October 2020 Student Spotlight – Jennifer Bell

My career in early childhood started when my own kids were in high school.  I was looking for something to do with my free time and wanted to make a little extra spending money, so I took a job with our church nursery.  That job led me to take a position in the local daycare center as a part time infant teacher.  Over the years, I have worked with infants, toddlers, and school-age children.  Earlier this year, I was offered the opportunity to be our center’s director.  The State of Texas requires a Director’s License for this position, so my Executive Director recommended ChildCare Education Institute to me.  The certification course was very easy to navigate, and the subject material kept my attention.   I would recommend CCEI for any level of continued education.  My Education Coach was always encouraging and motivating me.

One of my favorite things about my job is that I’ve discovered how entertaining and fun children are.  I try to take time every workday to cuddle with an infant and visit a few of the early learning classrooms to play and talk to the children. You never know how they will respond to questions or activities; it is rarely an expected reaction.  Being a director combines my natural leadership qualities, organizational skills, and my love for tiny humans.  When I am not at work, I like spending time with my family, going to church, crafting, and shopping.  I currently reside in Bullard, Texas.

October 2020 Newsletter – Storytelling: Director’s Corner

Here are a few things to consider as the leader of a program that wants to incorporate storytelling and story acting:

Modeling: Consider how you might incorporate more storytelling into your interactions with your staff.  Could you add a brief storytelling practice into staff meetings or team meetings?  Perhaps you could use storytelling and roleplaying as tools to solve problems or come up with solutions to challenging conversations.

Materials: Many storytelling prompts are inexpensive and many can be gathered through family donations. You may choose to purchase some prepackaged storytelling kits from your supply vendor to get the ball rolling.  Present these materials to your staff in a staff meeting and brainstorm how your team could create their own storytelling kits for the popular stories.

Assessments: Work with employees to identify the skills that they can assess during storytelling and story acting sessions. Here are just a few areas that teachers can document as part of their ongoing assessments of children’s learning:

  • New vocabulary words
  • Improved structure and focus of stories
  • Memory skills
  • Audience skills
  • Listening skills
  • Sequencing skills

Family involvement: As with most learning opportunities that take place in the classroom, it is important to identify ways to extend the learning to the home environment. Teachers should share videos of children engaged in storytelling with families along with tips on how to engage in storytelling at home.  Consider also inviting families into the program to tell their favorite stories.

For the main article Storytelling, CLICK HERE

For the article Developmental Benefits of Storytelling, CLICK HERE

For the article Storytelling Materials, CLICK HERE

For the article Story Acting, CLICK HERE

October 2020 Newsletter – Storytelling: Story Acting

As children develop their storytelling skills, teachers may consider adding story acting to their routine. This involves children performing stories, either in part or in whole. Teachers can encourage children to act out their favorite parts of familiar books, poems, or nursery rhymes.

This process begins with the telling of a story. To introduce the concept, teachers could read a passage to children and ask them to act out what they think the character looked like during the scene, including the moves the character was making. As interest and skills develop, children can take on longer and longer scenes.

Children can even engage in story acting of original stories they create. This process requires the teacher to capture the stories that children tell by writing them on paper. Then the child and teacher work together to share that story with other children and determine which children will take on different roles in the story.  They then present the story acting to the audience of their peers.

With time and practice, story acting can become a valuable community-building element of your curriculum. Children learn to work together, listen to one another, and show respect during story acting experiences.

For more information about setting up story acting in your learning environment, check out this story acting resource.

For the main article Storytelling, CLICK HERE

For the article Developmental Benefits of Storytelling, CLICK HERE

For the article Storytelling Materials, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner, CLICK HERE


October 2020 Newsletter – Storytelling: Storytelling Materials

To help children practice storytelling, you can provide a wide variety of props and storytelling materials. You can include props from familiar stories that will encourage children to retell stories. These materials can be stored in plastic bins or cloth bags and rotated into the learning environment at different times of the year.  Random props should be available to promote original storytelling as well.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Figures – plastic people and animals
  • Props – Backdrops, houses, and scenery such as trees and mountains
  • Puppets – store-bought or homemade
  • Cutouts from magazines – attach tongue depressors to the cutouts so they are easier to manipulate
  • Cutouts from recycled books
  • Photos – pictures of children and their families attached to cardboard or contact papered to blocks
  • Fabric scraps
  • Items from nature
  • Felt pieces and felt board
  • Magnets and cookie sheets
  • Stickers attached to cubes or blocks
  • Painted rocks or story stones
  • Decorated wooden spoons
  • Recycled boxes or bottles

