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Archive for June, 2011

Fourth of July Fun: Firework Painting

Children can create their own festive firework display with this fun craft project!

What you need:

  • Bright colored water-based paint
  • Dark construction paper (blue or black to simulate the night sky)
  • Drinking straws
  • Newspaper (or a drop cloth)
  • Paintbrush or dropper
  • Small bowls (for mixing the paint and water)
  • Water

Ready, Set, Blow!

  • Protect your work surface with newspaper or a drop cloth.
  • Give each child a piece of construction paper.
  • Add a few drops of paint and a few drops of water to each bowl and mix to thin out the paint.
  • Using a paintbrush or dropper, place a drop of the paint mixture on the paper.
  • Holding a straw a few inches above the paper, each child should blow through the straw to move the paint around to create a “firework.”
  • Repeat around to fill the paper with different colors until it resembles a sky full of fireworks!

Getting Ready to Fly: Airline Safety for Young Children

These days, many airlines still allow children under the age of two to travel on their parent’s lap. But, did you know that the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) recommends otherwise?

The FAA says that “the safest place for your little one during turbulence or an emergency is in an approved child restraint system (CRS) or device, not on your lap” and “strongly urges parents and guardians to secure children in an appropriate restraint based on weight and size. Keeping a child in a CRS or device during the flight is the smart and right thing to do.”

Beyond the Tie: Celebrating Father’s Day

Tired of the traditional breakfast in bed? Over the cliché shirt and tie combo? Make Dad’s Day a little more rad.

  • Have a picnic, take a walk or just relax outdoors—let Dad choose how he would most enjoy relaxing with the family.
  • Plan a day of not planning. Make today the day to put aside all errands, chores and projects—help Dad to enjoy a pressure-free day.
  • Father’s Day is not only for your children to celebrate Dad—let him know just how impressed you are with how amazing a father he is to your children.
  • Give Dad the gift of a few hours by himself! We all need time to ourselves to refocus now and then. Dad may be thrilled to schedule an unexpected tee time, or to curl up with that new bestseller he’s been eyeing up.
  • Don’t limit the father festivities to just your children’s dad; encourage your little ones to call their grandpas and other special male role models, too.
  • Most importantly, let Dad know how appreciated he is. Help your children to write (or color) a thank you note, encourage them to create a special song or lend them a hand in whipping up a special treat. Homemade gifts or projects can sometimes be the best at conveying your child’s love and appreciation for Dad.

Research Shows Fathers are More Involved Than Ever

One of the largest studies of its kind gauges top concerns and focuses on the 21st Century father

A comprehensive study sponsored by The Goddard School® for Early Childhood Development and conducted by BluePrint Research Group, shows that fathers are more involved in their children’s lives as decision-makers and caregivers than ever before.

The Goddard School, with the guidance of Dr. Kyle D. Pruett, advisor to The Goddard School and internationally known child psychiatrist and author, sponsored the research in order to learn more about the changing dynamics of the father/child relationship, the areas of concern for fathers and fathers’ involvement in their children’s lives.

“While there’s an abundance of research on mother/child relationships available, there is only a fraction highlighting the father/child relationship and fathers’ roles in the home,” Pruett said. “We felt it was imperative, given the changes in the family in recent generations to look into the importance of fathers in the lives of our nation’s children.  And we found some surprises.”

The findings, drawn from a survey of over 1,000 fathers across the United States, revealed a ‘top ten’ of areas in which fathers are most focused on their children’s welfare—notably regardless of income bracket, race or ethnicity. The list, in order of importance, includes:

  1. Providing basic needs (food, clothing, shelter)
  2. Providing and maintaining a safe home environment
  3. Giving financial support
  4. Ensuring children have a good education
  5. Teaching children to respect their mothers
  6. Providing healthcare
  7. Supporting their children’s mothers
  8. Telling their children they love them
  9. Understanding and relating to their to children’s problems
  10. Spending quality time with their children

“When Dr. Pruett approached us with the idea of conducting this type research on fathers, we immediately agreed because it aligns perfectly with our mission to understand the needs of both parents and children,” said Lisa Fisher, Director of Marketing, Goddard Systems, Inc (franchisor of The Goddard School). “We conduct ongoing research with parents (usually mothers) and children. Our research focus is to help us understand the role our schools play in families’ lives—relationships with teachers, curriculum development, environment and materials.  And then, about two years ago, we conducted our first qualitative research with fathers.  We saw a growing number of fathers who were involved in the ‘school decision’ and their children’s overall education plan; we knew we needed to be at the forefront of research about fathers.”

