Not Just Cute, the Podcast: Intentional Whole Child Development for Parents and Teachers of Young Children
Not Just Cute, the Podcast shares conversations about topics related to whole child development to support teachers and parents in serving young children. Hosted by Amanda Morgan.
info_outline Episode 33: Grieving the School Year We Thought We'd Have 04/22/2020
Episode 33: Grieving the School Year We Thought We'd Have As states and districts begin this trickling process of making final announcements about the school year, many closing -at least physically – for the remainder of the school year, I’ve seen heartbreak reflected over and over in educators around the country. These feelings of loss. Over the progress we were making. Over the plans we’d set out. Over the routine we loved – a hundred little precious things that happened every day. Over the work we love, and most of all, over these children we love. There’s a collective mourning over the school year we thought we’d have. Jill Riley talks with me about how to acknowledge and process our grief and why we need to do that in order to get "unstuck" and move forward. Find show notes at: https://notjustcute.com/podcast/episode33
info_outline Episode 32: How Interactions Build Young Brains 02/21/2020
Episode 32: How Interactions Build Young Brains In this episode, we’ll cover a quick review of what serve and return interactions are as well as what the newest research tells us about why they’re so important. Find Show Notes at:
info_outline Episode 31: Engaging Young Scientists, with Asia Citro 12/12/2019
Episode 31: Engaging Young Scientists, with Asia Citro Author of Zoey & Sassafras and creator of the publishing house, Innovation Press, Asia Citro is truly a woman on a mission to help young children think creatively and see themselves as scientists. You’ll want to catch what Asia has to say about helping children see themselves as scientists and how we can all learn to see that science is truly everywhere. I think she’ll give you a lot to think about as she challenges us to see failure as a necessity and to overcome our adult tendency to over-control the science experiences and instead invite more ownership from our youngest scientists. Show Notes: https://notjustcute.com/podcast/episode31
info_outline Episode 30: Kids in the Kitchen, with Tiffany Dahle 11/13/2019
Episode 30: Kids in the Kitchen, with Tiffany Dahle Cooking can be a powerful activity for young children. From literacy skills, math skills, fine motor skills, and sensory and science experiences, along with the confidence that comes from taking risks, learning from failures, and sharing time and food with others, time in the kitchen with kids is time well spent. I’ve invited my friend, Tiffany Dahle to talk with us about her experiences with teaching children to cook. She’s the author of two cookbooks for kids – The Ultimate Kids’ Cookbook, and The Ultimate Kids’ Baking Book -- and author of the blog, Peanut Blossom. (In the interview, you’ll hear her mention that the baking book hasn’t released yet, but it actually *just came out yesterday*.) Tiffany and I have known each other for about a decade now, and as the online world often works – we’ve been emailing and messaging for years, but this is the first time we’ve finally be able to connect for a live conversation. She has some fantastic things to say about the importance of starting small, cooking and baking as a type of play, and why managing risk has everything to do with experience and practice rather than avoidance. Get the show notes at: https://www.notjustcute.com/podcast/episode30
info_outline Episode 29: Acting Out (with Rae Pica) 10/08/2019
Episode 29: Acting Out (with Rae Pica) Why are there so many reports of children frequently falling out of their seats? Why is behavior becoming more and more of a challenge in the classroom? And why are delayed fine motor skills becoming more and more prevalent? One common thread, as my guest Rae Pica will explain, is movement.
info_outline Episode 28: Second Read - Advanced Content at Kindergarten - What can we really learn from this controversial new study? 09/17/2019
Episode 28: Second Read - Advanced Content at Kindergarten - What can we really learn from this controversial new study? Back at the beginning of 2019 a study made a bit of a splash as headlines claimed that it demonstrated that the increased academic expectations in the early years don’t compromise social and emotional development as some fear.
