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Celebrating National Book Month: Help Your Child Develop a Love for Learning through Reading

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It’s National Book Month, which means there is no better time to help your child develop a love for learning through reading. Children who read are more likely to perform better in all school subjects. They have larger vocabularies and are more confident in their academic career. Reading is fundamental for children of all ages. The toddler and preschool years are the best time to help your child develop a love of reading. Read on for some great tips to help your child fall in love with reading and learning.

Make It Fun

illustrations in a book

Make reading interesting for your kids

If you make reading seem like a chore, your child is likely going to treat it like a chore. Reading should be another form of playtime. Show your child that reading is a special time for you to spend together. Choose a special place like a cozy chair or hammock to cuddle and read a book. Read stories in exciting voices to make the characters come to life and enhance your child’s experience. Kids today are used to videos and apps, so anything you can do to make the story more exciting is a plus!

Discuss and Extend

After you have finished the book, have a discussion with your child. Talk about parts they did or did not like. Analyze choices the characters made. Ask your child questions about setting and the plot. Kids love to share their opinion and getting them to talk about what they read will help with comprehension. Once you have finished a story, see what connections you can make. If the characters in the book baked cookies, make cookies. If they created an art project, let your child do a similar project. Making connections with the book strengthens comprehension. It also gets your child excited about what happens in the story.

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Closing the Preschool Gap: Help Your Child Reap the Benefits of Early Childhood Education

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If you wait until kindergarten to start your child in formal education, your child may already be behind. Studies show the benefits of early childhood education for children who go to preschool have a head start on those who do not.

Short-Term Benefits of Early Learning

crayons in a preschool class

Preschool helps give a child structure

There are immediate benefits when providing your child with an early learning opportunity to close the preschool gap. One of the best reasons to go this route is to introduce your child to formal learning.

While much of the learning is done through play, it still has a purpose. Your child will develop an understanding of the difference between play and learning play. They will also have the chance to learn in a group and become comfortable with the school setting.

Learning is easier for young children whose brains absorb all the information they can. A report by the National Center for Education Statistics show 65 percent of children between four and five could recognize shapes and numbers. Other preschool vs. no preschool statistics support this finding. Preschool age children are often readier to learn than what parents might expect.

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How You Can Teach Your Child Courtesy During National Courtesy Month

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Our ultimate goal as parents is to prepare our children to face the world and hope that they help to make it a better place.

September is National Courtesy Month. The American culture is so fast and impersonal these days that it is easy to forget the rules of politeness that once governed our society. Take advantage of this month’s focus on courtesy as a chance to teach your children skills that will let them reap lifelong benefits.

You’re their First Teacher

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Teach the children about good manners

Children aren’t born knowing how to hate. They aren’t inherently rude. In fact, children are born with an innate need to please their parents. That being said, bad habits are often learned from their environment.

The good news? You are your child’s first teacher. Encouraging good habits and manners from day one can set your child up for success. Even before your child says their first words, they are observing the customs of their environment. If you want them to say “please,” “thank you”, and “excuse me”, do so in front of them. Be courteous to others.

National Courtesy Month is also a good time to reflect on your own habits. Hold open doors and hand out compliments.

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Back to School Tips for Preschool Parents: 7 Ways to Help Your Child Settle In

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Kindergarten is the place where young children go to socialize and learn how to follow rules. Today preschool also takes on the roles of socializing, playing, and learning how to be in school. Preschool lays the foundation for success in kindergarten.

By age 5, research shows that 90% of a child’s brain has already developed. This statistic shows how vital preschool is to your child’s success. Preschool is for all young children. It has been shown to be especially beneficial poor and disadvantaged kids. The stress that accompanies disadvantaged children influences their cognitive development. Dual-Language learners also benefit from preschool.

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Prepare your child to go back to school

Preschool is for all kids in 3- to 5-year age range. Some kids are exposed to rich language, books, and experiences. These kids are getting early learning all the time. Studies show that the connection between home and school is also important for children to get the most out of their preschool years.

