Elevating Early Childhood

By Vanessa Levin

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Description

Are you ready to teach better, save time, live more? I'm Vanessa Levin and here on Elevating Early Childhood, we believe in leveling the playing field and bridging the gap between the world of preschool, pre-k, and K-12 education. Grab a copy of my new book, Teach Smarter at: https://www.pre-kpages.com/teach-smarter-book

Episode Date
My Top 3 Tips for the Perfect Calm Down Cozy Corner
00:17:19

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another “Calm Down Corner” special. 

In this week’s episode, I’ll be answering a couple of burning questions from some of my listeners, and also offering some tips on how to use your calm down cozy corner in the most effective way.

You see, many professional educators set up calm down corners (or Zen zones or calming areas) and find out —sometimes the hard way— that they’re not working as well as they wanted them to.

Why does that happen?

Simply because calm down cozy corners are not a magic pill and they don’t cure behavior. But, what they can be is an amazing tool, when used correctly.

Another reason they might not work is what’s in the calm down corner. If there’s too many tools in it, then you might find yourself with a few children who’d rather spend their whole time there (and that’s not what we want).

So, how can you solve these issues?

I answer this question in today’s episode of Elevating Early Childhood.

There’s a lot for us to explore, so let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways:

- Let's start with a question from one of our listeners! (00:00)

- Tip #1: Understand the true purpose of a calm down corner (01:25)

- Tools don't work if we think them as cures for behavior (02:04)

- Tip #2: Never put anything in your calm down corner that you haven't introduced to your whole class (06:57)

- Tip #3: Less is more (08:12)

- Answering another great question from a listener (09:09)

- What you can do differently to create a different outcome (11:12)

- Our goal as professional educators is not to get compliance from students (14:52)

- Some resources for you (15:26)

Additional Resources:

- Visit our website to find tons of pre-K teaching resources here.

- Get my book “Teach Smarter: Literacy Strategies for Early Childhood Teachers”.

- Learn more about my membership program “Teaching Trailblazers”.

- Get my freebie bundle by entering our Podcast Launch Giveaway.

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Elevating Early Childhood is an early education podcast dedicated to helping Pre-K, Preschool, and Kindergarten teachers teach better, save time, and live more.

If you enjoy the podcast, please follow, rate, and leave a review on your favorite podcast platform.

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Onward & Upward!

Jul 19, 2021
Focus Wall in Preschool and Pre-K: Top 5 Myths Dispelled + BEST Alternatives!
00:14:50

Are focus walls REALLY an effective teaching tool for preschool and pre-k? Find out on our first ever “Calm Down Corner” episode of our podcast!

As early childhood professionals, we’re frequently exposed to misinformation about educating young children. Inappropriate, unfounded practices are being shared on the internet left and right. 

Shiny, buzzwordy—and completely opposite to how kids learn!

Not only are they ineffective, but they’re also a massive source of stress and anxiety for teachers because they make us feel like we’re not doing enough.

So to fight back, I’ll be getting on my soapbox from time to time and creating special episodes to dispel these harmful myths about early childhood education.

To get things started, I will bust the five biggest myths surrounding focus walls and their effectiveness. And to end the show on a constructive note, I’m going to share some of the best practices you can apply alternatively!

If you ever have any questions about other dubious early childhood education tips, feel free to reach out, and I might use it in one of my future “Calm Down Corner” specials. We can fight misinformation together!

And now, let’s dive into the show!

Key Takeaways:

- The two key things that help professional educators make instructional decisions (00:00)

- My first “Calm Down Corner” episode: dispelling top myths about focus walls (00:39)

- What is a focus wall and how does it supposedly “help” children learn? (02:28)

- Myth #1: Focus walls are research-based (03:35)

- Myth #2: Kids love focus walls, so it can’t hurt (04:25)

- Myth #3: Learning is linear (05:21)

- Myth #4: Focus walls help visual learners (06:07)

- Myth #5: They help children focus their attention (07:46)

- Best practices to use as alternatives for focus walls in your classroom (09:25)

- How to inspire young children to think critically and problem-solve (12:36)

Additional Resources:

- Visit our website to find tons of pre-K teaching resources here.

- Get my book “Teach Smarter: Literacy Strategies for Early Childhood Teachers”.

- Learn more about my membership program “Teaching Trailblazers”.

--

Elevating Early Childhood is an early education podcast dedicated to helping Pre-K, Preschool, and Kindergarten teachers teach better, save time, and live more.

If you enjoy the podcast, please follow, rate, and leave a review on your favorite podcast platform.

