Brain Development

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Oldest

Big Body Play

Puppies do it. Kittens do it. Elephants and monkeys do it.  And yes, young boys and girls do it. Rough and tumble or big body play (BBP) like running, climbing, jumping and even wrestling is necessary for proper brain development in children and beneficial for building relationships and developing healthier bodies. At Stepping Stone School, we recognize the need for young children to use large muscle groups in safe yet physically challenging ways.  Our shaded outdoor play areas are designed with safety in mind with equipment appropriate for each age group.  During the rainy ...

Advanced Pre-K
Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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Mathematics Development and Learning

The “M” in S.T.E.A.M. stands for Mathematics! Concrete experiences with math concepts and interactions with teachers have a direct impact on your children’s acquisition of mathematical skills. When children manipulate materials in their classrooms and learning centers, they practice math skills. All Children at Stepping Stone School: Use number concepts and operations Explore and describe spatial relationships and shapes Compare and measure Demonstrate knowledge of patterns For example, in block centers, children explore the differences in sizes and shapes ...

Infant
Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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The Five Best Coding Toys that Won’t Break the Bank!                               

At Stepping Stone School, we are excited to unite technology and learning as we teach introductory skills in our early childhood classrooms by focusing on Coding Foundations.  Coding foundations include higher order thinking skills associated with the coding process, including tasks like analyzing, predicting, planning, patterning, sequencing, sorting, organizing, and evaluating. Before introducing children to the technology tools used for coding, we practice the concepts of higher order thinking skills through screen-free, hands-on activities basic to the coding process. These a...

Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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Higher Order Processing Skills to Improve Resilience

When you look closely at the Stepping Stone School learning plans, you will see a set of parentheses under each activity in which teachers communicate the purpose of each activity.  We call these descriptive words our “Purpose Notations.” As a teacher, I often used the purpose notation “self-regulation” interchangeably with “self-control.” Not really understanding the differences. Recently, I read an article describing the differences written by Professor Emeritus and author, Stuart Shanker, “self-regulation is what makes self-control possible, or, in many cases, unnece...

Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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Benefits of Play

Two-year-old Ellie set the baby doll in a chair at the table.  She balanced a stack of pretend food, a small plate, and a cup and set them on the table before her doll.  Ellie took great care to put the food up to the doll’s mouth and hold the cup to his lips.  Then, Ellie picked up the baby doll, patted his back and laid him carefully in the doll bed for his nap. Through her play, my daughter showed me just how well she knows her routine.  Ellie demonstrates caring attitudes as she fed her baby doll and gently tucked him into bed.  She is making connections between the symbolism ...

Advanced Pre-K
Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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Importance of Sleep

I pulled up to my daughter’s elementary school at the end of her first day of Kindergarten.  I saw her waiting in the car rider lane with half of her hair pulled out of her pony tail and her thumb in her mouth – the tell-tale signs that my five-year-old was exhausted. Not all children are as obvious in displaying their exhaustion.   Dr. Michael Breus, clinical psychologist and a leading specialist on sleep disorders, connects a slew of behaviors with the amount of sleep a child gets each night.  Children who get enough healthy sleep are “optimally alert” which means they demo...

Infant
Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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5 Things to Do with Your Children Before School Starts

My soon-to-be kindergartener asks regularly, “Do I get to go to Kindergarten today?” We’ve marked the calendar, purchased school supplies, met with other up-and-coming Kindergarteners, but, the day is not coming soon enough for my excited five-year-old. Whether your child is entering elementary school for the first time or returning for another year, here are five things you can do to help your child prepare mentally for the challenging rigors of the upcoming school year: Get Reading. Beginning in infancy, reading together builds language acquisition and literacy skills. A ...

Advanced Pre-K
Pre-Kindergarten
Preschool
School-Age
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Loose Parts

Four-year-old, Ethan, was huddled over a pile of rocks he had collected from around the playground.  As I walked over to him, he told me he was looking for “interesting” rocks.  Naturally, I wondered what made a rock “interesting.” As I watched, he began sorting his rocks into several piles according to the level of interest: crystal-like formations, streaks of a different color, or a unique shape. I asked him to tell me which pile had more and then watched as he pointed.  Pressing further, I inquired as to how he knew it had more.  First, he compared the size of the piles sh...

Pre-Kindergarten
Preschool
Toddler
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The Power of Touch

Over nine months of waiting for that moment when I would finally hold my child for the first time.  It is one thing to carry a child through pregnancy, but something completely different to touch his face, feel his tiny fingers wrap around your own, and to kiss his soft cheeks. Touch is the first sense to develop in utero and is the most strongly developed by birth.  Through the science of touch, we learn about the presence of neurons in our skin which relay information about our environment through receptors specialized for touch.  Our sense of touch enables us to learn about ourselv...

Infant
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Learning Through Play

Children across generations no matter their race, culture, or gender participate in play: enjoying games, inventing stories, imagining and creating worlds within their world. Psychologist David Whitebread of Cambridge University states “Play is essential to their development.  They [children] need to learn to persevere, to control attention, to control emotions.  Kids learn these things through playing.” (Kohn, 2015). Behavior research connects play to children’s development at several levels: linguistically, cognitively, mathematically, scientifically, and socially.  Young c...

Advanced Pre-K
Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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Benefits of Early Bilingualism

Infants have the innate ability to learn multiple languages.  According to research by expert Linda Espinosa, Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri at Columbia, the early years are an ideal time to acquire multiple languages. (Espinosa, 2015) Her research demonstrates when young children are exposed to a secondary language at an early age - no matter how short the experience and no matter the pairs of languages involved - there are observable neural changes in the way in which language is organized in the child’s brain.  Children as young as seven months, demonstrate highe...

Advanced Pre-K
Infant
Preschool
Toddler
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