Young Explorers Press

January & February 2016

Welcome to our newly reformatted Young Explorers Press!

Foundation Spotlight: Service Learning

Service Learning is one of the foundations of the Young Explorers Program and you will see examples of it throughout the school year, such as making cards for kids in hospitals and donating canned food items to a local food pantry. As students engage in service learning, they are contributing to their school and community and learning how they can impact change. Service Learning experiences also enhance children's' empathy by helping them understand needs around them (people and their environment) and take a step to make a difference. Our goal is that service learning, or seeing need and giving, will follow our students through early childhood and into adulthood.

Wondering how to incorporate service learning at home? On Monday, January 18 from 10am-1pm, there will be a Martin Luther King Day of Service for families to take part in. See the event description under "Other Neighborhood Events!" below.

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A huge thank you to all who participated in our Service Learning Project of donating art supplies to Becca’s LEGacy! Here is a picture of all of the wonderful art supply donations we collected!

Move to Learn, Learn to Move by Rachel Hirsch, OTD, OTR/L

Movement is crucial for humans. Our bodies were not designed for a sedentary lifestyle. Not only are we designed to move, sitting for prolonged periods of time does damage to our joints and musculoskeletal system. Besides the cardiovascular and physical benefits of moving (building strength, increased blood flow and oxygen throughout the body, and increased function in all our systems), moving has been shown to improve learning. Initially, it was believed that recess was just a break for students. Research now shows that movement during this time allows student’s brains to process the information and build stronger neural connections in regards to what they have just learned. Movement breaks also allow a student to have better regulation which promotes better learning through increased attention.

Recess and playground time are not the only times that movement supports learning. Research shows that movement during instruction leads to increased retention and deeper understanding of the material. This can look like using their bodies to form letters, using toys to learn about prepositions, and jumping to letters to spell words. A recent study showed the same areas of the brain are activated in kids when they are learning and when they are moving. This “enhances the development of neural connections in the brain which therefore enhances a child’s ability to learn” (Jensen, 2000). Movement and rhythm stimulate the frontal lobe which enriches language and motor development. Physical activity also stimulates the vestibular system which is known to increase attention.

Students learn better by doing. Not only are the developing cognitive skills, they are building motor skills. Both are essential for success. Research suggests that physical activity and play can impact student performance enough to elevate tests scores (CDC, 2010). Young Explorers incorporates movement throughout the day and during all learning activities. Through these every day experiences we are building the children’s brain and body to prepare them for the future. Keep on moving!

Connecting School & Home

All About Art

Our Young Explorers are learning all about art, such as different art forms, art tools, artists, and artistic styles. Tie in the learning at home by attending one of the art-related activities offered through the Northbrook Public Library! See a list of activities under "Northbrook Public Library" section below.

Strategies for Promoting Positive Behavior

  • Aim to spend 5-15 minutes of one-on-one time each day playing with your child. Say to him/her, "It's our special time to play together!"

  • Join your child in play, doing what he/she is doing. (e.g. if he/she is building with blocks, you should also build something with blocks.)

  • Describe what your child is doing as a way to indicate that you find what he/she is doing to be interesting. Try to be genuine and enthusiastic. (e.g. "You are giving your baby a bottle," "It looks like you are drawing a house," or "You are making the firetruck drive really fast.")

  • Provide specific, positive feedback on what your child is doing. (e.g. "I like the way you remembered to pick up your toys," "It is fun playing dress-up with you," or "What a beautiful picture you drew-- I love all of the different colors you used."

  • Occasionally during playtime, your child may misbehave. If it is minor, you can simply turn away and continue playing on your own. When your child begins to show appropriate behavior again, immediately attend to your child, looking at him/her and making positive comments about his/her play.

Resource: G. Gimpel Peacock & M. Holland, Emotional and Behavioral Problems of Young Children: Effective Interventions in the Preschool and Kindergarten Years

Ideas for Showing Your Kids Just How Much You Care

  • Look in their eyes when you talk to them.
  • Play with them.
  • Read aloud together.
  • Giggle together.
  • Tell them their feelings are okay.
  • Set boundaries that keep them safe.
  • Delight in their discoveries.
  • Kneel, squat, or sit so you're at their eye level.
  • Tell them how terrific they are.
  • Apologize when you've done something wrong.
  • Display their artwork in your home.
  • Thank them.
  • Point out what you like about them.
  • Give them your undivided attention.
  • Ask for their opinion.
  • Be consistent.
  • Let them make mistakes.
  • Join in their adventures.
  • Encourage them to help you and others.
  • Tell them what you expect of them.
  • Expect their best; don't expect perfection.
  • Love them no matter what.

