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Found 19 results

  1. NPN Tareema

    NPN Playdate: STEAM Sunday at Bennett

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    NPN Playdates are back! Join us for STEAM Sunday at Bennett Day School. There will be fun STEAM activities for kids and light snacks. Parents, grab a cup of coffee, relax and enjoy as your kids experience some fun activities! This event is for kids aged 2 - 5 years old. Spots are limited so register today! Bennett Day School is located at 955 W. Grand Ave. Enter the school from the double doors on Morgan St. Ring the buzzer when you arrive and stop at the front desk to check-in. Parking/Public Transportation Information: If you are planning to drive, you can park for free in the gravel lot on the NW corner at Morgan and Hubbard (across the street from Bennett's campus). There is also free parking available on the west side of Morgan and south side of Hubbard, or metered parking on Grand Ave. Bennett is two blocks west of the Grand Blue Line stop and the Halsted 8 bus, and 2 blocks north of the Pink/Green Line Stop at Morgan if those options are convenient to you.
  2. Have you noticed a regression in your child—behaviorally, developmentally or socially—since the start of the pandemic? You're far from alone. Join NPN for a webinar on how to detect and manage COVID regression, whether you have a child with special needs or a typically developing child in the crucial development years of 2–5 In this discussion, you will hear from behavioral specialists, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, and psychologists about the typical signs that your child may be experiencing developmental regression due to the pandemic. You will also learn about the strategies professionals are using, services that are available, and what activities you can do in the home to combat COVID-19 regression. Our esteemed panel consists of: Dr. Shay McManus, Neuropsychologist, Eyas Landing, Dr. Chrisna M. Perry, PhD, Founder & Director, Comprehensive Learning Services, Lorell Marin, Founder, CEO & Therapist, LEEP Forward, Nicole Cissell, Clinical Director, BGF Children's Therapy, and Jason Wetherbee, Director of Clinical Services & Program Development, EB Pediatric Resources We appreciate our Supporting sponsors, Comprehensive Learning Services and LEEP Forward A special thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, Eyas Landing
  3. NPN Tareema