The countdown to school should not begin in July. It should begin well before your child is preschool age. Reading to your child is one of the best activities to promote language development. Reading every day is one of the best activities you can do to prepare your child for preschool.

Transitioning to preschool can be difficult for kids and their families. As parents, it can be overwhelming to think about your small child heading off to school. The best thing we can do for them is to set them up for success. Going to school for the first time or going back to school after a break can be challenging. Preparing your child for these changes is vital to their success in those first days and weeks.

How do we accomplish this task? Check out these 7 back to school tips for preschool parents. Under each tip is a list of back-to-school ideas for parents.

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7 Summer Reading Tips to Prevent Summer Brain Drain with your Preschooler

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Parents of preschoolers in Tucson, Arizona may be looking for reading tips to help their preschool student retain skills and knowledge over the summer break. These seven tips are only some of the ways parents can encourage their preschoolers to love learning even in the summertime.

Choose Read-Alouds That Connect with Summer Activities

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Read out loud with your kids

Part of making summer enrichment fun for your child is choosing preschool reading books about subjects he or she enjoys. One way to do this is to choose books about summer activities you plan to do, are currently doing, or have recently done. Going to the beach, camping, swimming in a pool, and having a picnic have all been the subjects of books for preschoolers. A children’s librarian can recommend others.

Create a Family History Book to Document Your Summer

By making a book together, your family can extend the love of reading into a love of writing and using one’s imagination. This summer preschool enrichment activity allows you and child to work together. Use things the family did over the summer, coming up with imaginative words and images to describe them. Then create a tangible keepsake that you and your child can re-read any time.

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5 Summer Enrichment Ideas for Your Preschooler … in Tucson!

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Summer break is an exciting time for children. As a parent, you might worry about finding the best summer enrichment activities. The early years of childhood are crucial in child development. During this time, the young brain learns how to interact with the world and constantly absorbs new information. Parents must find activities that enhance the child’s mental and physical growth. Below are some suggestions for enrichment for your preschooler in Tucson.

Preschool Enrichment at Museums

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Museums are great for exploration

Spending time with your child at local museums is a rewarding summer enrichment activity for both parent and preschooler. The National Endowment for the Arts website emphasizes the benefits of regular visits to different museums. These experiences introduce preschoolers to a broad range of topics. This encourages children to ask questions and think creatively.
The Children’s Museum in Tuscon offers many exhibits for kids. Preschoolers learn about technology, art, the human body and safety among others topics. Most of these exhibits are interactive making this the perfect summer enrichment activity. During the summer months, the museum lowers Sunday prices and offers special programs. These programs teach science, technology, art, math and engineering. Wee Play, Wee Wiggle and Wee Explore are extra preschool classes offered each week.

Also in Tuscon is the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures. This museum fascinates children. They display a variety of tiny statues and landscapes. The three permanent collections expose preschoolers to history, world cultures and fantasy lands. The museum also periodically shows traveling collections. The Tiny Tales program for youngsters is a monthly story and sing-along program. Afterwards, children take part in arts and crafts. For affordable summer enrichment, there is a discount on family summer passes.

Exploring Nature with Your Preschool Student

Support your child’s development by encouraging outdoor activities and spending family time in nature. Researchers like Hannah Mills Mechler, a child education expert, have discovered the benefits of preschoolers participating in summer enrichment outings in nature. Children begin to ask questions about the world around them and start to understand their part in it. Plus, nature walks provide good physical exercise and practice walking on uneven terrain.

Hiking with young children has its challenges, but the Sabino Dam East trail is perfect for preschoolers. It begins with a visitor’s center with informative displays, water fountains and bathrooms. The actual trail is completely paved and a little over a mile to the dam. Preschoolers can experience nature and ask questions without worrying about difficult terrain. At the dam, they can cool off with their feet in the water before going back.
Another outdoor summer enrichment idea is the Reid Park Zoo. They have a wide selection of animals so it is likely that your child can see his or her favorites. One main walking loop features most of the habitats like rhinos, lions, zebras, brown bears and otters. There are also two separate loops, one for South American animals and another for elephants. Children enjoy seeing the camels and can even go for a ride on one. The indoor learning center teaches preschoolers about conservation and animal life. Throughout the day, zookeepers also give informational talks while feeding the animals.

