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Your child’s incredible mind has been growing and changing since birth! She is eager to learn, to question, to make sense of the world around her. He is on the path to developing complex thoughts. Children’s cognitive skills are improved when they form questions and find solutions by themselves, or with an adult who can encourage them to stretch just a little further. This is called scaffolding their knowledge. Knowing how to go through the process of questioning, discovery, reflection, evaluation and finding solutions helps children become lifelong learners. The key to truly deep learning involves understanding the steps involved in problem solving, not just finding “the correct answer.”
Like you, the Education Department is committed to helping your child develop strong educational foundations. One way we do this is by focusing on five values. As you think about which gifts and experiences you want to share with your child this holiday season, these same five values may help you decide.
Honesty: We stay true to our educational beliefs and create programming that is based on research about what is best for children. We believe toys or experiences that can provoke a child to think for herself are the best ones. When deciding what to share with your child this season, we suggest toys and experiences that encourage her to ask questions and help her to come up with her own original ideas. All you have to do is wait and listen to your child, and then show genuine respect for those ideas. Some suggestions: Take her to a hands-on museum or give her puzzles, or paper and smelly magic markers.
Trust: We strive to maintain the trust that you have placed in our team by building programs that are based on research about how children learn, while upholding our commitment to meet the individual needs of each of our children and their families. An example of this is when we created a Phonics Program to show you how we value and teach this aspect of literacy in our schools. Just as you let your child know that what he thinks and questions is valued, we listened to your needs and created this program. And as you read to your child this holiday season, listen to his questions very carefully. Your child will have a stronger sense of self-worth and approach challenges with confidence when he can trust that his questions are valued.
Passion for Excellence: We are never satisfied with “good enough.” We work hard to incorporate excellence in everything we create because your child deserves the best. This season, encourage your child to try various methods for problem solving. Whether you’re trying to fit a shape into a hole, painting, or attempting to put together a model of a ship or castle your child got as a gift, help your child find a solution that works for him or her.
Love of Learning: We strive for all our children to experience a deep sense of wonder as they interact with their teachers, engage in activities and explore their environments. Our goal is to create a lifelong love of learning in each child. Our suggestion is to take trips to interesting places such as a museum, library, or local shop or business to stimulate your child’s curiosity and sense of wonder. Offer hands-on experiences during these trips to allow for further exploration. Bring along paper and writing instruments to match your child’s developmental level, a camera, or a recorder of some kind to capture any thoughts and questions.
Innovation: We are continually finding ways to improve our programs. We always look at the latest cutting-edge educational research and technology in our field to help inform us as we create programs for young children. During this holiday season, we suggest you choose toys for your child that encourage a variety of ways to play. Toys that can only be played one way limit children’s creativity and opportunities for problem-solving. Some suggestions would be blocks, connecting toys, cardboard boxes, tracks and cars, paints, pencils, paper, homemade clay, instruments, dress-up clothes, etc.
Whether you are a new family or have been growing with your child in our educational programs for years, we are elated that you are sharing this holiday season with us!
The Education Team