Preparing kids for the great big world can be a daunting task, one that parents and caregivers often find overwhelming. The staff at Kiddie Academy of Crystal Lake, however, has the perfect formula to prepare children for success in school and life by focusing on the four pillars of Life Essentials.
1. Create lifelong learners.
All parents want their kids to love learning, and that starts with promoting a child’s curiosity at an early age.
Alexandra Smith, site director of Kiddie Academy of Crystal Lake, says that it is important for young children to find learning fun. She explains that by following a developmentally appropriate curriculum, the staff at Kiddie Academy can personalize learning and do their part in preparing children for school. “We want kids to always want to learn and to be both learning and having fun.”
Smith also advises that adults should promote interaction with children in such a way that they “feel like they have the tools to find the answers or learn the answer.” Doing so will help ensure that the kids feel competent, which will promote a positive attitude about learning.
2. Character education is key.
Teaching children how to care for and demonstrate respect for others is one of Kiddie Academy’s four pillars. Each month features a different focus, including patience, loyalty, honor, pride and manners.
Smith says it is key that children understand both how to behave and why such behavior is important.
“Being good citizens now gives them the best chance of being good citizens in the future,” says Smith.
3. Prioritize health and fitness.
“The greatest wealth is health,” as Virgil said, and parents can help their children establish good, healthy habits early on.
Proper nutrition can be established early with little ones and good food choices will benefit them not only now, but well into the future when they are responsible for their own food decisions.
Food is just one part of the equation, and keeping children active is equally important.
Conquering physical challenges is beneficial. “In addition to helping with gross motor skills, the achievement of knowing what they can do and accomplish is a whole other realm of cognitive and emotional growth,” says Smith.
4. Use technology for good.
Technology is undoubtedly going to be a huge part of our children’s lives and they are becoming increasingly familiar with it at an early age. That’s a good thing, according to Smith. “The technology in our classrooms puts the future at the children’s fingertips,” she says, explaining that kids can have a more educational and engaging experience by watching videos of caterpillars and butterflies and discussing them together rather than just talking about them without the interactive components.
Using technology also helps kids to experience a different learning style. “It’s a different kind of cognitive thinking, and an opportunity to learn in one more field,” she says about Kiddie Academy’s use of smart boards and tablets.
Parents and other caretakers also can use these four pillars as a way to build the foundation for their children’s success both now and far into the future.