Child Care Education

Articles and news for professional child care educators.

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studyAlthough some children appear to be born with a natural inclination for routine and order, others are free spirits and need some assistance in order to discover ways to make their life run more smoothly. Teaching children organizational skills can make family life run a lot more efficiently and cut down friction when children have to keep their rooms clean and do homework and there are some good tips that can help with this learning process.

One smart idea is to track all of the family activities on a calendar that is accessible to everyone. Every night get together and discuss the activities that are scheduled for the following day and encourage kids to check the calendar before adding any other activity.

Daily checklists are also a good idea to help keep track of homework, instrument practice or household chores. This also teaches children how to prioritize. Teach children to prepare their clothes for the following day the night before and have everything laid out for the morning, including making lunches and packing their backpack.

Another way to teach children organization is to encourage them to have some kind of collection that can be classified, sorted and organized.

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dad-son-readingIt can be both easy and fun to teach children about finances. Learning about money helps children to also learn how to be generous, responsible and aware of their spending decisions. It is never too early to start teaching your kids about finances in your family. Children who understand what is required to be able to run a household are able to learn the value of money at a very young age.

One way to introduce children to the concept of money and balancing a budget is to give them chores for which they are paid an allowance. It is also a good idea to teach them to save around ten percent of that allowance in a savings account. You should not allow them to borrow against future allowances for a larger purchase, but to save for any items outside of their current budget, thus setting a healthy precedent and attitude to money for their adult life.

Giving children an allowance that they can spend largely as they wish establishes a foundation for dealing with money and being mindful about things that they really want to buy and things that need to be saved up for in order to acquire. Working for chores also teaches them the importance of the concept of work for pay.

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When students go on a break that does not automatically mean that learning should stop, and indeed there are methods that families can employ to keep young minds active and allow them to keep learning even outside of the classroom. Breaks give youngsters the chance to sharpen the skills that they have so far been taught, but even holiday activities include a number of teachable moments. It is crucial that learning be fun, especially during time off.

It is easy for young students to brush up on science, math and reading skills while having fun over the holidays. Children should be encouraged to read for about half an hour every day of their holiday, or parents can read to younger children themselves. Set aside some time for reading for the whole family.

When it comes to math, working with decimals, fractions and percentages is easy – if possible, have kids work out how much sugar or flour was used in the baking of cookies.

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As a new mom, with a successful career, I began my search for the “perfect” daycare setting. I knew many women were able to manage career and child and thought that I would have the same experience. After changing daycare providers four times in one year, I was frustrated and guilt ridden. Dealing with the guilt of not being there to watch all those “firsts”………….first steps, first words, first discoveries, was hard enough, the search for the best childcare environment was simply overwhelming.

My husband and I agreed we needed to change our current situation, and discussed the possibility of opening a home daycare. We knew that making a career change would mean a change in our lifestyle and our spending habits, what we didn’t know. is the positive impact this change would make not only in our family life, but in the lives of other working parents.

The experience I gained as a parent searching for daycare, and my corporate background offered structure and business sense to my new found venture. I was “schedule-bound” and established a daily routine filled with fun and educational activities, nutritious meals, arts and crafts, which appealed to many working parents.

Although my new career provided instant gratification for my family, I was constantly troubled by the increasing number of phone calls I received from working parents searching for quality childcare. I could only care for so many children, and maintained an ever growing waiting list. I knew there had to be a solution, to assist these mother’s searching for childcare providers and for those who considered opening a home daycare, but didn’t know how to start the process.

Becoming a quality daycare provider is not a complicated task, but it can be time consuming, when you don’t know where to begin. Preparing your home, creating a schedule, planning activities, operating the business aspects, creating or locating the appropriate forms, maintaining records and bookkeeping, defining polices and procedures and knowing who to contact and what questions to ask them.

In 1999 I launched the Daycare Hotline to offer my product line to providers, free childcare information for parents, a childcare search and article database for home daycare providers. If you’re considering becoming a Daycare Provider, I think you’ll find my Daycare Success System , the most affordable package of information available, not only to assist you in the start up phases, but to guide you through managing the business aspects of your Home Daycare.

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By Linda Raas
www.Nestfamily.com/lraas

 Definite changes concerning the issue of RESPECT within our society as a whole, have taken place since the 1950’s. More and more, we see those who step over that invisible line, with behaviors that they allow themselves to exhibit unchecked, from someplace deep within. Today, people feel at risk on the highways, in the schools, at work. Where the rage is coming from is complex, to be sure. While we are in this present phase of Retro from the 50’s being ‘in’ and fashionable once more, maybe we could also revisit some of the values that were present at that time. Respect was emphasized, and ran like a thread through the society at a much higher-level, than it does today. Respect is a building block for our children’s future, and that of our society’s structure. Respect breeds kindness in a society, and is a key character trait on which other values can build.

