The many benefits of outside time in school

Today’s guest blogger is Mary Wright

The article How Access to Nature During the School Year Can Help Students Thrive is about getting students outside during the school day and reconnecting them with nature. It connects the rise of obesity and the increase of psychological and academic problems with a decline in outdoor time and an increase in screen time. The article goes on to discuss the benefits of being outside some of which, according to Cathy Jordan, the research director for the Children and Nature Network, are that “Exposure to nature contributes to ‘emotional restoration, decreases stress, can decrease symptoms of anxiety, can elevate mood’”. In addition to the cognitive benefits being out in nature has physical and social benefits as well. Physically being in bright sunlight can actually prevent nearsightedness. Socially when children spend time outdoors they tend to work collaboratively and communicate more than they normally would in a classroom setting. Additionally they learn to respect the people and things around them and can relate to them better.

This article also shows how teachers can “make use of the natural surroundings for interdisciplinary projects”, connecting science to history to literature all from a lesson about trees. It discusses letting students be creative and get messy and the “controlled uncontrolled experience” that being outside can give them, but only of teachers take the initiative to get started.

 I think this news will affect young children and their families by showing parents how important it is to get their children off the screens and out in nature. I think if people realize how beneficial being outside is to children they will be more likely to take their children outside. Additionally I believe that they will find being outside not only benefits children, but adults as well. We will all be healthier and happier if we spend less time on our screens and more time connecting with the world around us.
This news will influence Early Childhood Education by getting more teachers to step up and take the initiative to start outdoor programs at their schools. Being outside will help children to be better students and give them a greater understanding of the world around them which in the long run can only be beneficial to us all.

by Mary Wright


Steps Teachers Can Take to Keep Girls and Minorities in Computer Science Education

by Lauren Teeple

There is a large gap between the number of boys and girls and the number of minorities that take part in learning computer science. The author of this article states that getting them into the programs is easy, but convincing them to continue learning is difficult. As a minority or a female taking part in computer science classes, there aren’t enough others that look like you for you to be comfortable and confident enough to continue. They look at the group and feel that they aren’t welcome or that they don’t belong. If these students score poorly on a test or project, they take it as a personal offence and justification whereas the majority will often blame a “bad day” or “The teacher made it too hard”. Because of this issue, the article list out steps that teachers can take to help these students who are in the classroom.

The first step is “Create a warm climate that encourages a growth mindset”. This means that the teacher should let the students know that they are proud of their work and enjoy teaching their class. This also means de-stigmatizing failure. A part of computer science is troubleshooting incorrect coding; it shouldn’t be seen as failure.

Second, “Help students find meaning with the work”. As a teacher you need to let the students know that what they are doing is important. Help them understand that their work could have an impact on their lives or even their community in the future.poster_thumbnail_maddy_maxey

The third is“Examine bias and representation in class materials”. This means that the teacher needs to watch the pronouns they use and what type of graphics they use in the classroom. Find images that have girls and minorities in it, not just males.

The last step is to “Examine your own bias”. Let it show through your actions that computer science means more than what their DNA is. Watch what you say to make sure you are encouraging to everyone. Overall, just be mindful toward your students and encourage everyone to be the best that they can be.Because computer science and technology is being introduced at a younger age, the adults in the children’s lives need to be encouraging through their journey of learning.Spark their interest young and always believe they can do it. As teachers, we need to be mindful of our bias’ and make sure that we are not hindering any of our children’s interest, especially towards technology.teeple

Today’s guest blogger is Lauren Teeple

“I am a Junior at Towson University and will be starting my teaching internship as an Early Childhood Education Major in Baltimore City starting Spring 2017.”

The poster above in downloadable pdf form: code-poster




Technology Usage in Early Childhood

by Czarina Pepito

A survey conducted by the Erikson Institute showed how parents and their children incorporated technology in their lives. The study consisted of  1,000 parents with children under six years old. It showed the different technology being used at home, how much time parents are spending time with their children while using technology, the different perceptions parents have about the advantages they bring,and their main concerns. Erikson Institute offered different tips for parents and early childhood professionals on how to incorporate technology in children’s lives. These tips create opportunities for adults/parents to model positive behavior in using computers, tablets, television, and smartphones. In a world where technology is everywhere and unavoidable, both parents and professionals need to understand how to use these gadgets in a healthy and productive way.

This news highlights one of the major issues found in parenting. The Erikson Institute wants to shed light on how parents and children use technology in their homes. The institute want families to learn how to properly use technology to benefit children in the future. They want to stress the fact that modeling the right behavior for children to see is important and monitoring their usage is key to having a healthy technology use at home. There is no denying that children as early as three years old use technology, this article helps parents who are struggling to make healthy decisions for their children.

This article is also geared towards early childhood professionals. The survey can help teachers understand that children coming into PreK are able to use technology and should be cultivated to better their learning. Teachers need to use technology in the classrooms as educational tools.Using different websites and software that are children-friendly is a great way of using Universal Design for Learning. Same as parents, teachers need to provide positive modeling behavior while using technology in classrooms.

Today’s guest blogger is Czarina Pepito

Aspiring to be an early childhood teacher studying in Towson University. I am interested in creating different opportunities for children to learn using various methods and tools.”