info_outline Episode 27: Planning a Parent Play Night at Your School 08/23/2019
Episode 27: Planning a Parent Play Night at Your School Today I’m talking about how to get parents on board with play in your classrooms, right from the start. Just like the children, each parent in your classroom comes with a different set of life experiences and perspectives. For some, the concept that their child’s best learning will be through play is a new revelation. Some may be expecting more of a sit down and do worksheets environment. Others may be supportive of play, but still not exactly sure why it’s best for their children. One of the items I recently shared at a conference was the idea of having a Parent Night or a Parent Playdate to get everyone on the same page. I’ve had some follow up questions since then, so today, I’m going to walk you through some ideas for structuring that event to make it more successful. Find shownotes at https://www.notjustcute.com/podcst/episode27
info_outline Episode 26: The Artful Parent - Kids' Art and Creativity (with Jean Van't Hul) 07/23/2019
Episode 26: The Artful Parent - Kids' Art and Creativity (with Jean Van't Hul) Today I’m talking with the Artful Parent, Jean VanHult. She is what she calls an “art enabler”, a term that I love! She’s also the author of the book, The Artful Parent. You can find show notes for this episode at www.https://notjustcute.com/podcast/episode26
info_outline Episode 25: Online Preschool- Panacea or Placebo? 07/14/2019
Episode 25: Online Preschool- Panacea or Placebo? Online preschool options are growing in popularity. Just this past spring, Ted Talk organizers created a bit of a stir in the early childhood community when they awarded a portion of their Audacious Project funding to an online preschool company, Waterford UPSTART. While proponents suggest this is an affordable and accessible option for families that may not otherwise have preschool options, detractors say the most valuable parts of preschool could never be packaged into a virtual program. Even before this brouhaha boiled over, Amy Webb was writing about the misconceptions surrounding online preschool on her site, The Thoughtful Parent. I’m so excited to have her join me on today’s episode to break this topic down. Is online preschool the panacea for early education inequality, or just a placebo we invest in to make ourselves feel better? You can find show notes for this episode at Https://notjustcute.com/podcast/episode25
info_outline Episode 24: Cribsheet with Emily Oster -- Making Decisions as a Parent 05/16/2019
Episode 24: Cribsheet with Emily Oster -- Making Decisions as a Parent There are many decisions to make as a parent. Breastfeed or bottle? Cosleep or no? Where to find quality care? And when you reach out for more information while making these decisions, the waters sometimes seem to only get more cloudy. Emily Oster's new book, Cribsheet, tackles many common decisions make in the early years. But she's not here to tell you what to do. She's taking a different approach. Applying her experience as an economist (which, I've learned, is really the science of informed decision-making) to her role as a parent, she's sharing an approach that is equal parts, rigorous data and honest wholistic consideration. Find show notes at: https://notjustcute.com/podcast/episode24
info_outline Episode 23: Brave Learner - Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life (with Julie Bogart) 02/28/2019
Episode 23: Brave Learner - Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life (with Julie Bogart) Julie Bogart is an accomplished writer and the creator of a popular language arts program, Brave Writer. She's also mom to five (now grown) children, whom she homeschooled for 17 years. Her new book, Brave Learner – Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life, shares so many perspectives about inspiring wonder and engaging in responsive learning with your children. It’s written specifically for homeschooling parents, but I found that so much of it would be applicable to anyone who views their home as a place of learning – regardless of where their children officially “do school”. So whether you’re homeschooling, considering homeschooling, or just looking to learn more about how you can incorporate more learning at home, this book and this discussion have so much to offer! Find Show Notes at
info_outline Episode 22: Inspiring Wonder, Awe, and Empathy - Spiritual Development in Young Children (with Deborah Schein PhD) 02/18/2019
Episode 22: Inspiring Wonder, Awe, and Empathy - Spiritual Development in Young Children (with Deborah Schein PhD) development can be talked about in an academic construct, I received Deborah Schein’s book (Inspiring Wonder, Awe, and Empathy- Spiritual Development in Young Children) and found confirmation for some of those things that I had found in the research as well. That spiritual development takes us beyond ourselves and into something bigger. Wonder, awe, and a deeper sense of meaning in life and relationships. I’ve been excited to bring Deborah Schein on to talk about what spiritual development looks like, and how it drives the other areas of development. Find Show Notes at
