Monthly Archives: March 2009

Day Nursery teachers are life-long learners

Day Nursery State Center Director Deanna Saylor (left) and Clarian Center Director Jesse McCloud (in red) talk to Jungle John and his feathered friend Whoo-sier about Silly Safari visits during the IAEYC conference last year.

Day Nursery State Center Director Deanna Saylor (left) and Clarian Center Director Jesse McCloud (in red) talk to Jungle John and his feathered friend Whoo-sier about his comapny Silly Safaris during the IAEYC conference last year.

Over 100 Day Nurseryteachers and center administrators will be downtown at the Indiana Convention Center early Saturday to attend  Indiana Early Childhood Conference presented by the Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children (IAEYC).  The Indiana Early Childhood Conference is the largest conference in Indiana geared toward early childhood professionals and parents of children birth through eight years of age. It features more than 200 workshops presented by early childhood professionals from across the nation. The Indiana AEYC state conference allows people in the early childhood field to network with other professionals as well as gain resources they can utilize each day to increase the quality of care and education that young children receive. The exhibit hall is always filled with the latest products and teaching tools for sale. The conference serves public and private school teachers, early childhood professionals and parents. Approximately 3,700 people attend the state conference each year.  Our Day Nursery contingent is usually the largest group registered from any one organization each year.  It is not too late to attend.  You can register on-site this weekend.  Stop by the Day Nursery booth and say hello.

Target Free Family Night at the Children’s Museum

target_famnight_50April 2 is the first Thursday of the month and that means it is Target Free Family Nightimg_5801 at the The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis from 4:00-8:00 pm.  This is great way to have some family fun without busting your entertainment budget.  After checking the museum website, it looks like this is the last free Thursday event where you can enjoy the Legoland exhibit. The museum food court has a variety of choices for dinner and you might be able to sneak into the gift shop and pick up a last minute item for your child’s Easter basket.  The gift shop has a great selection in many price ranges.  May 7 is the next Target Free Family Night at the museum.  Day Nursery is planning our annual family get together at the museum that night.  We had a great turnout last year and we don’t want you to miss it so mark your calendar and watch for more details at your Day Nursery location.

Parent voices heard on Capitol Hill

Representatives of the Indiana delegation, including our own Mindy Bennett (second from left) met with Congressman Burton to ensure that our policymakers heard directly from parents.

Representatives of the Indiana delegation, including our own Mindy Bennett (second from left) met with Congressman Burton to ensure that our policymakers heard directly from parents.

The March issue of Parent Central Express presents a well summarized account of our own Mindy Bennett’s business trip to Washington.  Mindy is the Program Director for Child Care Answers, the community outreach arm of Day Nursery.   Today, over 11 million children under age 5 are in some type of child care arrangement every week while their parents work. On average, children of working mothers spend 36 hours every week in child care. Studies repeatedly have shown that high-quality child care – care that provides a loving, safe, stable and age-appropriate stimulating environment – helps children enter school ready to learn. Yet, less than 10 percent of the nation’s child care is of high-quality.

Unfortunately, not all of our policymakers know the facts about child care. Each year, members of the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) come to Washington, D.C. to NACCRRA’s Public Policy Symposium. Representatives from state and local CCR&R agencies (Child Care Answers is part of the Indiana Association for Child Care Resource & Referral Association) from throughout the nation join together to raise the visibility of child care issues, such as the lack of quality in child care, and to advocate for improved conditions. Last year,  members heard from Members of Congress that the need for high-quality child care was not a priority for them because they did not hear directly from parents on the issue. NACCRRA made it a priority to change that by bringing parents to the very next Symposium.

This year, NACCRRA introduced the parents program to ensure that policymakers heard directly from parents. Forty-four parents and grandparents from 39 states were chosen to attend the conference, which was held March 10-14, had the opportunity to meet with their representatives on Capitol Hill (that’s Indiana parent representative Natalie Wolfe on the right in the picture with Congressman Burton). The feedback from the parents and grandparents after their visits was overwhelmingly positive. One grandparent shared that she had no idea how much power she had as one American citizen to make positive changes for children.

