Category Archives: Early Childhood

Top Educational Gift Ideas (Updated for 2018)

It is the gift giving season! What gifts can you give a child to ignite learning? 

I have found with my children that the right toys inspire learning. So together, with other Kent ISD consultants and parents, I have populated a list of educational gifts that we have seen engage our children and students.

I have categorized the ideas, but many of these really could fit into more than one category. I encourage you to read through each list. Please share with other educators and parents! Continue reading Top Educational Gift Ideas (Updated for 2018)

Improving Literacy: Essentials Documents In Action

Written by Lisa Brown, MDE

Improving literacy is part of Michigan’s strategic plan to become a top 10 in 10 State. While it will take a multi-faceted approach, beginning with quality tier one, instruction is key. The Early Literacy Task Force (ELTF), a subgroup of the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (MAISA), General Education Leadership Network (GELN) set out to collect the highest quality research around literacy instruction and compile it in a way that would be easily understood by educators.

Early Literacy Task Force: glen General Education Leadership Network a MAISA collaborative. MACUL, MASSE, MDE, MRA, MAME, MAISA ELA LT, MAC, MiBLSi, MSU, ECAN, MV, MEMSPA, ISDs/k-12, GVSU, MI ASCD, U of M

The Product: The K-3 Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy.

This document is not their only document designed to support improving literacy throughout the state. In fact, the ELTF has produced a continuum of supports including the Prek- K Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy, 4-5 Essential Instructional Practices in Literacy, School-Wide and Center-Based Practices in Literacy, Essential Coaching Practices in Elementary Literacy and 6-12 Practices in Literacy in progress.  Continue reading Improving Literacy: Essentials Documents In Action

Connecting MTSS and Third Grade Reading Law

Written by: Mark Raffler, Kent ISD

The Kent ISD Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) team has been working for the past six years to develop the understanding and capacity of local districts to balance the behavior and academic demands put forward by the State of Michigan.

The latest legislation put into place, focused on academic content, is the Third Grade Reading Law (Public Act 306).  This legislation comes with many requirements and considerations for districts in order to increase the number of students reading proficiently by the end of third grade.
Continue reading Connecting MTSS and Third Grade Reading Law

Focusing on Read Alouds: K-3 Literacy Essentials

Written by: Christi Gilbert, Literacy Coach/Kent ISD

Essential #2 states: “Read Alouds of age-appropriate books and other materials, print or digital”

Why read alouds?

There is a STRONG research consensus that supports literacy development through read alouds. Children learn about reading and writing from read alouds. They also increase their vocabulary hearing new words during a read aloud.

But, our reality:

Tanya Wright, a lead researcher with the Literacy Essentials, did a study on read alouds.  She visited four classrooms  and conducted over 55 visits. Throughout those visits she noticed two important things: Continue reading Focusing on Read Alouds: K-3 Literacy Essentials

Literacy- Making Every Minute Count

Written by Melissa Buurstra, Early Childhood Specialist

Do you ever wonder about the time at school children spend waiting for their turn to use the bathroom or another class to finish in the gym?

In Kent County’s Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) classrooms, we do wonder about this time. We have a name for it and we even plan for it on our weekly lesson plans. We call it “transition time”.

These 3-5 minute waits really add up. For instance, a GSRP classroom waiting in line 5 minutes every day amounts to 650 minutes or almost 11 hours which is close to 2 entire days of school.

“We take this time seriously and use transition time activities as an important part of our lesson planning,” says Ashley Karsten, Kent ISD GSRP Supervisor. Continue reading Literacy- Making Every Minute Count

Top Educational Gift Ideas

It is the gift giving season! What gifts can you give a child to ignite learning? 

I have found with my children that the right toys inspire learning. So together, with other Kent ISD consultants and parents, I have populated a list of educational gifts that we have seen engage our children and students.

I have categorized the ideas, but many of these really could fit into more than one category. I encourage you to read through each list. Continue reading Top Educational Gift Ideas

10 Instructional Literacy Practices for K-3

Time is of the essence!  In education, your daily schedule is filled to the brim.   You’re planning your next meeting or instructional focus on the drive between sports practice, dinner, and the parent-teacher organization meeting.  Sometimes, a few professional “grab and go” options would assist in focusing energy and solidifying next steps.  Often times in education, we ask “What are the Essentials?” Continue reading 10 Instructional Literacy Practices for K-3

Kent ISD and PNC Bring Early Childhood Resources to an Upcoming Family Fun Event

“Almost one-quarter of children under five years old receive child care from someone other than a parent” –americanprogress.org

A newborn’s brain is only about one-quarter the size of an adult’s. It grows to approximately 80 percent of adult size by three years of age and 90 percent by age five. (zerotothree.org)  Children’s earliest experiences in child care and at home literally affect brain development and predict future successes.

Parents play the most active and significant role in their baby’s healthy development. Young children learn and grow in strong families where parents are able to successfully face the challenge of finding care for their children while meeting their work and other responsibilities. Continue reading Kent ISD and PNC Bring Early Childhood Resources to an Upcoming Family Fun Event

Ways to Give to Children this Holiday Season

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Polar Express, The Night Before Christmas…are all favorite books in my house this time of year.  At bedtime, we have a ritual of reading a few stories as a family and my children (and I) love this special time together.

But I wonder Continue reading Ways to Give to Children this Holiday Season

Have you heard of STARS?

Research is clear,  birth through three years of age is when the brain has the most growth! This tells us that childcare providers, whether in a home setting or center are essential to our children’s growth and potential. The STARS program (Standards, Training/Professional Development, Assistance, Resources, Support) is a state wide initiative to promote and encourage quality childcare and preschool programs. Click here to learn more about the STARS program.