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Nurturing Meaningful Conversations with your Children

Do you ever ask your child a question only to get a one word response? They get home from school or a play date and you are excited to hear all about their experiences! All you’re looking for is a simple conversation that is somewhat meaningful and yet all you get in response is “good.” There’s a chance that we are asking the wrong questions. Of course we want to know all about school and all about the play date, but we are giving them the opportunity to end the conversation short by asking a question that requires a one word reply, otherwise known as a closed-ended question. We need to try and ask more meaningful, open-ended questions.

When adults ask children open-ended questions it provides them opportunities to expand their language development (verbal, receptive and written) and learn vocabulary. It also allows children to share how they think or feel. There is no right or wrong answer. When adults listen to children’s responses and continue the conversation it validates the child’s thoughts and feelings. Children’s creativity and problem solving skills can also be developed as a result of being asked open-ended questions.

It can be difficult breaking the habit of always asking closed-ended questions. Here are 10 examples of open-ended questions that may help adults break that habit!

September is Safe Sleep Awareness Month

September is National Safe Sleep Awareness month. At AppleTree & Gilden Woods we are committed to providing infants with a safe place to grow and learn. For this reason, AppleTree & Gilden Woods have a policy in safe sleep practices for infants to also include providing a safe sleep environment and ensuring all teachers are trained on safe sleep annually.

We support and respect your parenting decisions but want to make sure you take this opportunity to learn important information to help keep your infant safe.

SIDS stands for sudden infant death syndrome.  This term describes the sudden, previously thought unexplained death of an infant younger than 1 year of age.  Some people call SIDS “crib death” because many babies who die of SIDS are found in their cribs.  But, cribs do not cause SIDS.  SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants between one month and one year of age. Studies show that breast feeding is associated with reduced infant deaths.  Here are some important tips for reducing the risk of SIDS.

Where is the safest place for my baby to sleep?

The safest place for your baby to sleep is in the room where you sleep, not in your bed.  Place the baby’s crib or bassinet near your bed (within arm’s reach).  This makes it easier to breastfeed and bond with your baby.  The crib or bassinet should be free from toys, soft bedding, blankets, and pillows.

Make sure everyone who cares for your baby knows the Safe Sleep rules.  Tell grandparents, babysitters, childcare providers, and other caregivers to always place your baby on his or her back to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS.  Babies who usually sleep on their backs but who are then placed on their stomachs, even for a nap, are at very high risk for SIDS—so every sleep time counts!

Free educational materials, including brochures, posters, decals and DVDs, can be accessed at:  http://www.healthymichigan.com.

5 Creative Ways to Make Bath Time Fun

Bath time can be a struggle. Whether you have a brand new baby, a rambunctious toddler, or a curious preschooler at home, a number of challenges can arise when it comes to bath time. Your child may know that this signifies bedtime and not be ready to wind down. They want to play one more game. They need a snack. Now their thirsty. Maybe your child just really does not like water. Whatever the cause may be, as a parent, we all know that sometimes it can be difficult. Even if you are one of the lucky ones with a child who loves a good bath, these tips are for you as well.

Bath time can be a great bonding time for you and your child and it can lend itself great learning moments. Here are five creative ways to make bath time fun for your children, and to capitalize on the little moments that make the best memories:

1. Spray Paint Bubble Bath: All you need is some food coloring, a few spray bottles, and some bubble bath. Add some warm water and just a drop or two of food coloring to the bottles. Shake well. Food coloring is completely safe but may seem like a messy option. Adding it to warm water will dilute it enough to avoid staining. Run the bath and add a healthy amount of bubble bath for optimum fun. Let your little one spray the bubbles and paint them all different colors. They can swish the bubbles and water around for a beautiful moving piece of art. The little ones will love this fun and easy bath time activity.

2. Glow Bath: For a fun sensory experience, turn off the lights, and let those bubbles glow! For younger children, add a bunch of glow sticks to the bath and turn off the lights. Check your glow sticks before adding them to the bath to ensure there are not any holes. We do not want the contents to leak into their bath. This is a simple yet effective way to make bath time a little different and a lot exciting. For your older children, make glow paint. For glow paint, all you need is washable fluorescent paint that you can find at any craft store, and shaving cream. Mix the two ingredients together and let your child’s creativity emerge. With shaving cream, it is important to be careful of sensitive skin. You may benefit from testing it on a small area of your child’s hand first before submerging them in the bath with it.