    COVID Regression and What to Do About It

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    Have you noticed a regression in your child—behaviorally, developmentally or socially—since the start of the pandemic? You're far from alone. Join NPN for a webinar on how to detect and manage COVID regression, whether you have a child with special needs or a typically developing child in the crucial development years of 2–5. In this discussion, you will hear from behavioral specialists, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, and psychologists about the typical signs that your child may be experiencing developmental regression due to the pandemic. You will also learn about the strategies professionals are using, services that are available, and what activities you can do in the home to combat COVID-19 regression. Our esteemed panel consists of: Dr. Shay McManus, Neuropsychologist, Eyas Landing Dr. Chrisna M. Perry, PhD, Founder & Director, Comprehensive Learning Services Lorell Marin, Founder, CEO & Therapist, LEEP Forward Nicole Cissell, Clinical Director, BGF Children's Therapy Jason Wetherbee, Director of Clinical Services & Program Development, EB Pediatric Resources Special thanks to our Presenting Sponsor, Eyas Landing Thank you to our Supporting Sponsors, Comprehensive Learning Services and LEEP Forward By registering for this event, you agree that NPN may share your name and email address with our presenting sponsors.
  4. Choosing the right preschool for your child can be a daunting task, especially when your child has a developmental difference. You might be wondering if a therapeutic preschool is the best fit for your child. But what is a therapeutic preschool? What does it provide that another preschool doesn't? What should you look for in a therapeutic preschool to know that it is right for your family? In this session you will learn what makes a preschool therapeutic, how traditional therapy is integrated in the preschool environment, the benefits of a therapeutic preschool experience and what questions to ask to make sure you find the best fit for your family. You will walk away from this discussion understanding: 1. How therapeutic preschools differ from non-therapeutic preschools 2. How parents can evaluate and compare therapeutic preschools 3. What to look for when touring a therapeutic preschool 4. What to expect when transitioning to traditional schools after preschool Our esteemed panel consists of: Lorell Marin, Founder and CEO, LEEP Forward, Dr. Lori G. Tall, Executive Director, Black Bear Academy, Dr. Erin Harvey, Clinic Director and Occupational Therapist, Blue Bird Day, Kimberly Shlaes, Director of Therapeutic Preschool Programing, PlayWorks Prep Therapeutic Preschool, Dr. Connie Weil, Clinical Psychologist, Tuesday's Child We appreciate our Supporting sponsors, PlayWorks Prep Therapeutic Preschool, and Tuesday's Child A special thank you to our Presenting sponsors, LEEP Forward, Black Bear Academy, and Blue Bird Day
  5. until
    Choosing the right preschool for your child can be a daunting task, especially when your child has a developmental difference. You might be wondering if a therapeutic preschool is the best fit for your child. But what is a therapeutic preschool? What does it provide that another preschool doesn't? What should you look for in a therapeutic preschool to know that it is right for your family? In this session you will learn what makes a preschool therapeutic, how traditional therapy is integrated in the preschool environment, the benefits of a therapeutic preschool experience and what questions to ask to make sure you find the best fit for your family. There will be time for Q&A at the end! You will walk away from this discussion understanding: 1. How therapeutic preschools differ from non-therapeutic preschools 2. How parents can evaluate and compare therapeutic preschools 3. What to look for when touring a therapeutic preschool 4. What to expect when transitioning to traditional schools after preschool Our esteemed panel consists of: Lorell Marin, Founder and CEO, LEEP Forward Dr. Lori G. Tall, Executive Director, Black Bear Academy Dr. Erin Harvey, Clinic Director and Occupational Therapist, Blue Bird Day Kimberly Shlaes, Director of Therapeutic Preschool Programing, PlayWorks Prep Therapeutic Preschool Dr. Connie Weil, Clinical Psychologist, Tuesday's Child Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors: LEEP Forward Black Bear Academy Blue Bird Day Thank you to our Supporting Sponsors: PlayWorks Prep Therapeutic Preschool and Tuesday's Child By registering for this event, you agree that NPN may share your name and email address with our presenting sponsors.
  6. Getting through elementary school is not always easy, but when families, teachers, administration, and staff work together, the educational experience can be amazing for everyone. In this session we explore the benefits of sticking with your school even when the experience isn't perfect, and how to positively impact your child’s school and school experience. We will also discuss typical school challenges that arise during the elementary years and give you tips on how to manage them. In this discussion we learn: -The benefits of sticking with your school -How to positively impact your child's school and school experience -Typical challenges that arise in elementary school and how to find resolutions Thank you to our panelists, British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park, Bennett Day School, Lake Forest Country Day School, and St. Josaphat School. A special thank you to our presenting sponsor: British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park
  7. NPN Tareema

    Preschool Philosophies

    Choosing the right preschool for your child can be an overwhelming task, especially in Chicago where there are so many options. With so many different preschool philosophies, how do you know which philosophy works for you and your family? In this discussion you will learn about a variety of preschool philosophies, hear examples of good questions to ask and things to think about when you are researching preschools, and walk away confident in your ability to choose a preschool that is a good fit for your family. Our esteemed school panel consists of Erin Woodhams, Director of Marketing, Admissions, and Communications, British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park, Meg Fitzgerald, Director of Early Childhood Education, Bennett Day School, Samantha Maxwell, Preschool Director, Bubbles Academy Arts-Integrated Preschool, and Andrea Shaffer, Faculty Director, Chicago Waldorf School We appreciate our Supporting Sponsor, Bennett Day School and a special thanks to our Presenting Sponsor British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park. Recorded February 2022
  8. NPN Tareema

