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Archive for August, 2009

Get Youngsters Ready for Back to School

A new school year can be a nerve-wracking experience for both you and your child. Whether starting preschool or kindergarten, some children may be worried about the new setting and the new experience. From first day jitters to unfamiliar surroundings, going back to school isn’t always easy.

There are steps that parents and families can take to help their children make a successful transition.

From easing your child’s fears to learning how to say goodbye, the early childhood development experts at Goddard offer the following tips for the back to school season:

  1. Familiarize your child with the new setting. Visiting the preschool classroom with your child a few times before school starts can ease the entrance into unfamiliar territory. This offers the opportunity to meet the teacher and ask about routines and common activities. While you’re in the classroom, let your child explore and observe the class in his or her own way. The idea is to familiarize your child with the classroom and to let him or her get comfortable.
  2. Communication. Use this time to ask your child’s new teacher how he or she handles these first potentially tear-filled days. Ask questions like: how will the first week be structured to make the transition smooth?
  3. Assess your own feelings. Young children can pick up on their parents’ nonverbal cues. If you feel guilty or worried about leaving your child at school, he or she will probably sense that. The more calm and assured you are, the more confident your child will be.
  4. Establish the partnership. When you enter the classroom on the first day, reintroduce the teacher to your child and work together to establish a drop-off routine that will work for both you and the teacher. If your child clings to you or is reluctant to participate in the class, don’t get upset – this may only upset your child more. Follow the guidelines described by the teacher beforehand, and go at your child’s pace.
  5. Saying goodbye. A predictable farewell routine can make leaving easier. Also, keep in mind that most children do well once their parents leave. Some parents wave from outside a certain classroom window or make a funny goodbye face, while others read a short book before parting. Transitional objects – a family picture, a special doll, or a favorite blanket – can also help comfort your child. It is important to be consistent and do the following:

    -Always say a loving goodbye to your child, but once you do, you should leave promptly. A long farewell scene might only serve to reinforce a child’s hesitation about this new experience.

    -Never sneak out. As tempting as it may be, leaving without saying good-bye may make your child feel abandoned.

The Search is on for the Top Eco-Friendly Toys of 2009!

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Goddard Systems, Inc. is excited to announce its second annual Top Toys Test! This year, the Goddard Schools will partner with Eco Child’s Play, a leading “green” blog, to choose the hottest eco-friendly toys for the holiday season. The “green” toy focus was inspired by the foundation of the Goddard Schools curriculum – the creation of a safe and nurturing environment for young children based upon learning through play.

The team at Goddard Schools and Eco Child’s Play will select toys based upon the following criteria:

  • Interactive, child-initiated play focus
  • Creative, social, or engaging
  • Eco-friendly
  • Appropriate for preschoolers and early elementary school-age  children
  • Affordable price range ($25 and under)

Once finalists have been announced, Goddard preschoolers across the United States will also have the opportunity to play with the toys and give their feedback. Participating Goddard Schools will then announce their “Local Preschooler Picks” – that School’s favorite five toys. Schools will donate all toys to the Toys for Tots campaign, or to a local charity of the school’s choice.

Goddard Systems, Inc. and Eco Child’s Play are now accepting submissions through October 1, 2009. To download the Goddard’s Toy Test guidelines and application form, visit http://childsplaypr.com/GoddardToyTest.pdf. You can also check the Goddard blog for updates on our Toy Test.

Fun and Learning with Your “Little Chef” in the Kitchen

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Cooking with children requires time, patience, and some extra cleanup, especially when the children are younger. But it is well worth the effort.

Cooking can provide a great outlet for bonding with your child. Some of the lessons children learn in the kitchen reinforce what they’ve been learning in school, like basic math (counting eggs, pouring water into measuring cups), science (exploring with senses: listening to a mixer, pounding dough and watching it rise, smelling it bake in the oven, then tasting it) and language skills (reading a recipe together and introducing new vocabulary, listening skills developed when following steps in a recipe).

Start off with tasks that can be easily executed. This will encourage your child to keep on trying, and they’ll feel very good about themselves when the task is complete. Here are some examples of simple tasks to get your “little chef” started in the kitchen:

  • Stirring and adding ingredients
  • Tearing lettuce
  • Helping to read a cookbook by turning pages
  • Sprinkling cheese
  • Using cookie cutters
  • Pouring ingredients that are cool/cold
  • Setting the table

When cooking with children, always stress safety. You must establish all the rules before getting started:

  • What is OK to touch and what will hurt them
  • What is strictly for adults
  • Proper hand washing

Including your child in the kitchen can encourage a more adventurous palate and healthy eating patterns. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce healthy eating choices into a child’s life. More importantly, cooking with your “little chef” can boost their self-esteem once the task at hand is complete. Children are usually proud of their cooking accomplishments!

