Learning Beyond the Curriculum

Three Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing The Right Child Care

These days, it is not uncommon to see both parents working outside the home, resulting in the need for child care. In fact, about 23.4% of children aged 5 and under are a part of some type of organized child care. Working outside the home makes it very difficult to balance work life and home life, so there are many benefits to placing your child in a child care facility. Some benefits include improving social skills, exposing them to other cultures, and building their immune system. While child care can be a great thing for both the parent and the child, there are a few mistakes you should avoid if it is your first time placing your little bundle of joy in a daycare.  Not Discussing Discipline When it comes to how your child will be disciplined, all parents have their own opinion. It is important to speak with the the day care center about their approach on discipline. While it may not be as important when you have an infant, it is important as your child ages. This is especially crucial if your child has behavioral issues or is prone to biting. In order to protect the other kids, the center has to discipline kids who do not follow the rules. Make sure you are on the same page with how the facility handles it. Not Thinking About the Future While your child may now be an infant, you still have to think about whether this facility will work for your child until they reach kindergarten. One of the first things you want to do is tour the facility, including other age groups. Each program should expand on the last. For example, the three year old program should start in where the two year old program finished. This way your child gets a continuous education that flows.  Not Meeting the Staff Many times, a parent will work at least 8 hours a day, plus, you want to factor in commuting time to and from work. This means your child could be with these people for almost half the day if you are working full-time. It is crucial that you get to know the staff before you decide on the day care center. These people will essentially be caring for your child while you work to make money for your family. If you want to feel confident dropping your child off […]

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Are Charter Schools Really Effective?

Many parents want their children to be accepted into a charter school because they believe that the education it provides is superior to a regular public school education. Over the years, this belief has been challenged by some experts who feel charters do not live up to their reputation. If you are considering sending your child to a charter school you should know that they do, in fact, offer multiple advantages for students. Flexibility Even though charter schools are publicly funded, they offer the advantages of a private school. They are allowed greater flexibility in how they use their funding, so they can more specifically address the particular needs of their students. They are also allowed to create specific curricula that appeal to students with special talents. As a result, there are schools that specialize in the performing arts, mathematics, and science. Perhaps the greatest advantage of these schools’ flexibility is that they can prepare students for specific college majors while they are still in high school.  Competition Although not all charter schools are created equal, many of these schools are simply better because they have to compete with other schools. Parents will flock to admit their children to quality charters, maneuvering to get the last few coveted slots. Less effective schools will suffer from fewer students and less funding as a result. To survive, charters have to fight harder than their regular public school counterparts to please their clientele.  Boundaries Unlike other schools, charters are not limited to a small geographical area within a district. Some of these schools are state charters while others are district charters. Students can often get inter-district transfers if necessary so that they can go to the school that best suits them. Most importantly, they are not forced to go to a lower quality school simply because they live in a specific neighborhood. Charters help students break through education limits caused by the traditional pubic school system. If charter schools are available in your area, you should explore that option for your child. They do offer a number of advantages that many public schools cannot match. In fact, they are comparable to private schools but are run with public funds. These schools may offer the best chance for your child to receive an innovative and in-depth education that will prepare them for success at the college level and beyond. Consult with your school district to find […]

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Late Night Care: How to Handle Overnight Daycare for Your Kid’s

Daycare is a valuable tool for parents who need to work part-time or full-time hours. One of the more difficult issues to deal with when looking for a good daycare is finding a nighttime daycare if you are a third shift worker. Luckily, daycares that offer around the clock care are beginning to crop up, both as in-home daycares and at commercial daycare centers. After you have found a daycare that will work for your overnight shift, you should properly prepare your child to attend daycare overnight versus during the day. Here are some important preparations that you may want to make. Do you want them to sleep or learn? Daycares are places where students will learn, play, and rest. For students who are going to daycare overnight, the schedule can vary. First, you should decide if your child will be keeping the same hours as you. If your children are still young and not in school, it may be a good idea for them to remain awake at night and sleep during the same schedule as you. If your children attend school outside of the home, they should sleep while at daycare so that they are properly rested for school in the morning. What bedding should be packed? Sleeping away from home for the entirety of your shifts means that your child needs to be as comfortable at daycare as they are at home. Consider purchasing a cot for your child, which can be a comfortable makeshift bed. For extra comfort, add a sleeping bag or several blankets to the cot. Speak with your daycare provider about a nighttime routine, such as brushing teeth, lowering the lights, and reading so that your child can comfortably reacclimate their sleeping time to day care. How will breakfast be dealt with? If your shift ends in the early morning, consider if you want to have breakfast with your child or if they will need to eat at daycare. Since your sleep schedule may be opposite of your child’s, breakfast may be the time that you have to spend together. In the event that you get off late, it is a good idea to store meals weekly with the daycare provider. If you wish to have regular breakfast family time, you may want to coordinate with your daycare provider to give your child several snacks throughout the late night and early morning so […]

