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The leaves are falling - fall must be here! Our teachers are planning lots of fun and festive activities to help us celebrate the beginning of autumn. Remember to keep seasonally appropriate clothes at the center; including a light jacket, hat and mittens for those chillier days ahead. We will continue going outside every day.
  • Thursday, October 5 - Flannel Day
  • Wednesday, October 11 - Costume Kim "TRICK OR TREAT"
  • Thursday, October 19 - WEAR PINK
  • Tuesday, October 24 - Wear Orange and Black
  • Friday, October 27 - Bears and Cubs will be visiting Lendt's Pumpkin Patch. Parent volunteers welcomed.
  • Monday, October 30 - Halloween Bash
  • Tuesday, October 31 - Classroom Halloween parties. 

MONDAY, OCTOBER 30, 4:00-6:00
Join us for a little costume fun with  games and a light dinner.

We will be having a hunted walk through our classrooms to show off our costumes, playing games and making a spooky snack. Please bring your child's costume. 

We are excited to say that we will be adding a YOGA Class to the preschool classroom. Miss Kathleen, who is a certified Yoga instructor, will be our teacher. She will be joining us in the month of October and we will let you know what day of the week she will be joining us.  

We would like to thank everyone who participated and completed a NAEYC parent survey, one of the required steps as we go through our re-accreditation process. We truly appreciate your time and support! What's so important about NAEYC, you might ask? Here are a few of the top benefits to being a NAEYC accredited program:
  1. From playground environments to the emotional environment in classrooms, from administrative policies to teaching practices, NAEYC standards and criteria are comprehensive and capture the full range of what a program should do to deliver high-quality education.
  2. NAEYC Accreditation supports ongoing quality improvement and best teaching practices. NAEYC-accredited programs receive up-to-date information policies and procedures in the early childhood field.
  3. Teachers at NAEYC-accredited programs use developmentally appropriate practices and intentional strategies to help children learn.
  4. As a program goes through the NAEYC Accreditation process, the bonds between teachers, administrators, and families are strengthened through their work together in learning about the criteria for quality and collecting evidence of how the program meets them.
  5. NAEYC-accredited programs establish and maintain collaborative, responsive relationships with each child's family to foster children's development.
  6. Early childhood programs that achieve NAEYC Accreditation are committed to providing high-quality early learning experiences.
Based on the survey results, we would like to take some time to inform and remind families of several aspects of our program that contribute to our high quality.

1. How do teachers use information about what is important         to your family to help your child learn and grow?

Upon enrollment and when your child switches age groups, we ask families to complete a child-profile. This profile helps identify your expectations for your child in our program as well as any other important and pertinent information that may be helpful for us to provide the quality care you would like for you child.

Before conferences twice a year, we send home a questionnaire for families to fill out. This form is an opportunity to recognize and address your child's strengths and goals based on what is important to your family. Then, our teaching staff can form a partnership with your family to achieve those goals and reach your expectations through adaptions of our curriculum and teaching methods to fit your child's needs.
2. How is a child's progress measure and what opportunities         are there to discuss what is learned?

Parents have the opportunity to meet with their child's teacher in a specially scheduled conference twice a year. The fall conference is a time for partnership planning for the upcoming year. The spring conference includes a written report from the teacher on the status of your child's intellectual, physical, social, and emotional development based on the Desired Results rating system. Throughout the year, teachers complete monthly observations of the children in each developmental domain. Daily communication with your child's teacher is desirable and additional conferences can be arranged at any time. You are encouraged to communicate directly with your child's teacher whenever appropriate.
3. How does the program help you get to know other families        and encourage you to support each other?

At the beginning of the month, each family receives a center newsletter which highlights events occurring at the center that month. Typically, we have a family event once every other month. We work hard to provide varied opportunities, both during school hours and after as well as at the center and outside of the center. This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know other families in the program, developing relationships with the families of your child's peers, and spend more time with the teachers. 
4. How is your participation invited and encouraged at the             program, including for the planning of events and making           of decisions about the program?

