This blog is a place where parents and teachers of children 3-7 years of age can find information about topics specific to children in this age group, share ideas and access free resources for home and the classroom.

Mother’s Day and Food Safety

Here comes Mother’s Day; a day for hosting a gathering for our mothers. For many of us, it is a time to serve convenience food, so we have more time to enjoy our company.

The Partnership for Food Safety Education wants you to know that to prevent food-related illness due to under-cooking frozen or other convenience foods follow these four simple tips:

1. Read and follow package cooking instructions.

2. Know when to use a microwave or conventional oven.

3. Know your microwave wattage before microwaving food.

4. Always use a food thermometer to ensure a safe internal temperature.

The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service wants you to know the following about keeping party foods safe:

  • Make sure all food is cooked thoroughly before serving.
  • Store prepared foods in shallow pans so they cool quickly and evenly. Reheat and serve small amounts on platters while the remaining food stays hot in the oven.
  • Don’t let food stay at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Use chafing dishes, warming trays or slow cookers to keep foods hot.
  • Surround dishes of cold foods with ice.

Both government agencies are quick to remind us that taking precautions when preparing and serving food can spare us the misery of a food-induced illness.

All of us at “Can Do” Street know how important mothers and grandmothers are to children young and old. So…from all of us to all of you…

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Home school Preschool Rocks!

With a growing number of parents choosing to home school their child(ren), I thought  a reprint of the following post, Home school Preschool Rocks! by MommieKate on October 25, 2010 might be helpful for some of our readers who are considering homeschooling as an option.

Six weeks ago I officially joined the many who have decided (at least for now) to educate my son at home. Let me just say: IT IS AWESOME!  I admit, I didn’t feel that way at first.  I was excited and then (while doing endless internet research) it hit me.  Hit me hard.  I mean, this is one of the biggest decisions that will affect my little boy FOR LIFE.  I started to panic. Have you seen the ka-zillion choices out there? There are so many different education styles and ten times that in curriculum choices. I became overwhelmed.  Nauseated even. And then…

I found some lovely blogs that helped bring me back to “OK, I can do this” state.  More on them later (plus links). While I am in no way an expert, I did figure out a few things over the summer.  Here is a summary of my Crash Course for Home School Newbies:

  • Start with the legalities. Find out what the laws are in your state.  This will help guide you through your curriculum choices. You may not even want or need a curriculum. My state is one that has few requirements and gives parents great freedom.
  • Consider your own skills and limitations as well as your family’s. Do you follow a tight schedule, a flexible routine, or do you fly by the seat of your pants?  Are you creative?  Do you need the guidance of a curriculum? How much guidance?  What is your budget? I chose mine based on flexibility and budget.
  • What support will you have? Is your spouse on board?  Will he be able to help – to what degree?  Is there a homeschooling group in your area? I joined a local Christian HS group to get ideas & guidance from veteran parents and for the field trip opportunities.
  • Have a firm idea of why you want to pursue this. You will want it in neon flashing lights.  I’m not kidding- it starts with the curriculum choices, the HOURS of prep work, and ends with a lot of negative questions and comments from others. It’s fun, it’s rewarding, but it is HARD WORK.
  • Relax and keep it all in perspective. Nothing is set it stone. You will explore and change styles, methods, and curriculum many times as you grow and your school days go by.  You’ll learn as you go. You may even change your mind all together about home education. Homeschooling is ALL ABOUT FLEXIBILITY and doing what is best for each stage of your family’s life. What I’ve learned so far is Home school Preschool Rocks!
Don’t stress.  Trust God to guide you.  Trust yourself.  Have fun.

I want to give blog hugs to Sue, thehomeschoolchick and to Erica at confessionsofahomeschooler. These ladies gave me confidence, a place to start, and shared a sense of humor in the process. They have great links to other helpful sites. If you are homeschooling you probably already know them.  If you are still in the consideration stage, go check out their sites- you’ll be glad you did. Also, to find out your state’s laws visit http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp.  HAPPY HOMESCHOOLING!

 

 


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Rainy Day Exercises for Young Children

Coach Campbell writes about the need for rainy day exercises for young children.Hi, I’m Coach (Ned) Campbell and I don’t just play a coach on “Can Do “Street; I am a coach.  Coach Campbell suggests rainy day exercises for young children

I am a USA Wrestling nationally certified wrestling coach and was named the 2009 Beat the Streets Wrestling High School Coach of the Year.  I also serve as the President of the New York City Public School Wrestling Coaches Association. I graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a degree in American studies and later earned my graduate degree in American history from Brooklyn College.  I teach history at a large public high school in Brooklyn, New York where in addition to coaching the wrestling team I was the Assistant Head Coach of varsity football.

Now as I spend my days with hundreds of young teenagers, I can tell you from personal experience that many incoming freshmen are not physically fit and healthy.  Many come to me having never done anything athletic before in their lives.  So, I cannot stress enough the importance of early childhood exercise and development of good, healthy lifestyle choices at a young age.

