child development center Blog

What Can You Learn By Watching Your Child?

Salt Lake City, Utah – Do you find yourself often confused by your child’s behavior? You’re probably not alone – many parents can feel confused by the behavior of their young children. So how can we understand what our children are trying to tell us, especially when they haven’t developed their verbal skills yet?

Child care workers are trained to understand that young children communicate through their behavior. That means that while you might find your daughter’s decision to dump her entire bowl of spaghetti on the floor infuriating, she might actually be trying to tell you something. So how can you learn to stop the frustration and instead ramp up the understanding?

“Parents should spend more time simply observing their children,” says Bethany Hosking, co-owner of Learning Tree Schools, a Millcreek child care center. “We can usually find some patterns to behavior that can lead us to solving why children are acting a certain way. That can then help us stop the behavior we find the most frustrating.”

Observation is the key to understanding because it allows you to sit back and look at your child as a whole. It also allows you to not just observe a particular behavior, but to also see what happened leading up to that behavior, and what occurred immediately following it.

Being able to understand what happens right before your child acts can help you understand the root of their behavior. For instance, if you have had what seems like a continual problem with your child spilling their drink while eating, observe what else is going on. Is your child distracted by a television that is on and has forgotten where they set their drink?

If you notice a pattern such as this, you can remove the distraction, and watch to see if the behavior changes.

You should also take note of what happens right after the behavior as well. If you don’t notice right away something that leads to the behavior, perhaps it is the reaction after that causes the behavior.

“We see this in our young children a lot,” says Amy Moyes, Hosking’s co-owner of the preschool. “If a child spills his drink, a teacher might rush to his side to help him. Maybe the child really likes that extra attention he is getting, so he continues the behavior. Once we recognize that, we can come up with alternate solutions and encourage the behavior to stop.”

But observing your children shouldn’t only be relegated to helping them change challenging behaviors. It can also be used as a child development tool.

Do you know your child’s learning style? Observation may help you discover how your child learns best, which means you’ll have the knowledge to share with his teachers and to best help him learn and develop at home. If you are constantly frustrated with getting your children to focus while doing homework, this might be your trick to ending those homework battles.

Children learn in so many different ways, and parents and teachers should be equipped to help our children learn in the way that is best for them. But we can’t do that unless we spend time observing what works for our children.

Begin by noting your child’s disposition. Adventurous children may need more time to move while they learn. Is your child more of an inventor? She may need to ask what seems like a million questions to understand a concept.

“Children aren’t all the same, so we can’t expect them to all learn the same,” says Hosking. “Different children need different tools to process the same information, and if we can understand how our children learn best, we can set them up for future success.”

There are three basic learning styles – auditory, kinesthetic and visual. Knowing which your child fits into can save a lot of time and headaches as your child grows.

An auditory learner will prefer to listen, rather than read. Recitation may be a valuable learning tool. Music may help this type of learner while studying, but loud noises can be a distraction.

A kinesthetic learner needs to do and touch. They may be more fidgety and will need hands on activities to absorb the information.

Visual learners pick up information through reading or watching demonstrations. They prefer reading rather than listening to explanations.

While many will use some combination of these three, most children will show a leaning towards one more than the others. Understanding which of these categories your child falls in can help you in learning how to best help your child learn and develop.

In addition to you knowing how to best help your child at home, you can also use this knowledge to better help your child at school. Rather than allowing your child to get frustrated in school, have a conversation with his teacher about approaches that may help him learn. Most teachers and caregivers will be more than willing to assist your child and offer ways for your child to learn in the way that best suits him.

Observing your children can provide valuable learning tools for you as the parent. You can help resolve challenging behavior by watching causes and effects of that behavior. And you can help your child discover how they can best learn, setting them up for future success in school.

© 2014 Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Is Playtime Actually Meaningful?

Salt Lake City, Utah – Did you know that when you play with your young children, you’re not only having fun, but also helping their development? It’s true – uninterrupted free play may actually be helping your child’s brain develop.

