Preschool Children: Know Their Needs and Characteristics

Preschoolers are curious about everything that they see and hear. This is a great time for caregivers, both parents and teachers, to mold the children’s minds and encourage them to use their creativity and imagination. This is also an important time for adults to teach social skills to help them adapt to a new environment filled with other kids. The world is widening for preschool kids and it is important for parents and teachers to give them the encouragement and opportunity to explore their world and build relationships with others, apart from members of their family.

What do preschool kids need?
It is important for parents to know what their preschooler needs to prepare for kindergarten and the world outside their homes. When you enroll your little one to a preschool, you need to make sure that it has everything that will help in developing your child socially, intellectually and emotionally. Here are some of the things that preschoolers need to adjust in their new environment:

  • Encouragement from parents and teachers to explore and learn.
  • A clean and bright preschool environment that makes them feel comfortable the moment they step in.
  • A neat and tidy classroom that has every item in an appropriate place that will make it easy for the kids to find what they want.
  • Social interaction with large and small groups of other little kids.
  • Hands-on experience with toys and other items that teach them something new.
  • Toys and games that develop problem solving and manipulative play skills.
  • Equal balance of indoor activities and outdoor playtime.
  • Learning to develop their intellectual, cognitive and motor skills which will be required as they enter kindergarten.

Parents and other adults in preschool children’s lives need to encourage the little ones to be curious, think on their own and be creative.

What are the social characteristics of preschool kids?
At this age, kids do not have the ability to understand other people’s emotions or perceptions. They are in their own world and the world is seen only through their eyes alone. Yes, they are egocentric; however, the adults in their lives still have a major influence on them. They are beginning to show their independence and capabilities. At this age, they are also eager to meet and play with new kids but may not know how to approach them due to shyness or fear of rejection. There are preschoolers who prefer to play on their own, which is why parents and teachers need to encourage them to make an effort to play in a group with other kids of their age.

What are the intellectual characteristics of preschool kids?
Preschool children have a very concrete and literal thinking capacity. They do not think figuratively as older kids or adults do. They also do not have reasoning capabilities yet. At this age, kids love to explore and touch, feel, smell, taste, watch and wonder about everything around them. They also begin to show signs of taking initiative and creativity. Books, building blocks and little puzzles are a few of the things that fascinate preschoolers as they allow them to use their intellect to learn new things and improve the development of their fine motor skills.

What are the emotional characteristics of preschool kids?
Kids at this age display their emotions in ways that they only know how. Anger and quarreling is quite common with preschooler children. They do not recognize the concept of self-control which is why they often lash out at anyone who angers them. Other characteristics of kids of this age-group are jealousy and attention-seeking. They do not have the capability to express their feelings or emotions verbally which is why many tend to have tantrums at home and in the classroom.

Parents and other adult care-givers have many responsibilities towards preschoolers as this is the perfect time for them to teach them the skills necessary for them to develop emotionally, intellectually and socially. Preschool teachers need to include different activities that will help them especially when they move on to kindergarten. A mix of fun and educational activities is crucial at this point. Parents and preschool care-givers should work together to make sure that preschoolers develop at their own pace. Nurturing their strengths is also important. Let them explore and experiment and get to know the world around them!

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and Child Day Care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

The Tooth Fairy: Mystery or Reality

Throughout human history, there have been legends about a mysterious fairy which takes children’s teeth in exchange for money. This creature is more commonly known as the Tooth Fairy, a creature that is just as beloved as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. We as adults enjoy the joy our kids see, when they look under their pillow, and find money. It reminds us to cherish the memories of the tooth fairy, when we were a child.

Kids have always believed in the Tooth Fairy, just as they believe in Santa Claus and this is not necessarily a bad thing especially since she helps kids all over the world in coping with growth. In honor of this elusive and mythical creature, we hold a celebration on February 28th and another celebration in August.

Why is National Tooth Fairy Day celebrated?
The Tooth Fairy has been a part of children’s lives since ancient times. Did you know that even the hard edged Vikings had a tradition that is quite similar to today’s Tooth Fairy one? They too exchanged their children’s fallen teeth for money.

Although the legend of the Tooth Fairy is quite strange, it has been a part of our culture for so long that it is not a surprise that a special day has been given to celebrate her. The fact is that she will be a part of children’s lives for many more years to come, making them happy and a little mystified, by leaving a little money under their pillows for their teeth!

What makes the Tooth Fairy so real?
The Tooth Fairy will always be a beloved mysterious creature among kids. She gives children a sense of importance, by paying them for their teeth. Also it gives them a special feeling inside when they are given money for something that belonged to them. This is important because it gives them self-worth and also gives the child’s belongings self-worth.

