{     Offering the Best Childhood Preparation for Social and Academic Success.     }

Books for Creating Excitement and Confidence about Starting Kindergarten

The transition to kindergarten can be scary for children, even if they have been to play groups and preschool.  If your child will continue to attend The Goddard School®, the transition may be easier than the transition to public school or another private kindergarten program.  However, the transition from pre-k to kindergarten is still a significant step. Reading books to your child about the transition can help ease any anxiety about starting kindergarten. The sampling of books below touch on the challenges children and their parents face when children move on to kindergarten.

The Night before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing and Julie Durrel

This book is a twist on The Night before Christmas poem and shows children the fun of getting ready for kindergarten by packing supplies for school, setting their clothes out for the first day and taking first-day pictures.  This book also shows children excitedly exploring their classroom for the first time.

Kindergarten, Here I Come! by D.J. Steinberg

This is a great, poetic book illustrating some of the milestones children face as kindergarteners, including first-day nerves, new friendships, the experience of losing a tooth and hundredth-day celebrations.

Kindergarten Rocks! by Katie Davis

This book addresses a child’s typical concerns about starting kindergarten.  With the help of a familiar face and fun learning experiences, the main character quickly learns to embrace kindergarten.

Countdown to Kindergarten by Alison McGhee and Harry Bliss (illustrator)

This story explains that children entering kindergarten don’t need to know everything on the first day. The main character fears she will be the only one who doesn’t know how to tie her shoes. She later realizes that she isn’t alone; other classmates are in the same boat.

The Twelve Days of Kindergarten: A Counting Book by Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis

This rhyming story illustrates the experience of starting kindergarten and provides opportunities for children to work on skills that are necessary for school, like counting.

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst and Geoff Stevenson (illustrator)

Addressing the subject of separation anxiety, this story teaches children that they are never really alone.  This book is also recommended for toddlers and preschoolers.  It tells children that those we love stay with us through life’s challenges and experiences.

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate and Ashley Wolff (illustrator)

This book shows what teachers may do to prepare their classrooms for the children and shares the excitement of starting a new year and meeting new faces.  Offering an opportunity to study the alphabet and rhyming words, this book provides a fun, educational read for children heading to kindergarten.

Sources:
mom.me: 10 Books to Get Kids Excited for Kindergarten
cozi: 10 Books Perfect for New Kindergarteners

Five Ways to Prevent “Summer Slide”

Summer is an awesome time of year. It’s full of family get-togethers, trips to the pool and vacations. With all that awesomeness, though, sometimes learning falls by the wayside. Research has shown that some children experience summer learning loss, also known as “summer slide” because their minds aren’t as engaged as they are during the school year. You can help to keep your child’s brain active and prevent summer slide with these five fun learning activities:

  1. Read, read, read. Read to your child or encourage him to read for twenty minutes every day. Taking a trip to the library on hot, humid or rainy days can be fun, too. Also, listening to audio books is great during car trips.
  2. Learn a new word every week. Make this a game by seeing who can use the new word the most times throughout the week. You can even make a scoreboard and stick it on the fridge. Encourage your child to look through a picture dictionary to pick out new words.
  3. Get cooking. Cooking with your child is a fun way to teach your child math and reading skills as well as how to follow instructions. Look through a cookbook with your little one, and ask him what he would like to make.
  4. Hit the road. Take a field trip to a museum, a zoo or an aquarium. Before you go, read a book with your child about the sights at your destination. When you return, you and your child can write a journal entry about your adventures.
  5. Go outside. Embrace the nice weather and go on a hike, nature walk or bike ride. Pack a magnifying glass and/or binoculars, and take breaks along the way to take a closer look at things. You and your little one can even take notes on interesting objects or animals and look up more information about them online or in an encyclopedia when you get home.

10 Tips for Traveling with Your Preschooler

Traveling can be stressful, period. Add some young children to the mix, and it can be downright challenging. As you hit the road this summer, keep these handy travel tips in mind:

  1. Take breaks. If you’re driving, try to make regular rest stops so your child can blow off some steam, get some exercise, use the bathroom and/or have a snack.
  2. Stock up. Bring a stash of toys, snacks, coloring books, crayons and other goodies to keep your little one from getting bored or hungry during the trip.
  3. Tire ‘em out. Children often travel better when they’re tuckered out and sleepy. If you’re flying, have your child push a small suitcase around the waiting area or ride the escalators with you. If you’re driving, try to leave the house before dawn so you can just scoop up your drowsy child, put her in the car seat and hit the road.
  4. Surprise them with treats. While good behavior doesn’t automatically warrant a reward, a piece of candy or a wrapped toy can certainly encourage your child to “keep it up” if he is being particularly pleasant.
  5. Engage them. When children are actively involved in something, they are less likely to act out. Talk to your child about the trip and ask her what she’s looking forward to. You can also give her a disposable camera and ask her to document the trip. This will encourage her to observe her surroundings and focus on her interests.
  6. Take a bus. Or the subway or a train or a boat. Children love the novelty of public transportation, so if it’s available at your destination, use it. Large cities, such as New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C., usually have public transportation systems that are fairly inexpensive and easy to use.
  7. Keep tabs on your children electronically. You can use an electronic child locator (search online for stores) to make sure you can find your child if you’re separated. Most locators cost around $30 and include a transmitter your child wears and a locator unit you carry. If you get separated, you can press a button on the locator and the transmitter will make a sound that you can follow to find your child.
  8. Check the weather. Make sure you pack for any weather conditions you might encounter. You don’t want your child to be too hot or too cold. Extra clothing could add some extra bulk to your luggage but, if the weather changes, you’ll be glad you’re prepared.
  9. Pass the time. Travel delays are almost inevitable, but games are a fun way to make the time fly while you’re waiting. Whether it’s 20 Questions, a travel version of a popular board game or a quick game of Go Fish, your child (and you!) will appreciate the distraction.
  10. Sanitize. Traveling means coming into contact with more germs than usual, especially if you’re flying to your destination. Be sure to pack plenty of antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer to disinfect your little ones’ hands, especially if they’ve come in to contact with the seat-back pockets of airplanes, which can be full of harmful bacteria.

Summer Sun and Heat Safety Tips

Keeping cool throughout hot summer months can be a challenge, especially in hotter and more humid climates. Tune in to the weather reports on exceptionally hot and humid days and share the tips below with your family.

Apply Sunscreen before Leaving the House

Whether you are headed to the pool, the beach or your back yard, make sure you apply sunscreen to yourself and your children. Don’t miss the tops of the ears and the hands. When applying sunscreen to the skin around the eyes, try using a tear-free sunscreen specially formulated for the face. Sunburns can occur in fifteen minutes of sun exposure and can even occur on cloudy days, so applying sunscreen before heading out and reapplying sunscreen throughout the day is important.

Keep Activity Levels Low When the Humidity Is High

Stay safe on extremely hot and humid days by keeping an eye on weather advisories and the Heat Index graph the National Weather Service publishes. If your children play outside in humid weather, have them come inside and drink water every fifteen minutes.

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

Children should typically drink five to eight cups of water every day, depending on how active they are.  On extremely hot and humid days, offer your children more than the recommended daily amount, especially before, during and after physical activity. Since children model their behavior on ours, we need to make sure we’re getting enough water every day, too.

Know the Signs of Heat Exhaustion

Normal reactions to hot weather include heavy sweating, a red face, heavy breathing, thirst and muscle cramps. However, if your child exhibits these reactions along with dizziness, fainting, clamminess, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and/or a lack of sweat, your child might have heat exhaustion. If your child shows any of these symptoms, take your child indoors or to a shady spot and give your child plenty of water or an electrolyte drink. If the symptoms do not subside in an hour, seek the help of a doctor.  Keep your child indoors until all the symptoms clear up and your child is feeling better.

Play Indoors

If it is too hot and humid for outside play, try one of these simple indoor activities.

  • Create an indoor beach day. Unpack your beach towels, sunglasses and hats. Fill a large plastic bin with sand from your sand box or from a home improvement store. Put the bin on a blanket or sheet to catch any sand that may spill. Toss some beach toys in the bin and let your children play in the sand while enjoying your air conditioning.  Grab some favorite beach treats like ice cream sandwiches or popsicles.  Better yet, make your own ice cream sandwiches with chocolate chip cookies and your favorite flavor of ice cream.
  • Go fishing. Craft your own indoor fishing game by cutting a big piece of blue felt into a round shape, like a pond or lake. Lay the blue felt flat on the floor. Cut felt or cardstock into fish shapes and punch a small hole in the mouth area of each. Tie a lightweight washer to the mouth of each fish with yarn or twine.  Create a fishing rod with a stick from your yard or a dowel from a craft store. Tie one end of a long strand of yarn or twine to the end of the stick or dowel and tie a ring magnet to the other end of the yarn. Toss the fish in the pond and have your little ones take turns fishing. (You can also buy indoor fishing games online.)
  • Build a “sand” castle. Use blocks to build a castle with your children. Try different configurations and take pictures of each to capture your indoor beach day memories.

What do you do with your children when it is too hot to play outside?

The Goddard School® Announces Recipient of the Anthony A. Martino Memorial Scholarship

Former Student from The Goddard School located in Eldersburg, MD Awarded with $10,000 to Help with the Rising Costs of College Tuition  

Scholarship Winner 2014

Left Photo: Shelby Janicki with former teacher, Jane Miles, at Shelby’s 2001 Pre-K Goddard School Graduation; Right Photo: Shelby Janicki with Jane Miles and Owner of The Goddard School located in Eldersburg, MD, Alec Yeo.

The Goddard School®, the premier preschool focusing on learning through play for children from six weeks to six years old, today announced Shelby Janicki, who attended The Goddard School located in Eldersburg, MD, is the recipient of its 6th annual Anthony A. Martino Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is open to any senior in high school who has graduated from The Goddard School Pre-Kindergarten or Kindergarten program and is awarded annually to a graduate who has demonstrated the work ethic and perseverance that exemplified Anthony A. Martino, the founder of The Goddard School franchise system.

Shelby’s winning submission detailed how The Goddard School influenced her education and career path. Having already been accepted to Towson University, Shelby will be pursuing an English degree majoring in Secondary Education with a minor in Spanish when she begins college this fall. Fabiana Berenguer Gil and Lindsey Franxman who attended The Goddard School in Owings Mills, MD and Crestview Hills, KY respectively, were selected as finalists for the scholarship.

“With the ever-increasing cost of college tuition, we are thrilled to provide an opportunity for graduates of The Goddard School program to reach their goals in higher education,” said Joseph Schumacher, CEO of Goddard Systems, Inc., franchisor of The Goddard School. “As Shelby embarks on her college career, we are pleased to recognize her and all that she has accomplished since her days as a preschooler. Just as The Goddard School program is dedicated to helping children develop into confident, joyful and fully prepared students, the Anthony A. Martino Memorial Scholarship honors this commitment to the children long after they have left our Schools.”

The Goddard Schools have awarded more than $60,000 to alumni through the Anthony A. Martino Memorial Scholarship program that provides opportunities for college-bound alumni to financially benefit from their attendance.

For more information on The Goddard School, please visit www.goddardschool.com.

In the Spotlight: The Goddard School located in Voorhees, NJ

Voorhees, NJOn April 25, we counted the votes and declared The Goddard School located in Voorhees, NJ the winner of the 2014 Upcycling Challenge!

The competition, part of The Goddard School’s national Root for Earth campaign, encouraged children, faculty and families in Goddard Schools across the country to use their imaginations to create a scene or object using recyclable materials.

The Goddard School located in Voorhees’s project depicted a scene from Dr. Seuss’s book The Lorax, including “Truffula” trees made from cereal boxes and tissue paper and “Humming-Fish” made from plastic bottles.

After reading several of Dr. Seuss’s works during the School’s Dr. Seuss Week in March, the children decided that The Lorax, a fable about the importance of preserving the environment, would make the perfect theme.

Once they had their idea, School owner Tracy Sortino emailed the parents to ask them to donate their recyclables. Over the course of three weeks, the parents donated so many recyclables that the School had to recycle the leftovers.

Children worked on the project in the School’s pre-k classroom and displayed the finished product there. The children worked so enthusiastically that it only took them a week to finish it.

Photos of the completed project were posted to Facebook.

Then the voting began.

“Kids would say, ‘Mom, go on Facebook and vote,’” Sortino said, laughing. “Everybody was so into it, and that’s exciting.”

The parents were eager to see the School win the competition, and their support helped the School earn a grand total of 675 votes. The School also racked up around 250 shares on Facebook.

Sortino added that the parents’ enthusiasm helped to further foster a sense of unity. “They [parents] got to see a different side of us,” she said. “I think that really helped to build camaraderie.”

The competition helped the children learn about preserving the environment as well as the importance of teamwork, Sortino explained. The children also learned about energy conversation during The Goddard School’s national Lights Out! hour, another Root for Earth initiative. Goddard Schools across the nation turned off all non-essential lighting for one hour from 10 to 11 AM on Earth Day.

When The Goddard School located in Voorhees was notified on May 2 about its win, the children, teachers and parents were all excited and overjoyed by the news. Most importantly, the School continues to recycle and even recycled the project after it was taken down.

The Lorax would be proud.

Support the Sport

Participating on a sports team encourages a child to exercise, and sports also have emotional and social benefits that can significantly improve a child’s sense of well-being and self-esteem.

Start Early

The Goddard School

Although a young child’s motor skills are not fully developed, playing team sports at any level can help a child build

 valuable social and physical skills. Being active and playing team sports can help children make friends, learn to follow directions and communicate effectively with coaches and fellow athletes, develop motor skills, learn the importance of fair play and increase their confidence.

Children who develop with their sport and grow with their teammates benefit from the opportunity for improvement and social success. No matter what the goal of the game is, playing sports can have a positive effect on your child’s development.

Go Long… Term

The long-term benefits of team sports can include leadership experience and the development of healthy habits and an active lifestyle. Sports are great exercise in the short term, and the hard work, commitment to a team and the structure of the team and game can help your child prepare for educational and career success in the future.

Picky Eater Dinner Options

Macaroni and Cheese Muffins

If your children love macaroni and cheese, try this new twist on one of their favorite meals. Use your family’s favorite types of milk and cheese to tailor this to their liking. This makes about 12 muffins.

For the muffins

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 5 cups milk (whichever your family typically uses)
  • 1½ pound sharp cheddar cheese, either grated or pre-shredded (you can substitute your choice of cheese)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper

For the topping

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with butter or spray it with a butter spray, then dust it with flour, tapping out the excess flour. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain the pasta, saving one cup of the cooking water for later.  In a saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Stir constantly until the mixture is lightly browned. Slowly add the milk and raise the heat to bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow the sauce to simmer and thicken for about three minutes. Add the cheeses, salt and pepper to the sauce mixture and stir it until it is smooth.  Remove the sauce from the heat and add the macaroni. Stir it until the cheese sauce coats all the noodles. Cover the mixture to keep it warm.  For the topping, combine the melted butter, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Fill each muffin cup with the macaroni mixture, and then sprinkle each with the topping. Bake the muffins for about 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Let the muffin pan cool completely, and then refrigerate the whole pan for up to 24 hours.  When you are ready to serve your macaroni muffins, just reheat them in a 350 °F oven or the microwave.  For added nutrition, you can add some ground flax seed, chopped broccoli or finely sliced carrots.


