Toddlers Unlimited

Manila's Premiere Preschool & Toddler Center

All Screens Off 1 Hour A Day Challenge

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Usually, a teacher can tell if a student has been using gadgets for prolonged periods of time. For older kids, they become irritable, easily distracted, and even a bit disruptive. For younger ones, verbal interactions dip, attention span is fleeting, even initiative to play is dampened. Sure enough, when we talk to their parents, they admit to an increase in gadget use at home. Naturally, we ask them to limit screen time and within days, see an improvement in their child’s behavior in school. But while we are taking children off their screens at home, we’ve realized that only half of the battle that is being won.

In today’s parenting world, we have grown so accustomed to multi-tasking that we can check our emails (yes, we have more than one), manage our social media accounts (FB, IG, Twitter), do some work, watch videos on youtube or play a game (Candy Crush perhaps), AND talk to our kids. We are so good at doing so many things at the same time that we haven’t realized that our children aren’t getting the full amount of parenting attention they need and deserve.

One evening, I was working on a report, when my 5-year-old daughter asked me to draw with her. When I said, “I’m almost done, I just need 5 more minutes,” she lamented, “You’re always working. You never have time for me.” That very second I closed my computer and asked, “Is that really what you think?” She nodded but smiled when she saw me move away from the computer. Then we got on the floor and started sketching, talking and giggling about our illustrations.

This made me reflect on the messages I was sending my children. And got me into research mode. After doing some reading and talking to some field experts one thing became clear. Many well-meaning parents today, would limit their child’s gadget time, but even in the presence of their child would continue to use their own gadgets to work, connect with friends or relax. So much so, that when their child calls out to them, they give a cursory glance, nod, smile or comment, maybe take a photo to post, and then quickly return their eyes to the screen.

We are becoming a generation of parents who are missing out on the whole concept of Serve and Return, identified as one of the most important experiences in the brain development of infants and toddlers. When significant adults watch babies babble, gesture, giggle, make facial expressions and then copy them, they help build connections in the brain. But, this requires the adults to be fully attending to the child, so that the child can receive the returned gestures and facial expressions their parents are making. Children continue to need this type of fully engaged interaction throughout the childhood years.

Face-to-face contact with our children is such a simple thing to do, but one that many parents in this hi-tech world are unknowingly missing out on. It is with this thought that I decided to initiate a Family Challenge called SCREENS OFF, 1 HOUR A DAY, so we can give our children the full attention and eye to eye contact they deserve.

Families are free to choose which hour a day they would like to spend together. Depending on your family schedule you could do this during dinner time, bed time when stories and prayers are shared, game time when you engage your family in board games or play time when you can be with your children as they play with their toys.

When done long enough, we hope your family gets to the realization that being in a room together engaged with one another is so much more fun and memorable than being in a room together all staring at different devices.

Positive effects we hope to gain from this initiative include improved skills in communication, thinking, self-regulation and collaboration. We also expect to see better development in social and moral aspects. Because communication is improved, discipline will become easier. Your relationship with your child will naturally be deeper and richer.

I was fortunate to grow up with a mom who was a housewife in an age when we didn’t have these many technological distractions. I remember our nightly family dinners with my 5 siblings, my mom, sometimes my dad, and a friend or two, where our dinners would last so long because we would always talk (ok, sometimes fight) but a lot of times, laugh and have a lot of fun. To this day, whenever something big comes up, my mom is the first person I call.

There’s a plethora of information out there on how to be good parents and what we should do to make our children smarter, successful, confident, compassionate, well-mannered, etc. How about, we try giving them our undivided attention, starting with one hour a day and see if by making our children feel important to us, they become the best versions of themselves they were meant to be.

I know it’s ironic that you will probably read about this challenge through a screen, but it is my fervent wish that all parents who read this, will share it with another parent they care deeply about. And then shut down their screen, and do actual Face Time with their kids. Let your SCREENS OFF, 1 HOUR A DAY journey begin today!

