We Salute Our Babies

August 31, 2011

I have so many experiences traveling that there are weeks I think I should write a travel blog. While these stories might leave you laughing hysterically one minute and crying with sorrow the next, I do not think they would add much to our society other than humoring you with the perils of my life. My life is simply complicated. However, I had an experience this past week that is worth writing about.

I was waiting to board a flight. In the distance, I heard one person begin to clap slowly but very deliberately. I ignored the clapping—you hear so much in a busy airport. Then the single clap turned into two, three, and then several. You have probably guessed that I turned to see some of the best looking young men I’ve ever seen (if there were women, I did not see them) in a single file to board at a gate adjoining mine. The clapping began to crescendo to an almost deafening sound, and we stood with tear-stained cheeks paying tribute as our brave men in uniform boarded their flight.

As I boarded just a few minutes later, I thought about how young they looked…how each young man was some mother’s baby just a few short years ago. I realized that the children I am investing in today will be the ones boarding a plane tomorrow to protect me, my children, and my grandchildren. I have ONE chance to pour myself into each child. They have ONE childhood for me to get it right. I must love them gently while they are young so that they will value life, stand up for what’s right, and make great decisions when they are on their own. I must develop leaders who will instill in our children universally accepted character traits like responsibility, caring, respect, citizenship, fairness, and trustworthiness because our children will need these values in everything they do in life.

These brave men inspired me to “be all that I can be” for the future young men and women who will protect our country, and I trust that you will renew your commitment to the child/ren in your life. Love them deeply, respect them at all times, and savor every moment that you have with them. The days pass SO quickly. Our babies make a dramatic entrance into this world. Yet in a blink, they are grown men marching with emotion onto a plane and into a world of unknown risks.

Each child has only ONE childhood,
and we must pour our very best into that childhood.

To the men of service who boarded a flight at DFW, gate D15 on Thursday, August 25, 2011: Thank you for bringing incredible inspiration to a weary early childhood professional! And thank you to those who invest in the lives of young children on a daily basis. Every child deserves our very best, and together we are making a difference in our world.

Written by Donna McClintock, Children’s Choice COO

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Never FORGET That It Is ALL About The Child

August 17, 2011

I usually do not write on my blogs about what is happening at Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.; but I cannot help but share some of my experiences this week.

During the past two weeks, we opened our newest center—Chesapeake Child Development Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In an effort to ensure that we are “Doing It Right” on every level, I have been in the center for several weeks along with many of our senior staff.

Today was no exception. I was in an infant room before lunch and had the beautiful privilege of rocking an angelic infant to sleep. Later, I had the unique opportunity of allowing a great young man to chew on my arm as he found a way to lull himself to sleep at nap time. Trust me…I have the battle scars to prove my point, and I consider them to be scars of honor. What I am saying is this: We do whatever it takes to transition every child into the new environment. When we open a new center, we require ALL hands on deck to lend support to the center because we are MOST concerned about the child. We want to ensure that each child is loved, comforted, and transitioned into the new environment in the most loving and supportive way possible.

I ended my day in the Pre-K classroom. Without thinking, I shed my pumps so that I could quickly get up and down and interact with the children as they wished. Right away, I was informed by a very serious and concerned child that I needed to put my shoes back on because a fire might happen and I wouldn’t be prepared to make an emergency exit if I did not have my shoes on. It was in that moment I realized that EVERYTHING we say and do has SUCH an impact. Our children are listening to what we say and watching what we do—and they EXPECT us to be consistent. Of COURSE, I put my shoes back on quickly and reinforced how important it is that we adhere to our policies.

We have rules—licensing rules, company rules, and practical rules. Perhaps we can’t determine the origin of a rule or even if it applies to us; but we believe that there is a rule and that we must abide by it.

I am so blessed to interact with beautiful children and amazing educators. When I forget the rules, the child leads me. When I get weary, my passion is renewed by just spending time in a center remembering WHY we do WHAT we do. Being there reminds me that everything we do matters. Our children are watching. They notice, and they will CALL US OUT if we do not follow all of the rules that we have told them are very important. That is one of my favorite things about young children…they truly keep the main things the main things…

 

Written by Donna McClintock, COO Children’s Choice Learning Centers


It’s Back….

August 3, 2011

Welcome Back to SchoolParents experience a range of emotions as they think about getting back to school and summer activities winding down. Many are glad for the emerging routine of school while others are sad to see the summer months fading away. Here are some helpful hints for you and your family to ease into school-year routines.

  1. Even if your children are very young and attend only child care and/or preschool, you have probably kept a different schedule during the summer than you typically do in the fall and winter. Since young children thrive best when they are in a routine with a very predictable bedtime, they will enjoy getting back on a schedule after vacations, family visits, etc.
  2. Describe the routine to even the youngest child. Don’t forget the power of your words, no matter how young the child. Describing what you are doing, when bath time is coming up, what we are doing for bedtime, and why it is different than the previous routine will go a long way in helping the child understand. Children deserve the respect of having an adult explain to them what is going on in their world.
  3. Communication is the key when making changes. If your child is older, this is a good time to have a family meeting to discuss bedtime. If her bedtime has been 8:30 p.m. but she is moving into a higher grade that merits a later time, first discuss a change to 8:45-9:00 p.m. Even a 15-minute change can make a young child feel empowered. Also, consider this idea when extending your child’s bedtime: If she has to be called more than twice to wake up, her bedtime goes back to the original time until she shows that the new time is enough sleep.
  4. Determine NOW to keep the stress out of school mornings.
    1. Lay clothes out the night before. If you allow your child to choose her outfits, have approved outfits for the week in a section of the closet so she doesn’t have to get permission for what she is wearing that morning.
    2. If you have an infant, pack the diaper bag the night before with everything except what needs to remain refrigerated.
    3. Pack backpacks the night before with all assignments and signed papers and put the backpacks in the same place each night.
    4. Decide what you are serving for breakfast by posting a menu or allowing your children to choose breakfast the night before.
    5. Avoid addressing behavior issues in the morning that CAN wait until a more convenient time to discuss.
    6. If everyone seems rushed, determine early in the school year to get up 15 minutes earlier. Do not allow 15 minutes of sleep to rob you and your family of peace and an unhurried morning. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier. It will be worth it.

I wish everyone a very happy back-to-school transition.

Writen By: Donna McClintock, COO Children’s Choice Learning Centers