“We live in a world that is becoming overscheduled,” says Amy Moyes, co-owner of Learning Tree Schools, a Millcreek day care and school. “Because we have become so busy, we seek to either eliminate or structure our children’s playtime to fit into our busy lives. But that might actually be doing our children more harm than good. Research shows that when our children are given the opportunity for uninterrupted play, their social, emotional, cognitive and physical development greatly benefits.”

So where do we as parents and caregivers come in? Quite simply, it’s our job to help our children play. This can be done by providing not just the time to play, but also the materials needed for thoughtful play. When seeking out a child development center for your children, it is important that your children are well cared for and given adequate time and materials to explore and play.

Play takes on many forms as a child grows. The smallest children enjoy exploratory and sensory play by touching, squeezing and even attempting to eat objects they find around them. This gives children the opportunity to explore their environments.

As a child grows, play will take on a variety of forms. Dramatic play typically begins around the age of three, and through this type of play, children begin to understand how relationships and social interactions work.

Construction play, physical play and socio-dramatic play will follow, while games with rules, both real and invented, will follow that. But what benefit is there to play, both at home and in a child care setting?

Quite simply, play paves the way for their education later in life. Through play, children explore the world around them, develop relationships and discover the communication and cognitive skills they need to be successful in the future. Play develops problem-solving skills such as cooperation and compromise, assists in building vocabulary, and helps children learn to regulate their emotions.

“At young ages, play and learning go hand in hand,” says Bethany Hosking, co-owner of Learning Tree Schools. “What we see as simply fun can be much more for a toddler. But it is important to recognize that not all play is learning, and not all learning is play. There is a fine balance that we as caregivers and educational experts need to walk.”

The National Association for the Education of Young Children offers five essentials to meaningful play for toddlers. By following these, we can help children get the most out of their playtime and get them ready for their school days at the same time.

First, it’s important to recognize that children need to choose how to play for themselves. Through this, they learn how to make choices and then how to deal with any consequences that may come from that choice. Parents and caregivers can aid children in decision making by having toys and materials available that encourage meaningful play. For example, a toy car can’t be much other than a car, but open-ended materials can inspire creativity and allow children the ability to make a variety of play choices.

When children play, they are motivated by a desire to understand how the world around them works. Children want to play, and through that desire, they will learn how to regulate their behavior and feelings to allow them to extend their playtime. For instance, if a child realizes that after throwing a fit, he is no longer allowed to play with his friends, he will learn to regulate his behavior out of a desire to continue playing.

Children should be given a safe environment in which to play so they can feel free to take risks and experiment with new ideas.

Play does not need to be carefully planned in order to be beneficial. In fact, it can be helpful for children to learn decision making and flexibility during their play because these skills will help them as they grow.

And finally, it should go without saying that play should be fun. It shouldn’t feel like work for the children, and shouldn’t involve constant direction and interruptions from parents, teachers or caregivers.

So the next time you see your child pick up an object and pretend it’s something it’s not, don’t correct him. Instead, sit back and watch your child’s imagination unfold. You might be amazed at the skills you see your child developing before your very eyes.

© 2014 Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

What is Birth to Five: Watch Me Thrive?

Salt Lake City, Utah – Birth to Five: Watch Me Thrive! is a coordinated effort between the U.S. Department of Education and Health and Human Services designed to encourage healthy child development. To better support families and caregivers, the program promotes universal development and behavioral screening for children.

“This is a wonderful program for families because it will ensure that children are on the right track with their development,” says Amy Moyes, owner of Millcreek preschool Learning Tree Schools. “It is estimated that up to one in four children are at risk for a developmental delay or disability through the age of five. If we can intervene early, we can prevent some of these cases.”

Early intervention is the key to getting children the help they need at a young age. Not only does this help children, but it also saves money as special education services become more and more expensive as the child grows. By visiting the website, parents, caregivers and others can find all of the resources they need to accurately track their children’s development.