Teacher Thumby Server-Veloso

 

Teacher Thumby Server-Veloso is a School Director for Toddlers Unlimited, the first progressive preschool in Alabang, since 1995, which has been ISO certified since 2001. She is also the School Director of Thinkers Unlimited, a primary progressive school in Alabang. She is a partner at Spark Discovery Center in Makati. Thumby has been teaching since 1993 and has a Masters Degree in Family Life and Child Development from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. She also has contributed articles to Working Mom Magazine and Cudsly, and was a guest speaker on Playing Power: The Magic of Childhood, at the South PiNanays event in Alabang Town Center on August 2016.

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Celebrating 20 Years of Playing and Learning

 

Here is Teacher Thumby, our School Director’s speech during the Moving Up Ceremony to end the schoolyear 2015-16:

Good morning children, parents, grandparents and guests. Thank you for coming to our Moving Up Day Celebration.

This is Toddlers Unlimited’s 20th Moving Up Day. Our first one was done in my parents’ home in 1996, with a small group of children many of whom were my nieces, nephews, neighbors and family friends.

Today, we are Moving Up more than 100 children, including my own kids, my nieces, children of my neighbors, friends, teachers and people who have become part of our Toddlers Family.

I don’t think there are enough words to express my gratitude to God and to my husband, family, teachers, staff, and the families who over the years have entrusted their children in our care. But I will try. Thank you. Salamat po. Gracias. Tak. Danke Shoen. Grazie. Spasiba. Shokran. Kamsahamnida. Arigato.

When we started Toddlers Unlimited, we were the only progressive school in Alabang that promoted learning through play, because Teacher Gila and I really believed in the power and magic of active exploration.

My message to the children today is simply to enjoy your childhood. Experience it. Run around in circles until your dizzy, pretend to be astronauts blasting off to outer space, have giggle fits over the silliest things, make musical instruments out of household objects and start a marching band.

Whenever I look back on my childhood a flood of memories pours in of all these fun stuff we used to do. This is what I want for all our children. That when they grow up, they will look fondly on their childhood – their times as babies, toddlers, preschoolers and gradeschoolers, and feel a rush of joy. For the times they chased each other as dinosaurs in the Romp, the elaborate restaurants they set up in their classrooms, and the inventive stories they made to entertain each other.

To the Parents my message is just this: Let’s not forget the value of play. It motivates children to think, communicate, solve problems, care for others, move about, focus, write, do art, dance, act, and a whole lot of other things…but also…it makes children happy.

Thank you all so much for being a part of this celebration. Salamat po. Gracias. Tak. Danke Shoen. Grazie. Spasiba. Shokran. Kamsahamnida. Arigato.

 

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Let’s not forget the value of play. It makes children happy.

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Our Top 10 Family Friendly Music Videos

Who doesn’t love watching music video channels? But nowadays, how can parents not feel annoyed, disturbed, offended, insulted or even worried about the messages these videos can send to young minds.

It’s a sad fact that many musicians have to resort to demeaning tricks to fulfill contracts or grab attention. But it’s such a loss that we cannot share the enjoyment of music videos with our children. Sure, there are tons of songs from Sesame Street, Yo Gabba Gabba, Hi-5 and the likes, that children (and often parents) can enjoy. But some kids like listening to adult music and sharing their videos. So we put together a short collection of some music videos parents and kids can watch together.

Unfortunately there is nothing that is recent, but all the songs chosen are pretty timeless and fun to watch.

  1. A-HA: Take on me

How can you not love one of the most memorable videos from the 80’s?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djV11Xbc914


Take On Me

  1. Lenka: The Show

Such a cute video with catchy lyrics and an upbeat tempo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elsh3J5lJ6g

The Show

  1. Sara Bareilles: Brave

I love how being brave is interpreted as expressing yourself rather than fighting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUQsqBqxoR4

brave

  1. Rob Thomas: Little Wonders

Something for those emotional times. Sometimes you just need a song to play when your child is feeling blue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfhuAWGscvg

Little Wonders

  1. Pharrel Williams: Happy

And something when you just wanna dance!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM

happy

  1. Anna Kendrick: When I’m Gone

Inspires children to learn how to play with cups and sing while waiting in restaurants.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmSbXsFE3l8

cup songs

  1. Madonna: Dear Jessie

This is possibly the only Madonna video kids could actually watch. Lovely theme about the preciousness of childhood.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGYmN-1UQzI

dear jessie

  1. Plumb: One Drop

Powerful message that early readers will enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d17zoQX-iLs

one drop

  1. Coldplay: Life in Technicolor II

It’s Coldplay…enough said.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXSovfzyx28

technicolor

  1. Tomorrow: Tevin Campbell and Quincy Jones

A song about hope and a message of love sung by children.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxTbKtTMAcw

Tomorrow

Wish they could have made it to the top 10:

Here are 5 other videos that are watchable although maybe some parents won’t approve.

  1. N Sync’s Gotta Be Me: It’s got a little bit of fighting and some sexy Barbie’s, although nothing offensive really. The scariest thing is JT’s outfit.
  1. Spice Girls’ Stop: I think this is their best video, but with Scary Spice’s sexy outfit, had to bump it off the list. But I noticed they tried not to show as much as possible. It’s a fun video to watch anyway.
  1. One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful: Knocked out for that near kiss moment. But am glad there was no actual kissing that would have caused pre-teen heart to start shattering all over the world.
  1. Al Jarraue’s Morning: Nothing wrong with this one, except maybe that the cartoon effects are a bit outdated, but kids might still enjoy it.
  1. Sheena Easton’s Telefone: How would you explain the term: Love Affair. Still, it’s a fun video for Halloween.

What’s on your child-friendly playlist? Please share!

Oh and one more important thing, when watching these videos with your children: DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO READ THE COMMENTS!

Have fun!

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Toddlers’ Kids Growing Up and Doing Good!

2015 marks our 20th year of working with young children. Through the years, there have been so many interesting and incredible children that have enriched our classrooms. I often wonder about “our kids” and how they are doing.

I often see Facebook posts or bump into parents who share what our children are up to. It never fails to amaze me how wonderful they have turned out to be. While I would love to claim that there is some connection between being in Toddlers and their awesomeness today, I would rather not, and give credit to where it is due – the students themselves and the families who have raised them.

One particular example of greatness is Freddie, who arrived in Toddlers when we were new at Festival Mall. He was an adorable 3-year-old who loved Thomas the Tank Engine so much he would dash around the room pretending he was his beloved steam engine. Over the years we would see Freddie’s dear mom, Irene, who would share about his progress, challenges and triumphs. Like every parent, she always seemed to have a healthy dose of concern that was always buried by the overwhelming pride she had for her son.

Just recently Freddie, who is now a high school student studying in Germany, was honoured by his school. The article is in German, so I asked for a translation.

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“The Father Alfred Delp Award is the highest honour given to graduates at St. Blasien College. It serves to acknowledge continuous and outstanding endeavours of social responsibility.”

You see, during Yolanda, Freddie initiated a fund raising campaign for the whole school and was able to raise over €4,000 to help rebuild a school in Bantayan, Cebu. He also would give his time to help old and disabled people around the area, like doing the grocery and reading books to them. He teaches English, Math, Sports and other things like Drumming in school. He is also an advocate against bullying and helps other kids with difficulties in school, especially those with Learning Disabilities. Being in a Jesuit school, they took notice of his simplicity and humility, for he never took credit for the work he did.

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In her message to me, Irene added this: “Thank you! And it all started in Toddlers Unlimited…”

While I do not take credit for Freddie’s achievements, it surely warms my heart to realise that his mom knows that when he was a 3-year-old trailblazing his way around our school, we saw the unlimited potential in this young boy, who has turned out to be such a caring and admirable young man.

To Freddie and his family, congratulations! We are so full of pride.

And to our other students out there, give us a call and let us know how you are doing. We would love to hear from you!