info_outline Episode 21: Your Mistakes Aren't Ruining Your Kids - The importance of active repair. 12/16/2018
Episode 21: Your Mistakes Aren't Ruining Your Kids - The importance of active repair. This episode was inspired by a real-life conversation with a friend of mine who was venting about not handling a parenting situation the way she WISHED she would have….the way she KNEW she should have. But the morning was just too much and she snapped. She didn’t handle the challenge the way she wished she had and the whole thing left her and her child feeling horrible. Now what? Sound familiar? I think we’ve all been there. So today we’re going to talk about why these meltdown moments WON’T ruin your kids and what the science of attachment tells us about how we can actually respond to them in a way that makes our relationships stronger. Find shownotes at www.notjustcute.com/podcast/episode21
info_outline Episode 19: Positive Discipline for Today's Busy (& Overwhelmed) Parent (Kristina Bill & Joy Marchese) 11/06/2018
Episode 19: Positive Discipline for Today's Busy (& Overwhelmed) Parent (Kristina Bill & Joy Marchese) I am so excited today to be talking with Kristina Bill and Joy Marchese, who, along with Jane Nelsen, co-authored the book, Positive Discipline for Today’s Busy (& Overwhelmed): Parent How to Balance Work, Parenting, & Self for Lasting Well-Being. Both women share wonderful insight in our conversation, as they talk, not only about the book, but how the principles they’re writing about have changed their own lives. You can find show notes for this episode at https://www.notjustcute.com/podcast/episode19 You’ll also find a link there to get notified about my free parenting webinars. These webinars are live – not canned –I’m right there in the video chat box, and we even have time for live Q&As – they’re absolutely free, I share real, applicable tips that you can put into practice THAT DAY, and I have a new one coming up later this month. I’d love to see you there, so be sure to head over to the show notes, or go directly to: https://www.notjustcute.com/parentingwebinars to get on the parenting webinar email list and be among the first to get a personal invitation to register for our next free class.
info_outline Episode 18: Ten Minutes for Early Childood Education 05/03/2018
Episode 18: Ten Minutes for Early Childood Education I was recently invited to speak for 10 minutes on the importance of early childhood education as part of a local private preschool’s annual fundraiser. I was more than happy to do so. But I’ll be honest – it’s harder for me to only speak for 10 minutes than it so for me to do a one or two hour presentation. What do you say to a room full of parents and community members? What’s the message you wish more people understood? What information would enable more people to support and defend childhood? You can find show notes at www.notjustcute.com/podcast/episode18
info_outline Episode 17: Bounceback Parenting with Alissa Marquess 04/19/2018
Episode 17: Bounceback Parenting with Alissa Marquess Alissa Marquess is adamant that she is not a parenting expert. She’s a mom who makes a lot of mistakes like we all do – but she’s learned something along the way that has helped her step back from the emphasis on perfection in today’s parenting culture and focus on learning, growing, and connecting in the process. Even in the messy parts. She's sharing her insight a new book to be released on April 24, 2018 called, Bounceback Parenting: A Field Guide for Creating Connection Not Perfection. I love the powerful shifts in thinking that Alissa shares in her book and in our discussion today. Even in seemingly simple ways, they can create an incredible amount of positive momentum for parents and for their families. Find shownotes at https://notjustcute.com/podcast/episode17
info_outline Episode 16: Advocating for Movement with Rae Pica 04/08/2018
Episode 16: Advocating for Movement with Rae Pica Many of us are seeing that grief in the classroom as different policies and practices seem to forget that our children have bodies. As one of the foremost child development experts in education, Rae Pica has devoted nearly 40 years to advocating for more play and more movement. She's sharing what she's discovered about movement and whole child development throughout her career and giving tips for us to be advocates for movement as well. You can find show notes for this episode, at notjustcute.com/podcast/episode16
info_outline Episode 15: Discovering the Culture of Childhood (Conclusion) 03/14/2018
