In this article we’re going to discuss one of the most important parts of providing daycare for your child and that’s your child’s nutritional needs.
Out of sight, out of mind is a common philosophy among people. So if a parent ships his child off to daycare and doesn’t see what he’s eating or not eating then it’s okay. Certainly the daycare center is not going to let the child starve and the food the child is given to eat will certainly be good food. Right?
Well, not always. Unfortunately a daycare center’s food value is often dictated by its food budget. In most cases daycare centers are poorly funded. Most of the money goes to paying the workers themselves. Then there is the overhead. This leaves very little for food. As a matter of fact, many daycare centers have no food budget at all.
So, what is a parent to do?
For starters, you have to find out exactly what the center’s food budget is. They may not give you exact dollar amounts, as they may not even know this figure, but they should be able to tell you what foods they can and can’t get. This will give you a good idea of what part of your child’s nutrition will be taken care of by the center and what part you will have to take care of yourself.
That brings us to the next problem. Some childcare centers do not allow food to be brought in from the outside. Many times this can be because of certain health codes that they have to enforce. In these cases only food that the centers are authorized to have will be allowed at the center. This is why knowing what the center will be feeding your child is so important.
What a parent really needs to know is exactly what good nutrition for their child is. Unfortunately not all parents are great roll models for good nutrition. Many people in this country (the United States) are either overweight or malnourished. Depending on these people to know what’s good for their child is like expecting a foot doctor to disarm a nuclear warhead. Probably not a good idea.
So the first thing the parent should do is consult with a nutritionist to design a diet for the child based on the child’s needs. After this is done, find out which of these foods, if any, the daycare center itself provides. If only some, or worse, none, then find out if you can provide the center with the food it needs to feed your child properly. If this is not allowed then maybe you need to rethink whether or not you want to send your child there.
Why such a fuss about nutrition? Simple. Plenty of studies have proven conclusively that a child’s progress and health are directly related to how well the child eats. So if you can’t be around to take care of your child and still want him to grow up healthy and strong, then make sure the daycare center is providing him with the food he needs to be healthy or find yourself another center. Your child’s health depends on it.
by Michael Russell
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The following strategies and instructional practices are designed for every classroom and school. Implement 8 key recommendations and improve the quality of instruction at your school.
#1: Meaningful lesson plans
Issue: Administrators often focus on the type of plan and if a teacher has handled in their lessons. Countless hours are spent trying to collect lesson plans. Administrators usually do not have the time to critique them. It tends to be a pointless activity.
Solution: Rather than struggle over the type of lesson plan a teacher uses, create a template to highlight critical components of a lesson plan. Decide components that must be included in the plan such as preview and review, vocabulary building, assessment tools, unpacking standards.
#2: Realistic instructional and pacing guides
Issue: Teachers feel they are unable to spend more time on certain standards because of deadlines to complete units. We are driven by the calendar and learning can take a back seat. However, at the same time, we need a structure that will guide us.
Solution: Departments should meet to determine pacing guides for the semester and year, based on the school calendar and key essential standards. It is better to learn fewer concepts with a deeper level of understanding than to introduce many strands with little or no comprehension of the content.
#3: High leverage strategies
Issue: Ask yourself a few guiding questions. What instructional strategies are necessary for mastery of a content skill? What strategies are high level strategies? Do not assume that staff will know what strategies are best to build a particular skill.
Solution: Have department and grade level teachers collaboratively determine a list of high leverage strategies to use with certain standards and skills. Create a user friendly template that can be adapted and easily interpreted.
#4: Check for student understanding
Issue: It is difficult to find ways to continuously monitor student understanding. When dealing with diverse students with varying learning styles and levels, it is critical for teachers to check for understanding and adjust lesson plans.
Solution: Use daily assessments to review student progress and to monitor mastery of skill content. Create a series of questioning strategies to check for student understanding in a group setting.
#5: Department wide focus on common standard
Issue: Standards overlap and share common elements. Different grade level and/or subject teams may find it challenging to select common standards to implement as a department.
