It is that time of the year when we we wish everyone a great holiday season and reflect on the year we are about to leave as history.

 If you have never attended NAEYC and you are in Early Childhood Education plan to attend in 2014 in Dallas, TX.  It is an experience you won’t want to miss.  Save your dollars, connect with someone to travel with and share expenses and you will find a happening world of people dedicated to children around the world.

I want to share some of the friends I meet at NAEYC and also FROG STREET SPLASH  ( each year.   We share hugs, music, food, entertainment, information and try to help each other to make this a better world for all children.

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L to R Lisa Kay Vinson, Dr. Jean Feldman and Mary Jo.  For many years this is the only time we get to visit and share life.  Dr. Jean is the QUEEN of Early Childhood and Lisa is a teacher/trainer at Austin Peay  University in Clarksville, TN.  Even though we have only precious minutes it a great to catch up.  I may need to color my hair blonde!!!

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Della Johnson from SC with famous author Denise Flemming.  Della was a brand new grandmother and buying books, books, books and loving every minute of the experience of meeting the author and being granny.

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Check out the man in purple…our own Dr. Thomas Moore a partial product of Indiana.  L to R * Dr. Pam Schiller , an expert in Early Childhood Education and is in charge of the Frog Street  Pre-K Curriculum and is writing a new Infant/Toddler curriculum.  Mary Jo, Dr. Thomas, Diane Patterson who is in charge of sales for Frog Street and Sharon Burnett one of the original designers of the everlasting Frog Street productions.    The reception was filled with hugs, kisses, songs, and memories!


The perfect view on a clear night from the balcony of a close reception sponsored by Kaplan and Gryphon House.






A small area of the exhibit hall filled with the best of the best.  Bring along comfortable shoes and a bag on wheels and plan to spend some special time in this area.  There are many authors signing books, musicians singing and playing and several booths presenting mini workshops.  I presented minis for FROG STREET and Kaplan.  I met a lady who stayed in one booth all day because she said she learned so much.






Ms. Carolyn who keeps Dr. Thomas Moore in line and is his #1 helper.  She is a Texas jewel.




JIM GILL from the Chicago area and a wonderful presenter, singer and author.



Mr. Shawn Brown from the Super Fun Show and Shake It Like a Duck!



Mr. Hugh Hanley, Vincent and Carole Peterson!



Ms. Debbie Clement


Why am I in so many pictures……because all of these wonderful people are my FRIENDS – on the road FRIENDS.  Catch me with my hat, get a picture and I will call you my FRIEND always.



The world of  GINGERBREAD created by Lori Taylor, a 3 year old teacher in a local preschool, and she lives in my home town.  Lori is my neighbor and has created a work of art out of GINGERBREAD.  Her passion spills over into her classroom filled with wonderment.  I had to share this with you because if you do not live close to me you will never know about people who have a total dedication to the world of GINGERBREAD and the beauty they can create.2013 Gingerbread Creation B (2)

2013 Gingerbread Creation A (3)

2013 Gingerbread Creation F

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Join me in the celebration of the season.  I will spend the holiday with my three wonderful children and 8 grandchildren ranging in age from 28 to 2 years old and every minute is precious.  I hope this blog put a smile on your face and that our paths cross during 2014.  Give me a call and I will come to visit y our area and we can sing, dance, tell stories and make puppets happen.  

REMEMBER the REASON for the SEASON and stay safe!




My church was built upon a rock and this year we celebrate 50 years of marriage and it to has a rock connection.  My children had this rock carved for our front yard and I know how important rocks can be………………one man, one woman, 50  years.






Pre-K Hand & Foot Print Flag

Thanks, Connie Sanders
Austin Peay Child Learning Center
Clarksville, Tennessee 2012

A salute to all the VETERANS and their families for what they have given to this great country.  A special thanks to my own Jar Head who spent 8 years serving his country.  I learned a lot in those early years and my heart and thanks goes out to every VETERAN and their family.   A special thanks for all military families who work so hard to protect our great nation.  If you do not know anyone serving our country find someone, give them a hug or just say thanks.  One of the most touching times is when a military person is at an airport and the entire loading area steps aside and lets the service man or woman board first.  They are the bravest of the brave.



As this time of the year approaches there is always a buzz about the annual NAEYC conference.  This year it was in Atlanta and the conference was filled with the best of the best.  The VERY BEST is seeing old friends from around the world.  Spending a full day in the exhibit hall is always a top priority.

I had the privilege to present a PUPPET PLAY workshop with over 300 in attendance and we jived.  I left with a great feeling in my heart. Watch in 2013 for a new puppet book from Gryphon House filled with all the important ideas that are easy to make and connect to Early Childhood curriculum.

 Let me introduce you to some of my favorite people.

Thousands gathered to hear Mem Fox read some of her favorite stories and to explain to the massive audience how important WORDS are to children and their development.  You should own her books and have them available for yourself and for the children.

