First Day Jitters?

view of a row

Anyone experiencing “First Day Jitters”? The first days can be an anxious time even scary for some children (and some moms and dads, too!). They will be walking into a new room or school with all of these new kids, and new grownups, and new “stuff” and maybe Mom looks a little teary-eyed that her “baby” is growing up so fast.  It’s no wonder some kids might suddenly cling to their parents in a panic and cry! Here are some tips for getting through the first few days:

Try to act confident yourself. If you seem anxious and unsure about leaving your child, your child will pick up on that and start wondering if there really is something to worry about!

Be consistent with good byes. We will greet your child and you can give hugs and kisses and say good-bye. We promise to embrace your child and help ease him/her into the classroom!

Make sure to say good-bye when you leave. Trying to “sneak out” when the child is busy and not looking sometimes makes the kids panic a few minutes later, and may make separation even more difficult the next day.

Arrive on time! It seems to be easier on most children if they arrive just before the classroom door is opened. This way they can enter the classroom with their friends! It can be much harder when they arrive after all of the other children have settled into activities.

Separation problems sometimes show up on the second or third day, just when you thought you were getting off easy! It is also common for children to have difficulties when there are major changes in the home. Let us know if there is anything happening at your house that you think is important for us to be aware.

As teachers and parents, we really do understand how hard this can be. We know that you are entrusting us with a very precious gift, and we feel honored that we will be your child’s first teachers.

If your child is having an especially hard time, make sure you have added the communication app of your classroom’s choice  (we use Remind) and the school or teacher may be able to send you a quick note or picture to ease your anxiety about how your child is doing through their first day(s).  Make sure the school and teacher have the correct emails and phone numbers so that they may give you a call or send a quick note.

Remember, that some children will acclimate right away and some may need up to two weeks to really feel comfortable and safe as they get to know their classmates, teachers, routines,  and the rules of their classroom.

Red Washcloth

Red Washcloth

Young children sometimes panic at the sight of blood. Their panic can quickly escalate and turn a minor accident into a traumatic incident!  If your child tends to panic at the sight of blood, here’s a tip to help calm them down. Keep a few red washcloths and/or small red towels in your first aid kit. When you wet the washcloth to clean a cut or a scrape, the bleeding won’t be as noticeable. Children often equate the amount of blood they see with the seriousness of the injury.  If they see less blood, things don’t seem as bad.

Talk to them in a subdued voice to calm them, and explain what you are doing as you patch them up. For instance, “First we’re going to wash your knee so no germs get under the band aid. Then we’ll dry your leg so the band aid will stick.”  Assure them they will be just fine. The calmer you are, the calmer they will be. If the injury should require a visit to the emergency room, say “I think we should have a doctor look at that” then wrap the injured area in the red towel and fasten with safety pins/tape until the doctor can look at it. When it’s all over, pat yourself on the back for remaining calm in a tense situation. Oh, and don’t forget to take a deep breath!

 

KCCC Summer Camps 2018

super hero

KCCC is offering five weeks of fun filled Summer Camp 2018 this year!  Camps start the week of June 11-15 with the last camp the week of August 6-10. Each camp runs from 9:00am-11:30am daily. Click here for a printable REGISTRATION FORM for Summer Camp 2018  

Summer Camp 2018

Click on the links above for full descriptions of each camp and to print out a registration form.  Registration deadline is May 25, 2018.

10 Skills Enhanced by Playing with LEGO Blocks

Let’s face it…kids LOVE LEGOS!

And believe it or not, LEGOS are extremely educational!

Legos

Here are 10 skills your children can learn from playing and building with LEGOS:

  1. Fine Motor Skills
  2. Cooperative Play
  3. A Sense of Accomplishment
  4. Persistence
  5. Solving a Puzzle
  6. Science
  7. Technology
  8. Engineering
  9. Creativity
  10. Math

To find out how these skills are used while playing with LEGOS please follow the link :

10 Important Skills Children Learn from LEGOS

“Play is serious learning…

Play is the work of childhood” – Fred Rogers

Watching children play may seem like it’s all fun and games, but if you take a closer look, there’s a lot of learning going on. Babies and toddlers explore their physical world by playing with simple items like rattles, plastic cups and bowls, and their all time favorite toy, the empty box. They are fascinated by sand or water in a cup and finding that they can dump it out. They will explore every facet of an empty box, and if it’s big enough they will even crawl into it.

