Family Newsletter

April 2020

Weekly Family Webinars

April 16th, 2020 from 12:30-1pm

Please join CASY's Family Engagement Specialists as they present on the importance of taking care of yourself during times of crisis. Self-care is essential and often put on the back burner. When parents & caregivers take time to care for themselves, they are better equipped to handle everyday life. Join us to learn self-care tips and resources to incorporate in the home.

April 23rd, 2020 from 12:30-1pm

Please join CASY's Family Engagement Specialists as they present on the importance of helping children learn skills and build knowledge during play. Guided play engages children in meaningful learning opportunities. Join us for some tips on supporting play at home.

April 30th, 2020 from 12:30-1pm

Please join CASY's Family Engagement Specialists as they present on the importance of maintaining routines. Routines are vital in helping both children and adults feel safe. During this time of social distancing and school closures, children are relying on whatever normalcy they can get. Join us to talk about helping your family by keeping to your normal at-home schedules or setting up routines, if you don't already have them in place.

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Rethinking Your Outdoor Space

A daily dose of nature helps everyone stay sane—especially children. Although we may be more confined than usual, author Kelly Johnson reminds us that, “you don’t need a grandly landscaped yard to create meaningful and lasting nature experiences for children.” In fact, for a small child, even a small flower pot on a patio offers endless exploration.

Now that spring is here, it’s a great opportunity to rethink your outdoor play space—no matter what size it is. It doesn’t take a green thumb or even an artist’s beret to make the space come alive for creative play. Read more.

Play is the Therapy We All Need Right Now

It’s been said that we’re all going through a collective traumatic event right now. And while we try to shield our young children from much of it, they are still touched on some level.

We may think we’ve masked the stress and fear and anxiety we adults are feeling, but children are perceptive. They may not know all the headlines, but they can read them across our concerned faces.

So much around them has abruptly changed. And in the vacuum of previously scheduled events, many families are finding a silver lining.

Read the full article here.

Tree Rubbings Activity

The Tree Rubbings Activity is a simple and creative way to help children learn about patterns and textures. It can also help children learn about the different parts and characteristics of trees as they complete their tree rubbings. Children will love the opportunity to go outside and practice a new art technique! Read more here.

The Power of Fairytales

A mother once approached Albert Einstein and asked him what she might do to prepare her young son for a successful career in science. “Read him fairytales,” he replied. “And, if you want him to be very intelligent, read him more fairytales.”

This is comforting advice for a nation-full of parents unexpectedly facing the responsibility of educating their children at home. Fairytales—stories handed-down by word of mouth for generations—are more than just entertainment. Our predecessors understood that storytelling provides a rich, childhood foundation in oral language which is a critical prerequisite for literacy.

So as we navigate this new norm of education, the least we can do is read, or tell, children fairytales! Lots! Over and Over! And we may discover that this is exactly what our children need. Besides being a great tool for education, fairy tales “affirm that, yes, there are difficulties in life, but we have the courage, strength, and steadfastness to meet them,” wrote a beloved advocate for children, Joan Almon.

Read Almon’s popular essay “Oral Language: The Foundation for Literacy”

How to Safely Enjoy Parks While Social Distancing

We all know that enjoying the great outdoors and being active can help up us live happier and healthier lives, but is it safe to spend time outdoors as we all continue to face concerns surrounding COVID-19?

Taking care of our mental and physical health must remain a priority as we all continue to social distance – especially as The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has flagged mental health as a top concern associated with the coronavirus.

So, what are some outdoor safe spaces that we can enjoy, while not harming others and practice social distancing?

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) has shared that they believe parks, trails, and open spaced can be used safely. However, recommending that individuals follow local, state and national ordinances and guidelines.

In places where there are no restrictions, the NRPA has provided recommendations, below, on how to enjoy outdoor spaces -- while staying safe.

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Maximizing Time, Impact, and Motivation While Working at Home

During this extended time of social isolation, organizing your time, managing interruptions from family members, and staying motivated can be a challenge. If you have never worked from home, it can be anxiety producing and even annoying to feel stuck while managing professional obligations. To create a thriving home base for work, you’ll need explicit planning to make the most of your unique situation.

Our team of quality assessor and training specialists at the McCormick Center works remotely to bring professional evaluation to early childhood programs. They have many proven methods to achieve needed goals with a high level of impact while working at home. If you are working from home for the first time or simply need fresh inspiration, click here for tips that will help you be more effective.

Responding to Difficult Questions

Children, especially young children, are notorious for asking a myriad of questions. Who, what, where, when, why, why, why, WHY, WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY? Those questions aren’t going to go away because we find the topic difficult or uncomfortable, or we don’t know how to answer. Children are excellent at reading nonverbal behavior. They sense our stress and our hesitation, and may respond by asking even more questions or by sending their questions underground wrapped in fear or shame.

We can help ensure children’s wellbeing during this time of upheaval by offering reassurance, empathy and age-appropriate information. Click here to read tips for cultivating wellbeing and answers to some questions children may ask.

Helping Children Cope With Changes Resulting From COVID-19

Families across the country are adapting to the evolving changes in daily life caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most schools, places of public gathering, and nonessential businesses are closed, and parents and other caregivers are faced with helping their families adjust to the new normal. This includes trying to keep children occupied, feeling safe, and attempting to keep up with schoolwork as best as possible. None of this easy, but it helps to stay focused on what is possible in order to reinforce a sense of control and to reassure children that they are okay, and that the situation will get better. Click here to read more.
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