Love,

Your Toddlers Family

Written by:
Teacher Thumby Server-Veloso

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Neurofeedback Stage 1

I took my almost 7 year old son, who may have ADHD to the Philippine Neurofeedback Center at Medical Plaza in Makati yesterday.

Why did I bring my son in?

1. The other day, I had a conference with the school head in my son’s school and we talked about his areas of strength and weakness based on the results of his school performance and tests. We also reviewed the report done by a Clinical Psychologist and found it was consistent with the school results. So we planned support and extra curricular work to help him.

2. I’ve recently been reading about Neurofeedback and was really interested in how it could help him, especially since it is non-invasive and there are no negative side effects.

3. A big plus was finding out that they have a promo – free brain mapping and new package pricing.

What happened on our first visit?

1. We were met by Dr. Cheryl Mae Ramirez, the clinic manager, who also happens to be a neurotherapist . She answered our basic questions about the therapy.

2. We were ushered us into our cubicle and she sat next to my son, while an attendant connected electrodes to him. They used a kind of paste to stick the electrodes to him. My son did not particularly like that there were things stuck on him and almost immediately asked when they would be removed, but after being assured that it would not take long, he sat and waited.

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3. Then the mapping began. Dr. Ramirez would play a short music clip and watch the computer, taking notes as lines and numbers that I could not decipher appeared on the screen.  There were 4 clips in all, and after each song clip, she would stop and talk to me about what she read, while the attendant moved the electrodes to measure a different part or side of his brain. By the 4th clip, my son was already asking when it would be over, but managed to finish the mapping. Each clip was about a minute long, I would say he was hooked up for about 15 minutes at the most.

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What I found out?

Without giving the out specifics, she talked to me about areas of my son’s brain that were not working at a normal rate. These are the areas where he could get help with. As we were talking, I found myself nodding and agreeing, as these were the same areas that his Clinical Psychologist Report and School Report pointed out as needing help and areas we also struggle with at home.

Dr. Ramirez said she would send me a report to review along with the number of sessions needed. I’m quite curious to find out if I will see a noticeable change in his focusing after a few sessions.

What will neurofeedback do?

“Neurofeedback is a reputable and scientifically proven computer-aided biofeedback technique that is used to train the brain to improve its function. It involves reading waves and analyzing its deviation from a database of standard healthy brain patterns. In areas where a deviation from the norm is detected, the correct brain wave pattern is fed back to the brain through a series of audio and even visual rewards.

In time, the brain learns how to create these normative patterns, resulting in a more coherent communication between the different parts, thereby improving brain function.”

-THE BUSINESS OF BRAIN STIMULATION by Rizal Raoul Reyes (BUSINESS MIRROR)

Why will we do this to our son?

People may ask me why I would subject my son to therapies that may seem unnecessary. Or why I would not wait for him to get older.

My response is that I am an advocate of Early Intervention and doing what you can to help your child while they are young. It is my hope that by doing this now, I give my son a better chance at learning to do things he is having difficulty with and making life easier and more enjoyable for him.

Am I 100% sure it will work?

No, I am not. But since it is non-invasive and has no negative side effects, and has some literature (research-based findings), I am willing to give it a try. At the end of the day, I would like to say I tried to help my son to the best of my knowledge and ability. Rather than keep a wait and see and regret attitude.

Where can I read up on this therapy?

Check out their facebook page, where articles are posted.

https://www.facebook.com/PhilippineNeurofeedbackCenter

Or visit their website.

http://philippineneurofeedback.com/

How do I contact them?

