Posts tagged #early education

The New E3 School Parent's Night February 2018


What an amazing turnout at our inaugural Parent’s Night about two weeks ago! We all know how challenging it is when you have young children to get out a-n-y night of the week, but especially on a cold, dreary and rainy Tuesday evening. That did not stop our families!

It was a packed house of parents listening, asking thoughtful questions and engaging with Dr. Amanda Williford with UVA CASTL, teachers and the leadership team. Dr. Williford walked parents through the STREAMin3 curriculum developed by UVA CASTL and implemented at our school.

STREAMin3 Handout

Our families walked away with a greater understanding of the five core & STREAM skills, on-site coaching and professional development model for our teachers and what it truly means to be ready for kindergarten. And Dr. Williford shared the Family Core Skill cards that support the same skills that the teachers are focused on in the classroom that week and ways to support and develop that skill at home in a fun and engaging way.

At the end of the evening, Dr. Williford shared the results of the K-Readiness Report (Spring 2017) in terms of the quality of classroom interactions and K-readiness skills. As you know, the children in the four-year-old classroom’s readiness to enter kindergarten was assessed in literacy, math, social skills and self-regulation. When compared to kindergarten-entry benchmarks the results show that children at our school met or exceeded benchmarks for math, literacy, and self-regulation. Some four-year-old children did not meet the benchmark for social skills (sharing, expressing their needs and wants positively, taking turns and complying with adult directions). This aligns with the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program statewide data in terms of children needing additional help in the domain of social skills in  participating school divisions.


"When compared to kindergarten-entry benchmarks the results show that children at our school met or exceeded benchmarks for math, literacy, and self-regulation."

(University of Virginia Center for Advanced Teaching and Learning, K Readiness Report for The New E3 School, 2017)


Research tells us that teacher-child interactions are one of the strongest predictors of children being ready for kindergarten and a critical component to high quality classrooms. The CLASS is an observational tool used nationally that measures the quality of teacher-child interactions across critical learning domains of teaching that are linked to student achievement and development (emotional support, classroom organization, and instructional support). The CLASS scores provide evidence that teachers at TNE3S are engaged in high-quality, supportive interactions with children. When compared to other well-regarded programs in other states (Boston’s or Georgia's pre-k programs), the scores at The New E3 School are the same or higher.

The data collected in 2017 helped to inform the teaching and learning at our school and the final development phase of the UVA CASTL curriculum package (high-quality curriculum, coaching, professional development and the ongoing progress monitoring of teachers and children).

The New E3 School is a special and whimsical place where our children are developing a love of learning, playing, building upon their interests and experiences, asking questions, solving problems, working in teams, talking, thinking and creating. And none of this would be possible without a strong partnership between our school leadership, teachers and families.

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With Gratitude,

Lisa Howard, President & CEO

Lisa Howard, President & CEO

Year-round Outdoor Play Can Boost Kids' Performance in School

Spending free time outside can particularly benefit a child’s development when pursued year-round.


Outdoor play in childhood is associated with many soft skills that are important for school success, such as executive functioningExecutive functioning is defined as a set of mental processes that enable us to plan, prioritize, focus attention, filter distractions, and more. These skills are important assets for learning in preschool, elementary school, and beyond.

A recent study from Norway looked at the associations between time spent outdoors during child care and executive functioning. Among children ages 4 through 7, those who spent more time outside during child care performed better on an executive function assessment and showed fewer inattention-hyperactivity symptoms. Further, numerous studies have found that playful engagement with nature in kids under age 12 was linked with improved mental health and emotional regulation.

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Clothespin Match-Up

Photo credit: A Spoonful of Learning

Photo credit: A Spoonful of Learning

UVA curriculum activity to do at home!

Materials: Clothespin (wooden), index cards with numbers 1-10 written on them

1. Have your child put the number of clothespins on the number card (example: card has a "4" on it, child puts four clothespins around the card).

2. Ask the child to do that for each card & count aloud as the clothespins are attached.

3. Remove the clothespins and start again.

Variation: write letters on the clothespin & match up the letters to the word.

