About This Space...
My name is Natasha Roslosnik. I am a Family Educator I, working at Head Start with the Seattle Public Schools, at Broadview Thomson in the Greenwood area of Seattle. I believe that parents are a child’s first teacher and that early childhood professionals can always learn a lot from a strong school home partnership. My intent in creating this webspace is to share resources that help educate, inform, and provide necessary help for children, caregivers, and professionals. It is a space for virtual collaboration, partnership, and resources.
While creating this curation platform, ease of use was at the forefront of my mind. I decided that separate user tabs would not only be aesthetically pleasing, but easy to navigate. The first tab is for students, they can pick from a drop-down list based on category (art and music, literacy and language arts, math, science, or social emotional development) and then select the resource that interests them. Parents and caregivers have resources that address education, meaningful interactions with children, and mental health. Fellow early childhood professionals can review resources based on literacy and language arts, mathematics, and professional support. Every section is organized alphabetically.
The intended audiences for my website include preschool students (ages three to five), parents and caregivers (including grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and other personally vested peoples), and early childhood professionals. While there is content that could be applicable to older children, the focus of each item is most appropriate for younger children and the people surrounding them. Speaking of younger children; at the bottom of every student resource are a list of Teaching Strategies Gold objectives. These objectives show intentional alignment of learning standards for preschool aged children (three to five years of age).
I have created spaces for community to be formed online. There is a forum to share books, ask questions (to fellow parents or professionals), and communicate with members of the site. There is also a blog where I have posted videos that pertain to teaching and parenting. The first video is about co-parenting and positive affirmation, as a stepparent myself, I found this to be a very enlightening view on how to work as allies. The second video that I posted is about implicit bias, while this video is directed more towards teachers, the content is relevant to parents. Each blog post has an option to comment, allowing rich discussion and continued community building.
Table of Contents
Art and Music
1. Art for Kids Hub
Art for Kids Hub is an art centered resource that I found while searching YouTube drawing tutorials with my own young children in the beginning of the pandemic. Rob (the creator) and his family teach children how to draw, paint, and create origami. Each lesson is self-contained, meaning anyone can jump right into whatever lesson looks the most enjoyable to them. While watching these tutorials, children can pause if Rob is going too fast, develop their fine motor skills, create recognizable characters, and explore paper folding techniques. My boys love the Nintendo and Pokémon themed drawings, but I personally prefer the painting techniques and origami demonstrations.
Literacy and Language Arts
1. Free Children Stories
Free Children Stories is a free literacy-based resource that provides original stories to children. There are books for children as young as three-years-old up through middle-school aged children. Readers can decide if they would like to read a rhyming book or a non-rhyming book, listen to books online, or listen to the Pajama Books Podcast; a bedtime podcast that reads children’s stories. Each book is displayed in a video form, allowing readers (or listeners) to look at the pictures as the story progresses.
1. Splash Learn
Splash Learn is an online mathematic platform for children. The site hosts math concepts for preschool aged children all the way through fifth grade. Students can find games, worksheets, courses, and online tutoring. Math topics include counting, numbers, number sense, measurement, addition, subtraction, and geometry. On this site, children can use practical math skills while playing games, this can be in the form of counting dots, adding animals, and identifying objects by their color. Splash Learn makes abstract math concepts easy to follow in an enjoyable presentation. Membership is free, parents will just need to establish the account for their children.
1. National Geographic
The National Geographic Kids website houses scientific games, videos, articles, and videos that are interesting and aesthetically pleasing. There are quizzes that range from shark facts, space knowledge, animal information, how electricity works, various technological quizzes, holidays, the human body, and more. The best part is that every quiz provides detailed scientific information that can be chosen based on the personal interest of each child. The action game section offers puzzle games, introduces scientific concepts (such as physics), provides scientific facts, and insights about how the world works. My favorite game is called “Recycle Roundup”, in this game you are a monster that walks around picking up trash. You need to separate the items in their proper bins (recycling, compost, or trash); this game teaches children how they can help save the Earth.
There are videos on the site that show amazing animals, exploration (traveling videos), how things work, funny animals, and experiments to try at home. Each video has scientific relevance. My favorite videos are under the exploration category, you can see kids from around the world in some videos, travel to the bottom of the ocean, virtually hike mountains, and see the world. I also enjoyed the “weird but true facts” and “try this” videos! National Geographic Kids also has countless animals to study, U.S. facts to enjoy, history to learn, and space to discover!
