Preparing Your Toddler for Preschool

If your child is starting preschool, you may be approaching this major milestone with conflicting emotions. You’re probably excited about all the fun (you hope) your child will have and the new friends he’ll make. At the same time, you may feel a little sad that your baby is venturing out into the big world without you. These emotions are normal. Your child is also bound to have a host of feelings about this transition, feeling proud to be a big kid but at the same time worried about being separated from you and starting something unfamiliar.

Having Fun With Preschool Prep

There’s a lot you can do in the week before to get ready for the big day. But try to keep your efforts low-key. If you make too big a deal out of this milestone, your child may end up being more worried than excited. Here are some ideas to keep the focus on fun.

Use pretend play to explore the idea of preschool.
Take turns being the parent, child, and teacher. Act out common daily routines, such as saying good-bye to mommy and/or daddy, taking off your coat, singing songs, reading stories, having Circle Time, playing outside, and taking naps. Reassure your child that preschool is a good place where she will have fun and learn. Answer her questions patiently. This helps children feel more in control which reduces their anxiety.

Read books about preschool.
There are many books about going to preschool. Choose to share some with your child before school starts. Talk about the story and how the characters are feeling. Ask how your child is feeling.

Make a game out of practicing self-help skills.
These skills include unzipping a lunch bag, hanging his coat on a hook, putting on her backpack, fastening his shoes. For example, you might want to have a “race” with your child to see how quickly she can put on her shoes. When you play school together, you can give your child the chance to practice taking off her coat, zipping her lunch bag closed, and sitting “criss-cross applesauce.” If your child will be bringing lunch, pack it up one day before school starts and have a picnic together. This will give her the chance to practice unzipping her lunch box and unwrapping her sandwich—important skills for the first day!

Play at your new preschool.
Visit your child’s preschool together and tour the school with your child. Play on the school playground before your child starts the program. Visiting increases your child’s comfort with and confidence in this new setting.

Worries and Watching
Your child may also have some questions or concerns about starting preschool, either before or after he starts in the fall. Help him get ready with these two key strategies:

Listen to your child’s worries.
Although it’s tempting to quickly reassure your child and move on, it’s important to let your child know that his worries have been heard. No matter what they are, big or small, children’s worries about preschool can significantly influence their experience there. Will you remember to pick him up in the afternoon? Will his teacher be nice?

Let your child know it’s normal to feel happy, sad, excited, scared, or worried. Explain that starting something new can feel scary and that lots of people feel that way. It can be helpful to share a time when you started something new and how you felt. When you allow your child to share her worries, you can help her think through how to deal with them. For example, if she is worried about missing you, the two of you can make a book of family photos to keep in her cubby and look at when she is lonely.

Notice nonverbal messages.
As much as youngsters may talk, most are not yet able to fully explain how they are feeling or what they are worried about. Your child may “act out” his worry by clinging, becoming withdrawn, or by being more aggressive. Another common reaction as children take a big move forward is to actually move backward in other areas. For example, if your child is fully potty trained, he may start have toileting accidents. He may ask that you feed or dress him even though he can do these things by himself.

It is natural to be frustrated by this regressed behavior, and you may be concerned that if you do these things for him, he won’t go back to doing them himself. In fact, letting him play this out often leads to children returning to their “big kid” selves sooner. Remember that your child is facing—and managing—a big change in his life. He may need more support, nurturing, and patience from you while he makes this transition.

The Preschool Countdown: What to Do and When
The last week before starting preschool, you may begin the countdown to the first day. Here are some things to keep in mind:

During the Weeks Before Preschool Starts:
Purchase a lunchbox together with your child. If possible, let your child choose it himself. This gives him a sense of control and emphasizes the fact that he is a “big kid” starting preschool.
Label all items—backpack, jacket, shoes, blanket, teddy bear, etc.—with your child’s name in permanent ink.
Contact the preschool’s health professional if your child has medication that he or she takes on a daily basis. There will be special rules and forms to fill out for your child to receive medication at school.
Talk about how your child will get to school and how she will come home. Explain to your child about the morning and afternoon routine so that she understands that she will be safe, okay, and cared for.
Start using your child’s “school bedtime.” Children often go to bed later as the summer months, and longer days, kick in. Help your child get into a preschool schedule by keeping to his school bedtime, beginning a week before school starts.

The Night Before Preschool:
Answer any last-minute questions from your child.
Let your child choose (weather- and school-appropriate) clothes for her first day.
Make sure that your child goes to bed on time.
Pick a bedtime that gives your child a good night’s rest before the first day. Keep the bedtime routine soothing and relaxing. Don’t focus too much (or at all!) on the first day of school unless he wants to.

The First Day:
Wake up early enough so that you and your child don’t have to rush to get to preschool.
Make breakfast for your child and, if possible, sit down to eat together—or at least talk with her as she eats and you get ready.
Review the day’s routine (what preschool will be like, how your child will get to school/come home).
Pack your child’s lunchbox together. If your child is bringing lunch, select foods that you know are his favorites. Having some familiarity on his first day is helpful as he adjusts to so many changes.
Let your child choose a special stuffed animal or blanket to bring to school with her. These “loveys” can help children make the transition from home to school. You may want to send your child with a family photo as well. These familiar objects can help if she feels lonely during the day.

