New ECYD Program Facebook Page

Hey students and alumni!

We want to INVITE YOU to our new program Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/dctcecyd/ Check it out and “Like”.

In Defense of the Arts: Book Study Expert Commentary for Chapter 25 (Week 13)

What If Book Study Marketing PicThis week we are discussing Chapter 25: In Defense of the Arts. Laurie Greeninger will provide insight and lead our discussion this week. Just joining us? Get all the book study details HERE.


In Chapter 25, In Defense of the Arts, Rae starts out the chapter with a recent article in the Washington Post about a school that cancelled their Kindergarten show because somehow it made sense, considering all the demands on schools today.  This takes me back to when I first started working as an art teacher in Southern Minnesota in the late 80’s.  I quickly realized that art teachers and art programs were “hit and miss” in many schools and if you had your own classroom and an adequate budget for materials, you were considered quite lucky.  It was part of our professional responsibility to speak loudly regarding the arts and get involved to advocate locally and beyond, or you might find your own art program and position reduced or eliminated entirely.  So are we really still having these conversations twenty-five years later? Haven’t we gained any more respect?  Yes and yes.

I believe that we have gained ground, however, I also believe that the arts will always be part of the conversation when it comes to school budgeting and increasing curricular demands.  We just have to make sure that we have someone at the bargaining table that can continue speaking out and making sure that the arts are part of every child’s education.  Teachers have a voice too and leadership in the classroom to offer the most captivating educational experience possible.  In order to do that, they must include the arts in the school day to reach children of all ages, all learning styles, left-brain or right-brain learners, and children from all cultures, backgrounds, and abilities.

There is no question that the arts in all disciplines benefit children of all ages, especially the early childhood classroom.  Rae lists many of those benefits in Chapter 25.  Valerie Strauss, in a Washington Post article dated January 22, 2013, lists the Top 10 skills children learn from the arts.  Elliot Eisner’s 10 Lessons the Arts Teach, printed by the National Arts Education Association in 2002, provides ten more good reasons to offer arts programming in your classroom and get parents and administration on board at your school.

But the arts also benefit people of all ages.  Research is showing that creating art benefits older adults in numerous physical and emotional ways, offering an opportunity to stay active, engaged and social.  In the last year, I participated in a professional development course with a nonprofit organization in Minnesota called Artsage (www.artsagemn.org) where artists of all disciplines received training to work with older adults in independent living, senior centers, and care centers around the state.  Dr. Gene D. Cohen, an American psychiatrist who pioneered research into geriatric mental health, argued that “the brain would continue creating new cells at any age so long as it was engaged in new and challenging intellectual activities.”  He paved the way for more creative opportunities for older adults and a tremendous need in the years to come.  There is certainly a correlation between creative art activities and lifelong learning skills.  French painter Georges Braque said, “With age, art and life become one.”  Abraham Maslow believed that “creativity is a characteristic given to all human beings at birth.”  Doesn’t it make sense to nurture that part of us that is innate in all of us?

So how important is creativity now and do we really need it in the Information Age?  We have witnessed the evolution of technology in daily life and the modernization of information and communication processes and yes, it has changed our classrooms.  But the importance of creativity now is quite astounding.  From my graduate studies, my thesis happened to be called, “Creativity in the 21st Century” and my research showed that creativity was the number one skill needed in the 21st century.  Mark Batey’s article in Psychology Today on February 7, 2011, entitled, “Is Creativity the Number 1 Skill for the 21st Century?” agrees.  In this article he states, “Leaders will need to be creative (solve problems in new and useful ways) to stay abreast of rapid change.  Further, they will need to orchestrate and encourage creativity across all the levels for which creativity is important.  They will need to identify and develop creativity in individuals, build and nurture creativity in teams and set the culture and align processes to promulgate creativity throughout the whole organization.”  These are skills that are practiced and nurtured in a typical arts class.  So please do not cancel the shows, the plays, drawing and painting, storytelling, singing and dancing from your school day because we need the arts now more than ever!  What are your thoughts?

