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Kindergarten Readiness

| Admin

Since that precious moment they were born, your child has been absorbing a lot of knowledge. Much of this knowledge isn’t they kind of stuff that is taught in schools. We may not think of learning in these terms, but something as simple as learning to crawl and then taking those first steps requires both a tremendous amount cognitive and biological development

By the time a child reaches the age of three, they are likely talking and participating with the world and others in

Kindergarten Readiness

Get your child ready for kindergarten with a kindergarten readiness program!

ways that are going to have effects later in life. At around this age, you may start thinking about the exciting day that they start their first day of kindergarten. But you may have some concerns about kindergarten readiness. Is your child ready for kindergarten? Below we will examine some of the kindergarten readiness indicators.

Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten?

The question can cause many parents anxiety, especially if this is their first child to go kindergarten. There are both social and cognitive benchmarks that indicate kindergarten readiness. The social indicators include the ability to play and interact with other children in an appropriate way, an awareness of sharing and taking turns, handling toys and other materials properly and putting them in their proper place. Other behavior indicators include an understanding of basic safety and asking for help when it is needed.

Cognitive and intellectual indicators of readiness include the ability to sustain engagement with an activity and a genuine interest in learning. The ability to follow along with the words of a song, form complete sentences most of the time, and has little difficulty with simple puzzles.

For a detailed list of kindergarten readiness indicators, check out this great kindergarten readiness checklist. It will help you track and document your child’s progress towards that first day of school!

kindergarten readiness

A kindergarten readiness program prepares children for life long learning!

Kindergarten Readiness Programs

Kindergarten Readiness programs are a great way to ensure that any gaps in our child’s readiness are filled. Preschool is a great way to prepare your child for kindergarten. Preschool programs have been shown to give kids the social and intellectual skills they need to have a successful kindergarten experience.

Choosing a preschool is not an easy task and it is important that you ensure that you are enrolling your little scholar in a quality preschool experience. Make sure you consider the things that indicate a quality kindergarten readiness program. Here is an article that can help you to choose a good preschool or kindergarten readiness program.

Kindergarten Readiness at The Apple Tree Learning Center 

The Apple Tree Learning Center is committed to providing the children of Tuscon the quality kindergarten prep programs they deserve. Our preschool program is tailored to ease the children into the world of formal learning through games, music and play. The professional staff at The Apple Tree Learning Center are dedicated to giving each child the time they need to learn the ropes and get settled in for fun and learning! Come check out our kindergarten readiness programs and contact us today! We look forward to hearing from you!

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Learning Games for Kids

| Admin

Before classrooms, desks, notebooks, before writing even, there was play, games and sport. Parents have always intuitively understood that play and games are good ways for their children to learn about the world. Indeed, that was the way they learned a great number of things. And now science and modern theories of education are finally starting to catch up.  Learning games for kids are, more and more, seen as a legitimate way to teach a young child.

Even biologist and animal behaviorists have noted that nearly every mammal on the planet learns to sharpen their instincts for survival through play and games. Why should humans be any different?

We aren’t that different. We humans obviously have different priorities, though. Learning games for kids, toddlers and infants are divided into two main categories: intellectual and cognitive skill games and socialization games. Of course, there is some overlap, but it doesn’t erode the differences.

Learning Games for Kids: Cognitive and Intellectual

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Games and play are essential to early childhood education

Learning games for kids, including preschool age kids, which flex their cognitive and intellectual abilities are usually of the board game type or are the interactive computer game type. Games like puzzles, shape and image mapping games work out their spatial and memorization skills. Computerized math games can add a layer of fun and excitement to an otherwise bland subject. Most of these games are single player and teach the child to not only get the correct answer, but to see it through to a reward or goal. There are a number of great online games of this type that you can use at home to hone your child’s reading, math and spatial and memorixation abilities. Check out some of these great learning games for kids that can keep them occupied on a rainy day.

Learning Games for Kids: Socialization

Children learn a number of social skills in a supervised free play environment. Allowing them to use their creativity and imagination with other children teaches them to respect others and coordinate activities.

Structured games are also a great way to improve their social skills. Games such as the name game, in which one child is given a ball in a group of children and then asked to say the name of the other person before rolling the ball to them, teach children the importance of identifying others by name, a critical social skill. Games like Simon says and red light green light teach children impulse control and how to follow directions and rules during play.

Learning Games for Kids

The Apple Tree Learning Center Believes games are vital to learning.

Learning Games for Kids at The Apple Tree Learning Center

At Apple Tree Learning Center, we believe in the power of learning games for kids, free play and socialization activities to prepare your child for a future of learning, laughing and loving. Our preschool childcare programs incorporate games into the early childhood education curriculum. And our nurturing and experienced early childhood education staff are dedicated to fostering a lifelong love of learning in your child. The Apple Tree Learning Center also has an excellent set of extra curricular programs, including a dance, Spanish language and a music education program. Stop by and visit us or contact us online today! We look forward to hearing from you!

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Child Care Safety Essentials

| Admin

Sending your child off to a childcare center, day care or preschool for the first time can be a little scary, especially if it is your first child. You worry about whether they will make new friends easily, play well with others and not fall behind the other children. You may also worry about the safety of your little one while they are in a child care setting. Child care safety is always one of the main concerns for first time preschool parents.

That’s only natural. Your child’s safety, no matter what the circumstances, is one of your highest priorities. But what

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Your precious child’s safety is our priority.

can you do to ensure that your child is safe when they are in a child care setting and you are not the one supervising them? The answer is to make sure that the child care center you choose follows child care safety conventions and best practices. Below is a brief list of things concerning child care safety to consider before sending your little one off to learn.

Make Sure the Children are adequately supervised

A no brainer, perhaps. But with all the things involving child care safety, from germs to playground equipment, sometimes the simplest items slip past without examination.

  • Make sure that the children are supervised at all times and that there is a policy in place to prevent any supervision gaps.
  • Ask about how teacher and caregivers transition the children from one setting to another, nap time policies and knowledge of safe sleeping practices.

A good indicator of the kind and quality of supervision a child care center provides is their child to caregiver ratio.

  • Ask about the caregiver/child ratio and ensure that it is within the acceptable limits.

Health and Illness Policies

Child care Safety

Keep updated on your child care safety and illness policies

Anytime children come into contact with other children, there is a chance that illness and germs get passed around. Some of this is unavoidable. But there are things that can be done to keep kids as healthy as possible.

  • Review the child care center’s health policy.
  • Make sure the child care center has a good hand washing policy. Regular hand washing has been shown to cut down on illnesses in child care safety studies.
  • Ask about their sick policy and make sure that parents are encouraged to keep their sick child at home.
  • Ask the center about food handling policies and, if your child has an allergy, ask about how the center and staff deal with children with food borne allergies.

Medication

It is recommended that you administer all medications to your children at home. Sometimes, however, medication has to be administered in a child care setting. If this is the case, here’s what to do.

  • Give the child care staff the original bottle with dosage instructions.
  • Ask about the staff experience with medication administration and any policies they have to reduce the likelihood of improper administration.
  • Make sure the child care center staff are aware off the signs of adverse or allergic reactions and how to handle them.

Play Equipment

Ironically, the times that children are most likely to get hurt are when they are supposed to be having fun. When choosing childcare it is important to review their equipment and play policies.

  • Make sure any toys, equipment or playground structures are safe, clean and in good condition. Playgrounds should have adequate safety foam or rubber in case of falls and padding on any areas that a little one may hit their head on.
  • Ask if the center is keeps tabs on any child product recalls and how they evaluate the suitability of toys and equipment.

Staff and Teacher Training

In order to keep kids safe, child care centers need to keep staff trained.

  • Ask about any regular training the staff are require to undergo.
  • Review the recommended health and emergency training policies for child care safety and make sure that the child care center is committed to following these policies.
  • Make sure that staff have good and up to date CPR training and make sure that someone with CPR certification is on hand at all times.

Child Care Safety at The Apple Tree Learning Center

At The Apple Tree Learning Center, we are devoted to providing quality child care in a safe, nurturing and loving environment. With a Child Development Associate Certificate, Carmina Mariscal, The Apple Tree Learning Center’s Director, has been trained and assessed in providing nurturing and stimulating childcare programs in a safe environment. Contact The Apple Tree Learning Center to Learn More About Our Programs Today! We Look Forward to Hearing From You!

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The Benefits of Reading to Children

| Admin
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Reading to children helps them learn to read on their own.

Nearly everyone agrees that reading to children aloud has a beneficial impact on the child’s intellectual and cognitive development. It is a common assumption in early childhood education circles. The American Academy of Pediatrics has even gone so far as to recommend that parent read to their children from birth. Keep reading to learn more about the many benefits of reading to children.

Reading to Children Helps Them Learn the Basics

Study after study has shown that reading to children makes the process of learning to read once they are in school much easier. Reading aloud to your child allows them to begin to understand the rudiments of reading. Even if they aren’t talking yet, reading to children has benefits.

For example, children are not born with the sense that reading is performed from right to left. But by reading aloud to your children and pointing to the words as you move along the page, your child will quickly learn that the sounds you are making are associated with the symbols and movement across the page. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for a child just learning to read, it is huge!

It’s Important to Read to Older Children Too

Once your child starts reading on their own, that doesn’t mean that the benefits of reading aloud to them have been exhausted. In fact, the benefits of reading to older children are just as important to the development of their vocabulary and reading skills as it was when they were younger.

According to a study reported by the New York Times, reading to older children fostered a continued love for reading and learning. Further, by reading more and more complex material to your children, they are exposed to words and ideas that they may not pick up until a lot later in normal educational settings.

Reading to Children

Reading helps with bonding too!

Reading to Children Helps Them Bond with You

Another, often overlooked, benefit of reading to children is the time that you get to spend with them. Bonding and interacting with your child is just as important to their intellectual and emotional well-being as phonics development.