Saying a Good Good-Bye
These strategies can ease the jitters of separating on your child’s first day at preschool.

Plan to stay a little while.
Staying for 5-15 minutes on that first morning can help ease the transition. Together, the two of you can explore the classroom, meet some other children, play with a few toys. When you see that your child is comfortable, it is time to leave. If he is having a harder time getting engaged, you may want to ask your child’s teacher to stay with your child as you say good-bye so that when you leave, he can turn to another caring adult for support.

Keep your tone positive and upbeat.
Children pick up on the reactions of the trusted adults in their lives. So try not to look worried or sad, and don’t linger too long. Say a quick, upbeat good-bye and reassure your child that all will be well.

Think about creating a special good-bye routine.
For example, you can give your child a kiss on the palm to “hold” all day long. Or, the two of you can sing a special song together before you leave. Good-bye routines are comforting to children and help them understand and prepare for what will happen next.

Resist the Rescue.
Try not to run back in the classroom if you hear your child crying, as upsetting as this can be. This is a big change and your child may, quite understandably, feel sad and a little scared. But if you run back in, it sends the message that he is only okay if you are there and it is likely to prolong your child’s distress and make it harder for him to adapt. Rest assured, teachers have many years of experience with helping families make the shift to preschool. Instead, you can wait outside the classroom for a few minutes to ensure that all is well, or call the school later in the morning to check in.

Spring is Just Around the Corner

It’s that time of year… spring is almost here!

In preparation for our Welcome Spring! Celebration, please send as many eggshells as you can collect at home so we can begin painting and stuffing them with confetti. Also, start thinking of a vehicle your child can ride for the Easter Parade. It can be a trike, bike, scooter or push car uniquely decorated. Here are a few examples:

For mobile devices, use this link.

 

HEB San Pedro (Humberto Lobo)

(español, ver abajo)

Dear Toddler Tree Parents,

With the intention of offering the kids an opportunity to explore food at the grocery store, we have programmed a visit to HEB San Pedro for the Big Bears and Terrific Tigers groups on Wednesday, November 7 with Ms. Caya, Ms. Karen, Ms. Victoria and Ms. Marifer.

We will meet at the underground parking lot, near the electric escalators at 9:00am to start our tour at 9:15am. Mothers are asked to stay with their child during the visit which we expect will last approximately 30 minutes. We are asking that you please take your child to Toddler Tree after HEB and pick him/her up at the usual dismissal time. If your child will not be joining us for the visit, please drop him/her off at kinder after 10:00am on that day.

Thank you,

The Toddler Tree teaching staff

__________________________________________

Estimados Padres de Familia:

 Con el propósito de que los niños tengan la experiencia tangible de explorar comida, que será parte del tema de este mes, hemos programado una visita a HEB Sand Pedro para los grupos de Terrific Tigers y Big Bears el miércoles 7 de noviembre con Ms. Caya, Ms. Karen, Ms. Victoria, y Miss Marifer.

Nos reuniremos con las maestras a las 9:00am en el estacionamiento subterráneo, a un lado de las escaleras eléctricas para empezar el tour a las 9:15am. Los niños deberán ser acompañados por su mamá durante el recorrido para el cual estimamos un tiempo de 30 minutos aproximadamente  y les pedimos entregar a sus hijos en Toddler Tree para terminar su mañana a la hora de costumbre. Para los niños que no vayan a asistir a la visita, la entrada será a las 10:00am en el kínder ese día.

Gracias,

El personal docente de Toddler Tree

Vintage Halloween Party

It is our pleasure to invite you to Toddler Tree’s Vintage Halloween Parade on Tuesday, October 31st at 10:30 AM at our school. We’re planning a very exciting day for our kids since this year we will feature a Costume Catwalk that will include kids from all groups followed by a party where they will enjoy a scrumptious snack!

Kids arrival time will be 9:00am, as usual. Parents are invited to come at 10:30am to see the show. Parking is limited so please try to carpool to keep the vehicle count to a minimum. The parade will begin at 10:40am and you should be free by 11:15am.  If you have a driver, please advise not to wait right outside of the school in order to avoid blocking traffic.Students stay the full morning until noon or after their extra-curricular class.

In case of rain, the parade will be held for students only.

Please consider having your children wear a simple costume for their own comfort. We suggest costumes that will allow kids to move freely, especially for the younger ones, and also using make-up instead of masks that can obstruct their sight and might hinder their participation in the parade.

You don’t need to send a lunchbag that day since the Party Hosts will be supplying the snacks. If you would like to send candy for your child’s classmates, we ask you to please label only who it’s from and be sure to include enough for all of the kids in the class. Also, please send along a basket or bag for collecting candy.

The parade will be professionally filmed and all students will be photographed, too. The edited footage will be uploaded on Facebook for you to see.

Mime Time 2018

A traditional presentation of classical and modern mime techniques performed at Toddler Tree in a developmentally appropriate style through an acting technique that conveys emotion through non-verbal communication: this is Mime Time.

