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Growing Kids Learning Centers by Growing Kids Learning Center - 2M ago

Kids are highly perceptive, and equally as vocal about what they see. They’ll be the first to tell you that you look tired or, God forbid, old. They’ll also be quick to mention whenever they see differences amongst other people.

If the thought of your child pointing out a person who is different than them is simply mortifying, you’re not alone. It’s common for kids to want to understand the newness of the world around them! However, there are great lessons in empathy that show up at these opportunities.

You might not fully be able to prevent your child from shouting about a woman using a wheelchair, but you will be able to teach tolerance with these tips from Growing Kids Learning Centers. Find out how to teach young kids about differences, and look into preschool and child care with our schools in South Bend (at Ireland Road, State Road 23, and North Bendix Drive), Chesterton, Goshen, Warsaw, Plymouth, Elkhart, Bristol, or Valparaiso today!

Give Examples

If you’re trying to avoid having your child call attention to someone who’s different from them, be proactive! Find books and movies that show great examples of representation. If the majority of your child’s exposure to fictional and nonfictional characters are very similar to them or your family, find more diverse examples.

There are some amazing, kid-friendly books that do the work of giving examples of differences for you. Purchase “It’s Okay to Be Different” by Todd Parr, “Elmer” by David McKee, “Princess Hair” by Sharee Miller, and “The Boy in the Dress” by David Walliams for your library collection.

Have Open Discussions

When you were growing up, you might have had moments where adults told you not to notice or think about other people’s differences. You might have even been told not to talk about them, or been scolded for your inquiries. At best, this breeds a lot of curiosity without direction; at worst, it creates feelings of shame.

No child should be ashamed for asking questions, especially when they have no context for what they’re asking about. Have conversations about appropriate times (and speaking volumes!) to ask questions, how other people might feel if they become the center of attention without their permission, and how you will always answer your child’s questions — it just might not be right when they want an answer.

Relate it Back to Them

The great thing about this lesson is that everyone is different! We all have our own unique tendencies, looks, and personalities. Even when your child might feel like someone else is different, the truth is that the stranger walking on the street will find them (your child) just as different!

It’s always important to focus on how we have things in common with one another, but it’s even more important to remember how our greatest commonality is that we are all different. And these differences can and should be celebrated.

Enroll in Preschool

From the books we read at Growing Kids Learning Centers to the peer-to-peer interactions we help supervise, facilitate, and use as teaching moments, your child will confidently learn how to embrace others’ differences — as well as their own. Social-emotional growth and empathy are two of the greatest and most important skills for a child to learn. Preschool is the perfect place to work on these skills, especially when you enroll with Growing Kids Learning Centers. Tour one of our schools today!

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Growing Kids Learning Centers by Growing Kids Learning Center - 2M ago

Self-care seems to be overlooked or forgotten about for parents, and frankly, this is oftentimes intentional. There are a lot of myths that revolve around self-care, which is why Growing Kids Learning Centers is here to clear the air. Find the truth about self-care myths for parents in today’s blog, and schedule a visit with any one of our preschool and child care centers in Goshen, Warsaw, Plymouth, Elkhart, Valparaiso, South Bend (at Ireland Road, State Road 23, and North Bendix Drive), Chesterton, or Bristol today!

Myth: “Parents should take care of their kids, not themselves.”

Fact: The two aren’t mutually exclusive! Plus, a parent can’t properly take care of their preschooler or 3rd grader if their basic needs aren’t met. And besides — parents can love their children unconditionally and still want time for themselves. To give yourself as a parent takes a tremendous toll, in spite of how rewarding it can be.

An iPhone or a remote controller can only run for so long before needing a recharge. Needing to recharge our batteries doesn’t make us bad parents, it makes us human.

Myth: “It’s selfish of parents to want time to themselves.”

Fact: Everyone should want time to themselves! It’s healthy, and it’s a way to stay connected to our individuality. Parenting just happens to be this strange situation where you simultaneously miss your kids like crazy, and also want a minute alone.

As our preschool and daycare center has said before, it’s essential for parents to be at their best selves to be their best selves as parents. Sometimes recharging can only happen most authentically and most fully when parents are on their own.

Myth: “This is what parents signed up for.”

