First Day of School Tips

Posted July 25th, 2017 by Okaloosa Head Start and filed in Back to School, Child Care Tips
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It is undeniable that parents and children alike become anxious and nervous from an event that will be the beginning of new memories and experiences to come. To help ease the anxiety, here are a few tips to help parents and children make the best of the first day of school:

Prepare the night before. Getting everything ready the night before will help ease the chaos that could ensue in the morning. It will be chaotic because you and your little ones are trying to establish a new routine around something they have not experienced yet.
Show up early. Showing up early will help your little one get familiar with their new environment before the others arrive. This will also give you and your child time some one on one interaction with their teacher.
Give them a comfort object. A blanket, a stuff animal or even a family photo will help them adapt a little easier.
Do your best to put on a happy face. Not letting your child know how nervous you might be will help them feel more secure when you leave. This is also true during goodbyes. Keep it short and sweet. Staying longer might make them anxious and worry more. Don’t sneak out though! Sneaking out will make it harder for next time around.

We hope our little tips can be of help to you and your child on the first day of school. Many new friends, experiences, and new knowledge will come soon and diminish the memory of anxiety that came along with it.

Contact the early education providers at Okaloosa Headstart for any questions about the upcoming school year.

Summer Fun Activities: Beat the Heat

Posted June 30th, 2017 by Okaloosa Head Start and filed in Child Care Tips, Early Education Crafts, Early Head Start and Head Start Activities
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Hazy summer days are here. When the heat makes it tough to enjoy playing out side, alternatives are needed. Luckily, there are plenty of summer activities that your children can enjoy that does not involve just sitting in front of the television or being glued to a screen.

– Baking and cooking.
– Put on a mini theatric play of their favorite book.
– Painting and drawing.
– Reading.
– Playing board games.
– Learning to play an instrument.

Doing these indoor activities will keep your children entertained while staying cool from the Floridian summer heat. These indoor activities will also help improve cognitive and problem solving skill that will get them get ready for the upcoming school year.

Contact the early education providers at Okaloosa Headstart HERE for any questions about the upcoming 2017-2018 school year.

 

Okaloosa County Headstart: Preparing for Kindergarten After VPK Graduation

Posted May 23rd, 2017 by Okaloosa Head Start and filed in Uncategorized
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Graduating VPK is one of those special and bittersweet moments of your child’s lifeOkaloosa County Headstart VPK graduate. They have learned so many new things this past year and deserve to have their efforts and hard work recognized and celebrated. Since they have worked very hard, make sure that you keep practicing with them during the summer break.

 

Do fun activities together that encourage practicing what they learned from VPK without them realizing that it is practice. Play counting games, point out shapes and patterns, tell stories to each other with details, reading what items are called out loud, and many more.

Continuing to practice will also help your VPK graduate ease into the kindergarten life.

 

In addition to the general education subjects, it is also important to help them emotionally and socially. Here are some ways to help them:

– Get them accustomed to being around other children. Encourage them to participate in group learning or physical activities.
– Help them become more self-aware. Have them memorize basic information like their name, age, address, and home phone number.
– Become familiar with the school. Taking a tour of the school building will help them become at ease on the first few weeks in their new environment.

Congratulations to our VPK Graduates of 2017!

“Oh the places you’ll go!” – Dr. Seuss

Contact Okaloosa Headstart for any questions about our VPK program if your next younger family members are ready to be sent off to school.

Okaloosa County Headstart: Education Begins at Home

Posted April 24th, 2017 by Okaloosa Head Start and filed in Child Care Tips, Early Head Start and Head Start Activities, Uncategorized
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At Okaloosa Headstart, we want the seeds of education to begin growing at home. When your children are spending time with you, there are plenty of activities that encourage learning without them even realizing it.

Some activities you can do with your children are singing and reading nursery rhymes, taking field trips to name out things in their surroundings, having them help with shopping lists, creating picture food menus, counting snacks, creating their names out of geometric shapes, counting down days on the calendar, labeling your child’s things, and more. These are only a few of many possible activities that can help them learn more efficiently. In addition to helping them learn, the bond and trust will grow as you continue the enjoyable activities. The activities will help them enjoy learning and the benefits it reaps.

