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Childcare COVID-19 daycare Preschool

A New Kind of September: Returning to Child Care in an Age of Pandemic

Have choices about daycare during pandemic left you with a range of emotions you can’t quite put into words?

Have you had the unusual sensation of being in a strange new world you never could have imagined?

As K-12 schools decide whether to serve students through remote, hybrid, or in person learning, many child care centers have remained open. In the early months of pandemic early childhood stood as an essential service for essential workers. Now, as summer shifts to fall and a new school year begins, many more families are returning.

Some have had  children in daycare during pandemic, while others have recently returned. Some are  considering returning, while others are quite certain they want their children to be cared for at home. Regardless of your choices, you may well be experiencing a wide range of emotions about sending your child to daycare during pandemic.

I invite you to check in on how you are feeling about your children leaving quarantine.

Returning to daycare

Like me, it may not be only how you are feeling, but who you are feeling like as we navigate this strange new reality we all face.

Returning to Childcare or Preschool

Providing daycare and learning throughout the pandemic, I’ve felt all of the above. It is as if overnight we have been transported to a new world, without ever having actually leaving home. Things are both different, and yet the same, as we have adjusted to our new reality. Through it all we have focused on implementing health protocols in a playful and non-stressful manner.

We have actively designed an environment that is safe and nurturing, creative and calm. We have designed a haven of hope and happiness in a world filled with challenge.  Ultimately, we have supported one another and the children in our care to feel at ease, playful, and calm. While the world outside us continues to be full of challenges, at school we are caring for one another, playing, creating, and learning. We have found stability in a world of uncertainty.

The answer as to whether or not to place a child in care outside the home is, as it has always been, a highly personal one. What is right for one family is not right for another. Yet, childcare is designed with safety in mind. There are very small class sizes, a high level of supervision, attentiveness to hand washing and disinfecting, health checks and more. As a result, the choice to return, or to start childcare, nursery school or preschool, has been one that does make good sense for many.  

If you are on the fence, wondering if the time is yet right to send your child back, you may be interested in Voices of Child Care. This  documentary shares stories of child care centers in Westchester county New York that have been open through the pandemic. Discovery Village – children, teachers, and leadership – have been featured in several episodes.

I invite you to a glimpse into what the experience has been.

Voices of Child Care - Episode one

Voices of ChildCare Episode One

Voices of Child Care - Episode Three

Voices of Child Care Episode Three

If you are interested in returning to, or starting childcare, I invite you to reach out. Schedule a visit – either virtual or live. See the children and teachers. See what learning and care looks like with COVID health and safety protocols. Ask to speak to some of our families who have been attending throughout the pandemic, or have recently returned or started.

To those of you who have been with us, we are grateful to be on this journey with you!

To those of you considering daycare, nursery school or preschool, we look forward to the possibility of meeting you!

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Blogs Preschool

How to Prepare Your Child for Preschool Near Elmsford, New York

Elmsford is a small community in New York filled with many young families. Everywhere you go, you can see loving parents and their children strolling around the neighborhood. Many children are nervous about leaving their parents when they start their first day in preschool. This is entirely normal, and strong preschool programs, focused on relationships, support children through the transition. 

Why Do I Need to Prepare Them for Preschool?

Preparing your child for preschool is important to help your child feel secure and safe. By preparing for the big day, you can gradually help them understand what preschool is and what to expect when they get there.

How Can I Do This?

There are a lot of things you can do to prepare your child for preschool. Let us take a look at a few ways:

  • Visit Your Kids’ Preschool

Before school starts, children benefit from getting a feel of the place they will be for preschool. Show them the playground, the classrooms, and the other areas. Let them meet their teacher and maybe some of their classmates. Helping them to see where they will be can help alleviate anxiety about being away from home. 

While they are off playing, you could talk to the preschool teachers. Having a good relationship with the teachers can help your child be successful. Working together toward one goal will further that success.

  • Role Play About Preschool

Try having a role-playing session with your children in the setting of a classroom. Pretend to be the teacher and teach them about the things that they will encounter in preschool. Show them how fun preschool can be so that they know they have nothing to worry about.

  • Read to Your Kids

Reading to your kids has proven to be a major tool in being ready for school. It also can help deal with emotions and feelings. Having that one on one time with you is incredibly important to you and your child. Children who are read to tend to be more successful in school from the beginning. They won’t struggle as much to keep up and can learn an incredible amount just from reading. 

  • Give Them New Backpacks 

Having your child help pick out a backpack for school can help them get excited about preschool. 

Make Your Kids Feel at Home in Discovery Village

Discovery Village Childcare & Preschool is a daycare center in Tarrytown, NY. In addition to exceptional childcare services and a caring community, Discovery Village helps children learn, explore, create, and discover their skills and talents. Preschool is the time where children start to build the foundation of their personalities. If you want your kids to go to an exceptional preschool near Elmsford, NY, Discovery Village is the right place for you. Check out their website today at DiscoveryVillageCenter.com.  Or call them at 914-631-1009

Categories
Blogs Infant Preschool

Creating Hopeful Rainbows

In these uncertain times, as we all try the best we can to settle into a new, uncharted normal, what I’ve been searching for most is hope. Although moments of despair and fear hit hard, hope is also ever present. Rainbow art ideas for all ages have helped.

While physically distanced from the families of Discovery Village, the childcare and preschool I run in Tarrytown, NY, I’ve begun sending home activity ideas for infants, toddlers, preschoolers (some of which even their older siblings and their grownups can enjoy). Rainbow art ideas have been among our favorites. While as of now our commitment is to reopen next Monday, March 30th, with the blessing of New York State, to do what we are able to care for the children of essential workers, the majority of us will be physically distant for an as of yet undetermined amount of time.