Laurie GLaurie Greeninger is a K-12 art instructor and arts advocate in Minnesota who holds a M.A. degree in Arts Administration and a B.S. degree in Art Education.  Laurie’s teaching style is one that encourages creativity and innovation by using instructional practices that stimulate critical thinking, combine interdisciplinary learning, and connect with the individual child.  As a volunteer and arts advocate, Laurie has served on the Board of Directors for the East Central Arts Council, Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council and the Art Educators of Minnesota.  She was awarded a Middle School Art Educator of the Year Award from the Art Educators of Minnesota and a Leadership Award from the Minnesota State Arts Board.


Please share/retweet this post! Let us know that you’re participating in this study. We’d love to hear from you about your thoughts regarding Chapter 25 and the commentary that Laurie has provided. Your voice matters – participate in the dialogue and share your ideas here! (Comment below) If you’ve chosen to blog about what you’ve read on your own site, link back and share your post with us here. Perhaps you have a burning question about something that you read in one of these chapters… we have a feature for that - Ask The Author! That’s right, Rae Pica will be available throughout this live study to answer your questions. #AskAuthor

What to read next: Chapter 27: Bribes and Threats Work, But… and Chapter 28: Time to Give Time-out and Time-out (11/23/15).

*If you’re a MN participant seeking training hours, please visit this link to access to requirements.

Adventures in Eating: Fun with Fruits and Vegetables

Good news! Children are eating more whole fruit and drinking less juice. The not so good news is only 60% of children are eating enough fruits and only 7% are eating the recommended amount of vegetables! (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

One reason children’s intake of vegetables is so low may be that children’s taste buds are different from adults’ taste buds. Children taste “bitter” flavors more than adults. Since a lot of vegetables are bitter, many children do not like the taste of vegetables. That doesn’t mean we should give-up. It’s important to continue to encourage children to try vegetables. The more they try different vegetables, the more their taste buds will become familiar to the bitter taste.lana1I like the process the curriculum LANA (Learning About Nutrition through Activities) uses to introduce children to new vegetables (and fruits).  Children are first introduced to a specific vegetable during a tasting activity where children have the opportunity to see, feel, and touch the vegetable. Children are also encouraged to taste the vegetable.

Children have small tastes of the vegetable over the course of a few weeks. The vegetable is then introduced as part of cooklana2ing activity. It has been shown that children are more willing to try new foods if they help to prepare it.  The vegetable is later served as a snack and finally at mealtime.

The advantage of slowly introducing new vegetables in a variety of ways is children will gradually become accustomed to the taste and texture of the new vegetable.  It also reduces waste (and frustration) of teachers, child care providers, and parents as they will not prepare a new vegetable for a meal only to have most of it go uneaten.

Visit the LANA website to view the tasting activities, cooking activities, menu ideas and more.

The LANA Preschool Program is available to download. It was developed through a grant from the National Cancer Institute to the Minnesota Department of Health. With the goal of promoting preschoolers’ consumption of a variety of fruits and vegetables, LANA was originally designed and tested as a 24-week program focusing on eight specific, highly nutritious fruits and vegetables.

In summary, remember to introduce vegetables to children in small amounts over a long period of time. Stay positive and encourage children to try the new vegetables.


Mary SchroederMary Schroeder works for the University of Minnesota Extension which helps to connect community needs with University of Minnesota resources.  Specifically the Health and Nutrition programs and resources focus on disease & obesity prevention, healthy school environments, and continuing education for community professionals.  You can link to the Extension Health and Nutrition website at: http://www.extension.umn.edu/health/

Mary Schroeder, MPH, RD, LD
Extension Educator
Health and Nutrition
University of Minnesota Extension
Email:  hedin007@umn.edu
Website:  www.extension.umn.edu
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/UMNExtSimplyGoodEating

Talking about Technology: Book Study Expert Commentary for Chapters 21, 22, 23 (Week 12)

What If Book Study Marketing PicThis week we are discussing Chapter 21: Should We Teach Handwriting in the Digital Age?, Chapter 22: Just Say No to Keyboarding in Kindergarten, and Chapter 23: iPads or Playdoh. Tamara Kaldor and Blakely Bundy will provide insight and lead our discussion this week. Just joining us? Get all the book study details HERE.


