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01 Aug The Important Role of Fathers and Their Impact on Young Children

Daddy Dearest: Studies have shown time and again that fathers play a crucial role during early childhood. Socially, emotionally, behaviorally and cognitively – young children with a positive male influence in their lives are at a distinct advantage. The Changing Role of Fathers Through The Years Dad’s role in the family has changed significantly over recent decades – once looked upon to primarily support their family financially, this began to change as gender roles shifted and women returned to the workplace. No longer necessarily the sole breadwinner, many dads began to become more actively involved in their young child’s (and older kiddos) lives. Similar to how women’s roles began to change in the 1960s, dads have gone through a major adjustment – not only has it become a necessity as mothers may simply not spend as many hours in the home, but also, society has changed it’s view of how dads can and...

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01 Jul The Importance of Executive Function in Young Children

The Facts About Executive Functioning  What is Executive Function? Executive function is our cognitive ability to manage the many things our brains need to do at once, including thinking, reacting and feeling. It allows us to focus and ignore distractions around us – think of it as our “mission control”. Even at infancy, children begin to put their executive functioning to work and continue to develop these skills into adulthood. There are three major pieces of executive functioning: Self-control – Self-control allows us to manage ourselves and our behavior. For young children, it helps them pay attention, remain focused and act and react in appropriate manners. Working memory – Working memory allows us to hold information in our heads so we can relate it to other information we hear and use it accordingly. It is often crucial in a young child’s ability to spell or do simple math computations, for example. Cognitive flexibility...

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21 Jun The Importance of Physical Activity During Early Childhood

Get Up, Get Moving! Exercise is a frequent topic of conversation among adults and most people are aware of the importance of leading and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Equally as important is ensuring our young children likewise participate in a healthy dose of physical activity every day. By introducing such habits during early childhood, kids are more likely to develop a healthy lifestyle for years to come. Part of a child’s job is to simply play and for many kids, they are naturally active both at home and in school. As early as infancy, babies need to be able to move (when they’re not sleeping, of course!) to develop muscle tone and motor skills. Toddlers and preschoolers benefit from both structured and unstructured play time during which they can run, move and be active. And older children likewise benefit from physical activity, often performing better in the classroom when they’re afforded frequent...

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30 May Engaging Young Learners in Meaningful Conversations

Something to Talk About How many times have you heard people advise new parents to talk, talk, talk to their infants? While this does have some benefits, it may not be as beneficial as researchers once believed. More recent studies* have shown it to be far more important to engage in meaningful two-way conversations with children – and even infants – in order to promote future language skills. What is two-way communication? Two-way, or back and forth, conversations with toddlers and other young learners involves both listening and responding. By listening carefully to what children have to say, parents and teachers not only learn more about a child’s interests, but also about how they think. To encourage meaningful conversations with early childhood learners, it’s important not to rush interactions. Give them time to respond, collect their thoughts and find their words. And, when children are speaking, nonverbal responses, such as head nods, won’t...

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18 Apr How to Cook With Young Kids Successfully

Turn Up The Heat! There are few other classrooms that offer so many early childhood learning benefits to young children than your own kitchen. Cooking with kids in both your classroom and at home not only allows young children the opportunity to learn about different foods, but also it enhances their math, science, language, and fine motor skills. The Benefits of Cooking With Young Kids Have you ever walked into a classroom where a cooking project is underway or into a home kitchen where a little one is helping out? Chances are, the kids involved are completely engaged by the activity. And it’s no wonder as there are so many valuable things to be learned while kids work alongside their parent or teacher in the kitchen. It’s no secret that tossing your little one an apron at an early age will help promote healthy habits. Early childhood learners are famous for being picky...

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23 Mar The Importance of Supporting Creativity in Early Childhood Learning

Get Your Creative Juices Flowing! Young children are naturally curious – they inherently want to explore new things, create, make discoveries, imagine, and problem solve. Simply put, they want to be creative. And, because creativity leads to further learning and development, parents and teachers alike should provide opportunities that support creativity at home and in the classroom. There is room for creativity in almost everything – from music and the arts to math and language; creativity is often the key to success. When creativity is fostered at a young age, children grow into more creative learners and thinkers, making them more successful at school in years to come. Perhaps this is best proven when we consider how adults likewise thrive when they develop and use creative solutions in the workplace. Whether an adult invents a new product, creates a new way to promote sales or open their own business, creativity is often...

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02 Mar Get Your Play On! Young Learners

The Importance of Providing Sensory Play During Early Childhood In a world where we are often focused on our children meeting certain standards and acquiring particular skills, it’s easy to forget how very important play is – especially for our youngest learners. What Is Sensory Play? Sensory play, which involves any type of play that encourages a child’s senses, be it touch, smell, sight, hearing, or taste, is crucial to early childhood learning and provides children with invaluable developmental experiences. In fact, learning is most effective when one’s senses are activated – simply put, by doing, manipulating and physically experiencing things, young children (and adults, for that matter!) are more able to adequately understand and process new concepts. Consider for a moment concepts such as melting or words such as wet or stretchy. Upon hearing these terms, it is almost impossible for a child to truly process and/or relate such ideas to the...

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21 Jan Make It Count: Teaching Math to Young Learners

Early Childhood Learning Plays a Great Role in Student’s Future Math Abilities When we think of toddlers and preschoolers, the word “curious” often comes to mind. Young learners, in particular, naturally want to explore and understand the world around them. As parents and educators, these traits can and should be capitalized upon to provide early childhood experiences rich in mathematical concepts. In fact, research has proven that future math success is often dependent on a child’s early childhood learning experiences and is most beneficial when children are exposed both at school and home. Children who are encouraged and supported in their math exploration develop increased confidence in their math capabilities and in their ability to learn math concepts. This, in turn, fosters further creativity and imagination. While parents and educators should help children to understand and see mathematical concepts and connections, it is equally as important to allow opportunities for young learners...

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04 Oct The Importance of Providing Sensory Play During Early Childhood

Get Your Play On! Young Learners In a world where we are often focused on our children meeting certain standards and acquiring particular skills, it’s easy to forget how very important play is – especially for our youngest learners. What Is Sensory Play? Sensory play, which involves any type of play that encourages a child’s senses, be it touch, smell, sight, hearing, or taste, is crucial to early childhood learning and provides children with invaluable developmental experiences. In fact, learning is most effective when one’s senses are activated – simply put, by doing, manipulating and physically experiencing things, young children (and adults, for that matter!) are more able to adequately understand and process new concepts. Consider for a moment concepts such as melting or words such as wet or stretchy. Upon hearing these terms, it is almost impossible for a child to truly process and/or relate such ideas to the real world unless they...

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17 Aug The Benefits of an Early Childhood Musical Education

Raising the Bar for our Youngest Learners The Benefits of an Early Childhood Musical Education Music surrounds us everyday and is used by various people in a multitude of ways. Consider how music can easily get you pumped up for a big game, quickly calm your nerves when you’re upset or anxious, or wake you up your children when they’re feeling sluggish. Music can inspire us and get our creative juices flowing – simply put, it has the ability to influence us all, regardless of our background or culture. As babies, our children listen to music around them and practice imitating and making noises of their own. Just like with language, the more they hear, the quicker and more developed such skills become. And so, why would we consider early childhood education without considering a musical component? Multiple studies have shown that music for our youngest learners is essential – in fact, children...

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