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Child Care

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Reasons To Send Your Kids To Summer Camp

If you’ve been to camp in your middle childhood years, you’re not surprised to hear about the benefits of summer camp. But if you didn’t go to camp as a child, you may not realize just how good the experience is for children. Here is a list of just some of the reasons to send your kids to camp.

Camp is:
• the place where kids make their very best friends, free from the social expectations pressuring them at school
• where kids get back outside and play….it is a wonderful antidote to “nature deficit disorder” where kids can relax, laugh, and be silly all day long.
• a place where kids can discover and develop what they like to do
• spending the day being physical active…running, swimming, jumping, hiking, and organizing games
• experiencing success and becoming more confident…there is accomplishment every day
• real when kids take a break from TV and the internet and engage in real activities and real emotions in a real community
• the perfect place for kids to develop who they are, making decisions for themselves without parents and teachers guiding every move
See? Camp is great!

Social and Emotional Learning

You have already been helping your child learn about social and emotional development skills at home. During the preschool years, you will want to continue building these skills. Spending time with your child and showing your love will help your child feel secure and will build the confidence to try new things. Talking about feelings will help your child identify and manage emotions. For example, if a play date gets canceled, you might say, “I know you’re sad that your friend can’t come over.”

To help your child learn to manage strong emotions you might try helping your child to count to 10 before he or she gets angry and lashes out. Encouraging him or her to use positive self-talk such as saying, “I know I can do this” will help when frustration takes over during a new task.

If your child has a conflict or other problem, ask what’s wrong and how it makes him or her feel.   This helps you both understand the problem better. Then ask your child to think of ways to solve the problem. Offer suggestions if needed. After discussing the pros and cons of each idea, help your child work out what choice is likely to work best.

Praise your child when he or she takes steps to solve problems on his or her own.

THE BLUE EYE/BROWN EYE EXPERIMENT IN RACISM

On January 19, the country was celebrating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. Here, at school, our recognition was two-fold:

First,we used our time at school to participate in community volunteering. The Kindergarten went to a younger classroom to read and talk about books. We learned a lot during our first experience with sharing our book knowledge with younger children.

Second, we participated in an experiment about racism. The children were not aware that this was an experiment going on at the time. The experiment lasted 2 hours. I divided the group into Brown Eyes and Blue Eyes. Each group was given one hour to experience “everything” as normal. Each group was given one hour to experience “everything” taken away, being last or not given a fair share. Here are some comments by the children as they were engaged in the experiment:

“We can’t play. The Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes get to do everything they want.”

“That’s not fair. They get everything.”

“We want to play hide ‘n seek.”

“She is making everything not fair! This is not fun!”

“Who are you going to tell?” ( as in “tell on Ms. Mary”)

“ We really like climbing and we can’t figure out what to do.”

“ Everyday my eyes are brown. I wanna play but I don’t know what to do.”

“We only get the ground.”

“That’s just how life is, just how it is.” ( child with “everything explaining life to a child who had everything taken.)

“I’m sad cuz I didn’t get to play with ______.”

“Maybe it will change tomorrow.”

“How about if it goes, US, US, US!”

“I just want to stay inside.”

“I wish we didn’t have to go to school.” (all children at the table with everything taken away discussed this possibility)

 

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Your Child & Pre-Kindergarten

Getting off to a good start is the objective of every parent of a 4 year old who will be entering a Prekindergarten program this fall. Whether it be in a public school district, federal Head Start program, religious institution, or privately run school or early learning center, there are signs of a quality Prekindergarten program that every parent should know.

The indoor and outdoor areas where children enjoy a play based curriculum are safe and well-maintained, equipped with an abundance of materials that children can choose from. Class sizes are small and spaces in the classroom are arranged to enhance learning and reduce conflicts. Policies which insure security and explain emergency evacuation plans are posted in places accessible to all.

Teachers as well as assistants are qualified and meet state requirements. Appropriate and effective teaching approaches are evident and are exhibited in the classroom. A plan for annual staff training is available for review.

Curriculum promotes social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive development, and embraces early learning standards. Each child’s progress is monitored and discussions with parents are offered at least twice a year.

Staff members are trained and follow policies to protect children as well as themselves from illness. Screening and referrals are offered if needed. Menus reflect items that insure children receive healthy and nutritious meals and morning and afternoon snacks every day.

In summary, quality Prekindergarten programs use policies and procedures creating a fun, developmentally appropriate environment which help children learn by following state licensing requirements. They include parents and other community resources and strive to reach individual goals set for every child. .

Addressing your child’s needs now helps her/him prepare for the future and sets the foundation fora life time of learning.