Tag Archives: Early Childhood Education

Guest Post: How to Navigate Family Feelings About Returning to School


[Note: This is a sponsored guest post contributed by KinderCare Learning Centers.]


Whether it’s your child’s first day of kindergarten or the start of middle school, back-to-school season can bring a range of feelings – from worry to excitement – for the entire family. This year may be more emotional as many families spent the better part of the past two school years at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s important to remember that even in the best of times, it’s normal for children to express feelings of sadness, isolation or stress,” said Tyreca Elliott, from KinderCare Learning Centers’ inclusion services team. “Learning how to address those feelings helps us build self-confidence, resilience, and independence. What’s important is the way adults respond to children’s stress. Offering comfort, reassurance, and assisting with problem solving will help children learn and grow from stress in a positive way.”

As an added bonus, Elliott said many of the most effective ways to help children learn to navigate their feelings work just as well with adults. Consider these three tips to help your children (and yourself) manage emotions during the transition back to school.

Plan Ahead
The fear of the unknown can be stressful. Children who aren’t able to clearly articulate their feelings likely won’t be able to make the connection between new, uncertain situations – like going to school and being around other people – and their feelings. Instead they may become overwhelmed by emotions, which might look like more meltdowns, clinginess or a variety of other behaviors. Talk with your children about how they feel about going back to school ahead of the first day of class. Ask questions to help them determine why they feel particular feelings when they think about school then work together to solve potential issues. That could mean finding a way to meet your children’s teachers ahead of time, whether virtually or in-person, or practicing introducing themselves to classmates.

Build a Consistent Routine
Routines can give children (and adults) a sense of security and structure, which in turn make it easier to cope with big emotions like stress and anxiety. Try to stay consistent, and if you need to make adjustments, talk them through with your children. Be sure to mention key milestones instead of times, particularly if they can’t tell time yet. Make sure your children have opportunities to ask questions about any changes to routines. They may need reassurance before they’re ready to face something new.

Create Special Family Moments
As important as routine is, it’s just as important to prioritize quality time together. That could mean a vacation or something as simple as Saturday bike rides or Sunday morning pancakes. Plan a family outing or special time together to celebrate completing the first week of school. Family rituals and celebrations can give children and adults something to look forward to. Quality time together also helps families build resiliency.

For more tips to navigate back-to-school season, visit Kindercare.com


About KinderCare® Learning Centers
KinderCare Learning Centers is America’s largest, most accredited child care provider, serving more than 160,000 children every day at more than 1,500 centers. For more than 50 years, we’ve been creating safe, encouraging environments where kids can learn, grow, and build confidence for life. At KinderCare, hardworking families are family — regardless of needs, backgrounds, and experiences.

To learn more, visit online at KinderCare.com, on Facebook, or on Instagram. For resources, information, and activity ideas for parents and teachers of young children, see the KinderCare Blog.

KinderCare locations now open in D.C.:

Watergate KinderCare
Ann Bride, Acting Center Director
2530 Virginia Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20037
Ages Served: 6 weeks to 5 years
7:30am to 6:3pm, Monday-Friday

Glover Park KinderCare
Dionne Muir-Clark, Center Director
2461 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20007
Ages Served: 6 weeks to 5 years
6:30am to 6pm, Monday-Friday

Find more area locations here.


This post is sponsored by KinderCare® Learning Centers, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.

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Guest Post: What Does a Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum Look Like?

[Note: This is a Sponsored Guest Post contributed by Alia Goodyear of the Washington Waldorf School in Bethesda, MD.]

My 4 year old amazes me — what she knows and is capable of doing. I am also amazed at how often she is insistent about something and is 100% wrong, a great reminder of how young she is in her development as a human being.

We’ve seen the push and pull around when to introduce academics to children. While the trend was younger and younger, there has been significant research showing that play-based education is best for social/emotional development, building executive functions, and developing the imagination. One recent study warns about the likelihood of an early ADHD diagnosis when the child is probably just developmentally unprepared for the curriculum.

A similar debate swirls around the use of technology in schools. Some fear that without the most advanced technology at a young age, their child might lag behind. However, not knowing what the future will bring, it is essential that we give our children the inner tools to master whatever is to come. Notable Silicon Valley leaders send their children to Waldorf schools where technology is restricted until later grades.

The Waldorf teaching philosophy is almost 100 years old and is grounded in the careful observation of each child, providing pedagogical tools for teaching the child according to their developmental stage. Waldorf educates the whole child – head, heart, and hands.

