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Children sit next to each other on a classroom carpet. One child has her hand extended, thumb raised.


Amanda Gooch

Amanda Gooch

January 1, 2024

How many of you are still talking about our last professional development day? For those of you who did not get an opportunity to attend, we welcomed Sally Haughey from Fairy Dust Teaching, now called Wunderled. We reset, rebooted, and refueled together as she unpacked her play-activated pathway model.

Throughout the day we were able to find our true teaching heart and honor our gifts as an early childhood educator. Sally placed an emphasis on understanding brain science research around learning environments, children’s play, and why choice matters. The power of repetition and the beauty of everyday moments were explored as we learned to appreciate the small meaningful interactions in our work and reflect on the science behind care.

Maitland Farms Preschool Early Educators reflected that the workshop was a “refreshing reminder that the magic of learning lies not in perfection, but in intention. When we encourage our student's curiosity by incorporating nature into our play, it sparks engagement, encourages exploration, and fuels a genuine interest in acquiring knowledge.”

Together we can strive to curate new ideas, strategies and resources that will save us time and energy. If you are ready to teach with more ease and intention, click on the following link to explore more about Wunderled.


So how do we discover a new approach to teaching that prioritizes play, child-led exploration, curiosity and wonder? Discover dozens of creative Play Invitations to engage children and spark their imaginations that will:

  • INCREASE engagement, creativity, and problem-solving skills.

  • MORE joyful and playful learning environment.

  • REDUCE prep time.

You can learn more about play invitations by clicking on the following link:

Wunderled Play Invitations

It’s going to be an absolutely incredible time at our next professional development day. We welcome Coy Bowles from the Zack Brown Band as he presents “Connect to Your Calling” on Saturday February 3rd 2024. Just a friendly reminder, the workshop will be back at First Presbyterian McAfee Hall. Together we will gain an understanding of the key factors in investigating the root causes of success or fulfillment. Participants will recognize the importance of the “Butterfly Phase/Window of Opportunity” for child development and the implications of that for teaching and learning. We will recognize the importance of a social emotional foundation for every student and reflect on how connecting to our calling and sharing our origin story is crucial in regaining clarity, passion and purpose for being an early childhood educator.

To learn more about Coy Bowles and how his successful musical career enabled him to create an advocacy platform for literacy, early education and teacher appreciation, click on the following link:

Coy Bowles

Each organization represented at the workshop has opportunity to receive Coy Bowles’ “Behind the Little Red Door Activity Kit” presented by Lakeshore Learning. Those organizations that will be receiving the kit are committing to follow up technical assistance that will include early childhood education coaching. The kit recipients are expected to utilize, implement and share the tools and resources they acquired from attending the workshop with their colleagues or local community. Examples might include: Lunch and learn at a staff meeting, share in professional learning communities or write a blog post to share their kit story on Childcare Resources website or newsletter.

Within this kit, Coy Bowles, author and member of the Grammy Award-winning Zac Brown Band, promotes social-emotional competence, creativity and storytelling with an all-in-one kit based on his book, Behind the Little Red Door. Featuring beautiful illustrations and lighthearted rhymes, the book shows what might be behind an intriguing red door—from a field of red flying foxes to a room that’s upside down. Kids discover it could be anything…if they just use their imaginations! The kit is packed with engaging materials, including a CD featuring 10 original songs written and performed by Coy himself. Plus, you get a storytelling board with 10 facial features and 25 storytelling pieces, skill-building activity cards, puzzles, books and more! All components store neatly in the custom-designed box.

Little Red Door Activity Kit

As always we thank you for your dedication and willingness to pour into the next generation through education as we elevate and promote the highest quality early childhood development and education in Indian River County.

Wishing you the best,

Amanda & Todd

A woman reads a book to a classroom.
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