{     Offering the Best Childhood Preparation for Social and Academic Success.     }

Archive for April, 2014

Camping-Inspired Birthday Party Ideas

Whether you grew up taking family camping trips or have never been camping in your life, a backyard campout for a birthday party can be fun and exciting for children and parents.  Once the children are old enough for sleepovers, a camping-inspired birthday party can create some great memories for you, your child and your child’s friends.

  • Prepare s’mores and wrap them in foil. You can bake The Goddard Schoolthem in the oven for a yummy snack or bake a s’mores-inspired cake;
  • Use clean, old tree stumps as refreshments stands;
  • Use bandanas as napkins or placemats;
  • Create a homemade, nut-free trail mix with various dried fruits, yogurt-covered raisins and sunflower seeds. Send small bags home as party favors;
  • Create a scavenger hunt. Have the children look for acorns, pine cones, leaves, etc.
  • Make pine cone bird feeders and let the children each take theirs home to tie in a tree;
  • Get a few bins of Lincoln Logs and have children craft their own log cabin creations;
  • Create a faux campfire with thick twigs collected from your yard or a bundle of firewood, and add crumpled-up yellow and red tissue paper on top;
  • Use twine and an old cardboard box to make a Welcome Campers or Camp Birthday [Child’s Name] sign;
  • In lieu of gifts, ask party guests to donate to your favorite national park;
  • Set up a large white sheet or projection screen in the yard and use a projector to show a movie under the stars;
  • Set up a few hammocks around your yard for the kids;
  • Stock a wooden crate with decks of cards, puzzles and other fun, camp-friendly games and activities.
  • Set up a fun morning buffet with your child’s favorite breakfast foods.

Happy camping!

The Goddard School Launches Annual “Root for Earth” Campaign Nationwide to Foster Environmental Stewardship in Young Children

Preschoolers Unite to Show Support for Mother Earth

The Goddard School®, the premier preschool focusing on learning through play for children from six weeks to six years old, announces Root for Earth, an annual campaign that serves to plant seeds of change in The Goddard School children, their families and their communities to create a healthier, happier earth for genera­tions to come. Now in its 4th year, this green celebration focuses on creating awareness of energy and environmental conservation, and will be taking place across more than 400 Goddard School locations nationwide April 21 through April 25.

Seeking to bring awareness to environmental stewardship, The Goddard Schoolthe Root for Earth campaign is centers on a Lights Out! Initiative, taking place on Earth Day (April 22). Each School across the nation will turn off all non-essential lighting for one hour beginning at 10 a.m. local time. Throughout the week, the children will participate in engaging activities to learn about environmental stewardship including the Upcycling Challenge. During this challenge, children and teachers will put their imaginations to the test by utilizing reused and recycled materials to create something entirely new. Photos of the new creations will be shared on The Goddard School National Facebook Page from April 21 until April 25, and the winners will be announced on May 2.

“We believe that building a respectful relationship with nature at a young age creates a foundation for children to grow into environmentally responsible adults,” said Dr. Craig Bach, Vice President of Education at Goddard Systems, Inc. “We are proud to continue the Root for Earth tradition at The Goddard School as it allows us to teach children the values of environmental conservation through activities that support collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication.”

“Gardens are of immeasurable significance to the development of young children, with almost endless opportunity for learning and very little cost to create,” says Dave Snyder, manager of facilities and playgrounds at Goddard Systems, Inc., franchisor of The Goddard School.

“Children can learn socialization, cooperation, mathematics by measuring growth, science by documenting the growth, creativity and writing skills by creating a story book about the garden,” continues Snyder. They develop fine and gross motor skills through use of simple tools and develop responsibility through garden maintenance, including weeding, watering and harvesting activities.”

At The Goddard School, environmental responsibility does not begin and end with the Root for Earth campaign. The Goddard School curriculum includes nature and wildlife related activities through exploration of the outdoors and challenging, hands-on activities.

For more information on The Goddard School, please visit www.goddardschool.com.

Taming the Sweet Tooth in Children

Children love sweet treats. Children have more taste buds than adults and are more sensitive toThe Goddard School sweet flavors, which may be why they crave sweets more. How can we help them avoid overindulging with all the birthday celebrations, holidays and treats available?

One way to minimize the allure of and desire for sweets is to serve dessert with dinner. This makes dessert seem like part of the meal, not something children have to work for by eating foods they haven’t tried yet or don’t like. They may grab the dessert first, but over time, they will learn that the other, healthier foods on their plate are the ones that provide them with more nutritional value and energy.  Let your children decide when they’ve had enough; they may start out overeating, but they will quickly learn that too much sugar makes their stomachs hurt and can lead to headaches, hyperactivity and tiredness. Let your children know that they can and will have more sweets another time, so they don’t feel like they’ll never have a chance to have this “bad” food again.

Make sure that your children mostly eat healthy, good-for-you foods that help bodies grow, and the rest can be fun foods, like sweets and salty snacks. Children can grasp this concept, and it helps them make decisions about what to eat.

As parents, instead of describing sugary foods as bad, we can explain to children that these foods have very little nutritional value and won’t help them grow healthy bodies. If we see sweets as an occasional pleasure that won’t offer us a lasting boost in energy instead of as something forbidden, we may be healthier for it.

Staying Connected and Enriching Lives

The Goddard SchoolStaying connected with family members who live in different parts of the country and different parts of the world is easier than ever, but young children often act shy when they are asked to come to the phone to say hello or to smile for the camera during a video call.

We want to make these special times meaningful because young children benefit from their relationships with their extended family. Grandparents and other family members can be great role models and influences, and they provide a sense of cultural heritage and family history.

We have compiled the following tips to help your little ones feel more connected to their grandparents no matter how far away they are.

  • Have a regular call time. Remind your child about the call early in the day and a few minutes before the call. Children may be reluctant to talk when they aren’t prepared and the call interrupts their play;
  • Plan on a special activity they can do during the video call, such as reading a book together or drawing their favorite animal and sharing it on the call;
  • Have a show and tell session. You and your child can discuss something that happened earlier that day or week and show photos or artwork from the event;
  • Ask your child’s grandparents to help your child plan what they will do together on the next visit. You can mark it on a calendar with your child later;
  • Ask your child’s grandparents to play peekaboo with or sing to your very young children.

Of course, these tips also work for face-to-face meetings. Have fun creating new memories, and don’t forget to record them!

Planning and Organizing – Critical Thinking Skills

Some children are naturally organized, but messy children can learn organization skills. Whether The Goddard Schoolyour children are messy or neat, the executive function skills of planning and organizing will help them accomplish goals, complete tasks at school and enjoy success in life.

You can help your children develop their abilities to plan and organize. Below are a few tips to get you started.

  • Conduct weekly family meetings and discuss your family’s schedule, upcoming events and goals. Let your children help with the planning. You can hold these meetings during meals;
  • Keep a family calendar visible. Use it every day so your child becomes accustomed to the household schedules and routines;
  • Teach your child how to break down tasks. For example, when he is cleaning up his toys, ask your child to put all the dinosaurs away, then all the trucks, etc.;
  • Make a chore chart and have everyone in the family mark off jobs as they complete them;
  • Talk about events, such as trips and errands, before they happen. Before you go to the grocery store, make a shopping list with your children. At the store, ask them to help you collect the items;
  • Read stories together and talk about what happened first, next and last;
  • Play games that involve following directions and rules.

Make planning and organizing fun for your child and some of your child’s skills may rub off on you!