Ferndale Early Childhood Center

Dedicated to joy, laughter, love & happiness of every child

Note from the Director...

Greetings FECC families!

We are in the middle of The Great Kindness Challenge this week at school! The entire Ferndale district is participating in The Great Kindness Challenge - a week devoted to creating a culture of kindness in your school by performing as many acts of kindness as you can! Participating in a challenge this size has the ability to increase tolerance, unity and respect for ALL! It's been so heartwarming watching our Littlest Eagles get such joy out of doing kind things for their school family. We have a lot going on this week - a water drive for Flint, a sticker collection for Children's Hospital of Michigan, thank you cards, picking up litter, kindness trees and special deliveries - just to name a few!

Visit the website http://www.greatkindnesschallenge.org/ and see how you can continue the challenge at home! Help us spread kindness everywhere we go!

As always, thank you for sharing your children with us!

Wishing you well,

Heidi Schmidt

Bundle Up and Go Outside!

Winter outdoor play is good for children. Being outside helps strengthen their immune systems, gives them a good dose of vitamin D, improves their problem-solving abilities, boosts their independence, and is crucial for their social, emotional and physical development. To encourage outdoor play during the colder months try these tips:

  • Have your child dress appropriately; hats, gloves, jackets, and warm shoes are a must.
  • Have a colorful ice cube hunt. Use food coloring and freeze ice cubes.
  • Hide the colorful ice cubes and have your child hunt them.

Big image

Family Resources

Free Family Fun

Take a Factory Tour of Morley Candy Makers - The Home of Sanders Candy
Morley Candy Makers is the place where Sanders chocolates and confections are created.
The free factory tour is perfect for all ages, and can be customized to fit any group's needs.
The facility is located at 23770 Hall Road; Clinton Township, MI 48036 and is handicap accessible. Advance reservations are required. Call (800) 682-2760 today to schedule your tour experience.

3D Art Fair at the Huntington Woods Public Library

Going on now through Jan. 30

Huntington Woods Public Library, 26415 Scotia Road, Huntington Woods, MI 48070

Free Admission: Mondays-Thursdays 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays 1-5 p.m.

Fire & Ice Festival in Downtown Rochester

Jan. 22-24

Head to downtown Rochester for fireworks, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, dog sled rides, ice skating, ice sculptures and more. Admission is free.


Saturday, January 9, 2016 from 11a-6p
Cold Rush Warren MI 2016: Warren City Square (Van Dyke just north of 12 Mile Road)
Enjoy these free activities: ice skating from 11a-10p, learn to skate clinic, an ice carving show, a petting zoo, and much more!

Free File: Do Your Federal Taxes For Free

Let Free File do the hard work for you with brand-name software or Free File Fillable Forms. Free File is available on January 15 to file your 2015 tax return.

Go to: https://www.irs.gov/uac/Free-File:-Do-Your-Federal-Taxes-for-Free, to get started.

Income below $62,000: Free File Software

  • Use free tax prep software
  • Software makes taxes easier
  • State returns available, some are free

Income above $62,000: Free File Fillable Forms

  • Free Fillable, electronic versions of the paper forms
  • Must know how to do your taxes yourself
  • Does math; offers only basic guidance
  • State tax prep is not available

Use Free File Software if your income is $62,000 or less and Free File Fillable Forms if your income is greater than $62,000.

IRS Free File is a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a group of industry-leading private-sector tax preparation companies that have agreed to provide free commercial online tax preparation and electronic filing. Read more about our partnership.

We do not endorse any individual Free File Alliance company or retain any taxpayer information entered on the Free File site.

Are these programs safe? Yes. Your information is protected from any unauthorized access while it is sent to the IRS. The companies may not disclose or use tax return information for purposes other than tax return preparation without your informed and voluntary consent. These companies are also subject to the Federal Trade Commission Privacy and Safeguards Rules and IRS e-file regulations.

Big image

Early Math Matters by Kristin Stanberry

As the parent of a preschooler, you probably enjoy experiencing the world through your child’s eyes (and hands and feet!) as he or she explores and learns with great enthusiasm. And as your child’s first teacher, you can start teaching the basics of reading, writing, and math. Giving preschoolers a solid foundation in early math literacy is critical to their future academic success, not to mention how important it is to their day-to-day functioning. This is especially true given the increased demands of the math curriculum in our elementary schools today. If your child attends preschool, you can expect to see greater emphasis placed on teaching early math as preschools ramp up to prepare students for elementary school math.

