EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Archive for October 2010

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Temperaments are described as innate qualities that can often predict behavior and actions. When something happens and a person’s reactions are predictable you will hear “That’s just the way (he/she) is.”  This is a statement that shows a person’s temperament.

There are often 3 temperaments that are used as descriptors for actions and behaviors.

“Feisty” – Do you know children (and adults) that are excited about everything?  They love to speak their mind and can be seen as challenging and opinionated.  Often the life of the party, feisty temperaments demand, and get, attention one way or the other. They are often leaders.

“Fearful” – These are the children (and adults!) that are slow to start, needing a little extra prodding and coaxing to join a group or attend a function.  Yet once they are part of the mix, they do fine.  These children and adults enter slowly then get their bearings.  At times this initial hesitation can even be misinterpreted as disinterested or aloof.  It is neither – they simply look before they leap.

“Flexible” – And there are also children and adults we know that are easy-going and just plain nice almost all of the time. They are predictable, even-tempered, adaptable and pleasant.  These are the people you want to be around. A challenge to this temperament is that we are surprised when they “act out” or are ornery.

All of us have some of each of the above temperaments in the mix of our personalities.  But we also have one temperament that overrides the others.  As adults, we learn to adjust and temper our exchanges.  We recognize appropriate words and actions.   Children are just trying to figure this out.

Observe your child’s activity level and participation with others.   Knowing a child’s temperament can help you help them.  If your child hesitates to join a group, offer time for support and praise for effort as well as accomplishment.  If your little one runs with abandon, be sure you are keeping a close eye and helping her learn limits.  If loud noise startles your baby, find a balance between calm and playful.  If your little one smiles and plays with everyone, help him be a friend.

As children age and become members of groups and teams, some will be leaders, some pleasant parts of the mix and some reluctant members.  And as we know, this can change from day-to-day! Celebrate and respect your child for who they are.

“There is always room for everybody.  Come in whoever you are!”  Winnie the Pooh

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

We talk about being well all the time.  We want our children to grow up with healthy habits.  We want to be the model of health for them. 

Do you have a family wellness plan?  If not, try this one!

Family Wellness Plan

  1. Make and keep appointments for medical and dental checkups and treatments. This goes for you and everyone else in your family.   Immunize your children! 
  2. Insist on clean hands and faces.  Wash hands with liquid soap and warm, running water.  Have a “one use rule” for wash cloths – this is especially important for older children who have sensitive skin and are worried about breakouts.
  3. Dress according to the weather and your daily activities.  Cover feet in cold weather.  Keep “simple” jackets and sweaters in easy reach. Wear hats and hoods. Use an umbrella.
  4. Brush teeth –in the morning and before bed.  Follow any dental instructions.
  5. Wipe noses often and throw out the tissue.  Teach children to blow their nose. Make sure hands are washed after each tissue use!
  6. Eat healthy foods in a balanced diet.  Eat together at home more than eating out.
  7. Get plenty of sleep & rest. 
  8. Be active indoors and out.  Play, talk with and actively listen to each other.
  9. Model reading as a priority.  Read to your children every day.  Have older children read to you every day.  Keep “screen” time to a minimum.
  10. Have a Welcome! mat at your front door.

This is not a fancy wellness plan. 

One number is not more important than the other but I hope you will post it on your fridge and be well each day!

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Did you know there are different social stages of play?   The way that children respond to a group and/or engage other people they are near is considered a “social play stage” – the way they use their environment, toys and skills during “play”.  

Families know that playing is a wonderful way to connect to children and really enjoy their developing skills and interests.  I thought I would share some information on play so you can get a better idea of why your child plays the way they do at different ages!


Onlooker Play Stage (birth – approx. 12 months) – “Mmmm, what is this all about?” Infants love to look.  They are so new to the world that it is their “job” to discover how people, objects and places work.  They are watchers of play – not interacting at all. They listen to music and sound.  They pay attention to colors and motion.

Solitary Play Stage  (approx. 12 – 24 months)– “Hey! That looks like fun. I want to try it myself”.  Still not interacting, infants love to pick a favorite toy or funny sound and just spend time discovering all about it, aka “playing with it.” As infants grow they still begin to concentrate their play on single toys, but will smile and grab and look for you to positively respond to the shaking rattle or rolling ball.