Toddlers will often play side by side but not necessarily with each other. As they reach pre-school age, they begin to play cooperatively.  They imitate what they see adults do, they create every day scenarios, and they begin to cooperate with each other.  They create specific roles and rules for pretend behavior and adopt multiple themes and multiple roles. They learn how to negotiate who is going to be the “mommy” and who is going to be the “baby.” They use props such as dolls, toy dishes, and dress-up clothes. They construct “houses” with sheets on a clothes line. It’s as if they are trying to re-enact what they see in their everyday lives, or what they know of it so far. Children from all cultures play in a similar manner.

Play actually helps foster social interaction and cognitive development.  It helps children realize that others have feelings and needs and it is important to consider other’s perspective.

Most elementary teachers would not expect students to enter first grade already knowing how to read, spell, or do math, but they do hope their students will arrive already knowing how to concentrate, cooperate, pay attention, and be considerate of others. These are the kinds of things children learn through play while interacting with peers.

Today some children don’t have as much opportunity for “constructive play” and this is influenced by several factors.  In many households both parents have to work, and due to hectic pick-up / drop-off schedules, children don’t have the opportunity to play with other kids in their neighborhood. TV, video games, and the computer also cut in on that time. They also interact with modern toys that are not always conducive to building imagination and make-pretend play themes. There are more adult organized and directed activities than in years past, such as sports and dance classes.

A good opportunity for constructive, creative play can be found in early childhood classrooms. Children can play with others from various backgrounds and similar age groups. They can see their peers on a regular basis where large blocks of time are devoted to playing and exploring. Playing may not look very important to the untrained eye, but if you take a closer look, you’ll see children are learning more and more about the world every day.

Try Our Favorite DIY Playdough Recipe!

DIY Playdough

We LOVE this playdough recipe! Miss Michelle, our Beginning Learners Daycare teacher,  makes a fresh, new batch every month in a different color.  Using and manipulating this colored ball of dough helps strengthen fingers, helps with concentration and social skills, and encourages kids to use their imaginations.  According to NAEYC, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, playdough also encourages children’s language and literacy, science, and math skills—all at the same time!

Kaneville Community Child Center puts a fresh cup of this magnificent homemade playdough in each “goodie” bag given to children after their tour of the center.  Here’s the low down on how to make this at home with your kiddos.

Ingredients: 

1c flour

1c water

2tsp cream of tartar

1/3c salt

1T veg oil

Food Coloring

Directions:  Combine all the ingredients in a 2qt saucepan.  Stir and mix over medium heat.  Keep stirring until it starts getting a little solid and doesn’t stick to sides of the pan.  It will look very sticky and gooey.  Take it out of the pan and knead it on the counter.  Do this until it’s the right consistency for you.

That’s it!  You’ll love it AND you can make a fresh new batch with your kids every month.

Want more??  Here’s a great link:  “Building with Playdough/Simple STEM Challenge for Kids by Lemon Lime Adventures

5 Tips towards Helping Your Preschooler Become An Independent Reader

Mother and Daughter Reading Together --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

One of the easiest ways to begin telling the story of a book is through the use of illustrations.  Most books for young children are illustrated in great detail, and noting important details related to the characters, plot, and setting will provide a wholesome first literacy activity.  Children at this level should be encouraged to browse through books and pretend to read the story, an initial step toward becoming and independent reader.  Here are five tips.

  1. Set aside a regular time and place for books so that reading books becomes as natural as eating and sleeping.
  2. Browse through books to help your child become familiar with books and how they are handled.
  3. Read the story as your child points to the pictures on each page.
  4. Let your child pretend to read the story as the adult points to the pictures.
  5. Make regular trips to the library and attend storytelling sessions.  Visit bookstores together to begin a personal library for your child.