Would You Like to Sit With Us?

by Danielle Franklin

16 year old Natalie Hampton of Sherman Oaks, California is receiving worldwide recognition for her creation of the new “Sit With Us” app. Her app was designed and aimed at reducing bullying and encouraging social interactions in the school setting. After her lonely experience of sitting alone during the lunch period of her entire seventh grade career,she wanted to create something that would allow students to remain anonymous but seek out friends when feeling alone as she did during lunch time! Durisitng an interview with NPR on their “All Things Considered” Program, she stated her reasoning for creating this app was because “it prevents kids from being publicly rejected and being considered social outcasts for their peers … This way it’s very private. It’s through the phone. No one else has to know. And you know that you’re not going to be rejected once you get to the

This news will affect young children and their families because bullying is something that is becoming more prevalent in schools today and something that I am sure every parent/student worries about. With this new app that Natalie created, it takes beginning steps at eliminating the issue of bullying by providing students with “buddies”while alone during school hours.

While this app was primarily designed for upper elementary+ students, it can impact early childhood education in that it can be adapted to be used in some way for early childhood. Perhaps it can be used in early childhood for students to find other friends to play with during recess or finding a partner to go group work with during free play.


Today’s guest blogger is Danielle Franklin danielle

Hello! My name is Danielle Franklin. I am currently a junior at Towson University majoring in Early Childhood Education seeking to change the world… one child at a time!

Audio Books Can Help Children Who Struggle with Reading


This article describes how children can use audio books or tapes in the classroom in order to help them when they have to read alone.Children who are slow readers are allowed to go listen to the audiotapes in another part of the room. They say that it really helps them because when they have to read it by themselves, they can then read it faster. When they are given 30 minutes to read with the class, they can finally keep up and don’t feel so rushed.

Some parents don’t have time to read to their children every day. If the teachers introduce then to audio tapes, this allows the children to know how to audio tapes at home. This would have a positive influence on children at home because they can listen to their audio tapes at home to improve their reading and vocabulary skills. Also, this could really help to improve children from low income families who don’t get read to a lot because their parents might not have great vocabulary span or proficient reading skills. Audio books can be downloaded for free on apps, or even iPad’s.They are easy to access and easy to use. Those who don’t have tapes or computers at home could use the mat the library or check out books on tape.

Our guest blogger today is Mary Kate Biser


Pediatricians Set New Guidelines on Electronic Media Use by Young Children

by Melissa Garfinkle

screentimeThis article is about the American Academy of Pediatrics updating its recommendations on electronic media use for young children. The new recommendations acknowledge that some media exposure can have educational value for children as young as 18 months, although it should be high-quality programming such as PBS television. The new recommendations were made because of shifts in technology. Since technology is always improving and advancing and the media is used more and more, the AAP felt it necessary to change their recommendations to keep up with the advancement in technology.

This affects young children because it could change the amount of screen time they are exposed to. I think it could cause families to spend less time with their children playing outside because children will be exposed to screens at an earlier age. The article does mention that parents should still prioritize playtime away from screens, but I think since the recommendations have been updated, parents will want to expose their children to technology early on.

This news will influence Early Child Education because centers will incorporate more technology into their classrooms and educators will want to expose children to technology during school hours. I think in future years, the technology ad media use in early childhood education will keep increasing to keep up with changes in technology.

Our guest blogger is Melissa Garfinkle

I am currently a student at Towson University, pursuing an Early Childhood Education degree.I think technology and the media plays a role in early childhood education and technology will always be advancing. This is an important topic in early childhood education.”


Five Common Classroom Blog Mistakes

by Tracey Love


Having a blog is a great source of communication, however keeping it up and running is an important responsibility that some teachers and students fail to realize. The five mistakes the article lists are making it optional, inconsistency, lack of purpose, not publicizing, and leaving out visuals. By making the blog optional, students and parents will most likely choose not to view it. Having a set time and date when updating the blog allows viewers to know when to expect new and upcoming information about the events and tasks that will/have happened in the classroom. Having a purpose for the classroom blog allows the blog editor(s) to have an idea of what to post. Publicizing the classroom blog is a great way to get people to view and informing them that it exists. Finally, some classroom blog editors tend to leave out pictures when making posts. Instead of using pictures to capture viewers’ attention or using it as another way of explaining, some editors only use words to describe what has happened in the classroom.

Having a classroom blog is beneficial in the sense that every student has an opportunity to write down his/her thoughts about a topic discussed in class, parents are able to see what is happening in their child’s classroom thus creating a sense of community, and it keeps students and families updated about upcoming events or assignments.

Even though older generations view technology as a bad thing due to the amount of dependency it causes,technology can be used as a learning tool. In Early Childhood Education, a classroom blog expands social skills, teaches internet safety, improves literacy skills, and promotes home-school connections. Blogging can be seen as a great opportunity for those shy students to practice social skills (by commenting on posts, for example) before applying those skills to the real world. Teaching internet safety to children is extremely important this day-and-age.Teachers can use their classroom blog as a tool to teach this lesson. Writing blog posts encourages students to put their literacy skills to the test. Blogging can improve students’writing through peer editing and collaboration. Classroom blogs promote home-school connections because parents can actively follow along using the blog and get engaged in their child’s learning by providing their own comments.

Our guest blogger is Tracey Love

I am currently a junior majoring in Early Childhood,pursuing my bachelor’s degree. I also have my 90 Hour Certification in Maryland.”

Here is my portfolio: