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Category Archives: Child Care

Preserve and Protect a Child’s Right to Play

Today’s children are growing up in an era of rapidly growing technology, shrinking backyards and playgrounds that put safety (of course that’s important!) over exploration.  Today’s families are busy, busier than they ever have been!  Eating one meal a week together anymore is a luxury, and I’ll bet while you are sitting together around the table, at least one cell phone is out and one person is thinking 10 steps ahead to what needs to get done next.  One thing that has not changed is that we all still want what is best for our children to grow into well-adjusted, happy and productive people.  Just Children Hilltown strives to do what’s best for the smiling faces that we see every day.

Educators and families need to understand the importance of play for young children and to respect it as the primary way children learn real life skills that can be applied in all learning environments.  Research has shown time and time again that children learn best when engaged in whole body experiences, and these experiences occur most optimally in the context of play.  Everyone’s favorite pediatrician, the world renowned Dr. Benjamin Spock, tells that children love their play, not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.  Children apply knowledge and skills to new situations constantly, and when they do it through play based activities of their choosing it is more meaningful and longer lasting.

When our staff here at Just Children Hilltown thinks of play, they think of it as an opportunity to extend a child’s learning.  Through careful observation and reflection, they can create guided learning opportunities to meet critical developmental goals that align with state early learning standards.  We look at what the child knows, consider what we need them to learn next, and plan specific opportunities to get them to that next level of development.

Seemingly simple play activities involve so much more than just recreation.  When children are playing with blocks or exploring with sticks, leaves and rocks, they are engaged in scientific processes of cause and effect, problem solving, social collaboration, spatial reasoning, geometric patterns…. The list goes on and on.

When we release children to openly play and explore a natural outdoor environment or open ended play based rooms, we are freeing them to develop critical thinking skills that will take them further than simply being able to memorize and recall information.  We are equipping them to be the new creators of information that could lead to the solution for pollution, a cure for the Zika virus, or even how to develop an economy that really works for everyone!

Please don’t look at a child’s report card, worksheet, or the ability to navigate the latest learning app as a true reflection of what your child is capable of.  Watch them play, listen to what they say, and better yet, think about what they aren’t saying, but what they are showing you about how smart they really are.  Let them play!

We must always preserve and protect a child’s right to play.  Always remember, Just Children encourages parent feedback when at all possible, so please feel free to write, call, find us on social media, or stop in and say hi!

Halloween Safety

Child Care - Halloween SafetyWith Halloween upon us, there are many things we can all do to make it not just fun, but safe for the children who go door to door for tricks and treats.  While many of them seem pretty basic, there are numerous stories every year of children who are injured or worse.  Always practice Halloween safety!

Walk Safely

Most children walk to houses during Halloween, so it’s so important to pay attention to their surroundings, including cars, other people, and walking surfaces such as potholes, cracks in the sidewalk, and unpaved dirt paths that could be sloped and dangerous.

Always look both way before crossing the street.  This goes without saying.

Put down the cell phones for a little while and pay attention.  It’s hard to see where you are going or who’s coming at you when you’re staring at a phone screen.

Trick or Treat With an Adult

Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.

Drive Carefully, Especially on Halloween!

Kids and parents are everywhere on Halloween.  Crossing driveways, walkways, and streets.  It’s a good idea to drive BELOW the speed limit, as kids sometimes dart across streets to get to the house that gives out the best candy, and aren’t always paying attention.  Be proactive rather than reactive and slow down!

Other Tips…

Avoid costumes that could be misconstrued or potentially dangerous.  Halloween weapons such as plastic pirate swords and fake guns can often be difficult to see at night, and if you think it might be viewed as potentially dangerous, it’s best to leave it at home.

Check all candy and other items before anything is consumed.

Bring a flashlight.

Only visit well lit houses.  If the house is dark, skip it and move on to the next one.  A piece of candy isn’t worth putting yourself in a potentially dangerous situation.

Halloween is a really fun holiday for the kids and parents alike, and can be super safe if you take precautions, and use your head about how you plan the evening.  Have fun, don’t get too scared, and don’t eat too much candy!

 

Back to School!

Enroll at Just Children for Fall ProgramsJust Children Child Care Centers will be shifting gears pretty soon from summer fun to back to school!  While it may not seem too different for the children who spend their summers with us here at Just Children, the focus shifts back from fun in the sun to learning fun!  Kids get older, and some move up classrooms to the next age level.  They will make some new friends, meet new teachers, and develop both mentally and emotionally.  Socialization is very important for our young ones, and it better prepares them for first grade and beyond.

We love to hear at the end of a year how much the students have grown and come out of their “shells” as they turn into young students.  Some children enter Just Children clinging onto their parent’s leg, and end up crying when it’s time to go home!  They look forward to going to school everyday where their friends are.

Pretty soon the new school year will be upon us, and we never get tired of seeing the new and returning faces each and every day.  They grow up so quickly, and it’s never more evident than when they return each year or enter their new classrooms.  Child care is so much more than watching children while their parents are at work.  Just Children Child Care Centers are preparing our students for their future, while having a bunch of fun at the same time!  Contact a Just Children Child Care Center near you today, and we’d be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have, and as always, visit any time with no appointment necessary.  If you are new to our center, please download our enrollment form. We hope to see you soon, and can’t wait for “back to school”!