--

Onward & Upward!

Jul 12, 2021
My Favorite Alphabet Activities: How to Teach Letters to Kids Using Printable Alphabet Games
00:33:37

Have you ever entered your email address to download a freebie...and then been disappointed by what you got? I know I have plenty of times! 

When you’re trying to find new ideas for your classroom, freebies can be very helpful. But it can also go in another direction—one where you catch yourself thinking...

“Huh? That’s it? I could’ve Googled that!”

So when I create freebies and bundles, I’m particularly mindful of trying to provide the very best resources and in plentiful fashion. 

And for quite some time, I’ve been making a list of my favorite alphabet activities and games—things I’ve picked up along the way that I found precious and effective but were too small to give away individually.

Recently, I’ve finally collected enough to finish my bundle, and today I want to tell you all about it!

We have a bunch of games to break down—car games, board games, magnetic letters... You name it! 

And for each and every one, I’ve created printables that I’m going to share with you for FREE at the end of this episode.

There’s a lot for us to explore, so let’s get going!

Key Takeaways:

- THIS is why you need fun alphabet learning activities in your classroom (00:00)

- How I created this super freebie with printable alphabet games and activities (01:11)

- Alphabet Learning Game 1: Alphabet Fishing (02:32)

- Alphabet Learning Game 2: Alphabet Board Game (11:13)

- Alphabet Learning Game 3: Alphabet Roads (15:42)

- Alphabet Learning Game 4: Alphabet Sensory Cards (18:11)

- Alphabet Learning Game 5: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Magnet Tree (21:26)

- Alphabet Learning Game 6: Parking Lot (23:53)

- Alphabet Learning Game 7: Puppy Chow Letters (27:14)

- Alphabet Learning Game 8: Wikki Stix Alphabet (29:10)

- How to download my free alphabet games and activities printables bundle for free (31:15)

Additional Resources:

- Visit our website to find tons of pre-K teaching resources here.

- Get my book “Teach Smarter: Literacy Strategies for Early Childhood Teachers”.

- Learn more about my membership program “Teaching Trailblazers”.

- Get my freebie bundle by entering our Podcast Launch Giveaway.

--

Elevating Early Childhood is an early education podcast dedicated to helping Pre-K, Preschool, and Kindergarten teachers teach better, save time, and live more.

If you enjoy the podcast, please follow, rate, and leave a review on your favorite podcast platform.

--

Onward & Upward!

Jul 05, 2021
Top 5 Methods for Improving Learning Centers In Preschools and Pre-K (+ FREE Learning Center Guide)
00:19:02

Time young children spend in learning centers is precious for their development. And yet, it’s one of those strictly school-related activities, which is why we must do our very best to set them up for success.

Creating a successful learning center requires lots of strategic planning and effort. There are many questions you need to answer first, including…

How many centers should you create? 

How long should the center time be? 

What are the centers going to be about? 

How will your students know which centers to go to?

I know, right?! Makes your head spin! And that’s just barely scratching the surface.

Luckily, in over 20 years of teaching, along with 11 years in mentoring early childhood educators, I’ve gained plenty of experience with learning centers, as well as methods for improving and fine-tuning learning centers. 

For this episode of Elevating Early Childhood, I’m going to share my top 5 methods, along with some additional tips to help tie everything together.

Alrighty, Changemakers! Let’s get to it!

Key Takeaways:

- How to create learning centers that set kids up for real success (00:00)

- Questions you NEED to answer before creating a great learning center (01:39)

- Do THIS if you’re having challenges with learning centers (02:35)

- My top methods for fine-tuning your learning center time and make it run smoothly (06:29)

- Method 1: Applying labels so kids could recognize and organize them easier (7:24)

- Method 2: Creating a picture schedule for clarity on the order of their daily activities (8:48)

- Method 3: Making visual routines explaining how each learning center works (10:36)

- Method 4: Adding a visual planning component to your center time (11:54)

- Method 5: Implementing a cleanup routine at the end of center time (15:20)

- Real results from someone who implemented these learning center methods (16:48)

Additional Resources:

- Visit our website to find tons of pre-K teaching resources here:

https://www.pre-kpages.com/

- Get my book “Teach Smarter: Literacy Strategies for Early Childhood Teachers” here:

https://www.pre-kpages.com/teach-smarter-book/

- Learn more about my membership program “Teaching Trailblazers” here:

https://teachingtrailblazers.com/

- Get my FREE guide on how to create successful learning centers here:

https://www.pre-kpages.com/center-essentials/

- Get our Teacher Success Bundle:

https://www.pre-kpages.com/products/teacher-success-bundle/

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Elevating Early Childhood is an early education podcast dedicated to helping Pre-K, Preschool, and Kindergarten teachers teach better, save time, and live more.

