3 min read

"What's This? A Seed's Story" and activities

By Ellie Springer on May 11, 2021

What’s This? A Seed’s Story 

by Caroline Mockford 

Video of Ms. Ellie reading the story.

  • Sensory play: fill a bin with soil, some bigger seeds like sunflower, pumpkin/squash or beans, and small buckets and shovels, or you can fill a tub with grass or bird seed. If you have a magnifying glass, these are great to add to a seed sensory bin. If there are different types of seeds in your bin, your child can sort them in a muffin

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3 min read

"Owl Babies" activities

By Ellie Springer on March 8, 2021

Owl Babies

Martin Waddell, Patrick Benson 

  • Fun facts about owls: Owls are nocturnal, meaning they are awake and active at night and sleep during the day. They eat bugs, snakes, and small animals like mice. Owls cannot move their eyes, so to see things on their sides they have to turn their heads—almost all the way around in a full circle. Owls have very good hearing. A group of owls is called a parliament.  

  • Short video of owls and their calls (they

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4 min read

Quarantined with kids online resources

By Ellie Springer on March 18, 2020

I know there are a lot of posts on social media about websites, apps, videos, etc. to keep kids busy and learning during the coronavirus quarantine, but I wanted to put together a list of some of the best ones I found that were really good for young children. It is of course not comprehensive, but hopefully it gives you a place to start. And I would be remiss if I didn't say that nothing can

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4 min read

What to expect in a playgroup

By Ellie Springer on December 23, 2019

What should I (the caregiver) do during playgroup?

First, be present and engaged. Please do your best not to be on your phone.

Play with your child and talk to other adults in the group. Connect with other adults in the room, those you know and those you don’t yet—remember you are all caring for young children and may have ways to support one another.

Follow your child’s lead and let them show you what

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7 min read


By Ellie Springer on November 20, 2019


You have probably heard about transitions being hard for young children. Or, if you haven’t heard this, you have probably noticed that some of the hardest times with your child are times when you are moving from one activity to another—getting out of the house, going to bed—or when any big changes happen in their lives. Transitions are hard for all children, and they can be especially difficult for some children, depending on their

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6 min read

All Feelings are Okay

By Ellie Springer on July 3, 2019

A teacher I know and respect very much says, "We don't stop happy, why do we stop sad?" I love this saying, as it highlights how we as adults often try to stop children from expressing "negative" emotions like sadness, fear, or anger. Our culture in general discourages us all from expressing those feelings. But we all have a range of emotions, and we can't be happy all the time!

To help children grow up to

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2 min read

Developmental Milestones

By Ellie Springer on May 30, 2019

I often come across websites and apps that detail what to expect as your child develops and give tips on how to promote healthy development. These websites can also give you ideas of when you might need to get additional screening for your child. I am collecting a list of these sites and apps here to make them easier to find.

CDC has a milestone tracker app and pamphlets: has videos about development

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5 min read

Discipline for Young Children, Part 4--Rewards and Punishment

By Ellie Springer on February 22, 2019

Is it better to use punishment or rewards to change your child's behavior? I read a great New York Times article last summer about how the best choice is really something else entirely. The article is a bit long, but it has a lot of helpful information and gives specific ideas of things you should say instead of just what not to say.

What it boils down to is this: neither punishment nor rewards is

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4 min read

Discipline for Young Children, Part 3: Time Outs

By Ellie Springer on December 14, 2018

What about time outs? I am not a big fan of time outs where you just put your child in a corner by himself for a specific amount of time--a minute for each year of his age is one I hear a lot. What is he learning there? That seems to me like punishment, not discipline. I once heard someone compare time outs athletes take during a game or practice to the ones we

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5 min read

Discipline for Young Children, Part 2

By Ellie Springer on December 8, 2018

This is my second post on discipline for young children. If you want more of an overview and some key points to keep in mind when developing an approach to discipline for your family, check out my first post.

One caveat to all this is that every family and every child is different. What works with one child may not work with another child, and what one parent is comfortable doing, another is not. And

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Rachel has been a part of the JRI team since January, 2000. For over 20 years, Rachel has been working in the field of human services assisting families with accessing and navigating services. Rachel received her Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. She was promoted in July 2005 to Family Networks Program Director where she closely worked with the Department of Children Families for 10 years ensuring that children and families received the highest quality of individualized services ranging from community based through residential care. Rachel is very dedicated to helping the individuals she works with and is committed to improving the lives of children and families. Rachel’s passion for creative service programming inspires her in her role as JRI Service Navigator.