Our Silly Christmas Break Song and a Message

December 18, 2014

Christmas Break 

(to the tune of Jingle Bells)

Dashing to the program
Singing all the day
to Carousel Skate we go
Laughing all the way
80’s wear will bring
cookies left and right
What fun it is to dance and jam
The games will be a sight!

Christmas break, Christmas break,
Giggle all the way.
Oh! what fun it is to try
new things every day!
Christmas break, Christmas break,
Crafting all the way;
Oh! what fun it is to play
and get messy in every way.

Christmas break, Christmas break,
Movie, Jammie Day.
Oh! what fun it is to bowl
and dress the 60’s way!
Christmas break, Christmas break,
Fun all the way;
Oh! what fun it is to play
at LSS all Christmas break!

With Christmas break just around the corner, After-School Program staff are working hard to be sure the K-5th grade students are in for some serious fun! They have field trips planned, activities scheduled, dress-up days to look forward to and much more! However, the After-School program is not the only crew enjoying some Christmas adventures. The preschool and 2 year old classes have their big program tonight. I’ve been watching them practice and the cuteness is nearly unbearable! The younger kids have also been busy making adorable art projects and enjoying Christmas songs.

For me there is something magical about watching Christmas through the eyes of a child (or in my case the eyes of hundreds of children!) It is one of the many great blessings of my job. Sometimes I can’t believe I get paid to do this! Christmas is a time I find myself so thankful to God for the many blessings of this life and to my family for being amazing. So, for the parents who choose LSS Childcare and Education for your children, thank you. For the Childcare and Education educators that love and teach kids so well, thank you. For the rest of the LSS team that make each day a reality (from Executive Leadership to accounting, HR to IT and everyone else), thank you. For the generous donors that make the work of LSS a possibility, thank you. Of course, my biggest hug goes to the kids that make me laugh, cry, smile, shake my head and all but burst with joy. Thank you little ones (yes, super cool 5th grade boys- that includes you too!) Merry Christmas! -Heather

Heather DeWit
Director of Childcare and Education Services

376081_2384779507851_610583698_n


Back to School Already?

August 13, 2014

This week marks the last week of our Summer School Age Program. You may think we are ready to send the kids back to their teachers. I will admit that they are starting to get a little more wound up. However, that is not the reason we are ready for school to begin. We are so excited to send the kids back so that they can wow their new teachers with all that they have learned this summer! Our halls will be quieter each day before 2:45 but we will miss the joy that the school age kids bring us each day.

20140213_161738

We are sad to see the summer end because it was filled with fun and learning but we are so excited for a season of more new beginnings and after-school adventures. Our summer was filled with field trips, messes, friendship, giggles, splashes, learning and of course memories.Friday will be a day of tears, hugs and “see you soon.” Monday will bring a different energy and the exhausted kids will tell us all about classrooms, friends, new teachers and fresh crayons.

As we look to the new school year we have limited openings for our after school programs. Please feel free to spread the word if you hear of someone looking for fun and learning after school. We have openings to pick up additional students at the following Sioux Falls Elementary Schools: Robert Frost, Mark Twain, John Harris Harvey Dunn, Rosa Parks, Terry Redlin and Cleveland. We are full for some of our other locations but are happy to place families on a waiting list if they need a program.

Preschool starts for the school year next week too but I’ll tell you all about that in a future blog post! I’m off to sharpen some more pencils!

-Heather DeWit, Director of Childcare and Education Services

 


I’m Melting!

July 22, 2014

I’m not the Wicked Witch but I do feel like I am melting in this humidity and heat. I promised I wouldn’t whine about being hot if the winter ever ended but I changed my mind. Are you sick of the heat too? Read on for a few tips to keep you and your kids happy in the summer sun.

Boy eating ice cream

  • Check out our Pinterest board for a detailed list of ideas.
  • Drink something cool. Throw some frozen fruit in a blender for a smoothie or make a pitcher of lemonade. You can turn some juice into popsicles as well.
  • Get wet! Go for a swim, run through the sprinkler, toss around some water balloons or just take a cool shower.
  • Curl up with a good book. When outside isn’t fun anymore, switch to something involving air conditioning. My favorite indoor activity is reading of course. Games, crafts and movies would do the trick too.
  • Enjoy the evening. Wait until the sun goes down to enjoy time outdoors. Invest in some affordable flashlights and glow sticks or let the fireflies light the night. Click here for some game ideas to get you started.
  • Make some homemade ice cream. The process of making it will cool you off as much as eating it. In a small zip-closed plastic bag combine 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1.5 Tablespoons sugar. You can add little pieces of fruit or other flavors as well. Put that bag inside a gallon size zip-close bag and add 6 Tablespoons of salt (rock salt works well) and fill it to the top with ice. Zip it up and shake it, roll it, toss it back and forth. It usually takes about 10 minutes for it to get thick but if you can’t wait you can drink it like a milk shake.
  • Get artistic. You can paint with ice cubes to create some gorgeous creations. Freeze 5-10 drops of food coloring with 1/4 cup water in ice trays to create paint cubes that glide along the paper.