Due to her long existence, she has almost become a real person instead of a fictional one. She has been a part of children’s lives for such a long time that parents and kids alike talk excitedly about how the Tooth Fairy will visit the little ones at night when they lose their teeth!

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and Child Day Care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

Bad Poetry Day: When Cringing Verse Is Truly Appreciated

If there was ever a day when your poetic self would be appreciated for writing an ode to the indelicate belch last night or the very poisonous morning breath, it would be August 18 because it happens to be Bad Poetry Day. Bad Poetry day is all about reading and writing poetry that deviates from the conventional poetic topics of love, joy, sadness, admiration and veers more towards high school crushes, love for Mexican food or even the gastric distress Mexican food causes.

A special day
It is indeed a special day because for better or worse, poetry must be celebrated. The special day was first celebrated by Thomas and Ruth Roy, the creators of wellcat.com who decided, in an attempt to reunite high school friends, it would be fun to write really awful verses and send them to their old high school teachers.

Learning experience
While it may seem that kids, should stay away from catchy but inappropriate verses like those hailed on Bad Poetry Day but there is something to learn from it too. On Bad Poetry day, little kids can be asked to write about whatever they like in form of poems, and are encouraged that the crazier, the better. This will let the children to use their fullest creative faculties, in a fun.

Historical tradition
You may think Bad Poetry Day is the result of the modern mind obsessed with the odd and ridiculous, but sample this:

“All that doth flow we cannot liquid name
Or else would fire and water be the same;
But that is liquid which is moist and wet
Fire that property can never get.
Then ’tis not cold that doth the fire put out
But ’tis the wet that makes it die, no doubt.”

This poem, titled ‘What is liquid?’ seems to be the oldest ‘bad poem’ known to literature.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and Child Day Care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

Merry Kids: Fun Ways to Celebrate Bonza Bottler Day

Bonza Bottler Day is celebrated every month on the day when the number of the month matches the number of the day (i.e. January 1, March 3, June 5 and so on).

The idea to celebrate this occurrence came from the mind of Elaine Fremont who established the first Bonza Bottler Day in 1985. Elaine Fremont established this day because she realized that August was the only month that didn’t have a celebration.

What Does “Bonza Bottler Day” Mean?
Bonza is a word that the Australians use to mean awesome or super when something incredible happens. Although Bonza Bottler Day originated in America, during the past few decades, Bonza Bottler has become a worldwide sensation.

Interesting Ways to Celebrate With Kids:

  • Surprise, Surprise! : Start Bonza Bottler Day with a little surprise for your kids. At home, consider tying bunches of balloons to their bedposts or preparing their favorite breakfast on that day. At school, have little treats waiting on your students’ desks or bring in a surprise visitor.
  • Treat ‘em Fave Foods: Bonza Bottler is the perfect excuse to have a little party for no particular reason. Decide what type of food you would like to have and when you would like to enjoy it. Maybe your kids would like to have a special breakfast or maybe they would like to bake cookies together and enjoy them with milk after lunch. Think about making decorations to complete the party.
  • Bonza Fun Ideas: Also, Bonza Bottler is also a great excuse to enjoy something out of the ordinary. For example, it might be fun to watch a movie in your pajamas in the middle of the day. Another fun idea is to make a big fort in the living room or the backyard.
  • Make Learning Exciting: For teachers, it is not hard to find ways to incorporate Bonza Bottler into a current curriculum. For example, if you’re in the middle of an animal unit during this month’s Bonza Bottler day, you can schedule a field trip to a zoo or farm or have an animal shelter employee bring animals to the school.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and Child Care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

When Your Toddlers Can’t Resist Lying

Toddler-aged children work hard to learn about the world around them. They are still getting to know themselves and figuring out how they fit into their world. During this time, it is not unusual for young children to experiment with different personalities to see what feels comfortable for them. Throughout this process, many toddlers lie on a regular basis which can become a concern for parents.

There are many reasons that toddlers tell lies including the following:

  • Toddlers want to please adults. If a child spills juice at school or hits his brother while arguing at home, he may tell his teacher or mom that he did not do it because he does not want that individual to be angry with him. Toddlers do not realize that adults still know who is responsible for their actions even when they lie about them.
  • Toddlers cannot always differentiate between reality versus fantasy. Toddlers are not always sure what is real and what is not and easily confuse what happened with what they wish would have happened in a situation. This means that sometimes they tell lies not necessarily to deceive but to meet another need, such as getting people to like them or getting their parents to buy them a new toy.

