Holidays, Stress, Gifts and Preschoolers

Beware of Holiday Mania! Children look forward all year to their favorite holidays, and this season is particularly exciting for most of them. Beware, however! The combination of tired, busy adults and over-excited children can end up creating a stressful atmosphere for all. As holidays approach, parents are extra busy trying to fulfill their normal commitments as well as to get everything ready so their children and families have a great holiday. Social occasions fill the calendars, and there is, of course, never enough time to be found for shopping. Parents and children alike are tired as routines and schedules are upset, and patience may be in short supply, making it difficult for everyone to maintain their equilibrium and self-control. Added pressure such as “Santa (or the Elf) is watching!” or “Do you want to lose a Chanukah present?” can backfire as the children fold under its weight. Keep in… [Read more]

Week of November 20

Dear Friends, The past week was full of fun, food and fellowship! Our three-, four-, and five-year-old preschoolers in the Experiential School at Shorecrest were extra busy with their project-based and service learning as well as the Alpha study of the first Thanksgiving and the Junior Kindergartner explorations related to living off the land like the Seminole people did long ago. Here’s a look at and some details of their activities. How are the gardens growing? It was back to the Pioneer Community Gardens at Boyd Hill for the Alpha students to check on the progress of the crops, and to do their part to help with these gardens that supply fresh vegetables to homeless shelter kitchens. When the children visited in September, the gardens had only recently been sown, so they were thrilled to see how everything has grown and to do their part to help. The boys and girls worked with… [Read more]

Service Learning and Developing Empathy

Very young children are naturally egocentric; they think first and foremost of themselves and are able to see the world only from their own perspective. This egocentricity should not be confused with selfishness, which is knowingly doing something for one’s own benefit, aware that it may hurt or disappoint someone else. Children from 3-5-years of age are moving from this stage of egocentrism to the developmental stage in which they are learning to look beyond their own point of view to see that of others. It is also a time of learning to consider the feelings, needs and opinions of others, to share, AND of developing empathy. Someone who is empathetic has the ability to identify with the thoughts and feelings of others and strives to understand them. One aspect of teaching children empathy can come from service learning. Service learning goes beyond teaching children that they should help others,… [Read more]