For the main article Storytelling, CLICK HERE

For the article Developmental Benefits of Storytelling, CLICK HERE

For the article Story Acting, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner, CLICK HERE

October 2020 Newsletter – Storytelling: Developmental Benefits of Storytelling

Storytelling provides opportunities for children to strengthen skills across developmental domains. Here is a look at just some of the skills children learn:

Language and literacy skills

  • Children are exposed to and begin to use a wide variety of vocabulary words. They hear these words in context, which makes them more meaningful.
  • They become familiar with patterns of spoken language. They notice changes in tone, inflection, and the pace of language.
  • Children can begin to make the connection between spoken and written word if adults transcribe their stories onto paper.
  • They develop an understanding of the parts of a story, including plot, setting, characters, climax, conflict, conclusion, etc.
  • They develop an enthusiasm and excitement toward learning new things in story form, which can extend into an excitement about reading.

Social emotional skills

  • Children employ their creativity and self-expression when telling original stories.
  • Confidence is strengthened as children’s skills improve and their stories are seen as valuable.
  • They are introduced to elements of different cultures and traditions, which can lead to a better understanding of their peers.
  • Children are required to practice empathy and perspective-taking, which helps them see the world through the eyes of other people.
  • They strengthen their listening skills when they listen to adults or peers tell stories.
  • Children practice self-regulation as they show respect for the storytellers and use their audience skills.
  • Relationships are built when adults take the time to tell a story to a child. When adults transcribe children’s stories, children feel a sense of trust and acceptance, which can strengthen trust and bonds between children and adults.

Cognitive skills

  • Children will use their planning skills to develop the arc of the story. This is a skill that takes lots of practice to master. Young children will tell very disjointed stories at first.
  • They begin to understand the order and sequence of a story, along with the meaning of words such as first, next, last, etc.
  • Children will need to employ their problem-solving skills to help their characters out of sticky situations. This is an excellent way for children to explore how solutions to problems might work out, making it more likely that they will try these solutions in real life.
  • Children use memory skills when retelling a familiar story or telling a story about an event they experienced.

Physical skills

  • If adults encourage story acting, children will use physical skills to act out events of stories.

Seeing their words come to life on paper may encourage children to begin writing their own stories when they are developmentally ready to do so.

For the main article Storytelling, CLICK HERE

For the article Storytelling Materials, CLICK HERE

For the article Story Acting, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner, CLICK HERE

October 2020 Newsletter – Storytelling

It is said that every culture in the world uses storytelling as a way of passing down wisdom and history to younger generations.  Before there was written language, before scrolls and books, people used storytelling to share ideas and values with other members of the community. Storytelling is magical for children. It opens the doors to new worlds and helps children understand their heritage and traditions.

Young children are natural storytellers. If you step back and watch children at play, they are constantly telling stories about what is happening in their block town, the dramatic play area, and in their artwork. Early childhood educators can capitalize on this natural interest and ability by introducing a more formal approach to storytelling in the classroom.

By adding a storytelling element to your curriculum, you will introduce and reinforce so many developmental skills that will serve children throughout their education. In this newsletter, we will explore the benefits of storytelling and what it might look like to implement storytelling in your program.

For the article Developmental Benefits of Storytelling, CLICK HERE

For the article Storytelling Materials, CLICK HERE

For the article Story Acting, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner, CLICK HERE

Social Stories

Social Stories are tools that are often used with children and adults who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). These stories are written in a manner that safely and simply teaches children how to navigate challenging situations. For example, Social Stories exist that teach children about what to expect when going to the dentist, the first day of school, or how to stay safe when playing outdoors.

According to Carol Gray, a pioneer in the work of Social Stories, there are several conditions for Social Stories:

  • They present information in a patient and supportive manner
  • They are descriptive of specific situations
  • They are meaningful to specific children
  • They provide information in a way that is physically, socially, and emotionally safe for the audience.

You can see a few examples of Carol Gray’s Social Stories here.

