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Archive for the ‘Preschool’ Category

Lilah and one of her best friends, Daniel, in their performance costumes

Wow, my daughter graduated from pre-school a week ago. I can’t believe the time has gone by so fast. I don’t recall at her age having a formal graduation like the one at her school. Though she is continuing there next year, most of her classmates are older and moving on to a different kindergarten or to first grade, depending on their age or skill level.

When it came time to sign-up for photos of Lilah in her cap and gown, I opted out of the individual photo and instead went with the group one where she was photographed with three of her favorite classmates in their graduation gowns. I can’t believe how wonderful it turned out. This is by far the best photo I have of them. Given that these friends won’t be with her on a daily basis anymore it is a keepsake for Lilah and a reminder for me to set up those play dates!

After the heartfelt graduation ceremony, Lilah and 5 of her classmates (ages 3 1/2 -5 1/2) performed an Indian dance routine while wearing beautiful costumes (complete with bindis) dancing to a song I remember from Slumdog Millionaire. They were all so incredibly adorable. Lilah never once looked at any of her fellow dancers for cues on what to do (though you could see her brain working waiting for the music prompts). I know I’ve overused the word “proud,” but it so perfectly explains how I felt. Grandparents from both sides of the family were in attendance cheering her on. What a great day!

Over the last week she has shown me that same routine no less than ten times. I guess it’s time for some formal dance lessons. Maybe hip hop since I know my little tomboy will not wear tights!

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This morning, while I was dropping my 4 1/2 year old off at school she told me that one of her very best friends was mad and was not talking to her. She didn’t know why and was sad. I talked with her about asking him why so that if she had done something wrong she could apologize. She agreed but when I turned to leave he was right in front of me. He was not his normal smiling self – something was weighing on him. I bent down and asked him what was wrong. To summarize, he told me he could no longer be friends with Lilah because he had new friends at his new school (he is leaving in August to go to a different Kindergarten). I was CRUSHED and so was Lilah. He seemed so unhappy about it too. I thought this is not the way to spend the last couple weeks together. 

At this point, we were drawing a crowd of preschoolers and I tried to explain that you can have many friends. I told him how Lilah still has friends from her old school. He didn’t believe me. The teacher came over to gather all the children and it was time for me to leave.

I spoke with the head of the school before I left and he assured me he would talk to ALL the children about it.  As much as I want to protect her, I know this is only the beginning of the misunderstandings, harsh words, and miscommunications that are part of a child’s life.

Here are a few tips to help your child through leaving or being left by their friends.

  • Talk About It: Explain to your child that though they no longer attend school together, aren’t on the same team, or don’t live in the same area, they can still remain friends. We can’t have too many friends.
  • Stay Connected: Set up play dates shortly after they are no longer together to assure them that they are still friends. If they are far away have them write a letter or call each other regularly. Depending on the age of your child, they can also email or be friends on Facebook.
  • Try to make them understand that they will have many friends in their life and some see each other daily and others sporadically, but that doesn’t change their friendship.
  • Put photos of your child’s friends in their rooms and talk about them often.

Obviously not all children will be able to maintain ALL their friendships (especially the young ones). But remember, if it’s a close friendship those kids are part of what has shaped them and are worth the effort it takes to stay connected.

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Paulo is wearing Chameleon Camouflage from Le Top’s 2011 Spring/Summer Collection.

I love when Paulo’s Mommy & Me class does activities for special holidays. It prepares him for the real deal when my family celebrates it at home. Yesterday, his teacher had an Easter egg hunt, arts and crafts, a bubble party, and a potluck snack time.

This is the first year that Paulo “gets” the egg hunt. He went out during recess with his Disney Cars pail and went on a search for colorful “balls” (as he would call the eggs). Each child gets to find a dozen eggs, but after Paulo found 3, he decided to ditch the egg hunt and go play on the slide. Oh, well. He doesn’t need all those candy-filled eggs anyway. At the potluck, there were sweet and savory treats. Not surprising, he pointed to the chocolate frosted brownie first. That’s all he wanted on his plate, however I also placed some fruits, cheese, crackers and turkey slices just in case. And SURPRISINGLY, he ate all his cheese and fruit. (Good boy!)

I wish every day could be this much fun. What a happy day!

TO CHECK OUT LE TOP PLAYWEAR GO TO
WWW.LETOP-USA.COM

 

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This post came to us from our design intern extraordinaire, Krystle.

When I was younger, my dad used to take my sister and I to Buchanan Field Airport to watch the airplanes land and take- off. I remember seeing the small planes come and go through endless blue sky and thought of how fascinating it would be to fly. Now, many years later, I look into the eyes of my two little ones and see the same look of amazement.