+63 916 735 5014

+63 2 553 5943/  +63 2 888 5086
philippineneurofeedbackcenter@gmail.com
Unit 814  Medical Plaza Building
Amorsolo corner Dela Rosa Streets
Legazpi Village, Makati City

 

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An Out of this World Visit

Every child grows up admiring a favored quixotic hero. A person whose goodness or achievements impact young minds’ interests and dreams. Last February 4, 2014, a hero came to visit the children of Toddlers Unlimited at Festival Mall, Alabang. Unlike the comic book heroes the children see on TV, this one was an actual champion who they all enjoyed shaking hands with, listening to and learning from.

chino w sign

In line with the Nursery and Kinder Classes’ themes on Outer Space, Chino Roque, a space tourist in training, was invited to give a talk to the children. He won the Axe contest and was sent to a Space Camp in the US. He went through astronaut training, completed his requirements, and earned a diploma that was awarded to him by none other than the great Buzz Aldrin. He is officially the first Filipino astronaut! The children, teachers and parents were all so thrilled when he came to school wearing his flight suit with our country’s flag stamped on his sleeve.

class

The audience was gathered in one classroom where Chino broke the ice by asking them what they knew about Outer Space. Hands flew up in the air as they little boys and girls took turns trying to impress a real-life astronaut with their knowledge on planets, meteors, the sun and moon. Chino then enthralled the audience with his slide and video presentations that shared his experiences during his training, from photos of himself during his graduation to his videos in a zero-gravity chamber.

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The room was packed with children brimming with questions such as: What will you bring to outer space? Do you have a dog? How heavy is your spaceship? Why do you need to wear a helmet? Do people put flags every time they go to the moon? When is your birthday? As each child came up to the front to ask their question, Chino patiently waited for them to muster up the courage to speak up. He would welcome each child by greeting them by their first name, going down to talk to them at eye level, and with humor and honesty, answer each query.

Chino even went on to talk about how we all should work hard to achieve our dreams. This inspired the children further, especially when he talked about eating and living healthy. Come lunchtime, the teachers were all pleasantly surprised to see students boasting about having vegetables in their plates and actually devouring them.

When it was picture-taking time, Chino gamely posed with the different classes, and even some special requests from parents, grandparents, yayas, and teachers. Even though he had to rush off to teach his Crossfit class at Crossfit Manila Alabang, he gave each photo request his time and cheery smile!

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Chino was truly inspirational. The students of Toddlers Unlimited are undoubtedly going to remember his visit for quite some time. We all wish him the very best as he embarks on his space mission in 2015. To infinity and beyond, Chino!

By Bianca Miciano and Thumby Server

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Teaching Hearts

Typhoon Yolanda came and devastated the lives of so many people. Over here in Manila, we watched in horror as we saw homes, buildings, families and parts of our country ebb away into oblivion. While we did not have the means to fix the problem, we were all given the opportunity to do something. As an educator, I felt I had 2 roles: help the adults in our Toddlers Family find a way to reach the people in need and teach the children that a little act of kindness can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

In giving the families a chance to come together as a community and give what they could, a simple email asking for food was sent. This resulted in the arrival of numerous boxes of supplies. So many parents to thank, but how can I not mention Sky’s parents who asked friends for donations for the victims instead of birthday and christening gifts for their children? Or Bambi, a family friend, who filled grocery carts with goods and even paid for delivery cost.  Our food donations went to Samar, Barbaza in Antique, Estancia in Iloilo, and Capiz. Then a second email for stuffed toys was released, and those huggable animals came pouring in and were donated through the Galileo Head Office to Caritas finding their way into the arms of children in evacuation shelters. Our third wave was a request for children’s clothes. Cheerily we filled up boxes upon boxes of clothes and toys for the children of farmers in Pasi, Iloilo.

Stuffed Toys

I remember when our first set of deliveries arrived in Barbaza on November 13, the relatives of my yaya brought it to their church and immediately repacked and shared it with 200 families. Since people were not expecting donations so soon, they had to go out and distribute the food. The people in their community were so surprised and said to make sure that we knew how thankful they were.

Like many other people this past Christmas, my teaching family got in on the giving by doing away with our annual Exchange Gift tradition to give monetary donations to staff members with family in the affected areas. I was so glad they came up with this idea.

Our second role as Educators dealing with such an immense disastrous event was to light the spark in children and ignite the spirit of charity in them. My teachers approached me with the idea of a class bazaar to raise funds. The project was planned and green lighted. Then our Nursery Students and their teachers set to work making Christmas Décors and whipping up snacks and juice to sell. The teachers took photos of the children and wrote down what they said about helping others and posted the photos for us to see.

