Children’s Books about Friendship

Not too long ago we shared some tips for helping your child develop friendships (click here to read that article). During the month of September, AppleTree & Gilden Woods is also focusing on the trait of friendliness through our proprietary CORE Values Character Education Program.

The program encourages children to model positive character traits and develop social skills that will carry over into their adult years. To continue promoting friendliness at home, here are some book recommendations that will help your child learn more about how to show friendship to others. Click here to learn more about our CORE Values Character Education Program and other curriculum offered at AppleTree & Gilden Woods!

The Berenstain Bears Lose a Friend – Stan & Jan Berenstain


Clifford the Big Red Dog – Norman Bridwell


Do You Want to Be My Friend? – Eric Carle


Where Are You Going?  To See My Friend! – Eric Carle


The Very Lonely Firefly – Eric Carle


Corduroy – Don Freeman


The Rainbow Fish – Marcus Pfister

Computer Readiness for the Preschool Child

Now more than ever, we know that screen time and the use of technology is applicable to young children in both their entertainment and education. We also know that it is best to strike a balance between screen time, physical activity and social interactions. Parents and educators can work together to ensure that the technology and screens that young children are exposed to is beneficial to their growth and development.

To foster the growth of computer readiness and early digital citizenship skills, AppleTree & Gilden Woods is proud to offer Keyboarding Without Tears™. This program is a part of the award winning Learning Without Tears™ Curriculum and will be utilized during our weekly Tech Time with Terance enrichment program. Our 4 year old and Young 5’s classrooms will participate in Keyboarding Without Tears™ which aligns with the hands-on learning materials they are currently utilizing from the Get Set For School™ curriculum.

The curriculum and enrichment programs offered at AppleTree & Gilden Woods is designed to encourage a journey of life long success!

Eating Together as a Family

As the days and weeks fill up with soccer practice, swim lessons, library visits and more it has become increasingly difficult for families to find the time to sit around a table and eat dinner together. Eating on the go has become a norm in our society and while that practice is necessary on occasion, when it becomes the daily routine children may be missing out on some important opportunities to develop a variety of skills.

Nemours Children’s Health System provides a great article that outlines how family style dining may foster children’s:

  • Social/Emotional Development: Children learn how to be responsible for themselves as well as others by following rules and routines such as passing food items.  They are also developing independence and self-direction.
  • Physical Development: Fine motor skills are developed as they use utensils to serve and eat. Their eye-hand coordination benefits from these simple tasks as they learn to control the small muscles in their hands.
  • Language Development: Language and literacy skills are developed as they engage in conversations with adults and other children. Adults can use this time to talk with children about activities and important events going on in their lives, about the healthy foods being introduced, and classroom happenings or plans.
  • Cognitive Development: Children’s problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making and understanding are developed by learning amounts, sizes, textures, numbers, counting, position of food items and tableware.”

When you stop to consider how children benefit from eating a meal together as a family it becomes easier to prioritize during the week. Take some time this week to eat dinner together as a family, you won’t regret it!

More than Scribbles

As a new preschool teacher I received pictures colored by children on a daily basis. I kept a few sentimental drawings but admit that most pictures ended up in the garbage because to me, they were nothing more than scribbles. Now having worked in the early childhood field for almost ten years I can recognize that they are much more than scribbles!

Those pages full of twisting lines and intersecting circles signify a stage in the development of drawing and writing skills. Zerotothree.org provides a great parent resource that outlines these 5 stages of drawing and writing:

  • Stage 1: Random Scribbling (15 months to 2 ½ years)
  • Stage 2: Controlled Scribbling (2 years to 3 years)
  • Stage 3: Lines and Patterns (2 ½ years to 3 ½ years)
  • Stage 4: Pictures of Objects or People (3 years to 5 years)
  • Stage 5: Letter and Word Practice (3 years to 5 years)

All children go through these stages, however the pace with differ with each individual child. The article also provides ideas for parents to encourage art and writing skills in their young child:

  • Make art a regular part of playtime
  • No need for instructions
  • Notice the process, not just the product
  • Experiment with a variety of art materials as your child nears 3 years
  • Use art to help your child express strong feelings
  • Encourage your child’s attempts to write
  • Display your child’s art and writing

Click here to read the full article provided by zerotothree.org. I may not keep every drawing given to me, but I can recognize its significance to that child’s development and now so can you!

Embracing Mom Guilt

“Mom guilt” comes in all shapes and sizes. It turns up when you order pizza for the second time this week because there is no food in the house to cook for dinner. It says hello when you realize your child left the house with miss-matched shoes or uncombed hair. Coping with guilt seems to come with the parenting territory, particularly for moms. Whether it’s because you’re working outside the home, working from home, or are a stay at home mom who needs some extra “me time,” it’s time to let go of the guilt.