Social Emotional Development
1. Cosmic Kids
Cosmic Kids is a website that guides children in yoga and mindfulness exercises. Their videos use stories, role-play, and humor to guide children in breathing techniques, deep yoga stretches, relaxation, and visualization. They aim to help children build their confidence both physically and mentally, helping children with their social-emotional skills and having fun along the way. Cosmic Kids promote healthy screentime, free access, and an option to use their videos in class to encourage face-to-face participation. Children can pick their videos based on the length of the exercise (under 10 minutes, under 15 minutes, or above 15 minutes), energy level (calm, focus, or active), or category (stories, mindfulness, yoga, relaxation, and dance).
GoNoodle is a website dedicated to the social-emotional and physical needs of children. Their videos, activities, and articles encourage joy, health, and the self-discovery of children. Dancing videos help to promote healthy children, breathing exercise help children practice mindfulness, and the characters engage curiosity and silliness. GoNoodle values curiosity, promotes speaking the truth, encourages children to be who they are, help with meaningful change in terms of diversity and inclusion, and let children know that when they put good in, they give out good.
Parents and Caregivers
1. Head Start
Head Start is a federally funded program that is intended to help children succeed in school and life. Head Start has programs to help children and families reach their goals. Students have access to high-quality early learning (from birth to five), health and wellness programs (medical, dental, hearing, vision, and behavioral screenings), and disability services. Head Start helps the family with social services and assists with employment, work training, and parenting resources.
Meaningful Interactions with Children
1. CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC has scientifically backed positive parenting tips. All of the information is separated by age, starting from infancy all the way through the teenage years. Caregivers will find developmental milestones, positive parenting tips, child safety, healthy bodies, and other essential information encouraging healthy development and positive intentional interactions with children. Some of the positive parenting tips included on the website include allowing preschool aged children to help with chores around the house, encouraging caregivers to play with their children, using clear communication, and helping children by providing them with choices. The CDC explains the importance of explaining rules to children (for example, why they need to stay out of traffic), checking playgrounds before they play on them, and always keeping a watchful eye on children.
The CDC website also offers developmental screening tools, special conditions caregivers might encounter (such as anxiety, depression, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, vision loss, and much more), child-centered statistics, research, articles, and key findings. There are free printable materials for each age group (in English and Spanish), ADHD, autism, muscular dystrophy, hearing loss, jaundice, and more. The CDC also provides helpful free videos intended to help support parents.
2. PBS Parents
When it comes to creating intentional time with children, PBS has a plethora of ideas and resources. Their page designed for parents has activities based on age, developmental domain, and interest. There are activities surrounding emotions, self-awareness, character, social skills, literacy, math, science, and art. PBS has also gathered COVID-19 resources for families, original podcasts, and scientific activities that can be done as a family.
PBS provides free access to their content, ensuring that quality resources are available to children. They know that to properly support children, they must also support the people surrounding each child.
3. Zero to Three
When it comes to intentional time with children, Zero to Three has an extensive collection of resources. Their early development and wellbeing resources address ages and stages of children, brain development, challenging behaviors, developmental screenings, early intervention, health, nutrition, infant and child mental health, sleep, temperament, trauma, stress, social, and emotional development. Their parenting resources include discipline, limit setting, fatherhood, grandparent and extended family, positive parenting approaches, preparing for parenthood, and parenting favorites.
Their articles, podcasts, videos, infographics, and resources are engaging and informative. My favorite area is the “positive parenting approaches”. As a stepparent, co-parenting two young boys, I find this section to be helpful to my approaches. The articles about parenting collaboration, finding harmony when parents disagree, and managing personal emotions have helped me immensely.
1. Center for Child and Family Well-Being
The Center for Child & Family Well-Being is a Seattle local resource based out of the University of Washington. Their effective scientifically based practices promote mental health and overall well-being of children. The research, workshops, trainings, and publications focus on promoting well-being and resilience, adversity, and inequity, cultivating mindfulness and compassion, and parental supports.
The importance of positive relationship building between parents and children cannot be overstated. These relationships are the foundation of a child’s life; they need nurturing, warm, and consistent relationships built on trust. With workshops, classes, events, video library, articles, public lectures, and scientific research; mental-help, resilience, and family support resources are just a click away.