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Then, we proceeded to invite the parents, and when this note from Ethan’s mom arrived in my email, I felt my heart swell.

“I’ve chosen Toddlers because I believe you share my view that it’s not just the academics that is important but social and emotional development too.  And again, the email below [our invite] is one of the reasons why I tell myself that I’ve made the right decision to choose Toddlers.”

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The support from the children and their parents was overwhelming. Ethan brought his piggy bank and donated its contents to our cause. Other parents donated goodies for us to sell. One day of our little Bunnies Bazaar and we came up with a pretty decent pot.

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Over at the Pups Classes, the teachers had the children draw pictures and write notes of love to the children in the affected areas.

With the help of my dear cousin in law, Michi, who went to Divisoria, goodies were bought using the bazaar income. The Pups Class children then filled up the loot bags with pencil sets, notebooks, puzzles and other toys. To sweeten the gift, they added their love notes into the bags.

Photo 1-9-14, 10 10 14 AM Photo 1-9-14, 10 10 44 AM

Dr. Tiger, the dad of Chase from the Bunnies, picked up our gifts and personally delivered them to the children in East Samar before Christmas. He posted this heartwarming photo and this comment that made me feel so proud:

“Gifts from my daughter and all her schoolmates in Toddlers Unlimited in Alabang. They all gave gifts, packed them, and wrote letters. From one child to another. If there’s one thing I think my girls have learned so far is, from Bella asking me “Dada when I’m bigger can I help the poor?” to my youngest daughter handing me a lot of her toys while I was packing the gifts, is charity and humility in our actions. God bless our children and those that we help for they are our future. And maybe one of these kids, one day, might be the one to turn things around for all of us!”

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The healing and help is far from over. There is much more to be done. As time passes, we will continue to see how we can help and continue to rally our parents and teachers behind projects while reminding our students that kindness and generosity are invaluable traits worth nourishing.

By: Teacher Thumby Server-Veloso

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A Time for Toys

What??? It’s almost Christmas and my child doesn’t have his Dear Santa letter yet? My shopping list even halfway done? Help!!!

One quandary bogging down lots of parents is choosing toys children will actually play with not just a couple of times before shelving for the rest of the year. Is there a toy guru out there?

Don’t fret…The simple solutions: #1 Choose award winning toys; #2 Look through your favorite shopping sites for the latest bestsellers; #3 Read this quick and easy guide on toy choosing.

 Tips for Choosing Safe and Age Appropriate Toys:

 1. Check the labels or packaging: look for

  • age the toy is good for
  • words LEAD-FREE paint
  • For art materials: it should say NONTOXIC. For younger children: paints and markers should say WASHABLE.
  • Electric toys: look for the UL label (means it has met safety requirements by the Underwriters Laboratories).

 Image

 

2. Check for choking hazards.

  • Any toy that can fit through a toilet paper roll is not recommended for children 3 and under.
  • For infants and toddlers make sure toys don’t have parts that can come off when chewed or pulled. For example eyes of a stuffed toy.
  • Be careful with battery operated toys

– The cases that secure the batteries should have screws so that children cannot open them.

– When batteries die or when the toy isn’t used for a long time adults should remove the batteries to avoid leaking

– Batteries and battery fluids can choke, poison or cause internal bleeding and chemical burns.

3. Be aware of possible things that can strangle children.

  •  Do not give children toys that have strings or laces that are long enough to go around their necks. Check the length of the pull toys.
  •  Never allow children to sleep with toys that have strings (balloons, toy necklaces)
  •  For older children:
    • Always buy the safety gear that is required (scooters, bikes, skates, skateboards, etc)
    • Toy darts, arrows and bullets should have soft tips not pointed tips.
    • Toy guns should be in bright colors and not look like real guns so that they will never be mistaken as real weapons.

Guidelines for Choosing Toys:

1. Choose toys that can be used in a variety of ways.

Choose toys that are “open-ended” in the sense that your child can play many different games with them. Toys like this spark your child’s imagination and help him develop problem-solving and logical thinking skills.

