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How Your Kids Can Survive the First Day of Preschool in White Plains

Time is a luxury we cannot buy. In the blink of an eye, your sweet babies grow up to be little humans who are all ready to begin their preschool journey. You have already done a thorough research and chosen the perfect preschool in White Plains for your little one. You also made sure that they went to bed early last night so that they would wake up happy and with plenty of time to get ready. Their backpack is filled with school supplies and is waiting by the door while the first-day-school outfit is hanging in the closet ready to go for the big day. 

It’s your child’s first day of preschool in White Plains, and it is time to begin a journey that will last for almost two decades! As parents, how can you make this a hassle-free, memorable day? 

Your kid’s first day of preschool only happens once. It is a huge leap and an exciting milestone for both you and your little one. While stepping into preschool for the first time comes with new and beautiful experiences for your child, it can also be scary for some children. 

First Day Struggles of Both Parents and Child 

Starting school for the first time is an overwhelming, yet exciting milestone. Teachers understand the struggles of some families as their kids embark on this new journey. While parents look forward to the independence, discoveries, and friendships that await their future scholars, enrolling them in school means taking on different routines and leaving the comforts of home. Some preschoolers might experience separation anxiety during the first weeks of school. It is only natural for children to feel anxious on their first day of preschool. It means that the child needs time to trust that you will come back and get used to new routines and faces. Even if they will only be away for a few hours, it is still a huge step for someone wearing such cute, little sneakers.

5 Tips to Take on the First-Day-of-School Jitters

Making the first day a good day can set the tone for the school year to come. If you want your kids to stay in a good mood and go into the day with confidence, help them ace it by following these five get-ready-for-school tips:

Keep your good-byes short and sweet

When the teacher tells you that it’s time to leave your child, hold back your own tears, give your preschooler a quick kiss and hug, then let him know that you’ll be back. When you pick them up after class, reinforce the idea that you returned like you said you would. Remember not to try to sneak away when they are not looking since it will make them less trusting and insecure. Having this routine each day will make goodbyes easier in the long run. 

Keep a smile on your face 

When sending your child off to preschool, they might have a total meltdown. But don’t let them know that you are sad as well. If you seem confident that your little one will learn and have fun and your tone is upbeat, your child will be optimistic too. Put on a happy and smiling face – even if internally you are close to tearing up – give lots of kisses and hugs, then leave. 

Talk to your child

In the week leading up to preschool, you can encourage your child with positive words. When you drive by the building where they will be attending school you can say, “You will have so much fun in there!” or “You are going to love your new school!” If you have any reservations yourself, choose your words carefully since children can pick up on those feelings. 

Don’t rush in the morning

Every morning can feel like a mad rush, especially if your kid is a late riser. If your little one is hard to wake up, get them into bed earlier than usual. In doing this, it will be easier for your child to wake up early, and you won’t have to rush them as they eat their breakfast. 

Bring a comfort object

If the preschool you have chosen allows it, let your child bring an item that reminds them of home and will give them comfort throughout the day, like their trusty stuffed animal or beloved blanket. Once your little one becomes comfortable with their new environment, they will let go of their lovey or leave it in their cubby during playtime. In case your kid has trouble letting go of his lovey, you can compromise and explain why their comfort object is better off staying at home. 

Keeping these five tips in mind can start your child’s educational career off right and help both you and your kids have a more comfortable first day of preschool. Remember that it will be okay. So if you are looking for a reliable preschool in White Plains, calm your kid’s first-day jitters and prepare them for their first day with Discovery Village Center! For more details, check out our website or call (914) 631-1009 today.

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Play, Imagination, and Rocket Science: Creativity in Early Childhood

In the early years of the Apollo Project, NASA commissioned George Land, a scientist specializing in the enhancement of creative performance, to design a creativity test for engineering and rocket scientist job applicants. The test, which measured “divergent thinking”, challenged applicants to look at a problem or object and come up with multiple solutions or different ways to use the object.

After identifying truly gifted engineers and rocket scientists for NASA using this creativity test, Land wondered how children might fare with his creativity test, and how the results might change as these children aged.

So began a fascinating longitudinal study on creativity. In 1968, Land administered the same test he had given to aspiring NASA engineers and rocket scientists to 1600 five-year-olds. He re-tested the same children when they were 10 and again when they were 15. In 1985, Land later tested 280,000 adults.

How many individuals at each age scored in the highly creative range?
  • 5 year olds: 98%
  • 10 year olds: 30%
  • 15 year olds: 12%
  • Adults: 2%

Those numbers are astounding. While 98% of five-year-olds scored at the “genius” level on a creativity test, only 2% of adults achieved the same results.

Land’s conclusion: Non-creative behavior is learned. Or, as Pablo Picasso put it:  “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

I first read Land’s study while serving as principal of an elementary school. Considering myself a forward-thinking educator, I offered my students project-based learning, nature-based learning, school-wide enrichment programming, and quality experiences with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). And yet, I recognized so many signs of learned non-creative behavior. I wondered and I worried. If my students took Land’s creativity test, how would they fare?

I strove to find solutions, becoming involved with various schools and programs seeking to reimagine education in more foundational ways. Could we design schools that not only preserve the natural creative genius of young children, but even enable that creativity to flourish, deepen, and expand?