Media is a big influence on all our lives in any time period. Today, many Sitcoms, the Cartoon fare, music, and video games insidiously seep in, and many continually feed, images of disrespect of ‘kids to parents’ and of ‘kids to kids’, laying down a foundation for hostile actions and violence being acted out. These constant images are a real problem, and one to take seriously.

“Lighten up!” they say? When Respect is sacrificed without showing consequences for doing so, there is a price to pay. Our children are paying that price. Don’t allow yourself to think it isn’t a big deal. It is a very big deal. Even if a kid is so street smart that he or she has ‘seen and heard it all’, it doesn’t mean that the child needs to see or hear anymore of it. Attitudes are being learned and absorbed continually. Our children are like sponges, absorbing all that is around them, the good stuff, and the bad stuff together.

A child’s forming attitude of respect is a very important thing to guide in them. Their attitude of respect can, and will be, a future protection for them. Not only will it lead to a happier and better life, but children and adults who have a basis of respect in their integrated value system, are not as readily affected by violent scenes that they may and will have occasion to see, as are those children and adults who do not have this basis of respect as part of their integrated value system. If respect is the cornerstone of a person’s value system, this will in the end, make a difference in HOW they react to exposure they may receive. This is preventative. Feelings of anger won’t be stepping over that invisible line and exploding into violence. We can no longer only to be concerned about bad habits a person may develop over time, but are now dealing with school violence all over the country and in the workplace.

Respect must be taught as a core value to children at a very young age. A value system with respect integrated as part of it, will reject these ways of acting out they may see, while the opposite is true of those who have no basis of respect integrated in their value systems. Formal talks with children about respect, and why we have respect, need to take place throughout their growth process, and is a must. For parents to be thinking ‘they know’ is not enough. Talk, talk, and talk. Forming the attitudes of respect for authority and for one another, beginning at the Pre-School level and all the way up through the grades, can and will most definitely make a huge difference and outcome for the future society as a whole, let alone the life of the child. The time for teaching values is as soon as a child can understand direction and adult example. Values and choices kids make at 20 depend on the value system they learned before the age of 10. The time to impress values on children is when they are young. Some parents keep waiting. Teach children what is right, what is wrong, what is healthy for their lives, what is smart, and then teach them how to be strong enough to make the right choice. It is important to start NOW to train them to listen to and not to ignore or override their ‘gut’ feelings of what they know inside is the right thing to do. Teach values now.

Always keep in mind how much the media of television, movies, video games, and music matters. Much of the media is not concerned about the children’s values in the production of their products. They make what sells. Know what they are watching and hearing. Visuals, music, and words remain with us all. We store house all of it. It is in there. Protect yourself and your family from what you allow to enter your minds. Set your own family ratings, as the official movie ratings are unreliable. What is PG or PG-13 today, is not the PG or PG-13 of even 5 years ago. And believe how very much music lyrics do matter. What we hear over and over again we remember, store away, and incorporate. How many parents can recite almost word for word the lyrics of some of their favorite music of when they were young?

Media also has a very powerful positive side. Media can also be utilized to have a very positive effect, and is a very useful and powerful force for teaching. We can choose and enjoy positive choices for television viewing, movies, video, and music. We can use positive images and positive musical lyrics to form a base from which to build strong character values. What kids are seeing and listening to again, and again, and again becomes a part of them, and can be helpful to their growth process. You have heard, “You are what you eat.” We aren’t only what we eat, but what we hear and what we see!

My company, Kid Character Builders www.kidcharacter.com has brought together exceptional award winning collections of Character Education Resources, representing several companies whose goals are to educate the whole child. These Resources were created for Parents, Schools, Daycare, and any child-centered organization or program concerned with the topics of character education and child safety. The positive power of Film, Video, Music, Song Lyrics, and the Reinforcement of Activity Resource Books are used. Images and Music do shape what we think, talk and feel, and are useful as powerful tools for teaching the values of character education, and safety. Music is especially important as a learning tool, and has been shown to help with the actual retention of what is being learned, engaging a special part of the brain. With these winning collections, children learn positive character traits and values, with sing-a-long song lyrics set to engaging, fun music.

Educators know that children learn and remember best using a combination of their senses, through what they SEE, HEAR and DO. These programs have been a successfully used across the country, using these principles. The children look to us for answers and guidance. Start early. Kid Character Builders can help. http://www.Nestfamily.com/lraas

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THE CARE PROVIDERS

Yes No
? ? Do the children receive the individual attention,
warmth and understanding that you would like
for your child?
? ? Are the children encouraged to make friends with
other children?
? ? Are the children happy as they play and talk to
one another and the caregivers?
? ? Do caregivers recognize when a child is sad,
upset or excited?
? ? Is an effort made to listen to and answer
children’s questions in ways they understand?
? ? Is discipline handled in a positive manner?
? ? Do caregivers supervise the children at all times
including during naptime?
? ? If the child does not fall asleep during naptime is
the child engaged in a quiet activity?
? ? Do you sense that the caregiver feels good about
being with children, and has a sense of humor
and enthusiasm?
? ? Does the caregiver have professional training in
child care development?

