Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Brain Building Play

Get on the fast track to boosting your toddler’s brain

development through play. Play is an integral part of

childhood for good reason - it is your toddler’s “work”. Through

play, toddlers learn about themselves and their world. Swiss

developmental psychologist, Jean Piaget described toddler’s

play as their work. Through play, he noted that children learn

about and interact with their environment.

 In order to be successful in ensuring that you are building

your toddler’s brain through play, allow the toddler to be the

learner. When on the floor, engage with the toddler, and be

patient. Dr. Jane M. Healy suggests the following guidelines:

Make sure the child is actively interested and involved.

Repetition, repetition, repetition!

Give positive encouragement.

Encourage attempts at new challenges.

Keep playpen times and other restraints to a minimum.

Provide low open shelves with a variety of accessible

toys, objects, and books.

Provide interesting, bright colored visuals.

 As the toddler matures, her play becomes more

sophisticated, requiring more complex thinking patterns. So

when you see you toddler hard at play, understand that she is

building her brain!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bedtime Battles

Bedtime need not be battle time for toddlers and their parents. By following some of the following tips, you may be able to establish a peaceful bedtime routine.

Give your child a warning about half an hour before time to put away the toys and start getting ready for bed. Bedtime will not catch them by surprise.
Avoid rough and tumble play just before bedtime. This tends to stir your toddler up so that she is not ready to relax and sleep.

Determine a calming routine that will work for you and your toddler. It may include brushing teeth, washing face and hands, putting on jammies, and reading a story in bed. Be consistent so that your toddler knows what to expect.

If your toddler is afraid of the dark, leave on a night light.
Should your toddler call to you repeatedly (for water or to go to the bathroom), remind her that it is time to go to sleep and you will see her in the morning. Should she get out of bed, calmly put her back to bed and tell her that she needs to stay there. You may need to repeat these procedures several times before she realizes that you mean what you say.

-Kids R Kids International

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Safety this Halloween

Trick or Treating Safety Tips

Don’t trick or treat alone!  Go with an adult and/or with a trusted group.
Plan out a route ahead of time.  Trick or treat in your neighborhood or a familiar area.
Carry flashlights or glowsticks and/or have reflective tape on costumes.
Wear well-fitting costumes, masks, and shoes.
Plan costumes that are appropriate for the weather.
Look both ways before crossing the street.  Walk only on the sidewalk or on the far side of the road facing traffic.
Only visit well-lit houses.
Examine all treats for choking hazards and/or tampering before eating them.  Limit the number of treats that are consumed a day. 
Keep track of time and don’t trick or treat after midnight. 
Make sure not to go into areas that seem abandoned. 

by Emily Lian, 
Educational Specialist 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Water Fun with Kids

Water Fun with Kids

1. Jump Water: Run a strong stream from a garden hose back and forth like a snake under your child’s feet, allowing him to jump over it.
2. Liquid Limbo: Use the stream from a water hose as the stick for a high-stakes game of limbo.
3. Backyard Bath: Fill a kiddie pool with water, bath toys, and bubbles and bathe your babies outdoors!
4. Ball Blast: Use ropes to create a circle or square on your lawn.  Place balls of varying sizes and weights inside.  Give your child a hose and challenge her to push the balls out with the water in less than a minute.
5. Water Gun Tag: Have everyone don bathing suits and play tag.  Whoever is “it” gets the water gun and tries to tag the other players with a cold squirt!
6. Freeze!:  Place small treasures in an ice cube tray, add water and freeze.  Hand your child a piece of ice and have her melt it in her hands until the prize emerges.
7. Sponge-worthy: Give your kids two buckets– one filled with water and one empty– and a sponge.  Instruct them to transfer the water from one bucket to the other using only the sponge.
8. Pool Ping-Pong: Float an inner tube in the center of the pool, then try to toss ping-pongs into the tube.
9. Spray of Light: Little ones can help you garden by watering plants with a spray bottle; older kids can water plants using the hose.  On a sunny day, show them how they can spot a rainbow in the mist.
10. Drink Up: Encourage your child to try water flavored with different ingredients (ex: cucumber, lemon, orange, raspberry, strawberry, etc.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Philosophical Baby by Alison Gopnik

Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies has understood it for years, and now philosophers are seeing it too.  Babies are smart and learn more in the first 5 years of life– because those are the critical years to connect the billion neurons they are born with while learning about social/emotional development, cognitive processing, fine/gross motor skills and language.  That’s why we developed the exclusive Brain Waves Curriculum used from infancy through school-age care.
Allison Gopnik, a leading psychologist and philosopher, as well as a mother, explains the cutting-edge scientific and psychological research that has revealed that babies learn more, create more, care more and experience more than we could ever have imagined in her book The Philosophical Baby.  Gopnik offers new insight into how babies see the world, and in turn promotes a deeper appreciation for the role of parents in shaping the lives of their children.

Also be sure to check out Gopnik's Ted Talk for more insight into your infant's mind: 

Emily Lian, 
Educational Specialist

Monday, May 19, 2014

Reading Recommendations for Your Little One!

Learning how to read is one of the most important skills a child will learn and master in their childhood.  Students are introduced to the ABCs from infancy, and letter recognition begins as early as their toddler years.  As crucial as reading is to every child’s education, the good news is it doesn’t have to be a painful process by any means.  There are many ways to ensure a fun time while learning how to read!

Follow your child’s interests!  Provide them with a wide range of choices– different genres and different authors for instance, and allow them to decide what captures their attention.  One of the greatest things about reading is that there are books that cater to any and all interests.  A few great places to start is to search for lists of award-winning books, pick books with accompanying songs (We’re Going On A Bear Hunt or Five Little Monkeys, for instance), and/or pick books that are adaptations to your child’s favorite Disney or Pixar movie.

Knowing how to sound out words is just the beginning– reading is only meaningful if the reader understands what he/she is reading.  Books that are rich in illustrations help facilitate better understanding.  Students start creating their own versions of stories by looking at pictures long before they can comfortably read on their own.  Additionally, parents and teachers alike can boost comprehension exponentially by reading with young readers and encouraging them to discuss, ask questions, act out parts of the story, make connections, and/or even do art projects.

Reading has a plethora of benefits.  Even as toddlers, parents and teachers can use books to teach life lessons and social skills.  Children learn about manners, courtesy, friendship, the unconditional love of their parents, and much more at a very young age in this way.

Language arts and reading are integral parts of a preschooler’s day and its significance will continue to grow throughout their schooling years.  Parents can get involved and play a crucial role in students’ learning by making reading an important part of their lives at home as well.

This is a condensed sample of books that are recommended by Scholastic and Barnes & Noble.  These are also books that are commonly read here at our school.  Feel free to use it as a starting point to build your own home library!
Rumble In The Jungle by Giles Andreae
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. & John Archambault
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
Curious George by HA Rey
Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess

-Emily Lian, 
Education Specialist 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Music in Preschool Education

Music has always played an integral role in preschool education.  Kids of all ages grow up listening to songs and rhymes that are used to teach them colors, numbers, animal sounds, the days of the week, months of the year, and more.
Preschool teachers utilize music in all aspects of a typical day in their classrooms.  They sing songs at circle time, introduce new lessons using songs, poems, and rhymes, use short songs for transitioning between activities, and play lullabies to put kids to sleep at nap time. 
The benefits of having a curriculum that is rich in music are plentiful.  According to the National Association for Music Education, "music expands memory and assists in developing crucial language skills."  Furthermore, "when children develop musical skill and understanding, they are developing basic cognitive, social , and motor skills necessary for success throughout the educational process."  
An important point to be made is that children enjoy making music!  They love singing new songs, and playing instruments.  Additionally, music is applicable to all teachable aspects of education.  For example, when they pretend to play a guitar or drums with their friends, they are building social skills as they learn the power of collaboration and cooperation.
According to the NAEYC, "infancy and early childhood are prime times to capitalize on children's innate musical spontaneity, and to encourage their natural inclinations to sing, move, and play with sound."  Beyond the classroom, there are many ways to encourage music in children's lives.  From singing with them, encouraging them to listen to different genres of music, to allowing them to explore with musical instruments, parents can broaden their kids' horizons as well.
-Emily Lian,
Education Director