July 16, 2020
This episode is actually a repeat...meaning I lost the first recording and had to go back and ask Isela to sit and chat with me again. I'm so glad she said yes because I remember the 1st recording brought me to tears (in a good way) and so did this one. Whether you are a leader by title or not, this episode if for you! In it, we dig into what it means to show up and be open-hearted. Not just with our staff, but with families, with children, with one another. We also dig into what it means to be a leader and explore practical tips for how to be a better leader, and to be honest, a better human being. Be sure to grab this episode's freebie's a leadership bundle from Dr. Garcia, which includes her: Barriers to Effective Communication Leadership Skills Infographic Communication Connection Sandwich Learn more about Dr. Garcia's work at
June 17, 2020
For me...this quote from Ijumaa Jordan says it all! I'll allow your initial shock, but we're still going to move forward. It's not going to stop us. We still had to talk about...we still have to move forward, because right now children are being harmed-" Ijumaa Jordan Here are just a few of the topics we dive into: Developing humility Classroom rules Characteristics of the White dominant culture Referring to others as our "friends" Implications for prioritizing the individual over the collective Where White Supremacy "shows up" in professional development And so much more! And so, we can grow together, because that gives me hope. It's not necessary that we actually have to know the same thing or do the same work, but that we're willing to do the work together to make those, the changes that we want, to move to that world where all needs are met, where there's no lack. ~ Ijumaa Jordan, ECE Consultant
May 20, 2020
This is such a powerful episode! In it we talk about many of the issues that we're facing... living through a pandemic, and we aim to provide hope, specific strategies, and practical ideas of how we might transition to and reimagine what education will look like in the future. I learned so much, I have pages of notes and in fact, within an hour of recording this episode, I was already sharing what I've learned. Here's a quick example... Right at the start of our conversation Lori shared three things the brain just can't take, meaning things that will impact across any age our ability to learn, our ability to thrive: chronic unpredictability isolation emotional or physical restraint Sound familiar? Listen now and learn what you can do!
April 15, 2020
Do you all know Dr. Barb O'Neill? Host of the Transform Challenging Behaviors Online Conference.  Well in this episode you get to hear how the conference came to be, what Barb has learned over the years (aka her top tips for addressing behaviors that are challenging), and what to expect during the 3rd annual conference. We also talk a bit about how she came to love puppets and how to use them with young children to promote their social-emotional health and well-being.  The download for this episode includes a FREE e-Book with over 60 practical strategies you and use immediately to help with behaviors that are challenging.
April 7, 2020
In this bonus Pre-K Teach & Play podcast episode, I sit down to talk with Pat Radel, a special education lawyer, advocate, and father. We start off by sharing what he know as of April 7, 2020 about serving students on IEP during the pandemic. We then explore 20 U.S.C. 1414 (d)(1)(A)(i)(I)(bb) that states - IEP shall identify “for preschool children, as appropriate, how the disability affects the child’s participation in appropriate activities” The bulk of our conversation centers on 5 underutilized aspects of the IEP. Student Strengths - 20 USC 1414 (d)(3)(A)(i) Concerns of the Parent - 20 USC 1414 (d)(3)(A)(ii) Communication/Assistive Technology - 20 USC 1414(d)(3)(B)(iv) & (v) Supports for School Personnel - 20 USC 1414 (d)(1)(A)(i)(IV) - statement of services “to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child” - 20 USC 1414 (d)(3)(C) - “support for school personnel” - e.g. information on specific disability & implications for instruction  (Note - Official Comment to the enabling regulation makes it clear that this refers to support to meet unique & specific needs of child, not general in-service)  Parent Counseling & Training - definition of “related services” under 34 CFR 300.34  We end the conversation (abruptly due to tech issue on my end) about eligibly determination at this time. We specifically explore the requirement to administer a standardized test.   To learn more about Pat go to
March 15, 2020
There are endless ideas and things being sent home with families on how best to “homeschool” students. Yet are these practices in line with our core values of family-guided practices, differentiation, and embedding during play and daily routines? I thought I'd join the conversation - and take it in a slightly different direction. In this bonus Pre-K Teach and Play podcast episode I'm joined by early childhood special education expert and professional development provider, Beth Diedrick.