What do you need to know and do to help your preschooler learn about math? To help you get started, we’ll explain how preschoolers learn about the many dimensions of math so you can build on that .You’ll learn what questions to ask your child’s preschool about their math program and instruction. We’ll suggest some fun and educational math activities and games to do with your preschooler. And finally, we’ll explain how to partner with preschool teachers to make sure your child is on track and experiences math as being “real” and useful throughout the day — at school, at home, and while at play.

How preschoolers learn the many aspects of math

Most preschoolers, even without guidance from adults, are naturally interested in math as it exists in the world around them. They learn math best by engaging in dynamic, hands-on games and projects. Preschoolers love to ask questions and play games that involve the many aspects of math. The table below lists the key aspects of preschool math, along with simple games and activities you can use to help your child learn them.

Math Aspect Games and activities

Number sense Count food items at snack time (e.g., 5 crackers, 20 raisins, 10 baby carrots).Use a calendar to count down the days to a birthday or special holiday. Help your child see the connection between a numeral like "5," the word "five," and five days on the calendar.Practice simple addition and subtraction using small toys and blocks.Play simple board games where your child moves a game piece from one position to the next.

Geometry Have your child name the shapes of cookie cutters or blocks.Arrange cookie cutters in patterns on a cookie sheet or placemat. A simple pattern might be: star-circle-star-circle.

Measurement Let your child help you measure ingredients for a simple recipe - preferably a favorite!Measure your child's height every month or so, showing how you use a yardstick or tape measure. Mark his or her height on a "growth chart" or a mark on a door frame. Do the same with any siblings. Help your child compare his or her own height to previous months and also to his or her siblings' heights.

Math languageTalk through games and daily activities that involve math concepts.Have your child name numbers and shapes.Help him or her understand and express comparisons like more than/less than, bigger/smaller, and near/far.

Spatial relations Play games where you direct your child to jump forward and back, to run far from you or stay nearby.Use songs with corresponding movements to teach concepts like in and out, up and down, and round and round.

Your child may grasp (and enjoy) certain math concepts more easily than others; some variation in children's math awareness and skills is to be expected. Even so, by age 3 or 4 your child should understand certain math concepts and be able to perform related math tasks.

If you or your child's teacher believe your child is having an especially difficult time with early math, you may want to consult your pediatrician and perhaps contact your public school system's Director of Special Education for adiagnostic screening at no cost to you (available under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).

Taking math out of isolation

For generations, math has been taught as a separate subject and wasn't integrated with other subjects in school. Math was taught and talked about only in "math class" and was rarely mentioned or used in other lessons and activities. There is now a shift toward teaching math across the curriculum, weaving it into language arts, music, art, and physical activity. For example, students doing an art project might be asked to incorporate and describe geometry through the use of certain shapes and patterns. They might also learn math through stories and songs that include counting, numbers, and the language of math; the Dr. Seuss classic, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish is one fun example! This type of integrated approach has been used successfully as a way to teach young children to read, so it makes sense that the same approach may enhance children's understanding of math.

Ask about the preschool's math program

Whether your child is already enrolled in preschool or you're shopping around for one, you may want to do some detective work about the math program they're using. Here are some key questions to ask the teacher and preschool director:

  • What math program do you use at this school? Have you used it before and if so, how well did students learn? Do different classrooms use different programs? How much instruction is "set" by the program and how much is "flexible" and created by the teacher?
  • How is the program designed to prepare children to succeed in kindergarten math? (Note: Once a child enters public elementary school, his or her performance is measured against educational standards and requirements specific to the state where he or she lives.)
  • Do you blend math into other activities and subjects in the general curriculum? If so, can you give me some examples? (If not, why not?)
  • How do you know when a child is doing well or needs some additional help? Do you screen children individually? Do you offer tailored math instruction to meet their needs?
  • Have the teachers received instruction and support in how best to teach math? Do they have mentors to turn to for guidance? Do they know what to do if a child shows signs of struggle?
  • Why did you select this approach to teach math? Is there research to support your use of this program? Do you use combination of different approaches? (Keep in mind that research into early math is a fairly "new" science, so there is far less research than there is for reading.)

Getting answers to these questions will equip you to understand and reinforce the math your child is learning at school. Try using similar words, math concepts, and activities as those used in the classroom. You'll also gain insight into how well your child is learning math at school, and you'll have an easier time communicating with the teacher during formal meetings and informal check-ins.

Team up with the teacher

If your child attends preschool, be sure to check in with the teacher so you can coordinate your at-school and at-home math instruction. Parent orientation sessions, parent-teacher conferences, and even volunteering in the classroom (and observing the action) provide great opportunities to learn about the school's math program and see firsthand how your own child is learning. Ask the teacher what aspects of math your child understands and where he or she is struggling. Then ask how the teacher is addressing any difficulties — and how you might do the same at home. Review the work and projects your child brings home from school and discuss them together.

