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Five Ways to Encourage Children to Give Back


Part of being a good citizen includes giving back to the community and the world at large. Here are five ways to encourage children to be charitable.

1. Start small. Rake the leaves in an elderly neighbor’s yard, take food to an ailing relative or just hold the door for someone. These deeds show your child that small acts of kindness can make a big difference.

2. Donate clothes and toys. Go through your child’s closet and toy chest and ask him which items he would like to donate, and then take him to an organization that accepts donations of clothes and toys. You can even make this a regular habit.

3. Participate in local drives. Whether it is a bake sale, canned food drive or other charitable initiative, get involved while enlisting the help of your child.

4. Build on your child’s interests. For example, if your child shows an interest in cooking, you and he can volunteer at a soup kitchen when he is old enough. If your child likes animals, you can donate gently used items, such as pet beds and grooming tools, to your local animal shelter. You should contact your local shelter first to find out what items it accepts.

5. Select a charity to support. Ask your child how she would like to change the world. Based on her answer, select a charity to support regularly. If she wants to help find a cure for cancer, you can raise money for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. If she wants to help find homes for people who do not have them, you can volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

Sharing is a Significant Skill for Young Children


Demonstrating the act of sharing with young children helps them build friendships and create a peaceful playtime with others.

Your children will learn best from what you do, so remember to practice the art of sharing. You are a role model for your little ones. Incorporate sharing in your daily activities with your children by using small examples.

1. Show your children that there is one granola bar left in the box. Explain how all of you are hungry and ask your children what they think you should do.

2. Play games that require taking turns with your children. Watch how well your children do with waiting for their turn and explain how important patience is.

3. Be proactive with your explanations. Instead of waiting to witness that your children are not sharing with a friend, talk with them about how they will need to play nice and share their toys when a friend comes to visit.

Depending on your children’s answers and actions, be sure to explain that all the children may not get what they exactly want, but sharing creates a compromise for everyone involved.

You also could explain the consequences of not sharing. If your children are caught hiding toys from their friends, they should know the consequences. Explain that not sharing may result in not being able to play with any toys for the entire day. However, if they share, although they may not get what they exactly want, they will have more than they had when they started. If they do not share, they will end up without any toys.



Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), franchisor of The Goddard School®, a leader in early childhood education franchises focused on learning through play for children six weeks to six years old, recently conducted its eleventh annual Preschooler-Approved Toy Test. Preschoolers, teachers and early childhood education experts across the United States tested the most innovative educational toys on the market, and GSI is eager to announce their top 10 educational toys for 2018.


Fifty Goddard Schools received 30 of 2018’s hottest toys for ages six weeks to six years old that were chosen by Goddard Systems’ Toy Test Committee out of dozens of submissions received from toy manufacturers around the globe. With the help of their teachers, the preschoolers played with, critiqued and selected their favorite toys, and GSI compiled the results.


The following are the Top 10 Preschooler-Approved Toys for 2018.


  • VTech Touch and Discover: Sensory Turtle (3+ months)
  • Mirari Shellby Snail (9+ months)
  • Leap Frog Learning Friends: 100 Words Book (18+ months)
  • SMARTMAX My First Farm Animal (1-5 years)
  • SMARTMAX My First Tractor Set (1-5 years)
  • Peaceable Kingdom Acorn Soup (2+ years)
  • Popular Playthings Magnetic Mix or Match Animals (2+ years)
  • Popular Playthings Magnetic Mix or Match Vehicles (3+ years)
  • Basic Fun Lite Brite (4+ years)
  • PlayMonster Don’t Rock the Boat (5+ years)


“The Goddard School Preschooler-Approved Toy Test offers a fun and educational experience to help children develop important, lifelong skills through play-based learning,” said Dr. Craig Bach, GSI’s vice president of education. “The children explored, experimented with and evaluated a range of classic, creative and STEAM-based toys from leading manufacturers and then chose their favorites.”


The public can now vote for the best toy by visiting The Goddard School’s Toy Test page from Nov. 1 to 12. GSI will purchase 100 units of the winning toy and donate them to Toys for Tots, a program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve that distributes holiday gifts to less-fortunate children in the community.


Five Ways You Can Help Children Cope with Homesickness


When children spend a night away from home at a sleepover or on a family vacation, they may experience feelings of homesickness. Here are five ways to help them cope with these feelings.


