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Archive for 2013

BENEFITS TO CHILDREN WHEN BOTH PARENTS WORK

The Goddard SchoolThe 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 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.

Fast and Easy Breakfast Ideas

Leaving the house in the morning can be hectic with children. Parents want to feed their children healthy, balanced meals that will get them through the morning, but it can be hard to think of healthy breakfast ideas that the children will like. Here are some quick and easy breakfast options.

Fruit-Infused Baked Oatmeal (makes about six servings)

1 cup rolled oats

½ tsp. baking powder

¾ tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ cup sugar-free maple syrup

1 cup almond milk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tbsp. butter, softened or melted

3 ripe bananas, sliced

1 cup fresh or frozen berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a square or rectangular baking dish. Mix the oats, baking powder and cinnamon until they are well mixed. Combine the syrup, milk, egg and butter. Place the sliced bananas in a single layer on the bottom of your baking dish. Top the bananas with half of the berries. Pour the dry oat mixture over the fruit in an even layer. Then, pour the liquid ingredients evenly over the oats. Place the remaining berries evenly on top. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is browned. Let the oatmeal cool a few minutes before serving it. If you make it the night before, cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil and place it in the refrigerator so you can reheat it in the morning.


Banana Split Breakfast Sundae

1 large banana, peeled and cut in half lengthwise

1 cup Greek yogurt in the flavor of your choice

½ cup granola

1 tbsp. ground flax seed

¼ cup raisins or berries (optional)

Place each banana half in a cereal bowl and top each with half of the yogurt. Then, sprinkle half of the granola, flax seed and berries on each.


Spinach and Cheese Omelet Cupcakes

2 cups washed baby spinach

4 large eggs or the equivalent in egg substitute

2 egg whites

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

A dash of salt and pepper

1 tsp. olive oil

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Spray a cupcake tin with cooking spray. Mix the spinach, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and egg whites. Add the eggs to the spinach mixture, and then add the shredded cheese. Mix well. Pour the mixture into each cup in the cupcake pan until the cup is halfway full. Bake until the omelets are fully cooked, which will take about 20-24 minutes.  Let them cool about two minutes and serve them, or wrap them up in foil and store them in the refrigerator for the next morning. Reheat them in a microwave or toaster oven.


Simple Nut Butter and Honey Sandwich

Grab a piece of your child’s favorite whole grain bread and spread on a nut butter. If you have a nut allergy in the family, try a butter made from roasted sunflower seeds. Then, drizzle on some local honey and serve the sandwich with a glass of almond milk or orange juice. For added flavor, you can place a few slivers of apple on top or sprinkle the sandwich with dried cranberries.

Talking Differences

What do we do when our preschooler asks about someone’s physical disability? What do we do if any of our children have a physical ailment and someone has questions? How would we want other people to talk to our children about the children’s condition? How would we want the children to react to people who stare or ask them awkward questions? With the help of Goddard School parent, SooAnn Roberts Pisano, who is the mother of a child with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), we are providing some tips for teaching our children appropriate ways to approach someone with a visible disability or ailment.

Society and tradition have taught us that staring and pointing is rude, and typically it is. However, SooAnn Roberts Pisano points out that teaching our children not to stare “does not teach us to see with our eyes in the same way we would naturally. It essentially instructs us to pretend like you have zero interest at all in what we are seeing and try to appear as natural as possible. It instructs us to remain ignorant about what we do not understand.”  We don’t need to allow staring, but we do need to explain to our children that taking an interest in others and seeking to understand their disabilities or differences is important.

How do children with disabilities or conditions that make them appear different than others deal with the stares and questions? While no solution works in all situations, Pisano developed some simple tips from her personal experiences, comments from adults with disabilities and parents of children with special needs. These can help us approach people with disabilities and educate ourselves and our children to embrace and understand differences.

  • Smile. When you catch yourself staring at someone, smile at the person in acknowledgment. Teach your children to smile at people they see and not to fear those who look different.
  • Ask, “May I ask you about ____?” When you notice someone with a disability or a genetic disorder, show interest and respect by asking them about themselves.
  • Let the person say no. If the person doesn’t want to talk about his or her situation, he or she will let you know. The person might tell you where you can find more information.
  • Use the K.I.S.S. principle and Keep It Short and Simple. Never use questions like “What’s wrong with him?” This can be highly offensive. A person may have a disability or a genetic disorder, but that does not mean there is something wrong with him or her as a person.  A better question to ask may be “May I ask you about your son/daughter’s skin/bandages/condition?” If you are the parent of a child with a disability or genetic disorder, keep your explanations short and simple. Any detailed explanation or any explanation involving medical jargon may confuse the listener. Keeping your explanation simple will help your child learn how to talk about his or her condition if you are not around.
  • Say thank you. If you’re the one asking the question, thank the disabled person for letting you ask. If you’re the one being asked, thank the questioner for asking. Even if the question results in the most awkward conversation you have ever had, these conversations help us fight ignorance instead of passively promoting it.