Episode 15: Discovering the Culture of Childhood (Conclusion) In today’s episode, I’m sharing the fifth and final installment in a series of conversations with Emily Plank, author of Discovering The Culture of Childhood. Instead of one broad overview, we’ve been diving in deep over the course of several months. You can get caught up with previous episodes by going to the podcast homepage at notjustcute.com/podcast or searching on iTunes or Stitcher. If you HAVE been following along, you’ll notice there’s been quite a gap since our last conversation. Along with the general struggle of scheduling two busy people in two different countries, Emily’s been having some pretty amazing adventures lately, that she’ll tell us all about at the beginning of our chat. In this episode, we discussed the conclusion of her book, and what she hopes the overarching takeaways from the book are. She also has a generous offer for those of you who may be using her book as a group book study. As always, Emily invites us to put on a new pair of spectacles and see childhood in a unique way, and what she helps us discover on our journey is truly fascinating. Find shownotes at www.notjustcute.com/podcast/episode15
info_outline Episode 14: Finding the Right Preschool for Your Child with Deborah Stewart 02/02/2018
Episode 14: Finding the Right Preschool for Your Child with Deborah Stewart In this episode, I asked Deb to join me for a conversation about how to choose the right preschool for your child. My hope is that what we share will help parents have more clarity and confidence in making this sometimes overwhelming decision, and that it will also help schools to guide parents through that process as well. What should you look for? What questions should you ask? We'll dive into all of that in this episode! Find show notes and grab the free downloadable guide at www.notjustcute.com/podcast/episode14
info_outline Episode 13: The Preschool Reading Dilemma 08/11/2017
Episode 13: The Preschool Reading Dilemma Today, I’m taking on a couple of common questions about early education and reading. The questions seem to be opposites, but are really two sides of the same coin. In one form, I hear, “Why don’t you teach reading?” The other, “Isn’t it damaging to teach kids reading in preschool?” Both questions are well-intended, but hinge on some common misunderstandings I hope to address today. You can find the show notes for today’s show, at: http://www.notjustcute.com/podcast/episode13
info_outline Episode 12: Discovering the Culture of Childhood with Emily Plank (Chapters 5 & 6) 07/04/2017
Episode 12: Discovering the Culture of Childhood with Emily Plank (Chapters 5 & 6) This is the fourth installment of my book talk with Emily Plank, author of Discovering The Culture of Childhood. It’s the read-along selection this year, for Not Just Cute readers. That means instead of one overview, I’ve been having several in-depth chats with Emily. You can get caught up with previous episodes by going to the podcast homepage at notjustcute.com/podcast . I’ve enjoyed all of our discussions, but I have to say that this one is my favorite. I know that sounds cliché, but this one is REALLY GOOD. In this episode, we discussed chapters 5 and 6, which address the topics of art and economics in the culture of childhood. Emily says parts of these chapters stretched her more than the others, but what came of that is really fascinating, in my opinion. She’s tackling touch concepts like whether adults commit a form of cultural appropriation when we approach art with kids as well as how belonging, attachment, separation, and security all fit into the economics of childhood and how we can make sure our kids are rich in all the right ways. As always, Emily invites us to put on a new pair of spectacles and see childhood in a unique way, and what she helps us discover on our journey is truly fascinating.
info_outline Episode 11: Second Read- Performance Hang Ups 06/23/2017
Episode 11: Second Read- Performance Hang Ups Performance is the currency of education today. While assessments will always be important, I can't help but wonder about the overemphasis on performance to the detriment of real assessment, and ultimately our kids. Today I'm sharing a Second Read and also talking about some things I've observed lately that leave me scratching my head. You can get show notes at www.notjustcute.com/podcast/episode11
info_outline Episode 10: Puzzling Out the Science of PreK 05/16/2017
Episode 10: Puzzling Out the Science of PreK Today, I’m talking about the Consensus Statement released by the Brookings Institute on the Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre Kindergarten Effects. Ten of the top scholars on issues of early learning came together and outlined what they agree is known and needs to be known about the pre kindergarten experience. They’re tackling questions like what outcomes can we expect in the long and short term from large scale preK programs, and what elements come together to make a high quality preK setting. This is a rigorously scientific discussion of early childhood education, the kind of thing that makes my nerdy heart go pitter patter.
info_outline Episode 9: Second Read - The Vital Importance of a Strong Foundation 05/06/2017
Episode 9: Second Read - The Vital Importance of a Strong Foundation This second read goes back all the way to 2014, but it’s a concept I still use frequently when speaking to groups about the importance of the foundational work in early childhood, and how it can -unfortunately- often be overlooked. Just like the foundation of our homes, foundational learning may sometimes be hard to see, but is critical to supporting everything that follows.
