“You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout, I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town.”

Santa Claus will be coming to visit our good little boys and girls on Thursday, December 12. He might even have a few surprises up his sleeve. Santa will be here at 9:30. If you would like to come and take pictures of your child with Santa, please feel free.
Please mark your calendars in preparation for the holiday season. EFC will be closed the following days:
*       Christmas Eve: Tuesday, 12/24    ~Closing at 3:00pm~
*       Christmas Day: Wednesday, 12/25
*       New Year’s Day: Wednesday, 1/1 
The holidays are a fun and joyous time, but also very busy, and holiday stress and anxiety in children is a common occurrence. Here are some tips to help ease any degree of holiday stress:

Set a calm example:  To minimize anxiety in children, take steps to handle your own stress. The way parents handle an issue sets the tone for how their kids will behave.

Set up conditions for good behavior:  Avoid taking children to the mall or holiday gatherings when they are hungry or tired. It’s hard even for grown ups to deal with noise and lots of stimulation when not feeling the best. Understandably, children have a tough time being on their best behavior when they are exhausted or hungry.      

Remember the importance of routines: Try to get routines back on track once an event or party is over. If a school activity or family gathering runs late, try to stick to quiet, calm activities the next day and get your child to bed on time the next night. 

Get your child moving:  Fresh air and exercise are essential for boosting mood and re-setting the spirit. Make sure to schedule some time to get your child outside to run and play!
by Angie Williams

I grew up watching Mister Rogers. Perhaps some of you did, too. But I have not reflected on the lessons of his television show until recently. Ahead of the movie,   A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood , there have been several excellent profiles about the man who touched millions of children’s lives with his kind demeanor and profound grasp of humanity. He spoke directly to children about the joys and the challenges of their experiences. He gently but consistently emphasized the importance of children acknowledging and talking about their feelings in order to understand themselves and the world around them.

There is a new, 10-episode podcast called  Finding Fred , which explores the themes and methods of his show. I listened to the first episode last night entitled, A Genius of Empathy. The host and guests discussed how Fred Rogers was able to teach children about empathy—a pretty tricky emotional concept even for adults—by, again, recognizing the feelings children have, helping them understand that feelings are universal, and giving them words and ideas to help them manage their feelings. (If you haven’t listened to his song, “What do you do with the mad you feel?”, it’s a great example of this.)

We know—and Fred Rogers knew—that the social and emotional development of children is paramount to their overall wellbeing as well as their ability to be a “good neighbor,” which is what we hope all of our children will be.

The depth of his thinking is something that I can appreciate only now as an adult. The following paragraph of an article stood out to me:

“L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” That was Fred’s favorite quote. He had it framed and hanging on a wall in his office. “What is essential is invisible to the eyes,” from Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince.” “It’s not the honors and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life which ultimately nourish our souls,” he once said, expounding on the idea in a speech. “It’s the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the bedrock of our very being is good stuff. … What is essential about you that is invisible to the eyes?”

These are deep thoughts for both adults and children, and I love that Mister Rogers reminded children that there  is  something essential within them that they can love and share. When I reflect on the message within those words, I think of what an amazing privilege it is to engage in the life of a child as a parent, and for our teaching staff, as caregivers and educators. It is such an honor (and a responsibility!) to help children discover the essential parts of themselves—those interests and traits that make them who they are and connect them to life and the world in a positive way. Once again, as Fred notes, “the bedrock of our very being is good stuff.” How lucky we are to share that lesson with children and watch it grow within them.

Angie Williams
EFC Marketing and Finance Director

Now-12/22   Holidazzle , Minneapolis
Now-12/28 Elf the Musical , Stages Theatre, Hopkins
Now-1/5 Cinderella , Children's Theatre, Minneapolis
Now-1/5 Winter in Bloom , Mn Landscape Arboretum, Chanhassen
Now-1/5 Gingerbread Wonderland , Houses of Norway, Minneapolis
12/7 Reindeer Day , Linden Hills, Minneapolis
12/7-12/8 Holly Trolley , Lake Harriet, Minneapolis
12/14 Reindeer Run , Lake Harriet, Minneapolis
12/25 Joyful 5k , Maple Grove
12/31 New Year's Eve in the Wild , Lebanon Hills Park, Eagan
Especially for Children
6125 Cahill Ave.  
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076 
(651) 450-1994  

Center Directors:
Fle Jensen and Kristine Berg