EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Archive for November 2009

iStock_000006308699XSmallAs we move forward into our school year, you will notice that our main focus in curriculum revolves around literacy.  As parents and educators, we understand the importance of reading to children everyday.

In our classrooms, we will be reading to children in large groups, small groups, and one on one.  We will encourage children to handle books, turn pages, and read to each other. We will also be doing other important work such as writing together.  In the preschool classrooms, you will see morning messages, word walls, language charts, children’s names and writing centers.  In our toddler rooms, you will see teachers writing in front of children to show the formation of print, children’s names, pictures with words, and posted recipes. Everyday, your children will experience activities that develop language such as singing, finger plays, and games.

The most important job you have as a parent is to read, read, read!  It is so simple and yet the most effective way to prepare children for a life long journey in learning.

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

All parents, at one time or another, find themselves at a loss when it comes time to be the disciplinarian.  Over and over again, that concern surfaces as we talk to parents, both in our EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers and in the community. As teachers and caregivers, we try to head off that challenge by implementing what we call positive discipline.

Here are some basic tips to use with children of all ages, to help defuse discipline problems before they even start.

1) Established Expectations: Make sure your child knows what he can expect from you. Children often don’t deal well with surprises or know how to cope in new situations, and adults often become frustrated when their children state, “I didn’t know….”  Explain rules and consequences, and follow through with them. Prepare your children ahead of time before putting them into a potentially new or unfamiliar situation, letting them know how you expect them to behave.

2) Consistency is Key: Set your rules and limits carefully, then stick with them. If children are not allowed to eat in the living room today, then they aren’t allowed tomorrow – no matter how tired you are or what relatives are over. If exceptions are made too often, children can’t be sure what is right and what is wrong.

3) Stay Calm: Nobody wins a shouting match. All too often parents say and do things they regret, and feel guilty later because things got out of control. Help your children – and your stress levels – by modeling appropriate behavior for handling anger and frustration.

4) Set Priorities: Decide what infractions you can live with and what is out of the question. One parent may not be able to tolerate children not cleaning up, while another parent may place this at the bottom of the priority list. Pick your battles. And remember, your child assimilates your value system!

5) “Catch” Your Child Being Good: An important part of discipline is praising your child when they’ve exhibited appropriate or exceptional behavior. Be positive, use a loving voice and gestures, and reinforce their efforts to cooperate at every step. Children will always respond to positive praise, no matter what their age.

The word “discipline” often carries a negative connotation, but discipline does not equal punishment! In the field of child development, discipline refers to methods of modeling character and of teaching self-control and acceptable behavior, which is what we strive for here at EduKids.

Make Learning Fun!
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Once upon a time, we brought a new puppy into the house. A puppy is a baby with four feet and fur. He put everything in his mouth. He pooped where he shouldn’t have. He cried at night. He was very expensive. And yet, we adored him and instantly couldn’t imagine life without him.

My children were older, yet became totally consumed with and excited about the introduction of this little pet. They took on new responsibilities. They were attentive to, and curious about, the many changes they saw in the puppy’s behavior and growth. They were mindful and helpful. They had a wonderful time while learning something new.

No, I’m not trying to convince you to buy your children a pet! I’m just using this example to point out that introducing your children to new things and experiences is an invaluable part of your role in their lives. Among other benefits, it can lead to some wonderful discussions, teaching you more about your child even as it teaches them to evaluate their experiences. Ask them:  What’s different? What’s similar? What do you like best? What don’t you like? How does this “something new” personally affect you? What new responsibilities are there for you? Did you enjoy this? If not, why?

We often fill our children’s lives with too much of the same thing. It’s easier, cheaper and more convenient for most of us to repeat activities and situations. While it is absolutely valuable to allow children to find comfort in familiarity, it is also essential to introduce them to new aspects of life that may have far-reaching influence: A pet, a garden, a food, a destination, a toy, a friend, a job, a color of paint, a visit to a gallery, an author, a project, a picnic spot, a play, a song, a joke, a game, a recipe. New is different, and different can be good!

What a privilege to experience, with your children, the variety that life offers us. Anything you introduce them to, no matter how small, may very well become something they love forever. No matter how old they are.

Make Learning Fun!
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Juggling parenting, a job, running a household and all of your other responsibilities can lead to immense amounts of stress for most parents. Unless you are naturally hyper-organized or have a personal assistant to sweat the small stuff for you, chances are you have days when you wonder how many more balls you can keep in the air.

Here are a few tips that should help you to manage, if not eliminate, some of that life stress you can’t seem to escape:

Downsize: Ask yourself if a task or responsibility is worth the added time pressures. Or, see if you can stay involved in a more manageable way.

Delegate: You will be surprised at how successful and willing many people are to help you. You can also draft those who don’t volunteer.

Delineate: Think your day through, then write down what you need to do, and what you’ll need to have to accomplish your tasks. (If you have ever found yourself in your car or at a store wondering why you are there, this one’s for you!) Cross things off as you go, so you can see how much you’ve accomplished.

Set goals: Set realistic, attainable goals for all aspects of your life. Check on your timing and progress periodically. This really works! Being able to evaluate where you’ve been and where you’re going can help you feel a sense of control over your busy life.

Get it in Writing: Post a calendar, date book or To-Do list that everyone in the family can see – some kind of system to alert you to all appointments and tasks that need to be done. As soon as your kids are able, train them to write their schedules down, too. This eliminates those unpleasant moments of “You’ve got to be kidding … That was today?!”

Above all, do your best. Life can get in the way of the best-laid plans! On the days when you feel like it’s all too much, remember: people don’t always finish what they start, say what they mean or keep appointments – but somehow the world keeps turning. Do the best you can and keep trying to get better. We’ve all been there!

Make Learning Fun!
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Little fire fighter toddlerI hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween! So now, what do you do with those costumes? I suggest getting your money’s worth and letting your child continue their pretend play. There is an argument being made by some experts that one of the best indicators of a child’s success is how ‘creative’ they are in play.

When children are given the opportunity to wear capes, heels, goggles, or fire hats, it lets them take on a new role. Think about the reaction you give your little one when they are dressed up compared to when they are in ordinary clothes. Your child is living in a moment where a new character can take over and they notice how you react to it.

Playing dress up can give children a real sense of control, too. When a child is pretending to be super strong, able to run faster than lightning, or even being the teacher, they are in control of the scenario and outcomes. This lets your child practice their leadership skills.

Plus, one of the greatest benefits to dramatic play is the vigorous activity that can accompany it. Kids just run faster in a cape, jump higher with goggles on, and play longer when they are chasing crime!

So before you put those great costumes away, think about putting them to good use in your home.


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