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Posted by on Apr 30, 2020 in Blog, Health, Science, Stress |

Pandemic Stress In Children

Pandemic Stress In Children

Protecting Children and Ourselves

We do all we can to protect our children from the Coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing, masks, hand sanitizer and hand washing are good practices to help keep children and ourselves safe. These actions will help keep us safe from the immediate threat of getting COVID-19. Here’s what the CDC is saying about how COVID-19 might effect your child or any family member. 

Are we doing all we can to protect children from the stress of the pandemic? Pandemic stress in children is difficult to completely prevent. Children aren’t as prone as their grandparents to get COVID-19 but are just as stressed by it. Children are aware that they have stopped going to school or child care. Children know that their parents are stressed. Changes in schedules, constant media alerts, and parental stress leads to stressed out children. As our anxiety builds so too does theirs. And if, God forbid, there is a loss in the family, how do parents help children through that?  What can parents do to relieve some of that stress? Let’s see what the experts say.

Experts Agree Pandemics Are Stressful On Some Children

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, children are almost a quarter of the American population. That’s more than 70 million children. This vulnerable segment of our society demands our protection in times of pandemic. Experts have learned from previous pandemics that children deal with stress differently than adults. Our response has to be modified to meet children’s special needs. “Most kids will ride this out and probably write some interesting college application essays about it.” Says Seth Pollack  psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and director of the Child Emotion Lab. Affluent kids will come out on the other side of COVID-19 mostly unscathed. Pollack and others are more concerned for children with less affluent families. Families who are already under stress from poverty and food insecurity are struggling more now.

Special Needs Of Children In Pandemic

From considering the lessons learned from previous pandemics we know that suspending routine activities, social distancing, closing schools and child care centers, will become the expected norm. These precautions among others, save lives in a pandemic. Those same actions can have a detrimental effects on children. Closing schools leaves children whose family don’t have internet access without connections with teachers and classmates.

Closing schools might also leave many children nutritionally vulnerable. Many children across the country depend on school breakfast and lunch programs for their only meals throughout their day. Some children even receive food to take home over the weekend.

Closing child care centers takes many parents out of the workforce for having no one to care for their children. Social distancing is very difficult to implement when working with children, it is impossible when working with infants and toddlers. Children need human contact to survive.

Older children and teenagers can suffer detrimental effects from isolation and may need mental health support in a pandemic. Suspending routine activities is detrimental to children as routine is what allows children thrive. Considering the lessons learned in pandemics of the past is important when planning for pandemics of the future.

Parents And Communities Can Ease Pandemic Stress In Children

There are many activities that parents and even the community can do to ease stress for children and their families. Everything parents do will impact their children in some way. Communities will need to support parents and children in a pandemic.

First, children need their education. Leadership needs to plan an infrastructure that provides children their education even when schools are closed. There are many tools that districts can utilize to continue children’s education from home. Many wireless companies are offering free or discounted WiFi to families with school age children.

Next, social distancing doesn’t support children’s mental health. Isolation is especially difficult on children. Parents will want to build their relationships with their children during a pandemic. Parents can help their children stay in touch with extended family members using face time or other video calling programs. Try to stick closely to the old “before Coronavirus” routine with their children. If that doesn’t work create and stick to a new routine.

Children rely on the simple rhythm to know what to expect next. Children who don’t know what to expect next will likely behave in ways that won’t be helpful. With many schools closed until the fall parents are going to need home schooling support. The CATO Institute offers this advice.

Keeping Children Active And Engaged has a great site with lots of inspiration to bring fun learning to your house during isolation. The author/preschool teacher, Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. is so warm and encouraging. She is a teacher of preschool teachers.

Experts say exercise will be necessary to keep kids (and adults) active. There are ways to keep active inside the house. Walk At Home is just one way to stay active. Kids can work out with is dedicated to the safe education of children even in times of global pandemic.

