Celebrating Sukkot

Harvest BasketThe Jewish holiday of Sukkot is the perfect time of year for family engagement and community-building in preschool settings. This year, the holiday begins at sundown on October 2 and continues through October 9. Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which Israelites wandered the desert, living in temporary shelters. Sukkot is also a harvest holiday about coming together and sharing food. Perhaps the most recognizable symbol of Sukkot is a structure built for outdoor eating and sleeping called a sukkah. The sukkah, emblematic of the temporary shelters used during this period of wandering, can be made of any material, as long as it is stable enough to survive the wind. The roof, however, is typically made of natural materials, i.e., leaves, bamboo, etc. Once established, the sukkah is a space for family and community gatherings.

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Welcoming Kindergarteners in Your Setting: Tips and Resources

gatePolicies regarding the coronavirus are changing rapidly and schools are uncertain about whether it will be safe to open for in-person learning this fall. We’ve heard from many child care providers that children expected to transition to kindergarten will be remaining in child care. While our Fireflies® curriculum tackles and reinforces many skills and concepts essential to kindergarten, we felt it important to offer you resources that will support you in extending our curriculum to meet the needs of and challenge the kindergarten children in your care.  

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We’re Celebrating 25 Years!

Twenty-five years ago, Beth Ehlis, owner and president of FunShine, was searching for quality educational materials for the children in her licensed child care program. What she was looking for, however, was not available on the market. At eight months pregnant and dreaming of a business, she began creating her own curriculum, with just a paper cutter, heat sealer, computer, and the copy machine in her basement. In 1995, along with the help of her mom and sister, she started reproducing the materials for other providers. The very first curriculum kits for September 1995 were shipped to 30 customers! Every single one of them re-ordered, and Beth knew the content was sound.

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Tips for Reopening Childcare

Guest Post
by Andrew Roszak
Executive Director, The Institute for Childhood Preparedness

As restrictions from the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic begin to ease, many early childhood programs are thinking about reopening. This is not an easy task and many find themselves attempting to balance feasibility versus safety. FunShine had the opportunity to talk about reopening child care with the executive director of the Institute for Childhood Preparedness, Andrew Roszak. Roszak has been working on emergency preparedness issues for over 20 years, including his service as Senior Director of Environmental Health, Pandemic Preparedness and Catastrophic Response – where he worked each day with the CDC and local health departments to better prepare communities for pandemics. Roszak submitted the following tips.

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Honoring Those We’ve Lost

Memorial Day CemeteryMemorial Day is a federal holiday that honors those who died while serving for the United States military. Celebrated annually on the last Monday in May, it was originally known as Decoration Day. It began after the Civil War, and officially became a holiday in 1971. For many, Memorial Day unofficially marks the beginning of summer. Memorial Day is commemorated in many ways—some will hold gatherings and participate in parades. Others will visit cemeteries and memorials to honor loved ones. Celebrating the holiday often means acknowledging the concept of death with children. Though talking with children about death can be challenging, it’s not impossible.

When discussing death with a child, first find out what he or she knows. Many children have misconceptions, fears, and worries surrounding the concept of death. While talking about it may not solve all their problems, you may be able to provide information, comfort, and a clearer understanding of what death means.

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Happy National Child Care Provider Day!

National Child Care Provider Day or Provider Appreciation Day is celebrated annually on the Friday before Mother’s Day. This commemoration was established in 1996 by a group of volunteers in New Jersey, who saw the need to recognize the work of child care providers. Each year, the celebration grows as individuals, local governments, and community groups take time to recognize and value the efforts of early learning providers. We want to say Thank You for all of your hard work! Because of your time, patience, and commitment, children are learning and feeling loved every day.

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15 Activities to Make Week of the Young Child Memorable

This year, the Week of the Young Child (WOYC) occurs from April 11-17. As many of you know, the WOYC was established by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) to shed light on the needs of young children and families and to recognize the work of early childhood educators. This year marks the 49th celebration of WOYC! Be a part of this amazing lineage by celebrating in your setting and encouraging families to commemorate the occasion at home. Make the WOYC memorable by celebrating with something special each day! Choose from the following activities, and get the word out by choosing one of NAEYC’s recommended activities for Kick-Off Saturday.

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Resources for Children During COVID-19

As we strive to work and play from home, it’s helpful to have easy-to-find, accessible resources for children. Much of what we do during this time will take place online. Save time searching for things to do or view by choosing activities from the resources below. We’ve compiled a list of learning and play tools, including digital books, kids podcasts, yoga workouts for children, and age-appropriate science experiments. You can even visit several zoos and aquariums across the country by accessing live webcams!

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Parents Are a Child’s First Teacher: Homeschooling with FunShine

by Teresa Narey

As news rapidly evolves regarding the spread of COVID-19 and precautions we should take, parents continue to face child care challenges. Questions about how to care for children and how to maintain and promote learning are abundant. While K-12 institutions have widely moved to online learning, parents of young children, especially those in preschool or Pre-K, are at a disadvantage. It is likely that many child care providers and early learning centers will offer parents guidance and resources for working with their children, however, these items may be limited and only reflect a fraction of what your child’s experience might have been like in child care.

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