In addition to fathers providing good home lives and emotional support to their children, researchers also discovered that providing a good education for their child ranks most important for fathers in terms of being a role model, with three out of four fathers visiting a preschool before enrolling their child.

“Since we opened our doors, almost 25 years ago, the role of fathers in choosing a preschool for their children has changed—we’ve seen and heard this anecdotally from school owners and education directors,” adds Fisher. “While fathers have always been involved in our schools, the level of involvement seems to have shifted—and this is supported by the new research.  Today’s fathers want to learn more about their child’s program, experience the overall environment and to understand what their child will be learning—before they commit to enrollment.”

Pruett attributes the influx of a father’s involvement in the preschool enrollment process to their desire and need to feel that they are making a financially sound decision—a good investment into their child’s future.  “This is one of the largest U.S. studies of fathers and fathering values that cuts across income brackets, races and ethnicity in order to be complete and balanced,” said Pruett.

Pruett said the researchers surveyed fathers from diverse demographic groups to ensure the broadest possible understanding of how American fathers perceive their roles in their families and particularly their children’s lives.

Happy Father’s Day: Goodies for Daddy Snack!

This Father’s Day, surprise dad with his own special snack mix! With help from an adult, little ones can mix up their own special creation for dad using a combination of the snack items below (and anything else you think dad might like). Then, decorate a disposable food container with markers, paint and craft supplies to store dad’s special treat!

  • Nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds, etc.)
  • Raisins
  • M&M’s®
  • Cheerios®
  • Chex® cereal
  • Small pretzels
  • Teddy Grahams®
  • Small cheese snack crackers
  • Goldfish® crackers

 

When complete, consider writing a little ingredients list for dad to attach to the package, such as: “Ingredients: peanuts (because I’m your peanut), raisins (because you’re so good at raisin’ me), Teddy Grahams (for a big bear hug) and M&M’s (because you’re so sweet).”

Taste the Chill

Homemade frozen treats are a great way to beat the heat this summer. Here are a few simple treats you and your child can make together to cool down on the hottest of summer days.

  • Frozen Fruit Pops: Use frozen berries and/or fresh fruit and experiment with different combinations. Blend your fruit of choice in a blender with a bit of all-natural fruit juice and pour into ice cube trays. After the cubes have set up for a few minutes, insert Popsicle sticks into each one and freeze completely. When ready, pop them out one by one and enjoy!
  • “Ice Cream” Sandwiches: Spread a bit of sugar free Cool Whip on a graham cracker and top with another graham cracker. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. When completely frozen, unwrap and savor your tasty “ice cream” sandwich creation!
  • Frozen Bananas: Peel a banana and cut it into two pieces. Insert a Popsicle stick in the flat end of each piece of banana. Use a butter knife or spatula to cover the banana with your choice of peanut, soy or sunflower butter; honey or chocolate syrup and roll in granola, whole grain cereal or chopped nuts. Place the bananas on a tray covered with parchment paper and freeze. Children will “go bananas” for this fun frozen treat!

Focus On: Traveling with Children

Whether traveling via plane, train or car, the following here are some traveling tips for your next family vacation:

INFANT TO ONE YEAR

  • Plan for an active stretch. A rest stop break or a playground – let them walk or toddle for twenty or so minutes before climbing back in the car.
  • Bring music, mobiles, bubbles and books.
  • Pre-measure formula into bottles and carry a room temperature bottle of water to mix on the go.
  • Be prepared for a mess – snacks, diapers, spit-up, etc. – small trash bag, wipes, hand sanitizer (for the adults), spare water, tissues, bib and a blanket.
  • Even if you are traveling by plane, a car seat can double as a feeding chair or nap location. Call ahead for a crib to be added to your hotel room.
  • Be prepared and do not overload yourself. If time allows, buy what you can when you get to your destination.

FIRST STEPS (12-18 MONTHS)

  • Many of the Infant travel tips apply here.
  • Use “links” to keep toys within your child’s reach.
  • Even in the cool weather, crack a window for fresh air. Stale air may make your little one grumpy. Remove heavy jackets and shoes for comfort.
  • Bring music, books, stuffed animal, play mirror and foam shapes that will “stick” to the car seat. In an airplane – bring/purchase headphones for music and rest it on your child’s shoulders instead of over their ears.
  • Have some active playtime just before leaving and plan for frequent stops. In an airplane, let children walk down the aisle periodically at their own pace.
  • Airports can be a bustling place. This may be the one time you check your luggage at the curb. This way you can focus on your little one’s needs without the hassle of luggage in tow.

TODDLER AND GET SET (18-36 MONTHS)

  • Many of the First Steps travel tips apply here.
  • Play window games – count the silos, trucks or red lights.
  • Attach a mirror to the front passenger visor so you can see and interact with your toddler without having to spin around.
  • Buckle up a toy bin right next to the children so they can help themselves – books, links, stuffed animals and puppets.
  • Have your child help you pack a picnic lunch or snack and then serve it to everyone.
  • A blanket can make a quick play space in any lobby, airport, etc.

PRESCHOOL TO PRE-K (36 MONTHS +)

  • ‘I Spy’ a blue car, a white truck and other objects you can see while moving.
  • Laptop desk for drawing with paper and crayons.
  • Car-Ride Checklist – make a picture itinerary of landmarks you will see along the way.
  • Ask your child to keep score – gas prices, mileage or count out toll money.
  • Play “I’m thinking of an animal.” Provide age-appropriate hints to help your child guess a particular animal.
  • If you’re using a hotel babysitter: 1– Check the sitter’s credentials, including criminal and/or child abuse clearances. 2 – Check the room and the equipment in the room. 3 – Carry your phone and check your phone service when you arrive at your destination.

Educators Honored in National Teacher of the Year Competition The Goddard School® Announces Awards During National Teacher Appreciation Week

Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), franchisor of The Goddard School, held its fifth annual “Teacher of the Year” competition in conjunction with national Teacher Appreciation Week, May 2nd – 6th, and has selected four outstanding early childhood educators for recognition.

“These four educators represent our best resources in early childhood education. GSI is proud of their accomplishments,” said Sue Adair, GSI Director of Education.

GSI received “Teacher of the Year Award” nominations from all across the country, including those from Goddard School owners and education directors as well as recommendations from parents, peers and, in some cases, children.  In addition to the recognition, the teachers received a cash prize and a gift package from GSI.

The Goddard School “Teacher of the Year” honorees each initiated ongoing projects that benefit their classrooms, schools and communities. The following teachers were honored:

  • Michelle Boudreau created an original program for the children of The Goddard School located in Auburn, Massachusetts, stemming from a simple weekly theme of “Bridges.” A map of the United States was added to her “circle time” area—generating a lot of excitement and questions from the children. Photographs of various bridges were placed around the area, and the children used string to connect each photo of a bridge to its corresponding state. Boudreau, inspired by the children’s enthusiasm, carried the theme of “Bridges” throughout the curriculum, finding innovative ways to incorporate it in math lessons, social studies, literacy, music, Spanish—even as yoga poses! The children discovered all about various types of bridges, beginning in their home state with the Memorial Bridge (arch bridge) in nearby Springfield, and continuing the learning experience in California (suspension bridge), Illinois (moveable bridge) and Vermont (covered bridge).
  • JoAnn Davenport developed a creative social skills program entitled Preschoolers for Pets. She introduced “Henry the Hotdog” (similar to Flat Stanley) to the children of The Goddard School located in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. Each child was given the opportunity to take “Henry” home for a weekend—and the children loved caring for “Henry”! Davenport created a newsletter for the families to share Henry’s visits to each child’s home. Together, they collected items for a local animal shelter, prepared homemade dog biscuits and made dog and cat toys. The families were invited to join in with the presentation of all the goodies to the shelter.
  • Jen Grinberg of The Goddard School located in Wayne, New Jersey implemented an imaginative program focusing on building community through universal compassion, daily kindness and caring—both in and out of the classroom. This program was inspired by Have You Filled a Bucket Today: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids, by Carol McCloud. This program not only encourages children to reach out and express love, respect and appreciation for others but also helps them to express their feelings in a positive manner, to establish an atmosphere against bullying and encourages more positive school and home environments. Grinberg read the book to her class, and each child decorated a bucket. The children were then encouraged to fill the buckets with kind words and compliments.
  • Charlotte O’Toole instituted a literacy program that not only teaches children to read, but also fosters a lifelong love of reading at The Goddard School located at 8866 Columbia 100 Parkway in Columbia, Maryland. O’Toole developed Running the Bases to Reading—an annual literacy campaign. The ‘team’ of children, along with their ‘coaches’ (parents), work towards a goal of each reading 100 books by the 100th day of school. A monthly record of books read is maintained as an innovative, interactive wall display and the ‘team’ watches the ‘player’ run the bases, tracking their progress. This year, the ‘team’ read a total of 1,570 books—well surpassing their goal of 1,300!