Have a great summer! I’m off to find a pool or smoothie. -Heather DeWit, Director of Childcare and Education Services


2 Months Wasted

June 19, 2014

2 months- the average math achievement lost by students throughout the summer months. Reading loss also averages between 1 to 3 months. Students with fewer economic resources lose more of what they have gained each summer. Fortunately, hundreds of programs around the country, including LSS School Age Summer Programs, are helping kids to combat the loss and spend their summer gaining!


Summer Learning Day

June 20, 2014 is Summer Learning Day. This national annual advocacy day is to highlight the importance of high-quality summer learning programs. Summer Learning Day is a time when advocates, parents, teachers, and students come together to acknowledge the importance of curbing summer learning loss – a significant contributor to the achievement gap.
I get pretty passionate about the summer learning business. You see, I get to see the faces of the hundreds of children we serve each summer and their loving family members. I know that they want the summer to be about gaining, not losing. Students deserve to have the hard work that they put in all school year and the energy that their teachers and parents pour into their education be maximized to benefit them long-term!

Our students deserve to arrive back at school in the fall ready to learn. They deserve to not only start where they left off in May, but to be better. They deserve to bring experience, learning and excitement back to the classroom in the fall.

That is why we invest the energy, learning and passion into the LSS summer programs. Our kids deserve nothing less! The three months of summer are not wasted! In the same way the impacts of this “summer slide” are cumulative, the gains of summer are cumulative as well. What happens in the summer matters! LSS Summer Program students are better for the field trips, park visits, math games, reading times, weekly themes, swimming times, quiet moments, raucous laughter, stories told, friendships made, healthy meals, experiences had and memories made.
With that, I’m off to enjoy the smiling faces of the children at the 5 LSS Summer Program locations. I’m certain that they are making the most of the moments.
Heather DeWit, Director of LSS Childcare and Education Services
Click here for some tips for families from the National Summer Learning Assocation

 


Procrastination and Kids- Read This Now, Not Later!

April 28, 2014

I meant to write this post last week….or was it the week before that? Maybe it was last month. Well, you get the idea! In short, I am the occasional procrastinator. Fortunately, this challenge doesn’t afflict me too often but for many kids it is a habit they have fallen into. If your child is a frequent procrastinator or just tries out a little procrastination occasionally, we’ve got some tips that can get him or her back on track.

homework kid

  • Think about why all of us procrastinate. Sometimes it is because the job at hand is not fun or we have more exciting things to do. Other times a task seems too difficult or out of our comfort zone. Some of us may experience a little perfectionism. Maybe we wait to get started because we fear failure or even fear success may lead to higher expectations. Oh, and sometimes we procrastinate because we got away with it last time! Understanding what motivates your child’s actions may help you problem solve.
  • Resist the urge to bail kids out when they procrastinate. When my daughter waited until the last moment to complete her science fair project, it took nearly all of my self-control to stick to our expectations that she do her project with only a little support from us as parents, that she do her research independently and that she keep her regular bedtime. She learned an important lesson about the stressful feeling that comes when you find yourself pushing to finish a project at the last minute. She also discovered that she can perform well under pressure!
  • Offer choices when possible. “Do you want to start with your math homework or your reading first?”
  • Know your priorities and stick to them. Don’t be afraid to have your child miss a favorite TV show or even a sports practice if procrastination is becoming a major problem.
  • Be sure your expectations are developmentally appropriate. Expect your two year old to pick up her toys when she is done playing but don’t ask her to organize her book shelf. Expect more from older kids or kids that have had practice!
  • Celebrate what they accomplish. If you’ve asked your child to pick up the play room, celebrate progress as it happens. Try not to walk in and comment on all of the toys that are still on the floor. Instead, tell them that you can see progress offer encouragement. Remember to avoid the pitfall of “re-doing” what your kids have just done when it comes to chores at home. If you ask your kids to fold laundry, be prepared to teach them how and be willing to accept their best. Don’t re-fold the clothes to your own standards as this can make a child feel even less excited to be helpful the next time you ask.
  • Help your child develop the skill of breaking a major task into manageable parts. If cleaning her bedroom is the challenge, perhaps she can start by putting books on the shelf, next put clothes in drawers, and finish by put ting toys in totes. An older child could write the tasks and check them off as they go. A younger child could do one task then come to their parent for a high five or hug and the next step. Another option is to set a timer for 15-30 minutes and encourage your child to work hard on the task for that length of time before taking a break. Then set another timer for the break and get back to work. As kids get older and have more practice they can have longer “on task” times and shorter breaks. Some kids will even forget to take a break after they’ve become engaged in the task at hand.
  • Create a schedule that allows for tasks to be completed in a timely manner. If a big homework project is due, ask your child to estimate how long the project will take in total (guess a little high.) Next, set aside some smaller doses of time on the calendar so that he can focus on keeping ahead of the task. If there is time left over, use it for something fun!
  • Be a good example. Perhaps the fact that I often wait until twenty minutes before guests are coming to frantically clean my house makes me unqualified to give this advice. However, when you find yourself procrastinating, talk about it in front of your child and problem solve so that they can learn with you as you improve.
  • Teach your child good goal setting. Help them make goals that are realistic, specific, and motivating. When they have more than one thing to attend to, help them make a list of priorities. Congratulate your child when they meet goals. Point out how fun it is to have time left for fun when we don’t procrastinate. You may even let kids pick rewards for themselves for goals accomplished.