Pretend Play and Summer Camp

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Pretend play stimulates imagination

Finally, preschoolers start to engage in pretend play involving costumes and story lines. Live theater and guided pretend play help children’s brains become quicker and more adaptable to new ideas. Plus, these fun shows help develop a child’s creativity.

In Tuscon, Trail Dust Town is a favorite summer enrichment activity. This is a wild west themed shopping center and small amusement park. Stunt shows amaze children, and they always enjoy the train ride through the replicated historical western town. Other attractions include a haunted house, fortune telling station and shooting gallery.

The above suggestions are some of the many ideas for enrichment for your preschooler in Tucson. Other more traditional ideas include summer camp at facilities like The Apple Tree Learning Center where they keep children engaged in fun learning activities. No matter what summer enrichment ideas you choose, your child will have an entertaining and educational break.

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May is National Foster Care Month

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May is National Foster Care Month. This month is set aside to recognize the individuals and families who give their time, their resources and their homes to children who are going through the most difficult times of their life.

Foster Parents

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Open your home to foster children

Most people would have a difficult time letting a stranger in their home to shower, sleep and eat. It would be the equivalent of picking up a homeless person and taking them home. You know nothing about this person except what you can see and perhaps what they have told you.

For foster parents, the person is a child. This child may have severe mental or physical trauma that is not apparent to the naked eye. Emotional damage may be hidden under layers of disdain, hatred and aloofness. Now imagine that you open your home, your family and your heart to this child. Is that hard to imagine? That is what foster families do every day. It is all about placing your fears and doubts aside to meet the needs of a child who has nobody else to turn to.

National Foster Care Month

May is the time to bring awareness to foster care. Foster parents are honored during this month. The need for more families to volunteer is brought to the forefront of the public eye. The needs of the foster care families are recognized. Resources are introduced to help meet the needs. After all, foster care is more than just opening your home up to a child in need. Foster care awareness is critical to help families and communities meet the needs of the children and the families that care for them.

Where to Find Help

Many people caring for children do not know that there are resources available to help them. Respite babysitting services, community clothing closets, support groups and even activities and sports programs for the children are all in place to help families foster these children. However, the problem is that not all families know about the resources available. During May, resources of all kinds are brought to the forefront in an attempt to help families caring for foster children.

Grandparents, aunts and uncles are often kinship caregivers. This means that they have assumed the role of caregiver since the parents of the child are not an option. Often, this causes a change in family dynamics. An adult child may resent the grandparent becoming the primary caregiver of their child. Maybe a grandparent does not know what to do about things like medical care, legal issues with the school, etc. Resources like

The Grandkin Guide can help grandparents to navigate the legal system, family issues and the new role of caregiver.

Such resources are critical to helping foster care families cope with the changes that come from having a new child in the home. Online resources, support groups, financial aid and more can all be beneficial for the care of foster children. Whether kinship care is decided between family members or set up by child welfare services, there is no reason to feel alone and adrift in this new circumstance. Help is available.

Why is Public Awareness so Important?

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Get educated about foster care

Foster care is often shown in a negative light. News stories of tragedies, rumors of greed and horror stories from former foster children get the spotlight, while great foster successes go unheralded.

Care of these children must be brought to the public in a positive light. People will remember success stories of foster children who went on to college and beyond. Foster parents who go above and beyond to help children find their passions, like painting or horseback riding, should be highlighted and commended. The children should have their success stories shared, just like in a traditional family. These children can thrive if the parents have the resources available to help them. Even severe mental and physical abuse of the past can be overcome with love and support from foster parents who really care.