What: Builds fine motor skills.


Lisa Howard, President & CEO

Do you have yoga at your morning meeting? We do!

Do you have Yoga @ your morning meeting? We do. Here’s why:

Yoga and teaching young children mindfulness can help them learn to relax, concentrate and reduce impulsiveness. The many benefits for young children include:

  • Builds physical strength and encourages muscles to be used in new ways
  • Develops coordination
  • Promotes body awareness
  • Improves balance
  • Builds confidence
  • Increases concentration
  • Reduces stress and calms the body
  • Encourages imagination and creativity

Yoga engages the heart, mind and body. It helps children develop emotional intelligence, communication skills, trust and empathy. Introducing Yoga at an early age sets children up for a healthy & fit lifestyle. Not to mention, it will increase strength, flexibility and coordination. Shh…our teachers even do Yoga with the kids before nap time. Now, that is brilliant! Over the next few weeks, we are going to arm you with a few Yoga poses that your entire family can do at home. And we are going to bring in our very own expert to offer a family Yoga class. Can you say, Namaste?"

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Lisa Howard, President and CEO, E3: Elevate Early Education and The New E3 School

Posted on April 3, 2017 .

Math & Music: Patterns of Mathematics

As a former math teacher, I am fascinated by the many patterns of mathematics.  In fact, one of my favorite topics to teach was the Fibonacci sequence*.  It is amazing how many different places you can find numbers from that sequence in nature, art, geometry, architecture, and even music.  It isn’t surprising that researchers have found a strong link between mathematics and music.   In my experience, I found that the best math students were often very competent musicians.

That leads me to wonder if intentionally exposing children to music at an early age may help create more confident and competent mathematicians.  The research seems to support that music can, at the very least, help children better understand and remember some emergent mathematical concepts.  There are three related but different ways of using music to encourage development of math skills in young children.

First, we all remember singing songs as small children that helped us learn concepts:  the Hokey Pokey, Old MacDonald, etc.  Studies have shown these musical mnemonics can be a very powerful learning tool for any subject.  Once words are set to music, the mind connects the two and a very powerful memory is created which can be retrieved easily.  A web site for finding a song for just about any concept and most age groups is

Second, there is evidence to show that just adding musical elements to enhance a math lesson or activity helps children pay better attention, and they are better able to recall concepts taught.   The music stimulates parts of the brain that help children form mathematical concepts.

Finally, music is inherent in all of us; we hear music, and we rock our babies, clap our hands, tap our feet.  These responses are reactions to musical elements such as steady beat, rhythm, and melody, all of which reflect mathematical concepts. 

The steady beat of a song helps children understand the important concept of one-to-one correspondence (matching up one thing with something else).  Thus, by clapping to the steady beat of a song, you are connecting the beat with your clap and reinforcing the concept of one-to-one correspondence. 

Rhythm is similar to steady beat but where steady beat is constant, rhythm varies.  Rhythm helps with one-to-one correspondence but it also helps children learn about patterns.  Even newborns learn about rhythm as parents sing lullabies to them and rock them to the rhythm of the music. 


Provide children with an instrument to shake or tap in rhythm with music.  As children get older, sing songs with them and encourage them to repeat the song or extend the pattern; for example, when singing “Old MacDonald,” stop after “With a moo moo here,” and have your child repeat the phrase or extend the pattern by adding “and a moo moo there.”   Encouraging your children to express themselves by moving differently to varying sounds or rhythms motivates the brain to categorize sounds and understand patterns within music.

We all know music has many benefits from aiding relaxation to stimulating the mind.  It is exciting to realize that music provides children with their first patterning experience and helps engage them in mathematics even when they don’t recognize the activities as mathematics. 

 *If you are not familiar with the sequence, it is formed by starting with the two numbers, 1 and 1, and each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two:  1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34, etc.  There are books written about it but you can also find many sites on the internet that will illustrate how often it is found in our lives.

By Mary Hubbard, Educational Advisory Board Member

Posted on March 27, 2017 .