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Posts Tagged ‘Preschool’

John Deere Gearation Board Selected as The Top Educational Toy of 2016 In The 9th Annual Goddard School Preschooler-Approved Toy Test!

100 Units to Be Donated to Toys for Tots This Holiday Season!

Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), the national franchisor of The Goddard School®preschool system, is excited to announce that the Knoxville, TN IMG_8374public has selected the John Deere Gearation Board as the top toy in its 9th annual Goddard School Preschooler-Approval Toy Test. In an effort to encourage learning through play outside of the classroom, GSI will purchase and donate 100 units of the John Deere Gearation Board to Toys for Tots, a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve that distributes holiday gifts to less fortunate children in the community.

Established in 2008, The Goddard School’s annual Toy Test determines the best educational toys of the year with the help of the most discerning toy critics – preschoolers! Each year, The Goddard School Toy Test Committee evaluates dozens of submissions from popular toy manufacturing companies across the globe. The educational toys that support child-initiated play and collaboration, among other criteria, proceed to the next round where preschoolers from 50 Goddard School locations across the nation are given the opportunity to play with the toys. Preschoolers and teachers worked together to choose the favorite 10 toys, which were then put to a public vote to determine the winner.

The Goddard School Preschooler-Approved Top 10 Toys finalists included the following (in suggested age range order):

  • Click Clack Ball™ by The Manhattan Toy Company® (Suggested Age Range: 0+ years)
  • Sort and Discover Activity Cube™ by VTech® (Suggested Age Range: 9-36 months)
  • Mirari® Pop! Pop! Piano® by Play Monster™ (Suggested Age Range: 12+ months)
  • Musical Gator™ by Alex Brands® (Suggested Age Range: 18+ months)
  • Newborn Nursery Newborn Baby by Madame Alexander (Suggested Age Range: 2+ years)
  • Lauri Tall Stackers™ by Play Monster™ (Suggested Age Range: 2+ years)
  • Gearation Board by John Deere (Suggested Age Range: 3+ years)
  • Puppy Up™ by Play Monster™ (Suggested Age Range: 3+ years)
  • Yeti in My Spaghetti® by Play Monster™ (Suggested Age Range: 4+ years)
  • Hexenkuche (Witches Kitchen) by Beleduc USA, Inc. (Suggested Age Range: 4+ years)

“Play-based learning is a critical part of the growth of preschoolers as they develop into confident learners,” says GSI’s Vice President of Education, Dr. Craig Bach. “Through The Goddard School preschool’s Toy Test program, children provide wonderful feedback on a range of educational toys like John Deere Gearation Board while experiencing genuine play-based learning.”

For more information on The Goddard School and the Preschooler-Approved Toy Test, please visit www.goddardschool.com/toytest.

PRESCHOOLERS FROM THE GODDARD SCHOOL SELECT 2016’S TOP 10 EDUCATIONAL TOYS FOR THE HOLIDAYS!

The Nation’s Leading Preschool System Selects Top Toys That Support Skill Development and Playful Learning

Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), the national franchisor of The Goddard School® preschool system, one of the largest early childhood education organizations in the nation, recently kicked off its 9th annual Preschooler-Approved Toy Test. After playful consideration by the Toy Test Collagepreschoolers, teachers and early childhood education experts, The Goddard School is thrilled to announce the Top 10 Educational Toys for the 2016 holiday season!

Prior to distributing toys to 50 Goddard School preschool locations across the nation for testing, dozens of submissions from the world’s leading toy manufacturers were reviewed by The Goddard School Toy Test Committee, which is comprised of early childhood education experts. Submissions were judged on the toy’s ability to encourage interaction and child-initiated play, promoting creativity and collaboration—all while maintaining the child’s creative interests over time.

Children ranging from infants to six years old from Goddard School locations across the country then critiqued the toys and selected their top favorites with the help of their teachers, who compiled the results.

The Top 10 Preschooler-Approved Toys, in suggested age range order, include:

“Providing meaningful and play-based educational experiences, such as the Toy Test, to children at the Goddard Schools creates a wonderful environment to further develop their social and cognitive skills,” said Dr. Craig Bach, GSI’s Vice President of Education. “Additionally, by exploring a range of toys that have been carefully evaluated by our early childhood education team, children help provide insight into both the educational and “fun” value of some of the most exciting new toys on the market.”

Voting to select 2016’s favorite toy is now open to the public. The public can vote by visiting The Goddard School’s website, www.goddardschool.com/toytest, from November 1 to November 11, 2016. 100 units of the winning toy will be purchased by GSI and donated to Toys for Tots, a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve that distributes holiday gifts to less fortunate children in the community in an effort to spread Christmas cheer.

