Early Education News & Nuggets


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Observation, Curiosity, and Wonder In Early Ed

How good are your eyes?  Wherever you go and whatever you are doing, are you using your eyes to take everything in?  When you are experiencing something new are you more attuned to your surroundings, or are you immersed in something else—a book, texting, or preoccupation with scrolling on Facebook?  Take a minute to pause and reflect on how you last responded to a similar situation.  Which is true of you?  Did you miss opportunities to observe, or were you gathering new details of the entire experience? 

The skill of observation is something that we choose to incorporate into our lives.  Choosing new experiences so that we can observe actions and reactions in ourselves and in others, for the sole purpose of gaining wisdom and insight into the why, how, and what for about the experience.  Essentially, we are fostering and developing a sense of curiosity, which leads to a sense of wonder.  When walking through the woods, do you ever ask questions about what you see?  Have you ever seen a nest and wondered what type of bird lives there? Do you ever ask I wonder statements?  It’s kind of like solving a mystery.  Gathering all the pieces or evidence and trying to put them together to make sense and find meaning.  Collecting clues of what the nest is made of, where it is built, and what the surroundings tell us.  It can almost become like a game.  Children love to play games, so let’s make it a game that they can play too.

Observing children, and people in general, is somewhat like this.  By observing children in our classrooms, we can gain an understanding of their interests, their strengths, their weaknesses, and their personalities.  I recall a very quiet 3-year-old little girl, but when she went to the home living center, she came alive.  She was no longer quiet, but bossy, more self-assured, and she had a very clear picture in her mind as to what she intended to do while in this center.  She loved babies and always had a baby in her arms, and of course she was the mother.  It was a beautiful picture of God’s amazing creation.  I am reminded of this verse where The Word describes us when we were being formed.  “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). I recall another child who was playing in the block center and each day his structure got a little more detailed, a little more specific.  The observations were telling us a story about God’s amazing design for this little boy.  He had amazing skills as a builder, designer, and probably even an engineer as he designed bridges, too.  Yet another situation told me a lot about what was important to a certain little boy.  He stood at the top of the indoor play structure and kept control of the whole class, calling out orders if they were running in the class or if they were writing on the table with markers, or some other type of disobedience.  He reminded me of a little police officer.  I am not sure what he is doing today, but I’m sure he is a rule follower. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). By spending time watching the children during their play time, we can become ‘students’ of them, and really see them.  We get to know their interests, their likes, their dislikes, and perhaps even the things they are afraid of.  Strictly by observing, we are getting to know our students and our families.  Our observations can communicate strong messages of “I know you” and “I see you.” We can encourage them in their interests and share that God has plans for them and He may be using their interests in building, etc., or you can offer support when they are afraid.

Observation provides understanding that we may not have gained otherwise. Observation is a time of learning. Observe during a time of exploration and discovery and you will learn new things about your students.  Children learn by doing and we learn by observing, as well as doing. Observers learn about students’ interests, their needs, their skills, and their development.  The tool of observation informs educators about ways to build bridges to students, providing effective ways to develop the necessary strategies to reach students. Observations can also be used for informal assessments.  Watching to see if they apply what you just taught them.

Are you curious why something happened, what caused this problem, how could something so small make such a big impact?  Are you curious about how children learn, and why music makes such a difference when included in your teaching?  Do you wonder why some children would prefer to play alone or why some need to be with their friends? We were created to wonder, we see it in the expressions of the children when they turn the water on and it is cold, or when they first learn to ride their tricycle and the excitement overflows from them.  We experience squeals of delight when they eat something delicious that God made for us to eat, perhaps watermelon, or blueberries.

In the next few days, take advantage of the opportunity to observe what is right in front of you—God’s amazing creation of the great outdoors, or God’s unique creation of these little children present in your families or in your classrooms. First, spend time observing, what are you learning that is new, next ask “I wonder” questions, stay at this for a little while, and let your mind relax and enjoy the experience; let it lead you to a time of wonder of our Great God!  Wonder about how he made things, why he made things a certain way, and what would happen if these items were missing. Let this time lead you into a time of worship of the God of all creation. Intentionally plan time to observe, develop curiosity, and learn to wonder.  You don’t want to miss what God has for you today!

"We cannot lead anyone farther than we have been ourselves." –John Maxwell. 

