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Posts Tagged ‘preschool’


The time finally arrived! My three-year old son has learned how to share. This is a picture of him sharing cars with a friend in his Mommy & Me class. I remember last year when he and two other boys would eye the same car/truck/train, look at each other, then dive for the toy as they each tried to yank it from each others’ grasps. Oh, boy! That was a nightmare because all the mommies had to deal with the crying, the fighting and giving our sons “The Talk” about sharing. It’s a good thing we mothers are all on the same page regarding this, and know that we need to teach our children how to play together.

A year later, I stand in the classroom with pride (and with my camera) as I listen to my son say, “Do you want this car?” and proceed to play nicely with his friend. He’s growing up!

Paulo is wearing the rabbitmoon “discover” striped zip hoody. For this comfy cotton layering piece and more mix and match stylish kid’s clothing go to www.rabbitmoon-usa.com.

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Yesterday was Paulo’s first pre-pre-school type class. I remember taking my daughter to this FOUR years ago! The classroom looks exactly the same. The toys are still the same toys. The format is the same. And we also have the same teacher. It was weird being in the same environment with my second child. Just so surreal!

With my daughter, the class seemed so fun and relaxing. We did puzzles, Playdough and paints, and she was very easy going. It was a gratifying and pleasant experience. With Paulo, it’s a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT story. At first, he wouldn’t walk into the classroom. He clung to my leg and I had to walk into the room looking like Frankenstein. Then within the first 15 minutes, he threw puzzle pieces all over the floor, toppled over a stack of blocks, screamed and whined because he wanted the exact same cars that another boy was playing with, then proceeded to have a tantrum in the middle of the rug. The teacher had to come over to see if he was okay. (Yeah, he’s fine. Just the Terrible Twos.)

At Circle Time, he didn’t want to sing the “Slippery Fish” song. He wanted to eat the toy fish that each child was given to hold then had a fit when I tried to pull it out of his mouth. The fish stayed in his mouth. At least he wasn’t screaming, right?

At snack time, he accidentally flung his spoon out of the yogurt he was trying to eat and spilled a spoonful onto floor which happened to spill on his t-shirt and jeans on the way down. Easy clean up, right? Until I realized that the little spoonful of yogurt managed to splatter all over my sweater, shirt, and jeans before landing on the ground! (Lovely!) Then when he had HALF-EATEN everything out of his lunchbox, he threw another tantrum on the floor because he was done eating and wanted to go to the train table. A little girl walked up and stood over him and said, “Are you okay?” (Too cute! That would have been my daughter.)

At recess, he didn’t want to share. He cried because another boy was playing with the steering wheel on the play structure. He wanted someone else’s ride-along car. He wanted to sit on the swing that was occupied. He tried to steal a child’s bucket in the sandbox. And finally, he took a handful of sand and tossed it in my direction. So now I have sand stuck to the yogurt on my sweater and jeans that I didn’t wipe off completely, plus I have sand in my shoes! (GRRRR!!!)

But enough about the negatives. Here are some positives…

  • He made a shamrock project.
  • He learned to play with Playdough instead of eating it.
  • He didn’t dominate the train table like he usually does.
  • He got some much needed outside playtime.
  • And most especially, Mommy got to spend some quality time with my little “angel.”

It’s all good!

This class goes on for 10 weeks. One week down, NINE more to go. This is the first time he’s been exposed to all kinds of stimulation in one place at one time. I know (and I hope!) that each week will get easier, and that he will learn to play nicely with others. I really don’t want to be the mom that everyone talks about behind her back. “Oh, she’s the one with the bratty child.” It will get better, right? Right?

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Last week was a big week for Lilah (and I) as it was her first day to attend preschool. The preparation alone was enough to send me off the edge, but her reactions were going to make or break me. I know at times I may seem a bit emotional about all of these changes in my child’s life, but Lilah is my one-and-only. All of this (parenting) is new to me and incredibly special – it is the only time I will be experiencing it with my own child.

Lilah carrying her cooler to her first day of preschool.

It was all a bit of a blur. We had to get a sheet and a blanket, a full set of clothes (with her name written inside), buy just the right size mini-cooler (to fit in the cubby), and have all the emergency, immunization and other doctor’s paperwork completed and authorized. I then had to figure out what my little girl would eat on a daily basis and prepare her lunch/snacks accordingly (daycare used to feed her). All set and ready to go!

We had been preparing Lilah for her big day, but telling her that she’s a “big girl” now and ready to move on and make more friends. She was so excited. Thursday morning rolled around, we were up early. She didn’t fight putting on her clothes (though they were not the ones I wanted her to wear :)) and we were all prepared. When we arrived at school everything seemed to change. (da da da duuuuhhh)

When we walked in the door she was glued to me. Everyone was so nice to her, but she refused to even look at anyone. Then the waterworks started. This was not going to be easy. It didn’t matter what the teachers said, she would not have anything to do with them. After a painful 10 minutes, I tore myself away from her and headed out the door. Though I wanted to cry I knew it was time to move her to preschool and had to trust that I made the right decision.