Chapter 21: Should We Teach Handwriting in the Digital Age? Chapter 22: Just Say No to Keyboarding in Kindergarten
Commentary from Tamara Kaldor

Chapters 21 and 22 of What if Everybody Understood Child Development? by Rae Pica raises issues around handwriting and keyboarding that I look at everyday as a child development expert who utilizes technology in my work with families and educators to help children with developmental differences communicate and relate so they can be included and be active participants in their school, home, and community. I certainly understand the author’s concerns about fine motor skills and the issues that surround keyboarding for young children. However, 21st century teachers need to closely examine their toolboxes and see what tools each child they work with needs to be able to communicate and relate their ideas, feelings, and creativity. In the age of personalized learning, educators need to look at all of their options to help children become successful learners, players, and contributors.

In our role as media mentors to young children, we want to model and teach children how to find the tools that will best help that individual child communicate their thoughts and ideas to their peers. Young children need opportunities to experiment and play with communication tools, including keyboards, voice recorders, styluses, paintbrushes, markers, and pen/pencil to learn how to best get out their ideas quickly and effectively. Too frequently, I see children with diagnosed and undiagnosed learning disabilities or communication disorders stop writing stories or contributing ideas to the group discussion because the traditional tools, including using their own voice, are not usable to them or takes so much energy to master that they give up. They are spending too much time having to focus on mastering the tool (such as handwriting with pencil/pen or keyboarding) that they lose their ideas, give up on the writing process, and feel frustrated, disappointed, and angry.

When a child is provided a wide variety and opportunities to discover what tools help them tell their story or share their idea, you can immediately see the child’s confidence grow and their love for creating and learning strengthens as they focus on the ideas, not the output process. What if we stopped questioning the validity of all of these communication tools and instead started focusing on helping children identify and understand why they find certain tools more effective than others? We could set up children up from a young age to be curators of their learning and study tools for a lifetime of success.

I argue that helping children curate their own learning tools is what will help them prepare them to be successful as life long learners and help them keep their passion for learning, creating, communicating, collaborating, and critical thinking. Instead of spending time putting limits down on what communication tools to teach children to use, invest more time in helping children to learn how to use and evaluate all of the tools available to them, including handwriting and keyboarding.

Thought questions:

  • How can you teach young children to evaluate communication tools such as handwriting, keyboarding, voice recording, etc.?
  • How can you teach young children to use these tools appropriately and intentionally?
  • How can you create learning and playing environments that value the 4cs of 21st century skills-communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking?
  • How do you create inclusive lesson plans so ALL of the children in your classroom are active participants?

Tamara Kaldor HeadshotTamara Kaldor, M.S. is the consulting Program Coordinator at the TEC Center at Erikson Institute and developmental therapist and owner of PLAY is work.  Tamara is a child development specialist with over a decade of experience teaching parents, educators, and administrators how to integrate technology to support the social-emotional and learning needs of ALL children. She has seen how technology helps kids of all abilities share their voice and what they know in order to advance in their development. Her goal is to help educators and therapists thoughtfully integrate technology into their classrooms and children’s programs so that all children are active participants and learners. She does this by finding creative ways to include technology meaningfully to help children play, relate and learn. This has made Tamara a sought-after speaker in the area of tech integration. She has been invited to deliver workshops on digital citizenship, integrating technology into the classroom and lesson plans, and navigating the digital world responsibly throughout Chicago, the U.S. and internationally. Tamara has collaborated with such organizations as UNICEF, UNESCO, International Society for Technology and Education (ISTE), NAEYC, the Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning (ICDL), and Common Sense Media.

Web:   http://www.teccenter.erikson.edu
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chiplaypro and https://twitter.com/tec_center
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teccenter.erikson/


Chapter 23: iPads or Playdoh
Commentary by Blakely Bundy

Should technology be part of early childhood classrooms?  Should iPads replace playdough for preschoolers? The debate goes on, with people feeling strongly on both sides.  However, I was delighted to see Rae Pica coming down firmly on the less technology side and that’s where I am, too.  Her questions at the end of the chapter say it all:  “Is there danger to children from too little use of technology? Is there danger to children from too much technology use?”  Few people would consider too little technology a “danger,” but too much technology raises all kinds of red flags, such as the ones that Rae lists, including ocular lock, lack of physical activity contributing to obesity, the impact on fine motor development, and so on.