If you enjoy the podcast, please follow, rate, and leave a review on your favorite podcast platform.

--

Onward & Upward!

Jul 02, 2021
How True Early Childhood Professionals Make Learning Fun (Despite Boring Educational Programs)
00:11:12

Have you ever encountered an educational program so boring you knew right away it wasn't going to work? One that is so dry and anti-fun the only thing it could do effectively was put children to sleep?

Throughout my career, I've had plenty of less-than-fortunate encounters with these types of programs. Some were so awful they literally drove teachers to quit their jobs! 

Luckily, if proven, research-based teaching methods guide your approach—NOTHING can stand in your way. 

Not even a dreadful educational program.

Today, I will show you how true early childhood professionals find ways to make learning fun regardless of how hopeless their situation may seem. I'll also share some of the best practices for teaching letters of the alphabet and making sure they stick.

Are you ready? Let's go!

Key Takeaways:

- Why are expensive programs not necessarily effective for teaching letters to preschoolers? (00:00)

- Is your classroom a bowl of Brussels sprouts or a delicious Thanksgiving dinner? (00:37)

- My encounter with a boring educational program so ineffective it made a young teacher quit! (3:56)

- How to turn dry educational programs into a fun and memorable experience for your students (06:44)

Additional Resources:

- Visit our website to find tons of pre-K teaching resources here:

https://www.pre-kpages.com/

- Get my book “Teach Smarter: Literacy Strategies for Early Childhood Teachers” here:

https://www.pre-kpages.com/teach-smarter-book/

- Learn more about my membership program “Teaching Trailblazers” here:

https://teachingtrailblazers.com/

- Get my FREE guide on how to teach letters of the alphabet to young children here:

https://www.pre-kpages.com/how-to-teach-the-alphabet

--

Elevating Early Childhood is an early education podcast dedicated to helping Pre-K, Preschool, and Kindergarten teachers teach better, save time, and live more.

If you enjoy the podcast, please follow, rate, and leave a review on your favorite podcast platform.

--

Onward & Upward!

Jul 01, 2021
From Complainer to Changemaker: How to Become a More Confident Early Childhood Teacher
00:09:54

Early childhood teachers have it pretty rough. We face all sorts of indignities daily without even getting a hint of the respect we deserve as professional educators.

We’re constantly looked down upon, whether it’s coming from the parents of our students, administrators, or even our own peers!

With all that going on, it’s easy to drift into negative thinking, which can lead you down a destructive path. And if you go down that road long enough, you’re running the risk of becoming a complainer.

I want to show you a different way.

It’s not fair, and I get that. Trust me—I’ve been there myself, plenty of times before. 

Still, if we genuinely want to change how people perceive early childhood education, we first have to make a mindset shift of our own.

We need to start believing in our own self-worth as educators. If we don’t - no one else will!

My goal for this episode is to help you start thinking like a changemaker. It won’t happen overnight, and it won’t be easy, but I know you CAN do it.

You can do hard things! I believe in you!

Key Takeaways:

- What does it mean to be a changemaker in early childhood education? (00:00)

- How to stop falling victim to negative thinking and start believing in your self-worth (02:14)

- The many indignities we face as early childhood professionals and how to overcome them (03:56)

- The key steps to becoming a changemaker and earning the respect you deserve (05:02)

- My experience of going from complainer to changemaker (and why it felt so empowering) (05:52)

- I want you to start thinking of yourself as a professional educator and a changemaker! (08:12)

Additional Resources:

- Visit our website to find tons of pre-K teaching resources here:

https://www.pre-kpages.com/

- Get my book “Teach Smarter: Literacy Strategies for Early Childhood Teachers” here:

https://www.pre-kpages.com/teach-smarter-book/

- Learn more about my membership program “Teaching Trailblazers” here:

https://teachingtrailblazers.com/

--

Elevating Early Childhood is an early education podcast dedicated to helping Pre-K, Preschool, and Kindergarten teachers teach better, save time, and live more.

If you enjoy the podcast, please follow, rate, and leave a review on your favorite podcast platform.

--

Onward & Upward!

Jun 30, 2021
How to Teach Letters of the Alphabet to Preschoolers: Why We Need to Teach Smarter - NOT Harder
00:13:13

One of the biggest challenges teachers face with teaching the alphabet is getting the letters to stick.