Solution: Have department or grade level teachers’ select one standard, discuss the instructional strategies that support the standard, and how the strategy is used in the classroom. Share student work at meeting.
#6: School wide focus on one common practice
Issue: The best professional development for teachers is to learn from each other and to have learning take place during the work day. However, it is difficult to find and model activities that are common to all.
Solution: Go through an inquiry process to determine what standard to focus on. Departments can decide the activities. For example, you can select literacy (writing samples, reading comprehension strategies) and integrate common standards and curriculum in content areas. Develop a forum for teachers to share best practices.
#7: Support for different learning styles and levels
Issue: It is difficult to include student opportunities that accommodate the diversity of all students (the struggling and the advanced student.)
Solution: Establish extended activities in and out of the classroom. Technology is a great avenue for students who need and want to work independently, at their own pace, and in an interactive setting.
#8: Collaborative classroom walkthroughs
Issue: Observations can be obtrusive and intimidating. The task is to provide feedback that is helpful and meaningful. Determine what is the reason for the visit. The teacher and administrator should be able to easily communicate the intent of the visit beforehand.
Solution: Walkthroughs are not observations. Focused and collaborative classroom visits can be a productive activity. Ask teachers for input . It is best to decide a department or school wide focus for the walkthroughs. When the process is fair, it will not be met with skepticism.
by Patricia Fioriello
Out of all the effective teaching strategies there is one strategy that is more effective than all others. Can there really be a number one effective teaching strategy? You bet there is, because without this strategy you will be met with blank stares from your students day after day.
If I had to decide what my most successful teaching strategy is, what I find to be the most effective teaching strategy, without a doubt it is the connection that I make with students. You see without a connection to your students, there will be little or no content understanding.
Always remember this: connection before content. This should be at the top of your list of effective teaching strategies.
This connection with your students is a two way street – you to student, and student to you. You need to give something of yourself, and in turn your students will give back something of themselves.
This connection applies to teachers at every level and in different learning situations: from kindergarten to fifth grade, high school to college; in seminars, employee training, or sales presentations. The teacher must connect with the students or audience before they will hear the message being delivered, the content.
Think back to situations you have been in, whether it was school or a sales pitch. Who are the teachers or people you connected with? Most likely they were the ones who you felt acknowledged you, wanted to get to know you, enjoyed what they were doing, and were committed to your success. They are the people you want to be around and enjoy talking to. They know and understand that connecting with students is the most important of all effective teaching strategies.
So, as an educator, how do you make this connection? Here are some effective teaching strategies for making that connection:
Be fully present in the moment. When your teaching day starts give your total focus to your students and the task at hand. This will send a message to your students that they are important.
Learn something about each of your students. This is easier for those that teach one group of students. It takes more effort for those at the middle, high school, and college level where you have large groups throughout the day, but it can be done. I think if you really enjoy teaching, you enjoy the interaction with students.
Try this quick check – write down something you know about each of your students. If you are struggling trying to come up with something for particular students make a point to learn something about them. If you have large classes set a goal for a number of students you will make a point to speak to each day. This way over the course of the week you will have connected with each of your students one on one. Sometimes we have those quiet students who slip under the radar and we don’t always check in with them as often as others who are more vocal or needy.
Share information about yourself with your students. Very early in the school year my students know about my family, pets, favorite foods, what I do on the weekend (well not everything), my hobbies, and my general likes and dislikes. Sharing this information with students lets them see you as a person, and gives them common ground to connect. Little bits of information are easy to weave into your general teaching and conversations with students. Don’t cross the line by giving too much personal information, or boring students with long stories about your kitchen renovation. Give information that is relevant in their lives that they can connect to.
Be in tune with your students each day and for every class. Besides connecting with them individually you also need to connect with the mood of the group. If the group energy is low, get students moving with a game or stretch break. If the group is restless and having difficulty settling down, do some calming activities with them. If students seem stressed extend an assignment deadline, or give a “night off” from homework. Being in tune with your group is such an important teaching strategy and most often students will be more productive when you respond to their needs.