The program has several goals:

  • Celebrating milestones. Parents can’t wait to watch their children grow and learn new skills, from their first smile to their first word. By encouraging regular screenings, parents will be more aware of their child’s development, and also know when to expect these important milestones.
  • Promoting universal screening. We ensure our children can see and hear clearly through regular vision and hearing screenings. Likewise, our children should also have regular developmental and behavioral screenings to track their progress in social, motor and language development.
  • Identifying possible delays and concerns at an early age. Through regular screenings, parents and caregivers can be sure their children are getting the intervention they need. Starting as early as possible will help them succeed.
  • Enhancing developmental supports. Families of children with developmental delays need guidance and tools to help their children succeed. Experts come together to provide the assistance families need to help their children.

“Early screenings mean recognition of possible issues early, which can then lead to access to needed services and supports,” says Bethany Hosking, Moyes’ co-owner in the Salt Lake City area day care and preschool. “If we can minimize developmental delays, we can enhance a child’s ability to learn and increase their confidence to succeed.”

The Birth to Five: Watch Me Thrive! initiative encourages all child care experts to work together with children and their families to encourage regular screenings and help at-risk children get the help they need. For example, Autism Spectrum Disorder can be diagnosed as early as age two. However, recent data show that most children aren’t diagnosed until after the age of four. If children can be diagnosed when signs of the disorder first appear, they can get access to the services that will help them and their parents understand and deal with the disorder.

So how do parents and teachers such as Moyes and Hosking work together to help their children? The Birth to Five: Watch Me Thrive! initiative has multiple resources available. The Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention created a program called the Backpack Connection Series to help parents and caregivers work together to help young children develop proper social and emotional skills. By helping children develop these skills early, they can prevent challenging behavior later. The program involves sending a handout home to parents when a new skill is introduced by the teacher. Each handout includes strategies on how to incorporate the skill at home, so child development is continuous. The series covers four topics; addressing behavior, emotions, routines and schedules, and social skills.

Other resources available include the ability to create a profile of your child to track his or her medical history. The Center for Disease Control has a template available for parents to use. The form tells the story of your child, allowing you to keep his or her medical information in one place while allowing your child’s doctor to better understand your child.

Young children often learn best through playtime. Vanderbilt University created an excellent resource on making the most of play time with tips for parents of children from birth to age three. Play develops social, language and emotional skills in young children, so learn how to best utilize this time together.

The CDC also offers access to books for children ages two to four to help them and their parents know what to look for as the child develops. The books are available to be downloaded in PDF format or parents can order them. Each book contains milestones and the ages associated with that milestone. Parents can use this as a guide when working with their children. Parents can refer to the end of the book for a list of milestones, broken out by category. There are also parenting tips to help your children grow, as well as guidelines on when you should voice concerns to your doctor.

Learning to understand your young child’s behavior will also help you in encouraging their development. Vanderbilt University created another useful handout on learning to interpret your child’s cues from birth to age two. Babies use sounds and facial expressions to communicate with us, and add gestures and language as they grow. Helping parents learn to interpret what these signs mean, allowing parents to respond in a way that supports healthy social and communication development.

The best resources parents have available, however, are their own parental instincts and the teachers and caregivers who work closely with their children. You know your child best, so if you feel there may be an issue, speak with your pediatrician right away. Ask your child’s caregivers to keep you well-informed of how your baby or toddler is progressing, and encourage them to voice any concerns to you right away. By working closely with your children, you can help them develop the skills necessary to succeed in the future.

© 2014 Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links

Help! My Child is a Biter

Salt Lake City, Utah – It’s something every parent of a toddler dreads – the phone call or note home from day care that their child has bitten another child. It’s an often uncomfortable reality of life with little children. Children bite. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, between a third and half of all toddlers in day care are bitten by another child. So chances are, at some point of life with children, you’ll be on one side of that coin.

“We serve children from infants through school age,” says Amy Moyes, co-owner of Learning Tree Schools, a Salt Lake City child development center. “That means that we often see biting, and do our best to work with the children to curb the habit. Believe it or not, research shows that biting is actually a normal developmental phase for children under the age of three. These children aren’t able to accurately vocalize their feelings yet, so biting is a way to express their anger or frustration, or to grab attention.”

But how should we be properly dealing with biting? Biting is always a difficult subject because the parents of the biter are normally embarrassed over their child’s behavior, while the parents of the child who was bitten are angry. It’s the role of the preschool or child care staff to play mediator and help parents understand the realities of biting.

“We often just rush to punish the biting child, rather than working with him or her to get to the root cause of the biting,” says Bethany Hosking, Moyes’ co-owner at the Millcreek child care center. “Child care staff should be working with children to understand why they are biting and then helping them develop the skills needed to communicate their needs without biting. We need to stop punishing and shaming the biter, and instead help them develop the other developmentally appropriate tools they need.”

There is a stigma attached to biting, even though it is a developmentally normal behavior. Children, especially small children, are not able to rationalize and think as adults, therefor adult punishments and interventions won’t be effective in curbing the behavior.

When we witness a child biting another child, we’re often a little shocked and may not know how to respond appropriately. But the APA offers several tips for working with the biter.

First, immediately separate the biter from the child he or she has bitten. This will help the child who was bitten feel safe, but it will also remove the biter from the source of his frustration.

Next, work with the biting child to help him understand the emotions that trigger him to bite. This is where adults can be most helpful because children need help labeling their feelings and then reacting appropriately. Try not to use judgemental words such as “wrong” or “bad” when helping them work through their feelings. Instead, a teacher may say “You look frustrated. It is not OK to bite when you are frustrated. But it is OK to ask your teacher or another adult for help.” Using phrasing such as this takes away the judgmental aspect of the conversation, while still helping the child understand.

It may be hard to believe, but the child doing the biting may be just as frightened as the child who was bitten. They have limited language to describe their feelings, so it is important that the adults work with them to help them understand what happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

For many children, it can help to have a cooling down period to get settled down after the incident. Designate a quiet spot in the room as a safe place for children to go so they can calm down. Once the child is calm, adults should use short and clear sentences to explain to the child why biting is unacceptable, but without using harsh language.

Once you realize you have a biter on your hands, pay close attention to that child and the trigger points that could lead to instances of biting. It is important to begin preventing biting before it can happen. When you discover what sets off the biting, such as too much noise and confusion, you can help the child diffuse the situation before it escalates.

“Redirection is a wonderful tool to use with toddlers,” says Moyes. “If they are redirected to a new activity, they’ll often completely forget about their frustration. But most importantly, help the child develop the ability to let you know when he or she is frustrated.”

Never bite a child back. In the past, some parents and others thought biting the child who is the biter would show him how much it hurts, thereby discouraging him from biting again. Child psychology experts, however, feel this behavior only models what you’re trying to stop. It’s the job of parents, teachers and caregivers to not only teach proper problem-solving and social skills to avoid biting, but to display them themselves.

© 2014 Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links

Supporting Children’s Mental Health

Salt Lake City, Utah – Parents often worry about every aspect of child rearing and it often begins while the child is still in the womb. The Salt Lake City day care experts at Learning Tree Schools have some tips for both parents and educators on how to support the mental health of children.

“As a parent or caregiver, it is important to know what normal behavior is and when to recognize warning signs that your child might be struggling,” says Amy Moyes, owner of the Millcreek child day care center. “It’s also incredibly important to support our children so they develop properly. There are several things parents, caregivers and teachers should be prepared to do to help our children.”

It’s crucial to help children feel a sense of belonging. If they feel both welcomed and connected to caregivers and other children, they will adjust positively and develop a sense of trust in others. Maintaining strong relationships with parents, school staff and other children is a key piece of promoting mental wellness.

It is also important for children to be resilient. Children will face adversity during their life and it is important to teach them how to positively overcome challenges. Foster resilience by teaching children how to help others and how to successfully face and overcome difficult situations.

