Transition to the Bottle

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A baby’s first few first months of life are an adventure! A parent is busy discovering all of the baby’s cues and signals. When are they hungry? When are they sleepy? These new insights are thrilling and filled with love and tenderness. A baby depends on her parents for all of her basic needs. Having a respectful approach to your child’s needs and building a sense of collaboration with your child will be very beneficial. Mutual respect between parents and children is a valuable concept for the happy thriving new family, especially in terms of basic needs like eating. 

Caring for the little baby is a pleasurable and challenging time for first time parents (although it can be much different with second or third children, too- no one is an expert in this!). Being a parent for the first time brings new stresses, questions and concerns. You read anything and everything you can get your hands on about feeding and sleeping schedules, but each opinion is very different. When you welcome your new baby, your whole life becomes focused on the baby’s basic needs, the most important of which is feeding. The question is: How can we meet and recognize these needs in order for the baby to grow healthy, happy and develop in an appropriate way? 

The most important way to fulfill this essential need is to listen to your child’s cries, sense his frustration and look for his body cues. The child will transition through many feeding approaches in his first year of life. There will be breast-feeding, bottle-feeding, solids, and finger foods. Each child is unique and it is great to create an exclusive language between the child and the parent. This language and knowledge is so important when the child enters the school environment at an early age. The parents’ understanding of their child’s feeding cues helps the teacher to meet the baby’s needs and create a happy and comfortable setting for the new infant as a student.

In these days, with busy working mommies, it is uncommon that the child will be nursing during the school time. It is the time when the bottles start to appear for the baby’s feeding time. The child who is breast-fed exclusively at home might endure difficulties taking the bottle at school. It is completely understandable, as the child gets used to the comfort and closeness of the mommy during feeding times. This change is very hard for both of them: baby and mommy. The mommy can feel torn, lost and unhappy because she feels that she is failing the child or not there to provide comfort and food in the same way as before. The baby feels confused and frustrated by the abrupt change in his routine. How can this situation can be resolved? What can be helpful during the transition from breast-feeding to bottle-feeding?

Since the feeding ritual plays an important part in the child’s life, it is valuable to introduce a bottle to the baby a few weeks before the child starts school. At the beginning you can offer your baby 1 or 2 ounces of breast milk in a bottle a few times a week. The baby might not take much at first, but the idea is to getting used to drinking from a source other than the breast. You may need to try a few different types of bottles or bottle nipples to figure out what your child prefers. There are many layers to this transition. 

Despite your best efforts, your child might refuse to take a bottle, especially from the mommy, as she associates the feeding with Mommy’s body and loves this close experience. When the bottle is introduced, other family members are included in this bonding moment. The feeding time is a lovable, close, bonding time, so please enjoy it; even if this new transition seems challenging at first. Try to hold the baby in a position other than the typical nursing one – have the baby face away from the adult with his head against the adult’s chest. Walking while feeding might also help, as it distracts the baby from the breast. Look for the things that baby likes to look at and use this item while feeding. Mobiles, rotating lights, or other elements in the environment will be soothing for your baby while she eats. 

Moreover, it is advisable to formulate a feeding routine/schedule for the child before introducing her to school. It is great to start practicing, so she can transition to the new routine at home and continue at school. Of course every day is a little different, but keeping a basic routine is useful and comforting for young children. Each infant has their own schedule, which is supposed to be maintained at school. The educators are more than eager to help you and your child to start the school enthusiastically and joyfully. Astrong feeling of trust and good communication between the parent and the teacher is crucial for the baby’s happiness in a new environment. If you are feeling happy and relaxed, your baby will, too.

Always look at, observe and listen to your child’s nonverbal cues. The babies, despite their young age, know what they want(and when!) and through their body movements and cries they communicate with us. Be persistent with your goals and try as many times as it needed. Do not give up! We know that it can be challenging, and are here to assist you and support you! You want everything that is best for your child who depends on you for all of their care at this age. Be prepared for the child’s school time, ask questions, tell your story, wait for advice and find a precise solution all together – child/parents/educator. Let’s make the child’s journey as happy as can be and help him transition to school life in an appropriate, content and supported way.  

