Multicultural Children’s Book Day Reading List #ReadYourWorld

Saturday, January 27, 2018, is Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Founded by children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr, from Jump Into a Book, and Mia Wenjen, from Pragmatic Mom. They set out to create an ambitious (and much needed) national event and non-profit initiative. Their mission is, “to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity but to get more of these books into classrooms and libraries.” Learn more about Multicultural Children’s Book Day by visiting their website

Here are a few suggestions to get you started available at Redleaf Press. What’s your favorite children’s book that celebrates diversity?

Tag @RedleafPress and use #ReadYourWorld.





Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happy Holidays from Redleaf Press

Dear Readers,

I’m writing from our offices in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where I act as senior vice president, helping steer the direction of Redleaf Press. As we prepare for the New Year, it’s natural to reflect, to take a moment and consider the past year. There are many things I’m proud of from 2017. Our authors represent the best thinking and leadership in the field of early childhood education. This year we welcomed to our list

  • Nancy P. Alexander, award-winning professional trainer, executive director of Northwestern State University Child and Family Network, and president of the North Louisiana Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) (Twelve Essential Topics in Early Childhood)
  • Uniit Carruyo, MS Ed, director of Wiggles & Wings Montessori School for the Arts (Team Teaching)
  • Laura Colker, EdD, author, or coauthor of over 100 publications and instructional guides, and Derry Koralek, former editor-in-chief of NAEYC’s Young Children and Teaching Young Children (High-Quality Early Childhood Programs)
  • Susan Ehrhardt, preschool teacher with over thirty years of experience (A to Z Ready for K)
  • Carla B. Goble, award-winning early childhood educator, founding member of the Oklahoma Early Childhood Education Organization (Infant-Toddler Social Studies)
  • Jane Humphries and Kari Rains, cofounders of Fiddle Focus, makers of products for children requiring sensory stimulation to calm themselves.  (A Fighting Chance)
  • M. Susan McWilliams, associate professor of early childhood teacher education at the University of Nebraska–Omaha (Beyond the Flannel Board)
  • Cassandra O’Neill, founder and CEO of Leadership Alchemy and Monica Brinkerhoff, MSW, the organization and employee development director at Child-Parent Centers, Inc., and Head Start grantee for southeastern Arizona (Five Elements of Collective Leadership for Early Childhood Professionals)
  • Thomas Rendon, coordinator of the Iowa Head Start State Collaboration Office, teamed up with veteran Redleaf Press author Gaye Gronlund (Saving Play)
  • Deborah Schein, educational consultant providing workshops across the country about the connection between spiritual development and nature education for young children (Inspiring Wonder, Awe, and Empathy)
  • Julie Smart, professor of math and science education at Clemson University (Inspiring Young Minds)
  • Juliana Texley, former president of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and Ruth M. Ruud, the head reviewer for the NSTA Shell Science Lab Challenge (Teaching STEM Literacy)

Redleaf Press strives to provide developmentally and culturally appropriate resources to our readers and are honored to have our authors and books recognized this year by award committees from all across the country.

Our priority will always be to publish exceptional resources that strengthen and support teachers, trainers, and families who care for our youngest learners. Thank you for your business, feedback, and continued work to provide high-quality early childhood education—giving children a crucial strong start in life. We look forward to all 2018 will bring, wishing you all happy holidays and a joyful New Year.




David Heath
Senior Vice President of Redleaf Press

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Strategies for easing separation anxiety in young children–Redleaf Press Quick Guides

Product #545240

Young children’s behavior can be challenging at times, but handling it doesn’t have to be.  

Today we’re looking at SEPARATION ANXIETY, excerpted from Behavioral Challenges in Early Childhood Settings by Connie Jo Smith, EdD (Redleaf Press Quick Guide).


  • A child cries and whines when a parent or guardian leaves her in your care.
  • A child reverts to behaviors of a younger child and refuses to participate or interact.


The immediate priority is to acknowledge the feelings the child is expressing, provide comfort, and transition her to an enjoyable activity.

