Childcare daycare Infant Preschool Toddler

How to Raise an Adventurous Eater

Do you want to raise an adventurous eater? Do you have any picky eaters in your family?

We are happy to share wisdom from Kelly Gumpel, RD, CDN, CDCES. Kelly is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. She’s also a mom of one of Discovery Village’s preschoolers and a lover of all things food!

Kelly generously volunteered her time, leading a conversation with Discovery Village families about how to raise an adventurous eater. We are happy to share some of what we learned.

On Meal and Snack Times:

  • When you can, eat together as a family.
  • Make meal times pleasant.
  • Avoid distractions while eating.
  • Schedule meal and snack times rather than eating at different times each day.

On Introducing New Foods:

  • Expose children to new foods patiently. It can take up to 20 tries for a child to eat a new food.
  • At meals provide at least one food your child likes. Your child may only eat that one food. In time your child will try other foods. 
  • Introduce new foods on the plate with a food your child already knows and likes. 
  • Get creative with various presentations of new foods. For example, on different days offer carrot sticks, baby carrots, cooked carrots, or carrots with cinnamon. 
  • Get playful with new foods. Arrange food on the plate with a smiley face or in other fun arrangements. Consider it a win if your child explores a new food the first time; sticking fingers into it or moving it around on the plate.

On Learning about Different Foods and About Eating:

  • Include your child in trips to the grocery store. Or, if because of COVID you prefer not to take your child to the grocery store, have your child help you unpack the food.
  • Model using utensils and chewing with your mouth closed. 
  • Help your child learn to talk about food.  Teach not to say “that’s yucky” or “that’s disgusting”. Instead, let you child know it’s ok to say that you don’t want that now. Tastes change over time.

On Helping Children Understand and Respect Their Own Bodies:

  • Children have a natural ability to eat. They can assess for themselves how hungry and how full they are. Your responsibility as a parent is to offer balanced, healthy meals. It is your child’s responsibility to decide how much to eat and whether to eat. 
Take a look at the links below for some valuable information on ways to raise an adventurous eater.
Have fun with adventurous eating!
How to Raise an Adventurous Eater: Parent Education Session
Childcare COVID-19 daycare Uncategorized

COVID Made Us Better!

Early Childhood Education During COVID and Beyond

There are so many stories of early childhood education during COVID to celebrate. Many daycares never closed. Many others found ways to maintain relationships and engagement with preschoolers, toddlers, and even infants remotely. Discovery Village did both. We remained open for our essential workers, while providing remote learning for children whose families were sheltering in place.

Something surprising happened in the process. We not only navigated through COVID. We’ve gotten better! 


Creative activities in early childhood education during COVID

Early Childhood Education During COVID: Programs That Never Closed

Outdoor Experiences in Early Childhood Education During COVID

It was almost exactly one year ago that I first sensed we were experiencing the beginning of something new for early childhood education.

There were only six children present, ranging in age from 18 months to five. Children saw new possibilities for a farm they had built out of a cardboard box.

One child took the road they had used to bring supplies to the farm. He turned it into his very own “highway to happiness.”  Any person could drive on the road. At the end they would find arrive anyplace they wanted to vacation, real or imagined.

Two children took the farm itself and redesigned it. They built a carwash. Now cars would be super clean before driving down the highway to happiness. They found a way to funnel real water into the carwash to wash the cars. 

Three children, younger toddlers, were also interested in animals, cars, and water. They took individual bins filled with soapy water and  gave baths to the toy animals that had just earlier that day lived in the farm. 


The focus on washing, both cars and animals, came from our  constant hand-washing. Between each and every activity, and at minimum every half hour, children washed their hands. They delighted in splashing in the water, savoring the feel of the running water and soap suds. Hand-washing had become the punctuation mark of our days, offering a moment of respite between each and every activity. 

In the following weeks, our children’s curiosity about water brought us in many new directions. We explored the depths of the sea, and designed our very own aquarium. We looked to the rain clouds above, showering our world with water, and built our own cloud observatory. We marveled at the power of water to nourish plants and people, and tended to our very own indoor garden. Losing ourselves in our playful learning, the outside world melted away. 

Children showed us the ways to navigate through COVID; playfully and focusing on the positive.


Early Childhood Programs That Went Remote: Putting Relationships at the Center

I will never forget the moment, very early in the pandemic, that I heard about early childhood education programs offering remote learning. At first, I thought teaching toddlers and preschoolers remotely was perhaps the most ridiculous educational idea I had ever heard. Within a week, Discovery Village was offering remote learning for preschoolers, toddlers, and even infants. Many childcare and preschools had gone entirely remote, at least for several months.

The learning included live video sessions via Zoom, videos teachers created, and packets of activities to do at home. The live sessions included Spanish, sign language, and lots of exercise and movement. It changed frequently to keep children interested. At the core of the experience was being together, even while physically distanced. We always knew relationships and care are at the heart of early childhood. We found ways to strengthen those relationships even while physically distant. 