February 17, 2020
In this episode I chat with my longtime friend, colleague, and autism expert Barb Avila, and Dr. Dan Siegel, a New York Times bestselling author and clinical professor of psychiatry. We dive into some really amazing stuff. Like how interpersonal neurobiology intersects with autism and the challenges of forming secure attachments with 24 children at the same time! We end with a brief conversation that left me knowing just how necessary the ECE {r}evolution is...& a few words of hope from both of my guests.
January 15, 2020
In this episode here's what you'll learn: Five reasons ignoring (broadly defined) is problematic Three solutions for what to do instead of ignoring Three take aways Links to tons of practical solutions (see show notes at
November 12, 2019
This podcast is divided into two parts. Part 1: The first, clarifies why our primary job is to extend the green zone for optimal learning, even when it comes to placement decisions for children who qualify for early childhood special education. It will be a bit of an eye opener/conversation starter for those who think we're soothing the nervous system by placing a child in a more restrictive environment. In other words, while a "self-contained" classroom might "look better" or to us might even feel a little bit better (or safer might be the word), we're actually promoting rigidity, which is also outside the zone of optimal learning. Part 2: In the second part of the podcast I explore the two jobs teachers have...the one when children are in the green zone and then one when they aren't. If they're in the Green Zone, our job is really to keep them there and to notice, recognize, and identify when they might be leaving that Green Zone. Our job is to also help children learn how to stop, think, and then become self-aware of their emotions and how to help keep themselves in the green zone.  When children are in the red or blue zone. Our job shifts to offering a lifeline to a child. Helping them to be curious about us and allowing for processing of big emotions.  Key Take Away Message: "I have two different jobs. I'm either in the Green Zone with the child and I'm helping them learn self-regulation skills, how to problem solve, how to have an appropriate response when things don't go their way, and how to keep themselves in the Green Zone. But the moment a child moves into or rather their body moves them into the red or the blue, my job also moves or changes. And now my job is to help process, co-regulate, offer a lifeline."
October 14, 2019
If your behavior "management system" is public (verbal or visual), if it is whole group, or if it is highly symbolic, it's a practice that we can no longer engage in.'s three strikes and you're out, behavior charts. In this episode, I unpack the top three reasons (ok five reasons) that behavior charts aren't effective in helping children learn to self-regulate. I also talk about why we have used them, and how our good intentions shouldn't be criticized...just adjusted. This episode if for you if you want to know: The top five reasons for bagging behavior charts The top four reasons people use behavior charts Solutions for what to do instead After listening to this episode, you'll understand what all I'm categorizing as behavior charts and why they are ineffective with young children.
September 16, 2019
In Episode 35, we dive into more of the practical stuff...and what to do with conflicting messages around screen time and young children. For example, what do we do when we want to limit screen time and we also want children to have technology literacy skills? There's an ancient parable about a farmer who lost his horse, and as As Heather Lanier say in her Ted Talk, "The parable has been my warning that by gripping tightly to the story of good or bad, I close down my ability to truly see a situation. I learn more when I proceed and loosen my grip and proceed openly with curiosity and wonder." And for me, the same goes for screen time and young children. While I have strong opinions (grounded in wisdom and research for the most part), I know I can be quick to judge when I see a smartphone propped up in a child's stroller, a parent "mindlessly" scrolling on their phone, while their children try to get their attention. And let's be honest, when it comes to my own addiction to my phone where I can't possibly leave the house (ok room) without it. Let's take it one step forward...what can we learn from the parable about what happens when we quickly judging things as "good" or "bad" when we see a headline that screen time CAUSES developmental delays?   Well, we generally would all say, "Oh, that's bad!". If another post shares how a mother deployed in the service of our country was able to sing a lullaby to her baby using SKYPE, we would then likely say, "Oh, that's good!" And if you asked most teachers their thoughts on the impact of screen use on children's interaction and play skills, they would say, "Oh, that's bad." Yet at the same time can find many opportunities throughout the day to broaden what their children are exposed to. For example taking a virtual field trip to look about an endangered animal on YouTube. Then they would say, "Oh that's good."   It's complicated right...let's start with getting more clarity on our WHAT before we pick the how (use or non use of screens).
