We’re thankful for the basics:
food, clothing and comfortable shelter;
the rest is a bountiful bonus.
We’re thankful for work, play,
and the treasured people
who make these experiences
richer and more meaningful.
We’re most thankful
for family and friends,
especially the families that attend EFC!
We’d like to introduce you to Jill, our Kitchen Assistant. You may have already noticed her smiling face recently around our school, or perhaps your children have talked about her at home. We are happy to have Jill join the EFC team and look forward to her getting to know your children.  
In the Reduce, Reuse and Recycling study, our young preschoolers have been busy learning about ways to help our environment. One group reused materials to create “Bob the Robot” and the other group collected items to create a junk collage.

1. Express your gratitude.
Have a moment of thanks each day when everyone shares something, they’re thankful for. Whether the list includes a favorite toy, a particularly good piano lesson or a birthday card from Nana, this daily tradition can help develop a positive frame of mind. Older kids might even prefer to keep a gratitude journal and write down a few things they were thankful for each day before going to bed. This can be especially important if your child has had a particularly hard day or is in a negative mood. Realizing the good in their lives can result in a quick and significant shift of attitude.

2. Be a grateful parent.
What an invaluable exercise it is to tell our kids why we’re grateful to have them! It goes without saying that we love our kids, and that we’re thankful beyond words for their love, their smiles, their hugs and so much more. When we tell them, what makes them special to us, their self-esteem is boosted for the right reasons (not because they have the latest smartphone or because they’re dressed fashionably). Plus, our example shows them that gratitude extends well beyond material things.

3. Resist the urge to shower them with too much “stuff.”
The old adage “all things in moderation” is a useful guideline here. Of course, we to want to give our kids the best, and this isn’t to suggest that we refuse to buy them anything but the bare essentials. But buying kids whatever they want, whenever they want, dilutes the gratitude impulse and it can mean that they don’t learn to value or respect their possessions. They wind up having so much stuff, they don’t appreciate each toy or game or device, as they keep setting their sights on what’s shinier and newer.

4. Have them pitch in when they want something.
If your kids get an allowance or earn money at a job, have them participate in buying some of the things they want. When kids themselves take the time to save up, they have an ownership stake in the purchase and gain an understanding of the value of a dollar by working toward what they want. It also teaches restraint and encourages kids to appreciate what they have, as well as giving them a more realistic perspective on what you and others do for them.

5. Keep thank-you notes on hand.
Sadly, sending handwritten thank-you notes seems to be a dying art. But it’s actually a perfect way to encourage kids to express gratitude — and as an added bonus, it can make the recipient’s day. Of course, it’s more than appropriate for kids to send notes when they receive gifts, but we can also encourage them to thank teachers at the end of the school year, Little League coaches, ballet teachers, kind pediatricians, helpful librarians, families who host them for overnights or parties. There are loads of opportunities throughout the year for kids to recognize and thank those who have done something special for them, and it’s a habit that if they start young, they’ll naturally carry throughout life. It’s important that kids compose and handwrite the notes themselves, and we as parents can set the example by making sure to write thank-you notes on a variety of occasions.

6. Set a good example by saying “thank you” sincerely and often.
The values our kids embrace as they get older aren’t those, we nag them into learning, but the ones they see us living out. There are countless opportunities every day for us to model gratitude for our kids — for example, thanking the waitress who serves your food, the cashier who rings you up at the grocery store, the teller at the bank who cashes your check. When our kids see us expressing sincere thanks all the time, they’ll be more inclined to do so as well.

7. Encourage them to give back.
The old saying “it’s better to give than to receive” has stuck around for a reason. It really does feel great to help someone else out. Depending on their ages, kids can rake leaves for an elderly neighbor, say, or volunteer at a nursing home a few hours a week. You might even make service a family activity. When kids give their time and energy to help others, they’re less likely to take things like health, home and family for granted.

8. Insist on politeness and respect all around.
When we teach our children to treat others with dignity and respect, they’ll be more likely to appreciate the ways in which those folks contribute to and improve their lives. By the same token, they’ll be less likely to take assistance and kindness for granted, and more likely to give it the value it deserves. It’s crucial for us as parents to model for our children the importance of treating all people with respect.

11 Tips for Instilling True Gratitude in Your Kids
Thanksgiving Holiday
Thursday, November 28 —EFC closed
Friday, November 29 —EFC closed

Winter Holiday
Tuesday, December 24—EFC closes at 3:00 pm
Wednesday, December 25 —EFC closed
Wednesday, January 1, 2020 —EFC Closed
by DeeAnn Besch and Alli Zomer

Every so often we like to share a bit about what’s happening “behind the scenes” at Especially for Children. In 2018, we launched a peer coaching program that teaching staff participate in upon hire. Newly hired teachers are paired with a coach, often from a different EFC school, to support them as they get started in their roles.

Mentees are matched with coaches who work with the same age group so that coaches are able to share relevant teaching strategies, classroom management practices, daily routines, etc. Coaches and mentees observe one another in their classrooms and have time for in-person and phone conversations. They spend 6 months paired together, with the amount of coaching time dependent on the mentee’s background and experience. 

One goal of the coaching program is to make teachers new to Especially for Children feel welcome in the greater organization. It is also valuable to provide teachers new to EFC a chance to see different spaces and learning environments.

We are excited that the program has been a positive experience for those who have participated in it, both coaches and mentees. Once a quarter, coaches from all EFC centers gather for a training and a chance to share and connect. At our meeting in October, some of our coaches had this to say about the program:

“It gives me a chance to share what I have learned with other people and help them get a good start on their career with EFC. And it also lets me see what other teachers are doing well so that I can take those ideas back to my classroom.”

-        Lynn Livingston, EFC Eden Prairie

“It makes me so happy that I can use my experience to have a positive impact on a new teacher and help their transition into EFC be that much easier. And I can continue to be a resource, because we have an ongoing relationship.”

-        Robin Klippenstein, EFC Edina/W 70 th Street
Peer Coaches at a recent training. From left: Lynn L., Christina W., Stefanie B., Kari S., Robin K., Dan A., Gail S.
(Not pictured: Colleen D., Emily G., and Jessica N.)

We are grateful for all of our Peer Coaches!

11/2 Night Trains , TC Model Railroad Museum, St Paul
Now-11/3   Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular , MN Zoo, Apple Valley
11/3-1/5 Cinderella , Children's Theatre, Minneapolis
11/15&11/16 Kids at the Castle: Thankful Hearts , American Swedish Institute, Mpls
11/22-12/28 Elf the Musical , Stages Theatre, Hopkins
11/22-1/5 Winter in Bloom , Mn Landscape Arboretum, Chanhassen
11/28   Drumstick Dash 10k and Cranberry Cruise 1 Mile , Lake Harriet, Minneapolis
11/28   LifeTime Turkey Day 5k , Minneapolis
11/29-12/1 Family Discovery Days , Bell Museum, St. Paul
11/29-12/22   Holidazzle , Minneapolis
Especially for Children
5015 W. 70 Street
Edina MN 55439 
(952) 946-9971 

Center Directors:
Susan Wilson and Michelle Botz