Start planting the seed…read to your child about gardening

Day Nursery children study worms brought into their classroom.

Day Nursery children study worms brought into their classroom.

Have you started working in your garden yet?  With the weather starting to warm up many Day Nursery preschool classrooms have started making plans for gardens.  As we await the date to plant after the last threat of frost has passed, it is not too early to plant a seed with your child by reading them some books about gardening.  Elizabeth Kennedy who writes a great blog about children’s books  at About.com has come up with a list of her favorite picture books about gardening.   Topping her list is the classic “The Carrot Seed” by Ruth Kraus (HarperCollins, 1945. ISBN: 0064432106)  with illustrations by Crockett Johnson, well known for “Harold and the Purple Crayon.” 

Gardening is a great activity to work into a child’s outdoor playtime. Starting with older infants and toddlers, you can plant flowers and herbs so they experience sensory exploration as they become aware of new smells.  While you are out, take a “texture” walk and call the attention of your child to the rough bark on the trees, prickly sticky pine cones and a smooth hard rock. Outdoor play gives children many opportunites to develop their fine motor skills. While on your texture walk, allow toddlers to collect leaves, pine cones and small sticks in wagons or small buckets with handles.

Even the youngest infants can enjoy outdoor sights and sounds.  The Creative Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers, used at Day Nursery, gives some examples of how you can enhance your young infant’s outdoor time by talking to them about they are experiencing. Describe the experience  “Doesn’t the breeze blowing in your hair feeel good?’  and enjoy the sounds together: “Do you hear the wind chimes clinking? cling-clang, cling clang.”

Outdoor play is essential for children’s health and well being. For Day Nursery teachers, the outdoors offers many ways to enrich the curriculum and support children’s development and learning.  Plant a seed today with your child about creating a garden.  Whether it is in a container on your back porch or in your yard, your garden is a natural laboratory for scientific exploration.

Lots of recalls in the news

Fisher-Price 3-in-1 High Chair to Booster

Fisher-Price 3-in-1 High Chair to Booster

Fisher-Price Recalls 3-in-1 High Chairs Recalled Due to Fall Hazard: The seat can fall backwards from high chair frame if the booster seat release is unlatched while the child is in the product. Also, the seat back can detach if not fully snapped in place, posing a fall hazard and risk of serious injury to young children. The firm has received one report of a seat back detaching and child falling out, resulting in a skull fracture.  This recall involves the 3-in-1 High Chair to Booster(tm), which converts from a high chair to a toddler booster seat. It includes a removable tray, height adjustment and folds for storage. The product number (P5369) is printed on the side of the seat, on a label on the seat pad, and on the product’s packaging.  Sold exclusively at Target stores nationwide from December 2008 through March 2009 for about $100.

09161aPacifiers Recalled by OKK Trading Due to Choking Hazard: About 2,900 Baby Necessities pacifiers imported OKK Trading, of Los Angeles, Calif. have been recalled. The pacifiers are banned under federal law. They failed federal safety tests when the nipples separated from the base. This poses a choking hazard to young children. This recall involves Baby Necessities pacifiers with a blue heart-shaped mouth guard. The pacifiers were sold four to a pack. The words “Baby Necessities” is printed on the cardboard packaging. They were sold at Dollar and discount stores nationwide from August 2007 through January 2009 for about $1.

Children’s Fishing Poles Recalled by Zebco due to Violation of Lead in Paint Standard: About 2,700 children’s fishing poles distributed by W.C. Bradley/Zebco Holdings Inc., doing business as Zebco Brands, of Tulsa, Okla. have been recalled because the paint on the reels of these fishing poles contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard. This recall involves Zebco Advanced Youth Fishing Rod & Reel combo sets. The reels are painted orange and have the words “Zebco” and “ZAVS 10” on the reel handle. Only spinning reels are involved in this recall. They were sold discount department and sporting good stores nationwide from August 2007 through December 2008 for about $35.

