Hello Early Childhood Colleague,
 
Wingspan is dedicated to developing young children’s social-emotional skills and resilience and providing support to early childhood educators, parents, and other caregivers. We are reaching out to you during this unsettling health crisis to help you equip families with easy, fun ways to build children’s social skills, self-control, problem-solving, and healthy decision-making. These free resources are drawn from our nationally recognized evidence-based program, Al’s Pals: Kids Making Healthy Choices and benefit all children, regardless of whether they participate in the program. 
 
How Can We Help?
 
Daily we are posting on Facebook and Twitter simple and meaningful activities to strengthen children’s social-emotional skills at home. We are also sharing short reminders about the importance of providing children with stability, caring, reassurance, routines, and plenty of play time.  
 
 
AcornDreams
 
Our AcornDreams website is filled with a wide range of free practical tips and activities. Included among them are:  
 
  • Easy-to-use, short tips from “In a Nutshell” on the home page that build social skills, self-control, cooperation, independence, brainpower, and healthy habits. A sample tip: Be sure to comment when children interact in socially positive ways. “Nice job sharing the trains!” or “Thanks for telling me you’re feeling sad. It helps me to know what’s going on inside.”
 
  • Downloadable tip sheets for parents on topics like helping their children to stop and think and to use words to express feelings. The tip sheet “A Quiet Place” provides simple steps on how to set up and use a Quiet Place at home to help children manage big feelings. There’s even a tip sheet on “Calm Down for Parents!”
 
  • Regular blog postings on practical ways to promote children’s positive development like cultivating cooperation and avoiding power struggles, giving children time to respond (Wait a few more seconds), and helping children learn empathy. The Calm Down blog teaches this effective Al’s Pals strategy and has directions for making a calm down jar.
 
  • Our Pinterest boards offer more free resources to help children build social-emotional skills and healthy habits. For example, there are boards on kindness, feelings, self-control, problem-solving, screen-free time, and healthy, kid-friendly recipes, each with many suggested activities pinned to them. 
 
  • Programs and schools wanting to provide parents with more in-depth resources for use at home, or parents who want to access them themselves, are invited to visit the AcornDreams Store where they will find our music CD, and Calm Down and Problem-Solving packages which include posters, music, stickers, and step-by-step instructions. The Guiding Positive Behavior kit offers dozens of activities derived directly from the Al’s Pals program. They are easy to use and are specifically designed for use at home by all families with young children.
 
We hope our free, evidence-based resources will help you continue to connect with and engage families. Please share them through email, on your website, via your social media outlets, and any other method of communication. Please encourage educators and families to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive ongoing activities and updates.  
 
Thank you for the important work you do every day, and particularly in today’s unpredictable world. Together we can foster children’s resilience during these challenging times and strengthen their skills for life. 
 
With wishes for strength and health,
 
Sue Geller
Wingspan Founder and President
804.967.9002