The argument on the pro-technology side is that since technology will most definitely be part of every child’s life eventually, they need to get an early start on it.  It’s Piaget’s “American question” all over again – pushing children to do things earlier and faster.  However, if I ever had any doubts about that position, they were put to rest by my twin granddaughters’ experiences.  Probably because I’m their grandmother who feels pretty strongly about screen usage for young children, the girls had very little contact with computers or iPads at home as preschoolers and in the early elementary years. They fortunately attend the Winnetka (IL) schools which have a progressive, child-centered philosophy and there were no computers or other screens in their classrooms either.  However, in third grade, some keyboarding was introduced in their school’s resource center and the girls quickly realized that their keyboarding skills were far behind those of their classmates who had spent hours as young children on computers and iPads at home.  For a couple of weeks, they struggled with the keyboarding assignments but–guess what?–they soon caught up with their more experienced classmates. Then, in fifth grade, their middle school gave every student an iPad to be used for both classwork and homework.  Once again, the girls were less skilled at using that device than the classmates who had been using one for years but, once more, they soon learned the needed skills, caught up with their peers, and are now as proficient as anyone in their class.  The best part is that they didn’t have to sacrifice the hours and hours of screen-free, child-directed play that they had enjoyed as young children, instead of spending those hours on screen-based devices.

The moral of the story?  I think that it refutes the argument about the importance of young children getting a head start on computer skills. That is just not a good reason to introduce those screens at a young age or to keep computers in the classroom because kids will pick up the computer skills that they need in no time, when they are older and those skills are needed for school work.  More importantly, additional screen time in early childhood classrooms is bound to take the place of hands on, child-directed play and real-world, three- dimensional experiences that lead to and support authentic learning.  Add to that the fact that young children are apt to experience less time for child-directed play out of school these days.  Instead, their out-of-school time is more likely filled with the distractions from screen-based entertainment and over-scheduling with adult-supervised “enrichment” classes.  They also may spend much less time playing out of doors, not only because there are fewer neighborhood children available for spontaneous play, but also because of parents’ fears for their children’s safety.  Finally, busy parents are often less focused on and less engaged with their children, often themselves distracted by their own screen-based devices.  And, of course, those darned screens can be found everywhere – from  the grocery store and the gas pump, to blaring in elevators, in cars and taxis, and even in the doctor’s waiting room!

To paraphrase McDonalds’, “Kids deserve a break today!”

I agree with Rae – wouldn’t it be wonderful if young children could at least have a break from all screens in their early childhood classrooms, a break from those ubiquitous screens that surround them in the rest of their lives. In fact, those early childhood classrooms may be the only place where young children can have an opportunity not only to play, but also to capture an adult’s – their teacher’s – undivided attention.  If those hours in school are taken up by screen-time, the children will have been robbed twice.

So just remember Rae’s questions when discussing this topic with others, especially those who are arguing for more technology – “Is there danger to children from too little use of technology? Is there danger to children from too much technology use?”  I think that these questions say it all.

Blakely Bundy 2014 croppedBlakely Bundy M.Ed., served as Executive Director for The Alliance for Early Childhood (www.TheAllianceForEC.org) for 25 years and she is currently its Executive Director Emeritus and Senior Advisor.  As a committed advocate for young children, she is currently on the National Advisory Board of Defending the Early Years http://www.deyproject.org, on the National Steering Committee of TRUCE (Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment) (www.truceteachers.org) , and on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Children’s Museum (www.chicagochildrensmuseum.org).


Please share/retweet this post! Let us know that you’re participating in this study. We’d love to hear from you about your thoughts regarding Chapters 21, 22, and 23 and the commentary that Tamara and Blakely have provided. Your voice matters – participate in the dialogue and share your ideas here! (Comment below) If you’ve chosen to blog about what you’ve read on your own site, link back and share your post with us here. Perhaps you have a burning question about something that you read in one of these chapters… we have a feature for that - Ask The Author! That’s right, Rae Pica will be available throughout this live study to answer your questions. #AskAuthor

What to read next: Chapter 25: In Defense of the Arts (11/23/15).

