Meet Ms. Jodi Nicholson


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Ms. Jodi Nicholson, M.Ed.   Welcome to Pre-K Special Education! I am Jodi Nicholson, one of the three Preschool Special Education Teachers here at Hoffman-Boston Elementary School for the 2017-2018 school year.

My Background   I graduated from University of Mary Washington with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.  During my time as an undergraduate there I interned as an ABA therapist for children with Autism.  I was so affected by the experience that I then went on to receive my Master’s degree in Education and earned credentials in special education and early childhood education from University of Mary Washington and George Mason University, respectively.     My previous work experience includes a continuum of levels of special education teaching, including home-bound, residential bound level, within the hospital setting, self-contained, co-teaching full inclusion general education, and resource level support within typical classrooms. Within the private sector, I also co-developed a successful adapted music program for children of diverse abilities which incorporates musical expression and skill building as an individualized tool for children’s development.    Generally, my interests include studies in positive psychology (including resiliency and optimism), music as a tool for learning and creativity, studies in self-regulation (emotional intelligence), and a wide variety of arts and crafts.  At home, I love to spend time with my family, enjoy good food, listen to music, and ride my purple bicycle.

Today   This is my eighth year teaching at Hoffman-Boston Elementary, and my ninth year teaching in Arlington County.  I enjoy teaching and cannot wait to see my students’ smiling faces each morning as we discover each new day. I believe in the amazing strengths and character that children with special challenges are positioned to develop. I am honored to be their teacher and love seeing them grow.

The Pre-K Curriculum: Opening the World of Learning: 

                                                          Year at a Glance
 Trade Books and Support Components
Unit 1 – Family
Core Storybooks

  • Oonga Boonga
  • Peter’s Chair
  • Noisy Nora
  • Whistle for Willie
  • Corduroy

Predictable Books

  • Over in the Meadow
  • Time for Bed

Expository Text

  • Let’s Make Music

Unit 2 – Friends
Core Storybooks

  • The Little Red Hen Makes Pizza
  • A Letter to Amy
  • Matthew and Tilly
  • Dandelion
  • Hooray a Piñata

Predictable Books

  • Hush!
  • Golden Bear

Expository Text

  • Road Builders

Unit 3 – Wind and Water
Core Storybooks

  • Gilberto and the Wind
  • One Dark Night
  • Rabbits and Raindrops
  • The Snowy Day
  • A Hat for Minerva Louise

Predictable Books

  • The Very Noisy Night

Expository Text

  • Bringing the Rain to Kapitin Plain
  • See How They Grow: Kitten
Unit 4 – The World of Color
Core Storybooks

  • The Lion and the Little Red Bird
  • Max’s Dragon Shirt
  • Dog’s Colorful Day
  • Dear Juno

Predictable Books

  • Cat’s Colors

Expository Text

  • Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones
  • See How They Grow: Chick

Unit 5 – Shadows and Reflections
Core Storybooks

  • Play With Me
  • The Puddle Pail
  • Raccoon on His Own
  • Dreams
  • Kitten for a Day

Predictable Books

  • Clap Your Hands
  • Night Shift Daddy

Expository Text

  • Fun With Shadows

Unit 6 – Things That Grow
Core Storybooks

  • I Heard Said the Bird
  • Bigger
  • Make Way for Ducklings
  • The Ugly Vegetable

Predictable Books

  • Just Enough

Expository Text

  • See How They Grow: Duck
  • Play and Learn: Growing Things
  • Animals Born Alive and Well


Additional curriculum utilized: Handwriting Without Tears, Every Day Counts Math, and Numbers Plus


Special Education Parent Resource Center:

Family Resource Center Binder: /wp-content/uploads/legacy_assets/hoffmanboston/4681f023aa-Binder.pdf

Special Education Observation Forms: /wp-content/uploads/legacy_assets/hoffmanboston/848a4380b7-Classroom%20Observation%20Guidelines%202012.pdf

Arlington County Human Services: http://  

Many more related links:

10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Play:

American Journal of Play

Assessing and Scaffolding Make-Believe Play


The Case for Play: How a Handful of Researchers Are Trying to Save Childhood

Read about the work of two researchers who have documented the many benefits that accrue from opportunities for young children to play.

