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We had an exciting and very busy December. The enthusiasm of the staff, children, and parents made the month fly by. We hope each of you had a safe and happy holiday season. We wish to express a special thank you to all families here at EFC for making the holiday season so special for us. The gift cards, treats, and holiday greeting cards are very thoughtful.
Thank you also to the families who donated blankets for Sharing & Caring Hands. We decided to extend the deadline until January 12, so please feel free to add to our donations until then. There are baskets in the office area.

The children will head to Adventure Peak on Friday, January 12, at 9am to run, climb, and play. Please be sure your child has socks!

On Tuesday, January 16, Robert the Magician will be putting on his Frosty the Snowman performance for the children at 10am.

Your new tuition rates are in effect January 1. Year-to-date statements for 2017 were e-mailed out at the end of December with your tax information. Please let Anna or Samantha know if you did not receive this. 

*As a program, we have continued our commitment to providing a high-quality program that is educational, loving, safe and developmentally challenging. We hire and train great early childhood teachers and work hard to keep a consistent and engaging environment in your child's classroom. We are especially proud of our long-term staff Sue (30 years), Barb (25 years) and Anna (23 years), Rohni, Nicole, Sheila (10 years), and Venetia, Judi, and Emma; all with over 5 years of EFC experience!!  
*We contributed to a better community in 2017 by collecting blankets to donate to Sharing & Caring Hands in December (donations will be accepted through January 12).
*In June we renewed our 4-Star Parent-Aware Rating, which is the highest possible rating. This is a representation of the quality of our program in using best practices in early childhood development.
*This year, parents completed 2 different feedback forms: a NAEYC parent survey for our re-accreditation process and another informal survey during fall conferences. Through the parent surveys, we were thrilled to learn that EFC families feel that they are knowledgeable about the center and their child's classroom. We look forward to continuing to build engaging relationships with your family to support your child's development.
*We have hosted a series of family events; a skating event at Centennial Lakes on a chilly February morning, Mother's Day Breakfast in May, the Father's Day Rootbeer Bust in June a Thanksgiving Luncheon in November, and a family puppet show just last month. These events are provided as a fun way for you to be involved in your child's program as well as a way for you to meet other families with children. Many of our families develop great friendships by having play dates-birthday parties, etc. with others who attend EFC. It is a great way to support each other during these early years and beyond.
*We continue to provide high-quality enrichment classes such as Sign Language, Spanish, Music with Mr. Kyle, and Stretch-n-Grow to give the children the opportunity to learn in fun, active ways.
*We also partner with high-quality optional enrichment programs such as Kid Dance, Kiddy Keys, and Soccer Shots to offer specialized classes. If your child has recently moved to our pre-school age group, be sure to check out these options!  
*We continue to work hard to improve our breakfast & snack menus, and are excited to offer fewer processed foods, more fresh fruits and vegetables and more whole grain products overall.
*We have continued our partnership with the nearby Brookdale seniors with monthly activities and events. December was especially eventful as the children decorated ginger bread cookies with the seniors, did some holiday caroling, performed a dance recital, and read holiday stories. 
Nearby Centennial Lakes Skating Rink is open mid-December until mid-February, depending on the weather. The rink is open between 4-9:30 Monday through Friday, 10-9:30 Saturdays and 12-9:30 Sundays. Skates & ice sleds may be rented, and there is a warming house with cozy fire places, concession stand and restrooms nearby. There is no admission charge for the skating rink. For more information call 952-833-9586.  

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!
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
3300 Edinborough Way
Edina MN 55435
(952) 835-0505

Center Directors:
Anna Wilson 
Samantha Baker
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