Infants and Toddlers

  • Hold the infant and provide physical comfort while talking or singing soothingly. Show the infant something visually stimulating, such as bubbles, a mobile, or a toy.
  • Reach your arms out and offer to hold the toddler. If she does not want to be held, sit next to her.
  • Acknowledge her feelings and say something like “You look unhappy that your auntie left.”
  • Encourage her to look at a photograph of her loved one posted in the room or in a class picture album.
  • Reassure her that her loved one will come back and that while she waits, she can play. Offer a toy that the toddler has shown interest in previously or that a family member or guardian has informed you she likes.


  • Go to the preschooler who is distressed and sit near her. Acknowledge her feelings and invite her to talk about them. Say something like “You seem pretty upset that your dad had to go to work today. Can you tell me about it?” Let the child know her feelings are okay.
  • Ask if a hug or back rub might help her feel better. Provide that physical comfort if requested.
  • Reassure the child that her family member or guardian will come back. If you know when, show her on the clock or on a daily picture schedule.
  • Remind her about the photographs of her loved one on the wall, in a class album, or in her cubby that she can look at anytime.
  • Suggest an activity that the child has shown an interest in previously or that the family member or guardian has informed you she likes. Begin the activity with the child to redirect her.

DON’T encourage the family member or guardian to sneak off. Don’t take the child’s distress personally or as a sign that you are not a good teacher. Don’t tell the child that big girls and boys do not cry. Don’t tell her to stop crying. Don’t try to hold the child if she resists physical contact.


Infants and Toddlers 

  • Separation anxiety is not an issue for young infants, but it may begin to occur around six months.
  • The level of separation anxiety for infants and toddlers will vary. It may be influenced by many things, including the child’s temperament.
  • Older infants and toddlers can be redirected to activities within a few minutes of their loved ones’ departure.
  • While toddlers are increasingly interested in independence, they may have times of separation anxiety. They also lack the vocabulary to express their feelings about separation anxiety.


  • Some younger preschoolers may suffer from separation and stranger anxiety, but most have adjusted to temporary separations.
  • Older preschoolers who have not experienced separation anxiety for months may feel it renewed when changes occur in their lives, such as family illness, divorce, or a new baby in the family.
  • Preschoolers are curious and imaginative, which can sometimes lead to fears that adults consider unreasonable. To the child, however, these fears are real. New fears may cause separation anxiety to recur.
  • Preschoolers continue to develop and use language in more complex ways and are developing a better understanding of time, so a discussion about separation anxiety is possible.

Crying, clinging, and even tantrums are typical for children during separation anxiety, but the intensity may vary from child to child. The best solution for separation anxiety is to be prepared for the children’s arrivals and warmly welcome each child by name as she arrives. Address any anxiety in a sensitive way for the child and adult.

Observe: Recognize when individual children experience more separation anxiety so you can be better prepared to assist. Try to determine if the behavior follows patterns. Is it more likely on certain days of the week, or when the child arrives later or earlier in the day?

 Model: Offer positive greetings, say good-bye cheerfully, use language to express feelings, and become engaged in activities with children.


  • Encourage family members and guardians to allow enough time for a smooth, unrushed drop-off.
  • Provide continuity of care by having consistent teachers. Limit the number of adults to avoid overwhelming children.
  • Allow children to bring items from home that may help soothe and comfort them.
  • Include family photographs posted on the walls, in classroom photo albums, or in electronic picture frames that rotate images.
  • Play hide-and-seek with objects. Point out how each object is still there even when the child can’t see it. Play hide-and-seek with children who are old enough to understand the game.
  • Help families create a happy ritual for drop-off and pickup that their children can anticipate and practice. Rituals may be a saying, like “Love you oodles and boodles,” or blowing kisses as the adult leaves.

From “Behavioral Challenges in Early Childhood Settings” by Connie Jo Smith, published September 12, 2017 by Redleaf Press, a division of Think Small. Copyright © 2017 by Connie Jo Smith.

Continue reading

Posted in Child Development, Classroom Support, Family Child Care, Redleaf Press News | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Winning Ways: Partnering with Families

Product Code: 549994

“Gigi Schweikert has a straightforward way of making us look honestly at ourselves as early childhood professionals. She says it like it is and challenges us to see event the things we hoped no one would notice. The Winning Ways series compels us to examine the profound impact we have on everyone around us–children, certainly, as well as fellow professionals and the children’s parents and families. Everything matters. Everything. But the best thing is that Gigi believes in each of us, that we can change, and we can truly become the early childhood professionals the children need us to be. And that really matters.” –Bonnie Neugebauer, founder and executive editor, Exchange magazine

How Can You Make Welcoming Each Child and Family Easier?

