three: Early Experiences Matter. “Development of Social-Emotional Skills.” http://www.zerotothree.org/child-development/social-emotional-development/social-emotional-development.html
- GreatSchools.org. “Executive Function: A New Lens for Viewing Your Child.” http://www.greatschools.org/special-education/health/1017-executive-function-lens-to-view-your-child.gs
- National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs. “IN Brief Series: “Executive Function: Skills for Life and Learning.“ http://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/multimedia/videos/inbrief_series/inbrief_executive_function/
- National Center for Learning Disabilities. “”What is Executive Function?” http://www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/executive-function-disorders/what-is-executive-function
- National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs. Building the Brain’s “Air Traffic Control” System: How Early Experiences Shape the Development of Executive Function.” http://developingchild.harvard.edu/index.php/resources/reports_and_working_papers/working_papers/wp11/
- Hilary Jo Seitz (2006), The Plan: Building on Children’s Interests. http://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/200603/SeitzBTJ.pdf
- Nicole Royer, Marc A. Provost, George Tarabulsy, and Sylvain Coutu. Journal of Applied Research on Learning, 2:1, article #5, August 2008. Kindergarten Children’s Relatedness to Teachers and Peers as a Factor in Classroom Engagement and Early Learning Behaviors. http://www.ccl-cca.ca/pdfs/jarl/vol2no1art5.pdf
- Scholastic. Parents. “Setting the Stage for Learning.” http://www.scholastic.com/resources/article/setting-the-stage-for-learning/
- Jaesook L. Gilbert, Helene Arbouet Harte, & Carol Patrick. Dimensions of Early Childhood 39:1, 2011. “Purposeful Play Leads to School Readiness.”http://www.southernearlychildhood.org/upload/pdf/Purposeful_Play_1_2.pdf
Cognition and General Knowledge
- Jolie D. McHenry and Kathy J. Buerk (2008). “Infants and Toddlers Meet the Natural World.http://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/200801/BTJNatureMcHenry.pdf
- HighScope (Spring 2011). ReSource: Magazine for Educators. Active Learning for Infants and Toddlers.http://www.highscope.org/file/NewsandInformation/ReSourceReprints/Spring2011/ReSource2011spring_72.pdf
- Scholastic. Parents. “Child Development: Cognitive Development.” http://www.scholastic.com/parents/child-development/cognitive-development/
Mathematical & Scientific Thinking
- Reading Rockets (2009),” One, Two, Buckle My Shoe: Math and Literacy for Preschoolers”. http://www.colorincolorado.org/article/33505
- Mother Goose asks Why? Why Use Picture Books to Explore Mathematics?http://www.mothergooseprograms.org/math_prog_YCCO_why_books.php
- The Vermont Center for the Book (2006). Mother Goose Asks Why: Science Standards. http://www.mothergooseprograms.org/articles/1958.pdf
- Rebecca Parlakian with Claire Lerner (2010). Beyond Twinkle, Twinkle: Using Music with Infants and Toddlers.http://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/201003/ParlakianWeb0310.pdf
- Janet K. Sawyers and Cosby S. Rogers. (2003) Helping Babies Play. http://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/200305/HelpingBabies_Sawyers.pdf
- The University of Georgia/College of Family and Consumer Science.(1998). “Building Baby’s Brain: The Role of Music.”http://www.fcs.uga.edu/ext/pubs/chfd/FACS01-7.pdf
- MaryAnn Faubion Kohl. “Enhancing Literacy Through Process Art.”http://www.communityplaythings.com/resources/articles/ArtwithChildren/enhancingliteracy.html
- Center for Early Literacy Learning. “Practice Guides for Use with Parents.” Downloadable handouts with many literacy tips and home activities.
- Saroj Ghoting. “Handouts and Activity Sheets.” http://www.earlylit.net/booklists /
- Colorín Colorado! (2009).Getting Ready to Read: Using Storytelling, Rhymes, and More! http://www.colorincolorado.org/article/29992
- Hennepin County Public Library: ELISE: Early Literacy Storytime Ideas Exchange. http://www.hclib.org/BirthTo6/ELSIE.cfm
- BreitLinks Early Literacy Web. “Phonological Awareness.” http://breitlinks.com/earlyliteracy/phonological_awareness.htm
- Reading Rockets. “Reading Tips for Parents.” http://www.readingrockets.org/article/18935
- Center for Disease Control (2015) “Positive Parenting Tips” http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/index.html
- Colorín Colorado! (2008), “Tips for Parents of Babies.” http://www.colorincolorado.org/article/25310
- PNC. “Grow Up Great: 101 Great Tips.” http://content.pncmc.com/live/pnc/growupgreat/downloads/101GreatTips_English.pdf
- Parenting.org from Boystown. Ways to Nurture Your Child. http://www.parenting.org/article/ways-nurture-your-child
- HelpGuide.org.” Parenting Children with Learning Disabilities: Tips for Helping Your Child.“http://www.helpguide.org/home-pages/learning-disabilities.htm
- Ready at Five(2005), Parent Tips and Activity Cards https://www.readyatfive.org/for-parents/activity-cards.html