August 17, 2019
You've seen the posts right? The ones that talk about the dangers of screen time and children's brains. How caregivers are more interested in texting than connecting with their children. And how secondhand screen time is the new smoking epidemic. But what can you believe when it comes to children and screens? What about district policies that promote the use of screens with young children? In this episode, which was so good (and so long) I had to divide it into two parts, my guests and I raise the fact that there is not a common definition of "screen time". This has huge implications for all of those posts and policies devoted to this very hot topic. We also kicked the episode into high gear by sharing advantages. as well as the downsides, when it comes to our 24-7 access to screens. Spoiler alert, there are more and more downsides as we see it. NOTE: This is part 1 of a 2 part series on screen time and young children.
July 17, 2019
In this episode, I talk to Alyssa Blask Campbell about supporting and intentionally teaching self-regulation. Or as Alyssa would say, “Helping tiny humans process big emotions”.   In this episode, we delve into the difference between coping mechanisms and coping strategies, what self-regulation is (and isn’t), and myths about how children learn to become increasingly self-regulated. What You Will Learn The difference between coping mechanisms and coping strategies and how to use them to help children (and even yourself) process big emotions How the way self-regulation is “marketed” often misses the point by focusing on children learning self-control vs. expressing emotions, and why its important to let children express how they feel even when it is inconvenient to you How to set or maintain boundaries with children while also giving them the opportunity to process their emotions Why we should stop using the word “reinforcement" How sensory integration plays a major role in emotional regulation What the collaborative emotion processing (CEP) method is and how to implement it to respond to children’s emotions in a way that builds their emotional intelligence
March 22, 2019
In this episode, I talk to Dr. Shauna Tominey about her book, Creating Compassionate Kids: Essential Conversations to Have with Young Children. The main purpose of her book is to support adults to build compassion and understanding through the conversations we have with children.  What You Will Learn How to model compassion by letting children know they are loved no matter who they are or what they experience How to support children in becoming self-aware, while also understanding differences among people and families How to build resilience in children by discussing how stress or tragedy can make us stronger How to help children use their recognition of being loved, their self-awareness, understanding of others, and personal resilience to demonstrate compassion for others We also talk about the progression of inclusion, how compassion addresses bullying, and the importance of explaining what you are doing and why.
December 16, 2018
In this episode you'll learn about my six reasons that pacing guides, and other means to standardized curriculum, won't help young children thrive in school or in life.   This episode is for you if…  You’ve ever asked, “Why do we use pacing guides in Pre-K?”  You’ve helped create a pacing guide and were left feeling less than satisfied.  You want to ensure all children in your program have the same opportunities but don't want undermine your teachers or standardize the process of early learning. This episode's freebie is a handout that contains links to several Big Ideas for Early Learning resources. Go to to request.
November 8, 2018
In this episode, I take on the topic of quality curriculum for inclusive Pre-K programs. And for those who think it comes in a "box" or is delivered to your's not! This episode is for you if...  you've ever asked, "What is the best curriculum to be using with young children?”  you're currently in search of a curriculum, particularly for use in a blended pre-K program  you've been wondering, beyond licensing stars and steps, "Is this program of high quality?” you're a policy maker or a leader aiming to align early-childhood-recommended practices with other educational initiatives and requirements An eight step process for selecting and implementing a quality curriculum is shared (free download at  Listeners can also access the transcript and request our free Quality Curriculum Framework Rating Rubric at
June 5, 2018
This Pre-K Teach & Play episode is for you if you are interested in learning more about the importance of self-regulation, about common myths or misperceptions about self-regulation, and why our job is critical in ensuring children’s success in school and of course in life. Your take away is that the brain areas associated with self-regulation are malleable, and self-regulation can be practiced and strengthened! As a bonus to this episode, you’ll learn more about how important it is to address development and learning from a whole child perspective, how to use Dr. Megan McClelland and Dr. Shauna Tominey's book, Stop, Think, Act to create embedded learning opportunities with evidenced-based interventions, and about a self-paced course they offer through Oregon State University called Red Light, Purple Light: A Self-Regulation Intervention Program.
