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This month our focus at Especially for Children is  "Mi Familia," and we thought it would be a great  time of the year to talk about family traditions.  Traditions. Those little rituals passed down from  generation to generation that help shape your  family by creating a sense of unity, warmth, and  closeness.
They create memories that fill your mind with peace, love, happiness, and security. Traditions do not have to be extravagant, intense, or require a lot of planning. They are just little rituals that you and your family enjoy doing together.
Dolphins and Monkeys will be visiting the  Minnesota Zoo on Tuesday, November 14 The bus leaves at 9:00 am and will return  after lunch. (Picnic lunch will be eaten at the  zoo.) The cost of the field trip is $9.00 and  parents are welcome to attend.

Our annual Holiday Program will be held on Wednesday, December 13. The program starts at 6:45 pm with all classes participating by either doing a finger-play, singing simple songs, or even using our sign language skills. Please mark your calendars for this fun family event.


Thanksgiving Holiday
Thursday, November 23, 2017 - EFC closed
Friday, November 24, 2017  EFC closed

Winter Holiday
Monday, December 25, 2017 - EFC closed
Monday, January 1, 2017 - EFC Closed

After families have been  enrolled for 6 months at Especially for Children,  the vacation policy states that anytime your  child/ren have been gone for 5 consecutive  days, you receive a ½ week's tuition credit. The  policy is unlimited throughout the year.  We will have extra attendance logs in the front  entry for families to mark an "X" on dates that  your child/ren will not be attending during the  holidays.

Please notify the office of schedule changes especially for early
morning drop-offs. We want to make sure we have enough staff scheduled early to accommodate the schedule changes.

Please keep in mind that  breakfast is served from 8:00-8:30 am.  

Here are a few simple ideas that can get you started on creating your own family traditions. If you have any unique traditions that you would like to share with your child's class-please feel free to bring in photos or the ideas to your child's teacher.
1) Read a book to your child every night in the  same "comfy chair".

2) Have a Friday night pizza and movie night.

3) Exercise together-go for a walk (stroller ride) together as a family.

4) Have a family night date night once a month. (It can be as simple as going out to dinner or it can be an activity based "date" night where you go to a favorite park, etc.)

5) Enjoy a weekly game night or for younger 
children-puzzle night -where you put simple puzzles together as a family.

6) Create gifts together. (Make something 
special for grandparents/family members/friends over the holidays.)
7) Cook together - plan a special meal that is easy for everyone to participate in making.
8) Make a "fancy" breakfast for dinner once a week and everyone gets to eat in his/her pajamas!
(Information was taken from various websites.)
For the past several months, my 5-and-a-half-year-old grandson and I have been enrolled in a Beginning Reading Program. The classes are taught by instructors from the U of MN Institute of Reading Development. I thought it would be interesting to see how this program approaches reading development for 4- and 5-year-olds.
The biggest message to the adults is "Read aloud to your children regularly." This is the most important thing we can do to help our child develop a love of reading and learn to read more easily. Reading aloud builds:
  • enthusiasm for books
  • stamina for listening
  • comprehension
  • the desire to read independently
And if a child connects reading with being together with you, it becomes a powerful way to communicate your love for each other.
In the classes we focus on a variety of wonderful children's books - some of which are classics and others I had never seen. What I find to be particularly helpful is the ways in which the instructors expand the experiences with simple techniques. I thought I would share some of those with you.
The books we read are all heavily illustrated picture books. It makes sense that pictures pull your child into the story, increase comprehension, and can help children see the humor when a book is funny. Even though your child cannot read the words in these books yet, he can enjoy the pictures and the feeling of reading by himself. Then, as an independent activity after you have finished your reading time together, your child can page through the book which allows him to do for himself what you were doing for him, which was giving
him the pleasure of the reading experience.
Many times, after we read a book, the instructor asks the children to identify their favorite part of the story, or sometimes their favorite picture in the story. That causes us to thumb through the book again and think about what had happened and relook at the illustrations. On some pages we spend extra time and inevitably we see so much more detail in the drawings than we had seen during the first reading.
It is clear to me that while reading the books our real objective is to enjoy the illustrations, the plots and the characters. During another portion of the class we work on alphabet skills, phonics, rhyming and some sight words. Those are key beginning reading skills. But to enjoy the literature for its own sake is the most important goal of our time together. 
Sometimes we do an activity that connects to the story we read. One week after we had read
a story about houses, each child drew a picture of what she would like to do during each month of the year at her house. We used one piece of paper for each month. The child drew a picture and described what he/she had drawn. The adult wrote those words on the page. By the end the child had become both author and illustrator of a 12-page book! It was fun to see how much the children understood about seasons, family traditions, etc.
We also bring some simple games into the mix.  "I Spy with My Little Eye" is fun to play looking at an illustrated page and saying, "...something that begins with the letter P - or something that rhymes with hat." Then we switch roles and let the child be the leader. This game can be done with any book you read, not just alphabet or rhyming books.
After reading Curious George Rides a Bike we were encouraged to make a paper boat at home, just like George did. The instructions are right in the book so it was a fun and simple project. We put ours in the bathtub and it actually did float for a long time until it got very soggy. But then the boat became a science experiment! We let it dry overnight and it was almost sailable again by morning!
So, enjoy your reading aloud time with your child. Think of ways to expand the experience. Reading together is the most important thing you can do for your child's future success as a reader!

Now-1/5 Tinkertoy, Build Your Imagination, Children's Museum, Saint Paul
11/7-1/7 How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Children's Theatre, Minneapolis
11/17-12/28 Disney's Beauty and the Beast Jr., Stages Theatre, Hopkins
11/23  Drumstick Dash 10k and Cranberry Cruise 1 Mile , Lake Harriet, Minneapolis
11/23  LifeTime Turkey Day 5k , Minneapolis
11/24-12/23 Holidazzle , Minneapolis
As a follow-up to our Especially for Parents article, check out the Parent Blog for a sampling from the list of the "Best Books for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners" published by the Institute of Reading Development.

Especially for Children
6223 Dell Road
Eden Prairie MN 55346
(952) 934-1119

Center Directors:
Lynn Seltz and Cathie Underwood 
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