At MomTrusted, we have a lot of favorites when it comes to preschools. We devote our time to spreading word of outstanding programs and helping match parents with child care and education options. One of the preschool programs at the top of our list is CHALK Preschool, available at several locations in the Chicago and Los Angeles areas. Here’s why we love them:
CHALK’s belief in the learning process
At CHALK Preschool, staff strives to appeal to all parts of learning in an effort to provide a well-rounded education and preparation for kindergarten. CHALK supports each child’s emotional, physical, social and cognitive growth through carefully chosen lesson plans. A warm and welcoming environment is what staff members of CHALK work to provide for every preschooler in the program. They stress hands-on activities, including, but not limited to, a wide variety of songs, games and crafts.
CHALK prepares children for the leap into school
Teaching is the main goal at CHALK Preschool, and each center focuses on preparing its students for kindergarten, prepping them for a long road of academic success. While the lessons focus on math, science and literacy, a CHALK education reaches beyond the traditional sense. The preschools also work to help young ones perfect their motor skills and help children acquire social skills.
CHALK offers an online program
CHALK Preschool gets a ton of bonus points for spreading knowledge around the world by offering an online preschool option. Parents can login whether or not their child is already enrolled in preschool. The lessons, which are focused around key points like literacy, math, science and more, can be used as bonus learning material for those already in a tradition preschool, or a unique, digital preschool option for those who don’t go to preschool every day. The online version is even free for parents to enroll their children in and use.
CHALK Preschool has a total of five locations spread between Chicago and New York. The first went up in 2005 and popular demand for the program resulted in more and more preschools. Children between the ages of two and five are welcome and the preschool accepts applications year-round, so don’t wait until next year to enroll. Schedule a tour and see if it’s a good fit for your child. Click here to find the closest Chalk Preschool to you.
See more examples of just one day of their online preschool program below.
A couple of months ago, in the midst of the government shutdown, the U.S. Treasury started printing new $100 bills. The new bills are more expensive to produce than the ones we’re familiar with. Each bill costs nearly five cents extra to create. In honor of the new $100 bills, we’ve put together a few ideas for teaching preschoolers about money:
We created a coloring page so you and your kids can decorate your own $100 bills, cut them out, and make play money. Plus we also added in a few other ideas for introducing the concept of currency to your little ones.
Give them an allowance
Parents interested in teaching their children the value of money can give them a small allowance. Even a simple $5 per week will work great. The idea isn’t to give money though. The allowance should teach the value of money, so it works best if little ones need to do some chores around the house to earn it. Maybe they make their bed every day or wash dishes. The idea is to teach them to work for and appreciate their little income and to save for special toys, books or other items that cost more than their allotted income.
Count and sort coins
Counting and sorting change will help teach kids the values of different coins. First, teach the preschoolers the names of each coin. Then, after those have been memorized, introduce their values. Use visuals to your advantage. Put five pennies together, next to a nickel. Then, explain that the five pennies equal one nickel. Do this for each coin and experiment by putting together different combinations.
After the preschooler has mastered the monetary value of each coin, make a game out of it. Place coins on a table and have the preschooler sort them from most valuable to least. Then, place different coin combinations on the table and have the child or children do the same activity with groups of change.
-“Money Games and Activities” Nick Jr.: http://www.nickjr.com/home-life/kids-money/money-games-activities/money-games-activities_ap.html
-“A preschooler’s allowance” Simple Mom: http://simplemom.net/a-preschoolers-allowance/
-“These New $100 Bills Are Going to be Huge Overseas” BloombergBusinessWeek: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-10-08/these-new-100-bills-are-going-to-be-huge-overseas
The idea of hands-on learning has been around for ages. But now, multiple studies are showing what we suspected all along: learning outside of the classroom is the best kind of learning around. It improves test scores, memory retention and overall attitude. Even learning the stuff in the books in the country side proves better than lining students up in desks.
King’s College London, one of the leading research universities in the world, found that learning in a natural environment ups performance in nearly all subject areas, including math, reading, social studies and science. According to the study performed by King’s College London, exploring their surrounding gets kids excited about learning, amping up their information intake and overall test skills.
