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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Welcome Spring with an Outdoor Classroom

by Teresa Narey

There is no greater sigh of relief after a long day with young ones than when you open the door and they rush past you to play outside. The benefits of outdoor play for children are well researched. Ample outdoor experiences promote exercise, executive functioning, risk-taking, socialization, and an appreciation for nature. Support children’s outside explorations by welcoming spring with an outdoor classroom. Continue reading

6 Ways to Handle “That’s Not Fair!”

“That’s not fair!” is a common refrain in preschool classrooms. Children often struggle to share favorite toys, take turns, and are prone to saying hurtful things such as “I don’t want to play with you,” or “I don’t want to be your friend.” As educators, we do our best to mediate hurtful situations during which children feel judged or left out. However, getting the concept of fairness to stick can be tricky. Continue reading

Encouraging Self-Awareness and Personal Space

by Teresa Narey

Teaching children about personal space and fostering self-regulation is arguably an early childhood educator’s most important job. Research tells us that children with strong social/emotional skills have more positive relationships, are happier, and are more successful academically than children who exhibit social/emotional difficulties. Children who are mentally healthy are generally more self-aware, that is, they understand their own thoughts, feelings, and actions, and how those things affect other people. The more self-aware you are, the more you understand your impact on other people. How, then, do we help young children begin to think about boundaries and self-reflect? How can we support them in naming their emotions and overcoming challenges? Below are 6 simple activities to get you started.

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Listen to Your Quiet Child

by Chalimar Ríos

A preschool classroom is usually full of colors, scribbles, toys, children playing and sharing, but most of all. . . a lot of noise. Over the course of the school year, a teacher gets to know each of her students—their noises, voices, laughs, and cries. There is always a particular voice, a more outgoing child, one who arrives with a hug and leaves with a smile on his face. Or, there’s the child who loves to play with lots of friends, and the one who plays with many toys at the same time because fun shouldn’t have limits!

But what happens when we don’t notice the child who does not want to stand up and participate when you are singing and dancing to a song? What about the child who always looks down when he arrives or leaves the classroom? What do you do with the child who is always quiet and calm? Maybe it seems that you do not have to worry about him, but that quiet child may have a lot to say.

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Vegetable Recipes for Preschoolers

Healthy food choices can’t start early enough. If children participate in the preparation of meals, they are more likely to eat the foods. Other tips to get your little ones to enjoy vegetables include familiarity, satiety value, social context, modeling, and “hiding” vegetables. You can learn more about these tips here.

Try these fun vegetable recipes that children can help you make!

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Cooking with Kids

Imagine having your teaching setting filled with delicious scents and seeing your children willingly dig into healthy foods. How can you make this happen? One of the best ways is to offer healthy cooking experiences. Whether you work in family care, a child care facility, or even a public school, there are many ways you can make cooking a part of your day.

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Understanding Difference

by Teresa Narey

Child development researchers have found that children become aware of difference from an age much earlier than we anticipate. Some studies have found that children as young as three months old prefer the company of individuals from their own ethnic group, and according to Penn State University’s Better Kid Care, children start to notice gender and racial differences at the age of two.

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Getting Preschoolers to Eat Vegetables

by Kelley Jilek

A healthy diet and lifestyle can never start early enough. MyPlate suggests that half our plates should consist of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, kids are inundated with misinformation from media and advertisements every day. There are many factors that shape food habits and behaviors in children. Here are some tips for getting your little ones to try some healthier foods:

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