2. Community of Mindful Parenting
The Community of Mindful Parenting is a resource for families that is dedicated to the empowerment of families, helping them to become more compassionate and mindful. The group is multigenerational (encouraging parent, grandparent, and caregiver participation), multicultural (international community), and fully inclusive; working to build child and parent relationships. The site features groups such as “Listening Mothers” (infant based group) and “Finding Calm” (supporting families with children of all ages), an online forum, online classes and events, articles, videos, and weekly online meditation.
3. NAMI - National Alliance on Mental Illness
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has resources, support and education, and advocacy tools that surround mental illness. They also offer a free six-week educational program for parents and caregivers who are raising children experiencing mental health symptoms. NAMI also connects parents, caregivers, and family members to support groups. Their website hosts educational videos regarding COVID, criminal justice, mental health conditions, NAMI conversations, personal stories, and (my personal favorite section) strength over silence. If your child is diagnosed with a mental illness or if you have noticed recent behavioral issues, there are resources to help. NAMI lists out mental health conditions, common mental illnesses, treatments, and scientific research.
Literacy and Language Arts
Epic! is a website that houses over 40,000 books for all ages. They have books for children preschool aged all the way up to age 12. Epic! has well-known award-winning classics, original books, picture books, audio books, and learning videos. Every book is placed into a category based on the age and interest of the reader, allowing teachers and students to quickly find exactly what they are looking for. Children can read Epic! on their tablet, computer, or cellular phone; their activity on any device can be tracked on their individual account so you can track how much they have been reading every week. The website does not allow for advertisements, keeping children safe from external marketing. Epic! is free for educators, sign-up and send out your class code!
2. Storyline Online
Storyline Online is a free website that streams videos featuring actors reading children’s books. The description states the run time of each video while also providing a suggested grade level. Each book has been brought to life with creative illustrations based on the artwork from the original books. Each book also has supplemental curriculum attached to enhance the learning experience (often having material for both parents and teachers).
1. Erikson Institute Early Math Collaborative
In 2020, I learned about an amazing resource – Erikson Institute Early Math Collaborative!
This is a free resource intended for educators (and caregivers) to understand the big ideas of early math. The website has professional development opportunities, online learning, up-to-date research, and events.
The “idea library” houses engaging math lessons, promotes books with a math focus, and offers suggestions on how daily activities can become meaningful mathematic lessons.
2. Math Games
With online games and free printable worksheets for preschool math, Math Games is a great resource for teachers. They offer colorful worksheets for geometry (positions and shapes), counting, measurement (holds more or less), comparison (classify by color and comparing objects), addition, and subtraction; all completely free. Before you download the worksheets, the website provides you with the number of questions on each sheet and approximately how long the activity will take. These worksheets are wonderful for small-group activities to see where each child is with their math skills or to send home with families for additional math practice. They also offer on-demand videos for each skill being taught; these videos can help students understand math topics on their own (sent out on SeeSaw), or as a video lesson in class.
1. DCYF - Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families
The DCYF website houses a plethora of resources for families, youth, and providers. As a professional you can find childcare providers, child welfare providers, child development support providers, and childcare and early learning professional development. The site also has ideas for improving your practice, forms and publications that will be useful in your school, a strategic and racial equity plan, and diversity inclusion resource.
DCYF is also the location to upload your ongoing professional development to MERIT. Once you have setup your MERIT account, you can upload professional trainings, CPR/First Aid certifications, food handlers’ card, DCYF trainings, and formal education. Keeping this system up to date is helpful in organizing all your professional documents. Furthermore, some education specific degrees will have a literal payout once proven (official transcripts).
Protecting the children in our care is just as important as educating them, they will be unable to learn if their basic needs are not being met. DCYF has safety information on how to report child abuse, findings on child abuse and neglect, tips on preventing child abuse, youth suicide prevention, and safe sleep tips. As a mandatory reporter, DCYF is where you will go to report abuse or neglect.
2. NAEYC - National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC is an organization that is dedicated to the field of early childhood education. They promote high-quality early childhood education for all children, provide support for families and childcare workers, and advocate for positive changes in the field. NAYEC has a large library of resources including books, blogs, articles, scientific research, position statements, and videos. You can connect with fellow professionals with the NAEYC interest forums and online communities.