  1. Talk about being away before your child is away. Some children might not even be aware of how homesickness feels, so it’s a good idea to have a conversation about what homesickness is and how you will be available if your child needs to talk.
  2. Keep the lines of communication open. Your child can keep in touch with you through text messages, phone calls and emails while she is away from home. This provides a comforting connection.
  3. Remind your child that it’s only temporary. A sleepover is only one night; a vacation may only last a week. The time away from home will not last forever, and neither will the homesickness.
  4. Encourage your child to do things that will take his mind off being homesick. Suggest that your child read a story, play a game or play with friends or siblings. Having fun is one of the best ways to cope with homesickness.
  5. Suggest that your child take something comforting along. A favorite stuffed animal, a blanket, a pillow or a familiar item that reminds your child of home can soothe him if he is homesick.

30 Hacks for Today’s Parents!

The Goddard School is 30, and, to celebrate, we held a “30 Hacks for Today’s Parent” contest! We asked parents to post a comment along with a photo, video and/or short description that shows off their favorite parenting hack.

Here are the top 30 parenting hacks from our Goddard parents!

1.”When you go on vacation and want to make sure your kid won’t fall out of bed, tuck extra pillows or rolled up blankets under the sheet on each side of the bed. It creates a little bumper to keep them from rolling out.” – Rachel S. rachael-sartor-edited
2. “Use a washing machine drain pan to catch dropped food & crumbs.” – Mara J


3. “Chopsticks stop sticky hands!” – Katherine D.T.


4. “When you have a sick kiddo – tape an empty tissue box box to the full one.  When you have a dirty tissue you can stuff it into the empty box so you don’t have to get up and throw it away each time.  When the box is full just snap it off and toss it.” – Carey S.

5.  “When my little one was just learning to pull herself up we had a coffee table with bars and designs on the bottom (along with a shelf we kept magazines…). So she wouldn’t hit her head on the bars or pull the magazines out we tied a crib bumper along the bottom (on the left in photo).” – Amanda S.


6. “I keep a diaper caddy in the backseat of my car in case I have an unplanned doctor appointment or event that would need essentials when I don’t normally have my diaper bag or am coming from work to get kids. I keep diapers, wipes, change of clothes, toys, snacks, books, blanket, hand wipes, diaper cream and other necessities. They even serve as back ups in case I forget to throw something in my diaper bag. That way I’m covered on all bases!” – Sarah B.W.


7. “To wean your toddler off of their pacifier, try cutting the nipple off of the pacifier and tell him/her that it is “broken.” If you feel that cutting the whole nipple off all at once is too dramatic, you can start off by cutting a small hole in the end of the nipple and slowly make it bigger and bigger until the child is no longer comforted by the pacifier.” – Kyla C.


8. “Keeping the kids out of the kitchen drawers and cupboards – toy links and a yardstick.” – Abby W.


9. “Our kids love to paint, but want every color. We put it in an ice cube tray, with press n seal wrap on top. It doesn’t dry out! Also use q tips for paint brushes. One in each color. Makes for easier clean up & less wasted paint!” – Carolyn K.P.


10. “For some reason, restaurants tend to serve kid meals at like 500 degrees. Whenever we go out to eat, we will order our child’s meal when we order our drinks but we ask that their meal be kept in the back until our food is ready to come out. It helps to cool the food down out of eyesight of our child (as its hard for them to understand the concept of ‘wait and let it cool down’ when the chicken fingers and fries are right in front of them).” – Samantha L.

11. “To keep my son’s bedroom door from being slammed we cut down the side of a pool noodle and put it at the top of his door.” – Shauna B.


12. “For dining on the go, Carry a lint roller in the diaper bag. Apply 2-3 rows of lint roller tape, adhesive side down on dirty public tables. The backside creates a clean, cheap, disposable and immovable eating surface for toddlers. Then clean up any crumbs with the adhesive side afterward.” – Paula S. M.

13. “Buy your kids a Starbucks cake pop to get them to be quiet for five minutes so you can drink some coffee in peace.”


14. “Use laundry clips to prevent taco spills.”


15. “Grab a dirty sock off of the floor and wipe down the surfaces in the kids’ bedrooms every week when gathering dirty laundry. It’s worked for 22 years. Kid still doesn’t know. Repeat for husband…that one has worked for 28 years. They think I dust..” – Amy T.

16. “Giving your kiddo pesky medications: Having a hard time getting your infant to swallow medication? One trick is to squirt a little medication into the inner cheek of your kiddo and then quickly blow in your baby’s face. This can cause them to swallow, getting the medications down them before they spit it back in your face!” – Jake C.


