Our Blog about Sustainability in Childcare

Getting Kids Back into a Routine After the Holiday Break

Child Not Wanting to go to PreschoolChildren are adaptable and quickly make the best of most situations. Sometimes it’s not easy for them to take the initial steps into a new routine, but make the move they do. Once there, they settle in and get along like a pro. However, on the other hand, kids can fall out of a routine just as quickly, for example, on a holiday break from preschool or daycare.

As the end of a vacation approaches, you can prepare your young one for getting back into their school routine with a few simple steps. The staff at Bartram Academy, a Durbin Crossing preschool, has written this blog post to help you with holiday-related transitions.

Firstly, you need to recognize it’s a big moment for young children, some of whom have never had a vacation before and are unfamiliar with the concept. When they are reluctant to return to school, look at it as an indication they had a good break, not an act of defiance or rebellion.

You can pave the way for a smooth transition by helping your student re-familiarize with the school environment. Talk about school and the friends they will see and the fun things they will do. If you can, show them pictures of their school, friends, and teachers a couple of days before going back to their Durbin Crossing preschool. The first week back, allow extra time for the daily routine and reassure your little person each day as they settle back into school.

Holiday Gift Ideas Inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach

Wooden Stacking StarsIt’s very possible to learn through play; in fact, children are always doing this. They do it instinctively. This the basis of the Reggio Emilia model as it is a play-based approach that fosters a sense of seeking and learning at the same time. Through it, children build their knowledge base by interacting with the environment and the people within it.

It is possible to encourage mental growth and develop fine motor skills with toys that educate while encouraging imagination and mental growth. Many toys fill this need for preschoolers, and the staff at Bartram Academy have assembled a list here to help with informed decisions.

Wooden Blocks – Blocks are among the toys that help spur a vigorous and growing imagination. They are a large component of loose parts play that is fundamental to the Reggio Emilia model.

Puzzles – Puzzles incorporate learning and help with coordination, and pattern recognition.

Lacing Cards – These cards help develop hand-eye coordination, which is useful for fine motor skills and learning to print.

Chalk Boards and Chalk – Tools such as these encourage imagination and free play while also helping with the development of drawing, printing, and writing skills.

Puppets – These are great for pretend play and helping children with communication and interaction.

Encouraging Your Picky Eater to Eat Their Veggies

Boy Resisting Eating His Vegetables“You’re going to sit at that table until you eat all your broccoli” might be one approach to get a picky eater to finish their vegetables, but it’s not a good one. There are other simple and less antagonistic ways to encourage your little one to eat veggies and similar healthy foods.

Establishing healthy eating habits with your child, including getting them to eat vegetables, will set them up for wellbeing over the long term. Sustainability in childcare, much like that practiced at preschools such as Bartram Academy, for example, includes a focus on healthy eating with meals made from fresh and sustainable ingredients. Here are a few tips to help your youngsters adapt to meals of that type when they attend preschool.

At mealtime, serve the vegetables first. In that way, hungry children are more apt to eat them right away.

Use vegetables as healthy snacks. Cutting them into fun shapes also helps encourage children to eat. Who wouldn’t want to bite into a dinosaur?

Vegetables and fruits make great breakfast foods, as well. It’s not just time for cereal, toast, and pancakes.

Teaching your children where food comes from, and letting them help with preparation gives them a greater appreciation of their meals.

Take the time to share meals together. It’s a great way to encourage healthy eating habits.

Preparing Your Child, and Yourself, for Preschool

Mother Walking Child to PreschoolAs much as you love your child, you know that there will come a time when it’s best for their development to be exposed to new opportunities without you by their side. It’s natural to want to protect them and keep them close where you can stand watch at all times, but that’s neither possible nor healthy.

When the time comes to let your child stretch his or her wings a little bit while making new friends, learning, and having new experiences, you want to make sure it’s in the best possible setting. You don’t want to give in to separation anxiety, for yourself, or your child.

The way to overcome that tendency, and ensure success for your child, is by considering some of the best preschools in Jacksonville, FL, such as Bartram Academy, for example. There are other ways to prepare your child and yourself for preschool too.

Here are a few additional things to consider:

  • Create routines and consistency, much as they will encounter at preschool.
  • Develop self-help skills for many situations, such as buttoning a raincoat.
  • Encourage your child to help with tidying up at home.
  • Attend playgroups and storytimes. These are similar settings to preschools.
  • Teach your child that they need to share attention sometimes. They will need to learn to wait their turn.

Teaching Your Child to Collaborate with Others

Collaboration in Early Childhood

The necessity of dealing with others is an important skill for your child to learn. In fact, the earlier, the better. When we think about it, whether at home in the family setting, at school with other students or, eventually, in the workforce with other employees and management, collaboration is a skill that we all need to cultivate.

Collaboration is essentially working with others, joining together to achieve a common purpose. This is an excellent skill for your youngster to learn. This skill is even taught as part of a curriculum for childcare in St. Augustine, FL at Bartram Academy. Collaboration moves the process forward in a positive way during the many group activities and projects in our childcare and early VPK academy.

The teachers at Bartram Academy encourage youngsters to share their thoughts and consider others’ opinions while strengthening and retaining a strong sense of self. Starting early to practice this skill helps your child throughout school and life. Such cognitive development is one of the areas we emphasize at our academy. We teach your little one life skills, such as collaboration, that encourage personal and academic growth now, and professional growth for their future.

To learn more about what the curriculum at Bartram Academy can off your child, contact them today at 904-419-7563.

Choose a Preschool that Employs Eco-Friendly Practices

An Active Role in the Environment

Many parents today worry their children do not seem to have an appreciation of nature. For the most part, youngsters don’t spend a great deal of time outside playing and exploring. Instead, many little ones spend their time plugged in. This doesn’t have to be the case.

In our child-care center and preschool, we believe in teaching respect for the planet, as well as the creatures and plants that populate it. This can be as easy as taking them outside to play each and every day, making them part of our daily recycling process, and feeding them organic and all-natural food.

Another way we demonstrate our commitment to the environment is through eco-friendly daycare. We only use green cleaning products in our preschool. This means your child is not exposed to harsh chemicals from the cleaning process. Instead, we make up our own safe, sanitizing solution to eliminate the germs that can abound in places where there lots of little children.

Yet another practice is to employ the use of essential oils to maintain a healthy environment and help the little ones relax. Our oil diffusers use lavender during naptime to calm and soothe children. Such practices as these teach your child to be environmentally responsible in their life.

Teaching Your Child to be Original

best preschools in jacksonville flYou value your child for their own uniqueness – their individuality as a person. In many ways, you would expect this to be the same from the teachers and staff in one of the best preschools in Jacksonville, FL. In our society, original thinkers are valued as the movers and shakers, the inventors and the innovators, the change agents and the leaders. It has long been believed the society here in the United States is less structured than some other countries, and this encourages people to think outside of the box.

So, how can you encourage creativity in your child? One way is to send them to a preschool that fosters creativity. There are teachers who believe in providing children with a curriculum and environment that opens their mind, instead of closing it down due to unnecessary restrictions.
An important way to do this is to teach values, rather than just rules. With values, a child learns why certain actions are appropriate or not. This provides much more information than just saying, “No. That’s against the rules.” Values challenge a student to make rational decisions for themselves — decisions that are based on facts –rather than just adopting and accepting a rule. With this focus, a child is free to think for themselves and act accordingly.

How Creating Self-Identity Panels Benefits Your Child

kids drawingMany in the field of education, particularly early childhood education, are looking at teaching and the classroom in a whole new way. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia model, they do things differently in the classroom and even in setting up the classroom.

As part of this educational approach, teachers serve as guides and learn along with the children. In fact, the third teacher is thought of as the classroom that is created to be a space that empowers children to explore their environment. All of this fosters learning, with the curriculum growing out of the child’s interests.

Regarded as one of the best approaches to learning for young children, the Reggio Emilia model places an emphasis on the arts, and it is common for pre-school students to complete an assignment called a Self-Identity Panel. This panel is a self-portrait the child makes of themselves, using the self as the model, as well as serving as the artist.

Such a panel promotes original thinking as each child approaches the project differently. In addition, children are encouraged to talk with other students about their ideas. Such a fresh and open approach shows value for each individual and their mode of self-expression. It also encourages students to look at and inside of themselves.

Silk rainbow scarf

Playing with Fabrics

Expensive toys and digital media are not the only way to keep kids entertained. Giving them the space and basic building blocks to be creative helps them stay engaged and learn to see possibility in simple places. That is why you should consider adding loose fabrics to your list of resources for child care in St. Augustine, FL. From cheap scraps at your local craft store to carpet samples and dollies, small bits of fabric can go a long way toward sparking imagination and engagement. Here are a few ways to use them in your space:

Hanging Decorations — Simple, beautiful, and easy to use, larger pieces of fabric add a textural element to playrooms and classrooms.

Costumes — Elaborate getups are not necessary for dramatic play and dress up. Give children a few pieces of fabric and let their imaginations do the work. They will be more involved in the mental process of creating their stories.

Embroidery Hoops — A great way to practice finger dexterity and get creative in the classroom, these simple circles combine well with loose strings, cords, or even natural additions like pinecones and twigs.

Geoboards — With a few nails and a wood plank, you can let kids explore shapes on homemade geoboards. Best used with stretchy bands and elastic like fabrics.

Make playing with fabrics part of your strategy for child care in St. Augustine, FL. These simple scraps can inspire creativity and practical skills.

Toddlers drawing on paper on the floor with various toys around them

How to Introduce Loose Parts to Your Toddler

Toddlers are natural tinkerers. They want to explore their world with their fingers, picking up and playing with everything they can get their hands on. Introducing loose parts into playtime is a great way to engage your toddlers’ senses and encourage learning. Furthermore, it fits perfectly with the Reggio Emilia approach we follow for child care in St. Augustine, FL, which emphasizes the role that a learner’s environment plays in their education. As your toddler plays with loose parts, they are determining for themselves how those parts fit in with the larger environment and the many ways they can interact with them.

However, how can you ensure your toddler gets the most out of playing with loose parts — and does it safely? We recommend a few simple tips.

First, do not let your toddler play unsupervised with any object that may pose a choking hazard. Remember that loose parts do not necessarily have to be small. For example, large plastic cups are perfect for a toddler to play with.

Next, avoid overwhelming your child by introducing too many different loose parts at once. It is best to add just a few new elements at a time and rotate them in and out as necessary.

Finally, give your toddler objects that range widely in appearance and texture. You want to entice their curiosity and their senses, so gather a diverse array of loose objects for them to play with.

Learn more about the student-centered philosophy of our child care in St. Augustine, FL. We believe in an engaging, self-guided curriculum for all ages.