Friday, March 29, 2013

Safe Snacks: Dairy & Nut Free

Always read all ingredients and look for allergy warnings.  When in doubt, either don't serve it and / or save the packaging for the parent to check.  

These items should be SAFE:
All fresh fruit
All fresh veggies
Dry cereal - Cheerios, Kix
Cherrybrook Kitchen baking mixes (cake, cookies, brownies, muffins)
Crunchies freeze dried products (fruits and veggies)
Teddy Grahams (honey or cinnamon)
Tortilla chips
Crackers - list of brands coming soon
Popcorn (no butter, check oils)
Sun butter (in place of peanut butter)
Pea puffs (snap pea crisps)

These things are usually NOT safe:
Cheese or cheese flavored items
Chocolate (dairy and contaminated with nuts)
Granola / trail mix (usually contaminated with nuts)
Dips (usually have dairy)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Personal Safety of Small Children

Nancy Reynolds of Advocates for Children lead a discussion on personal safety of small children for a group of us parents today.  Below is the information she shared with us. 

Tips for open communication and safety:
Use correct terminology
Starting at birth, include private parts in your discussion of body parts.  Identify the parts with their correct names.  

Keep power over your child's body with your child
Don't force your child to hug or kiss or otherwise physically touch or be touched by others, even close family members.  

Define types of touch
Brainstorm the first two with your child.  
Happy touch - hugs, holding hands, tickling, snuggles, etc
Sad / Angry / Scared touch - hitting, hair pulling, etc
Secret touch - when your private parts are touched for no reason, or you are tricked or forced to touch someone else's private parts; when you are asked to keep touching a secret.  (You can also discuss the difference between happy secrets, such as a birthday present, that are kept for a short time versus secrets you are asked to keep for forever). 
The Clean and Healthy Rules
The only times a private area should be touched are if someone is helping to keep the private parts clean or healthy.  You can brainstorm these situations with your child.  A child can always ask why an adult needs to touch a private area. 

Ask "What if ..."
Ask your child what he or she would do in various types of situations.  (This is helpful for all safety areas including gun safety, fire safety, strangers, crossing the street, etc)  Don't forget to discuss touching scenarios as not only having your child's body touched, but by being tricked or forced to touch the perpetrators body. 

Practice responses
Help your child practice what to say and do in uncomfortable situations.  This includes: saying "stop," "don't touch my _____,"  or "I am going to tell;" walking away; list of people to tell when something has happened. 

Repeat like any other type of safety
You can not tell your child this information just once or twice.  Ask "what if" questions, practice responses, read books, and otherwise discuss this information with your child as you would any other type of safety lesson.  Times to revisit this discussion include when your child gains more independence, such as starting school or spending more time away from at play dates. 

Monitor who your child spends time with
You can make surprise visits to any day care, class, coaching, or babysitting to see what is occurring.  Know who your child is playing with and how they play together.  As your child gets older, rather than observing all play, ask questions such as "Who did you play with today?" and "What games did you play?" 

When something goes wrong
Keep calm
Keep your thoughts inside as much as possible when confronted with a report from your child.  If you over react, you might frighten your child and he or she might not discuss it more.  

Investigate odd behavior
This is particularly important with nonverbal children.  You know your child best, so watch for changes in behavior.  Especially of concern is a sudden changes in how a child reacts to an individual.  Masturbation is not an odd behavior unless a child frequently for goes regular play to do so. 

Expect curiosity ...
It is natural for children to be interested in their bodies and the bodies of others.  Masturbation is normal.  "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" or "playing doctor" is also normal with young children of the same age. 

But watch for games with inequality in power
Even between children close in age, games where the power is not equal are concerning.  For example, a stronger, smarter, or more popular child leading a game of "doctor."