Devin looked at home on the airfield in his Le Top "Take Flight" fall 2011 waffle weave shirt and corduroy pant set, along with the matching faux leather aviator jacket

Devin, my 5 year-old son, attends Concord Preschool at Baldwin Park, California. His teachers also shared this experience of the airport with their own children, and wanted share it with their students as well…so, they coordinated their very first field trip to the airport!. 

Chloe, my 3 year-old daughter, Devin and I met his class at a playground that sits on the edge of the runway. It consists of a few picnic tables, a “play” airplane and tower, a huge airfield painting on the ground, and bleachers…all within a gated area where the kids can run free. Right away, Devin ran off to pretend he was an airplane with his friends. Chloe, being her shy self, stayed by my side and watched the others with curiosity.

After about 30 minutes of playtime, all if the children gathered on the bleachers to listen to the airport guide explain the safety rules. The classy eagerly formed a single file line behind they teacher so that they could pass through the gate onto the actual runway.

On the runway, there were 3 model vehicles; a small red airplane, a huge Osh Kosh striker fire truck and a military helicopter. First, they looked at the airplane and each little pilot got a turn to sit in the cockpit and pretend to take off. Next, they went to the florescent yellow fire truck with extra big off-roading tires and listened to a fireman explain his duties on the field. They stood in line so one-by-one they could peek inside the enormous engine. Then, last but not least, they walked over to the helicopter where they got to climb a ladder inside and feel what it’s like to ride in a powerful machine that helps protect our country. With a big smile on his face, Devin sat in the pilot’s seat and waved at us through the window.

After all of the excitement, everyone got little hungry so we headed back to the playground for snack time. They enjoyed their bagged lunches of string cheese, grapes, Cheez-its and Capri Sun, while watching planes touch down on the runway. When they were all refueled, the kids disbursed once again. Even Chloe warmed up a bit and found her spot in the pilot’s seat of the play airplane.

I was very happy to share this experience with my kids. After years of seeing planes fly above our house, they were finally able to see where they were coming from. They learned about airplanes, safety, community, and most of off all, how to let their imaginations fly free.

Chloe couldn't be happier in her Le Top "Pocket Full of Posies" corduroy drop waist dress and tights

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My nephew, Carson, is starting preschool this year.  He has been talking about it for months and months, and getting more and more excited with every day.  His mother was worried that he would be scared to join the class.  She had concerns about whether or not he would behave himself, make friends, or even want to go back to school after the first initial excitement wore off.

The big day came, and Carson got all ready to go with his “big boy backpack,” and his family, including his little brother Josh, went to drop him off. The picture above shows Carson discovering the new and exciting world of preschool.  Since then, he hasn’t had a problem going to school.  He made friends just fine and is still pretty excited to go each day!
  
Every mom worries about their child’s reaction to their first school experience and in the end/most of the time, there is nothing to even be worried about. Although Carson does miss his brother when he is gone at class, he loves every minute of his “big boy school”.

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Recently my boyfriend’s niece says she is a big girl now (3-years-old) and she doesn’t need a nap anymore. She honestly seems to be doing great overall without a nap. How her mom knew it was time to stop? I did a bit of research to find out. Tell us your tips on how you knew it was time to stop naptime too!

Studies show that many children stop taking naps at around age 4, but some experts say that may be too soon. Daytime sleep is important for kids during preschool and even throughout kindergarten. If your child falls asleep easily at naptime, it’s probably a sign he or she still needs a daytime nappy/snooze. The following are indications that it’s time to stop: 

  • Your child is consistently fidgety and restless at naptime.
  • He/She doesn’t have meltdowns in the late afternoon when misses his or her nap.
  • When he does nap, he has a hard time going to sleep at his regular bedtime.

Judith Owens, pediatric sleep expert says that, “Most children under the age of 1 take two naps a day — usually one in the morning and another in the afternoon. By 18 months, most have given up the morning nap but still need an afternoon snooze to make it through dinner without a meltdown. Even when you’ve kissed the morning nap goodbye, your toddler’s likely to continue needing her afternoon nap for quite some time. At age 4, more than 50 percent of children are still taking naps. And even though the majority of children (about 70 percent) stop napping at 5 years, 3 in 10 still need a nap at this age.”

However, every kiddo is different.

Much depends on how many hours your toddler sleeps at night. Aside from the obvious fact that you need time to check your e-mail, make a phone call, or clean up the house, naps are critical to growing children. “Research suggests that physical and mental development takes place when kids sleep-both at night and during the day,” says Daniel Lewin, Ph.D., director of pediatric behavioral sleep medicine at Children’s National Medical Center, in Washington, D.C.  Studies have shown that kids who nap have longer attention spans and are less fussy than those who don’t. And perhaps the best reason of all: When kids rest during the day, they tend to sleep longer at night.  Toddlers need approximately 12 to 14 hours of sleep in each 24-hour period.


