Winning product name: Teaching Young Children
Winning product company: National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
Teaching Young Children (TYC) has been one of the most popular and buzzed about magazine titles in our awards program for the past few years. TYC was shortlisted for the Golden Lamp Award three years in a row before winning the 2014 Golden Lamp in Periodicals (as well as taking home Periodical of the Year honors in the Adult division of the Distinguished Achievement Awards).
Judges rave about the magazine’s content, which presents accurate, timely information in a format that is fun and time-friendly for busy educators, as well as its visuals, which are colorful, appropriate, and clearly connected with the editorial themes. Respect and understanding, both for early childhood professionals and of the importance of early childhood education, are clear throughout the magazine’s pages.
Members of the TYC staff answered a series of questions about the magazine and its success.
The Inspiration (Derry Koralek, Chief Publishing Officer and TYC Editor in Chief): NAEYC member research revealed that some members felt our peer-reviewed professional journal, Young Children, was too long, too academic, and not practical enough for their daily work. Rather than tinker with the journal, I thought we should launch a new publication designed to meet the Association’s largest member subset—preschool teachers—providing them with research-based content, but delivered in a shorter and more engaging style.
The Audience (Meghan Dombrink-Green, Associate Editor): Teaching Young Children is a magazine by and for preschool teachers. It aims to help new teachers understand some of the excitement—and challenges—that are unique to working with this age group. Yet while we work with that group in mind, we’ve found that the magazine is popular among preschool directors and experienced teachers, too. It goes to show that the short and practical articles, and the colorful images, appeal to a wide audience.
The Process (Meghan): Patrick Cavanaugh, TYC’s graphic designer, does an amazing job on the magazine. He keeps each issue fresh while always maintaining the core look and feel. What makes him such a great asset, though, is the way he pays attention to details and carefully considers each article within the issue as a whole. He reads the content and considers it as he creates an appropriate design.
Patrick Cavanaugh, Graphic Designer: We aspire to create a design for each article that underscores and reinforces each particular subject. It’s an extra challenge in the design process to essentially start from scratch with each article, but it’s worthwhile because it keeps the magazine fresh and engaging for our readers. We may feature some excellent photographs provided by the author, or we might lead with a colorful illustration commissioned for the purpose. In order to maintain continuity, we use the same typeface for all title treatments, and certain design elements such as text boxes remain the same throughout.
The Feedback (Meghan): Our readers frequently tell us that the photos and illustrations are a huge part of why they like the magazine. They appreciate seeing photos of real teachers and children in the classroom. Their favorite features or articles are often the ones where the visuals play an important role.
We received a huge response to the column “Good Job Alternatives.” It offered the right combination of relevant content and fun illustrations that made it the most popular item on NAEYC’s Facebook page at that time. The topic resonated with readers who shared it with friends and colleagues.
The Innovation (Lauren Baker, Assistant Editor): One important thing that makes our magazine unique is the way we incorporate the voices of early childhood educators. Many of the articles we publish are written by teachers, which brings a level of practicality to the ideas and activities that appear in TYC.
Derry: TYC’s design incorporates large photographs and illustrations, and our team is always thinking about how we can present more information visually rather than through text. We present the content this way because teachers are often trying to digest information here and there as they can fit it into their busy schedules. We are committed to providing research-based content that supports developmentally appropriate practice for preschoolers. Topics addressed are both timely and timeless. Our images reflect diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity, settings, and activities. The result is a magazine that appeals to a wide audience. Our goal is for all preschool teachers to see themselves within the pages of Teaching Young Children.
Read more about TYC at www.naeyc.org/tyc/.