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Archive for September, 2012

The Goddard School® Celebrates the Power of Play with Nationwide Block Party

In this high-tech, fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget the joy and power of play. That’s why The Goddard School, the leader in early childhood education, is celebrating the importance of learning through play with its Block Party event.

On Monday, Oct. 1 through Saturday, Oct. 6, The Goddard School is encouraging everyone to stop by and play at The Goddard School Block Party. The event, hosted by Goddard Schools across the nation, will focus on a variety of playful learning activities, including the “Largest Game of Simon Says” record attempt on Friday, Oct. 5 at 9:00 AM PDT/12:00PM EDT.

“Playing alone and with others not only builds brain development, it also helps children develop social skills and a sense of ethics,” said Kyle D. Pruett, M.D., Education Advisory Board Member for Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), franchisor of The Goddard School. “Play helps children learn to solve problems, teaches regulation of emotions, and builds resilience and confidence.”

Current research supports the long-term impact of play-based learning on children. The Goddard School has used this child-focused approach since it opened its first school almost 25 years ago.

“It’s important as early educators to remember to encourage creativity in young children,” said Sue Adair, director of education for GSI. “Our approach is based on accepted research that clearly indicates the deepest, most genuine learning occurs for children through play and fun activities lovingly guided by highly trained teachers.”

The event kicks off in schools this week with a national Cardboard Box Challenge inspired by Caine’s Arcade and Imagination Foundation’s similar mission of celebrating creativity and children’s imaginations of everywhere. Schools across the nation are encouraging their children, faculty and families to create something unique with a cardboard box base. Photos of these creations will be uploaded to The Goddard School Facebook page for public voting during the week of the Block Party.

To learn more about The Goddard School Block Party and The Goddard Schools located in your area, visit www.goddardschool.com/blockparty or call 1-800-GODDARD.

Sometimes Limits Are Hard to Maintain

Dr. Kyle Pruett ADespite that importance of limits, parents sometimes have trouble setting and maintaining them.  Part of the problem stems, no doubt, from the changes in today’s family structures and lifestyles.  Some common issues:

  • I don’t want to be the ogre:  Parents who are unable to spend much time with their children (because of work, separation, or divorce, for example) may be concerned about how they are view by their children in the limited time they have together.  Anxious not to be the “Wicked Witch of the West,” they cave more easily and often.  But children are relentless in their search for limits since, at this age, they can’t set their own.  The result of the caving is more testing, rather than less.  Better an occasional stand-your-ground action than a non-stop war of attrition.  With limits, children – and the limited time parents have with them – will be much happier.  The bonds between parent and child also will be stronger.
  • I’m too tired:  This is a common problem of working parents.  They come home after a long day, looking forward to some pleasant time with the family, and, boom, they get hit with whines and cries.  Caving again may seem the quickest route to peace.  And, in the short term, it might be.  But it only increases the frequency of testing.  Once again, standing firm for important limits will make those pleasant evenings the norm, not the exception.
  • Giving in is a treat for the child:  It isn’t.  Freedom in life is a treat for us grownups because we have, in general, mastered the self-control needed to use it properly.  A toddler hasn’t.  Limits are the controls that make his life safe, secure, and happy.  Don’t deny him these essentials.

The Basics of Setting Limits

One of the strongest elements in maintaining limits is to reward good behavior.  Your approval and support mean the world to a toddler looking to you for a smile.  The more time your child spends seeking – and getting – your approval for the right things, the less time he will spend on the wrong things.

Family - Father DaughterHowever, the wrong things will happen.  It’s an inevitable part of how children learn.  No doubt you already have been amazed at what a master your little one can be.  It often seems that children can home in on a hot button or weak moment with laser-like precision.  To them, this all seems like fun.  And it is.  Learning how “buttons” on people work is just as fascinating a discovery – and just as important – as learning how buttons on a toy work.  For us, however, it’s another matter.

Understanding motivation or intent when your toddler/preschooler does something unacceptable can help relieve your anger and frustration and open the door to a more constructive reaction.  The best response in this case would be teaching, not punishment.

Baby Safety Tips: September is National Baby Safety Month

  • Blocks - Infant GirlBabies should always be placed on their backs to sleep—unless your pediatrician advises you otherwise for medical concerns. Remember, bumpers and blankets in the crib are a no-no for infants.
  • Be sure to child-proof your home before your baby begins to crawl. Get down to a baby’s level and crawl around—really look at your home from a baby’s point of view. Child-proof cords, electrical outlets, TVs, etc. accordingly.
  • Until your baby can safely hold her own bottle, be sure an adult feeds baby. Bottle propping can be dangerous.
  • Be sure that all toys are age appropriate. A great rule of thumb: if a toy can fit in an empty toilet paper tube, that toy is too small for baby.
  • Babies are naturally very curious. Be sure to save “No!” for when it really matters—in the case of safety or something you feel most strongly about.

Toddler Behavior: The ‘Annoyances’ and Benefits

A lot of a child’s behavior that adults may find slightly annoying is not only normal, it’s beneficial to a child’s growth.

  • Family - Mom Daughter BEndless repetition of anything and everything falls near the top of many adults’ “least favorite” lists.  But repetition is how children learn.  That their repeated action produces the same outcome teaches children about the physical universe and gives them a healthy sense of control because they learn how to produce a desired effect.
  • Non-stop touching and exploration also can be somewhat irritating.  But these behaviors, too, are essential to learning.
  • Saying “no” is another common marker of the period.  It is part quest for limits and part assertion of autonomy.

Fortunately, the duration of these learning tactics is mercifully brief.  With patience and ingenuity on your part, all parties can come through unscathed, and limit-setting can be aimed at the big issues where it really counts – safety and good behavior.