Choosing the Right Preschool

4 Tips For Choosing A Summer Day Camp

Day camp is a summer tradition looked forward to by kids and parents alike. The kids get a chance to make new friends and engage in interesting activities, while parents get a few hours to themselves each day. In the past, day camp was much like summer camp—outdoor arts and crafts with no overnight stay. The modern day camp is completely different and appeals to a wide range of interests, from sports to robot building. The following tips can help you choose the right camp for your child.

Tip #1: Skip “school” camps

A school-style camp may seem appealing at first to the over-achieving parent. The idea of your child mastering fifth grade math during the summer after fourth grade, or learning to read before preschool, can tempt you into sending your child to a camp that resembles a classroom. This doesn’t mean camp can’t be educational. Instead, opt for the educational camps that would appeal to your child—a book camp, with activities based around favorite children’s literature, for example, can inspire a deeper love of reading than a simple crash course on the mechanics.

Tip #2: Make sure there are a range of activities

The best camps, even those highly focused on a single subject, should provide a wide range of activities. Activities should range from crafts to physical activities that get your child to move. Look for a wider range of activities for younger children, who need more to help keep their interest strong. Older kids, on the other hand, may get more enjoyment from a more focused camp if they have a very strong interest in the topic. Otherwise, camps offering a range of activities are still best.

Tip #3: Check the facilities

Safety is of paramount concern, so opt for a camp with dedicated facilities. Those that take place in public spheres, such as a local park, are not necessarily as safe since it is easier for young kids to wander off. Those offered in a closed of section of a park, at a private facility, or in a more secure public place, such as a museum, are usually safer. Inspect the equipment to make sure everything looks in good repair. Also, check to see what safety rules will be enforced, especially in the event of any field trips.

Tip #4: Ask about the basic schedule

Once again, summer camp isn’t school, although the hours are often roughly the same. Each summer camp should offer a basic schedule to families considering the camp. You want to look for the aforementioned range of activities. You also want to make sure there is plenty of time scheduled for each activity, along with designated downtime for free play, rest, or general exploration of the topic that was introduced in the previous activity. Camps aimed at younger kids should provide more downtime, while those for older kids may have less.

Contact a summer day camp near you for more information.

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A Guide To Finding After School Care For Parents Going Back To Work

If you are planning to go back to work and you have a school age child, you may find yourself feeling anxious about after school care. Finding a place where your child should spend the time between the end of the school day and the end of your work day can be a daunting task.

After School Care Options

Not every after school care situation works for each person. When looking into after school child care, be sure to consider all your options.

Some of the options you may want to consider are:

  • A school-based program. Some elementary schools have after school care on the grounds. If your child’s school does not, another local school may.
  • YMCA or other community clubs often provide after school programs.
  • Local daycare facility. Some may keep younger children during the early part of the day and have an afterschool program in the afternoons.
  • Home daycare facility. This is where your child would be in a home environment with other kids.
  • You may try to seek out mother who has a child in the same school as yours and is willing to take on another kid in the afternoons.
  • A nanny or babysitter who will keep your child in your home.

Be Prepared to Ask Questions of Potential Care Providers

When contacting potential after school care providers, you will want to come prepared. Having a list of questions on hand can help ensure you get all the information you need. Some questions for may include:

  • What policies are in place to ensure the safety of the children?
  • Does it matter that your child’s homework be done before you pick him or her up? If so, you will want to make sure the daycare provider will take the time to ensure that homework is completed, and they will help when necessary.
  • What hours are they open? Do they provide care on occasions when you have to work but school is not in session? Days such as:
    • Snow days
    • School holidays that aren’t recognized by your work
    • Early dismissal days
  • Do they provide transportation from the school to their facility? If not, how will your child get there?
  • What is the ratio of adults to children? This question applies to any daycare program. The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education (NRC) website has some guidelines that you may find helpful. These numbers may vary slightly depending on the state in which you live.
  • Does the after-school care program provide structured activities, such as arts and crafts? If so, what do they offer?
  • Do you want your child spending time outside doing physical activities? Will that be offered?
  • Do they provide snacks?
  • If your child has any special needs, is the daycare equipped to meet them?

You know your child better than anyone. As long as you keep that in mind, you will find quality child care that will help keep him or her safe and happy until you can be with them again.

