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We are looking for special readers to come into school and read their favorite book to the classrooms. Please talk to your child's teacher if you would like to volunteer to read. We have also reached out to a few community members to join us in the love of reading!! We will keep you posted who will be stopping by to share their favorite book with us!!
           You're never too old, too wacky, too wild,
                                                To pick up a book and read with a child.
You're never too busy, too cool, or too hot,
To pick up a book and share what you've got.

In schools and communities,
Let's gather around,
Let's pick up a book,
Let's pass it around.

There are kids all around you,
Kids who will need
Someone to hug,
Someone to read.

Come join us in March 
Your own special way
And make this America's
Read to Kids Day.

We are so excited about some of the changes we have been making. You may have noticed our new blue recycling bins in all the classrooms. We have been working with the children to decide what can be recycled and what is garbage. We have also made some changes by replacing plastic cups and utensils with reusable ones to reduce the amount we are disposing of. It is such an exciting step in not only reducing our waste but also teaching our children how to take care of our planet. We hope you will help us continue to teach your children at home about ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

March 2 - Dr. Seuss' Birthday
March 3 - Wear Stripes
March 15 - Princess and Prince Day!!
March 17- St. Patrick's Day - Wear GREEN
March 21 - Wild Day!!
March 23 - Pajama Day!
March 28 - Super Hero Day!!
March 30- Bring in your favorite book!!
Read for 20 minutes a day to your child.
Keep track of the days that you spend time reading with your child on a reading log available on the front counter and turn it in at the end of the month and your child will receive a reading buddy to take home!! 

"Read to your child 20 minutes a day!" "1000 books before kindergarten!" "Start them off right! Read to them!"

We've all heard the public service announcements telling us how important it is to read to our children. What we rarely hear, however, is WHY we're supposed to be doing all this reading, WHEN are we supposed to start, and WHAT types of things are we supposed to be reading?

Research tells us that reading aloud to children makes a big difference in their brain development; it serves a critical role in giving them language to identify things in the world around them and the ability to make connections between life experiences. It also helps them create important pathways they will use later in life to learn vital skills and information. Furthermore, reading is a powerful way for adults to bond with children in a meaningful way, creating feelings of trust, safety, and love.

The good news is that it is never too early to start reading to a child. Evidence suggests that even young infants are developing language recognition skills. (Kuhl, 1992, 2004) We know that shared book reading at 4 months is associated with better expressive language skills during the toddler years (Karras 2005). Studies also suggest that the amount of reading materials in the home, the frequency of library visits, having adults model literacy behaviors and the amount of time adults spend reading with children predicts language - based literacy skills in kindergarten and second grade (Griffin 1997). It is a chain of evidence that suggests reading aloud should start early and be done often to promote literacy skills and educational attainment.

Another benefit of reading aloud is that it builds world knowledge for children to draw on not only when reading but later when they are writing or trying to understand new information (Vivas, 1996). For example, you reading a book about sharks to your four year old may well lead her to a degree in marine biology or it may just make her more aware of biodiversity when talking about what kinds of animals live in coral reefs in her high school biology class. Either way, the time spent reading aloud with a caring adult enhanced a later experience and gave the new learning something to connect to.
by Susan Bennett-Armistead, Ph.D. and Gabriel Civiello, M.D.
Some days everything clicks, and other days it feels as if whatever you plan to do turns into a disaster. This can be at work, at home, at school or even on a vacation.
And when you put your child or children in the mix, layers of additional challenges appear. How do we develop strategies to cope with times like this?
How can you turn a bad day into a good day? Or better yet, how can you minimize the number of bad days (or moments) you actually have? The answers could be:
  1.          Create balance in your life
  2.          Think ahead - be prepared
  3.          Don't let small matters stress you
  4.          Be responsible
  5.          Play more
The list could go on and on. But I want to talk about number 5 - Play more. We have written many articles on the importance of play in your child's life. But we haven't written about the importance of play in your life as an adult. Play could be the key to creating the balance that most of us are looking for.
I recently reread a book I had purchased over a decade ago called The Playful Adult: 500 Ways to Lighten Your Spirit and Tickle Your Soul by Sue Baldwin. It reminded me that "We can't feel stressed and relaxed at the same time. So, given all the intensities in life, it is vital to our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being that we find ways to compensate for the pressures we face. When we become adults, many people find that they can't easily play. Or they decide that they can play only on the weekends. But in reality, we need to try to achieve balance on a daily basis."
The great thing about being parents of young children is that, if we have the right mindset, we can integrate play into our own lives as we interact with our children. After all, play is thing children most like to do. And their play can definitely become our play if we let it. "Consider it a great honor when your child wants to play with you. And in return, give your child the gift of being your playful, childlike self!" wrote Sue Baldwin.
But, in addition to playing with your child, carve out playtime for yourself. You will be better at everything you do if you take some time to play in the way that brings you joy. Here are a few examples of play from Sue Baldwin's book.
  • Turn on certain music that makes you happy
  • On a rainy day, curl up under a favorite blanket and read until you get sleepy, and then take a nap
  • Sit next to a stream or lake and skip rocks
  • Turn a somersault on your bed
  • Soak your washcloth in hot water and give yourself a facial
  • Play the game "remember when" to relive funny memories
  • Go bowling, fishing or golfing
Most of all, create time for yourself and  recognize it as play! You need it and deserve it!!
Now-3/12 Tropical Beach Party, MN Zoo, Apple Valley
Now-3/26  Dr. Seuss' The Sneetches , Children's Theatre, Mpls
3/4 First Free Saturday: Kids' Film Festival, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
3/10-3/26 The Velveteen Rabbit, Stages Theatre, Hopkins
3/11 Irish Day Running Races, Various Locations
3/17 St. Patrick's Day Parade, St. Paul
3/17-3/19 Irish Dance Celebrations, Landmark Center, St. Paul

Anna Wilson, co-director at Especially for Children Edina/Edinborough, was recently featured in  MN Parent  magazine's "The art of the daycare drop-off" article.  Read her tips  on how to have a successful school drop-off with your child.

Especially for Children
8885 Evergreen Blvd
Coon Rapids MN 55433

Lisa Ward
Director, EFC Coon Rapids 

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