Laughter is Contagious

I think one of the most wonderful things about being an educator is the opportunity to be around happy children and the sound of their laughter.   Let’s face it, adult life is hard and right now it’s even more challenging.  It can be hard to find the humor in anything at this time, but children still can and we can learn from them or do they learn from us?

According to the Association for Applied and Therapuetic Humor, at age five children laugh 7 to 8 times per hour during play.  How many of us can say we laugh that much at the office or our work place?  But there are individuals who manage to find the humor in anything and everything.  As parents you model a sense of humor for your children.  Parents who laugh easily, tease or joke with their children and help them to see the humor in situations, encourage their children to do so by example. 

Humor for children looks very different at each age and stage of development.  Babies don’t understand humor but they do find their Moms funny when they smile at them and coo or blow raspberries on their belly.  Toddlers love to laugh when someone plays peekaboo with them.  They find it hysterical when a familiar adult suddenly pops out from behind their hands to surprise them with a smile and a laugh.  Preschoolers find humor in things that are odd or not how they’re supposed to be.  If a preschoolers’ teacher says that today’s snack is bugs and worms, children of this age will erupt in laughter because they know that this could not and should not happen yet somehow the possibility is funny.  One thing that preschoolers love and teachers do not is bathroom humor.  For children of this age laughing about what happens in the bathroom and using bathroom words can provide a lot of entertainment on any given day.  Somehow this topic brings peals of laughter in a typical preschool classroom.

To encourage laughter and a love of language, I love to tell jokes to and with children.  I love to see how their mind works as they try to figure out the punch line or learn the art of delivering their own joke,  Knock Knock jokes are a preschool favorite because of the repetitive nature.  Children love to make up their own Knock Knock jokes and most are pretty silly and make little to no sense at all, but command a huge laugh and numerous giggles from friends. We can’t forget as adults that it’s funny and healthy to laugh and we need to model this for children.

Enjoy the article below about helping your child develop a sense of humor.

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/child-humor.html

Holiday Gifts for Children

It’s easy for all of us to get wrapped up in the holiday season.  We all want to give the right gift and we especially want to surprise the children in our lives with exactly what they’ve wanted.  It can be difficult to avoid the commercialism of the holidays and the overwhelming feeling that you forgot someone on your gift list.  But what lessons do we want to send to children at the holidays?  Should they expect to get everything that they ask for and how do adults know what the limit should be?

I remember when I was a child as the holidays drew closer, we looked in flyers and magazines and we made wish lists of all the things that we hoped to get.  Making our wish list was a yearly holiday activity.  We loved looking at the pictures of all those toys more than anything.  We would circle what we wanted and as the holidays got closer our parents asked us to pick our very favorites, the few things that we would want most.  There was always one thing we each wanted more than anything.  The waiting, the anticipation and the sheer thrill of hoping that we would get that one thing was so exciting.  My parents kept the gift giving simple so that we would appreciate what we received and because of that we really enjoyed and played with our most coveted items that we received.  And many gifts came from other members of the family that we opened separately.  And when we opened a gift from a family member we would call that person and thank them.    

At the holidays children often receive gifts from so many people that nothing seems particularly special.  There are so many gifts to open that it becomes a big pile of wrapping paper and boxes and the child doesn’t even know sometimes who gave the gift to them.  It is important for children to enjoy gift giving as well as receiving.  Take time at the holidays to make cards for others, wrap gifts for special people and donate gifts and items to those less fortunate.  This pandemic has helped us to simplify things for sure.  Celebrations are smaller and being together and sharing holiday experiences and activities like baking, decorating and being outdoors in the snow have become even more precious as we make new family memories. 

Gift ideas for children to give and receive at the holidays:

  1.  Books are the gifts that keep on giving-they can be read over and over, shared with others and passed down.
  2. Home made gifts are always the best-knowing that someone spent their time and put their love into your special gift makes it even more precious
  3. Experiences-give a jam making class gift certificate or a family snowboarding class-things that can be done together during and after the holiday season
  4. Games, brain teasers and puzzles that can be done together as a family-something that everyone can enjoy!

