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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

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.  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

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

I don’t really consider myself a winter person.  I prefer sandals and t-shirts to boots and turtlenecks.  Out of necessity I help shovel the driveway but insist I get the parking space in the garage.  The only reason I like winter at all is because I have an excuse to drink hot chocolate with sprinkles and whipped cream and not feel guilty!

 
When my children were little, I used to love the snow.  I have photos to prove it. I have grandchildren now that absolutely love to run and jump into snow hills and just play in the snowy yard.  So when I join them, I can’t help but find magic in this sparkly cold powder that drifts to the ground.  (Even if I know I will eventually have to shovel it.)

 
Have you watched (I mean really watched) your children in the snow outside?  They are wonderful with bright cheeks and misty breath.  They move with steady grace (even toddlers once they get the hang of it) and they run with reckless abandon.  Children find magic in falling snow.  They see wonder in snow-covered playgrounds and they howl and scream when they slip, slide, and sled.  Half the time they don’t care if their hat is missing or their gloves are soaked. 

You have the real privilege of being able to enjoy winter with children in your own back yard.  I know it takes time to dress little ones and help dress “big” ones in all of their outside gear.  But..                                                                                                                                               

*Plan ahead in hallways and closets – be sure there is space for everything.  Consider where all of that wet, cold gear will go when everyone comes in.  Are there dry clothes to change into?   Boots in the garage or hall?  Set your children up for successful play transitions.

*Have extra gear on hooks and in bags.  Consider assignment and thrift shops for extras.                           

 *Winter fun is learning about weather, animals, plants and clouds. It is a chance for friendship, fun, lessons in balance & motion and taking aim or ducking for cover in a snowball fight!  Your snowy yard and slushy street is an exciting classroom (ssh… don’t tell the kids).

 *Consider taking outside what children enjoy inside. Scoops, shovels, bowls, trucks, balls, plastic toys, blocks & people… Invite friends to climb and dig out snowhills.

*Make sure you have winter gear to play outside with your children. Take an evening winter walk – the world looks different.  Everything is peaceful and glittery.

So GET OUT and make time for winter fun!

Then COME IN and share hot chocolate with whipped cream & sprinkles.

You won’t feel guilty at all!

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

 

 

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

M    Moment by precious moment

E    each one goes by so fast…

R    restful time and

R    rich conversation

Y    Yes, Christmas is here at last!

 

   Cherish these holiday moments

H    how fast they always go by!

R    Remembering Christmas’ rhythm, music & rhyme.

I    Into Christmas’ night, young children will drift

S    sleeping angels

   timeless treasure

M    more beautiful each year.

A    As joyful as the distant bells

   signaling Santa Clause is near!

Warmest wishes for a beautiful, joyful holiday.  Merry Christmas!

Kate

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

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. Your young school-ager announces that she doesn’t like kindergarten and won’t go back. She then wails and throws up the next morning to make her point.

Some ideas that work:

  • 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.

“Why are you still here?” my 9-year-old nephew asked my sister when she dropped him off at a friend’s birthday party.

She cried for a week.

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


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