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Preparing for Beginning Early Care & Education

We’re excited you’ve chosen to enroll your child sat Stepping Stone School.  We understand how changing routines, new encounters, and meeting new people can be challenging for both parent and child, and we want to make the experience as comfortable as possible for you and your family. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions to help you and your family feel prepared for this important and exciting transition. What can I do to help my child get excited about his/her new school? Talk positively with children about going to preschool. Discuss what it means, what ...

Advanced Pre-K
Infant
Preschool
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Seven Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating Habits with Your Children

Stepping Stone School is your partner in raising healthy, happy and confident children. To that end, we serve balanced and nutritional meals and snacks and offer the following suggestions for encouraging healthy eating in children. Keep healthy food on hand. Keep snacks like fruits, veggies and low-fat cheese in a special place that children can access easily. It’s OK to have an occasional treat, but if you buy smaller packages of “junk food,” it’s easier to keep these snacks to a minimum. Make healthy foods fun. When offering something new try to mix it up and be crea...

Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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Toilet Training Toddlers

It is that joyous yet challenging time in the life of a child, the moment parents trade in their child’s diapers for the coveted “big kid underpants.”  Most children begin toilet training between 2 and 3 years of age, but each child will reach this developmental milestone in his or her own time. The following provides tried and true toilet training strategies from our own Stepping Stone School toddler teachers as well as expert advice from pediatricians.  Remember as you enter this stage, it is important to let your child’s classroom teacher know your intentions.  Talk about t...

Toddler
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Traveling with Children 101

Destination – picked; Plans – made; Luggage – packed… But what about the journey there?!?! You plan a great vacation, but then remember you must travel for SEVERAL hours with young children before arriving at your destination.  You may be thinking to yourself, “Whoever said ‘the fun is in the journey’ did not have to travel with toddlers.” Developmentally, young children have very short attention spans and require interaction and physical movement – all of which can be difficult to accommodate in the confined spaces of a car or an airplane. Helpful Tips for Your ...

Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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Four Ways to Teach Young Children Fairness

That’s How You Play Three children were sitting around a table playing Candy Land.  After a few rounds, Naomi, age 5, picked up the deck of cards and started flipping through them to find the Princess Frostine card which would move her piece to a space close to the finish.  Isaiah, age 7, spoke up, “You can’t do that.  You have to take the next card in the pile or it’s not fair.” “But last time, I got the Gingerbread card and had to move backwards, that wasn’t fair,” whined Naomi. “But that’s how you play the game. I would have to go back to the gingerbrea...

Advanced Pre-K
Pre-Kindergarten
Preschool
School-Age
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Nurturing the Development of Responsibility

Just after my daughter turned two, she moved into Ms. Alisa’s classroom at one of our Stepping Stone School locations. My daughter had a doctor’s appointment that day, so I picked her up early.  I walked into the classroom just as the children were transitioning between activities and was amazed to see each child pick up his or her toys and place them back on the shelves where they belonged. “How did you get them to do that?” I asked.  “They’re cleaning up after themselves and putting things away nicely… they’re only two!” Alisa looked at me very matter-of-factly, ...

Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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Building Emotional Intelligence

I had just finished reading Alice Shertle’s book, Little Blue Truck to a group of preschoolers.  This picture book describes the caring gesture of a friendly little truck who helps a rude dump truck after it gets stuck in a huge mud puddle beside a farm.  The friendly truck drives into the mud puddle to try to help only to get stuck there himself.  One by one the farm animals rush to help Little Blue get out of the mud.  After much effort, the animals manage to push Little Blue out of the mud, who in turn pushes the Dump Truck out of the mud. I reread the Dump Truck’s words to Li...

Advanced Pre-K
Pre-Kindergarten
Preschool
Toddler
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Gardening with Children

“Gardens offer children perfect laboratories where scientific concepts literally come to life.”  -Pam Mohrmann, author and educator My three-year-old can tell you the parts of a plant, a plant’s life cycle, and which parts of the plant are good to eat. He can identify several insects that help our plants along with several of the harmful ones.  He enjoys pulling weeds, inspecting fruit and vegetables, and eating them fresh from our garden.  This knowledge is the result of numerous experiences “playing” in the garden. Shortly after his second birthday, I gave him his fi...

Advanced Pre-K
Preschool
School-Age
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What to Do on a Rainy Day in Austin?

Although this time of year can bring a wide variety of weather, we can keep our children active and challenge them physically and mentally year round! “Rainy day” activities can be especially helpful to keep handy for any time outdoor play isn’t an option. Physical activity is a vital aspect of development and for leading a healthy life. Benefits of Physical Activity include: Muscle Development Strong bones, muscles, and heart Building stability Locomotor Skills Developing Self Esteem Small and gross motor skills Cardiovascular endurance It is very import...

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The Art of Kindness

In this busy world we live in, it is becoming more and more vital to remember to take a moment to be kind to ourselves and to others. Kindness is more than just an idea or a thing that we can do, it is a way of living. When we think of things we want our children to grow up to be, kind is definitely on that list. An act of kindness is something that can bring joy and harmony not only to the receiver but to the giver as well. The Random Act of Kindness  movement is sweeping the nation.  Sites like https://www.randomactsofkindness.org are wonderful resources for people and communities to ge...

Advanced Pre-K
Infant
Pre-Kindergarten
School-Age
Toddler
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Nurturing compassion in the lives of children

December Character Development: Compassion I recently observed a precious exchange between sisters, four-year-old Katie and younger sister Ellie. Katie had already made several attempts to cross a low balance beam independently and so when she failed yet again, she crumbled to the floor and began to cry out of frustration.  Eager to comfort, Ellie toddled over to where her big sister sat crying.  Little Ellie practically folded her body in half to look her sister in the eyes, reached out her chubby little hand and patted Katie on the back, then leaning over a little more, gave her big s...

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November Character Development: Citizenship

How to practice good citizenship On the cusp of another presidential election, it may be that words like civic duty and voting are what come to mind when you hear the word “citizenship.” However, citizenship is much more than that – we don’t have to wait until our children are old enough to vote before we talk about making a difference in our community. We can begin teaching them how to be good citizens even now by: 1. Starting at Home. Set an example by respecting others and their property. Encourage them to clean up after themselves, follow the rules at home and at school, an...

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Acing the Transition to Kindergarten

At Stepping Stone School, we’ve designed our kindergarten-readiness programs to give your child the skills and confidence to make the transition to elementary school an exciting but comfortable one. But as your child’s first teacher, you are your child’s most powerful influence. Parents contribute enormously to school and life success. Young children are learning all the time, but the lessons they need most are not learned through workbooks or flashcards. With this transition approaching quickly for some, below are some things you can do to help your child feel prepared for kinder...

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Easing Separation Anxiety

At Stepping Stone School, our expert team of professionals recognize and are sensitive to the anxieties parents and children often feel when separating from one another. While separation anxiety is a natural experience for both children and parents, our expert teachers hold in high regard the critical role they play in guiding families through this difficult experience and providing peace of mind for both parent and child. Stepping Stone School’s Executive Director, Rhonda Paver, M.A., has devoted much of her career and graduate studies on this topic. As a mother of five, it was the s...

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Building Developmental Skills at Home

Children are constantly noticing and experimenting with the information that comes their way. No matter what they do, they are learning! The examples below include developmental skills fostered by the activities: Give simple, appropriate tasks – putting crayons back in the box; folding washcloths. (Self-regulation, fine motor) Practice self-help skills such as zipping, buttoning, keeping up with personal items, opening packages of food. (Self-confidence, hand-eye coordination) Establish routines with your child and help him follow them – putting his backpack in a certai...

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