    Kindergarten Prep & Age Cut Off

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    Preparing for kindergarten can feel like a daunting task, and myths about the Illinois age cut-off abound. If you are wondering if your four year old or six year old can attend kindergarten, or if you want to know how to help your child prepare for kindergarten, this is the session for you. Our esteemed panelists will explain what teachers really want parents to know about kindergarten. We will also discuss the Illinois law around age cut off, answering all of your questions about this confusing piece of the puzzle. There will be time for Q & A at the end. You will walk away from this discussion understanding: 1. What it means to be kindergarten-ready 2. How to help your child prepare for kindergarten 3. The kindergarten age cut off law in Illinois and if there are any exceptions Our esteemed school panel consists of: Tiffany Wells, Director Enrollment Management, Catherine Cook School Meg Fitzgerald, Director of Early Childhood Education, Bennett Day School Georgia Burke, Admissions Director, St. Josaphat School Bonnie Ho, Principal, Pui Tak Christian School Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor: Catherine Cook School By registering for this event, you agree that NPN may share your name and email address with our presenting sponsor.
  9. NPN Tareema

    Preschool Philosophies

    until
    Choosing the right preschool for your child can be an overwhelming task, especially in Chicago where there are so many options. With so many different preschool philosophies, how do you know which philosophy works for you and your family? In this discussion you will learn about a variety of preschool philosophies, hear examples of good questions to ask and things to think about when you are researching preschools, and walk away confident in your ability to choose a preschool that is a good fit for your family. There will be time for Q&A at the end! Our esteemed school panel consists of: Erin Woodhams, Director of Marketing, Admissions, and Communications, British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park Meg Fitzgerald, Director of Early Childhood Education, Bennett Day School Samantha Maxwell, Preschool Director, Bubbles Academy Arts-Integrated Preschool Andrea Shaffer, Faculty Director, Chicago Waldorf School Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park, we also appreciate our Supporting Sponsor, Bennett Day School. By registering for this event, you agree that NPN may share your name and email address with our presenting sponsor.
  10. Children are wired for language from birth, and can pick up skills without any formal lessons. Even still, parents play a big role helping their children develop the expert language and literacy skills they need to thrive socially and in school. To learn more about these skills and how parents can nurture them, we sat down with Samina Hadi-Tabassum, literacy and language expert at Erikson Institute. When do children begin learning language and literacy skills, and what are the stages of their development? Babies pick up on the sounds of human voices in the womb. After birth, they begin to recognize these voices and turn their heads towards familiar ones. In their first three months, infants begin to “coo,” as they learn to control their vocal cords and the muscles they’ll need to speak. Around six months, the baby begins to string together vowels and consonant sounds repetitively, such as “mamama” and “dadada.” Most children don’t begin producing words until age two. Before then, they are actively listening and decoding sounds around them. Babies and toddlers catalogue language in their minds, almost like statistics, until they're finally able to voice some of what they’ve learned. By age three, children are typically speaking in simple phrases, (i.e. “blue ball”) and sentences that can sound like directives (i.e. “Mommy give ball”), since the ability to pose and ask complex questions comes later at age five. By the time they enter elementary school, most children can string together sentences like little adults. There are many instances, however, where children don’t begin speaking until much later on (around four or five), even though they have still been perceiving and making sense of language around them. There are many reasons for this, some more serious than others, but parents should consult their pediatrician if they feel there is a cause for a child’s delay. What can parents do to support the early development of their child’s language and literacy skills? The most important thing a parent can do is engage their children in conversation from day one, since infants are perceiving and making sense of the language code. When conversing, parents should look children in the eyes, have them watch and observe their mouths, and teach them about taking turns when communicating. Never rely on technology to help your