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Kids seem to have endless amounts of energy. As a parent, keeping your little one safely occupied is easy when you can let them play outside. When the weather cools down, however, it can be tricky to find ways to keep them entertained indoors. The COVID-19 pandemic presents added challenges, requiring your family to spend...

I had a rough childhood. That’s not an opinion; I have a very high ACES score. ACES (adverse childhood experience scale) runs from one to ten with one being the fewest adverse experiences a child might have and ten being the most. Those experiences range from losing a parent to having an incarcerated family member. It...

The field of early childhood care and education had a big win in Washington DC last month. Congress passed the FY2020 government spending bills for the remaining fiscal year. The bill included a funding increase of over $1 billion for early learning and care programs, including a $500 million increase for the Child Care Development...

Holidays have so much to alert the sense this time of year! Schedule changes and bright, flickering lights; music piping from every store speaker, the bustle of crowds and the congestion of lines; dietary changes (usually in the form of a year’s worth of sugar), calendar overloads, invitations and obligations abound. Some of us are...

We all need to eat and in this season, so many fun choices abound! Help kids maintain their bodies and minds through these fun “project” foods. Snowballs 1 cup nutbutter/peanut butter of choice 1 ¼ cup of dry powdered milk ½ cup honey ½-1 cup shredded coconut Mix first three ingredients well. Roll into 1-2 inch...

North Central Montana is due for its first snow storm of the year this weekend, beginning on Friday, September 26, 2019 and continuing through the weekend. How do you know whether it will interrupt or divert your plans? Listen to the weather on your phone, radio, or television Listen for the words, “confidence levels”. This will tell...

Emergencies affect us all.  Imagine having a child fall ill while at child care or having an accident while traveling. An unexpected call about a death in the family can derail a day, a week or even months. Floods, structure fires, blizzards, heatwaves, tornadoes, forest fires, and earthquakes affect more than just our families. Whole communities,...

Fun Fact #1: Science tells us that our child’s first 5 years are the best time to build the brain! Fun Fact #2: You already have what it takes to build your child’s brain! Fun Fact #3: The FREE app to make it happen is Vroom or use the website vroom.org! The purpose of the Vroom app and...

Summer To-Do lists can run something like this in Montana: swim, bike, play at the park, get ice cream, camp, picnic, sleep late, find shade or shelter, as well as they myriad of regular tasks such as finding childcare, keeping up on household chores and scheduling out work and vacation time. When making out your list...

The weather outside may be frightful, but it’s not healthy to stay indoors all winter and wait for spring. You can enjoy the beautiful winter wonderland with your entire family. By following a few precautions, you can keep your family safe, stay fit, and have a great time no matter how much snow piles up. When temperatures...

Children begin very early in life to acquire language skills. Language helps children gain independence, interact with others, and participate in the surrounding culture. Language skills allow children to express their emotions and learn by asking questions. Most children follow a sequence of language development: crying/cooing, babbling, first words, and first sentences. By the age of...

Adults have the opportunity to provide the time, space, materials, and atmosphere to create the wonderful works of art that only children can create. In valuing a child’s first artistic attempts, however, we should appreciate the beauty of the color and design rather than worry about the finished product. Real art for real children is: Personal:...

Children learn about writing by observing people who already know how and by participating with those people in simple writing experiences. Parents and older siblings serve as models for children, showing them what writers do. Children are more likely to want to communicate in writing if they grow up in a home where they often see...

Ready 2 Read is a free text messaging program for parents and caregivers to help prepare children for kindergarten. This program covers a wide range of early literacy skills and related parenting practices including: alphabet knowledge, letter sounds, beginning sound awareness, rhyme awareness, print concepts, name writing, story comprehension, listening skills, vocabulary development, nursery rhymes, singing songs, playing together, parent-child...

Children are born without biases about other people of any race, culture, gender, or disability. We sometimes wonder if we can raise children free of prejudice by just leaving well enough alone and making sure not to pass on negative attitudes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work this way; society’s messages are too pervasive. As parents and...

With the holiday’s right around the corner, it’s a good idea to prepare your child for what is coming. Here are 6 tips to prepare for upcoming celebrations: Prompt conversations that will spark interest in the upcoming events. Take a walk downtown and look at the holiday decorations and window displays. Look at pictures of...

Why do adults pursue hobbies such as golf, crochet, or gardening? We spend time in these activities because we find it enjoyable, we have some control over the activity, and we see it as offering some probability of success. We choose what we will crochet or plant; we describe where, when and with whom we...

Active learning takes advantage of children’s natural desire to move and touch. Young children love to manipulate items and explore new ideas. They enjoy the opportunities to see how things work and to test their own theories. Active learning takes advantage of children’s natural motivation, abilities, and interests. Kids need lots of opportunities to investigate what...

Have you ever heard someone remark about an early childhood program, “All the children do there is play”? At good early childhood programs there is a lot of play – and there should be! Years of research on children’s learning and development document the many benefits of play for children’s intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and language...