Past Preschooler-Approved Toy Test winners include brands such as Laser Pegs, K’NEX Brands, Learning Resources, and Lakeshore Learning Materials.

For more information on The Goddard School and the Preschooler-Approved Toy Test, please visit www.goddardschool.com/toytest.

The Benefits of a Musical Environment

MusicYou can make music with just about anything found in your household. Adding a musically inclined environment to your child’s life offers extensive benefits for her emotional, intellectual and social development.

For young children, music helps identify teamwork. It shows that you can create something greater with the help of more people. For example, the use of drums, guitars and vocals can produce a better song than a song only containing the use of drums.

Music allows children to express themselves through creativity and openness with others. Enjoying music gives preschoolers a common interest and can create lasting friendships. Here are some ideas to incorporate some tunes into your child’s daily activities.

  • Allow your child to sit at the kitchen table with pots and pans to use as drums while you make dinner. This engages your child with you in the kitchen and keeps him away from the possible dangers of the kitchen while you are cooking. Provide him with different types of pans and utensils (for example, plastic utensils and metal pans) so that he can learn to create various sounds. It is best not to use glass in this activity.
  • Sing along with your child in the car. Preschoolers are not yet at the age where they become self-conscious of their behavior. In fact, most little ones love letting out their strong vocal chords for everyone around them to hear. Encourage your child to do this more often, even if it is a little loud on the ear drums! Playing basic songs and repeating them regularly will help your child retain simple melodies and rhythms.
  • Plan a dance party for family fun night. Encourage your child to get up and show you his moves by playing freeze dance. This is done by a family member controlling the music and stopping it at random times. When the music is stopped, everyone freezes until the song restarts. Freeze dance always results in tons of giggles by all the family members.

The Goddard School® Names Top 10 Educational Toys For 2015 As Tested By Preschoolers

Early Childhood Education Leader Identifies This Year’s Best Toys Inspiring Creativity And A Love Of Learning

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa., Nov. 2, 2015 — Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), the national franchisor of The
Goddard School preschool system, one of the largest early childhood education organizations in the nation, gave 2015 Toy Test Collagepreschoolers the job of a lifetime when it asked them to test some toys! Now in its eighth year, The Goddard School Preschooler-Approved Toy Test announces the top ten best educational toys for 2015, as selected by true toy experts… kids!

Before the toys were given to this discerning audience, they were evaluated by The Goddard School Toy Testing Committee, comprised of early childhood education experts, which judged submissions based on criteria including encouraging interactive, child-initiated play, inspiring creativity and collaboration, and supporting skill development and playful learning.

Putting The Goddard School philosophy of learning through play into action, children from 50 Goddard Schools throughout the country then tested the toys. The children, who range from infants to six years old, determined their favorites while the teachers compiled the tiny testers’ choices.

The results are in, and the Top 10 Preschooler-Approved Toy Test finalists include (in suggested age range order):

Fun and educational experiences that help children expand their critical thinking skills and flex their imaginations, as demonstrated in the Toy Test, prime children for success later in life,” said Dr. Craig Bach, GSI’s Vice President of Education. “From classic toys to new products on the market that encourage STEAM learning (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), our children have the opportunity to play with incredible toys that support learning through play.”

The public will now have the chance to vote and select the 2015 Top Toy on The Goddard School’s website, www.goddardschool.com/toytest, from November 2 – November 13, 2015. GSI will purchase and donate 100 of the winning toy to Toys for Tots, a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve that distributes holiday gifts to less fortunate children in the community.

Past Preschooler-Approved Toy Test winners include brands such as Lakeshore Learning Materials, K’NEX, Fat Brain Toys, Tiny Love, HABA and Learning Resources.

For more information on The Goddard School and the Preschooler-Approved Toy Test, please visit www.goddardschool.com/toytest.

Goddard School Children Evaluate Hottest Toys for Holiday Season

Preschoolers Across The Nation Participate In The 8th Annual Goddard School Preschooler-Approved Toy Test

KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – September 28, 2015Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), the national franchisor of The Goddard School® preschool system, one of the largest early childhood education organizations in the nation, is searching for the Top 10 Toys for children (infants to six years old) that encourage playful learning. Toy companies around the globe are participating for the chance to be voted #1 in the 8th annual Goddard School Preschooler-Approved Toy Test. Products are put to the test by true toy experts – children!Toy Test 2014 a

Every year, select Goddard Schools across the country hold the Preschooler-Approved Toy Test, where manufacturers are invited to submit toys for consideration. All entries are evaluated by The Goddard School Toy Testing Committee, which is comprised of early childhood education experts. This panel of educators evaluates entries based on various criteria including encouraging interactive, child-initiated play, inspiring creativity and collaboration, and supporting skill development and playful learning.

