5 Books that Will Make You a Better Teacher

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Professional development is an important part of any pre-K program. Teacher development helps educators bring new ideas and strategies to their classrooms that help them create more modern, engaging, and supportive environments for their students. Are you an educator seeking professional development? Check out these five Gryphon House favorites:

The Insightful Teacher
Emphasizing essential interpersonal skills that should be developed in early childhood, this guide offers a holistic approach to developing classroom communities in which each child feels recognized, appreciated, and able to contribute. It is tailored to teachers’ goals, values, strengths, and weaknesses, and is available for adjusting and planning for developmentally appropriate expectations, classroom organization, and communication with families. Filled with concrete examples and effective approaches to common classroom problems, this detailed handbook provides positive strategies for handling unwanted behavioral challenges. By individualizing the needs of each student using the methods espoused in this handbook, educators will cultivate a supportive classroom setting based on emotional expression and conflict resolution.

Getting to the Heart of Learning
The best learning emerges in a classroom community where children feel accepted and appreciated for their ideas and actions. Through the activities in Getting to the Heart of Learning, Ellen Booth Church shows teachers and caregivers how easy it is to foster children’s sense of curiosity through group explorations that promote social connection and positive development. With step-by-step instructions, Getting to the Heart of Learning weaves social-emotional learning into activities that support math, science, literacy, and motor skills. Rather than adding in activities throughout the day, these explorations integrate social-emotional learning across the curriculum through group involvement and building community. Learn how to strengthen home-to-school connections, too, with easy strategies that help families develop a shared vision for student’s social-emotional and academic success.


Growing Up in Stages Series

Emotional Development of Three- and Four-Year-Olds

Whether you see a preschooler laughing or crying, hugging or tugging on a playmate, taking risks or seeking comfort from an adult, you know that they are developing their emotional skills and growing up in so many ways every day. And they need your help! Emotional Development of Three- and Four-Year-Olds shares common milestones and typical scenarios to help you recognize various ways that preschoolers express their feelings and interact with others. You will also learn strategies for supporting and nurturing their growth, especially in situations involving the following types of emotional challenges and accomplishments:
• Expressing kindness and empathy
• Exerting independence
• Managing shyness
• Building confidence
• Testing limits and taking risks
• Expressing anger and frustration
• Dealing with fears and anxieties
• Sharing a sense of humor
• Handling conflicts
• Dealing with separation and loss

As you support preschoolers struggling to handle emotional challenges that occur during everyday interactions with adults and other children, you will help them learn the skills to navigate their emotional ups and downs in more positive ways.

Cognitive Development of Three- and Four-Year-Olds

Preschoolers have a sense of wonder about so many aspects of their world. They enjoy demonstrating their knowledge to others, and they are challenged to use their brains in fascinating new ways every day. Whether they are making clay figures, rolling cars down ramps, experimenting with writing, or exploring nature, they are expanding their mental horizons constantly. Cognitive Development of Three- and Four-Year-Olds will help you understand typical milestones children tend to reach during the preschool years as they develop their ability to think, understand, and solve problems. As you examine classroom scenarios, you will gain insight into various ways young children express their developing cognitive skills and some challenges that tend to occur. You will also learn strategies for supporting and nurturing children's cognitive growth, especially in the following areas:
• Believing in magical thinking
• Expressing a sense of curiosity
• Understanding time concepts
• Developing spatial awareness
• Practicing problem solving
• Exploring creativity through art
• Developing mathematical thinking
• Investigating science questions
• Exploring the writing process
• Developing emergent reading skills

By guiding children to think creatively and critically, you will help them gain confidence and competence.


Social Development of Three- and Four-Year-Olds
Preschoolers tend to be social beings. Whether they are playing with dolls side by side, building block castles together, or rolling down hills with friends, most young children enjoy the company of others. Playing together comes naturally, but you can help them negotiate turn taking, learning how to mend hurt feelings, and practice communicating positively while they play. Social Development for Three- and Four-Year-Olds highlights the milestones children tend to reach during the preschool years as they develop socially. You will see classroom scenarios that can provide insights into some of the ways young children make social connections, express their preferences, and play together. You will also learn strategies for supporting and nurturing their growth, especially in situations involving the following types of social skills:
• Forming friendships
• Sharing and cooperating
• Building a sense of happiness
• Dealing with teasing
• Playing in rough-and-tumble ways
• Exploring diversity
• Developing gender awareness
• Listening actively
• Building verbal communication skills
• Using the imagination during play

As a guide and facilitator, you can share strategies that will help preschoolers learn to be cooperative team members and kind friends while having fun together.

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