Welcome to the Ready Child blog!

View posts by our early learning expert to gain valuable insights into the developing brain and learn about activities that you can easily incorporate into day to help every child succeed in kindergarten and in life.

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About our blogger Diann Gano, M.Ed

Diann Gano

Diann Gano, M.Ed

Diann Gano—who opened her family child care program, Under the Gingko Tree in 1986—has long believed that “the earth gives us what we need to learn” and that nature is “the perfect environment for little brains to grow and learn in every day.” While conducting research for her master’s thesis on outdoor learning in early childhood settings, she learned about the Nature Explore Classroom Certification Program, which recognizes schools and other organizations that have made a commitment to providing outdoor classrooms and comprehensive programming to help children use the natural world as an integral part of learning. She enrolled in the Nature Explore Classroom certification program after completing her master’s degree in 2010, and Under the Ginkgo Tree was certified as a Nature Explore Certified Outdoor Classroom Program in 2011.

A member of the Erikson Family Child Care Portal Project Advisory Board, Gano has also participated in the Erikson Institute’s Early Childhood Leadership Summit and served as a webinar panelist for Town Square Illinois, an online resource and professional development tool for home-based providers. She has presented at the local, state and national levels on topics such as indoor and outdoor learning environments, the importance of loose parts in early math education and the impact of immersion in the natural world on brain development in young children. In 2016, Gano was honored as a recipient of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Child Care Innovator Award for creating a school environment that inspires children to become more active and engaged learners. In May 2019, she received the prestigious Terri Lynn Lokoff/Children’s Tylenol National Teacher Award, which honors 50 outstanding early child care professionals across the nation each year for making a lasting difference in the lives of the children they serve and setting them on a path to success in school and in life. She received her BS in liberal arts from Western Illinois University and her MEd in education from St. Mary of the Woods College in Indiana.

The Ready Child is Now Multilingual!

Hello, Hallo, Hej Hej, Hola, Ciao . . . well, you get the idea! To expand our reach to families and early childhood educators around the globe, we've added a translation option to our Ready Child website. With this new functionality, our readers can now translate The Ready Child into more than 100 languages. Breaking […]

Counting on Songs

"Five green and speckled frogs . . . sat on a speckled log . . . eating some delicious bugs. Yum yum!" When we sing counting songs such as “Five Green and Speckled Frogs” or “This Old Man,” we introduce counting and numbers and math concepts such as adding or removing one from a group. The repetition and rhythm in these songs […]

Do Board Games Leave You in Tears?

Do you avoid playing board games because your children cry every time they lose? Competitive games often create conflict between young children—who don't yet have the maturity or perspective to take losing in stride. The competition and the desire to “be the winner” can take the fun out of playing.  We've all had those days when […]

Building Brains With Blocks

"I think we need another cylinder on this side," says Rowan. "Can you put that on for me? I will keep it balanced."   Rowan and Parker are deeply engrossed in block play. Their investigations into balance, gravity, force, and cause and effect have led these four-year-old friends deep into the STEM zone. “Do you […]

Magnetic Magic

"Look!" squeals three-year-old Eleanor.  "I can pick up these two balls. It's magic!" Have you ever seen young children playing with magnets? The "magical" properties of magnets never fail to captivate early learners and spark a play buzz. Children learn by investigating, observing and figuring out how things work. Magnets fuel that curiosity in a […]

Shadow Explorers

"It looks like we're holding hands, but we aren't!" says Maya to Noah as she studies their shadows. When we're outside, we often engage in body shadow play with the sun as our light source. Exploring the ways that our shadows change as we move our bodies is a great way to get children engaged […]

Inside, Outside and Through a Log

“Look!  A log with a hole in it! Can we crawl into it?”  Our hike comes to a complete halt as the children regard the hollowed-out log with a sense of wonder. This gift from nature is an irresistible invitation to investigate and play! Physical play like this expands a child's vocabulary and fosters a natural […]

The Importance of Play

Kindergarten readiness isn’t just about knowing how to count to 20 or recognize the letters of the alphabet. It's about getting your child ready to learn, not ready to memorize letters and numbers.  Your child will have a new schedule, new rules to follow, lines to stand in and lots of sitting and waiting, along […]

Eclipse Viewing With Family and Friends

The dogs are barking so much . . . I think they are scared,” says Vera as she looks up at the sky with her certified safe eclipse glasses pressed against her eyes. She is absolutely right! The dogs in the neighborhood, the singing birds in the trees and the chirping crickets are louder and more intense […]