EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Archive for June 2012

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Superheroes are a fact of life.  They have many different names and belong to multiple generations.

I watched Superman (the real life actor) on television and my cousin Mark and I battled enemies and avoided kryptonite every day. Batman, Robin and all of their arch enemies came into my living room, were prized action figures and were some of the first books I learned to read.

My son and his sisters were huge He-Man and She-Ra fans and used superpowers to battle Skeletor who lived in Castle Grey Skull.  He-Man saved the world by identifying evil and collecting energy to bring about good.  Hours of childhood were spent using imagination and emerging skills to organize play scenes, select needed materials & supporting toys and to manage the role play of multiple characters.   Star Wars then came into our lives and Luke Skywalker and the Jedi were added to favorite movies, books and play “must-haves”.

My grandchildren have a collection of superheroes that all have amazing powers!  While Superman, Batman and Robin are in the cross generation classic mix of “good guys”, there are now many more!  Spiderman emerges as an early favorite quickly followed by a host of colorful, amazingly strong and incredible versatile characters with indestructible and very entertaining magical super powers.  

And there are common themes;

Children actively play their roles.  With great energy and enthusiasm, little children take on their favorite superhero persona.  They change their voices to mimic their hero.  Children lose themselves in magical worlds of imagination where anything and everything is possible.  Not only possible, but believable and necessary!  It is important to suspend reality and embrace opportunity.

There is a clear difference between good and evil.  There is no question who is good and who is not.  Language, visuals, actions and deeds all identify the superhero as good and arch enemies as bad.  Play choices reflect the needed conflict for the play scene with roles, dialogue and actions matching what “side” a character is on.  Children choose and create the conflict & the resolution.

Children are small and they have the chance to be big.  Larger than life characters envelop the child to offer a chance to be tall, strong and able to leap tall buildings, fly through the air, have arms made of steel, the ability to run at lightning speed and swim, breathe & talk underwater.  You can change shape to be as big as a mountain or as small as a mouse.

Mostly children are offered the chance to be the hero; a chance to save the day.

And what’s wrong with saving the day?

“This looks like a job for Superman!” Clark Kent

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

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Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Dear Dad,

I am watching you every day.

I watch you in the morning when everyone is together and you smile and talk with us as we all get ready.  It helps me know that my day will be good. 

I watch you cut the grass and squirt the hose and plant gardens with mom.  I love it when you let me have a turn to help you.  It makes me feel grown up and I know that you trust me.  I try really hard to do what you do.

I watch you cheering for me in the bleachers during my t-ball games.  I see you smiling and clapping for me when I finish my recital.  I look for you on the picnic bench when I am at the top of the playground climber and I know you are always proud of me.

I watch you buckle the baby in her car seat and make sure that I have everything I need.  I see you worry sometimes but I know that you can fix anything.

I watch you cook hot dogs and make sure that I have no skin left on mine and I know that you think I am very important.

I watch you take care of the dog and fix the window and make every free throw, and I think you can do anything!

I watch you when you are reading my favorite story with me.  I watch you find all of the puzzle pieces we need.  I watch you build the highest block tower, and think you are the smartest man in the world.

I watch you hold hands with mom and smile at her when you think I am not looking, and I know that you love her.  This makes me feel safe.

I watch you make friends and take care of them.  I watch you play and sing and laugh.  I watch you sit quietly and listen when I talk to you, and think you are the best dad ever.

I watch you watch me and I know that you love me more than anything in the whole world.

And I love you,

Your little one

Happy Father’s Day

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

This time of the year often brings with it formal end-of-the-year teacher conferences.  This can be exciting as well as stressful. 

  • Typically exciting for new parents with very young children or families that have not had any issues throughout the school year. 
  • Typically stressful for families whose children have struggled throughout the school year and / or there has not been a supportive connection built between the school and home.

Either way, formal teacher-parent conferences are a fact of life in most childcare and school settings.