STAFF TO CHILD RATIOS

Yes No
? ? Do the ratios meet the following required
standards?
Infants 1:5 or 2:11
1 yr olds 1:6 or 2:13
2 yr olds 1:8
3 yr olds 1:13
4 yr olds 1:15
5 yr olds 1:20
School Age 1:20
Small Group Home 1:5 (15 max., 10 for
Compensation)

ENVIRONMENT

Yes No
? ? Do the caregivers allow the children to engage in
activities by themselves and with other children?
? ? Is the space arranged so that children are able to
freely select materials according to their own
interests and abilities, and return them when they
are finished?
? ? Do you hear caregivers in the program giving
praise and encouragement to children to enhance
their self-confidence?
? ? As you see children participating in the program,
do they seem to be enjoying the activities?
? ? Do the caregivers help the children learn through
a variety of activities?
? ? Is the program well supplied with equipment and
supplies, such as books, games, blocks and other
manipulative toys and creative art materials?
? ? Are the activity areas neat, clean and attractively
decorated?
? ? Are there spaces for active and quiet play?
? ? Are cultural activities planned?

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Yes No
? ? Are sanitary arrangements made for diaper
changing procedures?
? ? Is the area for program activities well lit,
ventilated, and free from odors?
? ? Are the indoor and outdoor spaces for children
safe and free of hazards? For example: Radiators
covered, stairways protected, windows protected,
electrical outlets covered with safety caps,
outdoor space fenced and free from debris,
broken glass, etc.
? ? Are heavy pieces of furniture, such as storage
shelves and bookcases, secure and stable so that
they cannot tip over?
? ? Are emergency fire drill and evacuation procedures
posted in a conspicuous place in each room?
? ? Are toys and equipment clean and in good repair?
For example: Free from sharp edges, splinters,
paint chips and loose parts.
? ? Are cleaning supplies locked?
? ? Is a written emergency record kept for each child?
? ? Are there background checks on all caregivers?
? ? Are first aid supplies readily available and does at
least one person have current first aid and CPR
certification?
? ? Are there written procedures to release your child
to another person?
? ? Are there written procedures to follow when a
child becomes sick?
? ? Are sick children kept separate from the other
children?
? ? Are the meals and snacks:
– Nutritious and attractive?
– Inclusive of food items reflecting the
children’s age and cultural background?
– Suitable to meet the needs of children on
special diets?
? ? Is the area clean that is used for food preparation
and eating?
? ? Do the caregivers eat with the children?
? ? Can children reach the toilet and sink easily and
safely?
? ? Is the facility accessible and usable by

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These days, it’s tough being a Cleveland Browns fan, especially when you’re surrounded by Steelers fans.  But as you can see from this photo, I don’t mind being surrounded by the competition.  😉

surrounded-by-compNevertheless, what should you do if your child care is surrounded by the competition?

In my child care marketing consulting practice, I’m seeing more and more centers with increasing levels of competition. Whether from in-home daycares or new centers that were built recently, more centers are competing for fewer new clients.  This can be a problem because the new competition tends to drive down the price customers will pay, drive up costs, and overwhelm new parents.

However, you don’t have to roll over and give in.  With the right strategies, you can beat the other child care centers in your market. The greatest tool for doing this is a strong marketing program that clearly states how you are UNIQUE and different than your competitors.  Can you honestly say that your marketing answers this all-important question:

Why should I choose to enroll my child at your center rather than any other child care center in town?

Average marketing will only get you average results. To be highly successful, you need to use a marketing plan that enables you to stand out. Effective marketing will:

  • Make sure your center’s name comes up when parents are looking for child care.
  • Enter the conversation already going on in parent’s heads.
  • Make the competition a non-issue.
  • Return to you $2, $5, $10 or more dollars for every dollar you spend on marketing.
  • Allow you to charge higher rates than average.
  • Have a system that allows you to fill vacancies at will.
  • Provide better care for the kids under your care.
  • Have a waiting list of parents.
  • Hire the best staff.
  • And best of all, improve your profitability (or financial health if you’re a non-profit).

As you can see, great marketing is important regardless of your situation, whether you are surrounded by competition or not.  An effective marketing plan simply has too much to offer.

As you may know, I have been helping child care centers with their marketing and enrollment-building challenges for a while now, as a coach and teacher, doing just what I have shown above.  I love doing it and helping centers grow but I also understand many child cares can’t yet afford this level of personal coaching and consulting (I regularly charge $150 an hour plus).

So to make this available to everyone and help you beat your competition, I have put together the Child Care Business Success System.  With this one-of-a-kind training program, you will be able to win against all the other centers in your area I guarantee it!

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