Building resilience is directly tied to helping children become competent. Helping children make and then reach goals can help children deal positively with stress. Academic success and social competency are important factors in a child’s development. Encourage learning at an early age, and be sure your child knows how to make and then maintain friendships.

Ensure your child is in a positive and safe environment. A feeling of safety is a key component in mental health. Promote kindness, respect and responsibility and prevent negative behaviors. If you notice a change in how your child is behaving, address it right away to prevent bullying and harassment. Provide your child with clear rules that are enforced.

In a school or child care environment, there should always be an adult presence in common areas to monitor the children. This will ensure that the teacher or caregiver can step in to address inappropriate behavior before it can escalate. Teach children to work together and to include all of their peers in activities. Show children how to handle a bully and celebrate acts of kindness, while consistently giving out consequences for negative behavior.

Positive behaviors should be both taught and then reinforced. Children should have consistent expectations, and then support to help meet those expectations. Help children develop social skills, problem solving and conflict resolution to support positive mental health. Provide positive feedback for good behavior and kindness.

It is essential, especially for small children in preschool and day care, to have consistent expectations that are always enforced. Children thrive with consistency because they have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. If there is a consequence for a certain action one day, it should be the same the next.

Always encourage a helpful attitude. Children can make a difference in each other’s lives, and should be encouraged to help their peers develop good self-esteem. Social responsibility begins at a young age and helping others makes them feel a part of a community.

Good physical health is also important for good mental health. Healthy eating and exercise habits, as well as adequate sleep, can help children better deal with stress. Exercise also produces endorphins, which can help children fight off negative emotions, such as anxiety and anger.

Educate parents and staff, and even students, on symptoms associated with mental health problems. Having clear and open communication can break down stigmas attached to mental health and can help those suffering feel more open to asking for help when they need it. Look for changes in behavior, such as withdrawal, decreased function, erratic behavior, etc.

Mental health is an essential part of a child’s overall health and can have an effect on their physical health and ability to succeed in school and life in general. It can affect how we think, feel and act. Children deserve the right to live a happy and healthy life, and that includes access to mental health professionals who can provide effective treatment.

It is estimated that close to 15 million young people could currently be diagnosed with a mental health disorder, with many more at risk due to their biology or genetics, family life, school life or community stresses. It is crucial that parents, teachers and caregivers spend time reinforcing positive behaviors that promote mental health. These are usually the first people to notice a change in children, so they are also the first line of defense. Signs that a child may need help include:

  • Sudden decline in school performance
  • Poor grades
  • Constant worry and anxiety
  • Sudden withdrawal from school and other activities
  • Hyperactivity and fidgeting
  • Consistent nightmares
  • Disobedience or aggression, where there was previously little or none
  • Frequent tantrums
  • Sadness, irritability or depression

Together, parents and others responsible for children can create and promote healthy bodies and minds and create environments where children can succeed.

© 2014 Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

The Benefits of All-Day Kindergarten Programs

Salt Lake City, Utah – More than three million American children are enrolled in kindergarten programs throughout the country, with approximately half of those attending full-day programs. What are the benefits to children to all-day kindergarten programs? Studies show that an all-day program better prepares children for first grade by providing them with a strong base of learning that will last throughout their lifetimes.


Data shows that children in these programs demonstrate higher proficiency in reading and math, and offers long-term educational gains for children from minority and low-income backgrounds. Learning Tree Schools, a Millcreek child care center, offers an exceptional full-day kindergarten program that teaches a first grade curriculum that encourages children to develop an early love of learning.

“There are so many benefits to a full-day kindergarten program,” says Amy Moyes, co-owner of Learning Tree Schools. “Teachers have the benefit of working with children all day, which means they can get to know them on a better level than if they only have them for a couple of hours each day. With the extended learning time, teachers can spend more time with each student, learning how to best help that child develop the skills he or she will need.”