Fact: Nothing can ever fully prepare someone for becoming a parent. We can go into parenting knowing that we’ll be overwhelmed, but that doesn’t magically erase those future moments when we feel stressed out. Parents still deserve self-care, and they shouldn’t have to fully sacrifice every single fiber of their being or their interests at all times — that’s an unfair expectation that parents already face.

Myth: “I didn’t take time off of parenting, why should others?”

Fact: No parenting situation is identical, for starters. No human experience is identical, for that matter! Each parent brings their own unique strengths and areas of growth to the table. Our fears, challenges, triumphs, and dreams are all wonderfully unique to us. Comparison is not only unproductive and unreasonable, but also unfair.

Every person deserves self-care — parents included. At Growing Kids Learning Centers, we know that we can help parents by providing the best child care and preschool programs in Northern Indiana. When you need assistance with coverage and want nothing less than exceptional care, we’ve got you covered. Read our reviews to see why people love the peace of mind that comes from child care with Growing Kids, and contact us to set up a tour today before space fills up. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Growing Kids Learning Centers by Growing Kids Learning Center - 2M ago

The average mom gets 17 minutes of free time to herself every day. She also works as a mom for 98 hours a week.

When we think of burnout, we often picture stressed out workers at their hectic office jobs. We rarely think about parents. And with the stats on how busy and involved parents are, it’s no wonder that so many parents are feeling worn down.

Self-care is hard to practice when your whole world revolves around the care of your children. For that reason, our child care center has compiled a list of things that you can (and must) do as a parent. Try out some of these tips, and visit one of the Growing Kids Learning Centers in Elkhart, Valparaiso, South Bend (at Ireland Road, State Road 23, and North Bendix Drive), Chesterton, Goshen, Warsaw, Plymouth, or Bristol today.

Make Time for Yourself

We all complain that there’s not enough time, but that’s not really the problem (although, our child care center will be the first to say that parents have very little free time, if any!). It’s what we’re doing with the time that makes the biggest difference, and how we manage our energy.

It’s far easier to scroll through social media without intention than to sit down and do something that will truly make you feel better. When you purposefully make an effort to do an activity that brings you true joy, such as reading or playing an instrument, you’ll feel exponentially more fulfilled and refreshed.

Of course, spending time on social media isn’t a bad thing, and it can be a great source of connection. But more often than not, we end up mindlessly scrolling through news feeds and consciously or subconsciously comparing ourselves to others. If you catch yourself feeling this way while browsing Facebook or the like, it’s a sign to switch to something more restorative.

Cut Out Obligations

Whether it’s carpooling for your child’s fourth after school activity or a work meeting that could absolutely be resolved in a weekly email, there’s something in all of our lives that we don’t want to do. The good news is that we have the ability to cut some of these things out.

If you feel like there’s no time in your week or if there’s a commitment in particular that’s causing you anxiety, it’s OK to figure out a way to cut it out. Even if you’re just cutting back instead of eliminating entirely, you’ll feel so much relief from not having to do something you don’t want to. Saying no is definitely a form of self-care!

Journal Consistently

At our child care centers, we talk about expressing our feelings all the time. Journaling is one of the best ways to do so, and to feel better as a whole. Reflect on what’s working in your life and what’s not, what you’re grateful for and what you’re struggling with, and show yourself compassion through writing. Journaling is one of the best ways to help yourself process things, and it’s amazing to look back on where you’ve been and how far you’ve come by keeping a consistent, written record.

Savor the Small Things

So often we take for granted the most basic things that make up the fabric of our day-to-day lives. Hot, running water in the shower (even hot water for doing dishes shouldn’t be dismissed!), walks on the sidewalk, our children learning a new skill, or even just the fact that your coffeemaker is brewing in the morning are all pretty ordinary things on the surface. But when you take time to truly savor how incredible each thing is, you’ll feel more grounded and grateful.

Choose one thing to focus on each day, and focus on the nuances and details that make this task or activity so special.

Talk With Loved Ones

If your child was struggling, wouldn’t you want them to talk to you about it? Our loved ones are here to support us, just as we are here to support them. You are not alone in the struggles of parenthood — everyone has a tough time, because parenting is ridiculously tough!

When you feel overwhelmed, reach out to a loved one and share what’s going on. If you feel like you keep having the same struggles and you’re saying the same things, consider reaching out to a therapist for some additional great insights. There should never be any shame for talking to someone and getting the help that you need.