Remember, each student and class is different. Respecting and acknowledging those differences will go a long way to achieving a personal connection with your students.
When you connect with students and they connect with you, they trust you and are invested in their learning. Your students will be able to hear the content you present to them because they know you are invested in their success.
There are several classroom activities which are effective teaching strategies for connecting with students.
by Mary Muroski
Where educational technology is taught well, it has been shown to enhance students’ levels of understanding and attainment in other subjects. That’s because “real” educational technology is more about thinking
skills and, if you like, systems analysis, than about
mastering particular software applications.
Educational technology can provide both the resources and the pedagogical framework for enabling pupils to become effective independent learners.
Educational technology places all learners on an equal footing. Given the right hardware, software and curriculum activities, even severely disabled pupils can achieve the same degree of success as anyone else.
Educational technology has been shown to have benefits in terms of motivating pupils. That comes about partly through factors like being able to produce nice-looking work with no teacher’s red marks all over it (!), and partly because the computer is seen as being impartial and non-judgemental in its feedback to the pupil.
Educational technology enables pupils to gather data that would otherwise be difficult or even impossible. For example, data from inaccessible places (eg outer space), inaccessible times (eg overnight) or data at very precise time intervals.
Educational technology enables pupils to gather data that would otherwise be time-consuming or costly or both. For example, students can use the internet to get up-to-the-minute information on prices. They can use a CD-ROM to watch movies of old deducational technologyators speaking, or the moon landings, or to listen to a piece of music by Mozart.
Educational technology enables pupils to experiment with changing aspects of a model, which may be difficult or even impossible for them to do otherwise. For example, students of Business Studies and Economics can see what might happen to the economy if interest rates were raised or lowered.
by Terry Freedman
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Infants often need special attention, and you need to make sure that all of their supplies are in order before dropping them off at their day care center. These tips will help you make sure that your child is prepared for their day simply and easily.
What You Need to Pack For Infant Day Care
There are a basic list of supplies that should accompany your infant to day care each and every day. This list of basics is important to help keep your day running smoothly, so that you aren’t called away from your daily activities to bring items to the childcare provider.
o Diapers. You should always make sure to pack eight to ten diapers for an eight hour stay for your infant.
o Wipes. While wipes may be provided by your day care, it is a good idea to pack a few in your infant’s bag, especially if your baby has sensitive skin and needs a specific type of wipe.
o Formula and bottles. Your infant day care may provide meals for older kids, but they typically do not provide formula or bottles. You may want to write your child’s name on their bottle, and note whether you need to pre-fill their bottles, or not. The rules will vary depending on your daycare centers.
o A change of clothes. Infants are often messy, and may need one or more changes of clothes throughout the day. Choose items that are easily buttoned, such as one piece cotton outfits suited for the weather.
o Any medications, along with a note from their doctor. Many childcare centers now require that any medications are accompanied by a note from the doctor. Make sure that you include the dropper that is to be used to administer the medications, as well.
Your specific child daycare centers may have specific items that are provided, as well as some limitations on what you can bring from home. By limiting the items sent, such as favorite toys, childcare centers are able to diffuse problems with sharing (which many under-one’s are not disposed toward), and to avoid lost items.
You may also want to consider the weather when packing your infant’s bag for the day. Even though they may not need mittens or a coat while at the daycare center, they will need it when you pick them up.
Preparing for Infant Day Care
In most cases, your infant child care center will provide a list of the must-haves that your child needs to have each day. While you may find that you forget something once in a while, it is important to be prepared. You may find it simpler to pack your infant’s bag the night before, and prepare any bottles needed and storing them in the refrigerator overnight.
Some parents also find it simpler to purchase separate items for day care, such as bottles and a reusable wipes container, so that items can be left in the daycare bag. This will help reduce forgetting necessary items tremendously.
by Edith Gates
Personnel of every child care center must be competent enough to provide the services necessary to cater to the individual needs of the children. The number of personnel of the daycare center must be able to provide the services needed and must be commensurate with the number of children being cared for. The number of the staff shall be determined by the following:
o Needs of the client children.
o Extent and kinds of services provided by the daycare center.
o Physical management of the daycare center.
o Presence of an emergency or disaster.
