How To Raise a Creative Child

Overheard in one of our schools last week: “You have to hurry up and defeat Professor Parrot Pants so you can save 1,000 kittens in time to have dessert!”

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AND, this is why we love what we do.

Children’s imaginations are a wild and wacky place and getting a glimpse into their flights of fancy can be downright inspiring! Research has provided ample evidence that creativity is a precursor to success in many arenas of life.

So, how do you nurture creativity in your child? A recent NY Times Article offers these ideas:*

-Have Fewer Rules: Encourage Independent Thought and Self Guided Morality

“The parents of ordinary children had an average of six rules, like specific schedules for homework and bedtime. Parents of highly creative children had an average of fewer than one rule.”**

-Free Them to Explore: Let Your Child Pursue Their Own Interests

“When the psychologist Benjamin Bloom led a study of the early roots of world-class musicians, artists, athletes and scientists, he learned that their parents didn’t dream of raising superstar kids. They weren’t drill sergeants or slave drivers. They responded to the intrinsic motivation of their children.”

Are you able to let go and let your child explore, dream, and imagine? It’s the best way to let the spark of their creativity grow!

“Children have the benefit of not knowing what is not possible.” Paul Sloane

*http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/31/opinion/sunday/how-to-raise-a-creative-child-step-one-back-off.html?_r=0
**http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.2162-6057.1989.tb00700.x/abstract

 

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When Do Children Start Dreaming?

We all know that children DREAM BIG… but when does nighttime sleep translate into vivid, meaningful, or even frightening dreams?

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Studies indicate that for the first 2-3 years of life, young children are likely dreamless. They don’t possess the language or abstract thought needed to process through dreams. Once dreams accompany REM sleep, around 3-4 years old, prompting your child to recall and tell you their dreams may give you important access to their inner thoughts and feelings!

One study yielded some interesting insights into the dreaming abilities of young children:

Younger preschoolers reported significantly shorter dreams. Three-year-olds, contrary to previous research, were able to report dreams. Over 80% of the preschoolers’ dreams included specific actions, and over a third of the dreams included three or more actions. More than 36% of the dreamers encountered and struggled with a “monster” protagonist. Family members, human strangers, TV/movie characters, and friends were prevalent in the dreams of young children.*

Here are some ideas for encouraging dream recall and investigating the dreams of your child:

-Keep a family dream journal: draw or describe your dreams! Re-read your entries and share your funny, or even frightening/thrilling nighttime adventures.

-Talk about your dreams: over breakfast or right after waking up – does your child remember their dreams? Ask open-ended questions about what happened.

-Keep in mind that as your child receives positive reinforcement for sharing their dreams that they may begin to make up or embellish their re-telling: this is ok! They are still tapping into their imagination and perhaps expressing things in their subconscious.

Dream on!

 

 

*http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ990567

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More Positive Parenting with 3 Simple Phrases

Do you ever feel like you spend every moment with your child warning them (stop! You’ll get hurt!”), redirecting them (“let’s play with our OWN ball, not his…”), or saying no (“first eat your peas…”)? It’s easy to let the burden of instructing your child overshadow the joy of being with your child! We all want great, compassionate, well-behaved children.

Switch out some of your common parenting phrases to put a positive spin to challenging moments!

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Choices, even between two things they must do anyway, help your child feel empowered!

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For a young child, even seemingly small tasks can feel insurmountable. Extend their endurance by helping them reflect on their progress, not just anticipate the end of an activity!

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A child who doesn’t have great command of language and vocabulary can become very frustrated when trying to communicate their needs. Instead of focusing on the object of their frustration, get on their level and connect by genuinely and compassionately offering to help.

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Set Off Sparks!

“Each of us has a spark of life inside us, and our highest endeavor ought to be to set off that spark in one another.” Kenny Ausubel

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Did you know that early social interactions, and how children are coached through sharing and discord, can set their trajectory for healthy friendships?

Here are some things experts have found to be true:

  • Parental sensitivity (i.e., appropriate reciprocal social exchange), mutuality, synchrony, stimulation, positive attitude, and emotional support are related to secure attachment.*

What do those terms mean and how can you practice this?

Mutuality = sharing. Mutuality focuses on how you are the same, what you have in common, and the things and experiences you can share. Emphasizing mutuality helps a child feel safe and not alone.

Synchrony = connecting and reacting. Synchrony starts from a child’s very first days as you spend time gazing into one another’s eyes, making and mimicking facial expressions. This makes a child feel connected to you.

Stimulation = capturing interest. Go beyond providing your child with stimulating or “active play” toys… be involved in their active play through peek-a-boo, pretend, hide-and-seek, and more!