This is not a simple subject. Conversations about disabilities can be awkward, but we shouldn’t avoid them and remain ignorant about those around us. We can make a better society by taking an interest in those around us, teaching our children how to ask someone about their appearance or disability in a polite manner and embracing that people’s differences make our world amazing, inspiring and bright. The next time we find ourselves staring at someone, we should choose to understand that person’s situation rather than ignore it.

This article was adapted from an original article written by SooAnn Roberts Pisano for the Confetti Skin, Beauty Within website. She adds, “I hope this prov[id]es a tiny drop towards a ripple effect that gets us to talk to each other, even if it’s done in all the wrong ways.  After all, while saving face is nice, learning is what’s most important.”

World Knowledge Begins at an Early Age

The Goddard School

You may have heard the term ‘world schooling’ recently. World schooling uses travel to teach children about the planet and world cultures. As the use of technology increases, the world has become more interconnected, and one country’s problems can affect our personal lives.

An early educational experience should include a global perspective. At The Goddard School, we provide children with opportunities to learn about other cultures, develop a greater understanding of new ideas and increase compassion for people who may appear very different.

You don’t have to get on a plane with your preschooler to teach her about the world. Here are some ideas to help you share the world with your little one:

  • Cook some recipes from different countries each week;
  • Be open to the world around you, and share it with your children;
  • Learn new words from different languages as a family;
  • Visit museums, go to festivals and attend embassy events;
  • Follow child-friendly international news stories with your family;
  • Read stories about other cultures and families;
  • Listen to a variety of music from around the world, and learn foreign songs;
  • Make a craft based on one from another culture.

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 The Goddard Schoolchildren. 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 success in school and life.

Thinking about Science

The Goddard SchoolScience is more than test tubes, microscopes and formulas. Scientific thinking involves asking questions, learning from mistakes, trying again, exploring new activities and solving problems. Children are natural scientific thinkers, and they want to learn and solve problems.

Young children benefit from the active, hands-on activities that foster scientific learning in every Goddard School classroom. Encouraging your young scientists at home is easy and fun. As you try the following activities with your children, talk about what is happening, ask questions and encourage them to describe what they see.

  • Bake with your children. Watch yeast rising, or see what happens if you don’t follow the recipe carefully;
  • Grow flowers or a vegetable garden. Chart your plants’ growth and note any changes. Enjoy harvesting your garden together, and let your children help make a healthy salad for your family;
  • Visit a farmers’ market or a farm to learn about animals, the effects of weather on plants and more;
  • Take apart an old clock or phone and reassemble it;
  • Make steam or watch ice melt;
  • Look for patterns in the natural world, such as the lines in bark or the symmetry of flower petals. Describe the sights, smells and sounds you experience on a walk;
  • Offer your children magnifying glasses;
  • Visit a children’s museum or natural history museum;
  • Go outside at night and look at the stars;
  • Ask your children what will happen when you roll a ball, walk a Slinky down stairs, manipulate clay and use other items, and then test their hypotheses. This can be a lot of fun.

*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

Un-Scary Halloween Costume Ideas

 

Goddard School - Fire Fighter

Halloween for preschoolers should be light and upbeat, not scary. If you plan to celebrate with your little ones, either with trick-or-treating or a party, here are some fun and simple costumes to consider.

  • Superhero – All you need is a long-sleeved t-shirt, a colored hand towel or a rectangle of fabric for a cape; leggings or fitted pants; and felt for making an eye mask, headband and symbol cutout of your children’s choice. They can pick a superhero from a favorite movie or television show, or they can make up their own.
  • Hula Dancers – You will need a grass skirt bought from your local party store or made from the heads of rope mops. You will also need a lei from the party store, or you can make one from fake flowers purchased at the craft store.  Add leggings, fitted pants or tights, too. A toy ukulele can also make a fun prop.
  • Monster Truck – If you have a child who loves trucks, you can make a truck costume with cardboard boxes, some careful cuts (by a parent, of course) and some paint or markers. You will need to add some shoulder straps to the ‘truck’ to make sure your child is properly buckled (and can easily carry it).
  • It’s Raining Cats and Dogs – Most of us have an umbrella, children’s raincoat and rain boots handy at home.  Many of us have some stuffed dogs and cats at home, too. Have your child pick out which stuffed dogs and cats to use, and then you can attach them to the top of a sturdy, inexpensive umbrella with string or safety pins.