The daycare center may avail of the services of volunteers in order to meet the personnel need as long as such volunteers are supervised and will not be left alone with the client children. Volunteers who will provide any element of care to children must be at least 18 years of age.
All staff members of a daycare center must undergo an on-the-job training and must possess relevant experience and skills in the following areas:
o Principles of nutrition, menu planning, and food preparation and storage. Children in the daycare center must be fed at the prescribed time with specific meal requirements, staff members of the daycare center must have a working knowledge of food preparation and food handling. They should be given basic training on meal planning and must know basic principles of nutrition which will be very important in the health and physical well being of the children they care for.
o Universal health precautions. Staff members of a daycare center must be given training on basic housekeeping and sanitation principles. They should be familiar with the commonly accepted principles in health precautions so as not to expose the children to health risks like diseases and infections.
o Child care and supervision. Daycare center personnel must be provided training in order to make them competent in supervising and caring for children in the facility. They must know how to handle problem children, especially those with disabilities and other health concerns.
o Assistance with medication. Daycare center employees must be trained on how to provide assistance to the children when they have to take self-administered medications. They must be trained to know the proper dosages of medication that the children will be taking.
o Recognition of early signs of illness. Staff members must be trained on how to recognize signs when the children are sick and they should know when it is time to call for professional or emergency assistance.
o Availability of community resources and services. Employees of a daycare center must be trained how to utilize the help of the community when there is a need for such. In times of disaster or natural calamities, they should know where to ask for help or assistance or where to go in the case of an evacuation.
A well-designed on-the-job training can prepare daycare center staff members on how to handle different situations that could be involve a life or death situation for the children. The training will prepare the members of the staff for any eventuality that could arise in the daycare center.
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by John F Smith
In this article we’re going to discuss where the money you spend on child care actually goes.
Believe it or not, for your average American family of 3 or more, child care expenses are 4th, right behind housing, food and taxes. Because child care is so expensive, the parents paying for this care think that the providers and centers themselves are rolling in dough. The sad truth is, this is just not the case. So hopefully this article will give you a pretty good idea of where your child care dollars go.
The first and probably most important part of good child care is having enough qualified people to run a child care center. The younger the children at the care center are the more people that are needed to take care of them because very young children need individual attention, unlike centers with older children that can work in groups or are even independent. It is because of this need that personnel costs at a care center can be as much as 50% or more of their total budget and operating expenses. The other 50% is taken up by space, or the rent or mortgage on the building, insurance, teaching supplies, snacks, and utilities.
Over the years these fixed costs have risen dramatically with the price of food, oil and insurance skyrocketing because of fraud, arson and other criminal activities. In spite of this, the fees that the centers charge have remained pretty much the same when adjusted for inflation. To translate that into numbers, that means that child care teachers salaries have dropped 25% since the 1970s.
The sad fact is, the salaries paid to child care workers are way below what they should be making and because of that, it is hard to find highly qualified people. In 1995 it is estimated that child care teachers earned about $15,000 per year on the average, which is not much over the poverty level. Assistant teachers were only making an average of $11,000 per year in the same time period. Even in comparison to the teachering profession in elementary schools, these salaries are considered low.
It is because of these low salaries that staff turnover at care centers is so high. This should be a concern for parents because high turnover prevents their children from getting the personalized care that they are entitled to. With high turnover the relationship between caregiver and child is usually very impersonal and cold. This is not a good environment for your child. As a result of this a child’s language and social skills develop slower than with children who get proper care.
The solution to this problem is to work with government to get proper funding for these facilities and also to work with the facilities themselves. Get all the information you can about the facility in your area. Find out if the teachers have paid sick leave and benefits. If not, campaign for these things. Make your voice heard. Let those responsible for funding these facilities know that you’re not satisfied with the level of care.
You may be surprised to find out that there are people in government who will listen, especially if they have children themselves.
by Michael Russell