Positive Attitude = cheerful problem solving. Whether your baby is frustrated with physical limitations or your toddler is frustrated with their lack of vocabulary, as your developing child encounters frustrations you can be a cheerleader and model positive problem solving!

Emotional Support = allow feelings. Prompt your child to use “feelings” language to describe their state of emotions! Model this by describing your own moods and reactions.

*http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2702123/

 

 

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Our Roots… and Growth!

Our newest franchise location, Creative World School Cypress Springs, is looking great! As construction continues and we head toward our May Grand Opening, we are so happy to reflect on the strength of our family.cypress linkedin post.png

Creative World Schools began in 1970 and we have been committed to a high standard of excellence in Early Education ever since! We were engaging in sensory play when other schools were still using worksheets. Our founders and founding family have a unique understanding of Early development that allowed them to spearhead many of the movements that are popular in Early Ed these days. Check out the STEM, Process Art, and Loose Parts we were practicing long before there were things like blogs and smart boards:

As Creative World School Cypress Springs begins to solidify their plans to open, we couldn’t be happier that a great team of Owners, wholeheartedly committed to our educational philosophy, are bringing their services to the Orlando area!

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Celestial Sightings: 5 Visible Planets

As we wrap up our In the Sky inquiry, it couldn’t be a more exciting or fortuitous time to be stargazing. For the first time in over a decade, 5 planets will be visible to the naked eye in the night sky! Here are some tips for enjoying this celestial sight:

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What are you looking for?

Technically, you will be able to see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

When should you look?

Astronomists estimate optimum visibility to happen at twilight on the morning of January 28. Download the Sunrise Sunset App to find out what time you should head outside!

What will this look like?

You will notice the 5 bright planets from Left to Right (in the order listed above) on the horizon. They will look like bright stars. It may be very helpful to download a live star map app (like Sky Map or Star Chart) and use your mobile device to help identify which planets are which!

 

Quick Hints:

-Mercury will be in the lower southeast corner of the horizon.

-Venus will be the biggest and brightest.

-Further right, Saturn may appear to have a yellowish tint.

-Mars will look like a reddish-orange star.

-Jupiter will be to the upper right corner. Bonus: if you have binoculars, you may be able to see Jupiter’s four moons!

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Enjoy this chance… all 5 planets won’t be visible again until 2020!

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The 9 Most Important Minutes of Your Child’s Day

Did you know that your child’s emotional health can be largely impacted by the way you guide them in key moments throughout their day? Affective Neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp explains that  “Positive emotional systems… capture cognitive spaces, leading to their broadening, cultivation and development….As a general principle, the larger the sphere of influence of the positive emotions, the more likely is the child to become a productive and happy member of society.”

So, how do you create a healthy emotional system for your child to develop in?

Here are the 9 Most Important Minutes of Your Child’s Day:

  • the first three minutes–right after they wake up
  • the three minutes after they come home from school, and
  • the last three minutes of the day–before they go to bed.

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So, instead of pulling the covers off and rushing, could you spend 3 minutes waking up together? Or running downstairs to sit and start breakfast together? Maybe when your child gets home from school, instead of running to the TV or homework, walk to get the mail together. Find a way that works with you to spend these 9 tiny minutes together!

Because all children experience so much throughout the course of a given day, a great way to promote emotional health and processing is to capture your child’s attention and make an emotional investment at these key times.

 

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Optimize the time:

-For your prelingual child (who cannot speak yet), spend time looking at books, singing, talking softly, or cuddling.

-Ask open-ended questions and, as your child responds, guide them to use “feeling” words to describe their experiences.

It’s important to remember that a great parent makes the most of the little moments.

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What’s Your Curiosity Quotient?

Do you care about the color of the sky, notice changes in the landscape or buildings around you, and have an insatiable thirst to know WHY or HOW? Are you constantly reading, googling, or investigating?

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According to Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, an international authority in personality profiling and psychometric testing, CQ stands for curiosity quotient, which is a measure of how inquisitive and open to new experiences you are. While not as researched as much as IQ or EQ, people with high CQ tend to generate more original ideas and are counter-conformist.*

Young children are great at leading the way in curiosity! Here are some ways to rate your own CQ:

  1. Learning something new is:

A. Fun

B. Challenging

C. Hard Work

2. If I don’t know the answer to a question my child asks, my first response is to:

A. Look it up

B. Make up an answer

C. Change the subject

3. I read an average of ____ books a year.

A. 1-5

B. 6-10

C. 11-20

4. On the weekends, I like to…

A. Spend time outside

B. Watch movies

C. Shop

Did you get a lot of A’s? You may be highly curious! The good news is, whether or not you’ve tapped into your inner curiosity, you can start now. Begin following the rabbit trail of “what if’s” in your mind, tune in to the world around you and think about what you see, and engage your child in their own journey of curiosity… you may be along for the ride… and it’s sure to be wild!

