1 Jun

Child Behavior Support: Solution Kit

Today I’d like to introduce you to a wonderful resource… the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning! The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) is focused on promoting the social emotional development and school readiness of young children birth to age 5.  CSEFEL is a national resource center funded by the Office of Head Start and Child Care Bureau for disseminating research and evidence-based practices to early childhood programs across the country.

This website it full of great resources for parents and educators, including practical strategies for supporting and guiding children’s behavior. One at the top of my list is the Solution Kit– be sure to check it out! Print and laminate the cards individually (in color). Then, put them in a brief case or some sort of suitcase/carrier that’s simple for the children to carry, open, and use. When a situation comes up in which children need to solve a problem, remind them to use the solution kit. Of course, you’ll first need to introduce it and explain/demo all of the solutions (a few times). Provide guidance and support as you facilitate the situation…let them choose and try their solution…it may or may not work. They may need to try a few before they resolve the issue at hand. This teaches grit while sending the message that THEY ARE COMPETENT and SKILLED!

30 May

Online Self-Study Book Studies (APPROVED)

Online self-study book studies can be a great (and convenient) way to earn training hours from the comfort of your own home/space. Here are three options that are APPROVED through MN Develop for training hours:

  1. Rae Pica’s What If Everybody Understood Child Development? http://blogs.dctc.edu/dawnbraa/2015/08/05/new-feature-beyond-the-pages-a-blog-book-study/ (7hrs, Free + cost of book)
  2. Stacie Goffin’s Professionalizing Early Childhood Education as a Field of Practice http://enhancingyoungminds.com/2015/12/beyond-the-pages-book-study-goffin-frequently-asked-questions/ (6hrs, $30 + cost of book)
  3. Dr. Sara Langworthy’s Bridging the Relationship Gap: Connecting with Children Facing Adversity http://enhancingyoungminds.com/2016/12/beyond-pages-book-study-frequently-asked-questions-langworthy/ (6hrs, $30+ cost of book)

General instructions:
You’ll access the study at the above link provided, depending on chosen study. After purchasing required book, read the chapter or grouping of chapters according to the book study timeline and then read the correlating guest expert commentary on the blog. To do so, under the timeline, click on the chapter to view the expert commentary for the coinciding chapter. *Hint* The reading timeline is at the bottom of the page (use above link). If you’re participating after the LIVE event, ignore the timeline dates. You are free to complete the study at your own pace. After reading the chapter(s) and the guest expert commentary, REPLY directly on the blog with your reflection on all the reading for that grouping.

Pay for book study 2 or 3 by visiting http://enhancingyoungminds.com/ and clicking on the PayPal icon under Pay for Bookstudy.

Testimonials of recent participants:
“I really enjoyed the book and commentary, it gave me a lot to think about!  I also enjoyed being able to knock out some training hours in a fun and different way that was very convenient and free to boot.”

“I have to say I am very impressed with my overall experience. First of all, I loved the book which made the class enjoyable to complete. Second of all, the information that was provided by each speaker was amazing additional reading! I loved the videos attached to enhance our learning and found them all to be very applicable. I am most impressed with the overall communication between the students and the people organizing this study. I seriously cannot say one negative thing about my experience. I hope that I still get to be a part of this Facebook group because I would love to share with some of my fellow teachers in my school the videos that I was able to watch. I think they would enjoy them and benefit from them as much as I did!”

“Thank you I loved it and will definitely participate in another one soon!”

Do not hesitate to ask questions 😉 dawnbraa1@gmail.com

30 Mar

I Have…Who Has…?

ihavenumbersWrap Around Games are one of my all-time favorite games for children. Why? They encourage social interaction and reinforce critical thinking skills. I have made many different games for toddlers to school-agers (colors, shapes, dinosaurs, etc.)

How does the game work? Pass out all the cards, one to each child. One child begins by saying, “I Have…Who Has…?” The child that has that item says, “I Have…Who Has…?” The game continues until all of the children have gone. You’ll know the game was played correctly when the game ends with the same person that began – hence the name Wrap Around Games.