To connect to others with hope, I now plan to share these activity ideas more broadly, on this blog, as many families seek ways to keep their youngest children safe and healthy, while also joyous, active, engaged, and hopeful.

As a first post, I offer five ways to be creative and hopeful with rainbows. These are merely possibilities to prompt your thinking and imagination! You can come up with many more!

I invite you to share your hopeful rainbows on your property for neighbors taking solitary walks, and on social media for friends who are physically apart, yet seeking connection.

1. Chalk Rainbows

This is the activity that inspires my hope, and so it is the place I begin. Make rainbow chalk art with inspiring messages for your neighbors locally (and globally posting on social media.)

Rainbow Art Ideas, White Plains Chalk Art Courtesy of Leah Evan - Posted on White Plains Moms & Dads Facebook Page
We Love You & Hope You Have a Great Day Chalk Art. Courtesy of Leah Evan, White Plains Moms & Dads Facebook Group

2. Eat the Rainbow

Have your children been looking for snacks? You can create healthy, colorful snacks. Talk to children about each of the colors.

Red: Keeps your heart and blood healthy

Orange: Protects your eyes and reduces sickness

Yellow: Good for skin health, digestion, and immunity

Green: Keeps bones strong and strengthens immunity

Blue and Purple: Improve memory and brain function.

Rainbow Art Ideas - Eat The Rainbow

Photo: courtesy of blog.learningresources.com

3. Dot Rainbows

Use dot paint or even make circle marks with crayons or markers. For those of you not opposed to using food for art, or not opposed to some sweets, you can also use marshmallows. Attach marshmallows to toothpicks, dip into paint, and dot away. You can even glue the marshmallow down at the end as clouds.

Rainbow Art Ideas, Marshmallow Rainbow Prints

Photo: Courtesy of learnplayimagine.com

4. Rainbow Suncatcher Collage

This one takes some materials you may need to order. It might be worth it to bring some hope to your home and your neighbors, as well as some meaningful fun for kids!

Materials Needed:

Tissue Paper, Contact Paper, Construction paper, Scissors

Cut the middle out of a piece of construction paper and stick onto a large piece of contact paper. Place squares of tissue paper onto the contact paper in a rainbow pattern, or any pattern children like. Hang up on the window and see the light shine through!

Rainbow Art Ideas - Tissue Paper Rainbows

Photo: Courtesy of whereimaginationgrows.com

5. Rainbow Circles in the Style of Wassily Kandinsky

Children can create circle rainbow art in the style of Wassily Kandinsky.

Note: If you do not know the work of Wassily Kandinsky, look him up. He is considered to be a pioneer of abstract art.

I share three examples:

Kandinsky, Squares with Concentric Circles

Squares with Concentric Circles

Kandinsky, 1913

Photo Courtesy of: Wikipedia. Org

Kandinsky, Circles in a Circle

Circles in a Circle

Kandinsky, 1923

Photo Courtesy of: Wikipedia. Org

Several Circles

Kandinsky, 1926

Photo: Courtesy of: Wikipedia.Org

 

Stay healthy and hopeful!

Categories
Blogs

Character at the Core! The Too Infrequently Discussed “Secret Sauce” of Reggio-Inspired Learning

What is it that distinguishes Reggio-inspired learning? 

An array of lists from Reggio-inspired schools across the globe distill the program into a relatively small number of key elements. These typically include:

Student Interest: Learning stems from children’s interests and curiosity.

Relationships as Key to Learning: Learning emerges through relationships with others including peers, teachers, and other members of the community.

Self expression and Creativity: Reggio has a notion of “100 languages” or the many ways children express their ideas, feelings, and creativity. Children deserve experiences engaging them in a wide range of materials and modes of creativity.

Project-Based Learning: Learning occurs through short and long terms projects and teachers create the conditions for children to become engaged in these projects

The Physical Environment As a Central Teaching Element: The classroom is considered the “third teacher” (parents are first and school educators are second). As such, the physical environment of schools is a critical contributor to learning.

The Flexible Use of Time: Children are given time to become deeply immersed in activities of interest to them.

Documentation and Sharing: A record is kept of the process of learning for children to review and see their own progress, as well as to share with others. 

Parents as Partners: Parents are respected as the primary influences on children’s learning and are actively engaged in life at school.

While I love each and every one of these key elements of Reggio-inspired learning, there is another central principle, rarely highlighted as a core to the approach, that inspires me even more.

The Reggio approach emerged out of inspired parental love and hope. 

What is now known around the world as Reggio-inspired learning began in the days following World War II when a group of parents in the war torn region of Reggio Emilia in northern Italy banded together to build a preschool. Having just withstood the horrors of Nazism and fascism, they wanted a school that would prepare their children to stand strong against oppression, injustice, and inequality. 

And so, for me, the core of Reggio-inspired learning is to strive to recreate the inspired parental love and hope that existed at the very beginning in Reggio-Emilia. It is our role as educators to support parents to prepare children to stand strong against the oppression, injustice, and inequality they may experience in a future we cannot yet even imagine. How to do so requires ongoing reflection and creative collaboration. As a beginning, at Discovery Village we have embraced the core value of caring – caring for self, others, our communities, and our world. We spent the entire month of February in interdisciplinary projects and activities focused on caring. 

Putting values and character at the core of what we do will be an ongoing commitment. As we focus on impactful implementation, I welcome your thoughts, ideas, and insights.