EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Archive for August 2010

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Top 10 Kindergarten Prep Tips For Families

1. Acknowledge that your kindergarten child is only 4 or 5 years old and it is fine to be a kid!

2. Be positive about all aspects of this new experience.

3. Find out everything you can about your child’s school district and your child’s school building; school calendar, what is expected of kindergarteners on their first day, paperwork required, meetings, bus schedules, etc…. Investigate your district / school’s website for important addresses, phone numbers and contact names.

4. Physically make your child ready for their new building, school grounds, new friends and new thing. Visit the school and playground ahead of time…take the “new” out of whatever you can for their first day of kindergarten!

5. Get involved with other parents and the community.

6. Stay informed about how young children learn and advocate for good practice. Practice skills and play with your child this summer!

7. Understand that your child will be one of 20-25 children in their kindergarten classroom and things will change. Talk about and practice listening, sharing, waiting, independence…

8. Physically begin their kindergarten routine this last week of summer; rest, bed and wake up times, ride the bus, lunchtime schedule…Set up a simple wall calendar to track school days.

9. Be ready! Establish consistent family routines – back up sick care – prepare for after school care and days off– rest, homework and play. Kindergarten is busy enough. Don’t over schedule your child or yourself!

10. Attend everything offered to parents – orientation, open house, meet the teachers — PARTICIPATE!

BE EXCITED!!

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

 “Children and teens should be physically active for at least 60 minutes on most, preferably all, days of the week”   *USDA 

Good advice.  

While we all know that team sports and activities like soccer and dance keep muscles moving, here are some tips provided by the USDA for everyday activities as well!
“Do Plenty”  Move whenever you can. 

  • Take a Walk!  Walk the dog, walk to school or to the store, walk to friends’ houses.
  •  Play outside – yes, outside!  Toys used inside can be used outside in the yard or on the sidewalk.
  • Ride bikes and roller-skate.
  • Throw balls in the back yard and aim for a hoop.
  • Housework helps.  Let kids vacuum and dust.  Sweep and mop floors and walk up and down stairs.

“Do More”  Get those hearts pumping! 

  • Run and jog, skip and gallop.                                                                                      
  • Kick those legs in dance and gymnastics.
  • Jump, hop and play with that hoola- hoop sitting in your garage.                                               
  • Roll around in the leaves, in the pool and down the hill.                                                          

 “Do Enough”  Find ways to help children locate muscle movements.                                                                 

  • Create arm strength through simple actions like stirring batter and big actions like shoveling and digging. 
  • Grow a garden and pull weeds.
  • Stretch and work out with yoga, pull-ups and sit-ups.                                                              
  • Lift weights; from soup cans to wrist weights.  Match the weight to the strength of your child.

“Do Less”  A little goes a long way.Try to limit these activities – for you and your children!                                  

  • Playing on a computer and with hand-held electronic games.                                                         
  • Watching television.                                                                                               
  • Talking on the phone and texting.                                                                                  
  • Laying on the couch and just sitting around.

   
Help your children be even healthier!
Along with these tips from USDA, check out MyParamid.gov for nutritious snacks and good meals. 

Every parent knows that an active child is a healthy and happy one.  So what are you waiting for??  Get Moving! 

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director 

  

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Knock Knock            Who’s there?
Banana.                       Banana Who?
Banana Banana 

                                           
Knock Knock             Who’s there?
Banana.                        Banana Who?
Banana Banana 

                                   
Knock Knock            Who’s there?
Orange.                       Orange Who?
Orange ya glad I didn’t say banana?! 

A very young infant will smile when he is being held and hears the voice of a caring adult – no, it is not gas! – it is an attachment response to pleasure and beginning trust.  A baby’s first giggles are the result of playing “Peek A Boo” with her around 6 months old.  “Peek A Boo” is followed by “Where Did The Doggie Go?”  At around 12 months. This consists of putting a blanket over a favorite stuffed animal, holding your hands up with palms out and saying “Where did the doggie go?” followed by a little barking.   Toddlers laugh over and over reading their favorite book with pictures of monkeys wearing hats and jewelry.  Preschoolers tell funny stories about spending “a million hours jumping in the Bounce House” and laugh when you tell them – with great exaggeration – that you have looked everywhere for your shoe that they are hiding behind their back! 

And so it goes…                           

Children are funny and they are fun to be with!  
We spend a great deal of time, money and energy taking children places that are advertised as “fun.” We take our kids away to have fun and bring things to them (at birthday parties or events) to make them laugh.  This is great fun and there are wonderful places for families to go and special events to enjoy.
But, what about every day? 