If you know a child is enrolling, before the child arrives

  • assign a specific teacher to that family
  • introduce the parents to that teacher, other teachers, and all the school staff
  • send a “what to expect on the first day” note
  • make a label for the child’s coat hook or cubby
  • make a welcome sign with the child’s and parent’s first names and post it prominently

When the child begins

  • have extra teachers, if possible, so you can spend time helping the child and parents separate and adjust
  • speak to or call the parents to tell them how their child is doing

After the child begins

  • put a photograph of the child and parents on the cubby and elsewhere in the room
  • send a handwritten note asking the parents how things are going and extending an invitation to talk
  • make sure the parents are on the mailing or e-mail list to receive information about what’s happening in the school

Partnering with Families is a part of the Winning Ways for Early Childhood Professionals series. Learn more about the full series here on

This is an excerpt from Gigi Schweikert’s Partnering with Families, copyright Redleaf Press. 

Product Code: 549995

Product Code: 549996

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Collection Building: Essential STEM Resources

In the October 1st issue of Library Journal Catherine Lantz compiled an amazing list of resources to develop your library’s resources in STEM for teachers and students of all levels. Redleaf Press had THREE books included.

Recommended for Parents & Caregivers

Baby Steps to STEM

Teaching STEM Outdoors









Recommended for K—12 Educators

Teaching STEM Literacy










You can read Catherine’s full article “Ex-STEM-Poraneous” on Library Journal‘s website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Capturing Ladybug Moments: Inquiry in the Age of Google

“Capturing Ladybug Moments”
By Julie Smart, PhD

When my son was 3-years-old, he had one of his biggest temper tantrums ever in the parking lot of Krispy Kreme Donuts. It was one of those that draws a crowd…this was a toddler meltdown of epic proportions. It was only after I had managed to wrestle my son into his car seat, safely out of the crowded parking lot, that I finally realized what he was screaming. “Ladybug!!!! Ladybug, NOW!!!” As I stared down at my feet, still resting on the gritty asphalt below, I realized there was indeed a single ladybug crawling quietly across the pavement. All this ruckus for a ladybug?! You’ve got to be kidding me!

Ladybug!!! Ladybug, NOW!!!,” he continued to wail.

As my son continued to wail in the backseat, I decided I could deliver a ladybug if that’s what would quiet this chaos. I quickly unlocked my iPhone, quickly searched Google, and handed my son a screen filled with vivid images of ladybugs. Bam! Problem solved! Ladybugs for days. But, the wailing continued. And got even louder. “Ladybug!!! Ladybug, NOW!!!,” he continued to wail. Customers enjoying their “Hot N Now” donuts inside the restaurant stayed acutely tuned into the mini-drama unfolding outside as if to say, “What now momma? Next bright idea?” I decided the only logical thing to do was to give the kid what he wanted. I lowered by hand onto the ground and let the tiny bug crawl onto my finger, then lifted the red and black speckled peace offering to my son. His shrieks immediately turned to laugher as he reached for the ladybug and allowed it to walk around his little hands and arms before it flitted away out the window. His tear-stained face dissolved into a sweet smile as he nodded off from sheer exhaustion on the car ride home.

We try to offer them the most colorful images and videos to teach them about the world they live in, but it doesn’t satisfy like real, get-your-hands-dirty experiences.

This is such a poignant example of the world we live in today. We genuinely want our children to experience the world, but sometimes it’s just not safe enough. Not clean enough. Not enough time. We try to offer them the most colorful images and videos to teach them about the world they live in, but it doesn’t satisfy like real, get-your-hands-dirty experiences. As a mother, I am hypervigilant in protecting my children from every danger, both real and perceived, yet I am met with the challenge of allowing them to experience the world around them in an authentic way. Sometimes dangerous parking lots get in the way of ladybugs. What’s a parent to do?

