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June is National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month

June is National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month. A growing body of research shows that fruits and vegetables are critical to promoting good health and possibly positive behavioral and mental health. To get the amount that’s recommended, most people need to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables they currently eat every day.  Most parents understand the importance of fruits and vegetables and desperately want their children to eat more of them.  However, this often becomes a struggle at meal times.  Here are a few important tips:

 

  1. Introduce fruits and veggies at a very young age —When a breastfeeding mother eats a varied diet, countless components of the foods she eats seasons her milk subtly. In this way, a breastfed baby is exposed to a wide variety of flavors before a single vegetable touches his or her lips.  If you are a breastfeeding mother, make sure to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables yourself.
  2. Offer them often and consistently—Once you begin to introduce solid foods to your baby, continue to offer a variety of fruits and vegetables and a variety of tastes and textures. Your baby may reject green beans, spinach, or other foods, but repeatedly offering a variety of foods usually leads to acceptance and eventually a preference for those foods. Try, try again.
  3. Don’t hide them in other foods—If you’re looking to increase your child’s long-term intake of fruits and vegetables, don’t hide them. This will do nothing to foster a long-term appreciation. Hiding a 1/4 cup of pureed cauliflower in your child’s macaroni and cheese won’t teach your child to appreciate cauliflower, instead it will foster an appreciation for macaroni and cheese.  However, hiding fruits or vegetables in certain foods is not always wrong as long as you are aware that it’s only for the nutritional value and not for the purpose of instilling the valuable lesson of healthy food choices. For this lesson to sink in offering the actual fruit or vegetable and increasing your child’s exposure to it is the only way to go.
  4. Lead by example! —Take care to remember how deeply your choices as a parent affect those of your children. Profoundly impressionable, they’re looking to you to guide them into making the right choices for themselves.  By actively choosing and savoring vegetables yourself, you mold the way your child views fruits and vegetables.  Eat well, and your children will learn to eat well, too.

 

Visit a local farmer’s market and let your child experience the bright and vibrant colors of the fruits and vegetables. Celebrate National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month, but remember to enjoy these necessary foods all year long.

Our Covid-19 Response Plan

The mission of AppleTree & Gilden Woods Early Care and Preschool has always been to create a safe environment that earns the trust of the children and families we serve. We are as dedicated to that mission now as we have ever been. AppleTree & Gilden Woods will continue to lead the industry in best practices during this time, a responsibility we do not take lightly. Accordingly, we created a Covid-19 Operating Manual that details the necessary policy and procedures and aggressive actions we have taken to mitigate the potential spread of Covid-19. This new operating model supplements our existing and overarching operations manual. As we move forward in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we would like to communicate those aggressive actions we have taken to assure you of our steadfast commitment to the health and safety of our AppleTree & Gilden Woods families. 

Operating Policies

  • Created and implemented a Child Drop Off and Pick Up Policy to include the following:
    • Parents/Guardians will drop off and pick up their child(ren) through their direct classroom exterior/emergency exit doors to eliminate anyone but essential employees going in/out of the school. Parents will remain outside the classroom door and converse with the classroom teacher through the door way.
    • This procedure aids in allowing each classroom to become its own “school” with regards to eliminating contact with others in the building
  • Implemented strategies for social distancing in the classroom including the following:
    • Limit to two children in each learning center whenever possible.
    • Do not have children wait in line for handwashing. Only have one child at a time at the sink.
    • Implement handwashing songs that are at least 20 seconds long to support children’s learning of the amount of time for washing hands.
    • Utilizing both mealtime tables to eliminate close physical contact for eating meals
    • Only allowing 2-3 children on an outdoor play structure at a time.
    • Eliminated any curriculum component (i.e. circle time, large group, small groups) that involves children touching for any reason.
    • Only allowing 2-3 children at a time for small group instruction. 
    • Encouraging children to eliminate physical contact.
    • Created standing spaces to eliminate bunching together when lining up to go from one location to another (i.e. outside).
    • Ensuring that children’s rest mats are placed at a minimum of 6 feet apart.
  • Created and implemented a COVID-19 Policy to include the following content:
    • Reinforcing hygiene practices.
    • Intensifying cleaning and disinfecting efforts.
    • Assessing the health of children, parents/guardians, vendors, and team members who enter the school
  • Suspended classrooms from implementing family-style meals instructed one masked team member to serve all food to children. 

Health & Hygiene

  • Requiring team members to assure all children’s hands are washed upon arrival at the school.
  • Performing temperature screenings of every child, parent/guardian, vendor, and team member who enters the building. Children’s temperature will be taken again at lunch each day. Those with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or above will not be allowed access to the school.
  • Confirmed vender procedures for sanitizing and preventing the spread of illness prior to allowing the goods into the schools.
  • Implemented a health screening for all parents, children, and team members, those who display any of the following symptoms will not be allowed in the school:
    • New-onset cough or worsening cough
    • Sore throat
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fever now or in the last 48 hours
  • Provided face masks to all employees along with mask washing instructions and child/classroom introduction strategies. Team members are required to wear one during their shift (some restrictions may apply; i.e., medical reasons). 

