EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Archive for December 2009

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

It’s such a privilege to walk into any of our centers and see happy, engaged children participating in such a wide variety of experiences. At EduKids, we understand that choosing the right childcare program can be a daunting decision.  I thought I would share with you some of our reasons for believing so strongly in center-based care.

Center-based care is defined as group care for children 6 weeks to 5 years old, with children typically cared for by the same team of teachers and aides in an age-based setting. Licensed by New York State under the Department of Social Services, childcare centers are found in self-contained buildings, schools, churches, and community centers. They are open for hours reflecting the needs of their community and are run either as private businesses or subsidized with federal, state, city or company funds. Accreditation through the National Association for the Education of Young Children is a defining factor in selection of quality child care centers.

Why Center-Based Care?

Commitment. Operating a childcare center is a career. It offers visible and tangible evidence that the director, teachers, aides and support staff are there for the sole benefit of your child. Educators have chosen to work at the center because they are using their degrees to teach and nurture children. Administrators have elected to work there to ensure the program is run professionally, with regard to nutrition, health and safety factors.

Children. Children love to be around other children. Parents, teachers and physicians agree that children grow and flourish in an environment that offers friendship, stimulation, learning experiences and play. Center-based care is rich in language, physical challenges and socialization. Child development is an ongoing process that is the base for everything from room arrangement to routines to selection of songs and materials.

Climate. Childcare centers allow parents to feel control over their decision. They are afforded the opportunity to design their own schedule, sit on decision making boards, offer suggestions and join a group of adults who have made the same childcare decision that they have. There is great comfort and strength in belonging. The climate is supportive, informative and empowering.

Whether your childcare needs are for full-time care, half-day care, preschool, infant programs or before and after school supervision for older children, make decisions after extensive interviews, solid research and joint agreement with all parties involved.

Your child and your family will be well cared for and enjoy a loving, learning experience in a high-quality child care center!

Make learning fun!
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Winter’s first chill is in the air, and some of us are even looking forward to snow. Winter break is just around the corner. Snow and vacation time are both wonderful, but sometimes they can combine to make circumstances at home less than ideal!

If the weather is too frightful for playing outside, and if your younger children are finding themselves at loose ends without the regular social outlets of school or childcare, keep the doldrums away and the TV at bay by making sure the whole family is prepared for indoor activity.

Create: Independent arts and crafts boxes should be readily available for your children. Include pencils, pens, glue, paper, scissors, glitter, yarn, ribbon, Play Doh, felt, fabric and anything else your child might want to use to exercise his or her creativity. Spread out some newspapers and see what they can come up with, with a lot of imagination and perhaps a little bit of glue.

Clean: Children soon realize that household responsibilities don’t take a vacation. The chores they do during a regular week should be completed, and parents can always add a few more – bearing in mind that realistic expectations are important. Some chores that do not require machine operations are: dusting, making beds, tidying bedrooms or playrooms, sorting and/or folding clothes, shoveling, washing dishes and sweeping floors. Don’t leave the little ones out!  They love to be helpers!  They feel important and “all grown up” when they are part of such an important family cleaning team!

Collect: Involve children in collections. Encourage them to research and organize something that is high interest for them, such as sports cards, pictures, recipes or music. If your child spends summertime collecting rocks, stones, shells or beach glass, now would be a great time to sort and display them! You can even allow your children to set up a “museum” to display their collections for a day or two.

Chill: Take some time to bask in doing nothing. Pick a day where nobody has to go anywhere or do anything crucial, and relax together as a family. Wear pajamas all day if you like, watch a favorite movie, curl up with a good book, or gather around a board game. Finger foods for lunch and maybe takeout for dinner will minimize the amount of work that needs to be done.  Together time is the best time.

Happy Holidays are indeed possible! Keeping your children active and engaged during vacation will help keep the joy of the season intact!

Make learning fun!
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


Over the years, so many parents have asked the EduKids staff for gift suggestions for children, and we are always happy to help. There are many excellent products on the market for children, and we do not advertise or promote any company or particular store, but here are some suggestions that you might find helpful while shopping. 

First, keep in mind these three things:

  • Safety: Check products for non-toxic, lead-free paint and secure closures, and be sure they are constructed from material that is durable and won’t break off or fall apart. Be sure there is nothing that will cause danger to the eyes; if it is a doll or soft cloth toy, check to see if it is non-flammable.
  • Age-Appropriate: Children have a whole lifetime to learn to play and participate in organized games. The 18 month – 5 year old will enjoy toys that are made with them in mind. Check the age suggestions on the boxes and be sure your child can handle the gifts selected.
  • Recommendations: If it was recommended by a friend, a parent or another child, chances are it is tried and true, but evaluate it on whether you think it will engage your own child. Does it have ‘flexibility’ – that is, is there more than one way to play with the toy? Does it encourage imagination? Toys that are all about pushing buttons are not as apt to become beloved.