Sign Up For Child Care

Whether you need to clean the house without interruptions, to get to your job, or to have a moment to breathe, Growing Kids Learning Centers is here to help. We love working with children more than anything, and we still know how tough it can be to be a parent. That’s why we offer flexible child care in the Northern Indiana area for families to rely upon, and have been doing so for more than 20 years.

When you take a break for yourself, you’re still a parent, and you’re not shirking on your responsibilities. What you are doing is preparing yourself to be an even better parent in the future. Downtime doesn’t just feel good, it’s necessary! So let our child care centers help make that happen for you. Even if you end up just getting to listen to your favorite musician while on your way to pick up your 2-year-old, you’re still making time for you, which we believe every parent deserves to do. Contact us today to set up a tour!

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Choosing a daycare program or preschool for your child is a huge decision. Many parents and families stress over this because they understandably want their children to have the best possible start in life.

At Growing Kids Learning Center, we acknowledge how difficult this decision is. Our preschool and child care teachers have compiled a list of things for you to consider when looking into programs for your young one. While we know that our preschool and daycare center is an exceptional place for every child to grow, we believe families should make informed decisions that they feel confident in. Whether it’s with us or elsewhere, we hope this guiding list helps you choose an incredible daycare or preschool program for your child! Find out more from Growing Kids Learning Centers, and visit one of our locations in South Bend (at Ireland Road, State Road 23, and North Bendix Drive), Elkhart, Valparaiso, Chesterton, Goshen, Warsaw, or Bristol today.

What is the overall look?

When you’re touring daycare and child care facilities, first impressions are everything. You’ll immediately get a sense of there being a possibility for this school or not from the moment you enter the building and start walking around.

Are things kept pretty tidy? Are there good security measures in place? Are staff happy to greet you and answer any questions you have? Are children engaged in learning or play activities? These are some of the first things you’ll pick up on, and if you don’t like what you see, that’s a pretty good indicator that this is not the daycare facility for your family to consider.

What sounds am I hearing?

This might seem like a strange question to ask, but it’s a very important one. It’s something that you’ll intuitively do, but when you’re intentionally thinking about the sounds that you’re picking up on, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about your child’s potential daycare or preschool.

For example, do you hear child voices? Are teachers doing all the talking? If it’s silent, is there nap time? What are the tones in voices that you’re picking up on? How are adults talking to children and other adults, and how are children talking to adults and other children? Take all these things into account as you’re making your decision.

How do I feel when I’m here?

If you don’t feel comfortable at a daycare or preschool facility, you probably won’t want to send your child there. The right child care center should feel like a growing and learning environment. It should feel positive and uplifting, and a place where young ones can truly thrive.

Ultimately, your intuition is crucial for making your decision. As a parent or guardian, you know your child best, and you should trust your gut about the daycare or preschool you’re looking into. If you send your young one to a place you’re not comfortable with, you’ll feel even more stress than trying to find the right daycare to begin with. You shouldn’t send your child somewhere that makes you feel uneasy or defensive. If those are the feelings you’re getting, it’s best to say “thank you for your time!” and look into another option.

Choosing a daycare or preschool program can be stressful, but we know that you’ll find the right place for your young one. As tough as the search can be, it’s the kind of thing where once you’ve found the right place, you’ll have lasting relief and satisfaction. The search to find the right daycare is absolutely worth it! Growing Kids Learning Centers is happy to have you tour our school or ask any questions that are on your mind. Contact us to see if we’d be a good fit for your family!

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Welcome back to our blog series on gift ideas that aren’t toys! When you have kids who have more fun with the box than the actual toy, it’s a good time to recognize that buying the latest and greatest novelty might not be in their best interest. With these gift ideas from our preschool and child care center, you can help your child build new hobbies, new understandings, and find new sources of joy.

Try some of these gift ideas this year for something different, and schedule a school visit at one of our Growing Kids Learning Centers in Bristol, South Bend (at Ireland Road, Goshen, State Road 23, and North Bendix Drive), Goshen, Elkhart, Valparaiso, or Chesterton!