Praying blessings over you and your staff as you observe, become curious, which leads to wonder.

Serving our King,

ACSI Early Education Team




EE Leader Connect

Dr. Cindy Barnum, Eastern Division – 2nd Wednesday, 1:30 PM EST


Connect each month with other early education leaders, be encouraged through devotions and prayer, and have conversations about a relevant topic. If the time does not work for you, the sessions are recorded and are available in your EE Leader Connect Community.


ACSI Leadership Networks: Early Education Leader Network

4th Wednesday, 2:00 p.m. (ET)


Network with Dr. Penn on the fourth Wednesday of each month. These meetings provide early education leaders with the opportunity to informally share ideas and challenges and engage in building a biblical community. This professional learning community (PLC) analyzes evidence-based leadership and instructional practices that are informed by current data. We use shared knowledge to cultivate expertise, guide our decisions, and enable early educators to make changes quickly based on the needs of young learners and their families. We will also review best practices in implementing each of the Flourishing School Culture domains with industry experts. Attendance at the live meeting is eligible for CEUs. Recordings are available in ACSI Leadership Network – Early Education Community.


Spring 2023 EE Leader Network Meetings – EE Administrative Competency Aligned Leader Network Meetings.  Earn CEUs while learning adaptive leadership skills. 


  • February 22, 2 pm EST FAQs Sharing Your School’s Vision, Mission, and Values
  • March 22, 2 pm EST Here I am! Send me! Best Practices in Human Resource Management
  • April 26. 2 pm EST Pedagogical Leadership-Achieving (ESOs) Child Development Milestones
  • May 24, 2 pm EST Keys To Organizational Resilience And Financial Sustainability
  • June 28, 2 pm EST God’s Design For Growth: Promoting Health, Safety, And Nutrition Best Practices

Contact Dr. Penn for additional information regarding the EE Director’s credential.






  • Feb 8, 2 pm EST           Creating Emotional Support for Our Children with Cindy Meier

  • Mar 8, 3 pm EST           What Does the Bible say about Social Emotional Development? with Dave Hill

  • April 12, 2 pm EST        Dramatic Play in Early Ed with Rachel Scroggins

Webinars are recorded and added to the Resource library for on-demand member access.

Register online at www.acsi.org/ee to attend FREE webinars and earn CEUs! 



New MAX Events: Maximize your learning with a One- to Three-Day event www.acsi.org/maxevents

The First Academy (Orlando, FL), March 2-4, 2023, 9 am – 4 pm

Bethlehem Christian Academy (Bethlehem, GA), April 21-22, 2023, 9 am – 4pm

HR and Employment Law for Christian Schools – Day 1

Flourish Deeper: Sustainability – Day 2

ACSI Early Education Workshop – Day 3


Cultivating Resilience - A Designed to Flourish event

Save the date and prepare for a full day of professional development designed specifically for Christian early educators. The engaging expert presenters will bring relevant information from a biblical worldview to support educators in their continued growth and development for the roles in which they serve. Interactive sessions for deeper understanding of topics for social/emotional learning, fostering spiritual development of the child, growing your leadership, supporting language development and more. Earn up to 6 clock hours of biblically integrated professional development.  www.acsi.org/ee



Virtual EE Conference


Carly Bedard, Wested


EE Workshop

Seattle, WA (Everett)

Joy Roberts, Friendzy


Virtual EE Conference


Carly Bedard, Wested


EE Workshop

Orlando, FL

Dr. Barbara Sorrels, Connected Kids


EE Workshop

Atlanta, GA (Bethlehem)

Dr. Barbara Sorrels, Connected Kids


EE Workshop

Columbus, OH

Dr. Barbara Sorrels, Connected Kids


Conferences include keynote speaker and breakout options on a variety of topics to impact early teaching and learning. Workshops include a featured speaker bringing an engaging day of topics to promote flourishing.



SAVE THE DATE for EE Events in 2023-2024

La Mirada, CA                Oct 2023 (TBA)

Lancaster, PA                 Oct 12-13, 2023

Portland, OR                 Oct 14, 2023   

Chesapeake, VA           Oct 21, 2023

Chattanooga, TN          Nov 4, 2023

Orlando, FL                    March 2024

Atlanta, GA                    April 20, 2024


Focus in 2023