Teachers can use Social Stories to help children learn about all kinds of life situations. With a little creativity and research, teachers could create a Social Story to describe what children should expect as they transition to Kindergarten. It would be necessary for teachers to reach out to local elementary schools to find out details about the schools and daily routines.  These facts could then be worked into a story format.

Here is a list of other scenarios that can be introduced using Social Stories:

  • Preparing for a field trip
  • The arrival of a new sibling
  • What to do if you get separated from a parent in a store
  • How to enter into games or play situations
  • What to do when you feel angry, sad, frustrated, disappointed, excited, etc.
  • How to respond to bad news
  • How to transition from one activity to another
  • How to complete a task in the daily routine

While formal Social Stories are a tool used with individuals with ASD, teachers could adapt this strategy for use with all children. Teachers may find it helpful to introduce expectations and routines using stories, in addition to giving verbal instructions.

ChildCare Education Institute Offers No-Cost Online Course on Storytelling for Enrichment, Early Literacy, and Fun

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers LIT100: Storytelling for Enrichment, Early Literacy, and Fun! as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users October 1-31, 2020.

Storytelling and dramatic play are often overlooked in terms of their importance for building early literacy skills.  In fact, storytelling is one of the most important tools available to early childhood educators for a variety of reasons.  However, many educators shy away from storytelling or consider it a special treat, rather than an integral part of the curriculum.  The Storytelling for Enrichment, Early Literacy, and Fun! course provides comprehensive guidance for incorporating storytelling into the early childhood environment. Participants will learn why storytelling is important for young children, as well as strategies for effective storytelling and rich follow-up activities such as group discussion and playacting. Through storytelling, educators can forge strong bonds with their students while promoting essential early literacy and communication skills.

Aside from fueling the imagination, there are concrete, practical reasons for sharing fairytales, folktales, and other stories with children. For instance, stories can help children understand other cultures, including values, beliefs, and customs. Classic tales, such as Aesop’s Fables or Grimm’s fairytales, provide an extra boost of relevance with regard to early literacy. That’s because, as readers, children will often encounter references to these classic tales in conversation and in other writings, whether they are reading a novel or a newspaper article. Stories build what educator E.D. Hirsch refers to as “cultural literacy,” which is essentially the background knowledge a person needs in order to be a fluent reader and a productive, active citizen. Many fairytales, folktales, myths, legends, fables, and other stories are deeply embedded in the English language and American culture. The ability to understand references to these stories is essential for becoming a fluent, fully literate reader.

Any high−quality early childhood program includes reading aloud in its curriculum. There is absolutely no question among researchers and educators that reading to children is essential for language and early literacy development. The only debate revolves around how much and what to read to children, and the general consensus is that we should read to children as much as possible from as wide a variety of appropriate high−quality texts as possible. Reading aloud to children is essential for building early literacy skills, but there is another activity of equal value for young children: storytelling. It is no secret that children enjoy storytelling—both as givers and as receivers—but it is often overlooked as a valuable component in an effective early childhood curriculum.

“Storytelling in the early childhood environment inspires purposeful talking, raises enthusiasm for reading, initiates writing, and improves listening skills among other important developmental factors,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI .  “This course helps educators learn how to incorporate language skills, cultural knowledge, and creativity into the daily curriculum.”

LIT100: Storytelling for Enrichment, Early Literacy, and Fun! is a two-hour, intermediate-level course and grants 0.2 IACET CEU upon successful completion.  Current CCEI users with active, unlimited annual subscriptions can register for professional development courses at no additional cost when logged in to their CCEI account. Users without subscriptions can purchase child care training courses as block hours through CCEI online enrollment.

For more information, visit www.cceionline.edu or call 1.800.499.9907, prompt 3, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST

ChildCare Education Institute, LLC

ChildCare Education Institute®, a division of Excelligence Learning Corporation, provides high-quality, distance education certificates and child care training programs in an array of child care settings, including preschool centers, family child care, prekindergarten classrooms, nanny care, online daycare training and more. Over 150 English and Spanish child care training courses are available online to meet licensing, recognition program, and Head Start Requirements. CCEI also has online certification programs that provide the coursework requirement for national credentials including the CDA, Director and Early Childhood Credentials.  CCEI, a Council for Professional Recognition CDA Gold Standard™ training provider, is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).