Toys scoring highest on the evaluation will be sent to 49 participating Goddard Schools nationwide to be tested by children from September 28 through October 2. The children will cast their votes for the Top 10 Preschooler-Approved Toys, and the toys will then be put to public vote on The Goddard School website from November 2 to November 13. GSI will purchase and donate 100 of the toy receiving the most votes to Toys for Tots, a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve that distributes holiday gifts to less fortunate children in the community.

“Our annual Toy Test is a powerful example of our education philosophy, which is centered on playful learning,” says GSI’s Vice President of Education, Dr. Craig Bach. “It also exemplifies ongoing efforts at The Goddard School to identify high-quality educational resources in collaboration with teachers and children.”

Bach continues, “Through the Toy Test, we provide children with an interactive and playful learning experience as they work together to evaluate a range of toys. In the process, the children continue to develop problem solving skills, the ability to collaborate with others, self-confidence, creativity and other valuable tools that will help them be successful in school and in life.” Past Preschooler-Approved Toy Test winners include brands such as K’NEX, Fat Brain Toys, Lakeshore Learning Materials, Green Toys and Learning Resources. For more information on The Goddard School and the Preschooler-Approved Toy Test, please visit www.goddardschool.com/toytest.

Hungry Minds: How Curiosity Drives Young Learners

Susan Magsamen is the Senior Vice President of Early Learning at global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt She is a member of the Educational Advisory Board for the Goddard School and senior advisor to The Science of Learning Institute and Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University.  This piece was originally published on HMH’s blog.

“Curiouser and Curiouser” cried Alice after she ate the cake, and then suddenly shot up in height “like the largest telescope, ever! Good-bye feet” she exclaimed!

For some children, that iconic scene, shortly after Alice lands in Wonderland, is their introduction to the term “curiosity.”  But for us — well, take a moment and see what comes to mind when you consider curiosity…

I recently did a random “man on the street” survey, asking for single-word responses, and found that people associate curiosity with many things. I heard the words necessary, intelligent, spark, engaged, open-minded, open-ended, creative detective, and seeker.

Personally, I’ve been consumed with curiosity for decades, believing that it is the secret sauce to learning and to a fulfilling life.  So what is curiosity?

Einstein’s comment, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious,” provokes even more questions:  Is curiosity a skill or a talent? Is it innate or learned? Can it be taught or cultivated? How does it shape how we learn, especially early learners? What is the primary role of curiosity?

Regardless of how curious we are about curiosity, it is difficult to study. However, contemporary neuroscience has revealed some insights.  In a study published in the October issue of the journal Neuron, psychologist and researcher Charan Ranganath at the University of California, Davis explains that the dopamine circuit in the hippocampus registers curiosity.

“There’s this basic circuit in the brain that energizes people to go out and get things that are intrinsically rewarding,” Ranganath explains. “This circuit lights up when we get money, or candy. It also lights up when we’re curious.” When the circuit is activated, our brains release dopamine, which gives us a high. “The dopamine also seems to play a role in enhancing the connections between the cells that are involved in learning.”

Ranganath’s research, covered in this fascinating piece in Mindshift, gives us a working definition of curiosity, as an intrinsic motivation to learn. It also presents us with an exciting challenge – how can we create learning environments and experiences that will engage young children and ignite their innate curiosity?

The early years are a window of opportunity for parents, caregivers and communities to encourage curiosity. And it really matters. Curiosity increases knowledge and knowledge makes learning easier.

Nurturing curiosity in ourselves and in young children is easy to do. Here are my top ten ideas for the home and the classroom:

  • Slow down: In an age of immediacy, slow things down and encourage discovery. “I am curious about,” or “just out of curiosity” are great conversation starters.
  • Don’t have all the answers: Declaring you don’t know something, but that you want to find out together is an invitation for curiosity.
  • Put kids in the driver’s seat: In classroom activities or at home, let kids make decisions – this leads to uncertainty quickly and will encourage exploration.
  • Get real: Curiosity can’t be nurtured in the abstract – it’s messy.  Get kids investigating a topic or solving a mystery.
  • Delve deep: Hold your own Boring Conference in class – it’s a fantastic one-day celebration of the obvious and the overlooked, subjects that become absolutely  fascinating when examined more closely.
  • Encouragement matters: Acknowledge a question by saying “That is a wonderful or interesting question.”
  • Talk shop: What, why, how? Let kids explore how things are made. “How Things Work” is a great example.
  • Identify role models: Curiosity is also highly contagious.  If you set the example for being curious you will be amazed at how the world changes. Also, seek out others doing interesting things.  Chances are they are using their curious natures to guide them.
  • Practice: Make a list of things you want to know more about and carve out a little time to explore.