Parallel Play Stage (2 years olds) – “Don’t even look at my toys! How dare you ask me to share!”  Toddlers are moving!  Now they can choose a toy or playspace they want – not just play with what is given to them. They are starting to realize the power of language that is possessive, inviting and fun!  But, like parallel lines in the universe, toddlers will move through space, sit next to each other with toys and want the same things without ever interacting.  Because when you are a toddler what’s mine is mine. (Click here to see Kate’s Corner column The Toddler’s Creed.)

Associative Play Stage (3 year olds) – “OK, we can play with blocks together.  You can pick up the blue car that I put down and I’ll use the red car you just had.  I’ll be the driver!”  Early preschoolers (3 & 4) have discovered that playing with other kids and adults is fun – as long as they can still have what they want and sometimes boss you around.  This is the time that children will look to you for verbal play directions (“Let’s make lunch for the baby,” or “Let’s drive the car down the ramp.”)  This play stage sees incredible growth in physical abilities that children want to use in play.  Playgrounds, early sports and adult led play inside & outside is important.

Cooperative Play Stage (4 +) – “Cool! Hey look, we made a fort!  Everybody get in!”  Aahhhh – what we have been working towards all along! Solid preschoolers and older children socially play with success.    Group games, shared play leadership, role-playing and recognized play success adds to all skill development.

With all this said, children will go in and out of play stages. Older children will move in and out of the social play stages they have already been in.  Younger children will not “jump” ahead in stages.
Adapted from the work of education theorist Jean Piaget

“To the Bat Cave, Robin – we have important work to do today!” said the 5 year olds with a container of Batman toys and vehicles…

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

1992: “Yes!  We did it!  EduKids is accredited by NAEYC!” Nancy Ware, owner and President of EduKids, Inc. 

Fast forward to September 2010: “Yes!  We did it!  EduKids is accredited by NAEYC!” Nancy Ware, owner and President of EduKids, Inc.

Between 1992 and 2010, ten of our EduKids Early Childcare Centers have been accredited by NAEYC!  Established in 1989, our flagship EduKids Center in Orchard Park was our first NAEYC accredited center, accredited in 1992. 18 years later, EduKids has grown from one center to 12 early childcare centers operating under the NAEYC accreditation standards for high quality early education.  Our Centers have been continually accredited and re-accredited with the most recent EduKids Center notified of success on September 22, 2010!  Today, EduKids is proud to have 10 of our early childhood centers NAEYC accredited, 1 center is in Step 3 candidacy and the last of our 12 centers just opened 4 weeks ago.  We look forward to starting the process with our newest center next year!

To be a part of NAEYC accreditation for 18 of the academy’s 25-year accreditation history has really been something!  We have been totally engulfed by the early, middle and recent processes of data collection – who can forget the orange observation booklets now replaced by the evidence driven portfolios?  We have begged, cajoled and pleaded with literally hundreds (no thousands) of families and staff members to complete NAEYC questionnaires. We have welcomed dedicated and professional validators, now assessors, into our Centers.  We have promoted NAEYC accreditation on the local, state and national level and we have seen the steady progress of NAEYC’s response to accreditation challenges. We have seen the addition of academy employed assessors, scholarships, tutorials, focused resource / journal information and hurray therightchoiceforkids website and TORCH. 

Without question things have changed over NAEYC accreditation’s 25-year history. Being a part of NAEYC accreditation for over 18 years has been a parade of poodle perms, the “Rachel” haircut and now “whatever” hair. Who would have thought body art would be a norm? We have been through a work look of never having a shirt un-tucked to not being caught dead with a belt, home phones to cell phones, records to iPods and paper resources to Kindle tm. Through all of these changes, the goal of a dedicated, diverse and qualified workforce has been the same, NAEYC accreditation. 

Without question there has been one constant through NAEYC Accreditation’s 25-year history. NAEYC provides a national and worldwide voice to help early childcare providers be the very best in early care and
education for young children and their families. Through standards, resources, current research applications and advocacy,  NAEYC Accreditation is the national standard of excellence.

That is why EduKids is proud to be part of this amazing history.

Happy 25th Anniversary NAEYC Accreditation!  Keep up the great work!

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


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