Okaloosa County Headstart/Early Headstart is a federal program that provides services enhancing language, literacy, cognition, health and physical development, social and emotional skills, creativity, and more to children from birth to the age of five.

 

Check out more ideas, here, at www.getreadytoread.org

For any questions, contact our early education providers in childhood development in Fort Walton Beach at 1-850-651-1649.

New to VPK: Prepare For Registration for the Upcoming School Year

Posted March 21st, 2017 by Okaloosa Head Start and filed in Back to School, Early Head Start and Head Start Activities, News
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VPK Program start dates vary for every Okaloosa County Schools. The varying dates is a good reason to make sure you are ahead of the game and have all the required documents prepared to be provided. The documents will be needed for the VPK registration to go smoothly.

Here are the requirements for obtaining a VPK Certificate for your child:

–  Official Birth Certificate. The official birth certificate is used as proof that your child will be four years old on or before September 1.
–  Proof of Residency. You may use utility bills, pay stubs, residential/rental agreements, government documents.
–  Service members will need to bring their order as proof that a parent of the child is currently assigned to Florida for the VPK attendance.

Start preparing for VPK registration in the Okaloosa County Schools

The documents may be uploaded during the VPK registration on the Family Portal.

For more information on Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Registration, contact our providers in childhood development in Fort Walton Beach at 1-850-651-1649.

You can also visit Early Learning Coalition of Okaloosa and Walton Counties: https://www.elc-ow.org/services/voluntary-prekindergarten

Read, Read, Read! Okaloosa County Schools Cultivates Love Reading

Posted February 24th, 2017 by Okaloosa Head Start and filed in Uncategorized
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The final week of January 2017 was Literacy Week. Although Literacy Week is over, the Okaloosa County Schools encourage parents and children to continue celebrating the joys of reading!

Reading along and aloud with your children present many benefits that will help their brain growth, academics, and more! Here are some of the benefits associated with reading to your children:

– They can begin creating images in their minds while listening.
– Better ability to acclimate to new experiences.
– Better speech skills and a wider vocabulary.
– Communication and listening skills will expand.
– Bonding time and association of reading with a pleasant feeling
– Logical thinking skills will be sharpened.
– Better concentration and a love for learning that will follow them into their later years.

And since spring is right around the corner, here are a few books to inspire you and your green thumbs:

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Bunny’s First Spring by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
The Surprise Garden by Zoe Hall
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
The Enormous Potato by Aubrey Davis
And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano
How a Seed Grows by Helene Jordan
Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie de Paola
Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole
If You Hold A Seed by Elly MacKay
Jack and the Beanstalk by Carol Ottolenghi
Sunflower House by Eve Bunting

If you have any questions about our programs or enrollment, contact our early education providers at Okaloosa Headstart.

How to Deal with Tantrums

Posted January 23rd, 2017 by Okaloosa Head Start and filed in Child Care Tips
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We understand that when your child has a tantrum, it could be difficult as a parent to not have meltdown of your own. As adults we know what is socially acceptable, but children between the ages 1-4 have not developed good coping skills yet.

Learning by Example

As parents, we need to teach our children how to handle themselves in situations that upset them. Children learn by example, therefore if your child watches how you handle your emotions, that could help give them a better understanding of proper behavior.

To work with your child during a tantrum we have a few techniques you could use.
– First of all, validate their feelings and explain that you could see why they are upset.
– Help your child calm down by counting to 5. This creates a distraction until they are able to be themselves again.
– Some children just need some space. Give your child time to get their feelings out and regain self-control
– Hug your child. Hugs make kids feel secure and let’s them know that you care about them.

Work with your child to help problem solve during a tantrum and give some of our recommendations a try. This may take practice but remember that children are still learning to cope with their emotions. For more childcare tips, follow our blog. To register your child to Okaloosa Head Start’s VPK Program or other childcare, contact us or visit http://okaloosaheadstart.org/forms.php Register your child today at one of our Okaloosa County Schools.

Teaching our Children not to Share Germs

Posted December 22nd, 2016 by Okaloosa Head Start and filed in Child Care Tips
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The winter season brings a lot of joy and happiness, cold nights by the fire and warm hot chocolate. But with the weather becoming colder, also comes the flu and cold season.