The Possibilities that Lie Ahead 

While COVID forced us to change, we had the choice to change for the better. So many of us id. The creativity that emerged in early childhood can be a beginning, offering possibilities for improving the quality of learning and care. It is a conversation many are having. I welcome you to join in and reflect on what we have learned through these challenging months, and what we will intentionally bring with us moving forward.


COVID Protocols and Wellness: Physical and Emotional

Focus on COVID protocols and wellness has now been central in our lives for an entire year.  Masks, social distancing, hand washing, and disinfecting have been our constant backdrop, the rhythm through which we experience life. 

From the start, Discovery Village combined COVID protocols and wellness. We’ve been open throughout the pandemic. In the beginning, before New York State Department of Health issued much instruction, we combined intuition and intention. We incorporated safety protocols seamlessly, in a way that has been playful, calm and as stress free as possible. COVID constraints have led to creativity They strengthened and improved the quality of the care and learning we offer.

Perhaps The Biggest Difference: At Discovery Village: Parents can enter the school!

We are among the  very few childcare centers that have kept our doors open to families. Parents and other family members dropping off or picking up are masked, take and log their temperatures, complete a health screening, social distance from all but their own children, and remain only briefly. All of this follows COVID protocols as outlined by the New York State Department of Health. Yet, most childcare centers and preschools implemented curbside or at door drop off and pick up. 

There were a few days at the very beginning of the pandemic, and a few weeks during the challenging winter months, that we tried at door drop off and pick up. The increase in stress for children, parents, and teachers did not warrant the minimal increase in safety. When possible to follow COVID protocols in a way that leads to a calm, playful, inviting environment, we have chosen to do so. Parents can see the safety protocols and the care and learning we offer in action. This transparency, with safety measures in place, has been vitally important to 

Covid Protocols and Wellness - Individual Sensory Bottles
individual sensory bins at the best childcare center in Westchester

Individual Materials for Exploration and Creativity Supporting COVID Protocols and Wellness

Individual bins and materials for exploration and creativity are another innovation that will continue after COVID safety protocols can be eased. Easy to sanitize or disposable materials have given children greater autonomy. We continue our collaborative creative projects. Yet each child has her or his own unique part to contribute. They can immerse themselves in play. Social skills and interactions can focus on communication and planning as the arguments around who uses which toy are limited. 

individual materials for COVID protocols and wellness
Outdoor Play COVID Protocols and Wellness
infant art at the best daycare - Discovery Village

Our Core: Relationships, Experiences, and Values

The months of COVID have helped us connect even more deeply with our core, what is most vital to us in care and learning. We have since the start been grounded in three pillarsRelationships, Experiences, and Values (REV it up). As we faced the constraints and challenges COVID brought, we found the answers in being authentically us. The challenging months have helped us connect ever more deeply and authentically to our core. We offer the care of a village, the creativity of an art studio, and the discovery of a science lab. We do so through a playful spirit, focusing on child led exploration.  It is in the hard times that the core is tested, and can be strengthened.

We mark this momentous time, a year of pandemic, with gratitude. We are navigating through, true to ourselves. COVID protocols have not in the end been burdensome. They have been a release, opening new pathways to ground ourselves in care, exploration, creativity, and discovery.


Covid protocols and wellness - Being Authentically us

Creativity with Infants

Infant Daycare to Spark Creativity and Imagination

Infant daycare offers families peace of mind while they are at work. High quality programs, focusing on meaningful play-based learning in the early years, offer even more. Through exploration and sensory experiences children open their minds to wonder and possibility, setting a foundation for a lifetime of exploration and accomplishment. It’s also so much fun! Discovery Village is pleased to share activities to spark your imagination.

Be playful! Get messy! Have fun!

Take any color paint you like. Squeeze it out on a piece of paper. Cover it with saran wrap. Leave it with your infant to smash it up. The sensory experiences central in quality infant daycare programs will spark children’s imaginations, and develop their motor skills.  

This is not only an infant daycare favorite. It is also great activity for busy families. Get some cooking done while your baby delights in creative fun. Add to the learning with conversation, developing your baby’s language skills.

Infant Daycare Smash Painting
Texture painting

Explore textures with your curious, creative baby. Go on a treasure hunt throughout your home. Find objects with all different shapes and textures. Pour paint on a plate. Grab some paper. Let your infant create works of arts experimenting with the various textures of objects you have found. The connection of activities, from treasure hunt to art project develop into larger explorations in quality infant daycare programs. Have fun with them at home!

Grap the inside of a paper towel roll. Wrap it in bubble paper. Dip it in various color paints. Roll it and see the wonder that results!

Creativity with Infants
Finger Painting Fun with Babies

When all else fails, just have fun! Pour some paint on a paper plate and mush it all around. See what your baby can create!