Every year in April, communities around the country celebrate our youngest learners during the Week of the Young Child. This year, as part of an annual series of literacy events known as “The Little Read”, the New Haven Early Childhood Council distributed a wordless children’s picture book by Tomie dePaola, Pancakes for Breakfast, to over 3,200 young children in early childhood centers and family child care homes around the city. The Council has just released a report on the citywide events, which can be obtained by contacting the Council through their website.
We’re very excited that 30 family child care programs received Pancakes for Breakfast as part of this celebration, and that three of these programs were featured in the Council’s report. Today, we’d like to share with you these three stories of All Our Kin family child care programs using the book as a jumping off point for activities that drew children and families into the world dePaola created. We hope you’ll take a moment to read about the creative activities that Juan, Monica, Felicitas, Tane, and Josie organized in their family child care programs. In their own words, here are their stories:
Felicitas’ Family Home Daycare, Juanito’s Family Home Daycare
Every year we are thrilled to celebrate Week of the Young Child. This year’s book, Pancakes for Breakfast, has pictures, but no words, so it gave us the opportunity to add more description while reading it to the children and when writing the story for our event.
We invited all our families to come on a Saturday morning and bring their own pancakes to share with everyone. We made up stories both in English and Spanish, naming our main character Granny Betty, or Abuelita Carmelita in Spanish.
Our school-aged children got creative and decided to act out the book. They practiced every day. The children were so excited and couldn’t wait for Saturday to surprise their parents. Using the pictures from the book, there were maple trees, a red house outline, Granny Betty’s kitchen, the chicken coop, and a place to buy the syrup. A parent came up with the idea of doing a dance with his own children, but other children from the daycare joined in, the music was a Mexican folklore song, children were dressed in the typical costumes and we even read the history behind the dance. After the dance, children took their places as animal characters, Granny, the neighbors and our own maple syrup sales person. We made butter with the parents, using small containers and heavy whipping cream, not to mention the strong arms. At the end, we all shared a very delicious breakfast with all the families and some special guests.
Tane’s Lil World Family Daycare – Tane Trimble
Pancakes for Breakfast prompted much cooking at our family childcare! Here is Adonis cooking up pancakes as Kai patiently waits with fork and butter knife in his hand for some yummy flapjacks drenched in sticky maple syrup. Everyone loved getting a new book to share.
Lil’ Cupcakes Childcare – Josie Queen
The children loved reading Pancakes for Breakfast and, after a few days of me ‘reading’ it to them, they started reading to themselves and each other. They were happy to take their own copy home. A couple of the parents commented they had never thought to get wordless books before!
We made pancakes together for our morning snack and had breakfast for lunch. Inspired by following a recipe, we also made smoothies for morning snack for a few days, deciding on the ingredients together and trying different things based on what the children discovered they liked and didn’t like.
Pancakes for Breakfast paved the way and the children loved the idea of making up a story of their own, so we made our own book based on the children’s favorite book series by Laura Numeroff. We called it If You Give A Dinosaur A Donut!
The children helped make up the story and illustrated it and then we put it in our book basket so we could read it throughout the day.
I asked the parents to provide simple recipes they like to make together as a family and we will make the recipes together and put them all into a book that the children can bring home.
We applaud these creative family child care providers– and all of the educators who took part in this year’s Week of the Young Child– for crafting experiences that encourage children’s learning and inspire a love of reading and storytelling. We are also very pleased that the New Haven Early Childhood Council continues to demonstrate its commitment to fully including family child care providers in council activities and the city’s early childhood education community.
We encourage you to visit the New Haven Early Childhood Council’s website to learn about the Council’s programs and projects, including upcoming opportunities for early childhood educators.
These stories courtesy of the New Haven Early Childhood Council.