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Author Study Ideas

Leslie Patriceilli (baby faces sort)
Mo Willems
Lucy Cousins (Maisy)
Lois Elhert (collage)
Sandra Boynton
Kevin Heneks (Kitten's First Full Moon, Old Bear, Little White Rabbit)
Rosemary Wells (Max and Ruby)
P.D. Eastman
Shel Silverstien
Eric Hill
Busy ... series by John Schindel
Jack Ezra Keats

Monday, February 18, 2013

Books about Cooking

The Little Red Hen (various versions, I like Rebecca Emberly)
Pete's a Pizza by William Stief
Pancakes! Pancakes! by Eric Carle
Cooking with the Cat
Grandpa and Me by Karen Katz
ABC of Cookies
Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells
Fancy Nancy: Delectable Cupcakes by Jane O'Connor
Fancy Nancy:Tea Parties by Jane O'Connor
Amelia Bedelia Bakes Off
Curious George Makes Pancakes by HA Rey
Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
If You Give a Pig a Pancake
If You Give a Moose a Muffin
If You Give a Dog a Donut
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Elhert
Dragons Love Tacos
Spicy Hot Colors
Bread and Jam for Francis
Ruby's Tea for Two by Rosemary Wells
Counting Peas by Rosemary Wells
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss
Blueberries for Sal
Bee-Bim Bop!
Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Elhert
Strega Nona by Tomi
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child
Maisy Grows a Garden by Lucy Cousins (Fed 2013)
I Like Vegetables

Our list of apple titles.
Our list of pumpkin titles. 

Today is Mondayby Eric Carle
Party in My Tummy(Yo Gabba Gabba)
Bear Wants More
Gregory, The Terrible Eater
Feast for Ten
Max's Breakfast by Rosemary Wells
Little Pea

For Really Little Ones:
Mealtime by Roger Priddy
Stratch and Sniff Food by DK
Baby Food by Margaret Miller
Baby's First Food by Hinkler (Publisher)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Eric Carle!

I wrote up what we did for our two Eric Carle sessions to post on my blog, so why not post it here, too!

Session 1:
Eric Carle stories playing on YouTube during free play.  

The kids had a Very Hungry Caterpillar snack (apples, pears, strawberries, and oranges) while I read them the book.

During circle time I sang Today is Monday.

We closed circle with the kids picking a book and reading it with an adult.

Our art project was exploring different mediums in one color (crayong, oil pastel, colored pencil, marker), then painting over it in variety of colors.

Take home was "I feel grouchy when" lady bugs.  (Didn't have time to read the book)

Session 2:
During snack, I read three Eric Carle books: Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?; The Man Who Painted a Blue Horse; and Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? 

Quickly went into the scavenger hunt game because the kids were taking down the animals. (For this game I just color copied the last page of Brown Bear and hid them around the house).  The kids colored in the pictures on a sheet as they found them. 

During free play, we sang Old McDonald with a basket of animal stuffed animals I'd gathered.

Our art project was tearing and gluing colored tissue, then using unconventional materials (foam, tubes, bubble wrap, stamper brushes, roller brush, styrofoam balls, gift wrap bows) to paint the tissue.

Take home activity color or paint wooden bears and butterflies and make into fridge magnets.

The only activity from session 2 we didn't get to was to read and play From Head to Toe. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Children and art, fundamentals of development (by Rachel)

Here's Rachel's wonderful post I'd ask her to write for us about child art development.  We'll get some pics in there soon!

 Children and art, fundamentals of development

How children progress in Art making through stages.

In my former life I was an Art teacher, part of my education was learning how art and development start out one in the same and the different stages children go through – pretty critical in designing appropriate curriculum per age/grade. Being that I worked with children starting in kindergarten I didn't see much of the earliest stages of art making. It's been really fun watching Imogene go through this artistic development and seeing first hand how she's progressed.

“Art” is a huge part of development in humans. Studies have shown and concluded that all humans, no matter what part of the world they live in or their socioeconomic status go through the same developmental stages in drawing, this happens to start with mark making. Some of this is a factor of fine motor skill ability and cognitive changes that happen in the brain as a child understands they can manipulate their environment. Now, an individual with a developmental delay may stay in the same “art stage” that coincides with their cognitive functioning abilities and never move on to the next step. Each stage happens naturally and without any kind of adult intervention. The ages are really really general and I only put them in as a generalized average. A 4 or 5 year old could be in the “scribble” stage and still progress. There are about 6 stages of “artistic”development children go through from ages 18 months through ages 15/16.