Just Children Participates In Keystone STARS

Just Children Partcipates in Keystone STARSKeystone STARS (Standards, Training/Professional Development, Assistance, Resources) provides families with a tool to gauge the quality of early learning programs. The STARS program supports early learning programs in the commitment to continuous quality improvement. Programs that participate in Keystone STARS care about providing quality early learning for your child. As programs move up the STARS ladder, they are providing even higher quality experiences, so your child benefits even more from the program. Early learning programs can earn a STAR 1 to a STAR 4 level. At each level, programs have to meet certain research-based quality standards that measure four areas that make a difference in the quality of care your child receives:

  • Staff Education
  • Learning Environment
  • Leadership Management
  • Family and Community Partnerships

As a program moves from STAR 1 to STAR 4, the requirements in these areas increase.

At a Keystone STARS Program you should find:

  • Department of Human Services Certificate of Compliance for child care centers and group homes or Centers of Registration for family care homes.
  • A comfortable place where your child can explore and learn.
  • Laughing, reading and talking which builds language skills.
    Teachers learning new ways to help your child thrive.
  • A safe, healthy and exciting place.
  • Music, art, science and play activities that increase school readiness.
  • Your child feeling good about himself or herself.
  • Families involved in the program and their child development.
  • Teachers that listen to children and parents.
  • Children having fun together and being respectful of each other.

Just Children Child Care Centers are proud to be a part of the Keystone Stars program!

Why Some School Districts Don’t Offer Kindergarten in Bucks County

kindergarten bucks countyDid you know that in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, public school districts are still not legally mandated to offer kindergarten classes?

In fact, according to the New America Education Policy Program, there are only five other states aside from Pennsylvania—Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, New Jersey and New York—without laws of any sort that require districts to provide kindergarten.

Nevertheless, because of the changes to the public education system that have come about as a result of Pennsylvania’s Common Core-based academic standards, not only do nearly 400 of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts offer kindergarten—they offer full-day kindergarten only. That’s because school districts are finding it difficult to cram all the Common Core requirements into the more traditional half-day.

Of course, that still leaves roughly 100 Pennsylvania districts with either half-day kindergarten or no kindergarten at all. If you and your spouse both work full-time—or if you’re a single parent who works full-time—that can make life with kindergarten-aged kids incredibly challenging.

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Springtime at Just Children Child Day Care Centers

Springtime at Just Children Child Care CentersAfter a LONG Winter, we at Just Children cannot wait to jump into our Spring activities! Spring for us means getting back outside to our modern playgrounds and working on our gross motor skills! We look forward to creating child friendly gardens both inside the classroom and outside the day care center. Our favorite part of planting the garden is getting to eat fresh veggies for snacks later in the summer! We will be celebrating Week of The Young Child and Teacher Appreciation Week in the coming months. These are times in which we show just how much our little ones and teachers mean to us! Stay tuned for crazy fun activities such as Just Children pride day, carnival day, ice cream sundaes, and much more!

It is not too late to sign up for Just Children’s summer program. We will be kicking off in late June with thematic weeks and AWESOME trips! Children enjoy visits from special guests, activities, and water play during the program as well. We welcome Just Children alumni and siblings back with open arms! Our child day care educational program incorporates our academic curriculum with the idea of GETTING ACTIVE! Children are encouraged to learn through play and experience. We will utilize our creative educators to keep the children engaged in a high quality learning environment during the summer months! Please inquire with any of our centers to get your child enrolled today! As always, from our “family” to yours, thank you for letting us be a part of your child’s educational journey!

Just Children Child Care Center – Welcome to our Blog

Welcome to the Just Children Child Care Center Blog!  For those new to our centers, Just Children was founded in 1983 and operates 11 schools throughout Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania, and Burlington and Camden County in New Jersey.  Our first location was started in a historic schoolhouse in Feasterville-Trevose, PA, and has expanded to state-of-the-art facilities throughout PA and NJ.  We offer a unique environment for children ages 2 months through Kindergarten.  Our programs are year round and designed to develop methods of exploration, reading, and math readiness.  Each center is state certified and employs wonderful, caring employees who have a passion for working with children.

Every Just Children Child Care Center offers an elaborate outdoor playground designed to promote gross motor skill development and an indoor playroom for large muscle activities.  Our programs are filled with stimulating themes where children learn as they play.  There are computers in each classroom, as well as the most modern technologies to teach children basic skills to begin their journey of learning technology.  Health and physical fitness are also very important at Just Children.  Summer at Just Children brings the children outdoors to enjoy water play, organized sports, trips, nature study, and special picnics and barbecues.

This blog will incorporate news, classroom activities, and other fun stuff happening at Just Children.  It’s written by us, so you’re getting info straight from the source!  We hope this blog will be informative, interactive, but most importantly…fun!!!