This picture was just too cute not to post even though it came to me just a few days late. Santa tells me that for the most part, the Day Nursery children enjoyed his visits to our centers. As can be expected, he didn’t get a warm welcome from every child. After all, this was the first encounter with the jolly old guy for many of them. Thanks to Debra Ballard, center director at the Day Nursery Start Smart 4 Children at Ft. Harrison for sharing this snapshot of a 6-month-old who loved meeting Santa.
The foundation for learning in our Day Nursery classrooms comes from The Creative Curriculum® which has been developed by a company called Teaching Strategies over the past 30 years. Parents who are shopping for a preschool are often drawn to Day Nursery because we are NAEYC accredited and because we utilize The Creative Curriculum®. According to Teaching Strategies, there are two features that distinguish The Creative Curriculum from other approaches: their organizational structure and their focus on interest areas. In a classroom where children are beginning to learn how to read you will see Day Nursery teachers promoting literacy learning in the 11 interest areas that you will find in each preschool classroom. For example, in the Cooking area, literacy is explored using pictures and words on recipe cards and through talk about words and letters on the food containers during a cooking activity. In the Discovery area, children will find science related books on hand so they can explore more about the insects, plants or seeds that might be on hand. They will also have paper and markers available for recording their observations. In the Music and Movement area, children can be found using instruments for the sound effects in a story read by their teacher or working with the teacher to write words to their favorite song on a chart. Becoming literate just doesn’t happen. It requires teachers and parents thoughtfully and purposefully interacting with children and offering activities that support emerging literacy.
Looking for something to do on New Year’s Day with your little ones? January 1, 2009 just happens to fall on the first Thursday of the month which means admission is free at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis from 4:00-8:00 pm that day. This week’s Target Free Family Night at the museum features a bonus. From 4:00-7:00 pm, Visiting Nurse Service will offer 475 free flu shots on a first-come, first-served basis. These shots will be available for both children and adults. And if that isn’t enough to get you out of the house…Scooby Doo will be greeting visitors to the museum that night at 4:00 and at 6:00 pm on the Mezzanine Level.
Here’s a tip I just received from the great folks at Educationworld.com about teaching young children to cut down on the spread of germs. This works well in a classroom setting, a family gathering or if you are having a playgroup at your home over the holidays. Sprinkle a large amount of baby powder into one student’s hands and have him/her pretend to sneeze into those hands. Explain to the class that the powder is the “germs” that have come out with the sneeze. Let the person who “sneezed” pass out one sheet of black paper to each student. (There should be traces of powder from the student’s hands on the sheets of black paper.) Point out that this is how germs from a sneeze spread to hands and then to other objects: paper, door knobs, and so on. Go on to explain that if a person sneezes into his/her elbow, experts say that many fewer germs are spread. Demonstrate sneezing into your elbow and help children practice this technique. To sign up to receive your very own copy of the Early Childhood Education newsletter go to http://www.educationworld.com/maillist.shtml#childhood.
Playing store at Ft. Harrison
The 9th Annual Toy Action Guide produced by TRUCE (Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment), a national organization of educators concerned about the impact of media and commercial culture on children, is out and it provides a list of toys and trends to avoid as well as toys of value. It is available free online at www.truceteachers.org. One of TRUCE’s goals is to educate adults to provide children with toys and activities that promote healthy play and non-violent behavior at home and school. This guide is in line with Day Nursery’s philosophy on the value of play. We believe that play is essential to children’s healthy development and learning. Every day in Day Nursery classrooms, children use play to actively construct knowledge, meet social/emotional needs, and acquire life skills. Quality play experiences help children develop critical thinking, problem solving skills, curiosity, persistence, and creativity. Skills acquired during early childhood education time at Day Nursery contribute to a solid foundation for academic success in elementary school.
Day Nursery Dad, Christopher Maples, who also happens to be Executive Director of the Indianapolis-based Dads, Inc. sent me an idea for a unique Christmas present. If you are still wondering what to give your Dad for Christmas, why don’t you reserve him a space in the Dads Inc. Fatherhood Hall of Fame. Chris says “Induction into the Fatherhood Hall of Fame is reserved for those fathers who have gone above and beyond in their commitment to raising their children. The only person who can truly determine if a father is worth induction into this esteemed club is his children. Therefore, we automatically accept for induction those fathers who are nominated by their children.” To go Dads Inc. to find out more about this gift idea.