Cleaning & Disinfecting

  • Utilizing disinfectant foggers twice a week in the school
  • Sanitizing the school entry door handles with increased frequency between the hours of 6am-10am and 3pm-6pm.
  • Intensified cleaning in classrooms throughout the day

Preparedness & Planning 

  •  Increased janitorial supply purchases (i.e. soap, gloves, sanitizing solutions, etc.) and instructed the schools to store them in a dedicated space to monitor proper usage to ensure an adequate amount of materials will be available for future use. 
  • Canceled all upcoming parent involvement events to eliminate non-essential persons entering the school.
  • Prohibited all non-vendor visitors (i.e. trainings, orientation, CDA, staff meetings, etc.) to eliminate non-essential persons entering the schools and Central Services.

Communication

  • Created and shared several Frequently Asked Questions emails with all families.
  • Provided COVID – 19 response plan to families on company website and to all school personnel
  • Notified team members of face-covering expectations and provided them with the following information:
    • The correct way to wear and remove a mask.
    • How to introduce children to the concept of teachers wearing a mask.
    • How to respond to children’s questions about masks.

Curriculum and Learning

  • Created a Healthy Habits and Social Distancing curriculum for children ages 2.5 and older to educate, model and reinforce the necessary habits at this time
  • Repletely completing the activities within the curriculum for consistent reeducation and to create habit of these new norms  
  • Created classroom visuals to reinforce the new necessary habits (i.e., how to stand in a line but remain out of each other’s personal space bubble, etc.)

13 Activities to Teach Children Self Control

Self-control is a learned aspect of overall emotional intelligence. Impulse control, self-regulation, and patience, are critical to living successful, calm, and stable lives. Self-control is learned through repetition, patience, and modeling. As important as it is to learn and to teach, it can be a tricky one. Here are a few ways to help promote self-control in children

 

5 Ways to Bring Reading Alive

March is National Reading Month. Reading aloud to children is one of the most important activities that you can do together. It encourages language development and early literacy skills. Make this month as special as it is important as you celebrate reading with your children. Listed below are a few basic reading reminders.

Reading Basics:

  1. Let your child choose the books of interest to them- this ensures they will enjoy the reading experience more. Reading the same books repeatedly is okay.
  2. For children three and older, occasionally ask your child if they would like to “read” the book to you. Avoid correcting any mistakes as they retell the story from memory.
  3. Identify book parts together; cover, pages, spine.
  4. Discuss and use the terms author and illustrator.
  5. Point out the difference between a letter, a word, and a picture.
  6. For children four and older, point out sight words as you encounter them. Do this with enthusiasm and in a fun way- be sight word detectives.

Here are a few fun ways to bring reading alive this month:

  1. Buy a new book: Make a day of it and go to the bookstore. Allow your child time to walk around and find a book or two that you can read during special reading time, before bed, at rest time, or throughout reading month.
  2. Host a book swap: Instead of a normal play date, invite a few of your children’s friends to participate in a book swap. This allows them to share some of their favorite books with their friends while giving them a chance to try a new book.
  3. Make bookmarks: Gather some art supplies and make bookmarks so that your children can keep their place in some of their favorite books, or they can give them as gifts to their friends or grandparents!
  4. Visit the Library: Check out your local library. Most libraries host free activities for children of all ages. Check in and see what they are doing for National Reading Month.
  5. Introduce your favorite: Take some time to show your children your favorite book. Let them hold it, look at the cover, and give them a brief overview (this can vary depending on developmental levels.) Let them see you reading for fun occasionally.

It is never too early to read to your children. Start early to lay a great foundation for learning. Challenge yourself to take a few minutes every day this month to read aloud with your children. Enjoy this special month and honor reading together.

 

Time-Outs and Other Discipline Alternatives

Time-outs can often be the go-to method for disciplining children, but are they really as effective as we think they are? Children who are sent to a time-out are not likely using the time to think about their actions, they are usually more focused on how upset they are for being sent to time-out in the first place. If used correctly, time-outs can be an effective approach when a child needs help solving a problem, calming down or dealing with strong emotions. Here are some additional strategies for discipline:

  • Practice Positive Guidance– when setting an expectation for children it’s important to emphasize what the child CAN do vs. what the child cannot do. Instead of saying, “Don’t run inside” try saying, “You may walk inside and run outside.”
  • Offer Choices– giving children a choice on how they want to accomplish a task doesn’t necessarily alter the end result. If you want a child to help pick up their toys, give them the option of how they want to go about it. Do they want to pick up all of the toys with the color blue first? Or start with the cars and then move to the blocks? When children feel they have some control they are less likely to demonstrate challenging behaviors.
  • Use Logical Consequences– help children make the connection between their behavior and how that will impact themselves and others. For example, if a child is playing at the table and knocks over their plate of food or cup of milk, they would be responsible for cleaning up the spilled food or milk.
  • Learn to Ignore– often children exhibit behaviors (whether good or bad) because they are looking for attention from adults. If a child is acting out, assuming they are not doing something that would potentially harm themselves or others, try ignoring the behavior. This will communicate that undesirable behavior will not earn attention.