Punishing toddlers for lying is not an appropriate response as it doesn’t teach them how to change their behaviors. You can punish them for their behaviors i.e. hitting their siblings, telling someone to shut up but not their lies. They need to learn a sense of truth and to know that you will love them despite their flaws and the mistakes that they make. The following actions will help your toddler to stop lying:

  • Call children out on their actions. For example, if your little girl drew on the walls, you can say, “I know that you drew these pictures because I see marker on your hands.” People continue to do what works for them. If a child has learned that he gets special attention when he is naughty, you must create consequences to stop this behavior.
  • Avoid using the word liar. When you label a child a liar, you run the risk of that label and consequently that mode of behavior becoming identification for your child. You don’t want your child to have to live with this label for years to come.
  • Stay calm. It is easy to lose your temper and yell or use harsh words when you are upset that your toddler lied. Approach the situation as calmly as possible. If you yell, your child is likely to yell back and the issue can escalate quickly. Remaining calm also establishes a precedent for addressing these type of situations that makes children more likely to tell the truth in the future.
  • Do not give children the option to say no. If you say, “Did you spill juice on the sofa?” the kid has the option to say no. Instead say, “I saw you spill your juice on purpose after I’d asked you to sit at the table and drink it. Now you need to go to your room for five minutes.
  • Be patient but consistent. You have to address lying all the time to get the message across to your toddler. There are times that it may be easy to let it slide such as while you’re in public or while you have company but it just creates more confusion. Address all lies in all situations, no matter where you are and no matter how big or small the lie.
  • Find a happy medium. Kids lie when they live in a highly permissive or highly restrictive environment. It is critical to find a middle ground in which kids have an appropriate level of freedom. Look for ways to give your young child freedom, such as choosing her own clothes for school or letting her color independently at the kitchen table while you make dinner.
  • Practice what you preach. In order for toddlers to understand the importance of telling the truth, they must see you tell the truth. If you lie on a regular basis, even if it’s just little white lies, they will not understand.

It is important to keep in mind that lying is a normal behavior during the toddler years. With the proper guidance, most toddlers grow out of it. When children learn that they are still loved, accepted and honored even though they are not perfect, they are much less likely to lie.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three Preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

Homework Can No Longer Be Nightmare for Children

In some households it can be hard to motivate your children to get their homework completed accurately and in a timely manner. Whether your child is having a hard time concentrating or the subject matter is rather difficult, homework can turn out to be a nightly nightmare.

Here are tips to make homework less of a hassle for both the child and parent:

  • Understand the importance of homework, and stress that importance to your children. Homework is not assigned by teachers as a punishment; it is a learning tool and helps your child develop self-discipline and academic skills outside of the structured classroom.
  • Make sure the area where your child does their homework is well-lit, quiet, and conducive to studying and academic pursuits. Remove distractions like video games and the television, so your child can focus on the task at hand.
  • Ask your child about their homework and show a true interest in their educational pursuits. If you are interested, your child is more likely to be interested.
  • Discuss any potential problem areas with your child and work with them to find ways to make those areas easier to conquer.
  • Review completed assignments with your child but do not give them the answers. Point your child in the right direction for finding solutions to problems or answers to questions.
  • Make learning fun! You can create your own “homework” assignments for your child to complete that make it more of an entertaining challenge, giving them a goal to look forward to rather than more work.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and Child Day Care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

6 After-School Activities to Keep Your Child Active

Keeping your kids busy after school teaches them discipline and makes them learn new skills. To ensure that they take a keen interest in their after-school activities, make it entertaining and educational.

6 Great After-School Activities for Kids

Here are 6 of the most fun and educational after-school activities that kids will enjoy:

  1. Crafts:
  2. Whether your child is a toddler or older, crafts are a great way to keep him or her busy after school. They get to use their imagination and create wonderful things out of items you have right at home.

  3. Painting:
  4. Another way to encourage creativity in your child is to introduce painting. Finger painting is always fun for kids of any age. As they get older, they can move on to more complex painting if they enjoy the activity.

  5. Message-kites:
  6. Teach your child how to make a homemade kite with coded messages that he or she can send to friends or neighbors. This is a creative and fun activity that kids of any age will enjoy.

  7. Nature-love:
  8. Instill a love of nature in your kids at an early age. Take them to parks or even just your backyard and teach them how to take care of plants. Collecting fallen leaves and sticking them to scrapbooks is also a fun way to learn more about plants and trees.

  9. Fun-chores:
  10. Teach your kids the importance of helping out at home by giving them small and fun chores. This will make them feel like contributors and teach them how to take care of their things as well as their home.

