Nice Kids Finish First: Study Finds Social Skills Can Predict Future Success
This is a brief (4 minute) piece from NPR about the importance that ‘pro-social’ skills play in a child’s development. Listen to it here.
About Autism in Toddlers – Free Online Tool
A new online tool, About Autism in Toddlers, is now available free of charge for parents and professionals interested in learning how to recognize the early signs of autism spectrum disorder in very young children. The tool includes videos on the core features of autism and information on the importance of early identification. Watch a preview (3:21 minutes) here. This is the first in a series of free online tools being developed as part of Autism Navigator, a collection of resources created by the Autism Institute at Florida State University College of Medicine. View this introductory video (4:56 minutes) to learn more about Autism Navigator. Additional free resources and tools will be available in coming months.
NH Adopts Statewide Definition of Quality Early Childhood Programs
On December 9, 2013, the Spark NH Early Childhood Advisory Council unanimously endorsed the following as New Hampshire’s definition of Quality Early Childhood Programs: “Quality early childhood programs provide experiences that optimize each child’s development, learning, and health; engage families and communities in partnerships; and cultivate life long learners and productive members of society.”
PTAN Partnerships for Preschool Inclusion: Self-Evaluation Tool This tool provides a framework for discussion that promotes partnerships to benefit young children with special needs and their families. A team that includes representation from preschool special education, child care and families is assembled to consider and discuss each of the tool’s items. Once completed, the team reviews their responses and decides which item(s) to work on to improve the quality of services they provide. The selected items are developed into an action plan that guides the team’s future work together.
Ten Practices to Promote the Communication Skills of Infants and Toddlers A new resource published by the FPG Child Development Institute, More Than Baby Talk: 10 Ways to Promote the Language and Communication Skills of Infants and Toddlers (2013), by N. Gardner-Neblett and K.C. Gallagher, describes ten practices that early childhood teachers can use to foster language and communication skills among infants and toddlers. The guidelines are based on the latest research findings on optimal adult-child interactions for promoting strong language and communication skills among young children.
Social Skills Curriculum
PTAN developed a series of social skills “lesson plans” to support child care providers in their efforts to support young children’s acquisition of social skills essential to their success in early childhood programs.
Social Skills Group Activity: Listening
We often tell children to listen, making the assumption they know the specific behaviors or steps required to do so. Some children need direct teaching of this skill, while others may need reminder activities. For those children who appear to be able to listen in a variety of situations these activities will help them gain a better understanding of their own behaviors, and increase and enhance their problem solving skills. These activities have been developed for all children ages three years through five years in early care and education programs. However, they may be adapted for younger or older children or for other care situations. Social Skills Listening PDF
Social Skills Group Activity: Initiating Play
It is often assumed that when we teach the appropriate word combinations to interact with their peers, children will be able to initiate play. But the ability to successfully engage a peer in play requires the abilities to share ideas, negotiate, compromise, and to move on when told “I don’t want to play with you right now.” Some children need direct teaching of these skills, while others may need reminder activities. For those children who appear to be competent in initiating play, these activities will help them gain a better understanding of their own behaviors, and increase and enhance their problem solving skills. Social Skills Play PDF
Social Skills Group Activity: Sharing
We often tell children to “use their words” when they want a toy another child has, making the assumption they know the words to use or how to use them. Some children need direct teaching of this skill, while others may need reminder activities. For those children who appear to be able to play cooperatively these activities will help them gain a better understanding of their own behaviors, and increase and enhance their problem solving skills. Social Skills Sharing PDF
Other resources to promote inclusion of all children:
Practice Guides with Adaptations for Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers with Disabilities
The Center for Early Literacy Learning (CELL) has published 15 new CELL practice guides with adaptations for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, which show how to adapt early literacy activities so that young children with disabilities can participate. The guides can be used by practitioners or parents, or by parents in collaboration with practitioners. They describe everyday home, community, and childcare learning opportunities that encourage early literacy learning. All are available online at http://www.earlyliteracylearning.org/pg_tier2.php
A Thinking Guide to Inclusive Childcare
Disability Rights of Wisconsin developed this guide to provide tools and strategies to help child care staff better understand the needs of individual children and promote inclusive experiences for families and children. It is available online at http://www.disabilityrightswi.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/thinking-guide-to-inclusive-child-care.pdf