April 1, 2018
We all know that learning centers, and center time for that matter, play a key role in the delivery of early experiences for children. So what's the downside and how can they be improved to support wholeness and integrated brains? This episode is for you if: You'd like to take a more intentional look at how to best design learning centers You want to ensure a "YES Brain" approach to early learning You're supporting other educators and want to know "What makes a good learning center?" Episode includes a free download with seven strategies to ensure learning centers are engaging, designed in ways that build upon children's interest and different abilities, and incorporate a "healthy mind platter".
February 4, 2018
In this podcast episode, Laura Fish and I share how early educators can broaden their perspective around the "causes" for challenging behavior. You will learn how to discover the “why" behind a child's behavior.
November 9, 2017
Have you ever wondered "what comes before being able play with friends at recess" or what skills children need to pass the "3rd grade reading guarantee"? In this episode, I explore how we can better understand how children...get from here to terms of early development and learning.
October 17, 2017
In this episode, I continue the discussion into why circle time, and most other large group activities, just doesn't serve us in the way we would hope. Spoiler alert! It has to do with children's interest... And as always, after we admire the problem for a bit, I offer a number of suggestions on how to make activities and experiences, like circle time, optimal for learning, including: Offering activities as a child's choice Establishing and creating curiosity to you (C2U™) Engaging in attuned communication and interactions Differentiating what is being taught and basing the what on children's interests
August 10, 2017
In this episode, Laura Fish and I continue the conversation about teaching with the brain in mind by going deeper into mindfulness…a word we hear tossed around with a great deal of regularity these days. It is our hope that through this conversation, early educators will see the complexity and the simplicity of mindfulness concepts and practices. Meaning…we hope to help show how mindfulness in EC isn’t a fad, or something we “just add to part of our routine”….and how mindfulness is more than a spiritual concept …it is in truth…a set of practices, which closely align to many quality care and educational practices that have a rich tradition in our field. We also dig into how mindfulness is a key part of building children’s brains and how we can create and embed opportunities throughout our daily routine. This is an episode you aren’t going to want to miss.
July 22, 2017
Why do we see calendar time as a key part of many preschool routines? My colleague Dr. Jennifer Grisham-Brown argues, it's a habit. A habit that we should break. In this episode fellow #ECE {r}evolutionaries Jen Davis, Jolene Chavez, and Alicia Frost explore the "timely" topic of calendar time.
June 27, 2017
We all face resistance...and at times...demonstrate resistance. But when trying to get to a change in practice, what do we do when resistance is not in the best interest of those we serve? In this episode three tips are shared for how to use your superpowers in the face of resistance.
May 28, 2017
Guest Laura Fish joins Dr. Kristie Pretti-Frontczak to talk about how to support teachers in their efforts to promote learning through the lens of interpersonal neurobiology. Strategies for keeping the brain in mind, particularly during large group pre-k activities, are discussed. A free download is available to aid teachers in self-reflection and to incorporate evidence-based practices during circle time.
May 16, 2017
In this episode, I clarify the difference between when a child needs something and when they want something. Clarifying the difference between a need and a want leads to stronger relationships with children and fosters growth and learning.
March 28, 2017
In this episode, several key themes regarding what to do when children struggle or when development and learning have stalled related to counting are discussed. Issues of children’s expose to stressors and the impact stressors have on their ability to count are also shared.
February 17, 2017
Author, researcher, and inclusion expert, Dr. Jennifer Grisham-Brown, shares what is meant by blended practices. During the interview, Dr. Grisham-Brown also shares critical messages covered in her latest book, "Blended Practices for Teaching Children in Inclusive Settings, 2nd Edition", real-life success stories, and few tips you can put into practice immediately.
January 25, 2017
Pre-K Teach and Play podcast episode about how an "open" snack policy transformed relationships and routines in an inclusive classroom. Tips and teaching considerations are shared. Learn more at
December 23, 2016
Do you share my love/hate relationship with circle time? I know the benefits of gathering all members of a community...but I also struggle with "group starts" and "group starts." In this episode, we explore how circle time can be a choice, and where everyone wins!
December 12, 2016
Becoming self-aware of our habits...the good, bad, and ugly ones...helps us engage in more intentional teaching and decision-making. So why are "bad" habits so hard to break and "good" ones so hard to create? What are some habits we need in delivering effective services to children and families and what are some we can let go of?
