Please enjoy and share our sources for inspiration and materials and visit some of our favorite virtual destinations.
Early Childhood Education Professional Organizations
The American Visionary Art Museum Our Tracks class visits this museum each year, and we encourage the trek to Baltimore to see this stellar collection of visionary art. All of the art collected is instantly accessible to and understood by every young child. On sunny days the light glints and reflects the many-mirrored surfaces, and the Domino Sugar sign serves as a focal point from Federal Hill. The climb is an excellent way to exercise legs and take in the world that is MORE from a great height.
The Foxfire Fund, a not-for-profit educational and literary organization based in Rabun County, Georgia. Established in 1966, this seemingly small, community-based, learner-centered educational approach has reached far and wide, influencing educators to step outside, take a deep breath, and let a young person take the lead.
North American Reggio Alliance (NAREA) is a network of educators, parents, and advocates seeking to elevate both the quality of life and the quality of schools and centers for young children.
Vivian Gussin Paley, author, insightful educator, and true inspiration. Recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, her books include the Kindness of Children (MCPL call number: 158.2 PAL) and The Boy Who Would Be a Helicopter (MCPL call number: 372.21 PAL). We also recommend the following “must reads” that are not currently stocked on the Montgomery County Public Library shelves, but are available on Google Books; Mollie is Three, Bad Guys Don’t Have Birthdays; Fantasy Play at Four and Superheroes in the Doll Corner.
The Renwick Gallery of American Art is located just steps from the White House at 8th and F Streets, N.W. Though we are fortunate to be a Metro ride away from a wealth of art, it is the Renwick that rises to the top of our list for must-see art and inspiration for children’s art in DC. A museum of decorative arts and crafts, the work presents all the best elements instantly familiar to young children—color, texture, and line. Visit often!
Springzaad: meer ruimte voor natuur en kinderen (more room for nature and children) is an inspiration, a resource, a force. The site is wonderfully organized thematically. We have unlocked the muse via their “inspirational suitcase” for our Tinkering Summer Camps.
Clay (I am Clay) This website is the source for clay, clay tools, and as an added bonus, a “must see” video about using clay in early childhood settings. We use clay in the classroom in addition to play dough because its properties have greater range in elasticity, resistance, and comparisons between liquid and solid. We believe!
Community Forklift is a place to spend HOURS and HOURS imagining. It is the essential experience in true treasure hunting for loose parts, beautiful things, and building supplies. A preschool teacher’s dream.
Community Playthings has everything anyone would ever need in terms of furniture, blocks, and lovely manipulatives. They also provide articles, resources, and links that support the pedagogy behind each carefully crafted collection
Froebel Gifts These are the gifts that keep on giving. First created by Friedrich Froebel in the late 1800s, these 10 “gifts” plus curvilinear present the range of handwork that inspired some of the stunning modern structures and works of art. Frank Lloyd Wright, Piet Mondrian, Buckminster Fuller, and many other notable architects and artists were educated with Froebel’s gifts.
Learning Materials Workshop offers a collection of open-ended play materials which are beautiful to all the senses. Learning Materials Workshop is the American distributor of Reggio Children Publications.
Nienhuis Montessori This website and printed catalogues are a delicious feast for the eyes. This international resource for Montessori educational information and philosophy is an inspirational site in form and function, plus it is an excellent source for high quality materials!
studio uk Sigh! Developed by Italian designers to support Reggio sensibilities expressed through furniture for young children, the site is beautiful to look at. Imagining furnishing an entire school with these pieces is a lovely way to spend an afternoon. We are especially big fans of Play+Soft.
Chicago Children’s Museum Forts! Did you build one when you were a kid? Look for an online opportunity to create your own flag or option to print one. While we are on a virtual tour, visit Hands on! Europe, the International Association of Children’s Museums website, for virtual adventures far and wide!
The Froebel Gallery in Abany, New York encourages visitors to support education, to advocate for children’s rights around the world, and to further the arts and humanities. We agree! And the site provides information about Froebel’s educational philosophies and resources for purchase.
Let The Children Play A wonderful field trip each day will find you on walks in the bush, up to your elbows in potions, paint in your hair, and dirt under your feet. Enjoy!
Mocha Moms, Inc. is the Silver Spring chapter of a national support group for mothers of color. The Silver Spring chapter steps it up a notch in recognizing the creative and resourceful moms in our community who “are reinventing the definition of an at-home mom!”
Mollie Katzen Online Always a great resource for ideas for food, glorious food, her website features other great ingredients as well. We highly recommend her children’s cookbooks, but parents and children can access great ideas for snacks and other recipes on line with her recipe finder. Videos are icing on the cake!
North American Reggio Emilia Alliance We are inspired by any education model that begins with and springs from family. After World War II, the mothers in and around Reggio Emilia, Italy, were left with a critical need to redefine childcare—and redefine it they did. With Loris Malaguzzi, they created a community devoted to exploration of environment and methods to give creative voice to young children.
OurKIDS is an online resource for families in the DC metro area. Offering information about local classes, events, activities and more — They do the research so you don’t have to!
Rainbow Families is a go-to community organization for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender families. Rainbow Families reaches out and brings together all families for mutual support, lively conversation, and unity.
A Parent in Silver Spring Jessica Slovak McFadden, a mover-shaker in the blogiverse, gives us a “fun, free community resource, served with a side of humor.” We use her blog and our own Takoma Park Business Directory & Survival Guide as the sources for things to do, people to call, and places to see.
Teach Mama Teach Mama tells us that she views her position as a stay-at-home mom with a strong background in education as an opportunity to help out her pals by sharing “insider secrets” to use with their own children. We like the convenient, accessible, and home-friendly activity ideas.