(left to right) Rene Withers, Center Director with Center Director of Curriculum, Jesse McCloud
Our staff and families at the Day Nursery Clarian Center have chosen to reach out to those in need at the Julian Center again this holiday season. Tammia Belin, lead teacher in one of the two year old classrooms organized a successful holiday drive last year and has seen a great response again this year from parents. Last night when I was visiting the center, I noticed boxes outside of each classroom filled with food, pantry supplies, warm blankets, hats and gloves. Center Director Rene Withers said that each classroom has been collecting items for a few weeks and the donations are scheduled to be delivered on Friday. Thanks to all the Day Nursery families for their generous response!
Has cabin fever started to set in at your house yet? Here are some great tips for keeping your young children active when it is too cold to go outside for more than a few minutes of fresh air. At Day Nursery, children go outside every day per Indiana state licensing requirements, unless the temperature is below 25 degrees or the severity of the weather poses a safety hazard. For most children, a quick trip outside isn’t enough activity to satisfy their need to move. Here are a few suggestions that we use in the Day Nursery centers that you can try at home. If you like what you read here, you can get a regular helping of great ideas for parents when you sign up for the Parent Central monthly newsletter written by the experts at the National Association of Child Care Resources and Referral agencies (NACCRRA).
Kicking and Moving: Put your baby on the floor on her back, and hold a soft object (like a stuffed animal) that she can kick. Act excited when she does. Give your baby a rattle or other noisemaker that he can shake. Babies love it when they can make things happen.
Patty-Cake: Your baby might not yet know the words. But, clapping hands and playing patty-cake gives him a chance to get moving.
Moving Like Animals: Call out names of zoo and farm animals. Once you have said the name, your toddler (and you!) should move the way the animal does, and make noises like the animal. It will be fun and help your young one use some energy.
Dancing: Everyone can dance. Play your toddler’s favorite music or yours – anything with a good beat – and dance together. Don’t be afraid to get into the music – the more you move around, the better
Cleaning the House: Preschoolers love to help with chores. Take advantage before this interest before it quickly disappears. Chores such as setting the table, light dusting, picking up toys or sweeping are great ways to keep your child active. Put on some music to make the work more fun.
Stretching Out: Work on your flexibility (touching your toes, doing arm circles, jumping jacks) and help your child learn how to exercise healthfully by stretching together.
Now that cold and flu season has arrived, I wanted to make sure you are aware of a service Day Nursery offers to the community called Sniffles ‘n Such. “Sniffles” offers care for children ages 3 months through age 11 who have been excluded from their regular child care or elementary school due to mild to moderate illness or injury. This service is a partnership of Day Nursery Association and Clarian Health Partners and is located in the Day Nursery center at 2140 Boulevard Place just north of Methodist Hospital. The center is open Monday through Friday from 6:30 am until 6:00 pm. Pre-registration is required so we can have your child’s medical history on file. Your child will be evaluated and assessed for appropriateness, by a nurse, upon admission to Sniffles N’ Such. After 12:00 noon, if your child’s condition has been stable, he/she will be cared for by a Day Nursery child care professional. Fees are charged in 3 hour blocks of time based on the age of the child and the length of stay. You can find the answers to the most frequently asked questions by checking the link on the Day Nursery website.
This is so easy to do and the student art is fantastic. Thanks to Xerox for providing Let’s Say Thanks for our troops. Click on the orange buttons to scroll through the pictures. If you are a parent of a child under 5 or 6 this is the kind of artwork you have to look forward to when your child enters elementary school. Right how, however, you might be wondering about the drawings of people your child is bringing home from Day Nursery. Always in search of more information about early childhood development, I headed down the hall of my office to talk to Lora Barlow, Inclusion Specialist at our Child Care Answersprogram (check out their new blog on our blogroll). She knows a lot about the cognitive development of children. One of her reference materials is a website from Stanford University. There I found some interesting information about the stages a young child goes through when learning to draw. A tadpole picture is one of the first steps before young children learn to draw conventional pictures. It consists of a circle with a face and at least two lines coming out of it, sometimes four. The circle may represent the head and body combined, where the lines are arms and/or legs. A question in child development asks why children first draw pictures this way. A common explanation for the ubiquitous tadpole stage is that children are merely trying to symbolize a person and do not put a premium on realism. I have to admit, a lot of what I read on this website is way over my head, but it has some very interesting illustrations of the stages of drawing a young child goes through that I think are worth a click!