Friday, February 24, 2017

February 28, 2017

Teaching Kids to Eat Healthy

Teaching kids to eat well can be tricky. You don’t want to give them more facts than they can grasp or turn every meal into a lecture.  If you wait too long, they could pick up unhealthy habits in the meantime.

“Kids need to know that every food they put into their bodies affects them,” says Danelle Fisher, MD, chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA.

Parents can get that message across by talking with kids about the food they put in their bodies, why it matters, and how they can learn to make the healthiest choices.
Not just a rule, but a routine. Make sure healthy foods are the default setting for your family’s meals, and get everyone involved in choosing some nutritious, delicious options. Take kids with you to the grocery store or farmers market. Younger kids can pick out fresh fruits and veggies. Older kids can take on larger roles like choosing recipes and making a shopping list.

Show kids what “eating right” looks like. Explain that they should fill half their plate with fruits and veggies that have nutrients that will help their bodies grow. The other half should be whole grains and lean protein that gives them energy to run, dance, and play. When you’re cooking or grocery shopping, show them different examples of these key food groups.

Avoid calling foods “good” or “bad.” Kids should learn that all foods have a place in their diet. Label foods as “go,” “slow,” or “whoa.” Kids can “green light” foods like whole grains and skim milk they should have every day and “slow down” with less healthy foods like waffles. Foods with the least nutrition, such as French fries, don’t need to be off limits, but kids should stop and think twice before they eat them often.

Talk about portion size.  It’s not just what kids eat that matters, but how much. Even very young kids can learn that the amount of rice or pasta they eat should match the size of their fist. Protein should be palm-sized, and fats like butter or mayonnaise about the tip of their thumb. When you buy packaged foods, have kids help you find the serving size. Then talk about why sticking to it is a good idea.

Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal

Friday, February 17, 2017

February 17, 2017


The Reggio Emilia Approach is an innovative and inspiring approach to early childhood education which values the child as strong, capable, and resilient; rich with wonder and knowledge. Every child brings with them deep curiosity and potential and this innate curiosity drives their interest to understand their world and their place within it.

Children can construct their own learning. They are driven by their interests and their interactions with others. Children form an understanding of themselves and their place in the world through their interactions with others

There is a strong focus on social collaboration, working in groups, where each child is an equal participant, having their thoughts and questions valued. The adult is not the giver of knowledge. Children search out the knowledge through their own investigations.
Children are amazing communicators. We are all aware that communication is a process, a way of discovering things, asking questions, using language as play. Playing with sounds and rhythm and rhyme; delighting in the process of communicating.

Children are encouraged to use language to investigate and explore, to reflect on their experiences. They are listened to with respect, believing that their questions and observations are an opportunity to learn and search together. It is a process; a continual process. A collaborative process. Rather than the child asking a question and the adult offering the answers, the search is undertaken together.
For children at such an early age, the environment is the third teacher. 

The environment is recognized for its potential to inspire children. An environment filled with natural light, order and beauty. Open spaces free from clutter, where every material is considered for its purpose, every corner is ever-evolving to encourage children to delve deeper and deeper into their interests.

The space encourages collaboration, communication, and exploration. The space respects children as capable by providing them with authentic materials & tools. The space is cared for by the children and the adults.
The adult or parent is a mentor and guide. Our role as adults is to observe (our) children, listen to their questions and their stories, find what interests them and then provide them with opportunities to explore these interests further.

The Reggio Emilia Approach takes a child-led project approach. The projects aren’t planned in advanced, they emerge based on the child’s interests.

Probably the most well-known aspect of the Reggio Emilia Approach. The belief that children use many, many, different ways to show their understanding and express their thoughts and creativity.

A hundred different ways of thinking, of discovering, of learning. Through drawing and sculpting, through dance and movement, through painting and pretend play, through modelling and music, and that each one of these Hundred Languages must be valued and nurtured.

These languages, or ways of learning, are all a part of the child. Learning and play are not separated.
The Reggio Emilia Approach emphasizes hands-on discovery learning that allows the child to use all their senses and all their languages to learn.

Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal
Discovery School

Friday, February 10, 2017

February 10, 2017


STEM is a pretty hot word these days, but do you know what it stands for or how important it really is? What is STEM? STEM is the future. STEM is science, technology, engineering, and math. These are all areas of learning that our kids need to be comfortable with to excel in the future. STEM makes creators, thinkers, problem solvers, doers, innovators, and inventors. Exposing kids to simple STEM ideas at an early age today sets a foundation for higher learning tomorrow.

What is STEM? STEM is a real-world focus. STEM is hands-on learning that applies to the world around us. STEM is the future.  Exposing kids to simple STEM ideas at an early age today sets a foundation for higher learning tomorrow.

STEM builds and teaches creativity, problem solving, life skills, ingenuity, resourcefulness, patience, curiosity. STEM is what shapes the future as our world grows and changes. STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEM is everywhere and in everything we do and how we live. From the natural world, around us to the tablets in our hands that show us the world far, far away. STEM builds inventors!

Our kids thrive with STEM activities. STEM activities push kids to expand their horizons, experiment, problem solve, and accept failure to success. Teachers need to choose STEM activities early on and present STEM activities in a playful way. You will not only teach your kids amazing concepts, but you will build a love for exploring, discovering, learning, and creating!

Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal

Discovery School

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February 1, 2017

Music Play
Creating Centers for
Musical Play and Exploration

The presence of music in young children’s lives can sometimes be taken for granted. In most early childhood classrooms, teachers and children sing a song or two at circle time. Many teachers use musical strategies to help children handle transitions for example, singing “We’re cleaning up our room, we’re cleaning up our room, we’re putting all the blocks away, we’re cleaning up our room” to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”. Parents often sing lullabies and traditional rhymes to their young children. At home and in the car, parents play recorded music
they themselves enjoy. They may play a “kid’s’” tape or CD to keep the children happy and occupied on the road. Music certainly is present in the lives of many young children. Nevertheless, there is a growing awareness that music is underused and under addressed in early childhood education. In the early years, musical aptitude is still developing. Infancy and early childhood are prime times to capitalize on children’s innate musical spontaneity, and to encourage their natural inclinations
to sing, move, and play with sound.

Creating Centers for Musical Play and Exploration
Music is in the air in Ms. Viola’s Head Start classroom. She has a large collection of CDs, most of which were recorded specifically for children. Music often plays in the background during greeting, snack, choice, and nap times.

Music is in use in Mr. Kerry’s pre-K classroom.
“Piggyback” songs remind children of expected
behaviors and add a pleasant dose of calm to
transitions that might otherwise become chaotic.

Music is on the lips of Mrs. Rosetti’s kindergartners. Morning circle begins with a greeting song, followed by children’s selection of two more songs from the class’s impressive repertoire. Afternoon circle is the time for learning and practicing new songs. Each of these teachers might say, “My classroom is very musical,” and each student is providing something of value.

Why does music not receive deeper attention in early childhood education? 
Teachers may not recognize the full value and potential of providing for children’s musical development and may not understand the many ways musical involvement can enhance development and learning in other areas. They may believe that musical development is important only for a small number of highly talented children. They may be intimidated by the specialized expertise of music educators or inhibited by their own lack of knowledge about music education or a perceived lack of musicianship. 

NAEYC and MENC (National Association of Music Education [formerly the Music Educators National Conference], are collaborating to promote the full inclusion of music in early childhood curriculum.
Young children engage in music as play. Though many early childhood educators may not consider themselves musicians or music educators, they generally do feel comfortable with the medium of play. When offered a variety of drums and strikers, children play with sound.

By exploring and “messing around,” they discover they can make one sound by striking one drum and a different sound by striking another. Their drum play is supported because adults expect and allow for the “noise.”

When young children hear music, they move to it.
Supportive adults share their joy and delight in their fun, also, listening and moving in response to the music. Once children learn to sing, they create their own melodies and invent their own words to familiar songs. Their song play is supported when adults demonstrate authentic interest, interact with children through song, and engage in their own playful song making.

Play is central to early childhood education, and it is a primary vehicle for musical growth. When early childhood
teachers recognize the playful nature of children’s musical activity; music education may look more like familiar territory. Young children engage in music

as an exploratory activity, one that is interactive, social, creative, and joyful.

Ms. Nora Sierra
Early Childhood Assistant Principal
Discovery School

April 20, 2018

Wrapping Up the School Year The end of the school year brings the expected joy at finishing another year, and perhaps some sadne...