Of course, when I picked her up she was happy and smiling. She excitedly told me about her day of gymnastics, puzzles, her cot, and playing with the train tracks. She skipped out to the car. Yaaayyy!!!! I was thrilled that she had such a good time. The next morning I did not anticipate the crying that ensued. It was worse than the day before and made it even harder to leave. When I returned to pick her up they told me that within 15 minutes all was well and she was a happy camper. Today was easier though there were still tears. I’m told it will probably be like this through the week. Hopefully it will pass sooner than later.

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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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ruffle_lgParents face many dilemmas – picking a preschool, piano or violin lessons, soccer or baseball…but parents today are faced early on with a difficult choice – cloth or disposable? I have friends that made the decision to use cloth, but I just jumped in and without much thought started with disposables. I thought it might be interesting to do some research and share the options.

First priority: Baby’s Health

  • One of the pluses of disposables is the ‘wicking’ properties that keep baby’s bottom drier and more comfortable – however any diaper you choose should be changed every 2-3 hours whether it seems wet or not since any wet diaper can cause diaper rash if left unattended.
  • The absorbent filler in many disposables has been linked to health problems in mice when exposed at high levels and some children may have an allergic reaction to the filler in disposables.

Convenience

  • No doubt disposables are easy to use – one use and you throw them away. They also generally provide better leak protection. One negative to disposables – Some say it’s harder to potty train since the kids don’t feel the moisture.
  • There is an additional level of work with cloth diapers – they need to be washed and ‘handled.’  Some daycares and preschools do not allow the use of cloth diapers.

Disposables

The Environment

  • Disposable diapers are bad for the environment; it is estimated that around 5 million tons of untreated waste is deposited into landfills via disposables every year. For slightly less impact, dump the “organic waste” in the toilet before you throw them in the trash.
  • Cloth diapers can lessen the impact on the environment – especially if you choose organic cotton (no chemical spraying.) Pre-rinse diapers, and then wash in warm, not hot water using non-toxic detergents.

Cost

  • Cloth diapers can save you about $700 per child over 2½ years. (I know I spend about $100 a month in disposable diapers.)

Newer Optionsgro-baby-open-non-annotated-250x250

  • There are now disposables that are non-toxic, containing no dyes or fragrance.
  • Some new disposables are corn-based, less harmful to the environment but not as effective for overnight (because they do biodegrade well) and some are made with wood-pulp and natural-blend cotton.
  • Various new ‘hybrids’ have cute form fitted covers with Velcro or snap closures with snap in liners that can be washed. Also you can use absorbent biodegradable inserts that can be flushed – the result is minimal laundry and less going to a landfill. (One caution: some waste disposal plants say they do not degrade well, so check with your local waste management district for more information.)

I did find an enormous amount of information about the cloth versus disposable dilemma. In the end everyone needs to weigh out what works best for their baby, the environment, the associated costs and their personal lifestyle. I hope this information helps with your decision! Happy Diapering!

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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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summercampSchool’s out and it’s almost summer. You imagine sleeping in, having a leisurely, stress-free breakfast with your loving children, then taking them to the park on a beautiful, sunny day. Or, perhaps a trip to the beach or the zoo or the local museum. But then, the first school-free Monday morning arrives. The kids wake up earlier than usual. They’re cranky. They’re fighting. They’re yelling. And the first words you hear are, “I’m bored! There’s nothing to do.” Are your kids signed up for summer camp?

Last summer, I signed up my daughter for every camp possible (or as much as I could afford anyway) to give myself some relief from the “I’m bored” syndrome. Luckily for me, the community center where most of the preschool day camps were held was just around the corner from home! So I signed her up for Dinosaur camp, Cooking camp, Cheerleading camp, Circus camp, Space camp, etc. etc. etc. She had a blast, and I had me some “Me Time” – even if it was only in the morning.

In my town, the summer camp catalog is mailed out in the spring so that parents can sign up their children early for summertime activities. These day camps are usually half a day (either morning or afternoon) for a week or even for the whole summer. There are various activities and sports, such as soccer, cheerleading, theater, bowling, art, music, dance, basketball, gymnastics, science, math… the list goes on. Our church and our preschool also offer Vacation Bible School (VBS) which is a half day, week-long summer program where the kids participate in fun and educational activities while learning about Jesus.

If you don’t know where to go to find out about summer day camps, the first stop is your local library. They will usually have a catalog or a flyer that will give you information about what’s going on in your community. You can also try your child’s preschool or your local church.

So give yourself a little break and sign up your children for summer day camps. It’s a win-win situation.

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