Examples: Blocks, nesting cups, and toys for sand and water play

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2. Look for toys that will grow with your child.

Look for toys that can be fun at different developmental stages.

 Examples: Plastic toy animals and action figures, toddler-friendly dollhouses, trains and dump trucks (and other vehicles), stuffed animals and dolls.

 

3. Select toys that encourage exploration and problem-solving.

Toys that give kids a chance to figure something out on their own—or with a little coaching—build their logical thinking skills and help them become persistent problem-solvers. They also help children develop spatial relations skills (understanding how things fit together), hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills (using the small muscles in the hands and fingers).

Examples: Puzzles, shape-sorters, art materials like clay, paint, crayons or play-dough

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4. Look for toys that spark your child’s imagination.

Pretend play builds language and literacy skills, problem-solving skills, and the ability to sequence (put events in a logical order).

Examples: Dress-up clothing, toy food and plastic plates, toy tools, and “real-life” accessories such as a wrapping paper tube “fire hose” for your little fire fighter. The all-purpose large cardboard box is always a big hit for toddlers and is free. Boxes become houses, pirate ships, barns, tunnels—anything your child’s imagination can come up with!

5. Give your child the chance to play with “real” stuff—or toys that look like the real thing. She is interested in playing with your “real” stuff, like your cell phone, because she is eager to be big and capable like you. Toys like this help children problem-solve, learn spatial relations (how things fit together), and develop fine motor skills (use of the small muscles in the hands and fingers).

Examples: Plastic dishes and food, toy keys, toy phone, musical instruments, child-size brooms, mops, brushes and dustpans

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6. Seek out toys that encourage your child to be active.

Look for toys that help your child practice current physical skills and develop new ones.

 Examples: Balls of different shapes and sizes, tricycles or three-wheeled scooters (with appropriate protective gear), plastic bowling sets, child-size basketball hoop, pull-toys (e.g., toys that your child can pull on a string), wagon to fill and pull, gardening tools                     

 

7. Look for toys that nurture cross-generational play.

Consider starting a “family game night” when all of you play together. Board games encourage counting, matching and memory skills, as well as listening skills and self-control (as children learn to follow the rules). They also nurture language and relationship-building skills. Another important benefit is teaching children to be gracious winners and how to cope with losing.

 

8. Toss in some “getting ready to read” toys.

Books, magnetic alphabet letters, and art supplies like markers, crayons, and fingerpaints help your child develop early writing and reading skills.

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Not sure where to find these toys? Come see the Toddlers Unlimited sChOOL store!

 

Sources:

http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/learning/safe_toys.html

http://www.zerotothree.org/child-development/play/tips-for-choosing-toys-for.html

ZERO TO THREE is a national, nonprofit organization that provides parents, professionals and policymakers the knowledge and know-how to nurture early development. (www.zerotothree.org)

 http://www.uaf.edu/files/ces/publications-db/catalog/hec/PCD-00089.pdf

 

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Talk to Me

On Aug. 17, Toddlers Unlimited was fortunate enough to host a workshop by Ms. Nastasha Morales-Soliven, an esteemed speech and language pathologist, attended by teachers and parents.

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The comments made by the attendees at the end of the morning showed us how much they learned and enjoyed. Here are some examples:

“Teacher Nash is very knowledgeable on the topic. She explained the topic and subtopics very clearly with examples.”

“Well done in explaining difficult terms in layman’s language…Loved how the seminar covered basic Speech and Language Development concepts and injected various situations in the talk.”

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“The speaker was very animated!!! Which made it very enjoyable.”

“The most memorable thing was when the speaker asked us to act out different situations, because it was where application of the content of the seminar took place.”

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Below is a reflection paper made by Teacher Sharon Baritugo, who works with our one-year-old children on Teacher Nash’s workshop.