17. “This parenting “hack” I am recommending is curbside grocery pickup 😉 Walmart and Giant Eagle both offer it in multiple locations. As a parent, this has saved me so much time and money each week. You can sit in the luxury of your own home, ask the kids what they’d like to eat, research food offerings and become organized with recipes. Families that have rather large grocery lists each week and parents who dread walking into a grocery store, this is such an awesome service. I’ve been doing this for months now, it’s a game changer.” Amy B.

18. “For potty training toddlers: cover the mattress with a waterproof cover then fitted sheet. Repeat the waterproof cover and fitted sheet on top. If they have an accident in the night just pull off the first layer and put them right back to bed quickly without a major disturbance in their (and your) sleep.” – Amanda K.

19. “We struggled to find child safety locks to keep our pantry doors and our sons closet doors shut because the handles were so far away. none of the typical door locks worked. We used the oven or fridge locks instead.” – Cary S.


20. “Our best parent hack is using blue painters tape for everything. We put some over the speaker on toys (why are kids toys so loud?!), use them as “stickers” or let the kids hang artwork all around the house. Since it’s painters tape it doesn’t damage the walls or toys! ” – Tricia H

21. “For potty training and sick kiddos, keep two layers of mattress protector and sheets on the bed. Makes middle of the night changes a little easier to just take a layer off and have one ready to go! I’ve done it in the crib and big kid beds.” – Carolyn K.P.

22. “We use hair ties to keep cabinets and double closet doors closed! We’ve tried all of the expensive gadgets, and hair ties have been the most successful at keeping our little one safe! (They rock for trips, too!)” – Paige O.


23. “This is great for any baby/toddler who were the bed. Sometimes diapers get too full during the night and it leaks or sometimes toddlers just wet the bed… so… It is a PAIN to change the sheets in a crib. So what we do is put a water proof liner on, then a sheet, then another water proof liner and another sheet, so if the sheet gets wet, you just have to rip off one set and the bed is made and ready to go. So you’re only making the bed every other time. Works for us!” – Dori S.

24. “Use your child’s dresser as a changing table. Saves money & space by not buying a separate changing table & you’ll have room to keep everything handy! (Our changing pad came with straps that you can nail into the dresser to prevent it from moving). Bonus hack from the picture: Use the IKEA spice racks as book holders. We painted ours. (IKEA has figured out that folks do this & our store actually stocks them in the kid’s section now).” – Betsy P.


25. ” A friend of mine gave me these great tips: Carry a bassinet or small crib waterproof flat sheet or cover in the diaper bag for diaper changes in public. It covers the nasty changing stations completely (to keep baby from touching anything–we all know the disposable covers sometime provided are not big enough nor are most changing pads), and can also be used in the car. Best thing about it, if it gets dirty, you just throw it in the wash! This same friend also told me to get a small portable potty with disposable liners for the car for road trips or when public bathrooms are just too gross for little ones who touch everything.” – Jessica I.B.

26. “Throw dirty socks in a small mesh laundry bag. Was and dry in bag and never lose them!” – Elyse J. S.


27. “My hack: I encourage my kids to ask a lot of questions. It builds a lot of curiosity. That’s why I always use Alexa or google . I tell my kids to ask Alexa and google all the time. It also keeps them busy.” – Melwyn X. P.

28. “This was absolutely one of the best ideas… the laundry basket in the tub to keep all the baby toys near my daughter.” – Chantele M.


29. “Pretty simple and yet “Oh So” effective hack that has always worked for me – giving your child a choice of 2 things when you already know that both get them doing what you want them to do. For example, a kid that refuses to take medicine – start off saying do you want to take your medicine with a pretzel or a cracker??? They usually make a choice and do one or the other not even realizing they just did what you wanted. Bonus, your child likes getting to make decisions!” – Colleen C.

30. “It has recently come to my attention that rubber duckies and other small bath toys can often become filled with bacteria due to the collection of water inside. So, I have begun to use a hot glue gun to seal the small hole on the bottom close” – Dori F.


Top O’ The Graham!

Here’s a cheery snack to satisfy your little one’s hungry tummy! Click here for the video!



  • Non-fat yogurt (any flavor)
  • Graham crackers
  • Banana slices
  • Dried cranberries


Break a graham cracker in half so you have two squares.


Spread a spoonful of yogurt on one of the graham cracker squares. (Try it out with key lime flavored yogurt for a St. Patrick’s Day treat!)