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The Amazing Benefits Of Daycare

Often times, daycare is looked at as a bad thing. People think it’s better for children to be with their parents and that sending them to daycare puts them at a disadvantage. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Daycare is actually a wonderful thing for children of all ages, and in fact, even if you just send your child for a couple of hours per day, he or she will benefit big time. Still not convinced? Read on to learn about a few of the awesome (and surprising!) benefits of daycare. Structure One of the first big benefits of daycare is the fact that it gives children a chance to thrive in a structured environment. Most daycare facilities, at least the good ones, offer a structured environment centered around routine, and routine is good for children. It gives them a feeling of control and security, and most really thrive by following a schedule each day. Furthermore, getting used to a scheduled day through daycare will make the transition to the regimented schedule of school so much easier on the child. Learning from the Experts If you choose a quality daycare facility, you will be placing your child in the hands of true experts in the child development field. This is different than just being watched over by the high school baby-sitter or even by the nice, elderly nanny. Children in good daycare facilities get watched over, educated, cared for, and disciplined by the best of the best. To ensure that your child gets this benefit, you’ll just want to be selective about the daycare facility that you choose. Look for one that has strict hiring policies in place and that only employs those with education and experience when it comes to working with children. Routine Inspections When you leave your child with a baby-sitter or nanny, you just have to trust that that person will treat your child well. With a daycare facility, you can know for sure that your child or children are being treated appropriately. In all states, licensed daycare facilities are regularly inspected to ensure that the surroundings are safe and that the children are being treated well. Many modern daycare facilities even go the extra mile and give you, the parent, the ability to check in on your child and what he or she is doing via webcam at any time of the […]

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Three Reasons To Send Your Child To Preschool

If your child has reached the age they are ready for preschool, you need to give a lot of thought to enrolling him or her. If you are a stay-at-home parent, it is difficult to let go of your child, if only for a few hours each day, but there are benefits of a good preschool program. The following are among the most significant. Children get a head start with communication skills A child in a preschool environment will learn to understand instruction and develop their communication skills with adults other than their parents and relatives. Professional teachers know the proper level of vocabulary to use with little ones and are able to help them develop better sentence structure when they speak as well as increase their vocabulary. Although a mother and father can do this as well, the combination of it being done by a professional preschool teacher and doing it for more time makes this a great environment for your child to enrich their skills in speaking and listening. Children get a head start with social skills Your child will benefit by spending time with other children their own age, even if it is for only two or three hours each weekday. Learning how to behave around others your own age are skills that need to be learned. Some children come from large families and may have several siblings and cousins to play with, but how a child acts around family members is much different than how they are expected to act in public and around other children they do not know. The social skills they learn in preschool will also help them when they begin kindergarten. It is here that a your child will likely encounter an entire class of children they do not know, but they will already have the skills needed to adjust quickly. Children learn to develop their cognitive skills Many of the activities that preschool children engage in are designed specifically for their age group and allows them to begin learning to think. Even at this age, they can engage in problem solving and rudimentary math. It is a professional, preschool teacher who has the skills and the materials to help develop these skills in your child effectively. Although many children will begin to learn the skills mentioned above when they first start kindergarten, children who have already spent a year in preschool […]

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5 Reasons To Consider A Religious Preschool

There are a variety of preschool programs available throughout the country. Some people are very focused on finding a private preschool with a specific curriculum like teaching a second language to their children or having their children learn to read by age four. However, there are benefits to religious preschools, and you may want to consider them as well when you are looking for a preschool. Here are five reasons to consider including a religious preschool in your search. Religious Preschools May Be More Affordable According to Babycenter.com, the average cost of preschool can range from $372 to $1100 a month. This can be a big hit to your budget. It can also be frustrating if you really want your child to attend preschool, but you are struggling to make ends meet. According to US News, some religious preschools offer lower tuition rates than their private counterparts. Additionally, many religious preschools offer need-based scholarships or discounts that you can take advantage of to help you afford preschool for your child. You will need to contact nearby preschools to see if they offer scholarships or tuition reduction for students.  Sense of Community Even if you choose a different church from the one you attend for a preschool or if you are not religious, your child can benefit from the community that surrounds a church preschool. This can help them as they continue on to school. It gives them a chance to meet other people in your neighborhood and community since many people choose a preschool based on proximity to home. Variety of Program Styles Many private preschools are very focused on academics and having measurable results. Public preschool programs like the Head Start program are also focused on academics and results. Some religious preschools are more focused on allowing children to come together to learn to share and play. You may have an easier time finding a more social preschool at your local church rather than going through a private or public options. Some religious preschools may be more strict and rigorous, so it is important to think about what type of preschool you want your child to attend, and then look for one that fits your criteria. Expose Your Children to Different Cultures or Beliefs Another benefit is that you can expose your children to a wide variety of beliefs and cultures by choosing different preschool programs. Many of the […]

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Preparing For A Montessori Preschool Program At Home

