Knowing Where We’re From

IMG_7424I’ve been trying for weeks to pen a feeling I have about knowing physical places. The words keep alluding me; somehow, this idea floats in my being just beyond words. Nevertheless, with spring bursting on my doorstep, these words demand sharing.

In recent weeks, my children have each spoken words that captured what it means to know the place where we live. My six-year-old was telling her brother about her daily walk home from school: Continue reading

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Climbing UP The Slide? A Right To Recess? Powerful Princess? Yes, Please!

UpTheSlide-final-coverA few years ago, I was teaching a class to a group of early childhood educators, and one of the participants had just visited a local bookstore. On her desk sat a copy of It’s OK NOT To Share by Heather Shumaker. I was so intrigued by the title that I went out and bought my own copy immediately.

Good choice.

If you have read this blog for a while, you know I am a fan. Heather Shumaker is wise, funny, and so timely with her advice to parents and educators. So I am excited to share that Continue reading

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Sneak Peak

544625-DTCOC_9781605544625Okay, so remember last August when I told you I wrote a book? Way back then, it still didn’t have a title. But we’ve made progress!

Discovering the Culture of Childhood will be released in June 2016. The cover has been finalized, and I can give you a sneak peek today! Isn’t it lovely? The design team a Redleaf Press did a fabulous job; I couldn’t be more pleased!

Also, I am excited to share that my book features stories contributed by early childhood educators from across the United States and Canada of their work with young children, including Kisha Reid, Marc Battle, Kelly Matthews, Tom “Teacher Tom” Hobson, Melissa Cady, and Denita Dinger. Their voices add a spectacular richness and complexity to my narrative, and I am so grateful that they were willing to share their stories in this book.

The process of writing and editing has been incredibly rewarding, and I am thrilled to be so close to the publication date!

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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

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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

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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!

❤ Emily

Categories: Book Review, Perspective | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

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