When you appropriately prioritize your needs your family and children will benefit as well! “Me time” is essential for mom’s physical, mental and emotional health! When you allow yourself to pause from the busyness of life and focus on taking care of your needs you will find yourself feeling refreshed and re-energized. This could be anything from enjoying a frozen coffee drink while strolling through Target to hiring a babysitter to take a pottery class. Those feelings from being recharged will spill over into positive interactions with your kids! By taking regular “me time,” you are also modeling for your child appropriate self-care routines that are essential for a healthy and well-balanced life.

Families and moms who decide their child should attend daycare may also feel a bit of “mom guilt.” Some may struggle with the choice to be separated from their young child for a large portion of the day. It’s important to remember that your child will benefit from your example to pursue your career and passions. Here are 5 additional reasons your child will benefit from daycare and why you should let go of the guilt:

  1. Social Interaction with Peers- children will develop social and emotional skills as they interact with other adults and children of a similar age. They learn to express their thoughts and feelings with each other and in turn, learn to recognize and accept other’s emotions.
  2. Consistent Routine- daycares often provide a predictable schedule and routine. This helps children anticipate transitions throughout the day and feel safe and secure because they know what to expect.
  3. Learning Life Skills- a daycare environment often promotes children learning basic life skills at a young age. You’d be amazed at what your child is able to accomplish, from putting on their own coat to pouring themselves a drink to washing their hands.
  4. Kindergarten Readiness- many daycares, such as AppleTree & Gilden Woods, provide a curriculum which develops children’s language, physical, social, and cognitive skills that will provide a strong foundation for his or her future educational journey.
  5. You’re Still the Parent- At the end of the day, you get to make the decisions that impact your child. You’re the one they crave attention & affirmation from, no one can replace you!

For families who decide that daycare is the right choice for their child, AppleTree & Gilden Woods offers many resources to build a strong partnership with families. We offer our proprietary AppleCam, a secure webcam access to your child’s room, which allows you to check in on your child throughout the day. We also provide an AppleGram, so parents can easily access their children’s feedings/meals & snacks, medication distribution, rest time/nap time, and activity & interest information from their day on a computer or mobile device.

To learn more about AppleTree & Gilden Woods and the programs offered for Infants, Toddlers, Preschool and School Age, click here! You can also click here to find a location near you and schedule your personal tour today!

The decision for a child to attend daycare is one that every family needs to make for themselves. There is no right or wrong choice! But you can rest assured that children who do attend daycare will reap the benefits! Doing what works for you, your child and your family to stay healthy, happy and connected is what matters. Take pride in your decision to have a career or take “me time” as it allows you to stay focused on being the best parent you can be and enjoying your child.

Screen Time for Children

“The Month of the Young Child® (MOYC®) is an annual celebration sponsored by the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children (MiAEYC). The purpose of MOYC® is to focus public attention on the needs and rights of young children and their families, and to recognize the early childhood professionals, programs and services that meet those needs.” ~  Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children.

Month of the Young Child® is divided into four focus weeks:

  • Week 1- April 1-8: Physical Development
  • Week 2- April 9-15: Social Development
  • Week 3- April 16-22: Emotional Development
  • Week 4- April 23-30: Cognitive Development

In honor of Week 4, focusing on Cognitive Development, we wanted to provide some tools that will help you determine if and when to incorporate electronics and screen time into your child’s daily routine.

The first helpful article titled, “How True Are Our Assumptions About Screen Time?” by the National Association for the Education of Young Children® (NAEYC®) provides some common assumptions about the use of media with young children and follows up with what the research shows.

A second article titled, “Media Use by Children Younger Than 2 Years” by the American Academy of Pediatrics will outline some health and development consequences of screen time and help parents determine strategies for managing children’s exposure.

The final article titled, “Young Children and Screen Time” by the National Center for Health Research shares some ideas for limiting or eliminating screen time and replacing it with intentional, interactive play.

The use of media and screens is a reality of our culture today. Children will inevitably be exposed to electronics and screen time, but it’s up to the parent to determine the context and parameters under which this is done. Ultimately, we know that the use of electronics will never benefit children more than loving, nurturing human interaction.

Developing Empathy in Young Children

“The Month of the Young Child® (MOYC®) is an annual celebration sponsored by the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children (MiAEYC). The purpose of MOYC® is to focus public attention on the needs and rights of young children and their families, and to recognize the early childhood professionals, programs and services that meet those needs.” ~ Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children.