Resource: Search Institute, "150 Ways to Show Kids You Care"

School Events & Reminders

Dates to Remember

Monday, Jan. 18 - No school (Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday)

Wednesday, Feb. 3 - Young Explorers Art Showcase from 6-7pm

Wednesday, Feb. 10 - Full day of school & Parent/Teacher Conferences in the evening

Thursday, Feb. 11 - Half-day of school: AM session only & Parent/Teacher Conferences in the afternoon and evening

Friday, Feb. 12 - No school

Monday, Feb. 15 - No school: President's Day

Art Showcase

Young Explorers Art Showcase is Wednesday, February 3 from 6:00-7:00pm at Westmoor! Students will be showcasing the art they have been creating, such as paintings, sculptures, dances and more! Please RSVP via Evite!

Upcoming Community Events

Wintery Activities

Thinking about sledding or ice skating? Have fun sledding at Wood Oaks Green Park and Techny Prairie Park and Fields or trying outdoor ice skating at Tower Rink and Meadowhill Park Rink! Check the Northbrook Park District website for more information!

Sat, Jan. 16, 11am-1:30pm: Winter Carnival at Meadowhill Park through the Northbrook Park District – There will be family games, ice sculpting, snowshoeing and more!

Sat, Jan. 30, 4-6pm: Customer Appreciation Event open to the public at the Northbrook Sports Center – Enjoy free admission and free rental skates, and watch thrilling ice demonstrations!

Sun, Jan. 10-Feb. 28, 2-8pm: Frozemont – Have fun ice skating at MB Park in Rosemont and go tubing down the Polar Peak kiddie hill (weather permitting).

Parent Workshops

Fri, Jan. 22, 9:30-11am: Parenting in the 21st Century: What Current Research Tells Us Is Most Important at Church of the Holy Comforter, Kenilworth through the Alliance for Early Childhood – Dr. Guddemi, Executive Director of Yale’s Gesell Institute of Child Development, will share the latest research on how children develop and how this informs today’s parenting. (See flyer attached to e-mail)

Tues, Feb. 23, 7-8:30pm: An Evening for Dads: Finding Patience and Resilience in Everyday Challenges at the NSSED Training Center, Highland Park through the Association of Parents and Staff (APS) – Dr. Doug Bolton will draw on current research and years of practice to help dads navigate the stresses and enhance the rewards of family life. He will identify parenting myths and share strategies for modeling good coping methods.

Chicago Botanic Garden

Mon, Jan 11-May 23, 10-11am: Storytime – Stop by for nature-themed stories and activities in the Lenhardt Library.

Sat, Jan 23 & Sun, Jan 31, 9:30-11am or 1-2:30pm: Weekend Family Class “Hot Chocolate” – Mix up several kinds of historic chocolate drinks! (Ages 4-10)

Sat, Feb 20 & Sun, Feb 28, 9:30-11am or 1-2:30pm: Weekend Family Class “Homemade Ice Cream” - Make a batch of ice cream and pot a plant that can flavor ice cream! (Ages 4-10)

Northbrook Public Library

Tues, Jan. 12-Feb. 16 & Wed, Jan 13-Feb 17, 10:30-11am: Preschool Storytime

Sat, Jan. 16, 10am: Old Town School of Folk Music Family Music Concert: Little Miss Ann

Mon, Jan. 18, 1:30pm: Caring Community Connection – Celebrate Martin Luther King Day with a storytime that focuses on caring.

Sat, Jan. 23, 10am: Messy Masterpieces – Create a family craft project!

Tues, Jan. 26, 6:30-7:30pm: Pajama Storytime for Families

Other Neighborhood Events!

Mon, Jan. 18, 10am-1pm: Martin Luther King Day of Service at the Recreation Center of Highland Park through the Highland Park Human Relations and Commission and North Shore School District 112 – Take part in meaningful, creative, and fun service projects to help various agencies in the area!

Sat, Jan 23-Feb 27, 10am & 1pm: The Northbrook Theatre for Young Audiences presents “Junie B. Jones The Musical” at the Northbrook Theatre (inside Leisure Center).

Fri, Feb. 5, 6:30-9pm: Sweetheart Daddy-Daughter Dance at the Northbrook Hilton through the Northbrook Park District. (Ages 4-16)

Thurs, Feb. 11, 6-7:30: Valentine’s Day Sweets and Treats at the Leisure Center through the Northbrook Park District – Make your own fun sweets and treats! (Ages 3-8)

Sat, Feb. 20, 6:30-8:30pm: Daddy/Daughter Dance: The Glass Slipper Ball at Highland Park Country Club through the Park District of Highland Park. (Ages 3-9)