You spend weeks teaching, following your curriculum, doing everything by the book. Everything seems to be going great - the kiddos are getting it! And then...

Poof! They forget all of it! As if you’ve never even mentioned it before! Has this ever happened to you? Because it’s happened to me plenty of times.

When I was a young student teacher, I had an opportunity to shadow a kindergarten teacher following the Letter of the Week curriculum. Remember—this was a long time ago, so back then, it was considered a perfectly suitable way of teaching children the alphabet.

And after just several weeks of working there, it became clear just how ineffective this method was. The kids struggled to retain what they’ve learned, and some didn’t know any letters whatsoever!

Luckily, these days we know better!

Children do NOT learn the alphabet linearly, from A to Z. It is a global process that requires a lot more than rigid schedules, worksheets, and a funny letter P-themed costume.

So in this episode, I will share an excellent method for teaching children the alphabet, which is fun, effective, and backed by research.

Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways:

- Why the letters of the alphabet CAN’T be taught in 26 days (or even weeks)? (00:00)

- The biggest challenge teachers face when teaching young children the alphabet (00:41)

- How I learned firsthand that the Letter of the Week curriculum is highly ineffective (02:19)

- Why teachers need to teach smarter and not harder? (04:42)

- How do young children learn to identify letters? (06:18)

- How to teach letters of the alphabet in a way that’s, fun, effective, and backed by research (08:20)

Additional Resources:

- Visit our website to find tons of pre-K teaching resources here:

https://www.pre-kpages.com/

- Get my book “Teach Smarter: Literacy Strategies for Early Childhood Teachers” here:

https://www.pre-kpages.com/teach-smarter-book/

- Learn more about my membership program “Teaching Trailblazers” here:

https://teachingtrailblazers.com/

- Get my FREE guide on how to teach letters of the alphabet to young children here:

https://www.pre-kpages.com/how-to-teach-the-alphabet

--

Elevating Early Childhood is an early education podcast dedicated to helping Pre-K, Preschool, and Kindergarten teachers teach better, save time, and live more.

If you enjoy the podcast, please follow, rate, and leave a review on your favorite podcast platform.

--

Onward & Upward!

Jun 29, 2021
What Makes Truly Great Teachers? Lessons From a Life In Early Childhood Education
00:08:22

Welcome to our first-ever episode of Elevating Early Childhood!

I’m Vanessa Levin, and I help pre-k, preschool, and kindergarten teachers teach better, save time, and live more! 

Have you ever encountered a problem in your classroom you weren’t sure how to solve? Maybe you’ve felt alone, isolated from your colleagues, not knowing who to turn to for help?

These were the biggest challenges I’ve faced when I was starting out as an early childhood teacher. I spent years fantasizing about creating a place where teachers could exchange classroom experiences, give out tips, share successful practices, and support each other in tough times.

Starting Pre-K Pages helped me turn those dreams into reality, gathering a following of more than a million early childhood professionals who share a desire to be and do better.

It warms my heart to see so many teachers feel supported by the community I’ve created! 

Still, it’s been quite the journey getting there, and for this episode, I’d like to share some of the most important moments of my career with you.

I’ve had the opportunity to work and teach all across America - even internationally. And each one of those experiences has taught me a valuable lesson, making me the teacher and the person I am today.

Come! Let me tell you all about it!

Key Takeaways:

- The key to becoming a more successful teacher in 2021 and beyond (00:00)

- My journey from teaching English in Seoul, South Korea to creating Pre-K Pages (00:31)

- How I conquered the biggest problems most teachers faced and still thrived (01:31)

- How the power of community made teaching easier, more fun, and more fulfilling (03:23)

- How resistance to change improved my teaching (and other parts of my life, too) (04:13)

- The origin story of Pre-K Pages and why it has become the best place for teachers all over the world (05:20)

Additional Resources:

- Visit our website to find tons of pre-K teaching resources here:

https://www.pre-kpages.com/

- Get my book “Teach Smarter: Literacy Strategies for Early Childhood Teachers” here:

https://www.pre-kpages.com/teach-smarter-book/

- Learn more about my membership program “Teaching Trailblazers” here:

https://teachingtrailblazers.com/

--

Elevating Early Childhood is an early education podcast dedicated to helping Pre-K, Preschool, and Kindergarten teachers teach better, save time, and live more.

If you enjoy the podcast, please follow, rate, and leave a review on your favorite podcast platform.

--

Onward & Upward!

Jun 29, 2021
Welcome To Elevating Early Childhood Podcast!
00:03:06
Mar 19, 2021