Homeschooling your preschooler

If your child doesn't attend preschool and you've opted to teach him or her at home, you should learn about the kindergarten math standards in your state, so you can tailor your teaching to prepare your child to meet those requirements. Contact your state department of education to learn more. And, ask your public school district (or private elementary school) what math skills they require incoming kindergarten students to know.

You're not a math-minded person?

What if you aren't a math-minded person? Did you struggle with math in school? Do you count on your fingers (It's not a crime!) or have trouble doubling the ingredients and cooking time in recipes? Many parents (and some teachers!) are intimidated by math. If this sounds like you, spend some time reflecting on how you use math in daily life. Consider the practical aspects of math that you're teaching your child (i.e., "number sense," language of math, measurement, geometry, and spatial relations) and think about how often you use them successfully in daily life. When you balance your checkbook, calculate gas mileage, or estimate how well new furniture will fit in your living room, you're using math! Your child will sense any anxiety or lack of confidence you have around math, and this may influence his or her own attitude toward the subject. The more confidence you have in your own math ability, the greater success you'll have teaching your child.

Kristin Stanberry is a writer and editor specializing in parenting, education, and consumer health/wellness issues. Her areas of expertise include learning disabilities and AD/HD, topics which she wrote about extensively for Schwab Learning and GreatSchools.

Big image

Protecting Children Against Infectious Disease

The Importance of Immunizations (Part 1)

By Jerome O. Klein, MD

Infectious disease outbreaks are a fact of life for children who attend child care centers, preschools, and other out-of-home group activities. Outbreaks can turn into epidemics – that is, the disease occurs suddenly in numbers much higher than would normally be expected. Fortunately, today we have a good understanding of how germs spread within a population. We also have effective ways to reduce and even prevent the occurrence of many life-threatening infectious diseases.


Infants and toddlers have the highest age-specific attack rates for respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Each child brings to the care center the germs – bacteria, viruses, and parasites – acquired in his or her household. There are plenty of opportunities to spread disease-causing germs to other children and adult caretakers. Coughing, sneezing, touching, and hugging are common ways to transmit germs. Germs are also spread when the surfaces of toys, tables, and other furniture and equipment have been contaminated by urine and feces.

Of course, a child who is infected in the care center may take germs home and spread the infection to Mom and Dad, brothers and sisters, and other household members. The greater the number of children attending the care group, the greater the risk of exposure to respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases.


1. Age: The highest rates, based on age, of common respiratory and gastrointestinal infections occur in infants and toddlers. An infant has little or no protection against common bacteria and viruses and is thus likely to become infected and ill when exposed to them.

2. Crowding: The greater the number of children attending the child care unit, the greater the exposure to germs carried by other children, and the higher the rate of infection.

3. Physical characteristics of the center: The number and location of sinks and toilets, the adequacy of ventilation, and the location and cleanliness of food preparation areas are important in the transmission and control of germs.

4. Unknown presence of infection: Children are infectious before they show symptoms. Isolating or excluding a child from care is of limited value, because the most infectious – or contagious – period occurs before the symptoms of illness appear.

5. Multiple modes of transmission including:

a. Direct contact: Germs are spread by contact with infected skin or mucous membranes or by contact with germs on the surfaces of toys, tables, and equipment.

b. Respiratory spread: Germs are sprayed into the air by droplets when someone coughs or sneezes.

c. Fecal-oral spread: Gastrointestinal germs excreted in the stool may contaminate food and surfaces.

d. Contact with infected blood and secretions, such as urine or saliva.

6. Focusing on “the basics” of infection control is a major step toward preventing the spread of illness. These include:

a. Hand washing is the most effective means of preventing the spread of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.

b. Children in diapers should be separated from older children and cared for by separate staff members.

c. Diaper-changing surfaces should be disinfected between uses, and sinks should be located next to diaper-changing areas.

d. Shared toys and materials handled by children should be cleansed daily to prevent germs that live on these items from being transmitted from one person to another.

e. Food preparation areas should be apart from diaper-changing areas and other children’s activity areas to avoid contamination.

f. Many pediatricians and infectious disease experts strongly recommend using gloves when changing diapers. Gloves must be used when handling blood or secretions.

7. Currently available vaccines can prevent many of the common infectious diseases. The vaccine-preventable diseases are Pertussis, Pneumococcal infections, Influenza, Chickenpox (varicella), Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B.

8. Adults who provide care for children should also be protected by immunization. Adult caretakers have a responsibility to limit their role in spreading infection within a child care facility. Immunization of adults protects the caretakers from infections that could be spread by the children, and also protects the children from infections that could be spread by the adults.