Our brains are designed for discovery

Our brains are designed for discovery, for novel thought and for novel ideas. The human mind has been drawn to discovery since the beginning of time. The wheel. Fire. Electricity. Flight. All born out of not just necessity but out of curiosity, trial and error, successes and failures on the path to great innovations. The same curiosity that drove the discovery of the Americas, the Apollo missions, the discovery of the world through the generations, resides in the minds of our children. As an educator, I do a pretty good job of helping my students at school learn science in engaging ways and pour hours into developing lessons to help them experience the natural world in meaningful ways. But what about my own children? How often do I brush their questions aside and “Google” their curiosity away? We miss so many “ladybug moments” to the pace of our daily lives and schedules. The onus is on us to provide a space of discovery for our children. A space in their worlds where their questions are welcome and their curiosity nurtured.

We all know that children are great at asking questions . . . lots and lots of questions. When your child asks a question, sometimes the natural response is to provide the answer immediately. For some questions, this is the obvious and best choice. For example, a child asking “Is that a poisonous spider?” needs an immediate and decisive answer from a knowledgeable adult! However, when your child asks something such as, “Where did the rainbow come from?” consider one of the most effective tactics in getting a conversation started . . . answer a question with another question. Posing a question of your own to get a conversation going will help get your child talking about their ideas, which is one of the most critical steps in inquiry. A popular choice is simply, “What ideas do you have?” or “What do you think?”  Just listening to the ideas of children can be fascinating and provide great insight into how your children are thinking. We know that children come up with their own ideas about science as they experience the world. Sometimes those are accurate and sometimes they are very fantastical. When your child gives you a “far out” answer, you can follow up with a simple, “That’s an interesting idea! What makes you think that?” The first phase to exploring a new idea with your child is simply finding out what they already know and what ideas that have.

Latch onto your child’s natural curiosity about the world and to give them the space to explore their questions.

So, your child has asked a question about the world and you’ve had a short conversation about it. Now what? After your child expresses interest in a particular aspect of the world, they simply need a way to explore, a skill that comes quite naturally to children. The best part is that nothing fancy is required; it can be as easy as doing an activity at home (i.e. planting some seeds and watching them grow if your child asks where strawberries come from) or could involve a trip to a zoo, science center, or children’s museum. You don’t always have to have all the materials at home to help your children explore their questions about the world. The community around you is a resource brimming with possibilities. Latch onto your child’s natural curiosity about the world and to give them the space to explore their questions. They say that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but when we’re dealing with “ladybug moments,” looking a creepy-crawly critter in the eyes is priceless.*

*Hand sanitizer not included.

Julie Smart holds a PhD in curriculum and instruction and is currently a professor of math and science education at Clemson University. She is the author of Inspiring Young Minds: Scientific Inquiry in the Early Years (Redleaf Press). She is also a consultant in research methodology and program accreditation with a focus on inquiry-based instruction, teacher effectiveness, and classroom management.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RLP Teachers’ Choice Award winners: Professional Development

Two Redleaf Press books receive 2018 Teacher’s Choice Awards in Professional Development!

Redleaf Press; $24.95

Team Teaching in Early Childhood: Leadership Tools for Reflective Practice by Uniit Carruyo

From the judges:

“Very user friendly . . . Being able to copy the reflection pages makes the book a real tool for team improvement.”

“I learned ways to give feedback in new and positive ways.”

“It gave me a better framework for what I know and believe about working as a team.

“I have applied this product in my classroom to help build better communication skills among my co-teachers, myself, and the families we serve.”

Redleaf Press; $34.95

Individualized Child-Focused Curriculum by Gaye Gronlund

From the judges:

“As a 25 year veteran teacher it is not often that I find a book that can teach me so much.”

“I was given amazing strategies to ensure that every child in my class experiences the same educational opportunities.”

“I appreciated many aspects of this product . . . well organized and easy to read . . . practical and easy to implement strategies for individualizing the curriculum . . . all of the forms . . . the examples that were given depicting various situations/problems in the classroom and how they were solved were extremely valuable.”

Learn more about these books, and all of Redleaf Press’ award-winning products at

Follow @RedleafPress on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment