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Celebrate Diversity


As toddlers and preschoolers, children are beginning to notice there are differences between themselves and others. While their observations are very broad at this point—a child may notice another child’s hair is different from his, but not quite know why—they are beginning to form their own ideas about what all these differences mean, and their natural inquisitiveness can lead to many questions.

To help your child understand, learn to respect and celebrate differences in others, guide him as he explores and learns from the diverse world around him.

* Be open to his questions and provide clear, age-appropriate answers. Listen attentively and explain why certain words or thoughts are hurtful.

* Embrace differences in others, don’t try to avoid them. Use books, music, games and food to explore different cultures together.

* Set a good example through your positive relationships with others. Your little one will learn to accept and respect their peers, too.

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Bento box lunches have been increasing in popularity among families with preschoolers and school-age children. Google the term “bento box lunch” and you will find a wealth of resources, including blogs, Pinterest pages and online retailers selling basic and whimsical options. Bento boxes are appealing because they provide a creative way to add a variety of foods to a child’s lunch while keeping wet foods separate from dry foods. If a parent is artistic, the child’s lunch can become a work of art.

Why does it work well for school lunches?

Bento boxes work well for school lunches and snacks because they protect food in an air-tight container and keep food groups separate. If you have a picky eater who does not like foods touching, a bento box may keep your child happy. Parents can have fun creating different lunchtime masterpieces. Bento boxes are economical because they are reusable and help keep plastic snack and sandwich bags out of landfills.

What can I put in my child’s bento box?

The options are endless, but here are some ideas:

* Sliced hard-boiled eggs;

* A mini-bagel sandwich with almond butter, jelly or another spread;

* Sliced strawberries, blueberries and kiwis;

* Cheese cubes;

* Pretzels;

* Sliced grapes;

* A muffin;

* Mini-pita sandwiches filled with cheese and pepperoni;

* Sliced pineapple;

* Celery and carrot sticks;

* Cucumber slices;

* A turkey and cheese sandwich on a Hawaiian roll;

* Veggie chips;

* Rice molds;

* Chickpeas and black beans;

* Raisins and chocolate chips;

* Sandwich rounds with ham, cheese and avocado.

Enjoy making bento box lunches!

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Choosing a Summer Program

According to research conducted by the National Center for Summer Learning, which is based at the Johns Hopkins School of Education in Baltimore, Maryland, summer learning loss accounts for about two-thirds of the difference in the likelihood of a student pursuing a college preparatory path in high school. As these findings indicate, keeping children’s brains challenged throughout the summer is crucial, since the lack of learning that occurs during these months has both short-term and long-term consequences.

Keeping a child’s day consistent throughout the summer months keeps the brain focused and helps prevent learning losses during the summer. In addition, this can potentially ease the anxiety that often accompanies transitioning into a new classroom or school come fall.

Research has shown that programs like The Goddard School that have specific learning goals, use learning and developmental standards and are age-appropriate are ideal in preventing summer learning losses.

Tips for Choosing a Summer Program:

* Choose a program that is based on each child’s interests and natural curiosity – this allows children the opportunity to direct their own learning.

* Ask for credentials, experience and training of the teachers/counselors.

* Check the health and safety practices of the program. Make sure you are comfortable that the program will be able to handle your child’s unique needs.

* Inquire about the daily schedule of the program. Does the program combine songs, stories, exploration, art, physical activities and learning adventures in a safe, nurturing environment? Ask how much freedom a child has to choose activities.

* Ask for references.

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Creating Confidence in Children


Instilling confidence in young children helps them develop their social skills and a sense of self-worth. When we feel good about ourselves it shows; situations seem easier to handle and we communicate in a more upbeat and positive manner. That positivity can spread to others. Smiles are contagious!

Children need to feel validated and loved. Their parents’ positive reinforcement and encouragement helps them gain confidence, and once they are in school, educators and peers also influence their self-worth. How children feel affects how children act.

Model Confidence

Our children are in tune with our actions, so what we feel and perceive can influence our children. A positive self-image provides a strong example to children and helps them feel good about the world. Since children can mirror our behavior, we need to lead by example and model confidence. Bad days happen, and sometimes we feel overwhelmed or down for no reason. When we feel unhappy, it is a good idea to remind children that challenges are a part of life, and we feel happy and fulfilled on most days. If we aren’t happy, we owe it to ourselves and our children to seek out ways to feel fulfilled and joyful, which may include reading, meditating, exercising or listening to music.

Instill a Positive Self-Image

Parents influence their children’s sense of self-worth. Our children should like who they are and feel comfortable in their own skins. Children should feel as though their voices will be heard and as though they can make a difference in the world. We help them develop a healthy sense of self-worth by acknowledging their strengths and the qualities that make them unique. Everyone seeks praise and responds positively to compliments. Children develop a positive self-image when their parents acknowledge their strengths, trust in their abilities and see mistakes as opportunities for learning and growth.

Know Your Child’s Friends and Their Parents

The people around us can affect how we act. Our values may differ from other parents’ and children’s values. Part of our job as parents is to get to know our children’s friends and their parents, and observe any behavioral changes in our children, positive or negative. We can’t always choose who our children befriend, but we can encourage them to play with children who will make them happy. Make time to talk to other parents at your school’s drop-off or pick-up times. Talk to your

children about their play dates, and pay attention to their attitudes afterward. Are they smiling and excited about the fun they had, or are they withdrawn?

Express, Don’t Suppress, Feelings

Children need to be able to express how they feel, but also able to control their tempers. Suppressing feelings does not help children deal with the issue and keeps them from learning how to communicate effectively with others. Finding the right balance is difficult, but if we model healthy ways to talk about our feelings, children will learn how to express how they feel in a mature, controlled and age-appropriate manner.

Build Confidence with The Goddard School

At The Goddard School, our talented teachers collaborate with parents to nurture children into respectful, confident and joyful learners. We are committed to teaching children about compassion, cooperation and the significance of giving back to their community. We pride ourselves in collaborating with the best educational and child development organizations to provide children with the skills they need for long-term

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Build a “Snowman”!


Whether you live in the snowy northeast or sunny southwest, you and your child can build (and eat!) your own yummy snowman!

Ingredients (for one snowman):

3 Thick slices of banana

1 Pretzel stick (broken in half)

1 Apple wedge

Several mini chocolate chips or small raisins

On a plate, line up the banana pieces to build the body of your snowman. Add one half of the pretzel stick to each side of the second banana slice for arms. Place the mini chocolate chips or raisins for eyes, a nose and buttons, then top off your snowman with an apple wedge hat!

Get creative with other pieces of fruits and veggies and decorate your snowman with a scarf, mittens and even boots!

*An adult should oversee all recipes and activities. Recipes and activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

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Break Up the Bad Weather Blues


Are you stuck inside because of the freezing temperatures or the rain? Take a step back from the TV, tablet or video game, and shake up your normal routine. When the weather prevents your children from playing outside, provide them with challenging activities and active games!

Have a Board Game Competition.

Hold a board game competition in your living or family room. Spend the day playing different games. You can even compete for prizes.

Create an Indoor Obstacle Course.

Create a course with 10 to 15 stations of quick physical or educational activities. One station might require your child to jump on one foot 15 times; at another, your child should sing the alphabet song twice. Use a stop watch or oven clock to time each other and see who can complete the obstacle course the in fastest time or who can improve on their previous best times.

Create Your Very Own Time Capsule.

Spend the day with your child creating and filling a time capsule with items, notes, pictures and other things that are important to you and your child. Then, store it away. On a rainy or snowy day in the future, open it up and share your memories!

Don’t let the weather put a damper on your fun and learning. Make the best out of being stuck indoors with a little creativity and items you already have in your home!

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Birthday Party Theme Ideas


Your little one is year older and super excited about the upcoming birthday party. It must be the most awesome party in the whole class. Here are a few themes that can make any birthday party tons of fun and entertaining.

1. Zoo or safari theme

a. Adults can paint animal faces on younger children. Be sure to use the appropriate type of face paint.

b. Encourage all the children to come dressed as their favorite animal.

c. Have themed cake or cupcakes with zoo animal faces.

d. Set up some of your child’s stuffed animals around the house and walk through a safari path that you have made, pointing out the animals as you go.

2. Luau theme

a. Hand out grass skirts to guests as they arrive.

b. Set up a tiki bar with various flavors of fruit punch.

c. Demonstrate a simple luau dance and encourage all the guests to learn how to do it.

d. Give all the children a goodie bag with items that they can use at the beach for their next family vacation.

3. Circus theme

a. If you have a family pet, get creative and present a lion taming show with your pet.

b. Find a long piece of wood with no rough edges or use a few old shoe boxes taped together to make a small balance beam. Assist your aspiring acrobats across.

c. Set up games like pin the tail on the donkey, ring toss or a water balloon toss if it’s warm outside.

d. For those daring parents, set up a pie-throwing booth. Children will always remember the birthday party where they were able to throw some pie.

Additional creative themes include a fantasy land, a scientist’s laboratory, an undersea adventure, a spaceflight, a pirate’s treasure hunt or a prehistoric-period adventure with dinosaurs and fossils.


With 400 schools and counting, The Goddard School® community is continually growing. Families of all types choose our Schools to educate their children and nurture them into confident, joyful learners. Families bring their children to The Goddard School for the value of our early childhood education program. Often, both parents work full-time and are seeking the extended hours of care our Schools provide and The Goddard School’s playful, nurturing approach to learning. Parents and children experience benefits and challenges when both parents work. Here are some benefits:

* Children receive developmentally appropriate lessons that parents may overlook or not realize their child is ready to learn;

* Parents have added peace of mind knowing that their child is being prepared for elementary school;

* When they are placed in a setting with their peers, children form strong socialization skills;

* Children who spend time away from their parents at an early age may show less separation anxiety;

* With parents both working, children adjust to a normal routine;

* Teachers reinforce lessons about manners, sharing and other necessary life skills at school;

* Parents appreciate the quality time they get with their children, and weekends with the family are highly valued;

* Children learn to listen, communicate, cooperate and collaborate from spending time with people other than their parents;

* Parents may find that time away from home filled with adult interaction is energizing and helps them appreciate their families;

While the choice whether to return to work may be a difficult decision for a mother or father to make, children can benefit if their parents both work. The Goddard School collaborates with parents to ensure the children are getting the best possible care and the best early childhood education in a nurturing and joyful environment, which can be a huge help as parents navigate the world of parenting.

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Bean and Cheese Tacos

Looking for a quick and easy dinner idea? Please adults and children alike with these bean and cheese tacos!


* 15-oz can of pinto beans, rinsed

* 15-oz can of black beans, rinsed

* 1 cup mild salsa

* 1 heart of romaine lettuce

* Taco shells (hard or soft)

* Low-fat shredded cheddar cheese

Combine beans and salsa in a microwave-safe bowl, then heat 1 to 2 minutes or until hot. Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces. Spoon the bean mixture into each taco shell, top with lettuce and cheese.

*An adult should oversee all recipes and activities. Recipes and activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

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Balancing Breakfast: Quick, Creative Tips for Busy Families


Though we’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day—especially for children—it is often a casualty of morning mayhem. Start your child’s day off with a nutritious and energy-boosting breakfast. Children (grown-ups too!) who consistently eat balanced breakfasts have more energy, better diets, perform better and are less likely to be anxious or irritable. We’re busy with our daily routines and sometimes it seems difficult to find healthy foods that children enjoy. Serving up a balanced breakfast is actually easier than it seems!

Trying these nutritious breakfast tips and easy ideas can help make mornings cheerier, keep tummies fuller and help provide lots of energy.

* Cutting foods into fun shapes with seasonal, animal or other cookie cutters is a quick way to turn a boring breakfast into a tummy pleaser.

* Whip up a mixed fruit smoothie using crushed ice, yogurt, fresh or canned fruit and add brightly colored frozen juice concentrate. Garnish with an orange wedge. This can be made the night before to save time in the morning.

* Toast a whole grain toaster waffle, top with low-fat berry cream cheese. Create a flower or other fun design on top using sliced strawberries and peaches.

* Spread peanut butter in a whole wheat tortilla. Add raisins and banana slices, roll up tightly and slice to create yummy pinwheels.

* Serve up a ‘breakfast sundae’ by layering low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit and crunchy granola cereal in a fun, see-through container. Top with a cherry or grape and use colored cereal bits for “sprinkles.”

* Turn an ordinary bowl of whole grain cereal with milk into something more exciting by topping with sliced star fruit, pomegranate seeds or other unexpected bright fruit.

* Scramble egg whites with low-fat cheese and diced, colorful veggies. Add tomatoes for eyes, a baby carrot for a nose, a slice of turkey bacon for the mouth—even broccoli for hair!

Create a ‘breakfast pizza’ using a whole wheat English muffin. Spread the English muffin with low-fat flavored cream cheese and top with diced fruits or veggies.

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