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Posted by on Feb 7, 2020 in Blog, February Themes, Groundhog Day, Math & Science, Science, Shadows |

Making Shadows on Groundhog Day

Making Shadows on Groundhog Day

We had a great time making shadows on groundhogs day. Groundhog Day is a great time to explore shadows.

We have a great little groundhog pattern available at Printables! Print it out, add color, tape it to a craft stick. Send the kids under a table that has paper draped over one side, with a big bright flashlight. Does the groundhog see his shadow?

Kaplan Early Learning Company has this great blog post on making shadows on groundhogs day or any day.

Making Shadows on Groundhogs Day

These little shapes are just stencils taped to craft sticks. Cut shapes from black construction paper so they look more like shadows. A big 9 volt flashlight propped up in a clear plastic shoe box will shine light right where needed. Simply drape a large sheet of paper over a little table. The kids love climbing under tables anyway, this just gives them a purpose.

Making Shadows on Groundhogs Day

A couple little chairs invite the audience to watch the shadow show. Make sure each child gets a turn to do both.

Making Shadows on Groundhogs Day

The kids learn quickly how to make the shadows interact. More shapes can be made with only the kids hands and fingers.

Making Shadows on Groundhogs Day  

Disney Shadow Video

My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson

Making Shadows on Groundhog Day  Shadows
Shine a big 9 volt flashlight on the children from behind them. Be sure you have a large blank wall to project onto. Have fun!

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Posted by on Nov 25, 2016 in Autumn, Blog, Bulletin Boards, Math & Science, November Themes, Science |

Preschool Science Activity Ideas – Fall

Preschool Science Activity Ideas – Fall

Nature is full of preschool science activity ideas! You just need to know where to look. One of the early science classes children are given in elementary school is called Earth Science. The science of the Earth is actually only nature. Young children can learn a lot about nature. Having a broad basic understanding of the outside world early will help them succeed when the reach that elemntary Earth Science class. So here we go.

Bringing Nature In To the Preschool Classroom

Fall Gourds -Fun Preschool Scrience Activities   We put this tray in our science center for further exploration after everyone had a turn to look closely with the magnifying glass at circle time.

Depending on your location fall will look different than fall in other locations. What ever changes that take place outside…bring some samples into your classroom. Maybe mangos become ripe in fall near you, or oranges are being arvested now, even if it’s just a small tray of dried up leaves and some sticks! Bring one or two samples into the classroom for your children to observe. Put a child safe magnifyng glass on the tray and pass it around at circle time.

These are just a few of the things we bring samples of into the classroom in the fall.

Dried Corn Prescool Science Activity Ideas- Fall Dried Corn To Husk -Fun Preschool Science Activity Ideas  Milk Weed In A Jar- Fun Preschool Science Activity Ideas Fun Preschool Science Activity Ideas - Pumpkin Seeds

Don’t forget to show your how the children how to use the magnifying glass to make the object appear larger. Hold the maginfying glass close to the object and look through, don’t hold it up to your eye.

 Science Activities For Fall

Growing Sweet Potatoes

Chestnut Counting Preschool Science Activity Ideas   Grow A Sweet Potato - Fun Preschool Science Activity

You’ll need a sweet potato, or a piece of one. four toothpicks, clear plastic cup, water.

Poke the toothpicks into the sides of the potato at 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 so they can hold the top portion of the potato out of the water. Submerge the potato untill it’s resting on the toothpicks. Keep the cup watered enough that the botom of the potato is always wet.

Have the children make observations as the potato changes. You might want to have them draw in their journals or on clipboards like real scientists!

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Posted by on Aug 9, 2016 in August Themes, Blog, Engineering, Science, Tech |

Preschool S.T.E.M. Is STEAM

Preschool S.T.E.M. Is STEAM

Preschool S.T.E.M. Is STEAM

“Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist.” -Carl Sagan

Because the world has moved into the Information Age the focus in education has shifted to S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Smart preschools have found ways to incorporate STEM’s different disciplines into children’s daily activities, with one important addition…art. Add Art and you turn STEM into STEAM curriculum. Preschool S.T.E.M. is STEAM. Since art is already integral to preschool curriculum you’re probably already offering these domains of learning (and more) in your classroom daily. Lets take a look.