child learn language; it doesn’t work. They can only learn from other humans, and need to be exposed to rich oral language before they can learn to read or write. [Related: 6 ways to teach your child a foreign language this summer] How can parents partner with teachers to promote their child’s literacy skills? Parental nurturing of literacy skills is critical, as reading is an artificial system that we created to convey messages, and children are not wired to naturally pick up on how to read. Parents should begin reading to children soon after birth and incorporate books into their home environment. Ask children questions about the stories you read to foster their comprehension skills. To promote print recognition, parents can point out the letters that make up their names and take them through the alphabet visually and phonetically. Note that no matter how much you read to your infant or toddler, it takes time for children to learn to read. They need to learn the sounds of letters, how to decode words, and understand the meaning of multiple words strung together. Doing this requires logical skills, which children don’t usually develop until age five or six. If a child is bilingual, how might this affect language and literacy development? Bilingual and multilingual children have a cognitive advantage. By switching from one language to another, children learn to think flexibly and sort the world in different ways. Bilingual children might be delayed in mastering both languages equally, and might struggle to keep up with their peers at first. But research shows that by the time they are in middle school, bilingual children often outperform their monolingual peers. What can parents do to support their development in two languages? The stronger the foundation of the child’s first language, then the easier it is to learn others. For bilingual parents, this means speaking the child’s home language and teaching them to read and write in it. Pass down the culture associated with your child’s native language as well. Research demonstrates that bilingual children who keep their language and culture while learning English in American schools do much better academically in the long run. [Related: How I'm teaching my young kid 4 languages] For monolingual parents who wish their child to become bilingual, consider a dual-language preschool.This provides them with an immersive second-language experience while enabling them to get a solid grasp on their first language at home. What should I do if I feel my child needs extra support in language and literacy? Observe your children as much as possible to recognize any language patterns unique to them. Keep in mind, though, that each child is different, so their language and literacy journey is, as well. Factors such as gender, birth order, and genetics can play a role in language development. Speak with your pediatrician about developmental milestones and whether or not they are noticing differences and delays. If there are delays, there are plenty of experts who can help — including developmental therapists who can come to your home. Parents play a big role in their child’s language and literacy development, but it’s important to know that if you need extra help, it’s not a role you have to play alone. Samina Hadi-Tabassum is a clinical associate professor at Erikson Institute where she teaches graduate courses in cognitive and language development. Her research interests include examining race, culture, and language.
  11. until
    In preschool, young children learn how to move through the world, navigate challenges, manage their feelings, and be a friend. These foundational skills follow children their entire lives and, after nearly two isolating pandemic years, they are more important than we’ve ever realized. A preschool that can support your child’s social-emotional growth is one of the most important investments you can make in your child's life. In this discussion you will learn: 1. How preschools address children’s social-emotional needs 2. How to gauge a school’s approach to social-emotional learning as you research schools 3. Why social-emotional learning is so important, especially now Our distinguished panel features these experts: Erin Woodhams, Director of Marketing, Admissions, and Communications, British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park Kevin O'Brien, Director, Mary Meyer School Meg Fitzgerald, Director of Early Childhood Education, Bennett Day School Samantha Maxwell, Preschool Director, Bubbles Academy Arts-Integrated Preschool Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor: British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park Thank you to our Supporting Sponsors: Mary Meyer School Bennett Day School Bubbles Academy Arts-Integrated Preschool By registering for this event, you agree that NPN may share your name and email address with our presenting sponsor.
  12. NPN Tareema