By having children in the classroom all day, teachers are able to more quickly pick up on how each child learns best. Likewise, they can discover any learning challenges and address them before they become an even harder obstacle to overcome. This can save both money and resources in the future, and instill confidence in the child to help him become successful in school.

Full-day programs give children the ability to learn and explore different activities more in depth, while also allowing for more transition time in between them. The National Institute for Early Education Research found that all-day kindergarten gives children more time to focus and reflect on their activities, providing intellectual and emotional benefits for the child.

“An all-day kindergarten program also gives children more confidence in their social abilities,” says Bethany Hosking, Moyes’ partner at Learning Tree Schools. “Children get more chances to work on important social skills, such as sharing, using words to solve conflicts, taking turns, etc. They are able to develop their verbal skills even more and they are given the chance to learn and exhibit positive behaviors.”

Full-day kindergarten bridges the gap between preschool and first grade. At Learning Tree Schools, children in their kindergarten program build on the important skills they learned in preschool, while developing additional skills they will need for future school success. They learn sight words and write in journals, while being given time to read on their own and be read to. Children are also given several opportunities to learn math in different ways throughout the day.

“There are so many benefits to how we teach our children,” says Moyes. “Because our teachers have the students all day, they can employ a variety of methods to help children learn important skills. That means the teachers are able to find the best way to reach each child, giving them the academic confidence they need to tackle future educational challenges.”

To discover how your child could benefit from an all-day kindergarten program, discover the difference at Learning Tree Schools. With three locations in the Salt Lake City area, there is a team of dedicated teachers close to you, waiting to help your child develop their love of learning.

© 2014 Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Socialization and Early Childhood Development

Salt Lake City, Utah– Millions of children attend child development centers throughout the United States. While the programs vary, one thing remains the same – how children’s social interactions affect their learning and play. Early childhood development teachers and caregivers have an obligation to help children meet their appropriate developmental milestones, but they also have the responsibility to meet the needs of the whole child, and that includes helping them develop the social skills necessary to properly interact with those around them.

“At Learning Tree Schools, we strive to serve the whole child,” says Amy Moyes, co-owner of the Murray child care. “That means that while we take our role in helping them meet and exceed their developmental milestones, we also take great care in helping them become social beings as well. How they interact with the world around them, and the people in it, will help them be successful later in life.”

The teacher or caregiver and child relationship is an extension of the parental relationship with the child. For the young child, proper attachment can be vital in their social development.

“We utilize that concept in our Millcreek preschool programs,” says Bethany Hosking, Moyes’ partner at Learning Tree Schools. “We use a multi-age classroom, which allows the students to build a bond with their teachers over the course of the years they are in the preschool program. Because the child stays with the teacher throughout the program, it gives the teacher a two-fold advantage. One, the child develops a strong bond and relationship with the teacher, allowing the child to feel safe and secure in his environment. But it also allows the teacher to get to know the student better, therefore getting a better understanding of how to effectively work with the child. Studies show that children who have a positive relationship with their teacher or caregiver will most often have positive relationships with their peers.”

Mixed age classrooms have another benefit – allowing older children who have already mastered the social and academic skills to act as role models for the younger children. During their preschool years, children learn independence and cooperation. They become more verbal, allowing them to interact more with their peers. And as they become more self-aware, it allows them to look at situations from another’s point of view.

Early social development is often combined closely with other areas of development. As children are learning to interact with peers, they are also working on cognitive physical, emotional and language development.

“Play is a wonderful way for young children to develop necessary social skills,” says Moyes. “When engaged in play, children are often working towards a common goal, which fosters cooperation. They develop an understanding of feelings, and develop stronger verbal skills through communicating their emotions while playing. However, it is our job as teachers to foster positive social interactions.”

Teachers should be providing activities that foster appropriate skills to help children identify social skills and understand why that particular skill is necessary. Children need coaching to learn and maintain appropriate behaviors because developing these skills may not be automatic for them. In a classroom or child care setting, children should be given the opportunity to:

  • Work and play with their peers
  • Make decisions and then properly handle any consequences that may come with those choices.
  • Determine how to enter into situations with other children.
  • Use their verbal skills to negotiate conflict.

