The holiday season is upon us once again, and we are looking forward to the excitement of the coming weeks. We will be celebrating several holidays in December and have included a list of them. If you have a tradition that you would like to share with the children, please let the teachers know.
During the month of December, we like to discuss with the children other holidays that are celebrated around the world. Some of the Holidays we briefly talk about are: 

  • St. Barbara Day, Dec. 4
  • St. Nicholas Day, Dec. 6
  • St. Lucia Day, Dec. 13
  • Hanukkah, Sunset Dec. 2-nightfall Dec. 10 
  • Las Posadas, Dec. 16
  • Christmas, Dec. 25
  • Kwanza, Dec. 26-Jan. 1. 
We understand many families travel or spend time at home together during the holiday weeks. Please let us know your child’s attendance by signing the forms on the classroom doors by December 14 . This will help staff classrooms and allow our teachers some well-deserved time off. Thank you!

* Vacation credit reminder:  When you have been enrolled at Especially for Children 6 months or more- you will receive a half weeks’ tuition credit if your child is absent five consecutive days. It does include the days that we are closed over the holidays.

Please mark your calendars in preparation for the holiday season:

EFC will close at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, 12/7 for our company-wide holiday party.

EFC will be closed the following days:
  • Christmas Eve: Monday, 12/24
  • Christmas Day: Tuesday, 12/25
  • New Year’s Day: Tuesday, 1/1
The holidays are a fun and joyous time, but also a very busy one, 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 you 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 holiday or 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!
This is a fun cooking project to do with kids and makes a simple yet sweet gift. Place sets of five candies in clear cellophane bags, staple them closed, then attach a decorative label.

1 cup dark or milk chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
15 (4-inch) soft or hard peppermint sticks
White nonpareils

In a small bowl, microwave the chocolate chips and oil for 1 minute; continue in 10-second bursts, stirring between heating. When most, but not all, of the chips have melted, stir the chocolate until it is smooth. 

Spread the nonpareils on a sheet of waxed paper. Dip one end of each peppermint stick into the chocolate, then roll it in the nonpareils. Set the sticks on another sheet of waxed paper until the chocolate has set, about 1 hour.
In the spring of 2017 our team of managers and administrators began a process of reflection and goal setting. What has come to be called Our Commitment Project is an effort to reinforce our dedication to what we believe makes EFC such a special place for children, families and staff.
As a team we gathered, reflected and brainstormed. Together we came up with one line that summarizes our overall goal:
Our commitment is that children will thrive in classrooms led by engaged and passionate teachers.
From there we had discussions about what that sentence means to us. What did we need to do to be assured that all our children are thriving? How can we support our teachers so that they feel engaged in their classrooms and passionate about their work?
We divided into three teams and have been working together to support this commitment.
The three teams are:
  • Mentoring
  • Training
  • Strong Leadership
The Mentoring Team has launched a program where each newly hired teacher-qualified employee is teamed with a Coach for the first three months he/she is employed. While we know our veteran teachers have always served as informal mentors for new staff, this program has allowed us to solidify and enhance that relationship. It not only makes the newly hired employee feel more supported, but it also provides leadership opportunities for the staff who have been trained to be Coaches and can share their immense experience with new colleagues.
Our Training Team has come up with several ways to improve our training. We have launched a Staff Intranet where teaching staff can share ideas and access resources to help them in their classrooms. We are offering more regular staff trainings on topics that the staff have requested. We have increased the number of classroom observations we are doing each year to be able to give teachers more specific feedback and support. These have been great opportunities to assure that teaching staff know how much we appreciate what they are doing.
Our Strong Leadership Team spent time assessing our job review tools and feedback systems. They have introduced new staff recognition opportunities and ways to acknowledge teaching staff for the exceptional work they do. The team improved internal communication systems, created tools and systems to support classroom observations, and implemented new ways that teaching staff can take on leadership roles.
We feel very pleased with the way Our Commitment project has given us new opportunities to support what Especially for Children has always believed in—that engaged and passionate teachers help children thrive.

Now-12/23  Holidazzle , Minneapolis
Now-12/27  Mary Poppins Jr. , Stages Theatre, Hopkins
Now-1/6  XOXO, An Exhibit About Love and Forgiveness , Children's Museum, Saint Paul
Now-1/6  How the Grinch Stole Christmas , Children's Theatre, Minneapolis
Now-1/7 Gingerbread Wonderland , Houses of Norway, Minneapolis
Now-2/3   Wells Fargo Winter Skate , St. Paul
Now-2/23 Night Trains , Twin City Model Railroad Museum, St. Paul
12/1  Reindeer Day , Linden Hills, Mpls
12/1-12/2 Holly Trolley , Lake Harriet, Mpls
12/8  Reindeer Run , Lake Harriet, Mpls
12/22 Beauty and the Beast in Concert , Minneapolis
12/25   Joyful 5k , Maple Grove

Our  2018 Photo Album  highlights some of the many wonderful moments that took place at Especially for Children this year! It is amazing to stop and think about how much your child has changed and grown in just one year. We are thankful that you have chosen Especially for Children to be a part of your child’s journey!
Especially for Children
5133 W. 98th St. 
Bloomington, MN 55437  
(952) 831-1435 

Center Director:
Kathy Hane