No matter what method of discipline you decide to use, it’s important to validate and empathize with the child’s feelings. Doing this will help children develop the skills to recognize and regulate their emotions. Adults should also remember to model the behavior you want your child to follow!

47 Positive Things to say to your Children

It is no secret that parenting is difficult. It requires more patience than you could ever imagine, and you don’t get any sick days. I have been a parent for all of four years now and am learning more and more every single day. I have been learning what type of tone, phrasing, and body language to which my son best responds. It doesn’t come as a surprise to me when he responds to positive tone, kind words, and open arms. However, it isn’t always easy to give the positivity that children crave and deserve in difficult situations. These positive actions and words have such a strong impact on the child’s emotional, overall, and brain development.  Below are 47 positive things that you can practice saying to your children all the time to support your child’s social and emotional development and help you get through some of the more difficult situations without losing control of the situation.

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!

2019 Golden Apple Recipients!

Each year AppleTree & Gilden Woods award their top-performing schools the Golden Apple Award based on the Quality Assessment System. Corporate Quality Assessment representatives make quarterly visits to each location. These visits consist of classroom observations, building, and grounds examinations, teacher qualifications, and paperwork reviewing, and safety and sanitation inspections.

It is with great pride that we congratulate the recipients of our Golden Apple Award for 2019!

A huge round of applause to the following schools:

Caledonia

Cascade

Cascade Academy

Grand Ledge

Grandville

Haslett

Howell

Hudsonville

Kalamazoo

Kentwood

Knapp

Rockford

Standale

Walker East

 

Teaching Children Honesty

Teaching children the value of honesty can be a challenge.  It is one of the most important character traits, but it often doesn’t come without parental modeling and practice. There are a variety of reasons that lying may occur with young children. They want approval and they want to make you happy. Without realizing it, children may be saying things that are not fully true, in order to gain approval.  Children may lie because they misinterpret something that you say or ask them to do. Children’s brains do not function the same way an adult brain does, that’s why it is important to grant them some leeway and practice honesty with them. Here are a few ways to practice honesty with your children:

  1. Acknowledge and Appreciate Honesty: Even if it isn’t a truth you want to hear, or it was hard earned, express encouragement. Tell them that you appreciate their truthfulness and let them know you understand how difficult it may have been for them to tell you the truth. The more praise they receive from telling a truth, the more likely they will be to continue on an honest path.
  2. Celebrate Mistakes: Mistakes are inevitable, and they can be frustrating. Watch the way that you react to mistakes and make the most of them. Use them as a teachable moment while keeping your emotions in check. When your children see that we can make mistakes beautiful and learn from them, it will be easier for them to be honest in the future.
  3. Set A Good Example: Telling white lies can become second nature, whether we realize it or not. Children notice things and hear things that you may not realize they are noticing and processing. If you bring awareness to your white lies and try to be more honest yourself, they will see that and model your behavior.
  4. Avoid Asking Why: It is an easy question to ask and of course you want to know the motivation, but children do not process information the same way that adults do. When you ask a child why they hit or why they lied about it, it is setting them up to tell you an excuse. Hold your child accountable by asking simple questions to get to the answer and following up with questions that help them realize the why without using it as an excuse. Such as, “What were you feeling?” “How did it make you feel when that happened?” This will bring awareness to their emotions and equip them to better deal with those emotions in the future.

The road to raising an honest child may be a long and bumpy one. Remember to set a good example, appreciate their honesty, ask questions that help them work through any dishonesty, and use their mistakes as a teachable moment. Talk with them often about honesty. Honesty is part of our CORE Values curriculum at AppleTree & Gilden Woods. It is important to start at an early age to lay the groundwork, and continue to reinforce the behavior throughout their childhood and adolescence.

February is Children’s Dental Health Month

February is Children’s Dental Health Month. Oral health care is an important aspect of your child’s health, and is often overlooked. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits help children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.  Here are some child friendly tips for healthy teeth:

Keeping your children healthy is a full time job. At AppleTree and Gilden Woods, we want to assist in educating on total body wellness, which includes Dental health. We focus on oral hygiene while keeping it fun with our Pedal’s Polishers Program. Check out our teeth-brushing contest throughout the month of February, including fabulous prizes and certificates along the way. To find an AppleTree or Gilden Woods near you click here.

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