Month of the Young Child® is divided into four focus weeks:

  • Week 1- April 1-8: Physical Development
  • Week 2- April 9-15: Social Development
  • Week 3- April 16-22: Emotional Development
  • Week 4- April 23-30: Cognitive Development

In honor of Week 2, focusing on Social Development, we wanted to point you in the direction of some insights that share how you can nurture empathy in your child.

Claire Lerner and Rebecca Parlakian have written an exceptional article on the Zero to Three website. This parenting resource, titled “How to Help Your Child Develop Empathy,” defines empathy, provides empathy milestones and provides parents and caregivers with practical ways of instilling empathy in your child. Click here to read more from this great resource!

At AppleTree & Gilden Woods we have designed the C.O.R.E. Values Program, a fun and rewarding character education program which utilizes our special Woodland Friends. The goal of our character education program is to prepare children to become morally responsible, self-disciplined citizens. It is our belief that when children are encouraged to model positive character traits they excel even greater upon reaching Kindergarten.

Learn more about our C.O.R.E. Values 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!

5 Tips and Tricks for Picky Eaters

“Each April, Michigan celebrates Month of the Young Child® (MOYC®). This is a time when communities and individuals recognize the needs and rights
of young children and their families.” ~ Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children.  

Month of the Young Child® is divided into four focus weeks:

  • Week 1- April 1-8: Physical Development
  • Week 2- April 9-15: Social Development
  • Week 3- April 16-22: Emotional Development
  • Week 4- April 23-30: Cognitive Development

In honor of Week 1, focusing on Physical Development, we wanted to provide 5 tips and tricks for getting your child to eat more fruits and vegetables.

It’s no secret that fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet. They are packed with important nutrients and minerals that can help reduce the risk of chronic disease. But what can you do if your child refuses to eat them? Here are 5 tips and tricks for helping your picky eater get more fruits and veggies in their diet:

  1. Let them choose– include your child in the shopping experience and let them determine which fruits or vegetables they would like to try. Letting children participate in the process makes it more exciting for them.
  2. Mix it up– offer fruits or vegetables in a variety of forms and textures. For example, try diced, thinly sliced, dried, canned, or frozen (in a smoothie!).
  3. Add a dip– serve fruits and veggies with a dipping sauce such as hummus, salsa, yogurt, or dressing.
  4. Eat together– set the example and model good eating habits when you eat together with your child.
  5. Have a “no thank you bite” – this encourages children to try a bite, but allows them to stop eating that food if they don’t like it.  Then, try again another day. Children need to be exposed to a new food 8-10 times before they will learn to enjoy it.

Don’t forget to make it fun and praise your child for trying new foods! Creating healthy habits should be a positive experience for you and your child.


A Guide to Spring Cleaning with Kids

Monday, March 20th marks the first day of spring! For many that brings a reminder that it’s time to do some spring cleaning. Including your child in age appropriate cleaning tasks is an important part of their growth and development.

When children participate in household cleaning they are learning skills that they will use throughout their lives. Children often feel pride when they complete a chore that was assigned to them and in turn they learn to appreciate and responsibly care for their belongings. Participating in cleaning also reminds children that they are an important part of the family unit and that their contribution to the household is valued.

Here is a guide that provides some age appropriate cleaning responsibilities:

Children ages 2-3 years:

  • Put toys away
  • Dress themselves
  • Pass out napkins
  • Put placemats away

Children ages 4-5 years:

  • Sort and put away clean silverware
  • Carry dirty laundry to the laundry room
  • Bring in the mail
  • Wipe up spills

Children ages 6-7 years:

  • Help feed pets
  • Make their bed
  • Put their clean laundry away
  • Set the table

Children ages 8-9 years:

  • Unload clean dishes from the dishwasher
  • Help fold clean laundry
  • Wipe down tables and counters
  • Dust a room

Children ages 10-12 years:

  • Load dirty dishes into the dishwasher
  • Vacuum a room
  • Change the bed sheets
  • Walk the dog

Happy spring cleaning!

A Fresh Take on Your Child’s Favorite Book

Are you looking for a fresh take on your child’s favorite book? How about trying a story extension? Story extensions are activities based on a book’s theme or ideas that relate to other areas of development. For example, if your child loves reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle you could try these ideas:

Story Extension: Science

Stephanie at Somewhat Simple shows us how to use pasta and other materials to make a butterfly life cycle craft!

Story Extension: Math

Stephanie at Parenting Chaos shows us a quick and simple color sorting activity.

Story Extension: Art

Chelsey at Buddy and Buddy walks you through the steps to make your very own hungry caterpillar craft with sponges and paints!

Story Extension: Cooking

Katie from A Little Pinch of Perfect shows us how to make delicious fruit pizza cookies using fruit inspired from the story!

Click here for a list of book recommendations and then you can search Pinterest for ideas on story extension activities!

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