Early Childhood Education

24 Jul Raising Brilliant Children

I was recently on WCCO to discuss gender stereotypes. Watch the full interview here. Boys are smart and girls are dumb. It’s not just something kids shout on the playground; it’s something a surprising number of young girls actually believe. Researchers found that by age six, fewer girls believe members of their gender are “really, really smart” compared with boys. Also at age six, many girls lack self confidence in their intelligence. Girls are less likely to take on activities if they believe they are designed for smart kids. No matter their gender, I want all children to know they are brilliant! As parents and caregivers, we have a responsibility to reinforce this notion and help kids gain confidence in their brain power and their abilities. At Little Newtons, our teachers engage children with activities to build their self confidence. One impactful exercise is having kids draw a self portrait on a paper plate. This gives kids an opportunity to reflect on how they see themselves. It gives teachers an opportunity to reinforce the good qualities by pointing out what they’ve drawn. I have come across several books that help both girls and boys build confidence. I recommend reading some of the following to your little ones: “The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes,” by Gary Rubinstein and Mark Pett The message here is that no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, even the girl who everyone believes is flawless. “How Full is Your Bucket For Kids,” by Tom Rath  This book takes a kid-friendly approach to the adult concept of filling your bucket and what happens when your bucket isn’t full. “What Do You Do with an Idea?,” by Kobi Yamada The learning lesson in this book is: just because you start something small, it doesn’t mean you can’t grow it to something big. “My Day Is Ruined!: A Story Teaching Flexible Thinking,” by Bryan Smith This book provides a good teaching moment that things often aren’t as bad as they seem. Everyone has the ability to use their skills and work hard! It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or a boy...

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18 Jul Emojis and Education

The world is full of smiles, winks and kissy faces as we celebrate World Emoji Day! Emojis are more than a fun addition to a text, they can help teach little ones how to understand their emotions. Little Newtons’ Krissy Finco talked with KARE11 on Emoji Day. Click here to watch the story!...

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05 Jul Summer Reading List

Would you, could you on a train? In the rain? On a boat? With a goat? Reading is fun here or there. You can take a good book anywhere! No matter where this summer takes you and your family, be sure to bring a book. Kids can lose two to three months’ worth of skills during summer vacation, and reading is an easy way to fight off brain drain. If your kiddos are battling against books, there are some ways to keep them engaged: Change the Scenery Minnesota’s weather only cooperates a few months out of the year; don’t miss it all by staying indoors! Head to your backyard or a public park with a stack of books. Don’t worry if you don’t get through all of them. You can alternate reading time and playtime to keep your child interested. Join a Program Many local libraries, bookstores, even restaurants offer incentives for readers. A free book or pizza is a great motivator for little minds. If your kiddo is too young or you can’t find a program in your area, you can start your own. You could let them choose a meal or a new toy after finishing a certain number of books. Put on Listening Ears Audiobooks are a great way to stretch a child’s imagination, and it’s easier on your voice! Kids love listening to books with different character voices - some even add music or sound effects. Audiobooks are a great option for long car rides without turning to a device with a screen. Add Variety Picture books, chapter books, rhyming books...

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29 Jun No Spin Zone

They’re untested, unproven and, in my opinion, unnecessary. I’m talking about fidget spinners and other devices to keep kids focused during the school day. I talked with WCCO about Little Newtons’ unique curriculum that engages the mind and body, and why we don’t need fidget spinners in our classrooms. Click here to watch the interview....

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20 Jun Smartphone Ban for Kids?

When are kids old enough for a smartphone? One group says not until age 13. PAUS (Parents Against Underage Smartphones) is trying to pass a law in Colorado that would ban the sale of smartphones to kids 12 and under. Little Newtons’ Krissy Finco talked with KARE-11 about the effects of too much screen time on kids and why Little Newtons is device-free. Click here to watch the story....

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19 Jun The Importance of Early Education

Reading, writing and arithmetic are not just for kindergartners anymore! A new national study  shows the benefits of focusing on education in preschool. I was thrilled to share my thoughts on this national study and Little Newtons’ unique academic curriculum with WCCO-TV. Click here to watch the interview with WCCO. Click here to read my blog on the benefits of academic preschool....