According to author Stuart Nundy’s book Raising Achievement Through the Environment, learning outdoors, in open country, was actually found to improve memory. These are just a couple examples, among a slew of research that points toward one answer: keeping kids in the classroom is not the way to learn.
According to multiple studies, scientists and authors, kids learn better outside of the classroom, taking advantage of hands-on activities. Plain and simple. George Monbiot breaks it all down for readers in his recent article, “Rewild the Child.”
-“Rewild the Child” George Monbiot: http://www.monbiot.com/2013/10/07/rewild-the-child/
-“Understanding the diverse benefits of learning in natural environments” King’s College London: http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/KCL-LINE-benefits_tcm6-31078.pdf
-Photo courtesy of jonny2love
As teachers, care providers and parents, you know better than anyone that kids learn best through hands-on or play based learning. Our friends at Kodo Kids know that hands-on play is not only extremely educational, but also the most fun way to learn. That’s why they produce products that promote investigation and exploration.
As childhood expert Bev Bos would say, “If it’s not in the hand, it’s not in the head.” At Mom Trusted, we agree with Kodo Kids’ learning philosophy. Open-ended play is an important learning style for children of all ages. It helps create a deep understanding of the material introduced to them. This hands-on, play approach is especially important during early education, when children are just starting to discover and create their learning style, along with the world around them.
Products from Kodo Kids range anywhere from Digger Kits, designed to encourage outdoor play and learning by digging, burying and sifting through sand and soil, to Kodo Clay, an all-natural product meant for art and expression. There’s a magnetic filling kit that teaches kids about magnetism and iron particles. Kodo Kids even has Pump Works, a kit of water tubes that lets children test out their engineering and water pumping skills.
How do we know Kodo Kids’ products are great? They sent us some and we loved them! With a wide variety of tools, toys and gadgets, any teacher, child care provider, or parent is sure to find something right up their alley that suits their individual teaching or parenting style. Visit Kodo Kids’ products for yourself today to see just how great hands-on learning can be!
With the steep costs of preschool, many parents are searching for lower costing options or even eliminating pre-k altogether. Those in Los Angeles County may have a more affordable option at their fingertips. The Un Mundo de Amigos Preschool offers free and affordable preschool to kids in the LA county.
Un Mundo de Amigos offers free half-day preschool without any financial restrictions. The only requirements are that the families live in LA County and children fall within the birthday perimeters. Un Mundo de Amigos does, however, still offer affordable childcare to families of kids who are younger than four or those who’d like their kids to participate in the full-day program. Families who fall into those categories are welcome to opt for the program’s private pay option, which costs $5 per hour, still much lower than most other pre-k programs.
Laurie Peterson, who had previously worked in the business of PG golf tournaments, founded Un Mundo de Amigos after seeing the joy her own son got from starting school. “I realized that not every child had had the same beginnings as he has had,” said Peterson. “And yet every parent loves their child as much as I love him.”
Most of it is funded through the Los Angeles Universal Preschool, a non-profit dedicated to increasing preschool affordability and access in the LA area. In 1999, as a result of a 50-cent tax law on cigarettes and other tobacco products in California, more funding was put toward early childhood development. Eighty percent of the new revenue was distributed among counties in California and backs organizations such as LAUP, working to improve the lives and education of children from the age of birth to five years old.
The program has been going strong and just graduated its fifth preschool class. Un Mundo de Amigos enrolls about 130 students each year and this year is no different. With the school year officially beginning in September, Un Mundo de Amigos has a handful of spots available in its free program and only one private place still open.
For more information about Un Mundo de Amigos Preschool, click here.
This fall, 57,000 children in need of preschool through the Head Start program will be out of luck. This year, Head Start program saw big budget cuts, in fact, the biggest the program has seen in history.
The White House said the lack of funding is due to spending cuts, resulting from the sequestration. Head Start has been around since the mid-1960s and this is by far the largest cut it’s ever seen. Many worry that this dramatic loss of funding will hurt the ones who need help the most: low-income families struggling to afford preschool. In 2012, Head Start served over one million families, but now, nearly 60,000 less will be included this school year.
Kids aren’t the only ones who will suffer from the cuts. Around 18,000 Head Start employees will lose their jobs due to the lack of funding. The grand total of funding loss sits at a heavy $400 million. Cuts are expected to take place by the end of September.