What’s Happening!! News and Events at The Goddard School®

Many exciting activities have been taking place in the past few weeks at several Goddard School locations — from helicopter landings to fundraising activities to ground breakings!

  • August 12th – The Goddard School located in Ashland, VA welcomed several college students bicycling across the nation in the “Journey of Hope” cross country bicycle event. The members of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity participating in Push America’s Journey of Hope made a stop at the school to perform a puppet show, “Kids on the Block,” teaching the students about disabilities and how to interact with peers who have disabilities.
  • August 10th – Bob Lisaius, the “Dino Guy,” paid a visit to The Goddard School located in Mechanicsburg, PA to take the students on a trip throughout the Mesozoic Era.
  • August 5th – The Department of Homeland Security landed a helicopter on school grounds at The Goddard School located in Lake Orion, MI as part of transportation week.

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  • August 5thThe Goddard School located in Rockville, MD participated in St. Jude’s Trike-A-Thon, raising more than $2,400 for the research and treatment of childhood cancer and other catastrophic diseases.
  • August 3rd – 20th – The Goddard School located in Roswell, GA will be accepting back to school donations for children in the community as part of The Children’s Restoration Network’s 15th Annual Back 2 School Project.
  • August 3rd – New Goddard School opens is north Scottsdale, AZ.
  • July 31st – The Goddard School located at Lake Norman, NC had a ground breaking ceremony and carnival to celebrate their expansion and construction of a new 5,000 square foot addition and Gymnasium.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat: Establishing Back to School Routine

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Children’s routines are very relaxed in the summer – bedtime is later, snacks are around the clock, more time is spent watching TV and playing with toys. With the back-to-school season here it can be very difficult to get them back into the school year routine.

  • Bear in mind that you must slowly re-introduce their regular schedules a few weeks before school actually begins so that everyone is used to the change (parents included). Here are a few tips to get your children back into the swing of things:
  • Slowly move bedtime back to an earlier time. Children need 9 to 11 hours of sleep each night, depending on their age.
  • It’s very easy to slip into irregular meal times during the summer, so as September gets closer start making meals more regular and begin to align meal time with the school year schedule.
  • Start putting limits to the amount of time your children spend watching TV and playing games. They’ll need to refocus on school work.
  • Help them prepare for school the night before. Assist in selecting clothes to wear for school and making sure they have all of their school supplies in their backpack. After a while, they will be able to do this without your assistance.
  • Have a daily schedule posted in an area your child will see each day, like the refrigerator.

Just like we practice at The Goddard School, regular schedules create a day with structure. The repetition of routines encourages your child’s memory development, and the consistency helps him or her adjust to a regular schedule.

Ready, Steady, Go….to Kindergarten!

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August is Get Ready for Kindergarten Month and with the summer almost over and school quickly sneaking up on us many parents are thinking, “Is my youngster ready for kindergarten?”

There’s no exact formula for determining when your child is ready, but there are certain signs that parents should look for to know when they should at least begin to think about kindergarten:

Self Help Skills:

  • Uses the bathroom
  • Uses a tissue
  • Snaps, zips and buttons clothing
  • Puts away toys and helps with cleaning up
  • Asks for help when needed

Gross Motor Skills:

  • Climbs easily on playground equipment
  • Runs
  • Jumps with both feet
  • Skips
  • Catches, throws and bounces a ball

Language Skills:

  • Listens to and follows simple directions
  • Tells a story or retells experiences in proper sequence
  • Adults can easily understand what the child says
  • Participates in discussions
  • Enjoys listening to stories and rhymes

Fine Motor Skills:

  • Holds and uses a pencil
  • Can copy letters from a sample
  • Cuts on simple lines
  • Draws a human figure with torso, limbs and features
  • Ties a knot

Cognitive Skills:

  • Recognizes likenesses and differences of pictures or objects
  • Matches letters and simple words
  • Shares ideas
  • Asks questions and tries new things
  • Understands and follows the rules to simple games
  • Orally counts to 10

Social/Emotional Skills:

  • Adjusts to new situations
  • Uses words to resolve conflicts
  • Can sit for 5-10 minutes working on a task
  • Completes tasks
  • Cooperates with others and takes turns
  • Uses control when frustrated
  • Takes pride in achievements

If your child has acquired most of these skills then chances are they’re ready! Next step, getting parents ready for kindergarten. Much is expected of your child when school begins in September so use this month to make sure your child can handle the basics for kindergarten.