ESDM Online

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Active Ingredients for Change
Young children learn best when having fun. Whether it is play, bath, meal time, or another routine, each moment can involve the ESDM to help children connect, communicate, and learn. See how you can get started with the ESDM with your child or the families whom you support in early intervention or other early childhood learning environments.
Quick Tip 

Find out how to use tips from the ESDM for early social-communication skills important to life-long learning, behavior, and health with your child or with families whom you support in early intervention or other early childhood learning environments.

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Latest News

Read monthly research about the ESDM and its intervention effects for children with or at risk of autism; coaching supports for their families; and/or interactive tools to help early childhood professionals uses its practices with families. Each monthly article is publicly available for free access.

This month's Latest News continues with group-based delivery of the Early Start Denver Model (G-ESDM) and how to promote professional development for early educators supporting young children with autism in inclusive learning and childcare environments.

Click the article to read about the opportunities and challenges educators shared while using the G-ESDM.
Play of the Month

Play not only brings smiles to children's faces but also helps them learn, feel good about themselves, and enjoy the interaction that comes from doing something with someone. Join me each month for Play of the Month to try with your child or the families whom you support in early intervention or
 other early childhood learning environments.

As warmer weather approaches, this month's theme is activities to do outside and enjoy the beautiful summer days to their fullest! 
Below are some initial ideas to try out but also important is paying attention to what children like (or seem curious about) and following their lead as long as you are a part of the action, too. Remember, the most important thing is for children to have fun doing this with you!

1. Sensory Bins- Young children learn a lot through experiential learning with their senses, but it is fun to provide a little bit of extra imagination aspect to sensory bins for them. Create a beach at home with a small tub, sand, and seashells. Next, add a bucket of water and shovels. Fill a bin with rocks and give them small trucks and excavation tools. Add pretend animals to a bin of mud to stimulate imaginary play.

2. Water/Ice Play- Most children seem to love water and adding ice to water play is a fun twist. There are tons of ideas that range from as simple as giving them a bucket of ice and some cups and spoons or those that require more preparation. You can freeze toys or fruit into ice, make colored ice for painting, or create ice boats. Perfect for a hot day!

3. Nature Rubbings- All you need is paper and crayons and random items in nature and you can discover what patterns they make. Leaves, bark, flowers, grass, or even hard packed dirt make simple and interesting rub patterns. This is a great way to practice ‘Leave No Trace’, since the item can stay in nature, and the rubbing can come home with you!

4. Animal Tracks- Go searching for animal tracks. Since toddlers are low to the ground they are actually some of the best spotters of animal tracks around! If you don’t have access to an area where you can see the real thing, you can make your own with stencils, stamps, or paint.

5. Outside Story Time- Bring reading outside. Whether the story is nature related or just any favorite book, start reading outside sometimes instead of in to see how much more attentive children are to the event. You could even bring a smaller book along on walks for a fun break when those little legs need to sit down. Need ideas for a book? Check out book reviews!

6. Movement Games- It doesn’t have to be fancy at all – Simon Says, Hokey Pokey, chase, hide-n-seek, or “racing” from one spot to another are all a blast for little toddlers.

7. Arts-&-Crafts- We tend to think that arts and crafts can be messy, require lots of materials, and lots of preparation. Try adding an outdoor aspect to your crafts. It makes them more fun and manageable.
  • Buy some contact paper and collect small leaves and flowers and then stick them together to create cool window hangings. Pasting items to paper plates works well, too. Punch a hole at the top of the frame and tie a loop of yarn for hanging.

  • Bring out the washable paint and paint rocks, sticks, or pinecones to keep the mess outside and limit what supplies you need.

  • You can use these items as stamps on a large sheet of paper to make a nature mural.

  • Give children a paint brush, water, and some stones and let them discover how they change when they get wet.

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