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Dear (Contact First Name),

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
The entire staff at EFC wishes you good health and happiness throughout 2018! Thank you for your continued support and allowing us to be a part of your child's life!
 
We also want to thank everyone who thought of us this holiday season. The holiday cards, gift cards and presents were very much appreciated. We hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family, as we did!!  

REMODEL UPDATE
The remodel is on track and is moving quickly! Last month demo was completed, framing installed, and plumbing was started! We are currently still on track for completion at the end of January. We've installed doorbells and are currently working on lighting to help on the preschool side of the building! Near completion a letter will come out with information on next steps. 

PARENT REMINDERS
TAX STATEMENTS
If you would like a copy of what you paid during the year of 2017, please send an email to efc11@especiallyforchildren.com.  


SNOW EMERGENCY
If Especially for Children cannot open due to inclement weather or other emergency conditions, the centers closing will be announced on WCCO radio in the morning. If conditions during the day (weather or emergency) make it necessary to close before our regularly scheduled time, we will need to reach each of you at your work places. If at any time you are aware of changes that should be made on your child's emergency card, please request a new set of cards. This also includes changes with your emergency contacts and authorized to pick up persons.


OUTDOOR GEAR
Please make sure that your child comes equipped every day with winter outside gear. Also, please make sure that your child's things are clearly labeled. Extra clothing in cubbies is a good idea for those accidental mishaps or getting to wet outside.  

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
BIRTHDAYS AND SPECIAL OCCASIONS  
EFC strives to create a healthy environment at our centers. We are also happy to celebrate special occasions with children, staff and families. Our policy is to promote healthy and/or non-food celebrations in the classroom. Our classrooms have many traditions in place to ensure that each child feels honored on his/her special day. If you would like to bring food to celebrate your child's birthday or other special occasion, we ask that you bring in a healthy choice. All food brought to EFC for the purposes of sharing with the class must be commercially packaged and labeled with the ingredients (i.e. not homemade).
 
In order to provide a safe and healthy environment for all children, we do not allow the following items to be brought to the center:
  • Peanut products
  • Candy or sugary treats
  • Soda/pop or sugary drinks
  • Cakes, cupcakes, brownies, etc.
PARENT RESOURCES

EDIBLE SNOWFLAKES
All you need is tortillas, oil and some of your favorite toppings.
 
PREPARATION:
Using the same technique as cutting out paper snowflakes, make snowflake shapes out of flour tortillas, you may need to warm the tortilla in the microwave first to make it more flexible. Put a touch of oil in a pan and fry tortilla until it is crisp. Top with one or more of these ideas:
  • Put butter on one side
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar
  • Make a snowflake sandwich with turkey and cheese!
ESPECIALLY FOR PARENTS
THE "E" IN STEAM -  THE VALUE OF TINKERING
The U.S. has become a nation of "non-tinkerers" and it has harmed the way we live and work. In a poll of 1,000 U.S. adults, nearly 6 in 10 said they had never made or built a toy. The majority said they avoid doing household repairs themselves. The problem is that tinkering is the process that leads to discovery and innovation - brainstorming with your hands. We want to encourage tinkering in our children!
 
A further concern is that girls are encouraged to tinker even less often than are boys; and when it comes to higher education, women are vastly underrepresented in many STEM fields. Though male and female students perform equally well in mathematics and science on standardized tests in high school, by the time they reach college, disparities begin to emerge. Women receive only 17.9% of computer science degrees, 19.3% of engineering degrees, 39% of physical science degrees, and 43.1% of mathematics degrees. (National Science Board, Science and Engineering Indicators, 2016.)
 
For the past decade, there has been a concerted effort to change this. Many of you have heard of STEM curriculum, which has been changed to STEAM:

Science 
Technology 
Engineering 
Art 
Math 

Schools across the nation are creating STEAM curriculums. Early Childhood Education has long been focused on hands-on learning. On a daily basis, children are given opportunities to experiment in science, art, and math. In recent years at Especially for Children, we are consciously working to give children more experiences in tinkering, which develops skills needed for both engineering and technology. We want our students to be prepared for the challenges of the future.
 
We let children touch things, make things, and solve problems on their own. We know that by allowing children time to tinker and struggle with answering questions, we are showing them that we have high expectations for them. We pose age-appropriate challenges and then send the message, "I know you can get it if I give you the chance."
 
At home, you can help your child understand the value of hands-on skills. Let them see you handle a necessary household repair or tackle a hobby for pleasure. Show them your pride when you fix or create something.  Let them help you when you are tinkering. Have a set of tools your child can "use" when you are repairing a faucet or tightening a loose screw. Even a set of plastic tools will help your son or daughter understand the concept of taking things apart and putting them back together again.

Over the New Year's weekend, we will be with all of our grandchildren. I think I will throw in my suitcase some items that encourage tinkering. I hope your 2018 is wonderful - tinkering times with your child may provide some special joy!
 
TWIN CITIES
FAMILY EVENTS
1/1  Polar Dash , Minneapolis
Now-1/5  Tinkertoy, Build Your Imagination, Children's Museum, Saint Paul
Now-1/7  How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Children's Theatre, Minneapolis
Now-1/7 Gingerbread Wonderland, Houses of Norway, Minneapolis
Now-2/11   Wells Fargo Winter Skate, St. Paul
Now-mid-February  Centennial Lakes Ice Skating, Edina
1/14 Winter Ice Festival , Edina
1/19-2/19 Leo Lionni's Frederick, Stages Theatre, Hopkins
1/23-3/18 The Wiz, Children's Theatre Company, Mpls
1/25-2/10 Winter Carnival , Saint Paul

After the busyness of the holiday season, it can be a transition for both parents and children to get back to the regular routine. As parents, we may need to re-establish certain boundaries and expectations that were eased over the last month. But this can be challenging work, and according to child development expert Dr. David Walsh, many of us fall into some common pitfalls when it comes to limits and consequences.

Especially for Children
3370 Coachman Rd.
Eagan, MN 55121
(651) 452-0043

Center Directors:
Leea Reid
Pam Tuft
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