Cooking Kits

Kids love helping out in the kitchen (well, maybe not as much with the clean-up part), and who can blame them? They get to put their hands in the dough, stir things, mix ingredients together, and the finished result is something tasty. There are some amazing kits out there that allow kids to bake in real life. Of course, having a pretend kitchen set can be so much fun for kids to explore and use their imagination with. But for your little chef who always wants to make something new, this is a productive gift for them to enjoy.

Puzzles

Puzzles are a great way for kids to work on their problem-solving skills, and they take a good amount of concentration. Plus, they help develop fine motor skills and a sense of shape and space. There are traditional two-dimensional puzzles that your toddler or preschooler will be excited to try, but there are also some new 3D puzzles that can be taken on the road, or can be reset and restarted to be enjoyed again and again.

Another great thing about puzzles? You can get them for cheap by shopping at a thrift store or a Goodwill. You might run the risk of missing a piece or two, but most people donating puzzles have already completed them, and are giving them away for someone else to try. You can do the same thing by donating your puzzle when finished, and then exchanging it for another one!

Board Games

Every adult can think of at least one board game that they cherished as a child. Whether you tried to sink everyone’s battleship or wanted to pop the bubble in Trouble, board games are one of the best examples of how learning can be so much fun. They’re a great opportunity for your family to connect and spend time together, too. Invest in a fun board game or two, and make Friday or Saturday nights your board game night with the family. Not to mention, everyone will be playing games without the screen time — something that every parent can get behind!

Giving gifts is a joyous act in itself, but the wonderful thing about kids is that they don’t need much to be happy. Especially when they’re younger and everything is new and special, you don’t need to go overboard for them to enjoy their holiday season. There’s no reason to get caught up with the latest gadgets and gizmos, many of which will quickly fade into the toy background after the holidays are over.

There are some presents that are timeless, incredibly fun, and promote learning and experiences all in one — something that our preschool and child care center can get behind! Have a great holiday season, and don’t forget to find out more about our upcoming Christmas program (ask your child’s teacher for details). Happy holidays from Growing Kids Learning Centers!

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They’ve made the list, you’re checking it twice, you already know when they’ve been naughty (and when they’ve been nice). So much of the holidays revolves around shopping and presents, and for kids, so much of the season revolves around toys.

Even if your children are too young to make their own list for Santa, you already know they’re going to get one metric ton of toys. Grandparents and aunts and uncles are going to bring all the presents, most of which will likely start collecting dust before New Year’s. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about the amount of stuff, if you don’t want money spent on toys that you know your child will quickly forget about, you’re not alone.

At Growing Kids Learning Centers, we think you can go without all that “stuff” and still have an amazing experience with the ones you love. If you’re looking for a gift idea list that doesn’t involve the toy aisle at Target in December, we’ve got you covered. Find holiday gift ideas that aren’t toys, and enroll your young one at one of our child care centers! With locations in Goshen, Bristol, South Bend (at Ireland Road, State Road 23, and North Bendix Drive), Elkhart, Valparaiso, and Chesterton, you never have to go far to give your kids the best in child care.

Books

Building the home library is one of the most admirable and worthwhile gifts you can give. Reading aloud to your child is one of the single most important things you can do as a parent — it makes an incredible impact on their academic and overall growth and development. Invest in some classics — your child might love reading the books that you loved as a kid! — and try out some new titles as well. “The Book With No Pictures” by B.J. Novak is a fun read, despite being exactly what you think.

Some other new titles in 2018 include “The Digger and the Flower,” “Elmore,” and “Wordy Birdy” (the last one is especially great if you have a chatty child). By finding books that teach valuable lessons and are fun to read, this is a gift that will truly keep on giving!

Arts and Crafts

Kids love working with colors and creating something new. Arts and crafts are a perfect present for every child to try! Finger paints, colored pencils, crayons and a new coloring book, jewelry making kits — the list goes on and on. Arts and crafts are a great way for your child to explore their creativity and imagination, and they might just find a new hobby in the process.

Sports-Related Gifts

Has your child just started getting into sports? Are they ready and rearing for their first soccer team that starts this spring? The holidays are a great gift-giving opportunity that can help them get their feet wet. Nerf balls, footballs, baseballs, frisbees, scooters, or bikes are all some other sports-themed gifts that your child will surely continue to love and use (especially when it gets warmer out).