Zebco Advanced Youth Fishing Rod & Reel

Zebco Advanced Youth Fishing Rod & Reel

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC’s hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC’s teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC’s web site at www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC’s Web site at www.cpsc.gov.

Fun with dough

Day Nursery Hendricks County students work with homemade fun dough scented with instant coffee.

Day Nursery Hendricks County students work with homemade fun dough scented with instant coffee.

There are lots of recipes for “fun dough” floating around the web. I’m going to share one with you today because if you haven’t personally made a batch of this stuff for your children I think you will find it is really quite fun and pretty economical. I was reminded of this recently when two Day Nursery teachers created a batch of dough as part of their lesson plans for Black History Month.   Miss Marla and Miss Sheila added instant coffee to the recipe to create a range of different skin tones.  It also made their classroom smell really, really good!! Their two-year-olds loved it! If the smell of coffee isn’t your thing just add a few drops of flavor extract, vanilla or peppermint extract for example, from your spice cupboard.

Thanks to Patty Fisher for catching this picture. Here’s the recipe:

2 cups flour

1 cup salt

3tsp cream of tarter

2 tbsp oil

2 cups water

2Tbsp instant coffee dissolved in 2Tbsp of hot water (you can add more or less instant coffee to get different skin tones)

 Dissolve salt in water. Dissolve coffee in hot water. Pour all ingredients into large pot.  Stir constantly over medium heat until ball forms by pulling away from the sides.

Knead the dough mixture until the texture matches playdough (1-2 minutes).  Store in plastic container.  Should last for at least 3 months.

NOTE: This recipe is made from edible ingredients and is not toxic in small amounts.  Keep away from pets.  Not intended as a food item. Please put away when children are finished playing with it.

Green is the color of the week

Day Nursery Indiana State Government Center

Day Nursery Indiana State Government Center

I consider myself pretty lucky.  When something unexpectedly good happens in my life, I often attribute it to “the luck of the Irish”.  I even was born the day after St. Patrick’s Day.  If you are wondering where I am going with this rambling, I was leading into my excuse for posting our St. Patrick’s Day pictures 4 days late.  I broke my hand Sunday night. My right hand.  The hand that controls my computer mouse.  I’m a bit slow these days.  So, today I am playing catch up with pictures of the Day Nursery State Government Center St. Patrick’s Day party.  Our downtown centers really get into St. Patrick’s Day. 

Julia and her Dad enjoyed a great vantage point of the Indianapolis St. Patrick's Day parade from in front of the Federal building.

Julia and her Dad enjoyed a great vantage point of the Indianapolis St. Patrick's Day parade from in front of the Federal building.

 

The Federal Center sits at the start of the parade route and our State Center sits on the canal, which gets dyed green every year to kick off the festivities. I’ll let Day Nursery State Center  Assistant Director Marti Thiery take over with the rest of the story (because I am getting very good at cutting and pasting text from emails!)  This is our Two’s 2 classroom. The teacher in the background is Ms. Patricia, the lead teacher. Leprechaun Jon is our assistant teacher in the PreSchool 3. He was excited to dress up as a leprechaun and visit each of the classrooms during their afternoon parties.

Day Nursery State Government Center

Day Nursery State Government Center

Even the infants got a visit from the leprechaun. Many of the classrooms asked the parents to bring in green treats. As I walked through the building I saw: kiwi, green apples, broccoflower, green colored vanilla pudding, celery and dip, green jello with fruit (made by the children) and assorted green cupcakes and cookies.

 

I was lucky that the Day Nursery staff kept their cameras handy this week and caught these pictures for me.  I hope the luck of the Irish was with you and your family this week!