One common obstacle to daily exercise is the weather.  When confined to the indoors I suggest “Rainy Day Exercises” as an alternative to just sitting around.  It also helps to have a workout partner which can be a sibling, a friend over on a play-date or even you. Once you get started a daily exercise routine can quickly become a good habit anyone can be proud of!

Rainy Day Exercises

Any number of stretches for flexibility and as a warm-up:

  1. Feet apart, slow stretch and touch the floor with your fingertips…hold it for 10 seconds and no bouncing
  2. Deep knee bend and elbows on inside of knees and hands on feet…slow push out of the elbows to stretch the groin muscles. Again, slow and no bouncing /herky jerky movements.
  3. Trunk twisters with hands on hips.
  4. Circle the arms forwards and backwards, small and big circles.

Exercises:

  1. Leg raises – lie flat on your back, keep legs straight and raise them 6-8 inches off the floor…hold for 10 seconds.
  2. Flutter kicks – lie flat on your back, but straight legs are going up and down like you are doing a backstroke in the pool.
  3. Sit-ups
  4. Push-ups – back straight and on your knees to start until you build up strength. Keep a straight back with no bowing, sagging, etc.
  5. Various exercises with dumbbell weights…and since this is for home use the dumbbells can be homemade from things that might be thrown away…SUCH AS…empty plastic jugs that used to contain iced tea, milk, juices, etc.  Take two identical plastic jugs and fill them equally with water. Seal them tight and they are perfect for weights for bicep curls, overhead presses and shrugs.

Questions?  E-mail me at coachcampbell@candostreet.com

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Facts about Kids and Sports

Safe Kids USA wants you to know the following key facts about kids and sports:

• More than 38 million children and adolescents participate in sports each year in the U.S.
• Nearly three-quarters of U.S. households with school-age children have at least one child who plays organized sports.
• Each year, more than 3.5 million children ages 14 years and under receive medical treatment for sports injuries.
• Approximately two-thirds of all sports-related injuries leading to emergency department visits are for children.
The rate and severity of sports-related injury increases with a child’s age.
• From 2001 through 2009, it is estimated that there were 1,770,000 emergency department visits, 6 percent
of these for traumatic brain injuries, among children ages 14 and under for injuries related to sports or
recreation.
• Approximately one out of five traumatic brain injuries among children are associated with participation in sports and recreational activities.
• More than 90 percent of sports-related concussions occur without the loss of consciousness.
• The most common types of sport-related injuries in children are sprains (mostly ankle), muscle strains, bone or growth plate injuries, repetitive motion injuries, and heat-related illness.
• In 2009, more than 365,000 children ages 14 and under were treated in emergency departments for either football or basketball-related injuries.

 

Kids playing sports

Proven Interventions that Can Protect Your Child when Playing Sports:

• Coaches should be trained in first aid and CPR, and should have a plan for responding to emergencies. Coaches should be well versed in the proper use of equipment and should enforce rules on equipment use.
• Helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of concussion, particularly in sports such as football, skiing and snowboarding.
• Children should have access to and consistently use the appropriate gear necessary for each respective sport.
• Among bicyclists, skateboarders and scooter riders, wrist guards can reduce wrist injuries by up to 87 percent, elbow pads can reduce elbow injuries by 82 percent and knee pads can reduce the number of knee injuries by 32 percent.
• Proper hydration and recognition of heat illness signs and symptoms (such as nausea, dizziness and elevated body temperature) can help reduce the risk of severe sports-related heat illness.
• The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children take at least one day off from organized
physical activity each week and at least two to three months off from a particular sport per year to avoid over training or burnout.

 

Go to www.safekids.org for more information on keeping children safe while enjoying sports.

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The Added Benefits of Taking Music Lessons in Childhood

Kids playing music demonstrating the added benefits of taking music lessons in childhood

 Beyond the obvious benefits of learning music, a study looks at the added benefits of taking music lessons in childhood.

The study was published in the  Journal of Neuroscience.  It states that adults who took music lessons as children have a heightened ability to process sounds. They are also better at listening.

Northwestern University researchers looked at 45 adults who had music training in childhood and compared them to those with no musical training during childhood. Those with even a few years of musical training in childhood had enhanced brain responses to complex sounds.

The participants were divided into three groups: those with no musical training, those with one to five years of lessons, and those with six to 11 years. Most in the study had begun music lessons at about age nine.

The study found that those who had music lessons were better at hearing fundamental frequency. This is the lowest frequency in sound and is crucial for speech and music perception. It enables recognition of sounds in complex and noisy hearing settings.

In a university news release, Nina Kraus, a professor of neurobiology, physiology and communication sciences, stated “Musical training as children makes better listeners later in life,” She continued, “Based on what we know about the ways that music helps shape the brain, the study suggests that short-term music lessons may enhance lifelong listening and learning.

Many children take music lessons for a few years, but few continue with formal music instruction beyond middle or high school. We help address a question on every parent’s mind: ‘Will my child benefit if he or she plays music for a short while but then quits training?”

Note: While the research showed an association between musical training and better listening skills, it does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

(SOURCE: Northwestern University, news release.

More Information: The American Music Therapy Association: other benefits of music.

 

 

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