When you read to your child, you are telling them that you are devoted to their education and that it can be a fun. By regularly reading to your children, you are creating a positive reinforcement around learning while getting to spend precious moments with your child.

Reading Development at The Apple Tree Learning Centers

At The Apple Tree Learning Center, we are dedicated to helping your child develop a lifelong love of reading, thinking and learning. Our three year old program incorporates reading and listening lessons that will help your child advance their vocabulary and comprehension before they even start formal education. Contact us today and set your child up for reading success!

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Learning Through Play

| Admin
Learning through Play

Playtime is vital to proper social, intellectual and emotional development

Before schools, books and libraries, there was play. We often assume that real learning takes place in the classroom in quiet, studios settings, where children and adults spend long hours reading and memorizing. But this a modern conception of education and one that increasingly being seen as wrong and counterproductive.

For children, playtime is vital to proper social, intellectual and emotional development. Study after study has shown that what we often regard as wasted time is actually very important. Learning through play is increasingly seen as a legitimate theory of education and there is good evidence to back it up. Let’s take a look at how your child is learning through play.

Learning through Play: Increased Focus and Attention

Studies have shown that children who are given frequent breaks from academic activity with free play are more focused on learning when they return to the classroom. In a study of 4 and 5 year olds, researchers concluded that the children given 10 to 20 minutes of free play time paid better attention to classroom activities. While this is not an example of learning through play, play is shown to contribute positively to the learning process.

Learning through Play: Problem solving skills

Free play, play that is not constrained by any instruction, has been shown to stimulate the problem solving abilities of young children. In a study on the effects of play on preschoolers, those allowed free play time with blocks performed better and were more creative when it came to solving problems presented by the researchers.

Learning Through Play

Playtime is the best time for learning!

Learning through Play: Social Skills

Play provides children with valuable socialization experiences. As children play and interact with other children, they are introduced to concepts and situations that no amount of reading and arithmetic can match. They learn about compromise, sharing and being nice to others while still having fun. When playing with other children with adult supervision, children are learning through play the norms of society and social skills that will stick with them for life.

Play Improves Memory and Brain Development

According to a number of studies conducted on animals, play increases the growth of brain cells in the cerebral cortex, an area of the brain associated with learning and memory. In the studies, animals placed in environments with toys and other stimulations showed a marked increase in the size and thickness of the areas of the brain that are associated with learning.

Another study showed that these animals were also able to complete complex tasks involving memory and intelligence faster and better than animals that were deprived of play.

Playtime at The Apple Tree Learning Center

At The Apple Tree Learning Center, we believe in a balance of play and classroom activities is the best possible way for your child to get the most out of early childhood education. Through our educational and childcare programs, your child will discover and learn new and exciting things in a stimulating and playful environment. Contact us today!

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The Many Benefits of Early Childhood Education

| Admin

As a parent, one of your biggest priorities is making sure that your child gets the best and latest child care and educational opportunities. In order to do that, it is important to keep up to date on the latest research on theories of learning, age considerations in educational programs and early childhood education in general. One of the most frequently studied aspects of education is the relationship between quality early childhood education and long term future academic and personal success. According to the National Education Association (NEA), early childhood education is “one of the best investments our country can make.”

What is Early Childhood Education?

G5-003 Age 4-5 - istock

Early Childhood Education is one of the best investment you can make in your child’s future.

Early childhood education is usually defined as education that occurs before the age of 8, but most of the research on long term benefits of early childhood education focuses on Pre K and preschool education, which typically occurs before age 5.

What does the research on early childhood education say?

The research compiled by the NEA indicates that children who are enrolled in childhood education programs benefit in a number of ways. In one study, children who were enrolled in preschool programs were found to earn 2,000 a month more than those who were not. And another study showed that children in early childhood education programs were less likely to have to repeat grades, required less special and remedial education and were less likely to have legal troubles.

Why is it so effective?

Early Childhood Education

When children are young, they are like learning sponges.

The reasons that benefits are seen in the long term is because, as a teacher writing for the Huffington Post says, “When children are young, they are learning sponges.” Every interaction, every activity is a learning experience. So getting them started early is bound to have positive effects. And it doesn’t have to be just reading and writing, and arithmetic. For a young child even playtime is learning time!

Keep in mind, the world is a totally new place to your little one. It has not yet become the everyday place we are used to. They experience the world and all its wonders in a similar way that you experience a new culture when traveling in a foreign country. The sights, sounds, smells and language are all new. Exposing children to the world through early childhood education programs is one of the best ways to give your child a head start in life and learning.

Early Childhood Education Programs at The Apple Tree Learning Center

At The Apple Tree Learning Center, we offer high quality early childhood education programs for pre-k and school age children. Ranging from infant child care to school age programs to summer, before and after school programs, our professionally trained staff is dedicated to helping foster the emotional, physical, social and cognitive growth of your child. The Apple Tree Learning Center also offers fun and engaging extracurricular activities, including dance, music, sign language and foreign language programs! Contact us today and give your child a head start through quality early childhood education.