Remember, all kids occasionally struggle with a project or task so don’t panic if your child is procrastinating here or there. Be consistent and positive. I should probably stop writing for today. I have a long list of tasks to complete today and blogging is one of my favorites! When it comes to my advice on procrastination, do as I say, not as I do! 🙂

Heather DeWit, Director of Childcare and Education Services


How to Help Your Child Choose a Book

April 23, 2014

 Preschool Reading

It is no secret that we are big library fans at LSS Childcare and Education. We are fortunate to have a great library system here in Sioux Falls and our students get to enjoy it! With so many fantastic choices, parents often ask how to know which book to have their child check out. Here are some tips:

  • Let your child take the lead! Encourage your child’s love of reading and excitement for books by letting them show you what catches their eye. Unless you think a topic is inappropriate, allow your child to read a book that he or she requests even if it is too difficult and they end up looking at pictures or asking you to help. That is a learning experience too. Maybe you could pick out a few additional books that are in their level.
  • Give your child plenty of time. Some library visits may need to be a quick one but whenever possible allow for a leisurely stroll through the shelves. You might just find a few moments to pick a book or two for you!
  • Choose books that appeal to your child’s interests. This might mean some non-fiction material about animals, sports, fashion, etc. It could also mean finding books that are funny or stories about kids their age.
  • Find a “just right” book for younger readers. One way to do this is to encourage the child to read the first page or so. If they count 5 words they don’t know on that first page the book might be too tough. Don’t worry though, if it is too tough for your child to read independently but looks interesting, that might mean it is a perfect book to read together! If your child occasionally ends up with one that is easy it can increase confidence. Ask your child’s teacher for tips on this as well!
  • Learn your library. Find out what the different parts of the children’s section are, where children should put books if they look at one and decide not to check it out and even what the names of the librarians are!
  • Turn success into more success by asking your child what they think of recent reads and why they are liked.  Remember what the favorite parts are and consider finding more books by the same author or with a similar style or topic.

Happy reading! -Heather DeWit


2014 Week of the Young Child AND Purple up for Military Kids!

April 18, 2014

Each year the students, staff and community members at LSS’s Southern Hills Childcare and Education Program celebrate The Week of the Young Child. This yearly celebration honors early childhood teachers and the amazing children they educate. This year’s theme is “The Early Years are the Learning Years!” Year after year the kids, teachers and families enjoy fun special events and this year we were again impressed and honored by how many family members were able to take a few moments from their busy week to join the excitement.

  • On Monday, April 7 we enjoyed “Muffins with Mom.” The moms spent time in the gym with their sons and daughters for a special breakfast.
  • Tuesday, April 8 was the dads’ turn to enjoy some donuts. The kids were all dressed up to show their favorite teams or characters so the day was filled with fun!
  • On Wednesday, April 9 we tried something new. We invited parents to be advocates for early learning and post a cute picture or story about their child. Many kids did just that, telling why it is so important to them to have their child learning each day.  To view some of the posts, go to our program Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LSSLearning and click on “posts by others”. The kids also enjoyed a very fun Character Counts puppet show with CATT, the character cat. Even the toddler classes joined in the fun! If you look at the picture below, you will notice that some of the kids are wearing silly outfits for mismatch day.

  • Thursday, April 10 was definitely our busiest day as we had record turnout for our “Goodies with Grandparents” event. The kids were showing off their favorite colors.
  • Friday, April 11 was a favorite dress-up day for many kids (and teachers!) Pajama day made us all very comfy as we had our noses in books for our reading readiness celebration.

Last, but certainly not least, we participated in “Purple Up for Military Kids” Day.  April 15, 2014 has been proclaimed a special day way to show appreciation for our military kids by wearing something purple.  All citizens of South Dakota were encouraged to wear purple on that date and many of us did just that!

 

Staff in purple shirts and even purple shoes showed support!

Thanks for the fun everyone!

-Heather DeWit


%d bloggers like this: