Archive results for: New in the News

The Power of Sharing

There seems to be more and more buzz around children’s social and emotional development. Recently a new study was released about the power of the soft skills VOCEL develops in it’s children daily.

Each day our children navigate the social constructs of the world within the walls of VOCEL’s classroom.  Decisions must be made about where to play, whom to play with and how to share materials and supplies. At VOCEL, every interaction — large or small — is thought of as a chance for children to develop the soft skills they’ll need to be successful in the short and long run.

Last week, a new study from Pennsylvania State University researcher Damon E. Jones was released in the American Journal of Public Health.  The study found statistically significant associations between prosocial behaviors developed in the early years and future life outcomes in education, employment and more.

This Washington Post write-up summarizes the results of the study and left us at VOCEL doing Dr. Jean’s roller coaster cheer for the priority we place on developing our children’s social and emotional competencies.

Social emotional web

During morning meeting, teachers plan for activities that build a culture of trust, communication and teamwork among children. Last week, children worked together to pass a ball of yarn to each friend in the classroom, navigating various challenges and ultimately, creating a web that connected us all.


When summer rainstorms prevent children from going outdoors, teachers create opportunities for exercise and gross motor development in the classroom. Recently, the children played Twister navigating the challenges of sharing space, supporting one another and playing various roles including child-determined titles, “the spinner” and “the stomper.”

Children at the Forefront

1,825. The number of days in the first five years of life. What happens in those earliest years matters. Let’s join together and put children at the forefront.

Chicago is known for many things: Chicago-style pizza,  Michael Jordan, the Bean and our beloved sports teams.  However, our great city is also known as a prominent player at the forefront of early childhood education, a fact far fewer Chicagoans might know.  Yesterday, I had the distinct privilege to attend the Erikson Institute’s inaugural luncheon as a guest of VOCEL supporter, GEM Reality Capital, Inc.  I was moved and inspired by the faculty, staff and supporters of Erikson as they committed to put children at the forefront.

Keynote speaker Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, a renowned professor from Harvard University, spoke of the need for early childhood advocates to lift our voices.  As a field and movement we need the voices of everyone — teachers, researchers, policy makers, families, children — engaging in open discourse about what it will take to ensure all children receive the early childhood experiences they need and deserve.  Dr. James Heckman was honored with the Spirit of Erikson Institute award.  Heckman, a Nobel Prize winner in economics is the brain behind much of the research supporting the economic benefits of early childhood development. Hearing remarks from these two early childhood champions while sitting in a room with hundreds of other early childhood advocates makes me proud to work daily for the 20 smiling faces who greet me at VOCEL each morning.  My imagination then soars as I think about the thousands of children I hope will one day greet me at VOCEL.  Those children are at the forefront of my mind. -Kelly


Our blog is a gathering place for all things VOCEL. It's a window into our classroom, a resource for early education news, and a place to discover stories that showcase our teachers, our children and our families.