As for curiosity being the secret for lifelong learning in the 21st century, the “New York Times” magazine recently profiled productive people from various fields, including politics, art and science, who were 80+ years old. When asked by the “New York Times” what kept him intuitive, architect Frank Gehry, still going strong at 85, said “…. stay curious about everything.”

Preschool: More than simply childcare

by Michael Petrucelli, on-site owner of The Goddard School located in Darien, IL
As seen in Suburban Life Magazine

There are many benefits to children attending preschool; two of the most important being: the nurturing of a life-long love of learning, and the development of important social and life skills that we all need to successfully navigate in the world around us.Children%20with%20Teacher_jpg

Childcare centers or preschools (the differences to be explained) are an option for working parents who need care for their children while they go to work, or for any parent seeking a group atmosphere for their children. Childcare centers and preschools may accept infants and toddlers, along with children 3-5 year olds, for part or full time programs.

What separates a top quality preschool from a childcare center?

A top quality preschool will provide: well-trained teachers, age and developmentally appropriate curriculum that prepares children for kindergarten and beyond, stimulating activities for children that will hopefully develop a life-long love of learning, a setting that allows each child to grow and gain confidence as the unique individual they are, and a dynamic environment that helps in the development of important social and life skills.

A quality preschool should provide a basis for academic learning, but even more important is helping to develop a passion for learning. School should be about making learning fun. Young children learn best by engaging in activities they find interesting, such as story time, playing with blocks or drawing. Children may listen to and interact with stories and songs – building blocks needed to grasp phonics and reading skills when it is developmentally appropriate. Play-based learning such as hands-on activities with water, sand, and containers, form the foundation for understanding some basic math concepts. Matching, sequencing, one-to-one correspondence all are activities that are done over and over in preschool settings and help children get ready for kindergarten and beyond. Puzzles, and games like “I-Spy” and chess help develop critical thinking, along with analytical and reasoning skills. It also helps children to understand that “doing your best” is important, and that not everyone wins all the time. Watching and collaborating with other children on the playground, or while working on a classroom task is also an important part of a learning process.

A quality preschool will also provide the opportunity for children to learn and interact in a group, to learn and interact with a classmate(s) in smaller groups, and to learn as individuals. Some simple but important life skills that can be developed by interacting with other children include: learning how to wait, how to take turns, how to listen and follow directions, collaboration, compromise, sharing, empathy and respect for others, advocating for one’s-self, and conflict resolution. Preschool also provides a place where your child can gain a sense of confidence while exploring, learning about new
topics, and playing with his or her peers. Children in a quality preschool will develop a healthy sense of independence; discovering that they are capable and can do things for themselves – from small tasks like pouring their own juice, to working on bigger issues like making decisions about how to spend their free time or who to partner with on a particular classroom project.

Whether you “need” “childcare” or not, every child can benefit from a quality preschool experience, where learning should be fun, and can help foster a life-long love for it. A quality preschool experience also will help children in developing important social and life skills that every child needs to reach his or her fullest potential in the life ahead.

Tough Questions Reap Rewards for Preschool and Child

by Michael Petrucelli, on-site owner of The Goddard School located in Darien, IL
As seen in Suburban Life Magazine

Selecting your child’s first school may be one of the most exciting, yet intimidating decisions that you will have to make. Children in quality preschool programs improve their social skills, are better at following directions, waiting turns, problem-solving, participating in activities, collaborating, and relating to other children, teachers and parents. In addition to providing a warm, safe, and nurturing environment, a top quality preschool program should provide a well-rounded experience that helps children become confident, joyful and fully prepared students, while developing a life-long love of learning.

IMG_3304_philly_00535There are a variety of teaching philosophies that you will learn about as you research child-care options. Many may seem difficult to apply to a young child where things like safety and security may be your primary concerns. Terms you may hear include: Reggio Emilia approach, Montessori Method, Activity or Play Based Learning, Waldorf approach, and others. The common theme is that all of these methods should focus on children as individuals, getting them enthused about learning, and having them prepared for kindergarten and beyond.