Occasionally referred to as ‘the art of silence,’ pantomime relies on facial expressions, body language, gestures and movements to convey a message or tell a story or create an illusion. People performing pantomime are known as mimes or clowns. With pantomime, kids can enjoy themselves while learning valuable social and communication skills.

Emotion
• Pantomime incorporates techniques to convey emotion within facial expressions. When expressing happiness, the actor will raise his brow, curve his lips upward, parting the mouth slightly in addition to squinting to appear as if he is smiling with his eyes. Surprise is conveyed by opening the mouth to an O-shape, raising the brow and opening the eyes as wide as possible. Conversely, anger is expressed by turning the brow and mouth downward, while firmly setting the jaw in a dropped position. Sadness is conveyed by turning the mouth, the brow and the eyes downward, while allowing all the muscles in the face to sag.

Gestures
• The chest is the central point of all action in pantomime. Actors will use the entire body to react and express emotion. Gestures in pantomime are exaggerated. When expressing positive emotions, actors will create free-flowing movements, maintain an elevated chest and gesture broadly. Negative emotions are expressed through restrictive gestures and a chest that is drawn inward. The body will appear tense and rigid.

Mime Time will take place next Wednesday, September 26th and it is packed with elements of surprise, adventure, music, dancing, excitement and, of course, audience interaction and participation. This enriching experience will exercise both the mind and the body of our youngsters.

¡Viva México!

We will be celebrating the independence of México on Friday, September 14th. Please send your children dressed in green, white and red on this day for a special Mexican Independence celebration!! ??

September 16 is the anniversary of “El Grito de Dolores, a speech made in 1810 by the catholic priest, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, in the town of Dolores, Guanajuato.  Hidalgo’s speech urged a resistance to the “bad government” and helped ignite a process which finally led to the “Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire” on September 28, 1821.

Snack Ideas

Toddler Tree families have shared their ideas for fun and tasty snacks that are much better than the prepackaged ones. A little forethought will get your kids eating, feeling and growing better. Please email me to add your personal suggestions to this list and check the following links: Snack Ideas for Kids and Switch Up Your Lunchbox for even more inspiration.

Fruits and Vegetables…

Mango, Papaya, Star Fruit, Cantaloupe, Honeydew Melon, Watermelon, Cherries, Pear, Grapes, Oranges, Plums, Kiwi, Grapefruit, Pineapple, Figs (good with goat cheese)
Cooked Green Beans, Jicama, Cooked Snow Peas, Frozen Peas, Mashed Sweet Potato (good with butter and cinnamon)

Good with peanut butter: Apples, Banana, Celery (and raisins a.k.a. “Ants on a Log”))

Good with  hummus: Apple (good with peanut butter), Carrots, Raw Cauliflower or Broccoli

 

Good with ranch dip: Carrots, Celery, Cucumber Slices, Cherry Tomatoes, Raw Cauliflower, Raw Broccoli

Good with yogurt: Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Peaches

Good with soy sauce: Avocado (and brown rice) or Edamame

You may want to try: Applesauce, Unsweetened Raisins, Fruit Leathers, Freeze Dried Fruit (like mango, banana, blueberries or strawberries), Dried Apple Rings, Canned Fruit like Mandarin Oranges (Native Forest brand does not use sugary syrups in their cans), even Olives!

 

Whole-Grain…

Whole Grain Crackers (like Triscuits, Multi-Seed, Ak-Mak, Whole-Wheat Matzos, Brown Rice Crackers/Snaps, Whole-Grain Rye Crackers topped with cheese, peanut butter, or a cream cheese and jelly combo)

Popcorn (make it using “The Popcorn Trick”)
Oatmeal (served warm in a Thermos)
Shredded Wheat (look for brands that contain 1-ingredient)
Arrowhead Mills Puffed Whole Grain Cereal (corn, brown rice, wheat or millet variety)
Brown Rice Cakes
Whole-Wheat Pretzels
Whole-Grain Toast
Small, Cooked Whole-Grain Noodles

Nuts and Seeds…

Peanuts, Cashews, Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts, Pine Nuts (they are good lightly toasted), Pistachios, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Nut Trail Mix including Dried Fruit

Other… Hard-Boiled Eggs, Garbanzo Beans, Cheese (cubes or sticks…with or without crackers), Plain Yogurt (flavored with a little honey or maple syrup and vanilla extract), Organic and/or Local Bacon

Homemade…

Homemade Granola Bars
Homemade “Larabars”
Whole-Wheat Toaster Pastries (a.k.a. Pop Tarts!)
Smoothies or Smoothie Pops
Whole-Wheat Banana Bread
Zucchini Chips
Whole-Wheat Zucchini Bread (made into muffins)
Whole-Wheat Pumpkin Bread (made into muffins)
Whole-Grain Cornbread (made into muffins)
Whole-Wheat Berry Muffins
Pecan Maple Breakfast Cookies
Easy Cheesy Crackers
Kale Chips
Homemade Powerballs
Whole-Wheat Biscuits (good with butter and jelly) or Buttermilk Cheese Biscuits
Cinnamon Glazed Popcorn
Whole-Wheat “Baked” Donuts