Top with a banana slice and dried cranberries.


Repeat and enjoy!


Four Ways to Encourage Gratitude

072O2495Teaching children how to be grateful is important. Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and member of The Goddard School Educational Advisory Board, offers four tips on how to encourage gratitude.

  1. Regularly express your own thankfulness verbally. Saying things such as “We are very lucky to have grandma nearby” or “I’m thankful to have a son like you in my life” or “Your dad made that so easy for all of us” can help demonstrate the appreciation you have for the people around you.
  2. Express gratitude behaviorally. Take a casserole to a neighbor who has been kind or needs some extra help for whatever reason—even better if the children help you make it. When the hand-me-down toys end their cycle, make a thrift store run with the children in tow.
  3. Make generosity part of your family’s routine. When seasons change, collect clothes from everyone’s closet to donate or take canned goods to the local soup kitchen.
  4. Take the children along on community fundraising activities, runs, walks, etc. Explain to them why this matters to you. Make sure your children meet the organizers and understand the purpose; if it’s personal, it’s remembered.

The Goddard School® Announces Recipient of the Anthony A. Martino Memorial Scholarship

Former Student from The Goddard School located in Eldersburg, MD Awarded with $10,000 to Help with the Rising Costs of College Tuition  

Scholarship Winner 2014

Left Photo: Shelby Janicki with former teacher, Jane Miles, at Shelby’s 2001 Pre-K Goddard School Graduation; Right Photo: Shelby Janicki with Jane Miles and Owner of The Goddard School located in Eldersburg, MD, Alec Yeo.

The Goddard School®, the premier preschool focusing on learning through play for children from six weeks to six years old, today announced Shelby Janicki, who attended The Goddard School located in Eldersburg, MD, is the recipient of its 6th annual Anthony A. Martino Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is open to any senior in high school who has graduated from The Goddard School Pre-Kindergarten or Kindergarten program and is awarded annually to a graduate who has demonstrated the work ethic and perseverance that exemplified Anthony A. Martino, the founder of The Goddard School franchise system.

Shelby’s winning submission detailed how The Goddard School influenced her education and career path. Having already been accepted to Towson University, Shelby will be pursuing an English degree majoring in Secondary Education with a minor in Spanish when she begins college this fall. Fabiana Berenguer Gil and Lindsey Franxman who attended The Goddard School in Owings Mills, MD and Crestview Hills, KY respectively, were selected as finalists for the scholarship.

“With the ever-increasing cost of college tuition, we are thrilled to provide an opportunity for graduates of The Goddard School program to reach their goals in higher education,” said Joseph Schumacher, CEO of Goddard Systems, Inc., franchisor of The Goddard School. “As Shelby embarks on her college career, we are pleased to recognize her and all that she has accomplished since her days as a preschooler. Just as The Goddard School program is dedicated to helping children develop into confident, joyful and fully prepared students, the Anthony A. Martino Memorial Scholarship honors this commitment to the children long after they have left our Schools.”

The Goddard Schools have awarded more than $60,000 to alumni through the Anthony A. Martino Memorial Scholarship program that provides opportunities for college-bound alumni to financially benefit from their attendance.

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

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.”

Dr. Craig Bach Joins The Goddard School Blog!

For 25 years, The Goddard School has been a trusted name among parents and families. Our proven educational approach is based on the latest research in early childhood education.  For the past four years, we have shared expert knowledge and research on parenting through our blog.  We are committed to providing sound educational advice, news and research, and so we are thrilled to have our Vice President for Education, Craig Bach, Ph.D., share his extensive expertise here on The Goddard School blog.

Craig_BachDr. Bach is responsible for overseeing licensing and compliance, accreditation, quality assurance, training and curriculum for the 400 Goddard School locations across the nation.

“Assessment and evaluation are fundamental parts of everything my team implements at GSI. Studies continue to show the importance of early education in a child’s academic success. We want to make sure that we build on that research, so our educationally rich programs will continue to provide children with a solid foundation for a successful future,” said Dr. Bach.

Dr. Bach received his doctorate from the Group in Logic and Methodology of Science at U. C. Berkeley. He is an educational researcher with more than 15 years of experience in primary, secondary and postsecondary education, including five years in institutional research.  His areas of research include learning assessment, learning analytics, the philosophy of mathematics, instructional technologies, mathematics education and the application of philosophical methods to research.

To learn more about Dr. Bach, click here.