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

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Technology in the Classrooms

 In this day and age, technology is unavoidable.  We are a society addicted to the convenience and availability of various forms of technology, and in order to keep up we must learn to navigate at an increasingly younger age.  There are many merits to exposing students to technology; not only will they learn the workings of computers which will prove to be useful later, but computer and video games provide both learning and fun to children of all ages.
Video games are fun because of many key points.  They teach challenge and strategy, which boosts critical thinking.  The element of surprise in most video games keeps them interesting, and the replay ability allows for a game to be replayed with varying results.  Through the use of video games, students boost memorization and context skills, language comprehension, manual dexterity, and more.
According to the NAEYC, “when used intentionally and appropriately, technology and interactive media are effective tools to support learning and development.”  As with most activities, medium is key.  Video and computer games should not replace interactive and live learning, and the time that younger children spend in front of a screen should be limited.
At Kids R Kids, we incorporate the use of smart boards into our weekly schedules.  By using the ABC Mouse program, students work on a variety of skills including color/letter/number recognition, and are able to listen to songs and stories pertaining to the weekly theme.  Each class is given a time slot to go to the computer lab every week, and students are able to explore the many different activities that the computers offer. 

-Emily Lian, Education Director
Early Childhood Education Expert

Enrolling Pre-Schoolers in Extra Curricular Activities

No matter the age, extra-curricular activities take form in many ways.  From community groups to painting to dancing to sports to playing musical instruments, these activities can take place daily, weekly, or even monthly. There are numerous merits to allowing children to engage in a wide variety of activities.
There are many lessons to be learned outside of formal academics.  Children learn routine by attending regular practices or lessons.  They learn the rules of competition and the importance of sportsmanship by performing and competing against peers.  They learn about perseverance and hard work to gain the results that they want.  Teamwork is learned by working cooperatively with others, and celebrating the successes of all.  Extra-curricular activities allow for creativity and exploration; when engaged in different activities, children are able to broaden their horizons and explore their interests and talents.  All of this can be achieved when enrolling children as young as preschoolers into different activities.  In the long-term, students who continue staying active outside of school learn valuable skills such as time management, prioritizing, and making long-term commitments.
There are many considerations to be made when enrolling children’s activities.  Think about the child’s interests and abilities, as well as the family’s time and budget.  Thoroughly research and tour the facilities, programs, and those who are running the activities.  Remember not to overwhelm the child, taking into consideration the fact that preschoolers need unrestricted free play in their schedules as well.  And most of all, don’t forget to have fun!  Extra-curricular activities are best when your child (and you) enjoy it!

-Emily Lian, Educational Director
Early Childhood Education Expert 

Sign Language: Not Just for the Hearing Impaired

Teaching children sign language from a young age is beneficial in many ways.  Because hand-eye coordination develops faster than verbal skills, children can effectively learn to communicate before they can talk.  This communication can be viewed as a two-way street; caregivers can be more observant and responsive when they know what the children need, and children are able to express their knowledge and feelings.
According to studies conducted by the National Institute of Health, “24 month old babies using baby sign language were on average talking more like 27 or 28 month olds, representing more than a 3-month old advantage over the non-signers.  The babies using baby sign language were also putting together significantly longer sentences.” This advantage continues through the time children begin school; the studies showed these kids who had learned sign language had overall higher reading skills in elementary school than those who didn’t.

Not only do children who learn sign language gain an intellectual jump start, being able to communicate has a number of social and emotional benefits as well.  By using sign language, children learn to trust their caregivers, boost self-confidence, and build self-esteem.  Children grow emotionally because they are less frustrated if they can communicate; consequently, biting and other aggressive behaviors can be reduced this way.

-Emily Lian, Education Director
Early Childhood Education Expert

The Importance of Family Engagement in Early Childhood Education


Successfully teaching children of all ages requires effort from a combination of teachers and families.  The most important factor in promoting family engagement is building strong relationships between the two.  To achieve this, communication is key.
There is a strong correlation between family involvement and student success.  According to NAEYC’s Dr. Kyle Snow, “Meaningful family engagement in children’s early learning supports school readiness and later academic successes.  Parental involvement is a critical element of high-quality early care and education.”  It is the goal of every school to keep families informed and updated on the happenings of the classroom, and ours is no different.  We strive to open the lines of communication using our Family Information Boards, car talk boards, newsletters, progress reports, etc.  Parents are encouraged to keep up with what our students are learning, and teachers are always available to discuss concerns and progress.
It is important for teachers and parents to stay on the same page and to communicate so the children’s well-being is always prioritized first.  They should use each other as valuable resources, as children spend all of their time with either set of caregivers and there is always information to be shared about the child’s routine, emotional state, and out-of-the-ordinary events.

According to The American Family: Understanding Its Changing Dynamics and Place In Society, family engagement is defined as, “the participation of parents in every facet of the education and development of children from birth to adulthood.”  Parents who take responsibility of their children’s well-being by actively enforcing what their children learn in school help ensure that their children are getting everything they can out of their early education.

-Emily Lian, Education Director
Early Childhood Education Expert