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11 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten

| Admin

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

Kindergarten readiness activities | The Apple Tree Learning Center in Tucson

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

Critical thinking activities for preschoolers | The Apple Tree Learning Center in Tucson

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!

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The Benefits of Educational Child care

| Admin

So you are looking for child care for your child. What is it that you would like from a child care center? What do you want your child to experience and learn? When you think “daycare” what do you think? Chances are that you may believe that daycare and educational child care are the same thing and most childcare programs are so similar that it doesn’t matter where you enroll your child, as long as it is safe. And while it is true that regulations have made most childcare centers extremely safe, there still can be huge and important differences in program quality. Let’s take a look.

One of the biggest misconceptions about child care is that it is just another form of child supervision, like babysitting. And in some cases, this may actually be true. Not all child care centers are accredited. And not all child care centers hold themselves up to the current standards of quality child care practices. The best way to determine the quality of a child care center is to learn how much emphasis is put on two things: safety and education. Educational childcare centers have programs and staff that are dedicated not only to day care supervision but also to the intellectual and social growth of the children in their care. Let’s take a look at some of the aspect of quality educational child care.

Educational Child Care

The Apple Tree Learning Center is devoted to educational child care.

Educational Child care vs. Daycare

“Daycare” and “Childcare” are terms that are often used interchangeably. In some instances, that is okay. But childcare, especially educational child care, offers more in the way of programs than traditional daycare.

Daycare can best be described as a daily babysitting service. There is nothing wrong with traditional daycare. Children are supervised, fed and given some fun activities to do while their parents work. It is essentially out of home babysitting. But you may be looking for a little more for your child and the money that you will be spending.

Educational childcare is a step above daycare. Educational Childcare offers programs and activities that contribute to your child’s growth and learning.

Types of Educational Childcare

Educational childcare is usually reserved for children from infants to preschool age. But there are also some great programs that cater to school age children as well. Summer camp programs are often a great way to keep older kids engaged and learning during the summer break.

But the most popular and most well-known type of educational childcare is preschool education. There are many benefits of preschool child care for both parents and students, including preparation for kindergarten, social engagement and cognitive development.

Preschool is not just daycare. It is a place where your child transitions from the at home informal learning of early childhood, to the more formal classroom based learning of kindergarten and grade school.

There are also great educational toddler programs that focus not only on play but also on learning and cognitive development and motor skills. Before enrolling your child in a child care program, don’t be afraid to ask the center staff exactly what their philosophy and curriculum is. If they are a quality child care center, they will gladly offer you their information and educational policies.

Educational Child Care Programs with The Apple Tree Learning Centers 

The Apple Tree Learning Center in Tucson is dedicated to providing the most engaging educational child care for children from infants to school age kids. Our programs seek to build the cognitive, social and motor skills in a safe and loving child care setting. In addition to our traditional educational child care, we offer some fun enrichment programs!! Our dance program will get their body and minds moving. Our Music program will flex their higher level abstract reasoning skills. And our Spanish and sign language programs will give a boost to their language acquisition skills. No matter their interest, we are dedicated to the intellectual flourishing of your little scholar! Come check out our programs and contact us today! We look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

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Starting Preschool Tips

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Starting preschool is one of the biggest milestones for both parent and child. The start of a child’s first preschool year

Starting Preschool

Starting preschool doesn’t have to be scary! Come check out preschool at The Apple Tree Learning Center!

is often the beginning of his or her first formal learning experiences. And it may also be the first time that parent and child have been separated for any significant period of time. Both the newness of the experience and the separation can create anxiety for parent and child. But if you are both prepared, the transition to preschool doesn’t have to be miserable and scary. Here are a few tips to help you and your child prepare for the first day of preschool.

Starting preschool tips for the Nervous Parent

Believe it or not, parents are just if not more nervous than their child on the first day of preschool. As a parent of a young child, leaving them to the staff and teachers of a preschool can be an intimidating experience. This may be one of the few times that your child has been away from you for a long period of time and you worry about how they will take it. This cyclical worry in which you become worried about your child’s worry – – let that spin for a moment – – is a totally natural reaction. Follow some of these tips to help calm your nerves.

  1. Remind yourself of the great benefits that enrolling your child in preschool will impart on them.

Keeping this positive though in mind can help relieve some of your anxiety, which are mostly negative and defeating thoughts not based in reality.

  1. Get to know the teachers and staff a little before starting preschool. Getting to know the teachers makes it easier to leave your child with them. They are no longer strangers, but partners in your child’s development!
  2. Make friends with the other parents. Being able to share your concerns with another parent is a great way for both of you to deflect and dissipate the anxiety of starting preschool.
  3. Go do something for you! If you have up till this point been focused on your child, the start of preschool may be a great time for you to do some fun stuff that you have wanted to do. Join a gym, take a class you always to take, or just go out to lunch with a few good friends – kid free!

