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Dear (Contact First Name),

Our start to the school year has been a busy one, but as always it has been fun. Now that we are all getting settled into the school year with the remodel taking place. We would like to take time to welcome all of our new families and welcome back those who left for the summer.
fall leaves
At Especially for Children we have parent-teacher conferences twice a year. The fall conferences will be held towards the beginning of November. Sign-up sheets will be located online. More information will be available soon. Each conference last about 15 minutes if you feel you will need more than that please discuss this with the teacher. Parent-teacher conferences are the perfect time to talk about your child's development and progress.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 26, 6:15-7:30 pm
We will be having our annual fall festival party on Thursday, October 26, from 6:15-7:30 pm. We are asking, if possible, that all children be picked up before 5:45 on this day so we can set up for the party!
Bring the whole family, there will be games, music, dancing, and a snack. Don't forget to dress in a costume - you too mom and dad!
If you would like to participate in the pumpkin contest, please drop off your pumpkin by 5:00 pm on the day of the party. Voting will happen throughout the night. Winners will be announced (and prizes awarded) the following day! Get creative.

Please mark your calendars for Lifetouch Picture Day on Thursday, November 2. Keep a look out for more information!



Getting children to eat new foods sounds simple enough ("Just take one bite"). But parents and caretakers know that for many children, new foods - with their new appearances, smells, tastes, textures, temperatures and names - can be scary. Try these eight fun tips   to lay a foundation for stress-free, adventurous eating habits before the first bite.
Story Time:  Learn about foods and recipes from around the world, including what children in different cultures eat. Read about food-based professions such as bakers, farmers and chefs. Watch cooking shows and videos with your children about cooking and food prep.       

Scrumptious Smells: Smell is a significant and sometimes forgotten part of the eating experience. Playing games to positively engage with food smells outside of mealtimes can demystify the experience. Use spice jars to guess scents. Or add vanilla extract to bubbles before blowing them outside. These non-eating activities will build happy associations with new smells before you use them in recipes.        

Unleash the Artist: Make art projects using food. Use fruit to make stamps: halved strawberries make heart-shaped stamps, and halved apples are star-shaped. Use a string to make garlands or jewelry from uncooked pasta, popcorn or cranberries.     
Flip the Script: Do you find yourself telling friends and family, "My child is a picky eater"? Train yourself to use hopeful language instead , "My child is learning to love new things." Instead of "He doesn't like it," say, "He hasn't had it enough times." Using positive statements will validate your child's feelings in your mind while recognizing that opinions can change.              

Sort by Color: Chop brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as red cherry tomatoes, green kiwis and purple grapes into small pieces. Practice sorting them by color while saying the color aloud. This can cultivate an acceptance of new textures by allowing your child to focus on the game rather than on his or her discomfort with new foods.                               
Name It: Which do you think your child would rather eat: steamed carrots or X-Ray Vision Coins? In the same way that descriptions on restaurant menus can influence what you order, creative names in the kitchen or cafeteria can pique a child's interest. 
Shine the Spotlight: Many children love being the star, so use that instinct to explore new foods. Take videos of your child speaking to his or her ideal audience - a younger sibling, a stuffed animal, a favorite superhero - about trying new foods.                                           
Get in the Garden: A garden not only improves children's knowledge of produce, it increases their consumption of fruits and vegetables. From flipping through seed catalogs in the winter, to starting seeds in the spring, to weeding and harvesting all summer long, gardens can be joyful and patient teachers.   
Reviewed March 2016 Holly Larson, MS, RD, is a nutrition expert, freelance writer and owner of Grass Roots Nutrition based in Oxford, OH.
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!

Especially for Children
3370 Coachman Rd.
Eagan, MN 55121
(651) 452-0043

Center Directors:
Leea Reid
Pam Tuft
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