Teachers should facilitate this through setting up a cooperative classroom and eliminating the need for competition. By promoting empathy and caring, teachers can help children learn to play cooperatively and solve conflict by using their words rather than their bodies. Teachers should be ready to repeat the learning activity several times when introducing a new social skill to help children learn how to properly navigate their choices.

Positive social behavior is essential to the education and well-being of children. In order to succeed in a school setting, and in life in general, children must learn to act appropriately in their interactions with others. Teachers, parents and caregivers should help children develop these skills in order to help them succeed. Just as teachers work on helping children learn the alphabet or to count, socialization is just as important a piece of the educational puzzle.

© 2014 Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Physical Activity Linked to Better Academic Performance

Salt Lake City, Utah – In recent years as we’ve seen obesity rates in children skyrocket, we’ve seen a huge push to get children more physically active. But did you know that physical activity not only improves their health, it may just improve their academic lives, too?

“A Dutch study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found a positive link between physical activity and academic success,” says Amy Moyes, a Millcreek child care expert and owner of Learning Tree Schools. “Regular physical activity seems to be linked to better brain function. Exercise can increase the amount of endorphins a person creates, improving their mood as well as increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.”

Those factors seem to help children in their academic performance. Among the areas that seem to be affected by physical activity are concentration, memory, self-esteem and verbal skills.

In recent years, we have seen a huge emphasis placed on the value of student test scores, even so much that many schools have contemplated cutting physical education programs altogether and focusing that time instead solely on academics. But this study suggests that might be the wrong way to go about things.

“Physical fitness and academics can be incorporated together,” says Bethany Hosking, Moyes’ co-owner of the Murray preschool. “We operate programs that serve children from infant through school age, and academics are a priority, especially in our preschool and private kindergarten programs. But combining physical activity in learning activities provides a two-fold advantage – children will be healthier, while exercising their brain power at the same time.”

A program offered by the Medical University of South Carolina recently proved the effectiveness of combining physical activity with academics. They introduced 40 minutes of physical activity paired with a different learning component for each grade level. After the program was implemented, they were pleased to find that more children achieved their goal test scores on standardized tests.

“As more technology is introduced, we see our children becoming more and more sedentary,” says Moyes, whose day care program for older children offers a host of physical activities. “At our child day care center, we realize the importance of both academics and physical activity in the well-rounded child. We also recognize that it’s often up to the child care providers to encourage children to be active, so we strive to provide fun and educational ways children can exercise. Our programs incorporate critical thinking and creativity to help children exercise their brains and their bodies.”

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12 Years Later: No Child Left Behind

Salt Lake City, Utah – This year marks 12 years of former president George W. Bush’s signature education legislation, No Child Left Behind. Over a decade later, what has the controversial legislation accomplished?

“While the ultimate goal of No Child Left Behind might have been a noble one, it will forever be tied to the political backlash it received,” says Utah preschool expert Amy Moyes. “I think everyone involved in education would love to see children performing at the best of their abilities. But how we measure that is something that will probably be debated forever. The simple fact is, there may not be a one size fits all solution to grading our schools, because each individual school has its own unique set of challenges that make it totally different from the school across town.”

The goal of NCLB was to encourage schools to meet Annual Yearly Progress benchmarks in both math and reading. In 2011, almost 50 percent of American schools failed to meet the benchmarks. One argument many had in the wake of this was that schools were judged each year on the percentage of students who met those benchmarks, rather than looking at their year-to-year improvement.

The ultimate goal of NCLB was to close the achievement gap, which most educators would agree needs to happen. However, simply overhauling our education system cannot alone reduce the achievement gap.

“There are many factors that contribute to the achievement gap, and standardized curriculum and assessments may not be enough,” says Bethany Hosking, Moyes’ partner in Learning Tree Schools, offering child day care and preschool in the Salt Lake area. “If we don’t catch children at their most crucial developmental years, birth to age three, and provide access to high-quality care and educational opportunities for all, children may already be set up for failure.”