Ham or Turkey and Cheese Croissants

You can serve this simple dinner recipe with a side salad or mixed vegetables.

  • 1 can of croissant rolls
  • Deli ham or turkey slices
  • Shredded or sliced cheese

Open the container of croissant rolls and separate them. Layer each croissant with a slice of ham or turkey and your cheese of choice. Roll up the croissants and bake them as instructed on the packaging.  These also make great after-school snacks and easy lunches.


Superhero Green Power Juice

In a hurry? This sweet green juice has lots of vitamins and makes a good pre-practice dinner or a great breakfast. Use a blender or juicer to combine the ingredients into a quick, healthy meal.

  • 1 handful kale
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 pear, cut into small pieces
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced into small pieces
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 cup strawberries or raspberries
  • Juice from 1 lemon (or ½ an unpeeled lemon if you are using a juicer)

If your children have a strong aversion to anything green, you can use more strawberries or raspberries or add some blueberries.

Kindergarten Readiness

The Goddard SchoolTransitioning to kindergarten can be an exciting, anxiety-filled time for children and their parents. If you have older children, you may have an idea of what to expect or know the kindergarten teacher already.  Still, the transition is different for each child, and while one may have adjusted well to kindergarten, your next child may not adjust as easily, or vice versa.  By focusing on the present and adding skill-building activities to your summer, your child will be more confident about becoming a kindergartener.

Summer Fun

Summer is a time for having fun, playing with friends and bonding as a family.  Incorporate enjoyable activities that stretch your children’s imaginations and exercise their brains.

Reading

On hot, humid or rainy days, head to the library and read some books together. Have your future kindergartener read to you as much as possible.  The librarians typically have lists of age-appropriate books.

Getting Fresh Air and Exercise

  • Have your children help you create obstacle courses in the backyard that they can run, skip or jump through safely. If it is a hot day, you can set up the sprinkler for added enjoyment!
  • If your children ride a bicycle with training wheels, ask them if they are ready to practice riding without the training wheels. By letting them decide when they are ready, they learn to make decisions, face challenges and fears and take on responsibility.
  • Hit the pool. See whether your local municipality or YMCA pool offers swimming lessons over the summer.  Summer is a great time to work on swimming safety, keep physically active and have fun with your children. Besides, who doesn’t love cooling off in a pool on a hot summer day?
  • Take your children camping or hiking. Children love exploring nature and running free. Having a backyard campout or setting up a tent at a campground in your region are fun, educational ways for families to bond. You may be able to find a spot that offers easy hiking or walking trails or one with a lake where you can rent a canoe or kayak.

Bowling

Bowling is an opportunity to develop hand-eye coordination, balance and math skills while having fun.  Many bowling alleys offer bumpers and child-friendly bowling balls for children.  Over the summer, many locations offer free games for children every day!

Keeping Up with Friends

If your child was in preschool or a play group, keep in touch with their friends’ parents and plan out weekly or bi-weekly play dates or outings.  Kindergarten can be overwhelming for children because they are meeting so many new children.  Keeping up with your children’s preschool friends over the summer will help them continue developing the social skills they will need to make new friends.

Skills for Your Future Kindergartener

Children should be proficient in several skills when they enter kindergarten. You can help your child practice these skills throughout the summer. Your child should be able to do the following:

  • Grip a pencil, marker or crayon correctly;
  • Use child-safe scissors, glue and paint;
  • Identify sight words;
  • Play independently for a few minutes;
  • Use complete sentences when speaking;
  • Recite his or her full name, address and phone number;
  • Write his or her first name in uppercase and lowercase letters;
  • Sort objects by shape, size and quantity;
  • Get dressed independently.

These skills do not need to be mastered by the first day, but they are general skills that your child can practice throughout the summer.

Keep It Simple. Cherish Summer.