The Washington Waldorf School has served DC Metro area families for almost 50 years, providing:

    – Early Childhood education grounded in imaginative play and outdoor time – including an outdoor Kindergarten option.
    – A rich Lower School (1-8) curriculum with deep roots in the humanities, arts, and sciences.
    – The introduction of technology in the classroom in 6th grade with a focus on creating responsible digital citizens.
    – A High School where graduates matriculate at distinguished colleges and go on to a wide range of professions.
Visit a WWS open house in January to see our approach in action!

This post is sponsored by the Washington Waldorf School, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2019, DC, Educational, Gradeschoolers, Maryland, School Event, Schools, Sponsored Post, Teens, Tweens

10 Reasons Why KinderCare is a Top Daycare Option in the DMV and NOVA

[Note: This is a sponsored Guest Post contributed by the staff at KinderCare Learning Centers.]

As a DMV or NOVA family, your Instagram feed likely has a shot (or 10) of your child under the cherry blossom trees on the National Mall or gallivanting around the Smithsonian. But raising a child in the District is about more than these photo-worthy moments. It’s also about giving your child plenty of chances to explore and learn at their own pace — and joining a childcare community that feels just right for your family.

Of course, just finding care can be a challenge in the DC area. There aren’t nearly enough childcare spaces for all the babies and toddlers that call the area home. Luckily, KinderCare Learning Centers recently opened more centers to help meet the need, including the South Riding center in Chantilly and two brand-new centers at Penn Quarter and the Watergate building.

An early childhood education company that’s been at it for 50 years, KinderCare is laser focused on what children growing up today need to be ready for kindergarten — and beyond. “Studies show that children who 
attend high-quality programs are 
better prepared for school, have higher high school graduation rates, and even have better long-term health,” says Dr. Elanna Yalow, KinderCare Education’s chief academic officer.

How does that translate into great centers for children? Take a look!

1. Every child should have space to thrive.
When children enter a KinderCare center, they know it’s designed just for them—because it is! Each classroom is filled with toys at kid-eye level and places where tots can create, express themselves, play, and pretend. It’s also a “print-rich environment”: Books are readily available and words are everywhere, which help plant the seeds for strong literacy skills. It’s a perfect place for busy toddlers whose personalities are just beginning to emerge (sometimes with gusto)!

2. Creativity means more than drawing inside the lines.
While writing on the walls probably isn’t something parents want to encourage at home (unless they invest in some whiteboard paint), children have plenty of opportunities to express their creative side at KinderCare! For little ones, painting and drawing this fuels creativity, builds fine-motor skills, develops symbolic thinking, and creates a sense of community and ownership in the classroom when children see their masterpieces hanging on the walls.

3. Books are within easy reach of little hands.
No tall bookcases here! Placing books within easy reach makes reading super accessible — and that encourages book love. Instead of waiting for an adult to bring a book over, kids can initiate story time all on their own. When they’re little, KinderCare teachers teach children how to be gentle with books and treat them kindly. Teachers also know that one way kids learn to read is by associating simple written words with objects. So, in KinderCare classrooms, teachers label things like chairs and tables to give children a head start on their ABCs.

4. We like to play pretend.
ROAR! Playing with animal toys lets kids make new sounds and play pretend. Also known as dramatic play, playing pretend helps children work on problem-solving and social-emotional skills like cooperation — and it’s also tons of fun! When an adult is playing with a child, it’s important to get down to the child’s eye level (like KinderCare teachers do) to help them connect.

5. There’s no right way to play.
KinderCare teachers let kids play their own way. That’s why there’s plenty of unstructured play time into the day. Toys and learning materials in classrooms are open-ended (with multiple uses) so kids can explore their imaginations. Who says trucks have to roll? Putting a car on a toy scale helps children learn about cause and effect, and other foundational math and science concepts. (And they don’t even know they’re doing some Capital “L” Learning!)

6. Take time to craft outside the box.
Sometimes there’s no such thing as too much glue! Part of being a great artist is doing what you want and not playing by the rules. In art activities, KinderCare teachers provide children with lots of different materials and let them decide how they want to be creative. This kind of independent thinking builds critical — thinking skills and self-reliance. In KinderCare classrooms, kids are encouraged to think outside the box. It’s all about the process, not the product.

7. Eat your fruits and veggies.
She thinks she’s just playing grocery store, but she’s also learning about healthy eating through dramatic play. But KinderCare centers have more than just pretend fruits and veggies in their centers! Their Nutrition and Wellness philosophy makes it all the way to kids’ plates, where meals are accompanied by fruits, veggies, and whole grains. KinderCare centers never serve a drop of juice because fruit is sweet enough to eat.