Experiences

Kids usually have just a few toys that they truly love and that they remember. Experiences, however, are a gift that sticks with them, and helps shape who they are. The best thing about giving experiences as a gift is that it provides more opportunity for you to interact and connect with your young one. Plus, it doesn’t really matter what the experience is — if you hype it up, your child will be just as excited.

Mini golfing, trips to the museum, driving out of town to explore a new park or hiking trail, or even a trip to a hotel (with a pool, of course) are all things that kids will simply love. You can make it so that they still have something to unwrap by giving them a card with some picture clues, or create a scavenger hunt to help them figure out where they’re going!

Kids are what make the holidays so much fun. You want your child to have an incredible time, but you also want it to be worthwhile and meaningful. With these non-toy-related gifts, that can most certainly happen. Stay tuned for a few more ideas in our next blog, and contact Growing Kids Learning Centers to get the best in child care and preschool!

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At Growing Kids Learning Centers, we’ve talked a lot about some of the essential milestones that preschoolers should strive to meet before kindergarten. However, we know that this can be a bit intimidating for some parents. Two things that our daycare center commonly hears from parents are how can we best support our child be ready for kindergarten? and is there anything that we can do at home to help?

We’ve compiled some activities that promote kindergarten readiness, while also being developmentally appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers to try. Try these activities at home with your young one, and enroll your child with our Northern Indiana daycare today.

Flyswatter Math

Materials Needed: Poster or whiteboard, marker, flyswatter(s)

Skills Addressed: Number identification

Write the numbers 1-10 onto a poster or whiteboard. To start, you might want to practice by writing them all in order, and in a line that can be read (from left to right). Say the numbers in order first, having your child practice hitting them with a flyswatter.

When they’ve eventually mastered this skill, write the numbers in random order, all over the poster or whiteboard. Call out numbers in an equally random order, and have your child hit the number when they recognize it. Eventually, your preschooler could race against you or another preschooler — though this will require some coaching and conversation about winning and losing and being a good sport. If your child’s not ready for that last step, that’s OK too!

Flyswatter Math can also be great later on for mastering math facts (such as saying “2×3” and kids hitting the correct answer), as well as identifying letters.

Follow the Leader

Materials Needed: No materials, but this game works best with at least 3 people

Skills Addressed: Social skills, taking turns, verbalizing commands

You’ve probably played this game when you were a kid, and while it might seem boring for older kids, it’s an excellent opportunity for social practice for the littlest ones. Start out by being the leader and modeling for younger kids, moving all around and making new commands and actions. Hopping, jumping, skipping, crawling, crab-walking — the sky’s the limit!

Eventually, begin to model taking turns by choosing a new person to be the leader. Talk about playing fair and choosing someone who hasn’t had a chance to lead yet. Additionally, play around with verbalizing commands as well as having “silent round” — both are great for kids to work on their listening and copying skills. Does your younger one need some work on their manners? Make a new rule that all the commands from the leader need to have “please” first, like “please start hopping.”

Lemonade Stand

Materials Needed: Lemonade mix, smaller pitcher/cups, poster board, markers or crayons

Skills Addressed: Fine motor skills, asking questions, verbal communication and listening skills

Help your young one make a pitcher of lemonade for a good ol’ fashioned lemonade stand! Practicing pouring is a great way to work on fine motor skills, and stirring can help with both fine and gross motor skills. Draw bubble letters for your child to color in (or have them write if they’re just starting out), or draw the bubble letters with pencil for kiddos to trace over with marker — all more examples of fine motor skill development. Social skills will be addressed when kids start interacting with customers. This is a good time to talk about hygiene too — have kids sanitize their hands after serving someone lemonade or touching their faces

You and your young one will love getting to connect through these educational activities, and you’ll also love watching them continue to grow. At our Northern Indiana daycare center, your child will consistently practice all of the things that help prepare them for kindergarten and beyond — enroll at one of our locations today!

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Growing Kids Learning Centers by Growing Kids Learning Center - 7M ago

We’re back with Part II of our blog on milestones to hit before kindergarten! Every parent wants the best for their child. When you know exactly how your child should be growing and developing, you can better help them along in the process. With the care, education, and nurturing from our daycare centers in South Bend (at Ireland Road, State Road 23, and North Bendix Drive), as well as in other places across Northern Indiana, your child will truly be set up for success in the years to come. Learn more about milestones to hit before kindergarten, and enroll your child with Growing Kids Learning Centers today!

