EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

It’s been hot!  Even those of us who love the heat and the sunny days of summer have been hot. Heat requires us to be extra attentive to our little ones to be sure that while they enjoy this beautiful weather, they are not getting too much sun and become overheated. Infants are at a higher risk than adults from heat reactions.   Infants and children cannot regulate their body heat as well as adults. Young children are often lost in the moment of play, are in and out of cars and do not have the capacity to tell us when they are hot, thirsty or need a break.

We need to be vigilant when they are outdoors playing!   Infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school age children and teenagers should be hydrated at all times.  It is common practice for adults to carry water bottles with them wherever they go.  Children learn to do this at an early age as well – good! Fresh, clean water is always recommended as the ideal thirst quencher and the healthiest way to keep hydrated.  Don’t forget fresh water for pets too!

Some common sense ways to beat the heat:

  • Keep cool water available at all times.  55 – 60% of body weight is water.  Water evaporates from the skin through sweat.  Water needs to be replaced to maintain a healthy body. Kidsafe suggests a  fluid intake of 8 to 12 cups per day. Cool water is preferred as it is absorbed more readily than warm, hot or ice water. Caffeinated beverages actually speed up the loss of body fluid. Remember that 100% fruit popsicles are a good treat full of fluid to refresh those little bodies!  A good indicator that a baby has enough fluid is 6-8 wet diapers within a 24 hour period.  Be sure little ones are using the potty.
  • Stay in the shade and keep skin covered in light, loose clothing.   Provide a wide-brimmed hat, or a ‘foreign legion’ style cap with flaps, to protect children’s face, neck and ears. Adults should wear hats too!  Napping babies and little ones should always sleep in shade.
  • Sunscreen should go on before anyone leaves the house. 
    • UPF 15-24 = Good Protection.
    • UPF 24-39 = Very Good Protection.
    • UPF 40-50 = Excellent Protection.
    • UPF 50+ Highest rating products, and highly recommended for maximum protection.(Kidsafe)  Reapply sunscreen throughout the day, especially after water play or active play!  Adult supervision is recommended for application.
  • Solid foods and snacks can help keep children cool and hydrated;  melons, tomatoes, celery, all fresh fruits and vegetables, well chilled salads,  and juice pops are all good choices for hot days.  Be careful of dairy, yogurt and or dairy products (i.e. mayonnaise, cream salad dressings and dips, soft cheese…) these spoil quickly.  Keep a cooler or small ice snack bag in the car or your picnic bag.

Keep skin cool & wet with water play, swimming, splashing & sprays.  Remember that standing water reflects sun rays so sunglasses are a good idea.  Keep shoes nearby; sand, concrete and blacktop is hot!  Metal is hot to the touch and can cause burns.  House fans are a good way to keep cool under adult supervision.

Enjoy this hot weather while it is here, it will be snowing again before you know it!


-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

It’s “kick off the summer” party season!  The Fourth of July celebration along with summer graduation parties & family reunions are often grand picnics and parties with lots of people, including young children, in an outside space.   This space often includes grills, bonfires, sparklers & other fire-works, and lots of food & beverages.  Community parades are exciting, neighborhood pool parties are in full swing and there is music and festivity everywhere.

While this is a lot of fun and often a family tradition, outdoor parties –including the one on July 4th – require parents to be on high alert. 

Here is a checklist for those big summer parties that we all love!

  • Pack a bag for each child.  Include diapers, lots of wipes, antiseptic wipes, at least one change of clothes including socks & shoes, an extra sunhat, ponytail holders & barrettes, sunglasses, a pair of long pants and a hooded sweatshirt.  Bring sunscreen and lip balm even on cool or cloudy days and always bring an insect repellent approved for children.  If beach or swimming is part of the party add swimsuit, watershoes or sandals, a towel, t-shirt or cover up, children’s after sun body lotion, floaties, even more diapers or underpants and favorite beach or pool toys. 
  • New food or picnic food can be tricky!  This is not the place to insist that young Joey try potato salad or barbecue beef.  Bring a cooler with food and drinks that your children like, you approve of and that will make your day a happy one.  Be sure that a baby’s food and drink stay at the right temperature and that you bring bottles, cups, bowls, utensils and bibs. Do you have a high chair that folds or a toddler seat to strap on a chair?  Everyone won’t know about food allergies or restrictions – be vigilant!
  • Keep a young child’s eating and sleeping schedule as consistent as possible.
  • Bring your child’s blanket and favorite lovie to provide some calm and rest in a busy day.
  • Pack a small pack&play for baby and umbrella stroller.  Keep shade a priority.
  • A child’s canvas chair and a picnic blanket (or sheet) can be lifesavers.
  • Leave a small first aid kit in your car that includes sterile gauze, bandages, Neosporin, antiseptic wipes and a tweezers.  Tape emergency phone numbers and any medical info onto the inside of the cover.

Most importantly keep you children in sight and with you!! Warn them against open fire, grills and fireworks.  Be prepared for startled or crying children (no matter how old they are) at a firework display.


“If ants are such busy workers, how come they find time to go to all the summer picnics?” Marie Dressler

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

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

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

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed annually on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers. By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Wikipedia

Celebrate America – Celebrate Americans.  Remembering fallen heroes is important and many young children and families know true heroes who are serving now and who have served in American armed forces. Families have suffered the loss of loved ones in the military and remember their heroes always.  We are grateful every day for their strength and courage.

Memorial Day is a hard concept for little children.  They learn about America slowly and start to learn about soldiers first personally then through general information and shared ideas. This knowledge and respect starts with understanding the country that they live in.

How do we start celebrating Memorial Day with young children?

Fly the American flag.  Talk about the flag, touch it and notice the colors, count the stars and stripes.  Make American flags with children; paint or color red stripes on a white field, paint or color a blue corner field, put star stickers on and staple or tape this on a stick or pole.

Memorial Day is the unofficial and accepted start of summer. Have a picnic and provide a hand-made flag for each person that comes. 

Wear Red, White & Blue!  There are many options for red, white & blue clothing.  Be a visible reminder of our country’s colors.  Children start very early to connect visual images to ideas both concrete and abstract.  At your Memorial Day picnic provide an American badge for each person; cut circles of white, paint or color red stripes and blue stars.  Attach a safety-pin.  Let children string beads of red, white and blue for an American necklace.  Decorate caps with fabric paint.

Decorate with red, white & blue.  Balloons, streamers and tablecloths make a statement.  Inexpensive paper products go a long way to help children connect the colors of the flag to a celebration of family.  As they grow up, children will associate this time with America.

Serve red, white & blue.  Jello molds offer a refreshing chance to let children help and talk about the colors.  A fruit salad of strawberries, raspberries, blue berries and concord grapes topped off with whipped cream is delightful.  Serve a flag cake; cake topped with cool whip, strawberry stripes and a field of blueberries creates a delicious summer dessert.

Teach children the Pledge of Allegiance.  Sing and listen to patriotic songs.  Be a role model and create opportunities for children to be involved in the responsibilities of citizenship.

“Children are one-third of America’s population and all of its future”  Ronald Reagan

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


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