Program and Philosophies

Outdoor Curriculum

Posted on Jan 25, 2016

Outdoor Curriculum

One of the benefits of a cooperative is that you can utilize the strengths and backgrounds of the membership to make the school better: from facilities upkeep to the classroom experience. We have such a variety of backgrounds and occupations at our school! We are fortunate that some can be put to use when we need them. This year, we wanted to enrich the kids’ experiences in our “Big Yard.”

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Nature Vs. Nurture

Posted on Jan 19, 2016

Nature Vs. Nurture

In this blog post, we explore how and why our boys and girls play differently. Special thanks to our current director, Mrs. Toth, for the breakdown of these two books. Please comment below on the differences you have seen if you have two different sexes in your household!

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A Conscious Gift Buying Guide

Posted on Nov 24, 2015

A Conscious Gift Buying Guide

With Black Friday happening this week and the holiday shopping season underway, we want to share our thoughts on what a good gift is for a child. It may take a little more effort or imagination to find gifts, but these are much more likely to be enjoyed for a long time to come or create an indelible memory. Before you head out with the masses, read and share with those you know and love. The list is simple and yet, in this day and age, not mainstream. Nevertheless, your child and home will thank you for it! Select toys that promote meaningful learning through play. Toys of value enhance children’s natural ability to engage in imaginative, meaningful play that allows them to try out new ideas, solve their own problems, and find their own solutions. When children play this way, they are developing a solid foundation for success in school. Choose toys that provide opportunities for dramatic play, manipulative play (puzzles, Lego’s, etc.), game playing, creative arts and physical play. Rules for buying gifts for preschool age children are: The toy or game must be 90% child and 10% toy. The child must be able to manipulate the toy. The toy should be “error prone” – Meaning the kids should be able to change the toy, have it not work or work differently and then try it again and again. The toy should be open ended – Meaning it can be used many different ways and interchange with other toys (example: blocks). No batteries needed. Keep it age appropriate – Look at the age recommendations on the box. Young children should not be playing with violent video games or anything that promotes violence. The toy should be affordable. Avoid toys that discourage children from using their imagination. Gift ideas: A suitcase filled with dress up clothes. A large cardboard box with all kinds of tape and markers. Toolbox filled with a tape measure, wood scraps, hammer, nails, screws and screwdriver. Make your own craft box and fill it with paper, buttons, material scraps, glue, paint, scissors, glitter, tape, wood scraps, etc. Box filled with envelopes, stickers, writing pads, pens, pencils, etc. Box filled with collection items – rocks, keys, hearts, cars, etc. An empty wood box to be filled up with a child’s treasures. Remember most of all, what children want is your presence, not your presents. Make the holidays about the traditions and time spent together baking, singing and playing. The younger we start with these types of gifts, the older we can extend the joy of simplicity in our children. Listed below are some websites the staff recommends: www.fatbraintoys.com www.hearthsong.com www.blueberryforest.com www.ravensburger.com www.habausa.com www.turnthepage.com www.nellieedge.com www.forsmallhands.com www.discountschoolsupply.com www.montessoriservices.com www.lakeshorelearning.com Please email this blog page or share with family on social media before they shop for your child this year. Did you have a favorite “toy” as a child that fit into these criteria? What was it? Has your child received a gift like these? What was their reaction, both short- and long-term? Thanks for...

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Blossoming with Love and Logic