Milestone Reminder

It can be scary to see these milestones and think, “my child isn’t there yet.” In most cases, that’s completely normal. Milestones serve as a general guideline — if your child isn’t hitting them “on time” it doesn’t mean anything is wrong, or that they never will. Some kids take longer to talk, some take longer to walk, but they all tend to get to the same place eventually.

Of course, if you’re concerned, you can always talk to your child’s pediatrician or daycare teacher to see if they have any insights. Early interventions, while not always necessary, can make a huge difference. You can always help your child continue to grow in these skills at home, and enroll them in a daycare or educational program where they can continue working towards their kindergarten readiness. But the most important thing to remember with milestones is that they serve as an idea of where kids should be — they’re not written in stone.

With that in mind, take a look at some other things that your child should master or be working on by the time they get to kindergarten:

Social Play

This is one of those milestones that takes consistent practice and lots of time — in fact, many adults still need practice with positive social interactions! By the time your child gets to kindergarten, however, they should know about taking turns, sharing, and be able to have conversations with their peers and adults. Playing games, interacting with play groups, practicing safe play and learning to respect other people’s physical boundaries are all important things to work on before and during kindergarten. This can be a great reason to enroll your child in daycare — all of these social skills are consistently practiced and taught.

Independent Bathroom Use

It’s not uncommon for kids to have accidents. Especially in younger years, children might have seemingly mastered using the bathroom, and still have the occasional night time incident. For the most part, however, kids should be able to independently use the bathroom by the time they enter kindergarten. This means advocating for themselves and recognizing when it’s time to go, taking care of business, and washing hands when they’re done. If your child is still struggling with this, talk with their doctor for some additional advice, and communicate to their teacher what works best for your young one.

Number Fluency

Recognizing patterns — such as seeing two identical shapes that repeat in a sequence or even knowing that they brush their teeth and listen to a story before going to bed — are essential for kids to start picking up before kindergarten. Children should also be able to count to 10, as well as be able to identify the numbers (even when they’re written out of order).

Additionally, while pre-kindergartners don’t need to be able to tell time precisely yet, they should understand words like “soon,” “later,” “tomorrow,” “today,” and “yesterday,” to name a few.

Milestones can seem like a big responsibility for both parents and children, but with the proper guidance and support, children will thrive. Our daycare center utilizes a curriculum and lessons to specifically help the development and growth of each child, and we know that your entire family will love what we do at Growing Kids Learning Centers. With flexible scheduling and pick-up/drop-off times, experienced and compassionate caregivers, and nine convenient locations, there’s a reason why families in Northern Indiana choose our daycare program again and again. Help your child prepare for kindergarten — enroll them in educational daycare with Growing Kids Learning Centers!

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Growing Kids Learning Centers by Growing Kids Learning Center - 9M ago

Parents everywhere are familiar with the term “milestone.” From social, cognitive, physical, and academic perspectives, milestones are used to mark a child’s progress, as well as compare it to where they should be at. Milestones are not set-in-stone indicators for success, because every child develops at their own pace. Your first child might have started talking before they were one but started walking much later, and the reverse might be true for your second kiddo. If a child doesn’t hit a milestone right when they’re supposed to, this doesn’t need to be immediate cause for concern — however, milestones are still a great way to track the progression of their development.

At Growing Kids Learning Centers, we are highly knowledgeable in child growth and development, and we formulate our curriculum, learning environments, and daily schedules to help each child continue to thrive. Enrolling in preschool at our South Bend (at Ireland Road, State Road 23, and North Bendix Drive), Elkhart, Valparaiso, Goshen, Bristol, or Chesterton locations is one of the best ways you can help your child continue to hit those milestones. Learn more in our blog, and place your child in Northern Indiana’s best preschool and educational childcare programs!

Language Comprehension

By the time a child enters kindergarten, they should be able to both respond to questions, as well as ask their own. It’s pretty typical for your toddler to repeat “Why?” about as frequently as they take a breath, though sometimes, kids might need a little bit more direction (such as saying “do you have any questions about _____?”). Kids at this age should also be able to speak clearly, though many preschool-aged children have some minor to moderate struggles with certain letters and sounds. If this is the case with your own child, talk with their pediatrician and see if any language interventions may be necessary.