Summer is a time for children to have fun and play.  You can keep their anxiety over starting kindergarten at bay by focusing on friends, family and fun while sprinkling in some skill-building activities.  The first day of kindergarten will be here before you know it. You and your child will be ready to take on the challenge!

The Goddard School® Announces National Teacher of the Year Honorees

Teachers Recognized During National Teacher Appreciation Week

The Goddard School, the premier preschool focusing on learning through play for children from six weeks to six years old, held its eighth annual “Teacher of the Year” competition and, in conjunction with National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 5-9, have selected five exceptional early childhood educators for recognition.

Each “Teacher of the Year” honoree from The Goddard School developed a long-term project that has benefitted their classroom, school or community. Projects from the selected teachers include a Spanish Immersion program; a Weather Station initiative that uses a hands-on approach to learn about the environment; a project that promotes Tolerance, Diversity, Teamwork and Technology and finally, a Fitness and Nutrition Education program.

“At The Goddard School, we select teachers for their ability to nurture children into respectful, confident and joyful learners; it’s not surprising that this year’s competition was extremely close,” said Dr. Craig Bach, Vice President of Education at Goddard Systems, Inc. “With more than 10,000 Goddard School teachers nationwide, the Teacher of the Year recognition is a true honor. We are extremely proud of each of this year’s winners and are grateful for their commitment to go above and beyond for the children.”

The following teachers were honored:

Maria Ravelli – Auburn, MA
Maria Ravelli, a preschool teacher at The Goddard School located in Auburn, MA, developed a dynamic Spanish Immersion program, utilizing the second language for classroom instruction. Maria’s approach involves speaking in Spanish while her co-teacher engages the class in English, resulting in a 50 percent immersion classroom. Conceived two years ago, the program is designed to teach children not only about the Spanish language but about the culture as well. Music and movement, food, literacy and dramatic play are all vital components to this well-rounded program. The program was so well received that Maria expanded the program to promote family engagement by recording audio files of herself speaking Spanish which are then shared with parents. Maria is the eighth consecutive Teacher of the Year recipient for The Goddard School located in Auburn, MA.

Tracy Imes – Medina, OH
Tracy Imes, kindergarten teacher at The Goddard School located in Medina, OH, developed the Weather Station program, a hands-on approach to learning about the environment. The weather station is located in the preschool play area and is visible to the children even when they are in the classroom. Utilizing Science Inquiry and Application to observe the natural environment, the children communicate their observations by creating monthly weather logs to track how the weather changes with each season. To investigate how water changes with the weather, previous experiments have included making “rain” in a jar with ice cubes and growing ice crystals.

Krystal Ames & Diana Butrim – Third Lake, IL
Krystal Ames and Diana Butrim, kindergarten teachers at The Goddard School located in Third Lake, IL, set out to create A Year-Long Program to Promote Tolerance, Diversity, Teamwork and Technology and decided to partner with the Special Education District of Lake County (SEDOL), a special education co-op that is on the cutting edge of providing outstanding education to those with severe disabilities. Krystal and Diana’s aim was to have the children in their class interact with special needs students via letters and Skype with the goal of fostering tolerance and acceptance of people’s differences. The kindergarteners showed the students at SEDOL how technology is utilized in The Goddard School kindergarten classroom. At their Valentine’s Day dance, the children also created rubber band bracelets and held a fundraiser for SEDOL.

Maureen MooreGlastonbury, CT
Maureen Moore, preschool teacher at The Goddard School located in Glastonbury, CT, designed and implemented the Fitness, Nutrition and Education program after coordinating her School’s participation in the Sandy Hook Run for the Families in Hartford, CT. The run was such a success that it inspired Maureen, affectionately known as “Ms. Mo” by the children, to create lesson plans that promote outdoor activity for the entire School. To encourage family involvement and connection, Maureen includes fitness activities and nutrition facts in the School’s monthly newsletters. She also established a “Community Garden” that the children help to cultivate. When fall arrives, the children plan to harvest the vegetables to create fun and healthy food options.

Page 1 of 3512345...102030...Last »