Educational Services, Inc. (2000). A creative adventure: Supporting development and learning through art, music, movement and dialogue: A guide for parents and professionals. Alexandria, VA: Head Start Information & Publication Center.

Exploring Sand Play

Five Numbers to Remember About Early Child Development

Games for Growing:Teaching Your Baby With Early Learning Games

Invention at Play

These websites offer evidence for the importance of play and activities for using play to support learning.

/wp-content/uploads/legacy_assets/hoffmanboston/1cbc6ccb79-iapeducatorsmanual.pdf (educators’ guide)

/wp-content/uploads/legacy_assets/hoffmanboston/b261cf16cc-iapfamilyguide.pdf (family guide)

/wp-content/uploads/legacy_assets/hoffmanboston/3aca0e54c8-iapfamilyguide_espanol.pdf (family guide in Spanish)

National Institute for Play

Powerful Playtime: Toys and Learning for the Very Young Child

The Promise of Play: Playin the Lives of Animals and Children

Sand and Water video

StuartBrown: Play Is More Than Fun

Wedge, M. (2011). Play and the Child’s Sense of Self

The Wisdom of Play: How Children Learn to Make Sense of the World /wp-content/uploads/legacy_assets/hoffmanboston/1fd4507427-wisdom-of-play.pdf

Why Play-Based Learning?


 The Wisdom of Play: How Children Learn to Make Sense of the World /wp-content/uploads/legacy_assets/hoffmanboston/1fd4507427-wisdom-of-play.pdf

Early Childhood Intervention: The Power of Family

How We Play- Cultural Determinants of Physical Activity in Young Children

Inspiring Play Magazine

Lifter, K., Foster-Sanda, S., Arzamarski, C., Briesch, J., & McClure, E. (2011).Overview of play: Its uses and importance in early intervention/early childhood special education. Infants and Young Children, 24, 225-245.

Making the Most of Creativity in Activities for Young Children with Disabilities


National Professional Development Center on Inclusion. (2009). Research synthesis points on early childhood inclusion. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, FPG, Author.


Play-Focused Program and Children With Autism

Boulder Boy from First Person Impressions of Being a Baby.Available for purchase at

The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds

Isaacs, J. B. (2012). Starting school at a disadvantage: The school readiness of poor children.

What is Early Learning? /wp-content/uploads/legacy_assets/hoffmanboston/307ab44e09-whatisearlylearning.pdf

Trauma, Brain and Relationship: Helping Children Heal

Each segment of this video is available to download separately. The segments are The Very First Relationship, Brain Development at Risk, The Many Faces of Trauma, Relationship-Induced Trauma, Healing Trauma,and You Make the Difference

Children and Nature: Helping Kids Connect to Life Mysteries

Children and Nature Network

This network is leading the movement to connect children, families, and communities to nature through innovative ideas,evidence-based resources and tools, and broad-based collaboration.

Erikson, M. F. (n.d.).Shared nature experience as a pathway to strong family bonds. Children and Nature Network Leadership Writing Series, 1(1).

Get ‘Em Outside video

Get Out and Play

Novotney, A. (2008). Getting back to the great outdoors. Monitor on Psychology, 39(3), 58.

National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play

Natural Learning Initiative

North American Association for Environmental Education(NAAEE) 

NAAEE Publication(guidelines for excellence in programs, International Journal of Early Childhood Environmental Education, free download of the Early Childhood Environmental Education Rating Scale)

Environmental Education Toolbox (organized collection of publication for educators who provide professional development on environmental education)

Outdoor Play

Playing in the Sand Naturally

Sachs, N., & Vincenta, T. Prescription for Play: Nature-Based Learning and Play for Children with Autism and Other Special Needs /wp-content/uploads/legacy_assets/hoffmanboston/fdfb24a3f0-Prescription_for_Play_Supplemental_Materials.pdf

Supporting Outdoor Play and Exploration for Infants and Toddlers


The Wisdom of Nature: Out My Back Door

Thank you for taking the time to visit my page!          Jodi

Jodi Nicholson, M.Ed.    PreK Special Education Teacher