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Archive for the ‘Preschool’ Category

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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I’ve been struggling with the decision to move my daughter from a full-time family day-care into preschool. Lilah has loved her secure “home-away-from home” since she was 5 months old. Developmentally she appears to be progressing at a normal pace – at 2 ½ she knows the letters of the alphabet (and their sounds), can count to 15 and knows many colors and shapes. We have been working on her ‘basic skills’ at home and her day-care does offer music time, craft time, and intermittent teaching – but mostly they play. I am confident she is gaining healthy social and emotional skills in this situation, and I certainly don’t want to push her to excel academically at this point – after all, you only get to be a kid once!  My question is “When to make a change?  I certainly do want to keep her challenged!”

Lilahs DaycareOn a day to day basis there are 3 other children that are within 4 months of her age, while the rest are much younger.  One of the ‘older children’ made the jump to preschool a few months back, while others are like me – trying to weigh the decision whether to move our children from a secure, happy environment to one that might offer increased opportunities for learning and interaction.  It would be great to move Lilah along with some of her ‘peers’ – especially one little boy who lives near our family.  His mom also seems unsure when to make the jump!

Lilah is probably “ready” for preschool – but this is a big decision for our family.  Our routines will change; there will be increased costs and most certainly a ‘period of adjustment.’  Can anyone share what they have done and how it worked out? I have heard that it is optimum to spend at least one year at preschool before kindergarten – so our deadline will be by age 4. All of my friends seem to be doing something different with their children, and every parent seems to have opinions…but this parent needs more information.  Help please!

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Miranda in Viva Les Fleur from le•top's 2009 Fall collection

Miranda in Vive Les Fleurs! from le•top's 2009 Fall collection

It’s the end of the school year, and for me it was a special one. My daughter graduated from Preschool!

Before I had children, I used to think that Preschool Graduation (or as my daughter calls it: “grajuration”) was a feeble event that parents made up to make something minor into something MAJOR. Well, I still think that, but now that it’s happening to my little girl, I’m all over it! It is a very big step for these little tykes to finish Preschool and go out into the world as accomplished, uh… Pre-Kindergarteners.

This morning, my daughter woke up and said, “I’m free! No more school! No more homework! No more waking up early! So… what are we doing today, Mommy?” (Ugh.) Well, she may be on summer vacation, but I’m still working. All summer long, I’m going to have to listen to her say, “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do!” How many more days until fall/back to school? 😉

Speaking of fall… Here’s a sneak peek from le•top’s 2009 Fall Collection: Miranda’s print knit dress from the Vive Les Fleurs! line is coming to stores near you  — in fact, the first of these dresses are leaving our warehouse and being shipped to stores this very week. The Giant Peach in Annapolis, MD is taking phone orders for this dress. Give Jean or Mary a call: 410-268-8776. Stay tuned for more fall sneak peeks!

Viva Les Fleurs! print knit dress and matching tights from le•top Fall 09 Collection

le•top Vive Les Fleurs! print knit dress and matching tights available in 3mo - 6x.

And for all you parents with young “grads”… please share your event photos with us by clicking here. We’d love to feature your scholars!

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