October 5, 2016
In this Pre-K Teach & Play podcast episode I share where this mantra originated and how planning, delivering, and revising instruction can be strengthened when we realized that every child is a triangle.
September 13, 2016
Special episode! An interview with Janice Fialka, a nationally-recognized lecturer, author, and advocate on issues related to disability, parent-professional partnerships, inclusion, and raising a child with a disability. Learn more Janice’s book What Matters: Reflections on Disability, Community, and Love at
September 2, 2016
Today’s episode is especially for those who are moving into a new classroom, serving new children, and for those who have set a goal that this year...their classroom will be more peaceful and less chaotic.
August 19, 2016
What's your superpower? Not sure? Here are five fabulous tips for unleashing the superpowers within you, within others, and throughout your community.
July 18, 2016
Does the following scenario sound familiar? You're playing with a child who has been coming to preschool for the last two years, and when you ask, "How many are there?"...the child always says...2, 3, 5, 8!
July 10, 2016
No one wants to think about delivering PD to students, staff, or colleagues, who are rolling their eyes, shaking their heads, and sighing heavily.... No one wants to offer PD with the knowledge that it will have little to no impact... BUT, what if it could be different?
June 27, 2016
Have you ever wondered...why you need a vacation from your vacation? In today’s episode my goal is to help unlock a secret to how you can feel renewed, with or without and vacation...and no, it doesn’t mean you have to leave the kids at home.
June 20, 2016
We all wish it were easier right? Helping children during the middle of a meltdown! What we wouldn't give for a magic wand or on-demand wizard who could help prevent outbursts and help children control their impulses. Well, it's not as easy as waiving a magic wand, but it's also not as hard as it might feel. In fact, our every day actions, questions, and comments can help children become more self-regulated, and to regain a more neutral emotional state after they've had a meltdown. In today’s podcast I explore a simple, but effective way to intentionally teach a “soft skill” like self-regulation, using what we call, Power Packs™.
May 29, 2016
Serving groups of children with diverse abilities just got a bit more doable. Reach for the Stars (RFTS), Planning for the Future has been revised and it is better than ever. Authors, Diane and Jennifer have masterfully blended the ideas of person-centered planning, family-centered practices, and tiered instruction into a series of maps that serve as a guide to help families of young children plan and transition during critical periods.
May 12, 2016
I love visiting pre-K classrooms and watching amazing brain architects hard at work, but was fed up with all the clutter in classrooms, as well as toys and materials so broken and boring they hadn't been touched in years! So I created Pre-K Teach & Play Classroom Clean Sweep™, a process that helps early educators create learning environments that are more accessible, more engaging, and more fun!
May 5, 2016
In today's episode, I'm talking to you about solutions to what I see as an approach to assessment that really favors fear, punishment, standardized tests, and even making high stakes decisions that are based on bio scores, which often lack validity. I’ve also created a quick printable for you, which illustrates all of the solutions I'll be talking about today. As we identify these solutions, we are going to start at the systems level, and we're going to work our way to the building or agency level, and then to the classroom, where we often, to be honest, have the most power and control.
April 23, 2016
Today's episode is for those who are, or those who have not yet realize they are perfectionist. Today, we'll explore the consequences of our efforts to be perfect as it relates particularly to children's learning and development. Let's dive in and explore the hidden traps of being an early educator who's also a perfectionist.
April 17, 2016
Development and learning tend to follow typical or expected progressions. For example, our brains develop from the brain stem up, we develop from the inside of our bodies out, and we go from externally controlled, to internally controlled. When children struggle to develop or learn, taking a look at where they fall across developmental progressions, may help us discover how best to support them. In today's episode, we explore several developmental progressions, which can help guide our instructional efforts for children who are struggling. Also, be sure to download this episode's printable, which provides a visual of the 7 progressions.
April 1, 2016
Let me explain why a divorce between me and assessment appears to be inevitable. In this podcast, I share the story of my dissertation- and how I went from infant massage to authentic assessment. This is “how we met” - and you’ll see why I fell head-over-heels for data. But assessment has a few ugly skeletons in his closet, and I just don’t think he has our kids’ best interests at heart. What do you think? Are you breaking up with assessment, or will you walk on eggshells to keep the peace? Listen to today’s recording, and discuss at
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