“Can Do” Street Launches Program Showcases!

showcases theater

Showcases is now open in the “Can Do” Street Mall featuring unique programs, activities and services for parents and their young children.

The first three programs of many to be featured on Showcases in the months to come are:

  • A Pinch of Salt -a demonstration of a dessert that parents can make with their children
  • Kids Are Heroes –about kids making a difference by helping others
  • Canine Companions –a service dog making a difference for a boy with a physical disability

You are Invited to be a Part of Showcases!

If you have a program, curriculum, activity, sport, game, software,  camp or resources for young children, now is the time to showcase it in the mall on “Can Do Street.”

There is no Fee to Participate in Showcases.

It is a free feature designed to give parents, teachers and other adults involved in child development the opportunity to see what is available for young children and to replicate what is suitable for their child, school or community. Every submission will credit the person responsible for the submission and include an active link to that person’s website, blog, or social media site.

Eligible Materials for Showcases Include but are not Limited to:

Programs: recreation, education, arts, music, computer, cooking, gardening, martial arts, knitting, sewing, quilting

Curriculum: academics, recreation, the arts, life skills, character and values education

Sports: all age-appropriate sports and intro to sports appropriate for elementary school

Showcases formats: Video or UTube movie        showcases camera

Submissions to showcases are reviewed for suitability of content. They will be posted as received and reviewed. We welcome submissions from  individuals, schools and organizations. For more information, or to get your questions answered, please email jeanc@candostreet.com.

Showcases is about sharing what enriches the lives of young children. So, please showcase  and share!


Cursive Writing…To Teach or Not to Teach…That is the Question

boy writing in scriptHear that…it’s the sound of teachers from long ago crying out in horror at the thought of cursive writing, or penmanship as it was called when I was learning script, being dropped from the curriculum in elementary schools.

We adults spent all those hours, long ago, practicing to perfect our writing skills.  First we wrote with a pencil, then on to a fountain pen and then a ballpoint pen. Is the coveted penmanship award to be another dust catcher on the memorabilia shelf displaying things that mattered in a bygone educational era?

Those in favor of doing away with educating our children in cursive writing claim those classroom hours will be better spent teaching other subjects. They claim that the computer and other digital devices are now the communications devices of choice and will only continue to be so in the future.

Still more support the idea of digital writing over cursive writing because it easier for most children to use and less frustrating for those children with physical disabilities. Yes, learning to use a keyboard can be easier than learning to write in script with no worries about illegible handwriting.  As a former educator of children with disabilities, I know and applaud what a great equalizer digital communication is for children with disabilities.

However, if we eliminate cursive writing instruction in school how do future adults sign their names to a check or a legal document? How do they demonstrate that they are the rightful holders of credit cards? How can they prove that they are who they say they are when victims of credit card or identity theft?

Will we return to those days of yesteryear when we made our mark when we didn’t know how to sign our name?

Maybe I am being sentimental about cursive writing, but I hate to think that future adults will only have printing to fall back on if they don’t have a digital device handy.


1,000s of Free Crafts, Lesson Plans and Educational Materials

Picture of the free can do street mall

If you are looking for free craft projects, lesson plans and educational materials for children 3-7 years, spend some time in the “Can Do” Street Mall checking out the Crafts/Games and Teaching Resources.

Take advantage of the free materials that are there for your use. The materials are the work of parents, grandparents, educators, recreation and crafts personnel.

Each week we add more resources, shared by individuals, organizations and companies with the hope that you will visit their sites and make use of the 1,000s of free materials that they offer.

There is no catch, no hidden costs to using the free materials you find on the sites that list in the mall.

Prior to listing each of the free sites in the mall, the staff of “Can Do” Street check out the content to make sure it is suitable for out audience of parents, teachers and other adults involved in the care of young children .

To list your site in either Crafts and Games or Teaching Resources the content must meet the following criteria:

  • Contain free resources suitable, in all or in part, for children 3-7 years
  • Resources must be easy to download and use

If you wish to list, please send the following information about your free site to jeanc@candostreet.com:

  • A brief description of your site
  • A logo, if you have one
  • Your URL address so that we may create an active link to your site

We look forward to having you visit the “Can Do” Mall where the resources are free and fun!


How Teachers in Japan Help Children Make Choices

Chizuko Nishimata, a member of the “Can Do” Street production team, recently interviewed a second grade teacher in her native Japan. The purpose of the interview was to explore how Japanese teachers help their students to make good choices. Chizuko shares her findings in the following post.

In Elementary schools in Japan, there is a subject called “Dotoku”, which means “Moral” This class is usually held once a week. It teaches children very similar lessons to what “Can Do Street” offers. There are many educational TV shows and books for young children that are used as instructional materials.

During my interview with the teacher, she shared how she teaches this subject to her 2nd grade class. She said, “I always ask the children questions after I present the lesson and get their answers before I share with them what are considered to be the right choices. Many times, children are very clever and often have the right answers. They come up with the right decisions by themselves.”

One time, when the teacher was using illustrations of two children fighting over snacks, there weren’t any words with the illustrations. So, she asked the students to make up a story about what was going on in the illustrations. She then asked each child to share what the message was in his or her story. She got lots of good feedback for continuing her lesson!

As I was ending the interview, I asked what she thought parents and teachers need always to remember about teaching life lessons. She answered, “The important life lessons need to be told repeatedly.  Even though children don’t seem to be paying attention, they are listening. Also, children watch us, their parents and teachers, very closely. We adults need to show them, by our actions, how to make good choices.”


A Gift For Teaching

Is an organization in Florida that is making a substantial difference for teachers and their students in need. They accomplish this by transferring their community’s surplus materials and resources free to teachers for their students who cannot afford to buy needed school supplies.

More than half the students in Central Florida can’t afford lunch let alone school supplies. In many cases, teachers spend between $500-$1,000 of their own money to buy supplies for students and classrooms each year.

A Gift For Teaching’s concept is simple, but so practical: local businesses take unwanted supplies or surplus merchandise that would otherwise get thrown away and donate it for distribution through the Free Stores for teachers. More than 8,673 teachers from Central Florida’s 324 public schools can then “shop” for free to make sure the more than 155,051 students in the community have what they need to learn. (more…)


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