*If you’re a MN participant seeking training hours, please visit this link to access to requirements.

You Can Help! Operation Christmas Child


A small shoebox can have a big impact.

What goes into the box is fun, but what comes out of it is eternal. Be a part of changing children’s lives all over the world in Jesus’ Name through the power of a simple gift with Operation Christmas Child.

Members of DCTC’s Christians on Campus are collecting “filler” items for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes from Nov. 9 through Friday, Nov. 20.   Each shoebox blesses children with joy, hope, and love. Their shoebox is the first gift many children have ever received! The treasures and personal letters inside communicate that someone cares for them and give them an opportunity to experience the love of God.

Delight a child! Donation/gift items needed are:

WOW” items:   such as a soccer ball with pump, stuffed animal, toys, puppets, trucks, dolls, musical instrument, outfit or shoes.    You can include items that children will immediately embrace such as yo-yos, jump ropes, balls and toy cars.

School Supplies: pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, notebooks, paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.

Non-liquid Hygiene Items: toothbrushes, bar soap, combs, washcloths, etc.

Accessories: T-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries), etc.

A Personal Note: You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family if desired.

Please do NOT include used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.

DCTC’s Christians on Campus encourage you to make a difference in a child’s life by donating to this drive.   Drop off boxes are located in the Early Childhood Youth Development area (2-206) on second floor and in Student Life on first floor.  Please drop off donations by Friday, Nov. 20.

Questions?  Contact Judy Jacobs at 651-423-8268; Anna Voight at 651-423-8649; Dawn Braa at 651-423-8315 or Susan Farmer at 651-423-8453.

Thank you!!occ3



Failure IS an Option/No More Good Job: Book Study Expert Commentary for Chapters 20 and 26 (Week 11)

What If Book Study Marketing PicThis week we are discussing Chapter 20: Failure Is An Option and Chapter 26: No More Good Job. Kelly Pfeiffer will provide insight and lead our discussion this week. Just joining us? Get all the book study details HERE.


Kelly PfeifferFailure Is an Option – Chapter 20
When I was invited to be a part of the blog about What If…? I specifically asked if I could write about Chapter 20, Failure Is an Option. I have strong connections to this idea personally and professionally. In this chapter, Rae Pica asks, “Where do children of such a tender age learn that failing to come in first is failing, and that making a mistake is the worst thing they can do?”

An individual’s belief about his or her own personal capability begins its formation early in life.

Mistakes are Wonderful Opportunities to Learn
As a Positive Discipline Trainer for parents and parent educators, I’ve been teaching a concept called, “Mistakes arewonderful opportunities to learn” for the past fourteen years. “Mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn” is one of the Positive Discipline Guidelines. It’s a key philosophical component in Jane Nelsen’s Positive Discipline books and is integrated into many of the Positive Discipline parenting tools. Read more »




Adair,Leslie_hs“As parents, most of us would rather not even think about the possibility that our son or daughter could develop an addiction to alcohol or other substances. But putting our head in the sand only increases the risks. Dr. Leslie Adair, Director of Mental Health & Family Services at Hazelden Betty Ford’s adolescent and young adult facility in Plymouth, MN, brings the information we need to recognize signs of possible addiction, to seek evaluation by an experienced professional and if needed, to get appropriate treatment and family support. Leslie also answers Marti & Erin’s questions about addressing the needs of siblings and helping family members know how to talk to others about the problem. TUNE IN HERE

What has been your experience with substance abuse and addiction among people close to you? What did you learn in this Mom Enough discussion about signs of a possible addiction in teens and young adults? What resources are available for evaluation and treatment in your community? Leave a comment below!”

For more information on Teen Intervene, click here.
For tips for if you suspect teen alcohol or other drug use, click here.
For additional fact sheets from Hazelden Betty Ford, click here.
For other resources from Hazelden Betty Ford, click here.