“The limits of my language, means the limits of my world.”  Ludwig Wittgenstein

Language opens up a world of things for everyone.  With all its various aspects, it is amazing how humans keep developing this skill starting as early as in the womb and further on into adulthood.

As a teacher of the one year olds, language is one of the most important things that I believe I should focus on with my students.  The Purple Room is always filled with singing, books to read, pictures to point at and name, toys to play with and talk about.  It is at this age where children are more receptive than expressive.  So my day usually consists of a lot of talking and singing, labeling things the children are experiencing as they are playing, ‘translating’ into words the child’s gesture or babble as they try to express a need or a discovery they want to share.

I am always in awe of that look of understanding in a child’s eyes who is not able to talk yet, when he is able to comprehend what I am saying.  For my one year olds, a smile or even a small gesture is enough to start a conversation.  Following simple directions, trying to sing along to our everyday songs, pointing at pictures in books are some of the abilities that we look out for.  With these beginning skills in language, the child is then able to start socializing, and more importantly start to express needs and wants, both very essential to their overall development.

At this age of rapid technological advances, our children are exposed to so many gadgets in their everyday lives.  Giant televisions, cell phones in each caregiver’s hand, tablets that respond with a mere touch of a finger.  I must admit, I am quite wary of these things.  If not carefully monitored by the adults, studies show that these hamper development, and not just language development at that.

Teacher Nash pointed out in her lecture the various physical aspects of speech, the anatomic and motor skills that go with it.  Children need to look at a person talking to them.  They need to see how the mouth and tongue move, and even facial expressions that go with what a person is saying.  Hearing a voice and looking at pictures is not enough.  Adults need to take the time to sit down and play with their children on the floor and make eye-contact as they talk to them.

I know some will disagree but for me, e-books will never replace real books that a child can hold, touch, turn the pages, and even smell.  With these books with stationary pictures, the child is encouraged to imagine how the characters might move, talk or sound like, and how the story may progress in their minds.  And of course, nothing will replace having a child sit on your lap, as you read a story together.

As an educator, I believe giving utmost importance to a child’s language development will give him the tools to cope with the demands of school life, and then ultimately the demands of this world.  Teacher Nash’s lecture was very timely.  Parents and caregivers, especially in this day and age, need to be reminded about the importance of language in child development.

Sometimes it’s startling to realize that there is a need to remind some adults (parents and yayas) to talk and read to their children.  I am glad Toddlers Unlimited is doing their part in raising this awareness among parents.  I’m looking forward to more seminars and workshops similar to this and hoping more parents and caregivers attend.

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Pilates in Toddlers!

By: Teacher Maan Adriano

The month of July is all about our body and knowing how to take care of it. For the past few weeks, the Pups Class has been busy discussing the different body parts and systems. To make it more fun and exciting, we invited Mrs. Anne-mi Katigbak, a Certified Pilates Instructor and loving mom to Xavi, last July 3 to teach us different exercises that we can do to keep our bodies fit and strong.

The whole room was packed with eager children ready for some stretching and movement. Mommy Anne-mi began by talking about how important it is that we take care of the body by doing some exercises. Everyone looked so keen to learn about Pilates.

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After showing us some pictures of different equipment, Mommy Anne-mi brought out some materials that we can use to do some poses. First was the Physio Ball that helps us exercise the muscles in our tummy to make it firmer.

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The children took turns balancing on the ball on their backs while trying to do some sit-ups.

Other materials that she showed us were the Pilates Roller, Pilates Circle and the Pilates Ball. Each exercise focuses on certain muscles in our body by making it more flexible and stronger.

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Finally, Mommy Anne-mi taught us a few of the most common Pilates Poses. After doing some warm-ups, everybody scrambled to get their own space to do some of the poses.

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Everybody did a really great job trying to imitate the different Pilates poses. Everyone did their best in balancing with both feet and arms up in the air. Thanks to Mommy Anne-mi, we now know more exercising techniques and we’re ready to add our own twist to them!

 Do you want to do some simple Yoga with your kids? Try this book! We’re sure that your kids would love imitating some of the Yoga poses in it. 

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