info_outline Episode 8: Discovering the Culture of Childhood (Chapters 3&4) with Emily Plank 04/30/2017
Episode 8: Discovering the Culture of Childhood (Chapters 3&4) with Emily Plank Today, I’m talking again with Emily Plank, author of Discovering The Culture of Childhood. It’s the read-along selection this year, for Not Just Cute readers. That means instead of one overview, I get to have several in-depth chats with Emily. It’s been an eye-opener for me, and I know I’m not the only one because I’ve been hearing a lot of great things from listeners as well! In this episode, we’ll be discussing chapters 3 and 4 of her book. We’re looking, largely, at how play serves as the language of childhood, and what kinds of problems arise when adults begin to forget their native tongue. We'll discuss tricky topics like pretend violent play, dealing with childhood fears, and how to support truly rich play environments. As always, Emily invites us to put on a new pair of spectacles and see childhood in a new way, and what she helps us discover there is truly fascinating.
info_outline Episode 7: Kindergarten Redshirting 04/21/2017
Episode 7: Kindergarten Redshirting Today, I’m talking about redshirting. You may know the term from college sports, where athletes can be redshirted for a year, keeping them out of the game but giving them an extra year of eligibility. Kindergarten redshirting is a similar concept, giving kids an extra year beyond their eligibility before enrolling them. I’ll confess, I personally cringe at the term because I think it conveys—to some – the idea that kids are being held back to give them an advantage at sports. Which, arguably, some are. But the reasons why parents give their kids an extra year before starting kindergarten reach much beyond that. Today, I’m joined by my friend, Allison Mac Donald, who writes at No Time for Flash Cards. She’s a teacher, a book author, a graduate student, a marathoner, and a mom to two rad kids. She and I are chatting today about why some parents choose to give their kids an extra year, what that means from a systems perspective, what factors play into the decision from a personal perspective, and some of the other options parents may not have considered. I have a lot of parents ask me about my opinion about kindergarten redshirting, and –like many parenting dilemmas--- it just doesn’t have an easy, clean answer. So I’m glad Allie’s here to help me sort through the information. (A quick listener note: The audio equipment wasn’t functioning properly during this recording, so the quality isn’t what I’d like it to be. But the conversation was so good, I didn’t want to scrap it. While I hope future recordings meet higher expectations, I think you’ll agree this one is worth tolerating the imperfections!)
info_outline Episode 6: Second Read- A Tale of Two Studies 04/06/2017
Episode 6: Second Read- A Tale of Two Studies Today, I’m revisiting a post from 2016, which I wrote at the beginning of last year’s read along, Rae Pica’s book, What if Everybody Understood Child Development. (You can find links to that read along in the original post.) In the post, I shared some striking contradictions I’d notice as I’d been going over a few different pieces of research from early childhood settings. Contradictions between what we know young children need, and the trends toward what we were actually delivering in early childhood settings.
info_outline Episode 5: Discovering the Culture of Childhood with Emily Plank (Chapters 1&2) 03/31/2017
Episode 5: Discovering the Culture of Childhood with Emily Plank (Chapters 1&2) Do we see childhood for what it really is? Are we ready to challenge our ideas and put on a new pair of spectacles? Emily Plank joins us for the second in a series of discussions about her book, Discovering the Culture of Childhood. In this episode, she talks about friendships in early childhood, the tricky task of entering play, and how adults can better support authentic social growth.
info_outline Episode 4: Reader Q&A - Redirecting and the Effects of Negative Emotions on Learning 03/31/2017
Episode 4: Reader Q&A - Redirecting and the Effects of Negative Emotions on Learning In this episode, I'm answering a reader's two-part question. First, what are some suggestions for redirecting children and second, what did I mean when I wrote that "teachable moments cannot occur when children are in an emotional state." With the first question, we'll examine what redirection really means, and how it differs from distraction. For the second question, I start by doing some clarifying as well. And even as I listen to the show again, I realize I could have made even more clarification: When I reference "learning" in this podcast I'm referring to "upstairs brain" learning. Logical reasoning, decision-making, etc. Secondly, when we talk about stress and negative emotion getting in the way of learning and performing, there's an argument to be made that (particularly for adults) some degree of stress actually enhances performance rather than getting in the way. This is true for healthy levels of stress and for people who have healthy coping mechanisms for stress and anxiety. Two people (children and adults) can experience the same stress in different ways and the brain's response will be different as well. Have I created more Q's than A's at this point? Join us in this podcast and it will soon become clear! Let's talk about redirecting behavior and the powerful influence of emotion on learning.