Beyond The Pages Online Fall Book Study- 7 hours of training (Self-paced)

what ifI’m please to announce that MN participants of our Beyond The Pages book study this fall may earn 7 training hours for active participation. This is an approved course through the MN Center for Professional Development! This course applies towards the Core Competency Area of Child Growth & Development, the CDA Content Area of Principles of Child Growth & Development, and the Parent Aware area of Child Development.

The following guidelines are for MN participants seeking a certificate for active participation in the fall 2015 Beyond The Pages Early Childhood Book Study:

  1. Participants will email Dawn Braa (dawn.braa@dctc.edu) indicating intention of participation in this online book study. Participants can participate live each week following the book study schedule OR may complete it as a self-paced course. Please note that although this book study is currently already in week 10, it can also be completed as a self-study at a later date, on your own timeline.
  2. Participants will obtain a copy of the chosen book- What If Everybody Understood Child Development? by Rae Pica
  3. Participants will subscribe to this blog  in the upper right-hand corner with an email address.
  4. If you are on Facebook, JOIN our event! https://www.facebook.com/events/431601440379065/ 
  5. Participants will read the chapters according to the timeline and review the correlating expert commentary weekly on our blog.
  6. Participants will participate by posting thoughtful and reflective responses (regarding book readings and expert commentaries) in the comments section of the blog post each week for the duration of the blog study. That means that participants will post 14 reflections. If participants are bloggers themselves and are blogging about this experience, including their reflections, they are able to simply post the weblink to their blog post in our blog comments section.
  7. Participants will keep an organized log (Word document) of all comments or blog posts (with dates and chapters) and email them to Dawn Braa (dawn.braa@dctc.edu) at the end of the study.
  8. Participants are responsible for submitting their certificate to Develop to be entered in their learning record. It is recommended that participants JOIN DEVELOP (free to create an account). If participants submit their MNCPD Develop ID# along with their organized log of participation, course completion will automatically be entered onto their MNCPD learning record. In those cases, the participant is not responsible for sending their certificate to Develop.

*Participants must successfully complete all requirements to be eligible for a certificate.
**Duplicate certificates will not be sent.

At this time, certificates are only available for MN residents. If you live outside MN and are seeking training hours, I suggest you also document your active participation and inquire with your state about approval possibilities. We are not guaranteeing approval of any kind outside MN.

*To learn more about this study, click HERE!

Child Life Position: WI

career crossing

There is a 1.0 FTE CCLS position posted at this time.  It is an inpatient positions – primarily working with the hem/onc population, but also neuro/neurosurgery, ENT, and plastics.  Candidates can go to http://www.uwhealthkids.org/jobs/careers-at-american-family-childrens-hospital/38662 and click on the “Search Jobs” link.

Homework and Testing. Book Study Expert Commentary for Chapters 19 and 24 (Week 10)

What If Book Study Marketing Pic

This week we are discussing Chapter 19: The Trouble with Testing and Chapter 24 The Homework Debate. Scott Wiley will provide insight and lead our discussion this week. Just joining us? Get all the book study details HERE.


Scott Wiley

Chapters 19 and 24 bring up two issues that I wouldn’t think would arise in early childhood—testing and homework. I know that some 5-year-olds are sitting in a room, listening to instructions being read and coloring in small circles with No. 2 pencils. I’ve read about (and seen) kindergartners taking home pages of homework at night (usually worksheets that need to be filled in). These issues are real for some of our youngest students; and these issues are problems for other grades, too.

Testing is a popular word among education reformers today. Standardized testing is touted as the “best way” to determine effective learning. It’s objective, it’s measurable, it’s easy to do. But it doesn’t really tell us much.

