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What Next?

As our society, our health, our peace, our empathy, and even our planet have been busy threatening to fall apart, parents and providers have to keep ourselves together for the sake of our kids. And, for the most part, we're doing one heck of a job of it!

Since I've been a child and parent educator for the past 43+years, I recognize both the struggle and the resilience parents are showing in the midst of chaos and uncertainty.

But the stress of it all is exhausting. And the last thing we want to do is pass any of our own stress onto our kids since they have enough of their own to deal with right now.

So I'm going on a quest for positive energy to help support parents, providers, and kids by finding, creating, and highlighting it. I'm starting at Ground Zero. That's a cute little coffee shop in Madison WI, my home town for the past 30 or so years.

Starting at ground zero is also what they did in a little city in Northern Italy called Reggio Emilia after WWII had devastated the town. The people needed to start re-building somewhere and they wanted to be positive so they focussed on early childhood education as it seemed to hold the biggest possible promise for change.

Today, they continue to inspire early childhood education worldwide with

their child-centered learning philosophy

that respects children and teachers alike. Here's a picture of a Reggio inspired classroom.

So, anyway Ground Zero is a really positive place to visit. It was sunny and very, very clean. The baristas were friendly. They made me a delicious, cold drink and I felt good sitting by the window, looking at Willy St. where I lived and worked when I first moved to Madison.

This brings me back to my main point which is the importance of sensory and emotional experiences for children birth-3. If children are to succeed at this universal preschool that seems to be all the rage these days, they need to have optimal sensory and emotional experiences before the age of three. Only then can they participate successfully in ANY learning environment.

And for many reasons, some we can change, and some we can't, kids just aren't getting the experiences they need. But I'm not going to complain about the lack of positive sensory and emotional experiences for young children, I'm creating new ones.

I'm inviting you to come with me on my quest. I'll have exciting on-line options for parents and providers like activities, courses, and live classes as well as actual safe social distancing events for families in Madison. Upcoming events will include family dance parties, rock art workshops and more! All events are free and open to the public. Safe social distancing rules apply.

Activities are funded by Early Childhood Rocks a non-profit organization dedicated to highlighting and providing optimal emotional and sensory experiences for little ones.

Don't run the risk of missing out on any of the family fun to come in the next couple of months. Spots in my Anti-Bullying for Toddlers live, on-line course will be limited to only 20 participants so Join our community and get up to date information delivered to your inbox weekly.

Nanci J Bradley, 60+, is an early childhood and family educator, author, teacher, SELF-care facilitator, family aerobics instructor, and an all-around fun-loving person. She believes in the power of sleep, healthy eating, lifelong learning, and most of all, PLAY! She studied early childhood ed at Triton College and received her BS in education in 1986 from NIU. She received her MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College in 2011. She lives and teaches in Madison WI

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