3. Ice Fishing: An ice-fishing bath is easy and fun for your child and can be altered to accommodate different developmental benchmarks and ages. To make your ice-fishing bath, all you need is to freeze some bath toys in a small container. Once you place the ice in the water, the objects will slowly emerge. This is where you can cater this activity to your child’s needs and likes. One idea is to add bath letters that spell out fish, for a fun word scramble. An ice-fishing bath is fun for all ages and is an exciting twist to bath time.

4. Pool Noodle Play: This activity is so simple and so fun. Cut up pieces of a pool noodle for a terrific water sensory activity. It is important to find the easy, fun way, when it comes to engaging and teaching your children. This activity is quick and easy to set up. It allows your child time to explore water, patterns, and color. Children love exploring things that float. You can even add things that do not float to push through the noodles. The variations and possibilities are endless with this stress free activity.

5. Themed Bath Night: Adding a theme to bath night is a simple and fun way to spice up bath time. Use objects that you have around the house; you could even let your child pick the theme or help pick out the toys. Add the toys to the bath and let their imaginations go. Letting your child play with toys in the bath that are not always bath toys will add an element of excitement to the activity. The possibilities are endless with this one: Color Night, Dinosaur Extravaganza, Pool Party, Car Wash, “Food” Fight… the list could go on.

You are now prepared to bring a little joy and a lot of fun to bath night!!

What to look for in a Preschool

Selecting a preschool program for your child is an exciting milestone however, it may feel overwhelming. As a parent, you want to find the right program for your child. A program that excites them, provides a safe and secure environment and prioritizes kindergarten readiness.

To help relieve some of the pressure of selecting a preschool program here are some key components to look for:

At AppleTree & Gilden Woods we provide all three components and more in our K-Prep Preschool Program!

Our C.O.R.E. Curriculum System is a combination of industry-respected curriculum and proprietary learning tools:  

  • The Creative Curriculum®
  • Get Set for School®
  • C.O.R.E. Language & Literacy Acquisition Program

The combination of these curriculums ensures that all domains of development necessary for a quality, educational early childhood experience.

Learning centers in a preschool program help to organize the environment and curriculum. At AppleTree & Gilden Woods each K-Prep classroom provides learning centers that help children learn fundamental skills while they explore new concepts through hands-on activities.

To ensure all children’s interests are being recognized AppleTree & Gilden Woods also provide several enrichment programs. The following enrichment programs are available:

  • C.O.R.E. Values Character Education
  • Fitness Program- “Pedal’s Fun ‘N’ Fit”
  • Music & Movement Program- “Lyric’s Melody Makers”
  • Foreign Language Program- “Adabelle’s Spanish Club”
  • Technology Program- “Tech Time with Terance”
  • S.T.E.M.- Science, Technology, Engineering & Math

Learn more about our K-Prep Preschool Program and schedule your personal tour by contacting your local AppleTree or Gilden Woods Early Care and Preschool. Click here to find a school near you!

Back to School Tips

Sadly, summer is coming to an end and it is time to start getting back into the Fall routine. It can be difficult to snap out of that blissful Summer haze, so here are a few tips to help get you and
your family back into a routine and ready for the school year.

Re-establish bedtime and mealtime routines: Plan to re-establish the earlier bedtimes, along with the earlier wake-up calls approximately 1-2 weeks before school starts.  This gives everyone some time to get adjusted to the schedule again. Remember to avoid screen time in the last two hours before bed as the blue light emitted from devices can cause problems with falling asleep.

Turn off the TV:  Encourage children to read or play quiet games, or activities in the morning instead of watching TV.  This will help ease them into the learning process and have less complaints when it is time to get ready for school, whether that is in person or distance learning.

Designate a homework spot: Keep desks or tables clear of clutter so there is a nice quiet place to do homework, and also for supervision.

Make lunches the night before: Get as much together the night before, so your morning routine will go more smoothly.

Layout clothes the night before:  Have clothes laid out the night before so kids can just get in their clothes before they even come downstairs to breakfast. One more thing you can check off your to-do list in the morning.

Establish the after-school schedule:  Make sure you go over the after school schedule with kids in the morning, so they are clear of what to expect when they get home from school or when the designated learning time is complete.  Be specific with young children— ”You will take the bus home today”, “Dad will pick you up at AppleTree/Gilden Woods today”, or “Learning time ends at 3 pm then we can go outside to play.”