    Kindergarten Philosophies

    Choosing the right Kindergarten for your child can be a daunting task, especially in Chicago where there are so many options. With so many different kindergarten philosophies, how do you know which philosophy works for you and your family? In this session, we learn about various kindergarten philosophies. You will learn about arts-integrated, inquiry-based, responsive, and differentiated instruction, how they overlap, and where they differ. You will walk away from this discussion understanding: 1. How to ask the right questions to figure out which philosophy and instruction is the best fit for your child 2. The benefits of each philosophy and type of instruction 3. What a typical day is like in each type of classroom Our esteemed school panel consists of Annessa Staab, Associate Director of Enrollment Management, Latin School of Chicago, Renata McAdams, Dean of Students & Lead Teacher 3rd - 5th Grade, Chicago Friends School, Melanie Ahmad, Director of Enrollment and Tuition Management, The Ancona School, and Allen Ackerman, Principal, Saint Andrew School A special thank you to our supporting sponsors: The Latin School of Chicago and Chicago Friends School.
  13. Preschool is the place where children learn how to move through the world, navigate challenges, manage their feelings, and be a friend. Social-emotional skills follow children their entire lives and, after nearly two isolating pandemic years, they are more important than we’ve ever realized. Finding a preschool that supports your child’s social-emotional growth is one of the most important investments you can make in your child's life. Our panelists, from some of Chicago's best preschools, share vital information on social-emotional learning (SEL) in early childhood. In this discussion we learn: - Why social-emotional learning is so important, especially now - How preschools address children’s social-emotional needs - How to gauge a school’s approach to social-emotional learning as you research schools Thank you to our preschool panelists, British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park, Mary Meyer School, Bennett Day School and Bubbles Academy Arts-Integrated Preschool A special thank you to our presenting sponsor: British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park
  14. Through this video, you will learn how to make the most of your child’s use of technology, including: 1. How children process information via screens 2. How to minimize challenges for your child when they are learning from a screen 3. What to consider when deciding what is an appropriate and valuable use of technology for your child This webinar is presented by Erikson Institute.
  15. As we begin to talk about the “s” word again ("school"), you may be weighing some options for your kids coming into the fall. If you have a toddler at home, you may also be entertaining the idea of preschool to help get your little one reintroduced to the world, interacting with peers — as well as adults other than your immediate family — and just beginning to develop social skills again as we emerge from our homes. [Related: What to look for in a therapeutic preschool] While preschool is not a requirement or necessary for later success in school, experts agree it provides an environment for children to explore, play with peers, build self-confidence, and strengthen their social and emotional development, all while having fun and learning routines. If you’re ready to send them off for more of these social experiences, you’ve likely fallen into a lot of options in Chicago for early learning. One factor to also consider in your search is whether your child would be appropriate for a “standard” preschool or a “therapeutic” preschool. It's a good idea to explore some differences in choosing a preschool or a therapeutic preschool for your youngster, as there are several distinctions that separate these two early learning options. Ratios In Illinois, preschools and daycares are mandated to follow predetermined adult-to-child ratio guidelines. Most stick to these minimum recommendations, which is a great question to inquire about when doing your research! These ratios are as follows: • For 2-year-olds a 1:8 ratio, with a maximum group size of 16 • For 3- to 5-year-olds, 1:10 ratio, with a maximum group size of 20 • For children 5 and above, 1:20, with a maximum group size of 30 In a therapeutic preschool setting, most classrooms are much smaller than the recommended maximums. Ratios are also much lower. A typical therapeutic preschool has a class size of 6-8 children, with ratios of adult support anywhere from 1:1 to 1:3. [Related: Preschool vs pre-k: What's the difference?] Therapy If your child receives speech, feeding, occupational, physical and/or behavioral therapy, a therapeutic preschool might be the way to go. This environment has these specialized therapists guiding interventions, providing individual therapy sessions, and helping to generalize different skills among peers. For example, a speech therapist may work individually with a child on answering questions or forming multiple word responses, and then bring the child back to the classroom to practice this new skill with their friends. Naps Here’s where therapeutic preschools may fall short. Therapeutic preschools are very therapy driven and most do not allow for a 2-hour mid-day nap, as a preschool or daycare set up would offer. If your little one is a power napper, a full day program at a therapeutic preschool may not be the best option for them. Diapers Some Early Learning programs require enrolled children to be fully toilet trained. This can be a real limitation for some families who feel their children are ready for the social and emotional benefits of preschool, but are not quite ready to spend the day in undies. At a therapeutic preschool, there are potty training programs implemented with each child, as this is a skill most are able to work on because of the low teacher to student ratios they maintain. Communication Both a preschool and a therapeutic