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How To Get Kids Moving And Interested In Exercise

These days a lot of kids are more interested in playing inside with games on their computer, console, phone or tablet, rather than playing outside. It can be difficult to compete with the thrill they get from their video games, but being active is very important for your child’s health. Sedentary activities can lead to childhood obesity or adult obesity. It’s up to you to teach your child the importance of exercise early in their life. See below for tips on how to get kids moving.

Make It Fun

  • Inside. Turn the inside of your home into an obstacle course in cold winter months. Grab pillows, streamers, tape and blankets to create a course for your kids to crawl through, over, under and across. Use tape to make hopscotch in the house. Take streamers and stretch several lines across a hallway for your kids to crawl through without touching the streamers. Use pillows and blankets and let your kids make forts to crawl through. Blow up a bunch of balloons and toss them onto a bed sheet, grab the ends of the blanket and toss the balloons into the air and then catch them as you all run in and out (similar to a parachute activity).
  • Outside. You can do the same things outside in warmer weather. Create obstacle courses with hula hoops, cones and a balance beam. Grab tricycles, bikes and scooters and have your kids race each other around the yard. Get creative so it doesn’t get boring.

Get The Entire Family Involved

Exercise isn’t just important for your kids; it’s also important for you as parents as well. Take family walks after dinner, or play basketball or some other sporting activity together to get everyone active. It can even be something as simple as playing tag in the yard with your kids. You can even get family gym memberships so that everyone to get fit at the same time. Gyms usually have a lot of activities for kids as well, including youth sports for kids as young as 18 months old. Look at your local gyms to see what type of youth and adult programs they have available.

Set limits on how much tech time your child has, or have them do active play outside to earn more time. Remember that if your kids see you being more active, it may be a little easier to get your kids more active as well. Make activities fun, be creative and exercise together as a family to get everyone involved.   

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3 Tips To Encourage An Early Love For Reading In Your Child

Reading is such an essential part of life. A love for learning and reading can start at a young age. As a parent, you can encourage your child to love reading by the things that you do in your home everyday. Here are a couple things that you can do with your child to help them enjoy reading with you and to have a desire to be an independent reader as well.

1. Make Reading A Special Time

Reading shouldn’t be considered a chore for your young child. Making ultimatums like “you have to read for 20 minutes before you can watch a TV show” may put a negative spin on reading. It will start to feel more of a chore than a privilege. Instead, take some time to snuggle, ask the child when they would like to do it, let the child choose the books they want to read and so forth. If you make it a special time between you and the child, they will start to see reading as a cherished part of their day and not a chore that they have to get over with so they can get on with the fun things.

2. Let The Child Set The Pace

Another important thing is to let the child set their own pace when reading. While you are reading a book, the child may want to stop and ask questions, or they may want to point to pictures and you say what each item is. They may even want to move faster through the book so that you have to paraphrase each page. Even though this may be frustrating to you, it helps the child to explore the book and to enjoy it more. It is also great for language and comprehension is the child can ask questions or can hear the name of each item on the page. For this reason, don’t rush through the book at your own pace, let the child set the tone.

3. Allow The Child To Choose The Topics

As a parent you may have certain books that you want to read to expose the child to different topics. However, at this young age it is important to let the child choose things that interest them. They may choose the same book over and over again. This kind of repetition is good for early reading and should be encouraged.

By doing these simple things, you can help your child foster a love for reading. If your child is getting close to preschool age, visit Sammamish Montessori School.

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2 Reasons Your Son Or Daughter Should Attend A Child Centered Charter School

If you would prefer not to have your child attend the standard public schools in your area and private schools are too expensive, a child centered charter school could be exactly what you need. Since charter schools typically operate using different accountability standards than standard public schools, but still get public funding, they combine many of the benefits from both educational choices and do so without charging tuition, as private schools must.

#1-The Focus Is On Educating Children Instead Of Following State Mandates And Expectations

One of the more controversial changes in the way that children are educated in recent years has undoubtedly been the Common Core State Standards. Many parents questions its use and it often seems to take unnecessary steps and excessive time for kids to get the right answers. In standard school settings, your opinion might never be heard and your input on the educational choices made for your child will often never even be considered.

Since charter schools are more flexible and do not have to adhere to all of the same rules that typical schools do, it can be easier to change policies and practices that are inefficient, inappropriate or just not the best way to teach students. There is no guarantee of immediate change, but it does mean that when your son or daughter attends a child centered charter school, your opinion and the way your child learns is likely to matter more than when they are just another face in the crowd.