Gifts that are always a hit: 

  • Music – CDs are lovely gifts for children. Old favorites like Raffi and the Wee Sing Series, or new fun performers like Laurie Berkner and Dan Zanes will get those little toes tapping. Soothing songs and instrumentals are also appropriate.
  • Games – Check that there are few small pieces and that you guide your child at the start. Games that can be played more than one way are always best for small children. (My Pizza Party, Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Hi-Ho Cherry-Oh, checkers)
  • Creative Toys – Classic children’s gifts are the classics for a reason: Puzzles with separate and interlocking pieces, Colorforms, Etch-a-Sketch, Playdoh, crayons/markers/paints, wooden blocks, Legos,  Memory games, Bingo
  • Skill-Building Toys – Your kids will learn while they play with lacing cards, large beads and shoelaces, dolls’ clothing that ties, snaps, zips or buttons, small change purses with snaps and zippers, Pick-Up Sticks, Barrel of Monkeys, jump ropes, size appropriate balls, and dress up clothes.
  • Electronics – if you have a computer, Nintendo, DVD player or other electronic equipment at home and intend to supplement it with Christmas gifts, please keep in mind your child’s age and abilities when making selections.
  • Softies – (my favorite) It is my belief that no matter what the age, everyone should have a “softie” under the tree Christmas morning. Stuffed animals, dolls, and all little friends are a welcome and cuddled gift. (Just be sure you check the eyes, clothes and movable parts for safety).

Wishing all of you a wonderful Holiday Season and a happy, healthy New Year! 

Make learning fun!
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director 

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

The holiday season is officially here! Now that the ghosts and goblins have marched past your door, there’s no stopping it. The shelves at the stores are already stocked with red and green, and we will be bombarded with Christmas trees, glitter and holiday music from now until December 26th. Television commercials, newspaper flyers and catalogs are already hyping Christmas, and as we know, our children are very susceptible to the glitz and promises that the media promote.

As parents, we are also susceptible – to the myth of the perfect Christmas. We imagine ourselves entertaining with the house decorated like something out of Martha Stewart’s magazine, with everyone dressed in velvet and using their best manners, with the family gathered around a gourmet meal, wreathed in smiles. We would love to give our children everything on their Wish Lists.

The reality is, we often find time, money and resources tight and children — as well as adults! — not using their best manners at the holiday season. Perfection is impossible to achieve, but here are a few tips that can help make this stressful time of year more joyful for you and your family.

  1. Think and plan ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute to run out for anything. Save time, money and nerves by getting things done a little at a time, starting today.
  2. Be realistic and set clear expectations. Children are often led to believe that they can have everything they see on television or the catalogs because no one tells them otherwise. If you (or Santa) will not be buying something they are hoping for/assuming they will get, say so and help your children find realistic alternatives to anticipate.
  3. Set the tone by your example. Time is by far our biggest hurdle. It is so important for children to know that they are our first priority, by the time we spend with them. Take a few minutes to enjoy the happy times of the season together. Even a few minutes planning simple holiday events together can be wonderful.
  4. Be good to yourself. Be conscious of the things that are stressful to you at this time of year and avoid them or deal with them constructively. Children also tend to be overly excited and anxious at this time of year. They can’t help it — there is too much going on all around them. If you can feel good about yourself and what you are doing, then your children will have the calm in the storm they need.

At EduKids, we love sharing our holidays with you and your children. We wish all of you a joyful and peaceful holiday season.

Make learning fun!
-Kate dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Welcome to the official month of Thanks.  I don’t know about you, but I am thankful each day for many reasons – it’s just that I feel obliged to be formally thankful on Thanksgiving!  Here’s my list…

Earl Grey tea with milk and sugar.

Gas in my car – most of the time.

My health is good – with the exception of a little thing for chocolate, I would be “ideal’.

SpringFresh laundry soap for clothes, lemon dish soap for the kitchen, “sweet pea” shampoo without tears for babies, Bed & Bath for me and Yankee Candle for my home (we have a big dog).

Grandma Lil’s family recipe for spaghetti sauce that she taught me how to make in her kitchen.

A really big vegetable garden with 40 tomato plants – to use in the sauce.

A great pair of black pants and a blue scarf my sister gave me.

The beach.

This list doesn’t seem like much, but it is part of my life.  I recognize its importance!  But am thankful for this and so much more.

I am overwhelmed by the joy and love of my grandchildren.  They are my heartbeats.

Each day finds me once again embraced by my husband, our beautiful children, “Big Nana”, extended family, dear friends and respected colleagues.

I am offered the daily opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children and families in my Western New York home.

Now it’s your turn.

Make your list.  Begin with the little things that make you – you.  They are important.

But they won’t compare with what you end your list with– save the best for last.

Happy Thanksgiving to All.

Make learning fun!
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


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