Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fun Outdoor Activities

I just checked the weather forecast for the week and it is going to be a beautiful week off. I came across the blog post and it has fantastic resources for parks and hiking trails. Both free and fun activities to do with your children for the week. I found it to be a great resource and I hope you are able to take advantage of some fun outdoor time this week.

“I like to play indoors better ‘cause that’s where all the electric outlets are.”

- A 4th Grader in San Diego, quoted in Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

Many of us remember the phrase, “Go outside and play!” from childhood, but children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation (Clements, 2004; Hofferth and Curtin, 2006). Free play and discretionary time has declined more than 9 hours a week over the last 25 years. A new Nielson Company Report indicates that children ages two-five years old now spend more than 32 hours a week on average in front of a TV screen. According to the Keiser Family Foundation (2010), the amount of screen time only increases with age, with school-aged children spending 7.5 hours a day on electronic media.

The percentage of preschool children who are overweight more than tripled between 1971 and 2009, exploding from 5.8% in 1971 to 18.4% in 2009 (Odgen et al, 2007; Anderson, 2009). Six out of ten of these preschoolers will continue to be overweight or obese at age 12 (NICHD, 2006). The situation is so severe that this generation of children’s life span is predicted to be shorter than that of their parents.

Tap into the benefits of outdoor play!

Encouraging children to get outside, get moving, and connect with the natural world are all ways to reverse childhood obesity rates. But, the benefits don’t stop there. Kids who play outside are happier, healthier, and stronger!

According to research (Fjortoft 2004; Burdette and Whitaker 2005), children who play outdoors regularly:

  • Become fitter and leaner
  • Develop stronger immune systems
  • Have more active imaginations
  • Have lower stress levels
  • Play more creatively
  • Have greater respect for themselves and others

Time spent outdoors is also the best way to get vitamin D. According to the journal Pediatrics, 70% of American kids are not getting enough vitamin D, which can lead to a host of health issues. Time spent outdoors is also shown to reduce myopia (nearsightedness) in children (Optometry and Vision Science, 2008).

Get outdoors!

Here are a few resources to help you take it outside:

No matter what you do, make sure to make time to get you and the children in your world outside!

Playfully yours, Bethe

Blogger Bio: Bethe Almeras, MS, is the HSBS Education & Outreach Director. A long time educator and play advocate, she is passionate about outdoor play and connecting children with nature.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Winter Vacation

The Burlington Early Childhood Center will be closed the week of February 20th for Winter Break. We wish you all a wonderful and relaxing break. School will be back in session on Monday February 27th, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wilfrid Gordon Mcdonald Partridge

The following is a book that the children will be exposed to while learning about community. It is a very heart warming story and I thought you might enjoy meeting "Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge" as well.

A small boy, Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, knows and likes all of the old folks in the home next door, but his favorite is Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper she has four names, too. Hearing that she has lost her memory, he asks the old folks what a memory is ("Something from long ago" ; "Something that makes you laugh;" "Something warm;" etc.), ponders the answers, then gathers up memories of his own (seashells collected long ago last summer, a feathered puppet with a goofy expression, a warm egg fresh from the hen) to give her. In handling Wilfrid's memories, Nancy finds and shares her own. The illustrationssplashy, slightly hazy watercolors in rosy pastelscontrast the boy's fidgety energy with his friends' slow, careful movements and capture the story's warmth and sentiment.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Make Reading Part of Your Preschooler's Everyday Life

Make Reading Part of Your Preschooler's Everyday Life

Do you enjoy reading? Do you look at the newspaper? Read magazines? Go to the library? Chances are, if you do any of these activities, your preschool child is on his way to becoming a reader.

The process of learning to read is complex. While there is a lot of information about this process, one of the most important things to know is that parents help their children learn to read as they go about the routines of everyday life.

The basics of learning to read are talking, listening, reading and writing. As children have conversations with caring adults, they hear both new and familiar words and their vocabulary grows.

Opportunities for adults and children to talk together happen during daily routines such as riding in the car or bus, doing household chores like fixing dinner and folding laundry, or bathing and getting ready for bed.

A major part of conversation is listening. When children talk, adults listen and respond. Then children listen and respond, and so the flow of conversation happens.

Remember snuggling with a favorite adult as he or she read aloud or told you stories? Have you watched your preschooler "pretend" to read to his favorite teddy bear or younger sibling? Have you read his favorite story over and over and over again? These experiences tell children that reading is fun. And when things are fun, they are repeated.

During these reading experiences, children become familiar with many elements of print, such as words and the symbols (letters) that go together to make words.

As your child sees letters, she begins to connect them to familiar words, especially the letters that make up her name. It is a natural next step for her to want to write those letters.

Children will copy the actions of the adults who are important to them. When they see parents make a grocery list, they want to use pencil and paper to make their own list. A simple way to encourage these beginning writing activities is to have pencils, markers, crayons and scrap paper available for your child to use.

The more children get to practice behaviors connected with talking, listening, reading and writing, the easier it is for them to become enthusiastic readers. While you as a parent have a big influence on these early literacy behaviors, it is important to remember that opportunities for literacy experiences occur while you and your child share in the basic routines of everyday life.