This gentle man sings for all children and has produced a 30 minute show filled with songs and it can be viewed at and select the Video-On-Demand feature.  On the next page type Songs from the Circle.

His web site is


by Eric Litwin


This is Eric Litwin signing my copy of Pete the Cat to Grandma Dodie…..and I will cherish this book.  I rode on the elevator and said “Are you Pete the Cat Eric?” and we both laughed.  He is an educator, musician, author and true entertainer. 


Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons Pete the Cat Saves Christmas Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes
    Books you gotta have to read, sing, and play with children.


I will check in again on Dec. 11, 2012 and today  I want to say a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my grandson Liam………..who is 7 .     I am thankful for each and every one of you connected to Early Childhood education. You are the most IMPORTANT people in our society!

Mary Jo Huff, Author, Storyteller, Song Writer, Puppeteer

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NUMBER 12 meets NUMBER 11


NUMBER 12 meets NUMBER 11



While in Houston, Texas presenting a Keynote, jam time and some workshops for FROG STREET (  I had a big surprise.  This beautiful young lady came running up to me and said, “ I am number 12 and you are number 11.”  DAH!,  I did not get it until she said “ I am Crystal Radke and I write for Pre-K and K Sharing and I post on the 12th of the month and you post on the 11 of the month.”  “Oh, yes!” I replied.

We shared a BIG HUG and then had a great visit.  This picture was taken for us to share with all who visit this great blog.  You never know who you will meet or where you will meet them.

In my opinion, FROG STREET has the BEST conference in this entire country.  Teachers come from many states and countries to celebrate young children.  This year was Fanny Frogs 20th birthday and it was a huge celebration with events in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, TX.  Next summer a Masquerade celebration will take place in Dallas in the month of July.  Make plans to attend and find out how wonderful you can feel about yourself and your Early Childhood Profession.


Maria Solis, of Houston, TX, reading a story “The Birthday Breakfast” in Spanish as I read it in English.  The audience was filled with hundreds of Early Childhood teachers listening and laughing.  The conference hosts thousands of teachers from all corners of the USA, Canada and Mexico.  The Pre-K curriculum was written and directed by Dr. Pam Schiller.  She gathered educators, musicians, storytellers, and experts from many areas to contribute. 

Birthday Breakfast


Teachers come dressed to win prizes.  Hundreds of dollars are given for the school of the year, costume at the conference, someone who traveled the farthest and then lots and lots of door prizes – this year it was an extravaganza of birthday gifts given out by Fanny Frog to celebrate her 20th.


Stephen Fite, a great MC and musical entertainer,  is one of Fanny’s best friends. 
He kept things moving and connected at all three events.
Teachers are enjoying a night of dinner and dancing with Stephen Fite leading the way.  Teachers just gotta have FUN!

  Don Monolopi, the Learning Station, leads teachers in his famous TONY CHESTNUT song.  Don was an extraordinary musician enjoying a night of music and storytelling.

  Ron Chase, owner of Frog Street, along with Sharon, Amy and Bill spearhead the world of education and invite everyone to come on down to Dallas in 2013.  Thanks folks for the best conferences I have ever attended.

Keep  yourself energized as the new school  year begins!


Mary Jo Huff



Connecting children and nature is the most natural way of teaching and communicating with all children. We can learn from children by observing and analyzing their work. Our local community sponsored a Nature Explorer seminar and I am so thankful that I attended for two days. This quote is from the Nature Explorer research:

“One of the most significant findings of this research is that when children engaged in authentic play in a Nature Explore Classroom, they are developing skills in a variety of domains simultaneously. This is what we refer to as whole-child learning.”

 An outdoor classroom supports learning in the areas of math, visual-spatial, music & movement, art, literacy, science, close observation and social-emotional.


It was a great privilege to attend two days of hands on activities with Nature Explore at the Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve in Evansville, Indiana. The programs continue across the USA. Check out the Nature Explore and the Wesselman Woods ( web sites for information and become a teacher of the wonderful world of NATURE!



When a dedicated, child loving adult connects with the learning atmosphere nature can bring to a center great things happen. Maria Manges, from Cradle to Crayons, in Petersburg, IN decided to dedicate her extra time to providing a great outdoor space for children to learn and her efforts and results are OUTSTANDING.

This playground is filled with learning areas and the garden will provide food for the children to explore. If you have an outstanding nature space for children send me pictures and a little right up with permission to use the material in my blog.



Earth Day storytelling dressed in camouflage and sharing space with friendly owl, frog, and eagle. All children enjoy the visuals and puppets as an addition to a good story.  


For many years I would tell stories behind a big tree on the playground. At first the children thought the tree was talking and even after they realized it was me they would talk to the tree. If you have a tree on your playground take advantage of the nature connection and invite the children to join you at the story tree for special nature stories.

 Hug a child and hug a tree!
Mary Jo Huff