At best, a test only shows a snapshot of the student at that moment in time. If the test had been on a different day or a different time of day, if the student had a different start to his day or the room had been different – if any of these things had been different, the results may have been different. If a test is only a snapshot, how can real decisions and conclusions be extrapolated from it? Read more »




RYG Cover_Color.eps“So many power struggles can be avoided when children have an opportunity to choose for themselves or to have a voice in family decisions. But how do you know when it’s time to negotiate with a child and when it’s time to just lay down the law? This guest, parent educator Dr. Ada Alden, has developed a Red Yellow Green Framework for respectful discipline to help you sort that out. And she offers some great tips for how family meetings can strengthen your family’s relationships and help you “work yourself out of a job” – the overall goal in parenting, right? (Erin is excited to begin family meetings in her household and you will be too!) TUNE IN HERE

Thinking about the Red Yellow Green Framework for respectful discipline discussed in this Mom Enough show, name some of the things that would be in the red (not OK) category for your children. What about the green category (good to do!)? What are some yellow issues where your children could have more choices? How could family meetings add to the quality of your family life and to your children’s development of wise decision-making? Leave a comment below!” -MomEnough


Who Should Lead the Learning? Book Study Expert Commentary for Chapters 17 and 18 (Week 9)

What If Book Study Marketing Pic

This week we are discussing Chapter 17: In Defense of Authentic Learning and Chapter 18 Who Should Lead the Learning? Michael Gramling will provide insight and lead our discussion this week. Just joining us? Get all the book study details HERE.



Rae Pica is really on to something when she points out how completely overvalued rote learning has become in this misguided era of testing and accountability. What I find most discouraging, however, is the degree to which this approach to education has gained a strangle hold in early childhood education.

Rote learning, while bad enough for school age children, is a complete disaster for children enrolled in pre-k and infant-toddler programs. Rote learning wastes the very precious and short-lived window of opportunity available to educators and parents to provide the kinds of sensory, social, intellectual, and above all, language experiences necessary for the developing brain to reach its full potential. During the one time in a human life when the brain is connecting neurons and making pathways in a manner that will not be possible later in childhood or adulthood, during that very unique time in human development for which there are no do-overs, during the one developmental stage when the brain is a sponge and is absorbing information at lightning speed and needs to be completely immersed in an ocean of words, we administer information with an eye dropper. Read more »





parent child relationship guest Gene Roehkepartain“For decades, Search Institute has studied assets that are most important for helping children and teens grow up well. In their latest study, they examine the importance of five key strategies in developmental relationships in the family:

1) Express care
2) Challenge to grow
3) Support
4) Share power
5) Expand possibilities

Tune into this Mom Enough show to hear Gene Roehlkepartain discuss how these strategies benefit children, which are most often missing in the families Search studied, and what you can do to apply these important parent-child relationship findings for your child’s lifelong success. TUNE IN HERE

What was surprising to you about the findings from this Search Institute study? Why do you think so many families have trouble sharing power? What practical ideas did you take away from this Mom Enough discussion on the parent-child relationship? Leave a comment below!” -MomEnough

MomEnough 2

Sitting Still Does Not Equal Learning. Book Study Expert Commentary for Chapters 11 and 12 (Week 8)

What If Book Study Marketing Pic

This week we are discussing Chapter 11: Why Does Sitting Still Equal Learning? and Chapter 12 In Defense of Active Learning. Deborah Stewart will provide insight and lead our discussion this week. Just joining us? Get all the book study details HERE.


deborah stewart

“Who’s to say we have to sit down to learn?” Why can’t we lay on the floor on our tummies to learn?” When I read that statement in Rae Pica’s book, I had to nod my head and smile.


In my classroom of children, who are ages three to five, you can count on at least one child ending up on his or her Read more »




child passenger safety guest Heather DarbyAccording to the CDC, car crashes continue to be the leading cause of death and serious injury for children under 14 years of age. But there is much we can do to reduce the risk for our children. The first step is to know and follow not only the laws about child passenger safety, but best practices that go beyond the legal requirements.Heather Darby, child passenger safety and occupant protection coordinator for the DPS Office of Traffic Safety, joins Marti & Erin for a conversation you won’t want to miss, for your children’s safety and your own peace of mind. TUNE IN HERE.

Think about your own driving habits and those of other adults who drive your children. To what extent are you following best practices for your children’s safety? What could you do to improve child passenger safety in your vehicle? Leave a comment below!


Registration Has Begun for Spring Semester @ DCTC

spring-02Although it seems as though fall semester just began, we’re entering the ‘season’ for spring semester course registration. We’d love for you to join our Early Childhood & Youth Development program, for a degree or just a few courses. We are offering both on campus and online courses this spring.