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07 Jun Cutting Back on Juice

The nation’s leading pediatricians agree: babies should have NO juice in their first year of life, and toddlers and preschoolers should cut back on how much they’re juicin’. It’s the first time in more than 15 years the American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its guidelines. Krissy Finco, from Little Newtons, talked with CCX-TV about why the new guidelines are important for our kids’ health and how the changes can positively affect their brains! Click here to watch the video!    ...

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05 Jun The First Five Years: Ground Zero For Learning

Little Newtons was founded with the belief that kids can learn anything. Five languages, math, science, encyclopedic knowledge. Nothing is off-limits in our classrooms, because there’s no limit to what a child can comprehend. I searched for this kind of education when my oldest daughter, Franchessca, was born. When I couldn’t find it, I decided to open my own center with an intensive academic curriculum. Eight years later, we’ve helped hundreds of kids get a head start on their education. That’s why I was thrilled to hear about a new national study that confirms what we at Little Newtons have believed and practiced since day one. The study found kids who attend what they call “academic-oriented” preschools are two-and-a-half months ahead of their peers in literacy and math by the time they graduate kindergarten. “Academic-oriented” programs spend time nearly every day on skills, including increasing vocabulary, sounding out words, counting, measuring and telling time. We focus on that and so much more at Little Newtons. Our kids learn the Periodic Table of Elements. They can name the presidents and tell you facts about them. Many are reading by the time they graduate and head to kindergarten. Some parents who read this study may be concerned about such a rigorous curriculum. They’ll argue that “kids need to be kids.” But I can tell you that our kids are having fun while they learn! They’re not sitting at a desk being drilled with flashcards; our teachers are incorporating all sorts of ways to learn, from art projects to science experiments, even yoga poses based on the theme of the week! I truly believe we are doing a disservice to the next generation if we wait until kindergarten to focus on education. By the age of five, 90% of a child’s brain has already developed. We need to take advantage of this crucial time in order to set them up for academic success.  ...

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15 May Food Allergy Awareness

No kid wants to be “that kid.” The one who can’t do the things other kids do. The one who’s different. The one who’s always left out. Nearly six million kids are “that kid.” Not because they pick their nose or they wear funny outfits. It’s something they’re likely born with: a food allergy. Food allergies are on the rise. Peanut and tree nut allergies, for example, tripled in the decade leading up to 2008. One in 13 kids now has a food allergy. That’s about two in every classroom. This week (May 14th - 20th) is Food Allergy Awareness Week, and parents of kids with or without allergies can use this as an opportunity to make those allergy sufferers feel more comfortable, more safe, more normal. Arm yourself with information. While there are hundreds of foods that have triggered allergic reactions in people, only eight foods are responsible for the majority of allergies: Milk Eggs Peanuts Tree nuts Wheat Soy Fish Crustacean shellfish Be considerate. When hosting a playdate or a birthday party, ask parents if their kids have any dietary restrictions. You don’t have to change the entire menu, but having an option that everyone can eat will go a long way in making kiddos feel welcomed and included. Learn to read labels. Kids have different levels of allergic reactions. Some have a mild allergy and can tolerate some exposure. Others have severe allergies and can’t risk eating anything made in the same facility or on the same equipment as their allergen. If you don’t know the level of the allergy, it’s best to assume it’s severe. Check the entire box or bag for warnings, and keep the labels so the parents can double-check. Be prepared for an emergency. When a parent drops off a child with a food allergy, make sure you know what to do in case of an emergency. What’s the best way to reach the parents? When should you call 911? Do they have an EpiPen? It may seem overwhelming and scary, but you can prepare by watching this video showing how to use an EpiPen. Explain the situation to your kids. One-third of kids with a food allergy say they’ve been bullied because of it. Some kids may think it’s funny to smear peanut butter on a child with allergies or try to force them to drink milk, but it’s anything but funny. It can cause a life-threatening reaction. Talk to your kids about how serious food allergies can be. You can start the conversation by showing them this moving public service announcement. There’s no cure for food allergies, and many kids will never outgrow them. A little understanding and acceptance from others can make a difference for the rest of their lives....

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