The scribble stage (approx 18 months- age 3)

Generally, although each child is different, at around 18 months children start to become interested in “making marks” they recognize when they use a tool (crayon, marker, bath soap, paint, anything really) it makes a mark. This isn't about making anything in particular just connecting cause and effect. This goes on for about 6 months (again each child is an individual.) You will typically see a variety of marks- many look like scribbles, some look like dots. Children will do this anywhere, as it is about experimentation, “does the crayon also work on the wall? My shirt? The dog? The fridge?” Imogene at about 13 months old liked to finger paint on the kitchen floor :-) I watch a friends almost two year old from time to time and I remember him being enthralled with hitting a painted maraca on the side of my dishwasher. When I went over to stop him, I saw a sprinkling of red dots from the paint rubbing off onto the metal of the dishwasher. Needless to say, any object can be used! The marks/scribbles they make will change over time. Eventually you can observe more organized “Scribbles” and a child may start to name them and assign meaning to them. The first recognizable shape children make is called a mandala (a circle with an x through it) The first time I can remember Imogene naming a scribble was when one of her preschool teachers was pregnant and Imogene identified a little scribbled circle as “Baby Saylor.” Lines will go back and forth or up and down and may curve a little- children will also stop coloring off the paper and may try to “imitate” drawings made by someone else (for example if you are coloring with your child they may attempt to copy you or color over your drawing)

Preschematic (symbols/stories) stage (approx ages 3-4.5)

Around age 3ish children will start to become more representational. The first recognizable thing they draw is a person – I call them tadpoles or sperm because they start with a circle which typically has a face in the middle and two lines off the bottom as “legs” I had many many many 5 year olds in my kindergarten classes who still drew people that way. Children will develop other recognizable symbols- a house- a cat, things that are important to them or that they want to tell a story about-this can become involved and complex- working out issues they have with drawings. This can help them resolve problems and feel better.

Schematic stage (approx age 4-6)

Children eventually come up with a “set” of symbols and use them very orderly, the symbols are composed in the drawing with purpose. There is a baseline and all object sit on that line, usually this is the ground shown as a green line on the bottom of the picture. All other symbols are drawn over that green line. There will also be a blue strip (for sky) and a sun at the top. This style is repeated endlessly in drawing after drawing. Children will also make objects bigger and out of proportion, for example when drawing a family portrait, they may draw themselves very large and everyone else small, as they consider themselves most important. Children continue to use drawing as a way to work out issues or tell a story about themselves.

Ok, so I’m going stop here as non of our kids are older than 6 and most likely aren't showing any developmental signs past the schematic stage. I hope this was informational and that you have fun identifying some of the things your child is doing! Please feel free to post/ask any questions. I did try to be very clear although I often forget not everyone is familiar with art education :-)

Friday, January 25, 2013

MMM themes

List of themes:
  • Apples (x2)
  • Trees (x2)
  • Pumpkins / orange
  • Silver and gold / stars
  • Gray / rain
  • Cupcake birthday party
  • Halloween Party
  • Thanksgiving Party
  • Christmas Party
  • Music play
  • Eric Carle (x2)
  • Valentine's Day prep
  • Cooking: Rice Krispie Treats
  • Dr Seuss
  •  Friendship
  • Easter
Possibly Future Themes:
  • Flags (Betsy Ross book)
  • Planting seeds
  • Wind (pinwheels or kites, parachute, bubbles)
  • Other spring ideas:  flowers, bugs
  • Rain (with puddle jumping??)
  • Making ice cream
  • Bees & honey
  • Slumber party!
  • Camping 
  • Firemen and fire safety
  • Police officers
  • School (mid August)
  • Beach (ffield trip with books, ideas for sand play)  
  • Water (great for play in kiddie pool) 
  • Snowmen (might have to wait until next year!)