Study after study has shown that the best way to combat the effects poverty and social inequality have on a student’s education is to provide access to quality programs at the youngest ages. And that’s just what Learning Tree Schools provides.

“We take the care and education of each child very seriously,” says Moyes, who offers three child development centers in the area. “We begin taking children as infants, and provide a high quality and interactive program that stimulates them and addresses each developmental stage appropriately, challenging them and enforcing an early love of learning.”

Learning Tree Schools serves children from infant to school age, and employs only the most highly trained staff that is attentive to the needs of each child, encouraging exploration of their environments and development of the skills they need at each age.

Their West Jordan private kindergarten program utilizes a first grade curriculum that offers different ways of learning needed skills, allowing children of all learning backgrounds to find the way that speaks to them to pick up the skills they’ll need in the future.

“Each child learns differently, and has a different way of processing information,” says Hosking. “That’s one thing traditional education and federal mandates for standardization don’t take into account. The way a child learns, and even their capacity for learning, is dependent on so many factors, from where they live, to how they live, to who they live with. And until we can find a way to address all of those categories, in addition to just scores on a test, real reform will be difficult to achieve.”

© 2014 Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Commission Says Early Childhood Education Key to Healthier America

Salt Lake City, Utah – A new study released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America has found that expanding access to quality early child care programs may be one key to building a healthier America.

In addition to expanding quality education opportunities, the RWJF also recommends revitalizing low income neighborhoods and broadening the mission of health care providers beyond just medical treatment. The commission was first formed in 2008 and previously offered 10 recommendations in 2009 to improve the health of all Americans.

“The commission’s findings offer information we’ve always known,” says Amy Moyes, co-owner of Salt Lake City preschool, Learning Tree Schools. “The health and well-being of our children is impacted by so much, and access to quality early care and educational opportunities is one of them. The earliest moments of a child’s life can set them up for serious illness later in life. We may think our children don’t face stress, but the effects of stress in their early years can show up years later as heart disease, diabetes and other serious issues.”

The commission recommends the following:

  • Ensure access to quality early childhood development programs for all preschool children from low-income families by 2025.
  • Strengthen quality standards for early childhood programs.
  • Link funding of early childhood programs to performance.
  • Help parents who struggle to provide healthy, nurturing experiences for their children.

“We have talked before about how nurturing experiences in their early years set children up for success later in life,” says Bethany Hosking, co-owner with Moyes of the Murray child development centers. “Children may not experience much consistency in their home environments, which impacts not only their health, but their learning abilities as well. If all children are given access to quality child day care and learning opportunities, we can create not only healthier children, but children who are ready to pursue their educations.”

Where we live, learn and work all has a direct impact on our health. The report states “While much emphasis has been placed on the foundational importance of the early years for later success in school and the workplace, we are convinced that an environment of supportive relationships is also the key to lifelong physical and mental health.”

Fostering stable and nurturing relationships with adults outside of their homes, especially for children who may have unstable family lives, can help protect children from the adverse effects their home life might otherwise have on them. Early childhood educators and care providers have the ability to positively impact the lives of the children they serve by offering a loving, warm environment where the child feels safe and secure.

“We as a nation invest significant dollars in education from kindergarten through 12th grade,” says Moyes, whose Learning Tree Schools serve children from infants through school age. “But that’s not enough. A child’s critical years of development are birth to age three, and we currently rank 25th out of 29 industrialized nations in funding for early childhood programs. That simply isn’t good enough, and our children are suffering for it.”

The science speaks for itself – if children experience high stress during these critical developmental years, when their brains and bodies are developing most rapidly, their chances for a healthy and successful future diminishes. Providing quality early childhood care and educational opportunities, like those found at Learning Tree Schools, not only sets children up for future academic success, but may also help them establish a lifetime of good health.

© 2014 Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.