Archive for August 2011
New babies are born into families and with this birth there are always renewed commitments to be a better person, keep perspective on obligations and manage to juggle all of life’s bouncing balls. Whether this baby is the first born or joins siblings the fact that we hold new life is joyous as well as overwhelming.
One of my greatest privileges has been to support parents as they redesign the fabric of their family when a baby enters. Everything from recommending parenting support networks, time management strategies and tried and true bedtime routines has been on an agenda at one time or another. Certainly, child care is critical in many families and working through each thread of bringing a new baby to the centers is a process that is completed lovingly and respectfully.
In a childcare center or school setting, September brings so many changes and new beginnings. I’m not sure about data, but I can tell you from years of experience that each fall new babies join our centers in large numbers. And each baby brings with them anxious families with the desire to be strong partners with this new extended family that cares for their child in their absence.
I have made promises to children. I have heard the promises of beginning families. Somehow each of us promises our new babies the world. It just seems right.
I promise to always love you. I promise to always keep you safe. I promise to make you laugh. I promise to comfort and hold you. I promise to support your growing abilities and knowledge. I promise to keep you healthy in body, mind and spirit. I promise to keep these promises.
“My child…the tiniest thing I ever decided to put my whole life into.”
– T. Guillemets
Celebrate kindergarten and welcome your children to the wonderful world of learning.
As a former kindergarten teacher and parent and grandparent of kindergartners I can attest to the fact that the words of my favorite poem shared below will ring true for a lifetime.
Celebrate your children – celebrate kindergarten!
All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten
by Robert Fulghum
Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Kindergarten.
These are the things I learned:
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life –
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
___You are positive of the start date and time for each child’s childcare center, school or grade and it is on the calendar.
___Uniforms and / or clothes and shoes / sneakers are ready to wear. Outside gear is labeled and ready.
___Classroom supplies are bought, organized, labeled and ready to go.
___Backpacks and lunch carriers are bought, organized, labeled and ready to go. If lunch options are offered at your child’s school, you are sure of the arrangements and cost.
___All Center, school and/or grade paperwork is completed and where it belongs. You have copies.
___Center, school, grade information / calendars /contact information is confirmed and posted.
___Transportation schedules are confirmed, exact and posted in your kitchen and/or office.
___New bus riders and young bus riders have all information needed. Extra time is built in for bus riders.
___Alternate & in case of emergency transportation arrangements are confirmed, exact and posted.
___Arrangements for after school care are confirmed and shared as needed.
___When your child is sick, school holidays and non-attendance days are on your calendar and arranged for.
___School early dismissal dates are noted and arrangements are made for transportation and care.
___Emergency numbers and all needed contacts are confirmed, posted and shared with children and anyone else as needed.
___“School routines” for bath, bed, wake up time, and meals have already started.
___Any fall sports, activities and obligations are arranged for.
___Everyone is excited for this new school year!
“I’m all set for school! I can’t wait!” K.C. 4th grade student
“Neither can I!” her mom
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director
One of my favorite books that I share with parents and early childhood educators is Brain Games for Toddlers and Twos by Jackie Spilberg. This is a great book that includes simple games to promote early brain development. It’s easy to read, easy to use and children really enjoy the games!
I’d like to share some of these toddler games with you. These little games can be played indoors or out – with one child or including a friend.
Watch the smiles! Be part of the fun!
Jack in the Box (develop fine motor skills & eye contact / attention)
Say the following rhyme and do the accompanying motions:
Jack in the box, Jack in the box (make a fist with your right hand and hide your thumb inside)
It’s time to wake up and smile! (knock on your fist with your other hand)
One Two Three Four (keep knocking)
Out Jack pops from his round little door! (pop thumb up)
Play many times and encourage your child to do actions with you.
Yum, Yum (develop language & expectation of location)
While you prepare foods with your child, sing (Farmer in the Dell) or chant:
It’s time to find the milk
It’s time to find the milk
Milk is yummy in my tummy
It’s time to find the milk!
Move through the kitchen with your little one using this model with other foods.
Block Fun (develop motor skills, coordination & creativity)
Make disposable blocks out of small boxes and milk cartons.
Tape all ends together and cover boxes with contact paper – let children choose colors and patterns decorate blocks with stickers and crayons
sort blocks * carry blocks *stack blocks and knock them down! *place blocks in larger, open containers
Can You Find Me? (develops sense of permanence and expectation)
Pick a favorite toy. Hide the toy while your child is watching and say the following;
Where is bunny rabbit?
Where can he be?
Let’s find him quick one, two, three!
Go to the place the bunny was hiding and discover where it was. “Here is bunny – hooray!”
Continue game with other toys, encourage your child to hide a toy. Each time repeat rhyme.
Always favorites: Peek-a-boo/Reading and Word Fun/Sand & Water Play/Singing and Dancing
“A toddler’s brain is twice as active as that of a college student and can absorb
and organize new information much faster than adult’s brains can.”
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director