We have an open-door policy and you are always welcome at our center! We also encourage and appreciate feedback and new ideas. Annually, we conduct a program wide parent survey to obtain your feedback about different aspects of our program so that we may learn and continue to improve. This is a great opportunity to let us know if you have any ideas, for example for our family events. Outside of the survey, teachers and administrators are here each day to be a resource for you, so do not hesitate to reach out!

5. How does the program help you learn about community             events and resources?

Community events are often listed in our monthly newsletter, but can also be posted on our "Community Events" board in the office area. Posted on our "Information Station" is also the contact information for family resources. 

On Friday, September 1, the teaching staff from all eight of our Especially for Children centers gathered at Normandale Community College for a series of workshops. It was a productive day of getting new ideas and preparing ourselves for the start of the "school year". We split into groups so that the trainings could be age-specific.
The teaching staff who work with infants or young toddlers attended one session on math and science and another on how movement and play build the brain. We participated in hands-on activities, and teachers were given some new resource materials to enhance their classrooms and facilitate their lesson planning.
The teaching staff who work with older toddlers or preschoolers also had sessions on interactive math and science. It is amazing how even the simplest activities can be designed to help children understand concepts such as patterning, geometry, estimation, volume, and the physical aspects of the environment.
Back to School Dramatic Play area
Also leading a workshop were two of our own employees. Carolyn and Samantha from our Edina/Edinborough center led a session on Creative Dramatic Play. They presented great ideas on how we can embellish our dramatic play areas to be even more fun and educational for children.

Then, all employees attended sessions on how to prepare for their accreditation visits that will be coming up soon. The workshop was entitled "Through the Assessor's Eyes" and gave very practical information to help teaching staff prepare for the observations that NAEYC validators will conduct. Our accreditation renews every five years. Although we work very hard to uphold the accreditation standards each and every day, there is always a bit of stress connected to having an outside observer spend an hour in your classroom during which time he/she assesses whether or not hundreds of standards are being met. Think good thoughts as our teachers prepare for these visits.
The last component of our day was honoring long-term employees. This year 51 people were recognized for having worked for Especially for Children over 5 years. Of those, 19 people have been with the company 20 years or more. A special thank you to our longest-term employee, Kathy Brotten, of the Circle Pines center for her 37 years of service!!! See our Parent Blog for photos of our long-term employees.

Now-10/29  Spookley the Square Pumpkin , Stages Theatre, Hopkins
Now-10/29  Shafer Corn Maze, Shafer 
Now-10/31 Scarecrows, MN Landscape Arboretum, Chanhassen
10/14-10/15 Farmer Ken & Jan's Pumpkin Patch Trolley Ride, Lake Harriet Trolley, Mpls
10/21  Pumpkin Night in the ParkSpringbrook Nature Center, Coon Rapids
10/21  Pumpkin Fest , 50th & France, Edina
10/21-10/29 (weekends) ZooBoo, Como Zoo, Saint Paul
10/28   Terror Trot 5k, 10k & KidsK Family Run, Lake Harriet, Mpls
10/29 Trick 'r Trolley , Lake Harriet Trolley, Mpls 

Apple Orchards & Pumpkin Patches
Aamodt's, Stillwater
Applewood, Lakeville
Deer Lake, Buffalo
Emma Krumbee's, Belle Plain
Minnetonka, Minnetrista

At our Professional Development Day in early September, we recognized all EFC teaching staff and directors who have been with the organization for 5 years or more. That includes 51 dedicated early childhood educators across all of our centers! We appreciate their many contributions to EFC. The individuals pictured below have been with Especially for Children for 26 years or more!

>> View more photos on the blog

Especially for Children
8885 Evergreen Blvd
Coon Rapids MN 55433

Lisa Ward
Director, EFC Coon Rapids 

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