  • Know your children!  What makes them laugh?  What do they enjoy?   Chances are that they spend a lot more time smiling and laughing when they are with you doing “nothing” than when they are being carted around & are over-tired.  Recall all of the things that made your children laugh and talk about it with them.  Listen for their laughter – watch for their smiles.
  • Be silly!  Wear the bedazzled dress up crown and rule the kingdom with your daughter. 
  • Spray the hose on a waiting preschooler while you fill the pool (and expect a spray back)! 
  • If your toddler laughs when the dog does tricks for a treat – put on a show. 
  • Change your voice reading a favorite book and be sure to talk like the animals! 
  • How about a “mistake” of orange mashed potatoes or green milk?
  • Smile & Laugh.  Find humor in your children.  Laugh when they laugh. 
  • Ask them to “do it again” when they put on a dance show – then ask them to teach you their moves. 
  • Play games that make them smile and laugh.  Read stories about funny characters and funny places. 
  • Laugh out loud! It’s contagious.

A 5 year old recently told this joke:                                                                         

How can you make a stinky skunk not smell? 

Plug your nose!
  

I know you’re laughing. 

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

I feel like summer just started – it has been an absolutely perfect summer for outdoor events and play!  But households everywhere are gearing up for school schedules and routines. Whether your child is starting a new class in childcare or attending kindergarten and up, this time of year demands attention from rookies and seasoned veterans alike. 

Start now.  It’s time.

Think through details and make important decisions now to take as much drama as possible out of September.  The younger the child, the more critical this process is – for the whole family.

  1. Find out exactly what is expected on the first day and in the first week of school; clothing, supplies, money, food, forms, identification.  What is allowed or not allowed in the school buildings; backpacks, lunch boxes? How do kindergartens handle lunch $, gym clothes? Are certain foods, toys, music, games, clothing not allowed?
  2. Know what time school starts and ends.Keep a calendar and daily schedule where everyone can see it.  On the schedule, make sure to list: wake up time, bus number (or transportation plan) and time to leave house. What is the end of school plan for time and location of pick up? Who is responsible to insure each day is accounted for?
  3. Know an exact plan for each day if before and/or after school care is needed.
  4. Know the exact plan for scheduled days off.
  5. Make an emergency plan the whole family is aware of.  This includes a plan for the day that the bus or carpool is late and you have a morning meeting or you won’t be home to meet the bus because of traffic.  What happens when your child throws up in the front hall or gets sick in school?  Bad weather days are a given in western New York – make plans.  Plan to expect the unexpected – you simply have to.
  6. Post on your fridge: the school calendar, highlight early dismissal and half days, conference days and holidays. 
  7. Keep a list of important school phone numbers (print off websites), addresses and school personnel.  Know how to spell the teacher’s name.

I’m sure some of you have been school shopping all summer….it’s fun and exciting!  But while kids think a new backpack and sneakers are all you need to start school – we as parents know differently! 

Start now to welcome a wonderful September!

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Mama Mia, Pizzeria

The Baby’s got ________.

Can you guess this rhyme (or a version of it) that is a favorite with the preschool and kindergarten crowd?  If not, I feel sorry for you!  You are missing out on a real treat in beginning language and secretly enjoying a few laughs with young learners deciding what they can get away with!

Are you hearing words that are less than desirable in your home, from your child or their friends?  Here are some reasons for it and guides to use with it.

Why?  Children are literally combining exploding abilities in multiple growth domains.  They are processing everything they see, hear, touch, smell and taste.  They are thinking things through.  They are connecting their brains with their bodies at incredible speed.  They have discovered that language is powerful.  They are keenly observant and don’t miss a trick.  They have learned to store information and use it later.  They are testing their place in the group – as leader, follower, learner, helper, comedian, challenger, peacemaker…  This age likes to push the envelope to see what they can get away with and who they can get a reaction from.
And as everyone knows – if a child gets a laugh or reaction once, they will repeat the joke, word or action over & over & over….

So what to do?

  1. Consider the source.  Children literally learn every single bit of communication, primarily vocabulary, from adults.  They did not make these words or actions up – they have learned them.  Please don’t blame a child for adult actions. Often this makes us look in the mirror.  Make sure they hear & learn better words from you.  Monitor the adults your child is with. If you don’t like the actions or words of an adult or another child in your child’s life, say so! 
  2. Give high praise for “nice” words and actions – make a big deal.  Remember you are their most important teacher.  They are interested and responsive to what you think.  Never miss a chance to validate your child’s kind words or actions. 
  3. Ignore what you can.  Potty words lose their glamour quickly and insisting everything is “poopy” gets old when no one pays attention to it.  Children learn quickly what gets a reaction and what doesn’t.  Remember that negative attention is better than no attention at all.
  4. Replace.  If they have learned a bad word, give a replacement word that they can use.  Start to use a fun word yourself i.e. “Beans!- I dropped it!” 
  5. NEVER ignore bullying, threatening or mean words.  Follow above steps but quickly respond. Very often we give young children entirely too much credit in understanding how to solve a problem or resolve a conflict when they simply don’t know.  They are very young and they need you.

Beans!!! You still haven’t figured out the rhyme?!  Go find a kindergartener.

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


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