We hope these tips help your family start the school year off on the right foot!

August is National Immunizations Month

August is recognized as National Immunizations Month (NIAM). This awareness month highlights the need for improving national immunization coverage levels and encourages all people to protect their health by being immunized against infectious diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does support and encourage the efforts of state and local health departments and other immunization partners to celebrate NIAM and use this month to promote back-to-school immunizations, remind college students to catch up immunizations before they move into dorms, and remind everyone that the influenza season is only a few months away. It’s a great reminder to our nation that people of all ages require timely immunization to protect their health.

Why are childhood vaccines so important?

  • It’s true that newborn babies are immune to many diseases because they have antibodies they got from their mothers. However, the duration of the immunity may last only a month to about a year. Further, young children do not have maternal immunity against some vaccine-preventable diseases, such as whooping cough.
  • If a child is vaccinated and is exposed to a disease germ, the child’s body may not be strong enough to fight the disease. Before vaccines, many children died from diseases that vaccines now prevent, such as whooping cough, measles, and polio. Those same germs exist today, but babies are now protected by vaccines, so we do not see these diseases as often.
  • Immunizing individual children also helps to protect the health of our community, especially those people who are not immunized. People who are not immunized include those who are too young to be vaccinated (e.g., children less than a year old cannot receive the measles vaccine but can be infected by the virus), those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons (e.g., children with leukemia), and those who cannot make an adequate response to vaccination. Also protected, therefore, are people who receive a vaccine, but who have not developed an immunity.

Immunization also slows down or stops disease outbreaks.

 

For more information on vaccinations, please visit www.cdc.gov.

End of Summer Family Bucket List

It’s hard to believe that August is already upon us and sweet Summertime is slowly starting to fade. School starts in just a few short weeks. While your brain is racing with all the things you need to do to get ready, slow down and enjoy the last few moments of Summer. Push away the thoughts of leaves, pumpkins, sweaters, and boots for a little bit longer. Embrace the sunscreen, bug spray, and beach! Below is a family-friendly bucket list to help you end Summer on a high note.

5 Tips on Bike Safety

One of the topics our K-Prep preschoolers are exploring in the month of July is bike safety! Here are five tips to keep you and your family safe while enjoying a bike ride:

Riding bikes with your family is a great way to exercise and spend time together. Use these tips to stay safe and have fun this summer!

https://www.safekids.org/

How to Create a Bedtime Routine

Do you ever struggle getting your kids to bed at a decent hour? Creating a routine can help take bedtime from struggle to seamless with these few easy tips:

  • Pick a specific time. Allow 20-30 minutes before bedtime to complete the routine from beginning to end.
  • Provide a warning. Verbally communicate with your child that he/she has “5 more minutes before we start to get ready for bed.” Doing this comforts children and gives them a sense of security because they know what to expect.
  • Decide on a sequence of events. Consistency is key, once you develop a sequence of events, repeat them in the same order every night.

For example, if your child’s bedtime is 8pm, then at 7:25pm let him/her know, “In 5 minutes it will be time to get ready for bed.” Once its 7:30pm, your child would do the following:

For younger children it may be helpful to provide some visual cues or pictures for each step. Creating a routine, and following it consistently, will help children know what to expect- making bedtime become a calm and relaxing way to end the day!

How Art Can Influence Children’s Learning

The most common way that young children learn is through interacting with the world around them. By creating open-ended art children are given the opportunity to explore their senses; they can see what happens when colors combine, hear the sound of crinkling tissue paper, smell the saltiness of play dough and touch the stickiness of glue.

Open-ended art means that the outcome of the art project is not predetermined. It gives children the control and freedom to create what they want, how they want.

Children love open art because it’s fun and it provides them opportunities to express themselves. Children must learn how to identify and communicate their emotions. Creating open-ended art gives the child control to do that.

Art also provides children important skills for living. Open art encourages children to learn about planning and problem solving. Crayons are among the many materials that encourage open-ended art. Children can plan what materials they would like to use and how they would like to use them.

Lastly, creating art allows children to develop their fine motor skills. These are the same skills necessary for buttoning a shirt, holding a pencil to write, turning a page while reading and using utensils to eat.

Here is a list of materials that encourage open-ended art:

Happy creating 🙂

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