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Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

As we get ready for “Back to School” and a whole new group of children will be heading from Pre-K into kindergarten, celebrate kindergarten and welcome your children to the wonderful world of learning! 

As a former kindergarten teacher, a mother and grandmother 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:

Share everything.
Play fair.
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.
Flush.
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.
Be aware of wonder.

Enjoy these school years!  They go by too quickly!

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Dear families,

The checklist is being sent out this year because so many of our families found it helpful last year in their final plans for the start of school!  Enjoy these last beautiful days of summer!

A  check list to help make sure that you are ready for the start of school!

___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.  Make sure you keep 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.
___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

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Summer brings a ton of new invitations…..school will be starting soon…..everyone is busy and routines are changing! As parents, we’ve all been in situations similar to these…

Your child screams when you leave him with a babysitter. Your toddler is starting in a childcare center and clings to your leg sobbing as you try to walk out the door. You are already fretful that your young school-ager will announce that she doesn’t like kindergarten and won’t go back.

Some ideas that work for separation anxiety:

  • Keep your anxiety to yourself. Children will follow the lead of their parent – most often their mom. This is called “social referencing”. Even the youngest infant will pick up on feelings of stress or calm from an adult. Your children will use you as a reference to gauge their feelings and reactions. If you are nervous and fretful about a separation they will be too.
  • Be totally secure in the separation and who you are leaving your child with.
  • Talk through the process with toddlers and older children. Use positive words and gestures. Offer pleasant anticipation of what they will be doing and the fun they will have. Respectfully reassure older children that a new routine or event is positive and will be successful.
  • Familiarize your child with a new person, place or activity they will be involved with. A babysitter should come and play before being left alone with your child. Meet a teacher together and visit a center or school together before formal attendance. Take pictures of the place they will be a part of before they go. Keep it on the fridge and talk about it. Is there a buddy they will be with?
  • Keep separation simple. Although it is tempting to cling to a screaming baby and stay with a crying toddler or preschooler, a routine for their entrance and your exit is truly the best for your child and you. School attendance is not an option. Therefore, routine is key to success.
  • Stay together in simple ways when apart. Make sure your family picture is part of your little one’s new environment. Keep a little scarf or sweater of yours in their cubby or backpack (smell is a powerful sense of recognition). Write a little love note for your older child’s lunchbox.
  • Confidently reassure them that you will be back home when left with a babysitter, you will get them at the end of their program day and you will be so glad to see them at the end of their school day.
  • Take a breath! Separation anxiety is real and it affects not just your child, but you. It’s hard to leave someone we love so much. But they will be fine – really. And so will you.

“Mommy, don’t gooooooooooo!!!!” cries the wailing 3-year old left with Megan, the babysitter….

“Megan, don’t gooooooooo!!!!” cries the same 3-year old when her mommy came home three hours later!

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

It’s Olympic week throughout the world!  There will be high focus on sporting events, sportsmanship and athletic abilities.  There will be celebrations of individual accomplishments and team success.  There will be “winners” on a worldwide stage and “losers” in an Olympic Stadium.  The U.S. athletes and teams will be celebrated!  They will be positioned on television and in advertisements as the models of health & athletic skills.   All of this is exciting!

What lessons are young children learning about individual and team sports? I think we can learn so much from this Olympic week as we look at our children, as a member of a team or as an individual athlete.  What are the benefits of team sports? 

Considerations:

  1. Before your child joins a team or begins lessons in any formal sport: baseball, soccer… or class: dance, gymnastics, swimming… make sure that this is your child’s interest.
  2. Check schedules of practice, games, recitals and cost.  What will you have to do as the child’s parent?  This is your commitment – and it is often substantial to a family’s time and budget.