preschool likely offer a lot of great communication options between the teachers and families. Notes going home, apps to receive updates, and face to face interactions help parents feel in touch and in the know about the day to day events with their children. However, if your child’s communication seems to be behind their age-matched peers, this can be a high frustration level for many toddlers who have a good understanding of what’s being discussed, but aren’t quite able to get their thoughts and feelings out effectively yet. A preschool classroom can be a frustrating experience when there are challenges expressing your wants and needs, or advocating for yourself. Important questions to consider: Is my child easy to understand? Can they ask for help when they need it? Are they able to speak up to advocate for themselves? Am I the only one who can understand my child? Reflecting on some of these questions may help lead you to the proper enrollment for your child. Enrollment Every child can be assessed and receive an IEP (individualized educational plan) at age three in order to have recommendations for placement at a CPS preschool. But did you know that your IEP is good for three years, and you are not required to join a CPS preschool at that time? Students in Illinois are not even required by law to attend kindergarten; however, they must be enrolled in either a home schooling program or a school district by age 6. Therefore, many families opt to pause enrollment from CPS to join a therapeutic preschool and reap the benefits of intensive therapeutic intervention, low student to teacher ratios, and engaging social and peer interactions. But don’t worry: Whether they graduate from preschool or therapeutic preschool, they can still join their peers in either a kindergarten or first grade classroom when they are ready! Making a Switch There are a handful of preschools in Chicago that enroll in the fall for the entirety of the year. Some have more strict guidelines on classroom placement based on birth date and ability level. However, many allow for enrollment throughout the school year, depending on birth date, availability and current ratios in their classrooms. Most therapeutic preschools enroll throughout the entire school year, and base these enrollments on the needs of the children and their families. So, if you are on the fence about what is most appropriate for your child, ask about enrollment commitments or cancellation fees, should you opt to enroll in a more therapeutic setting later in the year. Having this option may make enrollment in either program an easier commitment. Regardless of what you choose for your child, you want this early learning experience to be positive for everyone involved. Ask lots of questions, explore every option, and don’t limit yourself to only your neighborhood school. There may be a better fit for your child and their developmental needs that can get them well prepared to be independent little learners! Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
  16. As a kindergarten teacher, I always believed my top priority was to help children fall in love with learning. The joy was getting them to enjoy school, to cherish the memories they make there and embrace the challenges. I felt that if each child could come to school excited for learning, that I would be setting them up for a lifetime of success. With school buildings closed and parents juggling their own work while also managing online learning and homework, I am afraid this priority of mine is in serious jeopardy. How can we, as exhausted and stretched-thin parents, keep learning fun for our frustrated and burnt-out children? How can teachers and the education system maintain rigorous learning while keeping the joys of learning intact? Now, it is more essential than ever to keep learning enjoyable by engaging the whole family in learning, and prioritizing organic learning through play. What exactly does this look like? Read on for some of my favorite ways to play and learn as a family. Play a family game Think of the amount of learning, thinking, and growing that happens when your family sits down to play a game. If they’re old enough, have your children read aloud the rules and repeat them in their own words. Then, as you play, count and describe your play out loud. Take turns saying “Your turn!” and sharing materials. Not only are your young ones benefiting from intentional family time, but they will be learning social skills, strategy, reading, and comprehension skills, too. [Related: Reintroducing playdates in a post-pandemic world] Take to the kitchen Some of the best learning can happen with a hands-on approach in the kitchen. Have your child help you write out the grocery list: encourage them to spell words out on their own or copy the letters from current packaging. Involve your child in the recipes you create by having them read the recipe card to you. All kinds of math takes place in cooking: fractions, conversions, and counting. And don’t forget science! Have your child help you discover the purpose of baking soda, or what happens to yeast in water. Spread some joy We all know someone who could use a smile. Have your child write letters to loved ones, make a book for a neighbor, or read to a younger sibling. Addressing and mailing the letters are half the fun! [Related: You can make eating out with your kids actually enjoyable] Follow their interests Does your child love building? Have them invent a new way to hang the towels in the bathroom or store items in the closet. Have an artistic one? Have them paint a picture, then write a note describing the image they created. Does your child love “search and finds”? Have them find and highlight sight words in a newspaper or magazine. Above all, encourage your children to find their own ways to follow their curiosities. Have them ask questions about things that matter to them, and work to find the answer together. We owe it to our youngest learners to keep this journey exciting for them. Their (and our) future depends on it!
  17. NPN Jana

