by Marjorie Lisovskis, Free Spirit editorial director and author
I recently had the opportunity to present Free Spirit’s 2013 early learning resources (along with a sneak peek at what’s coming for 2014) to librarians as part of a School Library Journal webinar.
The webinar, hosted by Rachel Payne, coordinator of early childhood services for the Brooklyn Public Library, focused on reading readiness and early literacy and also included a presentation from Matt Mulder, director of education markets at Demco.
It was wonderful to get to discuss our social emotional learning (SEL) focus with hundreds of librarians. Because our mission is so strongly about empowering kids’ positive social and emotional development, we take a holistic approach to literacy. When it comes to young children, our number one job is to create books where children see themselves and feel empowered to live healthy lives, make good choices, and seek and get help from adults when they need it. We want the books to be accessible, readable, and shareable. Yes, we include reading level information for librarians, teachers, and parents. Yes, we align our books with Common Core State Standards. But for us, the most important factor is that the books help children live their best lives.
In the webinar, I mentioned two frameworks we look to in developing early childhood picture books and board books: the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) Developmentally Appropriate Practice (known as DAP) and the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework. Both of these models look in-depth at all aspects of early development, including literacy.
Two other important models we also take into account are the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning’s (CASEL) Five Social and Emotional Learning Core Competencies and Search Institute’s Developmental Asset Framework.
All of these research-based models share a focus on looking at the whole child and at the developmental milestones and needs that must be fulfilled in order for children to read, learn, communicate ideas, think critically and creatively, solve problems, and succeed in their lives.
From this kind of solid grounding, an amazing array of lively, visually appealing, and engaging books can grow! Check out the SLJ webinar and learn more about the newest early childhood books and educator resources from Free Spirit.
What do you look for in early learning resources?
Marjorie Lisovskis has been writing and editing children’s books for more than 30 years. As the editorial director at Free Spirit Publishing, she has championed and worked closely on the development of award-winning picture book lines including the Best Behavior® and Learning to Get Along® series. She is the coauthor (with Elizabeth Verdick) of the Happy Healthy Baby™ board books and How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger, and has a special interest in creating books that help young children see themselves as confident, capable, and loved.
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Overview of NAEYC’s Developmentally Appropriate Practice
Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs, Carol Copple and Sue Bredekamp, editors
Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework
CASEL’s Five Social and Emotional Learning Core Competencies
Search Institute’s Developmental Asset Framework (Register at the site to download the 40 Developmental Assets for ages 3–5 and 5–9)
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