These tips will help make the transition from parent of toddler to parent of young scholar much easier.

Starting preschool Tips for a Nervous Child

Starting Preschool

Some kids can be nervous before starting preschool. Talk to them about their fears.

Starting preschool can be just as intimidating and nerve racking for the child as it is for the parents. While you as the parent are trying to calm your own nerves about the beginning of preschool it is important that you don’t let your anxiety rub off on your child. In this scenario, your over worry is very counterproductive and can end up making your child more nervous than she would be. So the first tip to helping your child overcome any anxiety about the first day of preschool is to speak positively about preschool and how much fun it will be. Below are some more tips to help your child adjust and become the accomplished little scholar you know they can be

  1. Associate the first day of school with new and exciting things. Take your child to pick out a new backpack and fun school materials. Let your child pick out most of the items. This will help them to get excited about preschool instead of nervous.
  2. Make a playdate with some of the other children in your child’s class. Get a list of other parents from the preschool and call them up and ask if the want to have a playdate. This will make it easier for both kids to start preschool because they will have already made friends, making the environment more familiar.
  3. If your child is still exhibiting nervousness about the first day, give them something of your that they can hold onto during the day. Tell them that you are giving it to them for safe keeping and that you will be back to get it. This will help calm separation anxiety.
  4. Talk to your child about your preschool experience and how much you learned, laughed and loved and all the friends you made. If you have any, show your kids pictures of you on your first day of preschool. They will love this and it will show them that it is a positive experience.

The last thing to remember is to never give up. Don’t pull your child out of preschool because you are her may be having a hard time adjusting. It is totally natural to be nervous with such a new setting and situation and any nerves wear off in no time as your child experiences new and fun activities and events. And you get the awesome benefit of hearing all about their great days at school!

Starting Preschool at The Apple Tree Learning Center

At the Apple Tree Learning Center in Tucson, we are dedicated to making the first year of preschool a fun and smooth transition. Our quality caregivers understand the nerves that can come with the first day of school and will help you and your little one transition into preschool life. Come check out our programs and contact us today! We look forward to hearing from you!

 

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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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The Benefits of Preschool Music Programs

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You may already be aware of the many proven and established benefits of early childhood education. And while it is true that some early childhood education like preschool is better than no early childhood education, not all of these programs are created equal. There are not only differences in quality. There are also differences in theory, philosophy and the focus of the program. A quality preschool or early childhood education program is going to focus on a range of learning and developmental categories, giving the child a well-rounded first exposure to formal learning. Part of this broad and all-encompassing preschool education should include preschool music programs.

What are Preschool Music Programs?

Preschool Music Programs

Join us at The Apple Tree Learning Centers for guitar with Mr. Ray!!

Preschool music programs are designed to give young children their first exposure to music as a way of learning. They are also introduced to music as an object of learning. Your child has no doubt by this stage developed an ear for music and perhaps sings along to their favorite songs on repeat, over and over, much to your enjoyment and exhaustion. The next step is to teach the rudiments of music theory. That is what preschool music programs do.

Some Benefits of Preschool Music Programs

According to research compiled by PBS, music education imparts a number of positive benefits on all age groups. In preschool age groups specifically, music programs have been shown to develop the part of the brain involved in language acquisition and speech. Language development, the article continues, is essential for proper social development as well.

Another benefit of preschool music programs has been revealed in measures of intellect. According to the results of a study conducted by E. Glenn Schellenburg at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, six year olds who were given weekly music lessons showed an increase in IQ test scores over children who did not participate in any music education programs. This should come as no surprise. Neuroscience has discovered that the brain of early musicians works more efficiently than that of a non-musician.

Even further, because of the more efficiently functioning brain and neural network of the child exposed to music programs, these children also exhibit improvements in fine motor skills, sound discrimination and spatial temporal skills.

All these subtle benefits of preschool music programs are also displayed academically. According to a 2007 study, students who were involved in music education programs scored 22 percent higher in English and 20 percent higher in Math on standardized tests.

Preschool Music Programs at The Apple Tree Learning Center

preschool music programs

Preschool Music Programs are great for teaching kids to play instruments.

At The Apple Tree Learning Center, we are dedicated to providing our children with quality preschool and early childhood education programs. Because of this commitment to the best, The Apple Learning Center understands the vital importance of preschool music programs. The Apple Tree Learning Center’s music education program, led by classically trained musician Ray Funk, is designed to exercise all the mental, social and physical faculties of the children. Mr. Ray has been teaching in Tucson preschools for over 23 years and has dedicated his professional life to making music part of the lives of the children attending The Apple Tree Learning Center.

Come check out our early education and preschool music programs, or contact us today and schedule a tour for you and your child!! We look forward to hearing from you!

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Learning Games for Kids

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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

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The Apple Tree Learning Centers

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!