For our Kindness Book Club this month, we will read Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio and This Little Trailblazer A Girl Power Primer by Joan Holub. As always, we invite you to read the books together at home and these read alouds can be found on YouTube.
We would love to continue to display family art in our hallway and update our family gallery this fall! Please watch your child’s locker/cubby for their cardstock. Have fun creating a unique piece in any way that represents your family.
Especially for Children will be closed on Thursday, November 26, and Friday, November 27, for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Cooking spray, for pan
2 c. cooked and shredded chicken
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
8 medium tortillas
3/4 c. shredded cheddar
3/4 c. shredded monterey jack
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Hot sauce, for serving

1.     Preheat oven to 425° and grease a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
2.    In a large bowl, add chicken and toss with lime juice, chili powder, and garlic powder.
3.    Assemble quesadillas: Using a paring knife, cut a Jack-o-Lantern pattern into 4 tortillas.
4.    Sprinkle chicken and cheese onto remaining 4 tortillas, and top with Jack-o-Lanterns. Place quesadillas onto baking sheet, brush with oil, and bake until cheese is melty, and tortillas are golden, 15 minutes. Serve with hot sauce.

Many families may be wondering what Halloween will look like this year. The CDC has published guidelines and ideas for having a safe and fun Halloween during these unusual times.

You can check them out here:


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
5015 W. 70 Street
Edina MN 55439 
(952) 946-9971 

Center Directors:
Susan Wilson and Michelle Botz