Some important questions to ask before, during, and after a visit to the school:

  • Is there a warm and nurturing atmosphere in a physical environment that you can envision your child in?
  • Are there safety and security measures in place that are followed, practiced, and actively reviewed?
  • Are there health and safety standards in place, and what is the “wellness” policy?
  • Does it offer a wide range of enriching activities to meet the individual needs of each child including a focus on building each child’s emotional, social, cognitive and physical skills?
  • What size are the classes and what is the student teacher ratio in the different classrooms?
  • Is the school convenient to your work or home? Happy parents help make happy children.
  • Are there age appropriate outdoor play areas that are maintained in a safe condition? Does it offer multi-cultural and developmentally appropriate materials and equipment, and do you feel a sense of respect for diversity and respect for various cultures?
  • Is there a professional faculty committed to early childhood development, and do they have access to on-going training and continuing education credits?
  • Are the teachers CPR and first aid certified?
  • Can I visit my child any time during the day?
  • Does the school have references available?
  • Do you feel a sense of community among the teachers and parents in the building?

Choosing childcare is a very personal decision in which there are no right or wrong answers. Do your best though to ask the right questions.

Three Easy Science Experiments Your Child is Sure to Love

IMG_2672_philly_00429Children have a natural curiosity in STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics). You can encourage your little scientist’s interests by conducting the following easy experiments at home.

Milk Fireworks: Pour whole milk into a baking pan. Add drops of red and blue food coloring. Add a “squirt” or two of dishwashing liquid, and watch the colors burst and swirl! When the “fireworks” slow down, add another couple of drops of dishwashing liquid to get them going again. Explanation: The soap separates the fat from the other liquids in the milk, causing patterns to appear.

Dancing Raisins: Put raisins (or dried corn or macaroni) in a clear cup. Fill the cup with lemon-lime soda. Watch how the raisins bob and sink in the cup. Ask your child what makes the raisins do this. Explanation: The gas bubbles in the soda lift each raisin up, and when the bubbles reach the surface and pop, the raisins sink.

Salt & Vinegar Pennies: Put ¼ cup of white vinegar into a clear plastic or glass bowl. Add one teaspoon of table salt and stir until the salt dissolves. Dip a dull, dirty penny halfway into the liquid, holding it there for 10 to 20 seconds. Remove the penny from the liquid. What does your child see? Explanation: Salt and vinegar create a weak acid that dissolves copper oxide, which is the tarnish on a dull penny.

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

How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Feeling Secure

by Dr. Gerald Newmark
The Children’s Project
Developing Emotionally Healthy Children, Families, Schools and Communities

Feeling Secure, Included, Respected, Important and Accepted

According to Dr. Newmark, the fifth critical emotional need of children is the need to feel secure. Helping children feel secure means creating a positive environment where people care about one another and show it, express themselves, listen to others, accept differences, resolve conflicts constructively, provide structure and rules so that children to feel safe and protected and give children opportunities to participate in their own growth and the evolution of their family.

These important elements contribute to children’s sense of security:

  • Their Parents’ Relationship – When parents bicker, treat each other without respect and rarely show affection for each other, children experience anxiety and insecurity. If couples treated each other with the five emotional needs in mind, they would be better role models for their children.
  • A Caring, Affectionate Environment – Ob­serving affection between their parents and receiving affection from them is very important to children’s sense of security. The beginning and ending of the day, week, month and year present opportunities for regular demonstrations of affection toward your children. Remember to take care of yourself, too.
  • Traditions and Rituals – Establishing traditions and rituals for family celebrations and participating in family activities give children a sense of stability and security.
  • Their Parents’ Anxiety – Overprotective and excessively controlling parents often produce insecure, uptight, anxious children who carry some of these hang-ups and anxieties into adulthood.
  • Discipline – Children need structure to feel secure. Establish rules and consequences together. Avoid creating ambiguous expectations, implementing too many rules, creating inappropriate or excessive consequences, being inconsistent with the consequences and using physical punishment.
  • Self-Discipline – Encourage self-discipline so your children develop it. Allow your children to explore and experience the consequences of their actions. This way, they learn to anticipate negative consequences and exercise self-control to avoid them. If their parents are too controlling, children don’t have this opportunity.

Children need freedom as much as they need control. Being too protective can result in intimidated or rebellious children. Our goals are to protect them so they don’t suffer from their im­pulses and inexperience and to give them enough freedom to grow into confident, self-reliant, thoughtful, independent, caring and civic-minded individuals. Growing up in a positive and stable environment contributes to a child’s sense of security.

Satisfying children’s five critical emotional needs will enable them to become self-confident, independent, responsible, thinking, caring and civic-minded individuals.

Click here to read the introductory post in this series, “How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Meeting the Five Critical Needs of Children…and Parents Too!”

Click here to read article one in this series, “How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Feeling Respected.”

Click here to read article two in this series, “How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Feeling Important.”

Click here to read article three in this series, “How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Feeling Accepted.”

Click here to read article four in this series, “How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Feeling Included.”