When your opinion as a parent and your child’s experiences as a student matter more, everyone is likely to benefit.

#2-Although Students Are Often Taught Differently In Charter Schools, Students Still Have To Show Similar Progress As They Would In Other Learning Situations

It is important to note that although a child centered charter school will often use different teaching methods and provide non-traditional learning opportunities for students, accountability and student outcomes are still crucial. That means that although your child may use unique problem solving techniques to acquire knowledge in their new school and kids have more input in on how they learn, they are still required to prove what they are learning and that they are functioning at an age-appropriate level.

In conclusion, choosing for your son or daughter to attend a child centered charter school is a huge decision that can impact them for years. If you are ready to leave much of the bureaucracy of public schools behind and you want your child’s education to come before complying with rules that do not always benefit the students, it is time to start checking out the different charter schools in your area.

Click here to learn more. 

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Three Important Questions To Ask When Selecting Infant Care For Your Child

As a parent, placing your young child in infant care in the years before he or she begins attending school is one of the biggest decisions you’ll face. You want not only a care provider that will give your child an engaging and safe environment, but also staff members who will foster educational and social concepts. The best approach is to talk to other parents for recommendations and then visit a handful of infant care providers in your community to get a tour and have some questions answered. Beyond the basic questions relating to cost, schedule and programming that currently fill your head, here are three other valuable questions to discuss.

What’s Your Policy On Discipline?

Regardless of how you approach discipline with your child, it’s important that the infant care center has a policy in alignment with what you believe. Ideally, your child won’t have to contend with discipline issues very often, but if instances arise, you need to know the approach that will be taken. Ask if staff put the child on a timeout and how that procedure goes and determine if you’re kept abreast of all disciplinary issues. Beyond discipline for your own child, it’s important to know that the center has a clear structure in place to ensure that other children are handled appropriately too.

What’s The Staff-To-Infant Ratio, And Is It Firm?

A highly proficient infant care center maintains a low staff-to-infant ratio; that is, there will often be only a couple children per staff member in order to ensure all children have direct supervision at all times. When you ask this question, you want to hear that the center has a clear and firm policy in place. If there’s no policy, you have no guarantee that your child will receive the care he or she deserves if there’s a spike in enrollment after you sign up your child.

How Do You Track Each Child’s Accomplishments?

Because effective infant care centers have an educational component, even if it’s very basic for young children, it’s important to ask about how the center’s staff members track the progress of each child. Simple accomplishments such as sharing, crawling, and standing are all important to track, as this information helps to show you that the staff members are paying careful attention to your child and his or her progress. Having a system that tracks your child’s accomplishments ensures the care center is actively encouraging and tracking the progression of children.

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2 Reasons To Enroll Your Children In Preschool

One of the most important things that you can do before your child is old enough to start kindergarten is to put them into a preschool, mostly because of the many ways in which it can benefit his or her education. You should consider enrolling your child in a preschool because it can make him or her more sociable and give him or her a head start.

Make Your Child More Sociable

One of the biggest reasons to put your child into preschool is that it can prepare him or her to better deal with other children before he or she begins attending kindergarten. This is very important as many children may not have had access to a lot of other children, and they most likely will not have been in a room with 20 or more children at a time for multiple hours. If your child simply shows up to kindergarten without experiencing the aforementioned situations, then it may be a scary situation for them that can cause them to be shy and apprehensive. 

However, a preschool can help with those situations by providing your child with the social skills and experience necessary to make transitioning to regular schools easier. For example, a preschool will give your child many chances to socialize properly with other children by teaching him or her to share and waiting for his or her turn.

Give Your Child A Head Start

Another reason to consider a preschool program for your child is that a good preschool will not just give your child a place to play and socialize, but it will also begin teaching him or her basic math and literacy skills. For example, a preschool may simply teach your child how to count to a certain number and how to recite the alphabet, while others will go so far as to teach basic addition and subtraction in addition to basic reading. These lessons can not only make your child less likely to become frustrated and fall behind once he or she attends kindergarten, but they can even allow your child to feel accomplished and proud if he or she already knows much of what is being taught in kindergarten.

Visit your local preschools today in order to discuss the many benefits and advantages that they can offer your child. A good preschool like Small World Early Learning & Development Center can provide your child with a head start on his or her education and social skills that will make his or her transition to a regular school program much smoother. 

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