Foster care takes a whole community to be successful. Outreach groups, support groups, legal and financial help, respite caregivers, teachers, child welfare advocates – everyone must work hand-in-hand with the foster caregivers to ensure these children are protected, loved and given the chance for a successful, happy life.

Use May as the month to educate yourself about the foster care system and how you and your community can help these families. A community picnic, a toy or clothing drive, volunteering your time or even offering your talents (like free piano lessons) – there are plenty of ways you can help with foster care. The keyword is ‘care’.

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11 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten

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I remember those days when I couldn’t believe all the hype I heard about how to prepare your child for Kindergarten. After all, this is not first grade, my friends! I only wish I knew then what I know now. I’ve now discovered eleven ways you can prepare your child while having fun along the way.

Listening Skills

With all there is to absorb, it’s natural to repeat instructions to Kindergartners numerous times. You can prepare your child for Kindergarten readiness by giving simple, three step directions. For example, ask your child to put up toys, wash hands, and then come to the dinner table. Also, teach your little one what interruptions are, and model this as a parent. Your child’s teacher will thank you!

Sharing

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Teach your child to share

Socialization and play are important kindergarten readiness activities, and having to share with a large group may be a new challenge for your child. If you haven’t already, participate in playgroups, set playdates, or join children groups to let them experience taking turns with others.

Standing in Line

Although this seems like a simple task, it’s sometimes a challenge. Explain the difference between behind and beside by walking with your child and demonstrating how to stay in line. Behind and beside are also prepositions students will learn during Kindergarten, so you’ll be getting two for one!

Critical Thinking

Developing critical thinking skills in children should start at an early age. The earlier your child learns these skills , the more natural this way of thinking will become. By explaining cause and effect, predicting, and justifying, your child will be ahead of the game. Here are some critical thinking activities you can implement at home:

  • While reading, have your child infer what is happening by looking for clues, ask why a character is acting a particular way, and suggest creating another ending to the story.
  • Take a walk outside to discuss cause and effect, because it’s all around us in nature. For example, because it’s spring, the flowers are blooming. Go a step further by asking a prediction about what will happen when winter rolls around again.
  • Ask your child whether something is a good or bad idea, and have him or her justify with supporting details.

Critical thinking skills are highly encouraged at Tucson preschools. For additional critical thinking ideas, click here. You can learn even more about how to develop these skills in children by clicking here.

Reading Aloud

Take a trip to the library to locate good literature, or check online for suggested book titles. Teach your child about the cover, title, author, illustrator, and read to them fluently. Also, make inferences, predictions, and connections together to incorporate more critical thinking.

ABCs

In addition to learning the alphabet song, have fun using magnetic letters, dry erase markers, sand writing, finger painting letters. The more hands-on, the better!

Letter Sounds

In addition to identifying letters, start teaching the sounds of vowels and consonants. To help your child learn short and long sounds at home, use flash cards or explore educational websites.

Picture Clues

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Teach your child to read

This can’t be emphasized enough for little ones! While reading aloud to your child, search for clues that match the words read. Does the word make sense when you look at the picture? This is a necessary strategy that early readers will need to learn.

Counting

Have fun using jelly beans, candy, or cereal as manipulative tools to teach your child how to count. Add or remove to teach addition and subtraction, and divide into colors to teach sorting.

Shapes Around Us

Make it relevant! Take a walk around your home to identify shapes of furniture and other items. Next, compare and identify things in nature by walking around outside to discover a wide variety of shapes.

Responsibility

Finally, as much as we may want to hover over our precious children, teaching them to accept responsibility should begin now. Let them help you at home, provide routine and structure, and teach consequences. This will help your child develop a since of responsibility for their own actions.

Critical thinking activities for preschoolers are highly encouraged to help make your child’s first school year a successful one. At Tuscan preschool, there are creative opportunities that develop critical thinking skills in children and serve as stepping stones for Kindergarten readiness. Please contact us to explore our engaging learning programs that will prepare your child for Kindergarten!