Current students – If you haven’t yet spoken with your program advisor (Sharon or Dawn), please do so right away. We will assist you in choosing courses and provide you with your registration code. If you’ve already met with us, please register right away to reserve your seat in your preferred courses!

Interested students – If you’re seeking an award from DCTC (certificate, diploma, degree), begin the process by filling out an application. Looking to take a couple Early childhood courses, but not an entire degree? Undeclared status refers to students who wish to take classes without pursuing a certificate, diploma or degree. Undeclared students are limited to 11 or fewer credits per semester. The undeclared student course registration form allows students to register for 11 or fewer credits. Please complete the form and return in person or via mail to:

DCTC Registration
1300 145th Street East
Rosemount, MN 55068

Or fax the completed form to DCTC Registration at 651-423-8775.

*It is highly recommended that you also connect with the Early Childhood and Youth Development faculty.

Dawn Braa                                        Sharon Bergen
dawn.braa@dctc.edu                     sharon.bergen@dctc.edu
651.423.8315                                    651.423.8398

See YOU this spring!

Adventures in Eating: Discovering MyPlate

I’m excited to announce that after a short break, we’re bringing back the Adventures in Eating feature on this blog! We’re excited for how it may positively impact teachers, children, and families. Mary Schroeder is the author of this feature. She works for the University of Minnesota Extension Office. Learn more about her below.

Discovering MyPlate – A Free Resource for Teaching Nutrition

I always enjoy reviewing new resources  to introduce children to food and nutrition. I’m especially excited about Discover MyPlate which is designed for kindergarten aged children.

Discover MyPlate (developed by the United States Department of Agriculture) is fun and inquiry-based nutrition education that fosters the development of healthy food choices and physically for kindergartners and it’s FREE to teachers Read more »




Carlson,Nancy_book2Nancy Carlson understands children’s feelings and turns that understanding into delightful picture books that help children confront some of life’s most embarrassing moments and experiences. In this lively, free-wheeling discussion with Marti & Erin, Nancy highlights her two most recent books: the self-explanatory Sometimes You Barf and It’s OK to Ask!, a wonderful story about how to help your children connect with and respond to children with visible disabilities (a collaboration with Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare). Tune in so you and your children can benefit from Read more »

The Body Matters Too! Book Study Expert Commentaries for Chapters 10, 14, 15, 16 (Week 7)

What If Book Study Marketing Pic

This week we are discussing Chapter 10: The Myth of the Brain/Body Dichotomy, Chapter 14: The Body Matters Too, Chapter 15: Reading, Writing, Rithmetic, and Recess, and Chapter 16: Why Kids Need Gym. We have two guest experts this week to provide insight and lead our discussion: Lorie Barnes and Rich RairighJust joining us? Get all the book study details HERE.


Lorie Barnes1Some questions are easy to answer.  Like, “Would you be interested in being a part of an innovative, online nationwide book study of Rae Pica’s newest title, ‘What If Everybody Understood Child Development?: Straight Talk About Bettering Education and Children’s Lives’?”   Answer: “Yes!” Other questions however require and inspire deeper pondering and reflection.  Like the title of this book for example.  In this week’s blog post, we are diving into Chapters 10 and 15 from Part II: Understanding the Mind/Body Connection.  In Chapter 10: The Myth of the Brain/Body Dichotomy, we are equipped with resources and perspectives that can help us challenge long-held practices that do not adequately and intentionally educate the whole child.  Chapter 15: Reading, Writing, ‘Rithmetic… and Recess, invites us to be defenders of recess and play as a means of supporting children’s positive experiences and outcomes.

Second verse same as the first Read more »

Spring Semester Online Child Life Course @ DCTC

medical-play-materials-e1412695748870Are you in need of one child life class, taught by a CCLS, that meets the 6 requirements put forth by the CLC? We offer such a class at Dakota County Technical College! I have included the steps for what you will need to do to register for our spring semester fully online child life course- ECYD 2900 Introduction to the Child Life Profession: History and Practice (3cr). This course meets the 6 required components required by the Child Life Council and is taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist. Read more »