Why It’s Important: Teachers judge a lot of understanding off of verbal communication, especially at an age where written concepts are still forming. If your child can’t communicate what they understand (or what they don’t), teachers may have a difficult time addressing their academic needs most appropriately.

Print Awareness

Children don’t need to necessarily know the entire alphabet by the time they enter kindergarten, but they do need to know at least some of the letters. Print awareness also includes holding a book the right way — children in preschool should have a general sense of line direction (we read from left to right), and know to turn the pages from the right to the left.

Why It’s Important: Even if your child isn’t reading at this point in time, they’re continuing to develop concepts to prepare them for the moment it clicks. It’s like how before playing sports, they need to know what the ball is and what it’s like.

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are tough to grasp (literally), but are essential for entering the academic world and society as a whole. By the time your child enters kindergarten, they should be able to pick up a writing utensil (crayons work too!) and make marks on a piece of paper. Pouring something into a glass, practicing cutting with scissors, velcroing shoes, and painting with a paintbrush are all ways to help develop these skills.

Why It’s Important: These days, knowing how to type, hold a pencil, and use an iPad or other touch screen are all necessary skills for people to know, all of which require fine motor development.

We’ll continue with some more milestones in our next blog, but in the meantime, know that the preschool programs at Growing Kids Learning Centers are designed to help your child thrive. Preschool is the most important grade, and so much of this is because it helps children get on track for the rest of their school years (and life) to come. Enroll with Growing Kids Learning Centers today!

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Growing Kids Learning Centers by Growing Kids Learning Center - 10M ago

Nearly always, preschool is thought of as the entryway to education. It’s the porch steps that lead to the house, it’s the “practice year(s)” before kindergarten and the grades to follow. This is the common sentiment, and yet, it’s pretty off-base. Many educational researchers and psychologists consider preschool not just an important year, but the most formative grade of them all.

But why exactly is preschool the most important grade? We’ve discussed how preschool is incredibly beneficial for your child, but today, we’re going to discuss why this is the grade that is most essential to success — both academic and as a whole. Find out more, and enroll your child in preschool with Growing Kids Learning Centers in South Bend (at Ireland Road, State Road 23, and North Bendix Drive), Elkhart, Valparaiso, Goshen, Bristol, or Chesterton!

Sets the Tone for Academic Success

Learning and hitting essential academic milestones, particularly in the math and literacy departments, are thought to be huge indicators for later academic success. In one study, it showed “that preschool boosts a child’s chances of doing well at school and going on to take advanced level examinations,” as reported by The Guardian. This, in turn, contributes to the direct correlation between children going to preschool who later go to college. Simply put, an early academic start helps children be prepared sooner, and play less time catching up.

Reverses the Effects of Poverty

From the University of Wisconsin – Madison, a study on poverty and childhood was conducted with some incredible results. Poverty has known to be detrimental not only to the state of a child’s life, but to their actual development and growth as a whole. Children born into poverty have a lower chance of being academically successful — which is especially problematic when about half of all public school children are living in poverty.

One of the biggest things that can change and reduce the negative effects of poverty is early childhood education. With early interventions, children can be caught up to speed with their peers of more advantageous backgrounds. Some of the main resources to help a child grow — books, educational activities and games, and a well-balanced diet — are difficult to invest in when the main priority is keeping everyone alive. Preschool offers all of these things, where families might otherwise not be able to provide these things.

A Positive Long-Term Outlook

Here are just a few of the things that preschool is believed to have an impact on:

  • Grade retention — fewer occurrences when children have gone to preschool.
  • Special ed. — fewer placements among children who attended preschool.
  • Graduation rates — higher rates of graduation for children who went to preschool.
  • Crime and delinquency — it’s true: preschool is thought to lower crime rates.

While every grade is important, preschool is truly at the foundation of education, contributing to some of the greatest examples of later success. Not only is it instrumental in helping a child prepare for school, it gets them on track for the years to come. This means leading all the way up to and through college, as well as setting children up for success in life as a whole.

Growing Kids Learning Centers has an incredible curriculum at each of our preschools, implemented to help each child thrive — both in their time with us, and for the time after. With locations all across Northern Indiana, it’s never been easier for your child to have the positive educational experience that will truly shape their life. Enroll your child today for the upcoming school year before space fills up! We can’t wait to start the school year with you!

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