Posted on Nov 20, 2015

Blossoming with Love and Logic

This week we are placing the focus on our parenting program and philosophy that is put into play in the Co-op classrooms and encouraged in our homes. All new families are required to attend a 5 week Love and Logic Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun!™ class offered by Kids’ Co-op. Mrs. Johnston, our 3’s teacher, is an independent facilitator of the Love and Logic® curricula and runs our training course. The goal is not only to help your relationship at home but to teach families how the staff and other parents assisting in the classroom approach the “discipline” in our school as this approach is integral in developing the social and emotional intelligence in our students. When we are all on the same page, magic can happen! We are also encouraged by the teachers to ASK if we don’t know how to handle a situation or what to say to a child. There is never any shame in being unsure of what to do and it’s almost guaranteed to happen to everyone! Trusted for over 30 years, Love and Logic® is a philosophy founded in 1977 by Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline, M.D. It is the approach of choice among leading educators, parents, and other professionals worldwide. The Love and Logic Institute is dedicated to making parenting and teaching fun and rewarding, instead of stressful and chaotic. It provides practical tools and techniques that help adults achieve respectful, healthy relationships with their children. All Love and Logic® work is based on a psychologically sound parenting and teaching philosophy called Love and Logic®. You can learn more about the program on our website here, get books on the subject listed here in our recommended reading list, or go the the website, www.loveandlogic.com. During the month-long session at the beginning of our year we asked one of our new families, the Nelson-McKinney clan, to journal about their experience during the 5 week training. We want to thank Elizabeth and Gabe for being honest about their journey and taking the time to allow us a peek inside their home and hearts. This year we added an additional night as an option since Mrs. Johnston was teaching a class for the community. This is the one Elizabeth and Gabe attended, which she refers to in the piece. Here is what Elizabeth wrote: This is a bit about how 5 lil weeks changed 24 months of behavior… for our whole family. And look, there is no mystery to be solved or any clever way around it, Love and Logic® was a game changer for us. Our family is totally changed, the way our friends and family see us as parents has totally changed. The way we interact with each other has totally changed. We are sold. Pre-Love and Logic® was very typical: There was stress and tension through out our day. I felt like Silas “just wouldn’t listen to us”. We were trying complicated unclear methods that mostly ended up in “I said STOP IT!” and of course the behavior didn’t stop. Awesome, right? As you can imagine there were MANY variations on this theme with both me and Gabe engaged in some sort of willful battle with our 2 year old. Trying not to be the parents we had, but failing at being the parents we wanted to be. It was hard on all of us. Love and Logic® really helped our family get on the same page. I journaled through out our sessions because I was interested in going back to my weekly/daily reactions. What follows are excerpts from my writing...

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Ready to Turn Off Your Praise Auto-Pilot?

Posted on Sep 7, 2015

Ready to Turn Off Your Praise Auto-Pilot?

As you may or may not know, Kids’ Co-op is a non-profit organization. We strive to keep tuition at a reasonable rate each year for our families. Tuition only covers teacher salaries and some daily operating expenses and that is if all classes are at capacity. In order to provide the school with educational materials, supplies, equipment, and other daily operating expenses, the funds must come from other sources. When all classes are full, we have a deficit of approximately $50,000 each year. Fundraising dollars pay for everything from classroom supplies to major building expenses and improvements. Sponsorships play an integral part in running and funding our school. At the beginning of the school year we like to offer local businesses and individuals an opportunity to partner with us as a Friends of Kids’ Co-Op Sponsor. It’s a way for businesses and individuals to make a substantial contribution to help offset the operating expenses of our school with a $500+ donation. For their generosity, sponsors will receive numerous incentives designed to give them maximum visibility throughout the school year. The deadline for one visibility piece, a logo on this year’s t-shirt, is Friday, September 11th. It’s crunch time! Become a Friend of Kids’ Co-Op Sponsor this week! While we always accept new Friends throughout the year, we would love for them all to be on our shirts this year and hope to have a nice group secured by this Friday! If you or a business owner you know would like to be a sponsor, please download our Sponsorship letter and form HERE and contact fundraising chair Trisha Christmas (contact information is in the letter). Would you like some Kids’ Co-Op swag? Contact Trisha to order this year’s t-shirt! In the spirit of fundraising, please share this post with friends and family so that we can get our message out to the world by emailing or texting them a link to this post or sharing on your favorite social media platform. Every little bit helps our school to provide an enriching and creative learning environment for our children and future students. You can use PayPal to send us a donation with your credit card. It’s fast, free, and secure! Just click the DONATE button below. You will be given the option to donate using a PayPal account or without an account, using your credit card. If you are donating on behalf of a student, please put their name in the “Note” area.       Do You Need to Turn Off Your Praise Auto-Pilot? With business handled, we would like to offer something we feel very strongly about to help shift parents out of praise “auto-pilot” with their children. This piece is so important to us that we include it in our handbook each year. We use these techniques in our classrooms so parents can see it modeled for them which can help to create the shift at home. Pausing before making any complimentary statement to your child is a practice in awareness that is crucial to making  the shift in your interactions. What would you say if your child proudly showed you this picture? Positive Parenting: Encouragement versus Praise is an article from www.brighthorizons.com that we feel is a wonderful starting point in understanding the difference and what it means for our children in the long run. Here is an excerpt from the article: Further, according to Carol Dweck, Ph.D., a professor at Columbia University, children who come to rely on praise take fewer risks, because they are unwilling to lose their praise-worthy status. When children seek praise (consciously...

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