    Story Time with The Nicholson School

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    Now that it's warming up, The Nicholson School invites you to join us for Story Time! Gathered children will enjoy story telling followed by arts and crafts inspired by the tale! Listening to stories helps support children’s language and literacy development. Recommended for children ages birth to 5. This program is free of cost. RSVP required, please contact administration@nicholsonschool.org to register. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: administration@nicholsonschool.org
  18. NPN Jana

    Story Time with The Nicholson School

    until
    Now that it's warming up, The Nicholson School invites you to join us for Story Time ! Gathered children will enjoy story telling followed by arts and crafts inspired by the tale! Listening to stories helps support children’s language and literacy development. Recommended for children ages birth to 5. This program is free of cost. RSVP required, please contact administration@nicholsonschool.org to register. This is a repeating event, and will take place again on Saturday, June 5, 2021, from 10:00am to 10:30am. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: administration@nicholsonschool.org
  19. When you ask your kids the question, “How was school today?”, count yourself lucky if you get an “OK” or “fine.” As parents, we all want to know: Are they having fun? Are they playing nicely with others? Are they nurturing healthy relationships with their friends and peers? And the one that worries us the most, Are they eating lunch? Every day, tons of us suffer from not being able to communicate effectively with our children. As a mother of three and a parent educator, I’ve had to learn how to communicate with young children, especially after school. Here are some tips and examples to get the communication between you and your child started. Be mindful. Know that they have been sitting for most of the day (at least six hours!), and some days they may be frustrated about the day and not ready to talk. Bite your tongue and resist the urge to wear your FBI hat. Do not interrogate them. You may want to wait until dinner or bedtime to ask. In the meantime, concentrate on making the time fun and relaxing by asking easy questions, e.g., example “What would you like to eat for dinner?” Ask open-ended questions and be specific: “Tell me about something new you learned in Math today.” “Where is the coolest place in the school? Why?” “Who is the funniest person in your class? Why?” Share something about your day and ask about theirs: “I had a tuna sandwich for lunch. What about you?” “I am getting ready for a meeting tomorrow and need to create an agenda. When is your next exam and what is it going to include?” Use their artwork as a conversation starter: “Which technique did you use here?” “What were you feeling when you drew this?” Ask silly/fun questions: “Tell me something that made you laugh today.” “If you could be the teacher tomorrow, what would you teach and how would you teach it?” Know the school schedule: “Today is Thursday: Tell me about the new song you are learning in music class today.” Don’t forget the not-so-nice questions: “Tell me about something that made you sad today.” “Is there someone in your class that needs a time-out? Why?” “What can you do when you feel sad or frustrated in school?” Finally, listen. As soon as your child gets in the car, stop whatever you are doing and be present in the moment. Let them be the first to say anything and do not come up with conclusions before you hear the entire story. Children gain confidence as they relate their day and you affirm them. Be aware of signs. Your child may be showing off more than just having a bad day. Remember to stay in constant communication with the teacher. Teaming with the teacher helps the child be successful because after all, it takes a village! Nilmari Donate is the founder of HKC Parenting and School Consulting Services. She holds a BA in Public Health and an MA in Parenting Education and Support from DePaul University. She is the mother of three young bilingual and multicultural children.

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