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We are very excited to kick off our summer program, "Diggin' the Great Outdoors".  Digging and planting, watering and picking; through hands on experience, children will learn how plants and animals are grown/raised, and how they make it from the farm to our table. Ask many children where food comes from, and you will likely hear responses like "the grocery store." But where did it start? And what did that Brussels Sprout look like before it arrived home frozen in a bag? This summer at EFC, children will experience the wonder of learning to grow tasty and healthy foods.
The experience of growing provides rich learning opportunities across all areas of physical, social/emotional and intellectual development. Growing offers a chance to learn about:
  • the cycles of the natural world (from climate to bugs to dirt),
  • people and cultures and the role food and farming play in their lives, how good food fuels our bodies and minds,
  • patience, cooperation and problem solving, and
  • the hard work it takes to go from seed to the supper table. 

The preschool children will be planting and caring for their own garden. This year the preschoolers will have planter boxes on our playground to plant their own fruits and vegetables! We are excited to watch our seeds grow and harvest some delicious food!
This summer we will be participating in a program with Costa Farms, which is a CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture. We will receive fresh vegetables each week that we will incorporate into our weekly snack menus. We will have the opportunity to try some fun foods such as sugar snap peas, zucchini, carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, squash and cucumbers to name a few!

We will kick off the summer on Monday, June 12 with a celebration at 5:30pm. Entertainment from the Bazillions (the kid-friendly rock-n-rollers that entertained us for our 40th Anniversary Bash last year) and a light supper will be served.   

Picture day is on June 5. Lifetouch pictures will be here shooting outdoor pictures in the morning. Pictures will begin at 8am.
On Monday, June 19, we will be celebrating Father's Day from 4:30 to 5:30pm. We will have some fun outdoor activities and root beer floats to share with our Dads!

The preschoolers will be going to Tamarack Nature Center on Wednesday, June 21, the children will explore climbing on a rock wall, splashing in the flowing water stream, building with sticks and tending the extensive garden using our newfound gardening skills. Water shoes are a must for this trip!

  • We will continue with weekly Spanish classes with Dan on Wednesdays.
  • There will be weekly library trips on Tuesdays.
  • We will have gymnastics classes in the afternoons twice each month.
  • Bike days this month will be on Friday, June 16 and Thursday, June 29.
  • The preschool will also have some park days throughout the summer. These days will be planned around the weather.
Hannah is a parent at EFC Edina and works as an early childhood special education professional.

Hannah Helms
When I was pregnant with Henry, I wondered how much my professional life would impact my parenting. I am an early childhood special education teacher and I expected that some of the strategies and adaptations that I use to support my students might come in handy as my husband and I navigated this new world. But from the first moment I held Henry, it was so clear how different this endeavor would be. I'm not Henry's teacher. I'm his mom. This emotional and wonderful journey was uncharted territory.
After staying home with Henry for his first 16 months, I went back to work and Henry started in the toddler room at EFC. Although my teacher-brain felt mostly separate from my mom-brain, I did feel like my many experiences with "student's first days" in my own classroom had prepared me for this. Transitions are hard. First days can be hard. First weeks can be hard. I knew this. And I also knew it can get better. So we were ready to persevere through what we expected to be a rocky start.
What I didn't expect was how hard this transition would be for Henry. The first hard month turned into a hard two months. Then three. Then four. During these months, I couldn't have been more grateful for the honest and thoughtful conversations with the EFC directors and with Henry's teachers on how to best support our little boy.
At work one day, while creating a social story for one of my students, my teacher-brain synced up with my mom-brain. I need to make one of these for Henry. A social story can be used to teach a new concept or routine or support a child in anticipating and navigating a new event. It has a positive spin and the child is often featured as the "main character" or narrator. With the help of his teachers, I gathered pictures of Henry throughout his school day. We took a picture of Henry arriving at school and a picture of pick-up as well. We took pictures of all of Henry's teachers. I created a simple narrative to go along with the visuals.  
We first showed Henry the social story at home. He took ownership right away. As a parent, what I didn't expect from the social story was that it gave my husband and me a concrete means of talking positively with Henry about his school day. Even Grandma and Grandpa could come over and say: "Wow, Henry are these pictures of your teachers? Is that your classroom?" all while Henry responded with a big grin. It connected Henry's two worlds in an incredibly positive way.
It also helped us create a consistent routine at drop-off. Every morning for a month or so, we sat on the couch in Henry's classroom and read the story before walking to the drop-off room. There were still tears at drop-off (and there - many times - continue to be tears at drop-off) but Henry's days started to get better. He was napping better, he was smiling more, and he began interacting more with his environment. He was happy. We were so happy that he was happy.
I do want to say that I recognize as a teacher and a mom that, had Henry continued to have a difficult time despite the accommodations and supports embedded in his day at EFC, the best decision for him might have been a change in environment. And we were prepared for that. Yes, the transition to something different would have been hard. But I knew we could navigate it together.
I in no-way think that the social story was the sole impetus for positive change for our little guy. There is no question in my mind that the consistency, warmth, thoughtfulness, skill, and supportive nature of Henry's teachers had an incredible impact on him and on us during those hard months.
But, I do think the social story helped. It helped us as parents, too. I think it's a tool that we'll continue to utilize as we face new opportunities, transitions, and challenges ahead. I am already building one in my mind for our next trip to Kid's Hair. 
Now-6/18   A Year with Frog and Toad
Now-9/4 Kangaroo Crossing, MN Zoo, Apple Valley
6/2-6/4  Edina Art Fair , Edina
6/9-9/4 The Science Behind Pixar, Science Museum of MN, St. Paul
6/10 Mpls Sculpture Garden Reopens, Walker Art Museum, Mpls
6/16-6/18 Stone Arch Bridge Festival, Mpls
6/23-7/30 Shrek The Musical, Stages Theatre, Hopkins

We are so appreciative when parents and grandparents contribute their time and talents to our program. Read about Grandpa Jim and Grandma Molly, who have offered the gift of music at one of our EFC schools, on this month's blog post.

Especially for Children
2 H South Pine Dr.
Circle Pines MN 55014
(763) 786-9410

Center Director:
Linda Burck
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