Montessori schools use the premise that children will learn effectively through the use of hands-on activities. These activities are constructed to teach children about life-based experiences as they play. Adding an activity station in your home to teach your preschooler the same values can be beneficial in transitioning them to the practices they will be using when they are enrolled in a Montessori schooling program. Here are a few ideas you can use to make your own activity station, preparing you child for the tasks they will do in preschool. Making An Appropriate Area The spot you choose for your activity station should be away from all activity in the household. Do not have a television within view so your child can concentrate on learning. Place a table and chairs in the area so your child can sit down in a setting without distraction. Place a few shelves in the area to house your child’s activities. Label plastic bins with a colorful picture on the front so your child will know what is inside. These can be put on the shelves within easy reach. Do not use the activity area except for learning. This way the child will soon realize that they will be working on their education when in the area. Since the activities are fun, they will associate the area with a good time. Providing Stimulation Make several small stations in the area for your child to enjoy. Place arts and craft materials in bins and bring them out to help teach your child about seeing and feeling colors and textures. Make sorting activities from different colored beads or scraps of cloth. Incorporate a small snack station into the area to enhance the sense of taste. Have the child help you make a nutritious snack to share. Have your child explore the sense of hearing with musical instruments. Place fragrant flowers in the area so your child learns about pleasing scents. Using Sensory Boxes Sensory activities are a wonderful way to teach children about the items around them during their everyday daily tasks. Making a box filled with like items will help a child learn about their place in their life. Fill a plastic bin with small animal figures. Make another one which holds small items used to cook. Bring a box out at intervals throughout the day to teach your child about items they will come across […]

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Change The Channel On Childcare Centers With Televisions

You might be surprised to learn that many child care centers and home daycare operations have a television front and center in rooms where children are playing, eating and sleeping. Sometimes these TVs are on all day in rooms where children under 2 are present. If you have a child under the age of 2 in a daycare center with a television, you should consider a change. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that adults avoid any screen time at all for kids under 2. Here are some reasons why.  Busy Brains Your baby’s brain is constantly making new connections. Every time young children are stimulated by something they can see, hear, taste or touch, their brains are understanding something new.  Screens cannot encourage brain development the way real life experiences can because they are two dimensional pictures. Babies need real life three dimensional experiences that stimulate all of their senses and fire up their minds.  Developmental Danger Exposure to television in early childhood not only interferes with brain connections, but it can also cause developmental delays. PsyPost cites a study showing that children who were exposed to television had more delays in language development than those who were not. It may also have a negative impact on attention span, sleeping and reading readiness.  Caregiver Concentration The truth is that some caregivers keep a television on to distract and entertain themselves throughout the day. The problem with this is that they are turning their attention toward the television and away from their charges.  Babies thrive when they interact with the adults around them. Even the very youngest baby is engaged by soft talking or singing as well as eye contact from a trusted adult. Babies cannot possibly get the attention they need and deserve when a caregiver is distracted by the television.  Screen Sitter Babies may stare at the bright colors on a television screen, but they aren’t really learning anything. An article in Time magazine cites studies showing that children under the age of 2 do not have the cognitive ability to recognize that images on a screen are symbolic of reality. This means that even educational television is nothing more than a babysitter. If you are already paying someone to care for your child, then that person should not be using a screen to do the job.  Your child deserves more than a distracted caregiver or being placed […]

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How To Connect With Your Teenagers

Remember the days when all you had to say was that your family was going to play a board game or visit grandparents, and your kids would get all excited? Now that they’re teenagers, they have probably shown more interest in being with their friends than in hanging out with parents and siblings. Don’t worry too much about that, as it’s pretty normal. In fact, teenagers wanting to be with their peers is just one way that they’re establishing the fact that they’re on the road to adulthood. However, if being together as a family is a priority for you, here are some ideas that might help you to connect with your teenagers. One Evening Out Of The Week – You might be surprised that your kids actually do want to spend time together as a family, and they’re just waiting for you to make it happen. Being at home is simply a safe place to be for them, especially with parents. Think about making one day out of the week be just for family time. For example, you could choose one evening to be movie night where each family member gets to choose a flick. Add popcorn and a soda and you’ve got a great scenario for pleasant time spent together. The frosting on the cake would be to end your activity with some conversation and a dessert.  One Day Out Of The Weekend – Having fun together on a weekend will be easier to do if the kids know that they’ll still have time to spend with friends in the evening. Besides attending church or spending time with grandparents and other family members, add some family fun by doing things like going to the mall for window shopping and pizza, visiting a museum, or visiting one of your area’s tourist attractions. Another great idea is to get a gym membership as a family. Affordable gym memberships are readily available, and most of them actually offer a special price when joining as a family. Besides the regular gym equipment like treadmills and weights, there will probably be great classes your family can join. Some of them might be dance-exercise classes and even self-defense classes. The great thing about is a gym is that they usually open early in the morning and close in the evenings, so you can choose the best time for your family to be there. Don’t be surprised if […]

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