PreKinders has a *FREE* printable NUMBERS WRAP AROUND GAME. Check it out! Want the SHAPE GAME too? You can grab it HERE.  There is a Fact or Fiction *FREE* game online through Lakeshore Learning (for school-age children).

30 Mar

Book Inspired Lessons

Books are wonderful tools for engaging and motivating children. They also naturally inspire children through vocabulary and illustrations. Here’s a great example of how teachers can begin with a story and then branch off into activities in different developmental areas.

How can YOU incorporate more book inspired lessons into YOUR program? If you already do this, tell us which books are your favorite and what curriculum ideas you use for them. Feel free to send pictures (no children please).

Get your copy of the Lines that Wiggle book!

27 Mar



book image for ME's reflective parenting guest, Dr. Regina PallyWhen our child misbehaves, we often react quickly with a lecture, a consequence or an angry outburst. But what if we paused to see through our child’s eyes and understand what motivated his or her behavior? What if we took a moment to assess our own feelings and how they are colored by stress or life experiences, past and present? This is reflective parenting, as psychiatrist Regina Pally discusses with Marti & Erin, and it can transform our relationships and the way we help our children learn to understand their own emotions and behavior.


Think of a recent difficult situation with your child and how you handled it. What do you think might have been the purpose or meaning of your child’s behavior? What were your feelings at the time? Were your figures triggered only by your child’s behavior or did other factors enter in? Using these reflections, what, if anything, would you do differently in that situation?

20 Mar



It’s great for kids (and adults, for that matter) to be active and involved in vigorous sports. However, some activities put participants at particular risk for repeated concussions, with potentially life-long consequences. But information is power and this week’s Mom Enough show is packed with information about how to recognize and respond to concussions and, most important how to prevent concussions in your young athletes. Don’t miss this important discussion with Jon Roesler, Epidemiologist Supervisor with the Injury and Violence Prevention Unit at the Minnesota Department of Health. TUNE IN HERE!

What new things did you learn in the Mom Enough discussion about the causes and consequences of concussions? What steps will you take to prevent your children from suffering concussions, especially repeated concussions, which do great harm?

For a checklist of symptoms that may help your doctor in diagnosing a concussion, click here.
For Minnesota Medicine’s “This is Your Brain on Sports” article, click here.
For the MN Department of Health’s Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injury information, click here.
For the Brain Injury Alliance of Minnesota, click here.

16 Mar


Bridging the Relationship Gap
Chapter Seven: Reenvisioning the Response: Where We Go from Here
By Robert Gundling, Ed.D.

I want to thank Dawn for the opportunity to participate in this book study on such an important topic related to the social emotional development of young children, their families and those who work with them. I found the information in the book helpful to me as an Early Care and Education Practitioner. It seems to me the information was presented in a clear, concise, and objective manner. This helped me develop a better understanding of how to support young children and the adults who care for and about them in developing relationships, grounded in trust, along with respect for each other in a caring environment. I believe relationships are at the core of a high quality learning environment for human beings.

Chapter 7 of this book maintained my interest because of its focus on those of us who work with young children and their families. During the past eight years, I had the good fortune to work with an organization in the most under resourced area of Washington, DC. I saw and felt the effects of violence in the neighborhood on the children and the teachers. One example etched in my mind is a four year old child in the Pre-k program who witnessed her father…

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15 Mar


Bridging the Relationship Gap
Chapter Six: When Those Who Love Us Leave Us
By Rebecca Shlafer

I’m excited to participate in this book study! Chapter 6 addresses the complex challenges that children face when they lose a parent. For me, this chapter leaves me reflecting on the similarities and differences between a parent dying and the loss of a parent for other reasons. My research focuses on children’s outcomes when a parent is incarcerated, so I find the connections in this chapter between parent death, deployment, and incarceration to be really valuable. As the author notes, the loss of a parent can trigger… Read More