We made progress. And, yet I remained unsettled. What would the results be if we administered Land’s test today? Would there be substantial differences in schools remaining quite traditional, schools adding more opportunity for creative expression than existed when Land conducted his research, and schools fundamentally reimagining what education can be? And, would five-year-olds today, with the many shifts in our technologically advancing society, fare better, worse, or the same as the five-year-olds Land tested in 1968?

I became enamored with the potential of quality early childhood learning to make a lifelong positive impact. So many questions ran through my mind.

Could educators and parents thoughtfully craft environments enabling children not only to maintain, but even to enhance, their innate high levels of creativity?

Could we embrace the early childhood years as a time to set a foundation strong enough to shield children from absorbing non-creative behavior later in life?

Could a start in life that celebrates and encourages creative expression lead both to more joy in the childhood years and greater creative adapt-ability far into the future?

I opened Discovery Village Childcare and Preschool in Tarrytown this past July. I now stand in awe each day, recognizing how blessed I am to spend my days with individuals (from 6 weeks to five-year-olds) who have the creativity levels of elite NASA rocket scientists. Our primary tools are our imaginations, as playful learning and discovery is elicited by just about anything: bubbles, play dough, snow, water, paints, leaves, puppets, animals, books, cardboard boxes, and so much more.  Our children are joyfully having fun, while at the same time strengthening their innate creative capacities to craft lives of joy, possibility, and meaning.

Shira Leibowitz, Ph.D founded Discovery Village, a Childcare Center and Preschool that offers young children the care of a village with the creativity of an art study and the discovery of a science lab. Shira is an adjunct faculty member in the doctoral program in Education at Northeastern University, and served as a principal of nursery through eighth grade schools for twenty years prior to opening Discovery Village. Learn more at discoveryvillagecenter.com or email Shira at [email protected] 

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How a Structured Child Care Program Can Prepare Your Kids for Kindergarten

The early years of a child’s life are critical. Children absorb more information than we realize like sponges. They develop through their interactions with the world as they discover things for themselves. 

As a parent, you make dozens of decisions to support your child’s health, growth, and development each day. For instance, one of the most crucial choices that working parents have to make is choosing the most qualified place to care for their children while they are away. Call it a daycare or a toddler learning center, but many parents send their little ones to these child care centers due to their job requirements. Since their kids will spend a significant amount of time in these environments, it’s understandable why parents put so much time and effort into researching before making their decision. 

When evaluating child care centers in White Plains, it is essential to consider their curriculum. Why? Because it sets the tone for every activity in the center. If you want your little one to pick up foundational skills before formal school starts, crayons and flashcards may not be the answer for your energetic child. Both a parent and kid-friendly solution to this issue is structured play. But can a child learn while they are playing and having fun?

What is a structured play? 

The good thing about the structured play is that it does not have to take up more precious time than is necessary. Structured playtime, also known as “play with a purpose”, combines an enjoyable activity with a learning objective. It can take on different forms — physical or mental — which keep the children active while learning. In this setting, the activities support kids in learning fundamental skills with adult supervision. Some people refer to these skills as the ABCs, which stand for agility, balance, coordination, and speed. 

Structured activities such as following directions to assemble a Lego-theme set or playing card games with a set of rules can develop these skills. If you’re teaching your child how to fold their clothes, let them match socks and count afterward to see how many he or she can match correctly. Working in some physical activity helps too.
Overall, structured play supports children’s competence and confidence, which helps them get comfortable in trying a variety of activities in different settings.

Some parents question if they should add structured play to their child’s schedule if it means taking away their regular playtime. It is important to know that not every session should have an objective or task to complete. You can provide them with at least an hour of structured activities every day, especially if they are already getting structured play through a child care curriculum. The best practice would be to break down that 60-minutes of play into smaller chunks to allow your child to concentrate.

4 Ways to Prepare Your Kids for Kindergarten with Structured Play

A structured playtime is an option that both parents and teachers rely on to help children learn and grow. If you want to close the gap between an early child care program and a kindergarten, here are four ways to do it: 

Always set clear expectations

Some parents believe that there shouldn’t be any expectations for their kids at an early age. However, instructors believe that with clear expectations, children will learn how to cope with them successfully. For instance, teachers should introduce teacher-designed expectations in most activities, so children can learn to be accountable for the proper completion and quality of the task. 

Establish classroom rules

Rules are essential to a childcare curriculum since it helps them prepare for kindergarten, while at the same time improves their day-to-day conduct. These children should know how to sit correctly with both feet in front of them, work quietly, and put their used materials back to their original place after completing a task. 

Emphasis on classroom routine

For the first few weeks, teachers should clearly teach the kids the habits and expectations of the classroom and schedule. Reinforcing the desired behaviors during each activity goes a long way.

Promote independent working 

Some of the physical and social activities in the structured play don’t always promote independent work. To help the children learn independent working, teachers need to decrease the amount of guidance they give their students. If any problems arise, they should encourage the child to resolve the issue on their own instead of spoon-feeding them the answer.  

Whether your child is six weeks or 12 years old, you wouldn’t want to send your kid just anywhere. You would want to find a child care center that cares for your child as well as you would and supports optimal development. At Discovery Village Center, that is precisely the kind of environment we will create for your child. Nothing is better than seeing your kid smile during their structured play. If you want to see the benefits of our quality child care curriculum first-hand, schedule a tour today and discover the beauty of our White Plains location!