The good news? Those looking for affordable childcare and preschool programs in their area have come to the right spot. At Mom Trusted, we’re always sad to hear about less funding for great programs like Head Start, but we’re still here to help parents in need find the best possible match for their families. Visit MomTrusted.com to start your search now!
-“Head Start hit with worst cuts in its history” USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/19/stateline-head-start/2671309/
-“57,000 fewer children will be in the Head Start program because of spending cuts, the White House says” NY Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/budget-cuts-whack-head-start-article-1.1431355
-“Head Start budget cuts cost kids, jobs” LA Daily News: http://www.dailynews.com/general-news/20130814/head-start-budget-cuts-cost-kids-jobs
-Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net
The first day of preschool is a scary one, both for you and your child. Here are some ideas for how to make that big step easier on both of you:
1. Pay a visit.
Visit the classroom with your little one to get them excited. This will not only create excitement, but help eliminate the first day nerves. Meeting his or her new teacher will also help by giving them a familiar face on the first real day of school.
2. Discuss the activities.
Tell your child what they’ll be doing every day. Think of it as explaining their schedule, even if they don’t have a firm grasp on time just yet. This way, when their teacher says, “OK. It’s snack time,” it will be an activity that your child remembers from their schedule. Schedules provide comfort and make the day flow more smoothly.
3. Pack their favorites.
A lunchbox filled with your child’s favorite snacks is a surefire way to chase some first day jitters away.
4. Leave a love note
First days are always a little scary so let your little one know you’re thinking of them. Leave a note in their lunchbox. Picture notes are great for those who aren’t reading quite yet.
5. Read books about preschool.
Reading stories out loud about how exciting preschool is will give your little one something to look forward to.
6. Buy the gear.
Go out together to shop for a new backpack, notebooks and crayons. New school supplies that he or she helped pick out will make them feel extra prepared and look forward to the big day.
7. Ask them.
Ask your child how they’re feeling. Are they excited? Are they nervous? Not only will talking through feelings prove therapeutic, but you may be able to put some of their worries to rest.
8. Set up play dates ahead of time.
If you receive a class list before preschool starts, give some of the parents a call. If your child has the opportunity to play with one or two of his or her new classmates before preschool even starts, she or he’ll be able to spot a familiar face on the first day.
9. Talk about the potty routine.
Many kids have just finished potty training when they start preschool. They may feel nervous about having to go while they’re in a new place. Talk about this before hand. Make sure they understand what steps to take. “Ask your teacher first.” “Don’t forget to wash your hands.”
10. Consider sending a comfort item.
If your child has a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, send it along with them. It will comfort them, especially during naptime when they’re trying to fall asleep in a new place. Just be sure to double check with the preschool to make sure it’s OK first.
11. Start bringing preschool up in day-to-day activities.
If your child draws a colorful picture, say “I bet you’re going to get to make other art projects like that at preschool.” If you see your little one share a toy, applaud them by saying, “Great job! Your new school friends are really going to love when you share with them.”
12. Share your own stories.
Reassure your little kiddo that when you started preschool, you were scared too, but then tell them about all of the fun you had and friends you made.
13. Goodbye routine.
Create your very own goodbye ritual. Maybe you sing a little song or give each other a hug and a kiss on each cheek. Maybe you recite a goofy poem. Routine makes kids feel safe so figure out your parting ritual and practice it before the big day. That way, when it comes time for the real deal, all the drills before hand will make using it for real, a treat.
14. Don’t linger.
If you look afraid, your child will pick up on it. And if you stick around too long when dropping them off, they’ll sense that something is wrong. You need to be as brave as you’re telling them to be. So put on a big smile and let your child know how excited you are for them to be taking the next big step!
15. Be on time.
Be on time when you pick up your child. Not only is it scary to watch all of the other classmates leave with their parents, while yours is nowhere to be found, but showing up late looks just plain irresponsible. So be there when you are supposed to be to pick up your child and hear all about their preschool adventures.
-“10 Ways to Prepare Your Child for School.” Parents.com
-Fox, Isadora. “First Day Jitters: Getting Kids Excited About Preschool.” Parents.
-“Tips for the first day of preschool.” Babble.
-Photo courtesy of photostock/freedigitalphotos.net