Teaching kids to share with others is already a difficult task for small children to learn. While learning to share, children comprehend that they could give to another person while still receiving what they want. Now teaching these young children NOT to share germs is a whole other task on its own.

Helping Children Understand Germs

For young preschoolers and toddlers, it can be difficult for them to recognize germs since they are hard to physically see. When your child drinks from another person’s cup while sick, they don’t realize they are potentially spreading those germs. In this instance, you would tell your child not to share to avoid spreading illnesses. This could become rather confusing for a child to whom you have been explaining how to be kind and share with others. To help ease the uncertainty, here are some tips from Care.com on how to aide your children in understanding germs.
–  Describe germs as tiny bugs that live on anything and spread easily.
–  Tell your child that when a bug happens to make them sick, they will not be able to have fun with their friends and take part in other fun activities.
–  Explain to your child that there are precautions they could take to prevent being sick such as washing hands and drying them thoroughly.
Try these tips this winter season with your child to help prevent the spreading of germs and illnesses. For more childcare tips follow our blog. If you would like more information on the education services we offer at our Okaloosa County Schools, please contact us today. To register your child to Okaloosa Head Start’s VPK Program, contact us or visit http://okaloosaheadstart.org/forms.php

Teaching your Kids Gratitude

Posted November 18th, 2016 by Okaloosa Head Start and filed in Child Care Tips
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The upcoming holiday season brings us all into a giving kind of mood. But do our children express gratitude? Luckily, our children are privileged enough to have everything that they need and often things they want. But it is important to help our children understand and know how much they should be thankful for.

Everyday Ways to be Thankful

An attitude of gratitude helps us all thrive. Try the following steps to help your children begin a gracious mind-set not just for the holidays but actions they could carry on into their adult lives.

1. Say “thank you.” When “thank yous” are instilled in your home vocabulary, it begins a lifelong practice that will stay with your children for the rest of their lives.
2. Show appreciation. For example, if your child puts away his or her toys, then set an example and remind them how much you care. Tell them, “I’m so happy you remembered to put away your toys.”
3. Make giving and volunteering a habit. Set aside toys and clothing in good condition and donate them. Talk to your children about the process and why giving is important and how this simple action can transform someone else’s life.
4. Thank those who serve. For example, have your children acknowledge those who quietly make a difference in your community such as their teacher or the bus driver etc.

Raising your children to be grateful is going to be a work in progress just like anything else. Some days your child may feel like they understand gratitude and other days they may feel completely oblivious to how good their lives really are. As a parent, it’s important to be patient and continue to work at it everyday. For more childcare tips follow our blog. Are you interested in childcare at our Okaloosa County schools? To register your child to Okaloosa Head Start’s VPK Program, contact us or visit http://okaloosaheadstart.org/forms.php

The Importance of Routines for Children

Posted October 21st, 2016 by Okaloosa Head Start and filed in Back to School, Child Care Tips
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Studies show that when young children know what to expect in their daily lives, it helps develop confidence within them. Routines also give small children the opportunity to try and tackle their own tasks, such as packing their backpacks or brushing their teeth. This gives children a sense of independence, which children enjoy and thrive on.

Develop Your Own Routines

You and your child can develop morning routines such us getting your child ready for school and laying out his or her clothes. You could follow that with enjoying a healthy and balanced breakfast every morning. Your child could also help you prepare his or her lunch. And when it’s time to leave your child at school, make sure to have a simple reassuring routine, such as a hug, a kiss, or a wave goodbye.

Bedtime routines are also important. Keep activities before bed soothing such as reading a story and avoid activities that may cause too much excitement. For some children, baths before bed help them relax and sleep more comfortably. End of the day routines should be as consistent as possible which also includes a regular time to go to bed every night.

Consistency is important when it comes to your child’s day-to-day routines. On occasion, unexpected events may arise and completely change your plans but don’t be discouraged to return to regular routines. Better yet include room for flexibility within your schedule for these kind of unforeseen circumstances.

For more information on the education services we offer at our Okaloosa County Schools, please contact us today. And for parenting tips, follow our blog.