About Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed.

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.

Things we learn on a rainy day!

The weather here has been cold and rainy which means instead of piles of snow on the ground, we have mud puddles. But whether it is mud puddles or piles of snow, this weather gives us lots of opportunities to learn new skills. One of the first things we learn is how to put on our own coats. Now this doesn't just happen in one lesson - it takes practice to develop the coordination to put your [...]

By | January 13th, 2017|Categories: Fine Motor Skills, Outdoor Play, Science and Nature|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Winter science in preschool

While I prefer to stay inside by a cozy fireplace during the freezing cold days of winter, our students prefer to be outside digging up chunks of ice. So after zipping up coats, struggling to put fingers in the right holes of their gloves, and putting on boots, the children are ready to go outside and hunt for ice. On this day, the ice was kind of slim pickins' because it had warmed up a bit and [...]

Powerful words to say instead of “good job!”

When one of my preschool students shares with me something they have made or done, my automatic response is almost always to say, "good job!" But as you will hear in this recent Bam Radio Interview with Randy Hitz and Rae Pica, there are far more valuable things I could be saying instead of "good job" to my students. Before I share my thoughts, let me invite you to take a listen to the Bam Radio Show. Just click [...]

Exploring math with a holiday graph in pre-k

I have a nice collection of holiday trinkets that I have built up over my years of teaching and these trinkets make wonderful loose parts for play and exploration around the classroom. For this table, the Pre-K children were invited to try their hand at making their own graph and then sort the holiday trinkets on their graph. Although we have done lots of graphing as a class, I hadn't started the children on drawing [...]

By | December 14th, 2016|Categories: Christmas, Holiday Ideas, Mathematics|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

Jingle bells really do rock!

The minute the children walked into the classroom, they headed straight to the jingle bell water play station. Let me begin by telling you that the children loved this water play experience but I made lots of mistakes in putting the station together. I started out with what I thought was a good plan but I really should have known better. What do you suppose a bunch of jingle bells in a metal pan with plastic magnetic [...]

By | December 12th, 2016|Categories: Christmas, Holiday Ideas, Sensory Play|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Tic-Tac-Bow: Simple games for the holidays

My staff and I enjoy whipping up simple games around the classroom all year long but the holidays offer up so many fun trinkets and symbols that it makes whipping up simple holiday games just so easy to do. When working with young children, you quickly learn to keep all games open-ended even if you have modeled it after a traditional game like tic-tac-toe. The children will definitely think of their own rules for play which helps [...]

By | December 9th, 2016|Categories: Christmas, DIY, Games, Holiday Ideas|Tags: , , , |5 Comments

Simple DIY family puzzles for preschool

If you want to capture a young child's attention, then focus on the things that matter the most to the child and one of those things is the child's family. Our preschoolers have a way of reminding us about what matters most to them through their everyday conversations and interactions. And although any time throughout the school year is a good time to celebrate families, the holidays are especially a good time to focus on the [...]

Making our own trees with clay in prek

I have already shared with you our tree farm sensory play which was a huge hit so today, I want to share with you the trees our prek students were invited to make as a part of our study on tree farms. We have been spending a lot of time working with air-dry clay this year. The interesting thing about clay is that it isn't soft and pliable at first like play dough is. Clay is [...]

By | December 4th, 2016|Categories: Christmas, Creative Art|Tags: , , , , , |5 Comments

Tree farm small world sensory play!

I put together a small world tree farm for my students to explore a little bit of sensory and pretend tree farm play. I wasn't sure if my students would really be all that excited about the idea but to my delight, they absolutely loved it! Our question of the day was, "Have you ever been to a tree farm?" Some of our students said "yes" while others said "no."  Our question led into our [...]

Here’s the scoop on crafts versus art in preschool

I just finished listening to the Bam Radio Show titled, "Arts versus Crafts in ECE: Which Matters Most?" The guest speaker was author MaryAnn Kohl who has written a whole collection of books all dedicated to promoting process focused art in the preschool classroom. The interview explored the differences between arts and crafts and touched on what is considered developmentally appropriate for young children. Let me begin by inviting you to hop on over to Bam Radio and [...]