The options for fun costumes are endless. If you have other options for easy, fun Halloween costumes, share them with us here or on our Facebook Page at https://www.Facebook.com/GoddardSchool.

 

Making Parent-Teacher Conferences Work

The home-to-school connection is crucial for a successful educational and developmental experience. “When parents and schools trust and collaborate with each other, children do better academically, behaviorally and socially,” says Kyle Pruett, M.D., child psychiatrist and advisor to The Goddard School. That connection includes ongoing communication with your child’s teachers and regularly scheduled parent-teacher conferences.  Use the following guidelines to get the most from the conferences and build a connection with the teachers.

Prepare for the meeting.
Write down your questions before the meeting to ensure you cover the most important information.

Share information with the teacher.
You know your child and family better than anyone else. Be willing to share what is happening at home, what your child’s interests are and what observations you have made.

Focus on your child.
Stay focused on what your child is learning and on developmental growth.  Don’t discuss other children, unless you want to mention that your child plays with another child outside of school.  Keep an open mind about any behavioral issues.  Work out solutions together, so your child has a consistent set of expectations at home and at school.

Ask about the program and what to expect.
Learn about the curriculum and what is coming up in the next few months. Find out how you can participate.  Ask the teacher about activities you can do at home to nurture and encourage learning. Share information about activities you do with your child at home.

Seek out opportunities to stay involved.
Before you leave the conference, ask the teacher how you can work together and what kind of opportunities the school has for parent involvement. Thank the teacher for her time.

Is My Child Gifted?

At The Goddard School, we hear this question a lot.  All children are unique and develop different skills at different rates, and they all possess the natural ability to absorb information. Children develop the most rapidly in these precious early learning years. With the right environment and early learning experiences, young children are capable of much more than we realize, and what might be normal development can look like above-average intelligence.

The Goddard SchoolOne of the difficulties in determining whether a child is gifted is the broad definition of giftedness. Not everyone who uses the term is referring to the same set of qualities. Most public schools consider the gifted students to be those who perform in the top 1-2% of their class, and these students may be provided with a more challenging curriculum.  At The Goddard School, we consider each individual child and focus on individualizing our lessons for that child.

You can continue enriching your child’s learning at home as well.

  • Provide a variety of toys that are changed often to provide your child with cognitive stimulation and promote curiosity and exploration;
  • Use materials you have around the house. Cardboard boxes for building and old clothes for dressing up and role playing can provide hours of entertainment;
  • Make sure your children have access to books and vary the selection. Let your children choose a new book every night. As children get older, they can take turns reading to you;
  • Provide opportunities for social interactions. Engaging with other family members and visiting friends increases cognitive stimulation and helps build language and social skills;
  • Follow your child’s interests.  Provide opportunities for your child to explore his or her interests;
  • Get out and about. Trips to the zoo, different local parks, museums and, if possible, other states or countries will add variety to your child’s life;
  • Make sure you turn electronics off, limit all screen time and get out and play games together.

If you still wonder if your child is gifted, we suggest contacting your state gifted association. They have many resources for parents, including contact information for assessment providers, tips for families, educational resources and more.

Learning about Money

At the Goddard SchoolThe Goddard School, we begin teaching children about money in preschool. In our dramatic play areas, children pretend they are going to the store, handling money in a restaurant or saving money in a bank. We also introduce coins and place values in the preschool and pre-kindergarten classrooms. Children learn about using money while listening to stories and when taking part in math games and activities. Giving children a head start with money skills is crucial.

You can also start teaching your children about money and value at home with these easy ideas.

  • Create a wish jar or piggy bank. If your children want a toy, have them learn to save for it. They can use money they “earn” from chores, money from the tooth fairy and gifts. Count the money with your children each time they add to their wish jars;
  • Use the grocery store as a classroom. Children can learn about the cost of items, measurement, sizes and more.
  • Be careful when discussing money at home. Children may hear those tough conversations about bills, and they can pick up on the stress that may accompany them;
  • Teach the graciousness of giving. Have your children put aside some of their wish jar money to help others in need;
  • Ask the children’s grandparents to help. Instead of buying their grandchildren lots of toys, ask them to provide some funds for the wish jar;
  • When your child is in school, take a trip to the bank and have your child set up a savings account.

Learning about money and money management early in life will help your child be more responsible in the future.