It can be hard as your toddler grows older to have him or her take a nap. Toddlers want to explore and discover the world, and especially hate to miss out on anything, even if they are super exhausted.

Want a happy nap?

Do: Build a nap routine and aim to stick to the same naptime each day, but be flexible on special occasions.

Don’t: Wait until your child is asleep to put him down in his crib or bed.

Do: Encourage your baby to sleep in her own crib or bed for naps after she’s 2 months old.

Don’t: Keep your child up too late at night, which will interfere with his daytime sleep.

Do: Keep her room as quiet and dark as possible.

Do: Put her down for her nap in the same place where she sleeps at night.

If your child gives up her naps altogether before she’s 4 years old, at least offer her some quiet time every day. Tell her that children rest after lunch so they’ll have enough energy to play later on.

Keep in mind that most children need lots of sleep. BabyCenter sleep expert Jodi Mindell, author of Sleeping Through the Night, says, “If a child has poor sleep habits or refuses to go to bed before 11 at night, his parents will think that he just doesn’t need a lot of sleep. That’s probably not true — in fact, it’s likely that such a child is actually sleep-deprived.”

If you are questioning if your child still needs a name, below are questions that answer if your child probably needs one:

  • Does your child fall asleep almost every time he’s in a car?
  • Do you have to wake your child almost every morning?
  • Does your child seem cranky, irritable, or overtired during the day?
  • On some nights, does your child seem to crash much earlier than his usual bedtime?

Eventually your child will stop napping and start doing all of his sleeping at night. Preschoolers and young elementary school students still need up to ten or 11 hours of sleep a night, but that amount will gradually diminish.

Unfortunately, there’s no way of really knowing what age your little one will nap until. But, hopefully these tips and facts helped you to understand your kiddos daytime sleep. 🙂

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The time has come for my sweet girl to move on to preschool. It has been a rollercoaster of emotion for me coming to the realization that she is growing up, especially knowing how difficult it could be for her (and me) to alter the routine of people and places she’s known for the last three years. These choices may establish her learning pattern for the rest of her life – Wow, the pressure! I have been stumbling through this process – but have come up with a list of basic questions I need answered in order to decide which preschool is right for my precious little one.

Let’s start with some basics:

QUESTION #1: Hours/Schedule

  • Does your preschool have a traditional school schedule with many days/weeks off throughout the year or a year round schedule that only closes on major holidays?
  • Is there a half, partial of full day schedule?

QUESTIONS #2: Location

  • Should it be close to your work, home, or somewhere in between? Are there other more convenient locations that work for your schedule?

QUESTION #3: Cost

  • Preschool fees differ widely.  I discovered two schools next to each other could vary in cost by as much as $500/month. A good tip I learned is that there are co-ops where you can volunteer your personal time during business hours at the school in exchange for a reduced cost tuition or as a prerequisite of enrollment.

QUESTION #4: Preschool Philosophy

There is a wide range of preschool philosophies. Only an Owner/Director can explain their viewpoint fully.  I categorized four core philosophies below: 

  • Traditional:  This is the most common in the US and is commonly referred to as a Developmentally Appropriate Preschool. This program tends to emphasize physical, cognitive, emotional and social areas of a preschooler. It’s a mixture of self-directed and teacher directed activities.
  • Academic: This philosophy puts an emphasis on early reading, beginner’s math, and other skills not usually introduced until grade school. The teacher generally guides the class and learning direction.
  • Montessori: This is a structured program where children move from activity-to-activity at their own pace.  It is intended to create self-motivated, independent learners in a social environment.
  • Others:  High/Scope: Active learning, Reggio Emilia: Project based, Waldorf: Creativity over academia, and Parent Co-operatives: Parent and Student working together with guidance from a teacher that shares the groups philosophies.

 Last but not least questions: 

  • Teacher/Assistant vs. Student ratios
  • Do they provide snacks and lunch?
  • Do they separate the different age groups from each other?
  • Do they admit kids that are not potty trained?  If so, is there an additional fee?
  • Is there a nap time?
  • How do they prepare the children for Kindergarten and beyond?
  • Special Programs: Do they have Gymnastics, Music, or teach a secondary language?
  • Are the teachers licensed?
  • Does the school have positive/reviews? (Check your local parents’ network.)

After I complete my research and visit my top preschools with Lilah, I know that in the end, I will have to go with my ‘gut-feeling’ for my final decision. A friend of mine said that her son kept talking about one of the schools they visited and wanted to go back – her decision was made. I will admit, this hasn’t happened yet for us, but I’m hoping it will soon. Good luck!

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