test-driven in other settings as well. Any concerns
arising from those subsequent tests were addressed
so that we could make safe recommendations. Notes
on any activity-specific safety concerns are included
with the individual projects.
The most important part of child safety when
using these materials is adult supervision. These
activities are meant to be well supervised by an
adult. If you give children the materials and fail to
appropriately supervise their play, you are putting
them at risk of injury.
Here are some general safety notes:
Make the health and safety of the children your
priority at all times. Keep their ongoing physical
well-being in the forefront of your thoughts.
The children in your care are only as safe as you
make them. Appropriate adult supervision and
observation is the key to child safety in most
circumstances; this holds true for these projects
as well. Keep your eyes and ears open and your
mind focused on the activity at hand.
Know the children and make adjustments to the
projects as needed. One benefit that comes with
building strong emotional relationships with
the children you care for is that you learn to
understand how they play. Get to know which
children are risk takers, which ones are more
likely to put things in their mouths, which ones
let their curiosity put them in potentially dan-
gerous situations, and which are most likely to
need additional supervision.
I don’t have the solution to the various problems and
challenges facing our nation’s educational system or
know how to slow down the harried pace many chil-
dren face so early in life. However, I do know what
we’re going to do in my little corner of the world:
spend large hunks of time climbing apple trees, get-
ting muddy, hunting for bugs, running, falling, skin-
ning our knees, and just being kids. We are going
to observe birds and bugs and bunnies in all their
birdie-ness, buggy-ness, and bunny-ness, and learn a
ton while doing so. We are also going to learn social
skills, science, language, problem solving, math,
logical thinking, and healthy living while we’re at
it (without even knowing we are learning!). We are
going to learn the way early learning is supposed to
happen: by playing.
I hope you enjoy the activities—thanks for read-
ing. Now, play, explore, and discover.
EEL_F.indd 9 3/26/08 12:26:14 PM