8. Caring for each other is key.
When children pretend to take care of a baby, they’re actually developing critical social skills that will help them become kind and empathetic friends later on. That’s why everyone at KinderCare believes in nurturing kindness in all kids, starting from day one. Each center has plenty of baby dolls, toys, and learning materials that represent all children—it’s okay to play with whatever you want, whoever you are!

9. Yes — you can do it!
Developing fine-motor skills starts with simple toys — exactly what kids need when they’re just learning to solve problems and get those oh-so-cute little fingers to do what they want. Though they may seem “easy,” simple toys teach little kids that they can take on a challenge — and succeed. By working through the toy with an adult by their side who can ask questions like “What color goes next?” and “Which one fits?”, children also develop important language and literacy skills.

10. When in doubt, act it out.
Kids have big feelings—and sometimes those feelings can be tough to cope with. Enter the family of adorable classroom puppets, who make everything just a little less personal. If a child is having a hard time learning a behavior used in a social situation (sharing, for example), puppets are a great tool to help kids understand without making them feel bad. KinderCare teachers also use puppets to help kids learn how to manage and express their feelings in a positive way. Each KinderCare center has lots of puppets for teachers to use as tools for learning and storytelling — but when teachers aren’t using them, they’re available for kids to play with whenever they want.

To learn more about KinderCare Learning Centers, visit them online at www.KinderCare.com, on Facebook or on Twitter. For resources, information, and activity ideas for parents and teachers of young children, visit the KinderCare Blog.

This post is sponsored by KinderCare Learning Centers, however, I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Guest Post: How Early Learning Programs Can Set Your Little One up for Success

[Note: This is a sponsored guest post contributed by Jennifer Fenner, Executive Director at the KinderCare Franklin Farm campus.]

Parents are faced with difficult decisions every day, one of the most difficult being what to do about child care. There are plenty of great choices like nannies, babysitters, and daycare centers, but there’s one option that actually helps set children up for success: early learning centers. Early learning centers like KinderCare Learning Centers help kids reach key developmental milestones on their way to kindergarten and beyond.

At the Franklin Farm KinderCare Campus in Herndon, VA, and in our centers across the country, we provide positive learning experiences that set your child up for success and instill in them a lifelong love of learning. Here are three reasons you should consider an early learning program for your little one:

1. Maximize brain development: Many parents don’t realize that the majority of brain development happens before children turn five, making the first few years of your baby’s life the most important. Your child’s creative skills are taking shape at as early as six weeks old. KinderCare’s carefully designed curriculum activities help nurture those skills.

2. Encourage social skills and development: When children play with one another, they develop key social, emotional, and physical skills. KinderCare’s programs focus on fostering executive function in children – a fancy way to say your child is learning essential skills like memory, focus, impulse control, and problem solving.

3. Set your child up for success: Studies show that children enrolled in early learning programs like those offered at KinderCare can help kids be more successful when they enter school. A recent study of KinderCare’s kindergarten students shows that students in our programs were testing at first-grade levels by their seventh month of kindergarten.

If you’re in the area, stop by the Franklin Farm KinderCare Campus Grand Opening & Fall Festival on Saturday, October 28. Meet our talented and passionate team of educators, tour our infant/toddler cottage and Kindergarten prep school, take part in fun, family-oriented activities, and more! Enjoy a festive pumpkin patch and hayride, experience activities straight from our Early Foundations curriculum – admission is free. Click here to let us know you’ll be there.

KinderCare is also proud to support U.S. military families. We’ve partnered with Child Care Aware of America to offer fee assistance for eligible active duty military families and a solution to address their child care needs when care at an on-base child development center isn’t available

The Franklin Farm KinderCare Campus
 is located at 13228 Franklin Farm Road in Herndon, VA.

* * * * *

Jennifer Fenner, Executive Director at the Franklin Farm KinderCare Campus, is a seasoned early childhood education professional with more than 15 years of experience in the industry. She’s passionate about nurturing every child’s unique personality and abilities and providing a safe and healthy environment for them to learn and grow. Jennifer has worked for KinderCare for 10 years as a Center Director and now Executive Director of the Franklin Farm campus. Want to learn more about the Franklin Farm KinderCare campus? Call them at (703) 860-2800.

This post is sponsored by KinderCare Learning Centers, however, I only promote services, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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