September is ”Back to School” month for many of our families. Thank you for choosing Especially for Children. Whether you are a new family, returning from a summer off or never left, we are so glad you are here! At our center, we will continue to enrich your child’s education through the Creative Curriculum. A carefully planned, rich environment is the foundation for our program at Especially for Children. 

We believe that children learn best through play where they can experiment, try new challenges and communicate with the children and adults around them.

Our nurturing and dedicated staff help give your child the encouragement and support they need to continually learn and grow. 
Especially for Children will be closed on Friday, August 31, for a Staff Development Day and on Monday, September 3, for Labor Day.
CLIX Portrait Studios will be taking our fall pictures this year. They will be here Thursday, October 11 . If your child does not attend Thursdays, we would still love to have them here for picture day. We will be taking individual and sibling photos. 
Sign Language: We are lucky to have Karen Laughlin teach basic sign language to our preschool class. She will be here every other Thursday starting September 6 .

Kid Dance : “Kid Dance” is an optional fun-filled class taught by Miss Heather. This is a weekly class held on Wednesdays at 11:00. There are also dance recitals held in April and December. This class is currently offered to our preschool children.

Stretch and Grow: Every other Monday a Stretch and Grow coach will be here to teach the children about being healthy and active. There is a new theme each time and an opportunity for both toddlers and preschoolers to participate. 
September is a great month to visit one of Minnesota’s fantastic apple orchards.

Aamodt's, Stillwater
Enjoy apple picking, wagon rides, the Honeycrisp Express train, and more!

Applewood, Lakeville
This orchard includes raspberries and pumpkins too! You can also check out the Corn Maze.

Deer Lake, Buffalo
In addition to apple and pumpkin picking, Deer Lake features pony rides, a play house, facepainting, and outdoor games. Festival weekends at the orchard also include music and food trucks!

Emma Krumbee's, Belle Plain
In addition to the traditional orchard activities, Emma Krumbee’s features an artistic Scarecrow Festival with over 100 unique scarecrows.

Minnetonka, Minnetrista
Minnetonka Orchards are pet-friendly, so your leashed pup can enjoy a family outing too! You can also enjoy live music every weekend in September and October.
There’s something for everyone at the TC Family Events, part of the TC Marathon Weekend. Race distances include 10k, 5k, Family Mile, Half Mile, Toddler Trot, and Diaper Dash. Enjoy the beauty of the State Capitol as well as fun activities in the Family Activity Tent. For more information and registration info, visit:
Many people say that they can feel what a program is like on their first visit. But for others it is a difficult thing to know exactly what their child will experience in a center by simply taking a tour and meeting with the director.

Luckily there are some systems in place that help parents in their evaluations. In Minnesota there are three main vehicles to assess quality in center-based child care. Here is a quick snapshot.

Licensing – A process overseen by the Minnesota Department of Human Resources (DHS) that regulates centers. Generally, all child care centers are required to go through licensing and are inspected once each year. Requirements cover health and safety, staff ratios and requirements, and equipment as some of the key components. Minnesota has among the highest licensing standards in the nation, which contributes to the quality, as well as the cost, of providing care in our state.

Accreditation – There are several organizations that accredit centers in the U.S. At Especially for Children, we have chosen to seek accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the largest accrediting body. Under the NAEYC system, centers voluntarily apply to be assessed on over 400 criteria.
After months of work preparing classroom portfolios, administrative portfolios, collecting parent and staff surveys, and assuring that each classroom reflects quality standards, an outside evaluator visits to assess all aspects of the center’s operations. Centers go through the accreditation process every five years.

We are extremely proud to announce that seven of our eight locations have recently received letters that we have been reaccredited as a result of outstanding performances at their validation visits this year. We are so proud of our directors and teaching teams who worked together to make this happen!!

The Edina center will be the last center to be visited, which will happen by the end of the year. Although it is getting the last visit, it was actually our first center to be accredited in January of 2014, so it is on a slightly different cycle than the others. We feel confident that they will be reaccredited with outstanding scores as well.

Parent Aware – A Minnesota Quality Rating System that centers in Minnesota can apply to for an assessment of their quality on a variety of criteria. Parent Aware holds NAEYC accreditation in high esteem, so as NAEYC accredited centers, we become Parent Aware centers after having our teaching staff complete some additional training beyond the requirements of NAEYC and licensing. All of our eight centers are 4-Star Parent Aware rated, which is the highest designation of quality.

Please remember that it is our commitment to be continually challenged to maintain these high standards. And your feedback is always welcome. Here’s to a great year!

Now-9/3  Minnesota State Fair , Saint Paul
Now-9/3   Kangaroo Crossing , MN Zoo, Apple Valley
Now-9/9 Dinosaur Train , MN Children’s Museum, Saint Paul
Now-10/21 Origami in the Garden , MN Landscape Arboretum, Chanhassan
Now-10/30  Minnesota Renaissance Festival , Shakopee
9/7-9/9   Taste of Greece , St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church, Minneapolis
9/8   City of Ramsey Happy Days , Ramsey
9/16 Red Barn Pizza Farm , Northfield, MN
9/22   Excelsior Apple Day , Excelsior
9/22-9/23   Lone Oak Hill Days , Eagan
10/13 BT5K Run/Walk, Saint Paul

Apple Orchards
Aamodt's , Stillwater
Applewood , Lakeville
Deer Lake , Buffalo
Emma Krumbee's , Belle Plain
Minnetonka , Minnetrista

As noted in the Especially for Parents article, Especially for Children seeks accreditation through NAEYC. The organization has resources for families as well.
Check out their blog for articles on child development as well as developmentally appropriate activities you can do at home!
Especially for Children5133 W. 98th St. 
Bloomington, MN 55437  
(952) 831-1435 

Center Director:
Kathy Hane