Read the article below for tips on how to make the holidays more meaningful for children.

https://www.avera.org/balance/childrens-health/christmas-gift-giving-for-kids-how-much-is-enough/

Read Me A Story Please

Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word. … Even after children learn to read themselves, it is still important to read aloud to them. 

“Reading with Your Child” / Reading Rocket

I find reading with children the most enjoyable experience.  As an avid reader and book lover myself, I love to share books of all kinds with children.  I love the interaction of the shared reading experience.  It’s fascinating to see children’s reactions and hear their observations and questions as they immerse themselves in a story.  There is no better way to make a connection with a child than to share a book with them. 

Teaching Children to be Flexible

“One of the chief concerns (and complaints) from parents I work with is that their children are super rigid and irrational.” 

Claire Lerner of Lerner Child Development

Educators are all too familiar with classroom scenarios that include some children crying or melting down because things are not going quite their way.  Children can become upset over the littlest things or so it seems that way to the adults around them.  When children become upset because they cannot sit next to the friend they sit next to every day or that the crust is not cut off of their sandwich as it usually is or that they do not want to wear the only jacket available to wear, what can caring adults do?

The Meaning of Childhood

To see things through the eyes of a child is something we all try to do as adults. As educators we are lucky enough to spend time with young children every day and because of that, we are able to experience the magic of childhood through their eyes. All experiences can be new to us again as we look at it through their eyes.

Let’s Get Singing

This article is written by our Music Specialist, Miss Patty.

 “When preschool children explore instruments, create melodies, learn songs as a group, and make-up songs, they develop appreciation for different kinds of music and become comfortable with different forms of musical expressions.”

Newton School for Children Creative Curriculum

Playing the guitar and singing with children brings me such pleasure. Music has always been a part of my life and I love sharing my talent with children. My music program is designed to foster the children’s social, emotional, physical and language skills through music and movement. The learning experience includes instruments, movement songs, finger plays, chants and multicultural songs that relate to the monthly themes at Newton School for Children. The children enjoy leaning new songs but always ask for their favorites!

Cultivating The Spirit Of Giving

If this pandemic has highlighted anything for us a human race, it’s the importance of thinking of others and reaching out a hand to lift up, support, provide or encourage a neighbor, friend or even a stranger at this most desperate of times. We are thinking about each other in terms of how we can all be safe and stay healthy, but there are other ways that we can help our fellow neighbor. This pandemic has impacted some families more significantly than others. Some people have been directly impacted by the virus itself and others have felt the financial impact of the virus by a reduction in hours at work or the loss of a job or uncertainty about how bills will be paid or even eviction. If you find yourself one of the more fortunate people right now and you have been impacted minimally, this is the time to lend a hand. The example that you show your children in how you give, support and donate is one of the ways in which you cultivate a spirit of giving in even the very youngest of children. Your children are watching you!

In Our Experience

As we post this 4th blog you may be wondering why we started a blog.  Why would we start blogging now?  Well, Newton School for Children has been educating and nurturing young children for almost 40 years and with so much knowledge and so many things to share, it was either write a book or create a blog.  And since everyone is at home doing everything remotely and on line these days, we thought that we could share our expertise and experience and at the same time support parents and children with a weekly informative blog.

A New Halloween

Early childhood educators all believe that children can adapt to almost anything and helping them to understand a change or a new way of doing things is all in how it’s presented.

Parents are concerned this year that their children may not be able to trick or treat and that this incredibly fun childhood tradition will be snatched from them.  The current pandemic has changed so many things and Halloween is likely one of them.  But this Halloween can still be fun for children of all ages if the adults adjust their attitude about it.  Most parents are creative and innovative and can certainly create a new Halloween for their children that is both safe and fun. 

Let’s Go Apple Picking!

Apple pies, apple donuts, apple cider and apple picking are synonymous with Fall in New England.  New Englanders in record numbers head to apple orchards in the fall for that quintessential on the farm, fresh air and hay ride experience.  This past Monday at school almost every child approached the center at drop off with a tale of apple picking that weekend.  It seemed as if literally every child had done the same thing that weekend.  I know parents like to take their little ones apple picking, but I’m not sure adults realize the impact this experience has on children and how many amazing things are learned by visiting an orchard or a farm.  If you haven’t already taken your children apple picking this season, here’s why you should.