Benefits of team sports:

  • Health.  Athletes are healthy.  A team will practice together under the watchful eye of the coach.  Nutrition will be highlighted, strength will be celebrated and healthy habits will be taught for both individual stamina and team benefit.  A healthy body is critical to development and growth.  Exercise is continual and builds muscles, strength and endurance; life long skills.
  • Healthy Competition.  Team sports look different throughout your child’s ages and stages.  Initially, a team will not focus on or tolerate competition until the skills needed for the sport are established and practiced.  Young children will have coaches who are on the field with them giving individual verbal direction and supporting all attempts at the game.  Later, competition will be introduced as part of the sporting event – a team wins together and a team loses together. Individuals do not win a game.  An individual does not lose a game.   As children get older and are ready to understand healthy competition, they will work very hard on their skills and recognize the skills and contributions of others on their team as well as their own important role.
  • Friendship building.  Being on a team offers many opportunities to make friends and be a friend.  Often young children who are together on a team are lifelong friends.  Trophies and photos of little athletes with their team or a new swimmer diving into the pool are cherished forever.

“The Olympics bring families and communities together.  Children and families are watching.  I watch in awe…the competition…the athletes caught up in the excitement!”  GO TEAM USA!! First Lady Michelle Obama

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Pools are cool and skates are still great, but so is summer reading!   Now is the time to really get your children interested in sitting in the shade on a towel, chair or blanket and letting them dive into a basket of books!

Babies and toddlers love to hold, touch and look at books as well as listen to wonderful stories.  Preschoolers can be pretty independent and specific about their book choices; good!  The more choices you provide the more they learn to find their likes and interests.  School agers should put down their hand-held devices, get away from the computer and hold a book in one hand and a smoothie in the other.

Here is a summer reading list for young children:

  • Where the Wild Things Are (and other titles) by Maurice Sendak
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? (and other titles) by Eric Carle
  • When I Grow Up by Caleb Burroughs
  • I Love You as Much… by Laura Krause
  • Busy Lizzie by Holly Berry
  • Fairies; A Celebration of the Seasons by Beverly Masson
  • Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
  • Pete the Cat, I Love My White Shoes (series)by Eric Litwin
  • Copy Me, Copy Cub by Richard Edwards
  • Get Ready, Baby by Margaret Miller
  • Corduroy (series) by Don Freeman
  • Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
  • Green Eggs & Ham (and other titles) by Dr. Seuss
  • David Goes to School by David Shannon
  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Down by the Cool of the Pond by Tony Mitton
  • Peter’s Chair(and other titles) by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Llama, Llama Red Pajama (series) by Anna Dewdney     

Great reading resources are libraries, schools, bookstores and other parents!  Try www.earlylearningcommunity.org for a free support of recommended titles and reading games.

There is no question that reading is critical to growth and development.  It is essential for success in school and life.  Read recommended titles but don’t be a reading “snob.”  If your children are interested – so are you; there are lots of superhero & princess books that draw little hands and minds to them!  Read in front of your children, for your children and with your children. Start reading with your children as infants and invite grown children into your book club!  They will do what you do.

“Read us a story, Peter Pan!” Wendy and John Darling

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

If any of these “Common Mistakes” look familiar, just do the opposite!!   You will see positive results, you will develop skills rather than react to behaviors and you will lose the guilt – which too often leads to overcompensating and starting at “square one” again and again and again…

Common Discipline Mistakes Made by Adults:

  • Giving in to tantrums or whining.
  • Bribing or threatening children to get them to behave.
  • No consideration of what your child is truly able to do – expectations are too high.
  • Comparing the misbehavior of one child to the appropriate behavior of another.
  • Making threats the adults will not carry out.
  • Making promises the adult cannot keep.
  • Offering choices where none exist.
  • Trying to shame or embarrass a child into desired behavior.
  • Failing to recognize appropriate behavior.
  • Rewarding inappropriate behavior.
  • Forcing children to compete for rewards.
  • Failing to actively listen to a child’s side of the story.
  • “Punishment” that does not fit the “crime”.
  • Calling a child names.
  • Never expecting the best.

Consider why you respond to challenging behavior in negative ways.  Once you consider what happened to you and how you responded to your child, you will change. And it will work. I guarantee it.

“A quick fix is never a cure.” M.F. Barrett

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


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