  11. Outdoor games:
  12. Take your kids outdoors and make them leave the TV or computer for a while. Physical activities will make them healthier and also have fun with you and their siblings or friends.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and Child Care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

How to Pick a Right Summer Camp for Your Kid

shutterstock_64225099Summer camp is something that every kid should experience. Most of them will love it and learn a lot from it. Summer camp is a great way to get them out of the house, get them moving, make friends and become more social, among other benefits.

The point is to let them have a positive experience. Hence, it’s crucial to find the right summer camp for your kid. Here are 5 tips to help you pick a perfect summer camp for your kid:

1. History is everything - A brand new camp might not be as good as an older camp but chances are, if you find a camp that has been popular in the family for years, it’s probably a given that it’s a quality summer camp run by educated staff.

2. Types of activities - Summer camps have all sorts of specialties such as sports camps, art and creativity camps and leadership and team work camps. You should decide beforehand on the type of activities you are specifically looking for in a summer camp. This would help your child get more knowledge of the activities that are of their interests.

3. Staff - The staff at the camp you choose should be well trained and educated, as well as good around kids. They should, if possible, also have a low camper to staff ratio. You should also make sure that the camp does background checks.

4. Over night vs. one day - There are overnight camps where your kids will sleep at the camp, usually in bunks, with children of their age. But you can find day camps as well if you want to give your child a chance to try it out.

5. Accreditation - Summer camp should also have a high accreditation and good reviews. All you have to do is check the internet for reviews. But you can also ask your friends and neighbors about certain camps, as well to see if they have any experience in the ones you are thinking about sending your child.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

How to Improve Homework Results for Students With Special Needs

childHomework is one of the crucial parts of the general education curriculum and has been widely acknowledged as significant to academic success. Teachers have long used it to provide additional time for learning, strengthen study, organizational skills and in some respects, keep parents up-to-date of their children’s progress.

For students with special needs, homework can be a challenge. It is important to find ways to make this task easier for them. Kids with disabilities often have a tough time at school and it is no different when they take assignments that need to be completed at home. Teachers and parents need to accommodate such students with strategies that can help make homework an easier endeavor.

Ways to Improve Homework Results for Special Needs Students
Here are a few simple ideas on how to improve the results of homework for students with special needs:

1. Assign appropriate and simple homework. The homework that students with special needs are given should coincide with what they have learned at school. It should be simple enough to do on their own, so making sure that the homework assigned is appropriate for their capabilities. If the home assignments are tough but necessary, teachers and parents should help them and break down the work to make it simpler for them.

2. Provide helpful practices. Special needs kids should be provided with helpful practices that will not only help them improve their homework results but also encourage them to be more motivated and involved in their school work. Each student will need customized help as not all special kids have the same difficulties in completing their home assignments.

3. Provide skills for studying. Special needs students require help in studying and organizing their study routines. Once they are provided with organizational skills, they will find that doing their homework becomes much simpler. Teachers and parents should also have a sit-down to discuss how to instill these organizational skills at home to help their children.

4. Provide calendars. A study calendar can help immensely when it comes to homework for students with special needs. Using a study schedule calendar can help them monitor and keep track of the assignments that they have been given. A planner or calendar for homework can also help these students complete their homework in a timely manner.

5. Establish clear communication. It is important for both teachers and parents to open the lines of communication with special needs students. Clear communication helps these students overcome many of the problems they may have, included completing their assignments. It will also immensely help in opening them up and asking questions if they have doubts or concerns. Communication also provides them with the guidance that they need from both their teachers as well as their parents.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three Preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

5 Effective Ways to Help Slow Learners in Your Classroom

slow learnerYour child may be considered a slow learner but that does not make him a no-learner. There are things parents and other child care providers can do to help encourage their child that will help prevent him from giving up on learning out of frustration.

Read on for a few hints that you can put into action immediately.

1. Reward effort.
Not every attempt is going to result in success. Make it a habit to praise your child for trying. By encouraging the attempt to succeed, you let the child know that it is important to try, for success will never come if they don’t.

2. Express confidence in the child.
Child care often starts with the caregiver being the only one who believes in a child’s ability. Show your child that you are confident he can succeed. By consistently expressing your confidence in his ability, he will learn to have confidence in himself.

3. Show that failure and success come hand in hand.
Rather than think of a failed attempt as overall failure, teach your child that success often does not come without failure. Treat unsuccessful attempts as lessons in what does not work and help him think about what can be done differently the next time to increase the chances of succeeding.

4. Show them that trying does pay.
Give your child examples of successful people who kept trying and finally succeeded. Stories of the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison and others will show them that even the greatest accomplishments required hard work and many attempts.

5. Don’t assume they know something.
Your child may be doing fractions but that does not mean he has learned the basics of how to multiply or even add. Don’t assume he has already mastered one skill simply because he has been asked to do the next one.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three Preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.