Here’s a nice video showing young children as they are introduced to STEM activities during a typical day at school. the narrator says “Many early childhood teachers are already implementing STEM practices, in their classrooms, and the don’t even know it.” Many of us do know that what we’re teaching qualifies a STEM and/or STEAM. Below you’ll find a collection of photos showing how simple activities can qualify as STEM/STEAM.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a percentage of any sale. Not all the links on this page are affiliate links.

Preschool S.T.E.M. Is STEAM – Science

Preschool S.T.E.M. is STEAM Science Pipette, colored vinegar, baking soda  Science – This child is using a pipette to experiment with colored vinegar and baking soda. You could try it with water first and compare what happens with the vinegar. The children could predict what they think will happen.  (Hint Bubbles happen!)

Preschool S.T.E.M. is STEAM - Steve Spangler Windbags Science – This child is catching air in Steve Spangler’s Windbags. Fun science!

Preschool S.T.E.M. Is STEAM – Tech

Preschool S.T.E.M. Record Player Spin Art  Technology – This technology might be outdated in the MP3 era but the kids love it! We use an old record player to spin paper plates and paint while it turns.

Preschool S.T.E.M. is STEAM- Observatory Field Trip  Technology – We took a field trip to a nearby observatory. If you have an internet connection you can find many sites to show kids space. NASA is a beautiful place to visit online.

Preschool S.T.E.M. Is STEAM – Engineering

Preschool S.T.E.M. is STEAM - Diamond Pyramid Building Blocks  Engineering – The blocks this young girl is using can build pyramids and so much more! We keep these at the table.

Preschool S.T.E.M. is STEAM - Building Blocks  Engineering – These building blocks are made of durable cardboard. They are light weight and allow the kids to build over their heads. When they fall no one gets hurt.

Preschool S.T.E.M. Is STEAM – ART

Preschool S.T.E.M. is STEAM Magnet Art  Art – We are making marble art with magnetic marbles. Put a few different colors of paint in small cups, use a spoon to dip the marbles in the paint. Place the paint covered marbles on a paper (use a plastic tray). Use a magnet wand or any magnet to move the magnetic marbles around the paper.

Preschool S.T.E.M. is STEAM - Art - Open Ended   Art- Open ended art supplies are available all day, all year. We upgrade the supplies as the children’s abilities develop. We start with crayons, washable markers, scissors, and glue. Later in the year we add water color paint, shape hole punches, pattern scissors… The easel is always open as well.

Preschool S.T.E.M. Is STEAM – Math

Preschool S.T.E.M. is STEAM - Math Graphing Apples  Math – Here we graphed how many classmates liked each of three different kinds of apples. We all tasted each color apple and made the graph while some of the children were still chewing!

Preschool S.T.E.M. is STEM - Math Numbers 0-9  Math – October is fire safety month so we work on calling 911. After they’ve all had a turn I put the flannel board and numbers in the Math/Science Center for open ended play.

The point of all this is that these are the activities child care and preschool teachers do with children every day. We actually incorporate many other aspects of learning. These pictures also depict fine and large motor development, social skills, and many other developmental skills that are inherent in the learning taking place. Teachers in early childhood education incorporate S.T.E.M. and STEAM into the curriculum every day, even if they don’t realize it!



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Posted by on Aug 9, 2015 in Blog, Butterflies, Blog, Science |

Metamorphosis ?

Order your caterpillars at Insect Lore

Caterpillars  The caterpillars are tiny when you unbox them. Watch them and wait…

Butterfly's life cycle  Have magnifying glasses at the ready! This set of butterfly life cycle can be purchased here.

Caterpillars Growing They’ll get big fast! Keep waiting…

remove from lid Remove them from the paper once they’ve all made their cacoon. More waiting… Until one day you’ll see…BUTTERFLIES!



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