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Kindness Matters

February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day, to celebrate, Stepping Stone School is teaching children about kindness through daily interactions by focusing on acting friendly, giving generously, and being considerate of others.   Acting Friendly Exchanging Pleasantries Encouraging children to smile or wave is a small act of kindness in which even our youngest children can participate.  As they get older, teaching children to use polite phrases like, “Nice to meet you” and “Have a nice day” provides kind and friendly interactions in everyday situations. Inv...

Advanced Pre-K
Preschool
School-Age
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Self-Regulation Tips for Toddlers

At Stepping Stone School, we strive to support our families through the many ups and downs of early childhood.  The toddler years are a pivotal time in the life of a child.  No longer infants, toddlers are transitioning, developing communication skills, and gaining independence.  This developmental stage is both exciting and challenging as we share in the joy of discovery, but also the frustration of toddler tantrums. Fortunately, experts provide several ideas to reduce the number of tantrums: Give Positive Attention. In a toddler’s mind, attention is attention, whether it is p...

Toddler
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Teaching Ownership

In early elementary school, I started playing The Blame Game. My parents would confront me about a situation and I would blame someone else or something else for my choices. My dad’s solution - a song he made up and would sing with enthusiasm: “No more excuses, excuses are useless!”  Too embarrassed to stick around, I often missed Dad’s choreographed dance moves.  Through my dad’s refusal to accept excuses and his “delightful” little song, I learned to take ownership of my attitude and actions. As children grow, they often go through periods when they assume shifting b...

Advanced Pre-K
Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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What is Respect?

What is respect? According to four-year-old Julia, respect is “being nice to other people.” Pressing further, I asked “What does being nice mean?” She delightfully answered, “it means you give someone chocolate or a kiss!” As young as she is, this child recognizes that respect is the way you choose to treat another person.  “Being nice” as she puts it, is how one acts when demonstrating respect. How does one teach respect to young children? Demonstrate respectful behavior. Children often watch their caregivers looking for clues defining the expectations. If they ...

Infant
Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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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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October Character Development: Integrity

All the World's a Stage I sometimes feel as if life is a performance. I put on my makeup and dress according to the role I will play that day, exchange formal lines like “Good morning, how are you?” and move from scene to scene through the business of life. Though many only see the performance on the stage, my children are in a unique position to watch my life play out both as a member of the audience and a part of the backstage crew: they see it all. The thought is both terrifying and compelling: They are learning from me at every moment of every day – understudies, of sort, t...

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September Character Development: Cooperation

Two opposing teams stand on the cusp of a pit of mud.  A single rope with a flag tied to its center snakes through the ranks as the teams face off.  Tensions mount as each individual anxiously awaits the dreaded whistle blow which will announce the start to a summer camp favorite: the Tug of War!  The goal: Work as a team, pulling as hard as you can so you all don’t end up in the pit of mud. That “work as a team” part is key.  Unfortunately, many of us land in the proverbial “mud” before we realize that working together, cooperating, is key to many of life’s successes. Tra...

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Raising a Resourceful Child

“Resourcefulness, the ability to meet challenges in a variety of ways, is a by-product of creative intelligence. “As children develop resourcefulness, they learn to trust their instincts and unique abilities. They acquire a positive attitude toward problem-solving. Resourceful children mature into confident and industrious people. Just as important, they tap into the multitude of joys life has to offer.” This was the beginning of Karen Stephen’s article, “20 Ways to Encourage Children’s Resourcefulness and Creativity.” Following are her helpful suggestions for increas...

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Raising a Reader: Tips for Parents

How can you help your child be ready to read and ready to learn? Talk to your infant and toddler to help him learn to speak and understand the meaning of words.  Point to objects that are near and describe them as you play and do daily activities together. Having a large vocabulary gives a child a great start when entering school. Read to your baby every day starting at 6 months or earlier. Reading and playing with books is a wonderful way to spend special time with her. Hearing words over and over helps her become familiar with them. Reading to your baby is one of the best ways to...

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Raising an Empathetic Child

When we empathize with children, they learn from us the following: Their feelings are valid Recognition and acceptance of emotions Ability to label feelings with appropriate words Knowledge that emotions can be expressed to others Self-awareness Self-control Understanding that feelings influence behavior Realization that relationships are based on mutual esteem and communication Dr. Becky Bailey writes in Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline, “I cannot stress enough the importance of empathy.  Empathy is not weak-kneed permissiveness, nor is it passive...

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