Here are some ways to make conferences a positive experience:

  • Go to the conference at the time you were given or that you signed up for.  Creating scheduled time for each family in a classroom and throughout a childcare center or school is very tricky. 
  • Stay at your child’s conference for the allotted time.  If you feel that you want or will need more time than you are scheduled for, call the teacher as soon as possible to reschedule for another day.
  • Listen.  The teacher spends many hours with your child in a setting that is far different from home.  Expectations, responsibilities & activities in a group setting of 20 are not the same as in a family of 4.  A teacher will see and will share sides of your child that you don’t have a chance to be part of. 
  • Ask questions.  Come prepared with any questions you have regarding class closing plans, summer skill work or opportunities, recommendations for preparing your child for next year, available support needed…  if the school follows state mandates, uses specific assessment tools or has a published curriculum or accreditation base, find out about it or ask where you can look for more information.
  • Stay focused.  Your teacher will talk about your child only.  Do not comment on or ask for comments or information about any other child / children or families in the classroom.  Confidentiality policies are critical.
  • Say so.  If you have a concern about your child’s learning, social skills, abilities in the classroom or center or school settings, say so.  Your child’s teacher is your best resource.  
  • Find out.  This is a good time to find out about volunteer efforts needed for the center or school, ways that you can get involved in your child’s education and any program projects coming up.
  • Be pleasant!   Teachers love their children and have entered teaching because they are caring and dedicated professionals.  Your child has been surrounded by interesting lessons, exciting activities, knowledgeable school teams and focused individuals that strive each day to bring your child the best.

Children never come alone. Behind the home is the school, and the school the home.

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Summer is a great time to concentrate on potty training!  Bathing suits, shorts, sundresses and casual play lend themselves to quick trips to the potty, easy clothes to handle and lots of chances for success!  If you have an older toddler or a 3-year-old still in diapers or pull-ups, now is their time to shine!

Here is some information and standard tried and true tips for potty training:

Typically, children in good health have potty success by the time they are 3 or are in their third year.  Potty success delays are typically due to illness, inconsistent adult support and/or mixed messages and life’s busy schedule that makes it “easier” to continue diapers or pull-ups even after children are ready, willing and able to use the potty with success.  The cost of these products is astronomical over the long run; a family’s time is worth so much more.

  • Once started, don’t go back on forward potty progress.  It has been my experience and my training that mixed messages don’t work.  When children start to wear underpants, diapers are gone. Children, at this point, know that cloth underpants are to keep dry as best they can.  Pull-ups, while parents find these convenient for bedtime and older toddler play, are diapers in the shape of underpants.  It was ok to soil a diaper but now children know that they should keep underpants dry – and they want to!  So what should they do? Pull-ups send mix messages.
  • Daytime potty success precedes nighttime success.  Many children will have nighttime / sleep accidents long after they use the potty with complete daytime success.  Everything takes time.Set up success – have a potty chair or potty seat in your home bathroom if you think your child will use it and keep it clean.  Keep toilet paper in easy reach.  Teach children to wipe carefully and wash their hands after using the potty.  Childcare and schools typically do not allow potty chairs from home.  Work on bathroom toilet success.
  • Routines are helpful.  At wake up time, after snacks and meals and before bed are critical times to set up for a visit to the potty. Make this a fact of life.  Watch your child for their body timing.
  • Eliminate drinks and cereal with milk before bedtime.
  • Girls typically potty train faster than boys.  Urinating is successful ahead of bowel movements.
  • Help your child in all ways.  Celebrate effort as well as achievement.  Be patient.  Never scold or belittle a child when accidents occur (and accidents always occur!)   Always work with your childcare center or babysitter and make sure the same message is being sent.
  • Buy underpants that your child wants. Cinderella or Spiderman can be very motivating!
  • Expect the unexpected.  Have extra everything in your car, at grandmas and at childcare.

“One day you’re a superstar because you pooped in the toilet like a big boy,and the next day you’re sitting in the principal’s office because you said the word “poopy” in class” Dav Pilkey, Captain Underpants

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


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