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. 
Halloween will be different this year. Unfortunately, we will not be able to have our annual Halloween party. The teachers have been brainstorming different ideas to continue the fun for the children. This year we will be doing a trick or trunk on Friday, October 30 with the children during school hours. The teachers will set up their cars in the parking lot and decorate them and the kids will get to go to each car and trick or treat and get some goodies from each car. The kiddos can wear a fun Halloween t-shirt and will be doing fun games in their classroom and make a fun snack and art project. We are sad that we cannot have our big celebration, but we will do what we can to have as much fun as we do at our annual party!
We will be having picture day on Thursday, October 22. The photographer will wear masks and maintain social distance/will not have contact with the children (Jamie or Cathie will be assisting).
Face Mask 1
We want to take the time to thank our families for your support and preventative measures taken to ensure the health of our children, teachers, and other families!

Two reminders to note: 
-Only one adult family member will be allowed in the center at pick up and drop off. Families are encouraged to minimize the number of different people responsible for picking up or dropping off. If you have a school age child with you, please have them stay in the front lounge during drop-off and pick-up.

-Please continue to wear masks, sanitize your hands, ensure your child wash his/her hands upon arrival to their classroom, and limit your time in the center as all these things will limit your own and others’ exposure.
These spooky muffins get their green color from spinach and their sweetness from a banana!

Heat oven to 350 degrees and coat 16 muffin cups with cooking spray. Whisk together:
1 cup each all-purpose flour
                  1 cup whole wheat flour
                 ¾ cup sugar
                 2 tsp baking powder
                 ½ tsp baking soda
                 ½ tsp salt
                 1 ½ tsp cinnamon 
In blender, puree:
                 ¼ cup canola oil
                 ¾ cup milk
                 9oz (6 cups packed) fresh baby spinach until smooth
Add 1 large banana and 2 tsp vanilla. 
Fold liquid mixture into the dry ingredients. Fill each prepared muffin tin two-thirds full and bake for about 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Every child is, by nature, an intellectual being--a curious, sense-making person, who is continuously seeking to understand his or her physical and social environments. 
-             Peter Gray, Ph.D
We spent a recent September weekend exploring the woods. One of the highlights was discovering the large variety of mushrooms in the area. We observed the different textures, colors, patterns, sizes, and shapes. We saw that some mushrooms grew out of the ground while others grew out of fallen trees. We wondered why some mushrooms are safe to touch and eat while others are not, and why something living grows on something dead. These observations and open-ended questions support the intellectual mind.

An intellectual mind is one that seeks to understand meaning through questions, observation, and analysis. As children grow, their innate intellects develop—they are always trying to make sense of the world around them and their own place in it.

Academic skills are those geared toward a correct answer; they are learned through practice, memorization, and formulas. Academic skills can aid in intellectual pursuits, and they become necessary as children enter their school age years. But research shows that for young children, fostering the intellect through play-based learning curriculum first is vital to the development of lifelong skills in all areas.

Clancy Blair, Professor of Cognitive Psychology at NYU, has studied a neurobiological model of school readiness. He has found that “preschool programs are best when they focus on social, emotional and intellectual goals rather than narrow academic goals. On the basis of his model, an intellectually rather than academically focused approach is most likely to yield desirable ‘school readiness’ as well as longer term benefits.” (Lively Minds: Distinctions between academic versus intellectual goals for young children, Lilian G. Katz, PhD).  

Young children who are exposed to environments that stimulate their intellectual curiosity through play, investigation, and social interactions enjoy the learning process because it stems naturally from the way their minds work. And when children begin to attribute meaning to academic concepts, they will find more long-term success in mastering those concepts. For instance, they may think, Why does science matter, and what makes it interesting? It helps me to figure out what my mind is naturally curious about (e.g. Why is it cloudy today? Will it be cloudy or sunny tomorrow?)

Furthermore, learning environments that emphasize emotional and social development help children to acquire lifelong skills such as resilience, self-regulation and initiative that are tied to school and work success:

“In many studies, behavioral self-­‐regulation contributes to achievement even after controlling for initial achievement levels and other background variables such as child IQ, age, ethnicity, and parent education level.”*

At Especially for Children, our goal is to create learning environments that support intellectual, social and emotional development first. We then introduce academic concepts in a developmentally appropriate way so that intellectual and academic development can support one another.

Angie Williams
Marketing Director

For more information on this important topic, read:

Lively Minds: Distinctions between academic versus intellectual goals for young children, Lilian G. Katz, PhD
How Early Academic Training Retards Intellectual Development, Peter Gray, Ph.D.
*School Readiness: Integrating Cognition and Emotion in a Neurobiological Conceptualization of Children's Functioning at School Entry, Blair
Especially for Children
6223 Dell Road
Eden Prairie MN 55346 
(952) 934-1119 

Center Director:
Cathie Underwood 
Center Assistant Director:
Jamie Rocheford