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious” –    Albert Einstein

 

*Georgetown University, https://blogs.commons.georgetown.edu/ccpe/2014/09/02/2

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Executive Functioning: Developing Learning Skills

As we set young learners on a trajectory for success, it is important to monitor their development in quantifiable ways. One of the key skill sets we observe and encourage growth in is Executive Functioning. These skills, used by adults and children every day, include impulse control, following multi-step directions, focusing on a task, and multitasking.

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Studies have shown that three key areas of Executive Function that best promote early learning and school readiness are,

Inhibitory memory, which refers to the ability to remember to not do something (for example, not going out of turn when playing a game);

Cognitive flexibility, which is the ability to change actions and behaviors as the need arises (for example, adapting to a new dramatic play scenario)

Working memory, which is the ability to keep information in mind in order to carry out a task (for example, following multiple steps of the cleanup routine).*

We structure our routines to model and incorporate these Executive Functions. As a parent, there are many ways that you can coach your child in these areas.

  • Anticipate scenarios where a child will have to NOT do something, maybe at a friend’s party where the rules are different than at home. Talk through what you will and won’t do. Coach your child through the in-the-moment decision making and reflect on your experience afterward!
  • Play pretend! And when you are deep in make-believe, introduce new elements: new props or a new story line for your characters. Encourage and stretch your child’s imagination.
  • Practice giving your child longer and more complex directions. Can they follow two steps before forgetting what they were supposed to do? Expand your child’s recall by encouraging multi-step actions.

Want your child to get in on the best Early Education has to offer? Visit us online or follow us on facebook/twitter/Pinterest to learn more!

 

*Blair, C. (2002). School readiness: Integrating cognition and emotion in neurobiological conceptualization of child functioning at school entry. American Psychologist, 57(2), 111– 127.

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In the Sky Book Lists

We’re blasting off… and having a blast in our In the Sky inquiry this month! Want some ideas on how to teach your young learner about what they see in the bright blue or starry night? Here are some books we recommend!

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When we look up into the sky what do we see? We may see different things depending on whether it is day or night. Toddlers can recognize the difference between light and dark, as well as day and night. The stars, sun, and moon are all bright lights in the sky that are intriguing to Toddlers and can be explored by relating familiar children’s songs and books to real life examples that are found in the sky.

Dogs in Space by Nancy Coffelt
Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Grandfather Twilight by Barbara Berger
Happy Birthday Moon by Frank Ashe
Moon Game by Frank Ashe
Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle
Sky All Around by Anna Hines
Twinkle, Little Star by Michael Hague
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by Iza Trapani
What Next Baby Bear? by Jill Murphy
Why the Sun and Moon Live in the Sky by Elphinstone Dayrell

InTheSky_Icon_TWOS_Black.pngTwo Year Olds:

Zoom off into outer space! We are providing a creative and motivating environment for your children through pretend play and props. We’ll have a blast experimenting with moon rocks, asteroid dust, and star shapes. Investigate planets, asteroids, stars, and the sky!

 

Away We Go: A Shape and Seek Book by Chieu Anh Urban
Big Silver Space Shuttle by Ken Wilson-Max
Blast Off! A Space Counting Book by Tony Bradman
I Want to Be An Astronaut by Byron Barton
Little Space Explorers by Anthony Lewis
On the Launch Pad: A Counting Book About Rockets by Michael Dahl
Out in Space: A Super Sparkles Concept Board Book by Anna Award
Shapes in Space by Alise Robinson
Space Walk (Lift The Flap Adventures) by Salina Yoon

InTheSky_Icon_Preschool_Black.pngPreschool:

It’s time for lift off! This month, our preschoolers will have the opportunity to  investigate all aspects of airplanes and air travel. From control panels and gears, to air shows and daring adventures taken in your imaginations- we are off on an exciting journey through the skies!

 

A Day at the Airport by Richard Scarry
A Plane Goes Kazoom! by Jonathan London
Air Show by Treat Williams
Airplane Flight by Susanna Hill (flap book)
Airplanes: Soaring, Turning, Diving! by Patricia Hubbell
Amazing Airplanes by Tony Mitton
Amelia’s Fantastic Flight by Rose Bursik
The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool
Everything Goes: In the Air by Brian Biggs
First Flight by David McPhail
Going on a Plane by Anne Civardi
How People Learned to Fly by Fran Hodgkins
Lettice the Flying Rabbit by Mandy Stanley
Lisa’s Airplane Trip by Anne Gutman
Miss Mouse Takes Off by Jan Ormerod
My First Airplane Ride by Patricia Hubbell
The Noisy Airplane Ride by Mike Downs

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