Steps to Improve Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Self Esteem Dr. Seuss

Do you make your child’s self-esteem a priority?  You may not have even really thought about it.  Parents and caregivers are the most important people in promoting a child’s self-esteem.  Your words and your actions have a far greater impact than you may realize.  Once you are aware of what you say to your kids and how you say it, you will see the change in the way they feel about themselves.

According to an article printed by The Child Development Institute on “How to Help Children and Teens Develop Healthy Self-Esteem” your child may have low self-esteem if they:

  • avoid trying new things
  • blame others for their own shortcomings
  • feel, or pretend to feel, emotionally indifferent
  • are unable to tolerate a normal level of frustration
  • put down their own talents and abilities
  • are easily influenced

Read More here  to help you assess your child’s self-esteem and how you can help improve it.

 

TV Free Activities You Can Do with Your Child – It’s easy as A-B-C!

I'm bored cat

“Mommy, will you play with me?” or “I’m bored!” are common phrases for children ages two and up.  You can do activities with your child that don’t involve a television or an Ipad.  Your kids will actually enjoy the time spent with you more than the time spent with their media. In fact, they would choose it hands down every time especially if you replied, “Yes! I will play with you.” or “I have an idea of something we can do!”  Here are three easy as A-B-C, cheap, and fun activities you can do with your kiddos that don’t involve media of any kind.  Have fun playing with your kids!

Animal Footprints – what you’ll need: scrap wood/styrofoam/thick paper, scissors, string or a pair of shoelaces

Your kids can easily make their own mystery tracks in snow or dirt – and then lead an expedition to track the elusive critter PLUS you will be OUTSIDE.  You can create footprint makers out of all kinds of scrap material.  Styrofoam or small blocks or plywood work well.  Draw a pattern on paper; consider webbed feet (do you know where those flippers from summer are?), feet with exaggerated toes or claws (search for cool tree branches for some interesting “bird” or “monster” feet),  or feet with pads.  If you want to get real fancy, take a trip to the library and consult a nature guide.  Cut out the footprints, then fashion two straps made out of shoelaces, string, or ribbon.  The “straps” will hold the footprint maker to your child’s shoes or boots.  Be careful not to make the footprints too big or your child may not be able to walk in them.  Next, hit the great outdoors!  Your child can be the “track maker” and you or the rest of your family or friends can be the trackers.  By the way, the imaginary animals can only be snagged by non-violent means and they must be released back into to the wild after capture.

Balloon Volleyball – what you’ll need:  string, two chairs, a balloon

A rigorous game of volleyball is probably the last thing you want in your living room…unless the “ball” happens to be a balloon!  You can easily turn any room into a safe volleyball court.  Clear away a space and tie a string to the backs of two chairs.  You now have a playing field and a net.  Blow up a balloon.  Grab a marker and give your balloon a face.  You’re ready for action!  Encourage your kids to make up their own rules.  The game is only limited by the size of their imaginations and the room (of course).

Columbus – what you’ll need: smooth table surface, salt shaker or some other item that slides smoothly on the table

If you have a smooth table and an object that will slide harmlessly across it you can play this game.  Two players sit at opposite ends of the table; one slides the shaker to the other.  The object is to come as close to the edge as possible to the edge without going over.  Explain that back in the old days explorers used to fear going over the edge of the world until Columbus came along – hence the name of the game.

For every two slides, one from each person, the person who comes closest to the edge without going over wins.   You’ll find that the fun of the activity will transcend winning or losing. The real enjoyment comes from letting your shaker go…and watching it slide over the lip of the table, then stop just before tipping over!

You may find that once this activity has begun, it takes a considerable amount of willpower to stop.  Helpful hint:  place a blanket or pillow on the floor underneath the edges of the table.

From “365 TV-Free Activities You Can Do with Your Child” by Steve & Ruth Bennett