I Will Sit With You When You Are Sad.

IMG_3971 copyWe are winding our way through Yellowstone, and my oldest daughter, is hard at work with a pencil and paper.  She is flustered, and cries angrily.

“I canNOT do it!  I am TRYING to draw a BEAR!  It does not LOOK like a BEAR!!  I drew an elk that I am very proud of, but I cannot DRAW A BEAR!”

She is frustrated. Annoyed. She works the lines but they are unwieldy, her fine motor skills failing to interpret between her mind and the paper.

I want to say, Continue reading

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Prioritizing What’s Important

IMG_7995A few months ago, my email app on my phone was glitching. I could not get the notifications to disappear.

I tried everything. Looking for threads where an unread message might be lurking, clearing out my messages through a separate email service, but try as I might, that notification remained.

Notifications pester me into action. Continue reading

Categories: Perspective, Semester at Sea, Wisdom | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Inspired Spaces: Check Out These Incredible Fairy Houses!

Fairy Houses BlogI am beginning a new section of my blog called “Inspired Spaces.” Here, I will gather photos of early childhood environments around the world to inspire your work with young children. If you have pictures you would like to submit for me to include, please see the instructions here.

Today, I bring you photos from the amazing and talented Alicia Weithers of Loving Hands Daycare in Iowa. She created these fairy houses with the help of her husband for her in home child care program. Here is what she says about the houses: Continue reading

Categories: #InspiredSpaces, Classroom, Environment, Spaces | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Talking To Children About Tragedies

bonsai-1199826Today is September 11, and many of our minds are circling back to stories of tragedy, loss, and grief. My heart feels heavy, and it isn’t just this singular event, or the wars that have followed, but devastation around the world: the haunting picture of the two-year-old boy who drowned while trying to flee Syria with his family, stories marking the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Facebook posts from friends doing relief work in Nepal following the earthquake.

This morning, I read an article in Brain, Child magazine about what it was like to be a mother in New York on the morning of 9/11, and I once again feel overwhelmed by the staggering hurt and pain that exists in the world. Reconciling the gap between my life and the lives in the stories I have recently encountered is impossible. Continue reading

Categories: Play, tragedy | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Staying Present With Our Children

IMG_7154When I became a mother, I was stopped by friends and random strangers, all sharing the same wisdom. “Enjoy her while she’s young. They grow up so fast.”

I’ll be honest: it felt like a lot of pressure. Continue reading

Categories: Respect, Wisdom | Tags: | 7 Comments

Helping Children Say Goodbye Without Distracting

Recently, I was doing some work with my dear friend, Kelly Matthews, thinking about the challenge that families and educators feel at this time of year with children who feel the pain of good-byes.

We were talking about typical approaches to separation anxiety, and talked of using toys when children are sad…like this:

The family leaves, the child cries, the care provider brings a toy or shakes a rattle:

“You’re okay. Mommy will be back soon. Don’t cry. Come over here and let’s play with this BIG TOWER! WOW! Look at all this COOL ART!” Think sing-songy voice, raised eyebrows, exaggerated smile…

Kelly made a really insightful comment. She said: Continue reading

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An EXCITING Announcement from Emily Plank

IMG_5604So, you may have noticed that I’ve been a little absent lately. There’s a good reason.

Friends and faithful readers, I am so excited to share with you that over the past year… I have written a book!

My book looks at childhood through the eyes of children, exploring what they are really doing when they pretend to play with guns, or say things like “no boys allowed,” or resist clean up time. It examines the interaction between adults and the children they work with, and tries to amplify the voices of children in those interactions.

I am so excited to share this news with you. I still have work ahead in the editing process, as well as nailing down details like a title and fancy cover art. I am thrilled to be working with the wonderful team at Redleaf Press to bring this book to print.

Thank you for your consistent and loving support in reading my blog; your encouragement led me to believe in my abilities as a writer. Please continue to follow me here, on Facebook, and on Twitter for updates.

I’ll keep you posted!

<3 Emily

Categories: Book Review, Perspective | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Hands Free LIFE! An interview and giveaway with Rachel Macy Stafford

Unsaved Preview DocumentSeveral months ago, I received an email from Rachel Macy Stafford asking if I would be willing to read an advance copy of her new book, Hands Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, & Loving More. I was honored! I have been a long-time reader of Hands Free Mama, and admirer of the work that Rachel does to help parents and families live intentionally, free of technological distractions. Her first book, Hands Free Mama, became an instant best-seller, striking a chord with mothers who desire to live more simply.

I found Hands Free Life to be a superbly readable and practical book, full of simple take-aways that empower families to engage with each other in intentional ways. Always hopeful, the book challenges readers to make new choices without binding them in guilt to the choices they made in the past.

Today, I am excited today to bring you this interview with Rachel, along with a chance to win her new book before you can buy it!  As you read, you will find my questions in bold. At the end of the Q&A are instructions for how to enter to win!  Continue reading

Categories: Uncategorized | 50 Comments

The Biggest Problem with Child Care In The United States (A Follow Up Discussion)

debateMy blog is a place for ideas. I am a fervent believer in refining ideas in community, and I had a chance to do that this week with my friends and fellow early childhood educators, Kelly Matthews and Ijumaa Jordan.

I want to share a conversation with you that I had with these thoughtful and reflective leaders in the field of early childhood education. Our discussion began following my blog post from last week called, “The Biggest Problem with Child Care in the United States.” In the discussion that follows, Kelly and Ijumaa dialogue with me about what they see as the biggest problems facing child care in the United States.

The dialogue that follows will make more sense if you’ve read the first post. Please take the time to leave me your thoughts in the comments below. What do you see as the biggest problems facing child care in the United States

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Continue reading

Categories: Community Support, Public Policy, Wisdom | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

The Biggest Problem with Child Care in the United States

statueI read a sarcastic Craigslist post a few months ago that was circling among my educator cohort titled “Free Child Care.”  (I’ve looked for it since and can’t find it to link…you’ll have to use your imaginations.)  The post attempted, in witty tongue-in-cheek fashion, to illuminate the problem of child care costs by itemizing the actual cost of providing care for a child.  The writer was clever and the post struck a chord with my fellow educators, the sentiment being, Why do clients complain so much about the cost of child care?  Don’t they realize how little we make and how much we do?? 

On the other hand, I have friends in my parenting circles who want more children but choose against it (or choose to delay having other children), because they can’t afford the cost of child care.  Many of my fellow family child care providers had other careers before having children of their own, and then the cost of child care was too expensive for them to work.  They quit their jobs and opened their own child care programs.  They wonder, How can I pay for child care? The costs of placing my children in a child care program take up my entire paycheck.  How am I supposed to survive? Continue reading

Categories: Caregivers, Community Support, Wisdom | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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