Written by Zofia Czeres, Infant-A Educator 

Dancing Towards Love

“When working with young children, dance/movement allows for an environment that is simultaneously structured and freeing” (Integrating Expressive Arts and Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents, 2014).
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            As we know, children are incredible and have their own way of thinking and being in the world. They use their senses to experience the world around them and are looking to us, the adults, for the answers. In their everyday lives, they are receiving guidance to stay safe and do what they need to do to survive and thrive. Children need both structure and freedom. Structure provides children with boundaries to help them feel safe, secure, and supported. While, they also need freedom to think, feel, and be how they are in order to develop a solid sense of who they are.

            We as human beings are complex and have a body that navigates our day to day interactions. Yet, we are not as connected as we used to be. As much as we try, our phones and busy lives keep us detached from our bodies. In many spiritual teachings, the body-mind connection is found to be extremely important to our health. Being present in the moment, focusing on our breath, and listening to our body, is the ultimate goal for many of us. However, it is challenging to stop and do this while we have to go to work, pick our kids up from school, take them to school, pay rent, clean our homes, and so on and so forth. The big question is: How do we make time to be present in our bodies, present with our children, and teach our children to be present with themselves?

            Dance and movement is a fun, easy, and can be a free way to do exactly this. We may think of dance as a structured activity with choreographed movements, ballet slippers and a tutu. Although this is a great activity for children who love dance, this is not the only way. Children are very capable of meditating, breathing, and being in their own bodies. Yet, like many things, they need to experience it to learn it.

            Have you ever turned the music on at home and have an unscheduled dance party with your child(ren) or spouse or lets face it, just you? This is a perfect, easy, and fun way to get into our bodies, let loose, and connect to yourself and to your child. By dancing freely and creatively, you are allowing your body to relax, unwind, and literally move things around in your system. We hold our tension and stress inside our shoulders, necks, bones, cells, and everywhere in between. Dancing, breathing, stretching, and shaking out to any music, helps relieve stress and calm the nervous system. Not only is this beneficial for you, but it is highly beneficial for your child. Dance helps children self-regulate, express their feelings, and get into touch with their bodies. By dancing with your child, you are able to connect to them on an equal level, letting them know you are on their side and that you see them for who they are. In addition, they get to see you relaxed and having fun, which puts them at ease. I invite you to try, once a week, putting any music on, whether it be Katy Perry or the Beatles, and dance freely with your child. You can wiggle every part of you, copy your child’s movements, and dance crazy together! Dancing is more than having fun, it is a way of letting go and of being in touch with your body. It allows your mind and body to connect, release, and integrate both sides of the brain. Give this to yourself and to your family. Dance towards love! If anything, I can assure you, you’ll have fun, and let’s face it, we all need more fun in our lives. 

Love and positivity,

Rachael Singer, BA Child Adolescent Development, MS Dance/Movement Psychotherapy, Toddler Head teacher at Buckle My Shoe

 

 

Articles on Dance/Movement

•   http://www.livestrong.com/article/214791-the-benefits-of-dance-for-kids/

•   http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/01/23/463222589/dance-returns-the-joy-of-movement-to-people-with-parkinsons

 

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

NEW YEAR, FRESH START

 

What a wonderful start to the new year!  It is always a pleasure to welcome back the children in January.  Although it is only a short couple of weeks, it always seems that the children come back a little more mature and so ready to get back to school.  Some even seem to grow a little bit taller!
As we ease back into the school groove, free of the holiday rush, we begin to delve more deeply into project work within our classrooms.  We look forward to sharing progress with you as the work of the children grows and evolves.

 

MAKING CONNECTIONS- AROUND THE WORLD AND CLASSROOM TO CLASSROOM

Remember the pen pal project of the 13th st school and 2A class?  Well, it has really grown in so many exciting ways!  First, it began with pen pal letters to Reggio inspired schools throughout the country and around the world!  Then, extended families of the children were invited to join in on the correspondence.  Oh how exciting it was for a child to receive a letter at school from an Aunt and Uncle who live far away.

Other classrooms have joined in and the project is coming full circle.  We broadened our minds and reached out to the global community and now classrooms are eager to learn more about one another.  Mailboxes are popping up in each of the classrooms so that they may correspond with one another. 

One of our strongest bridges between classrooms exists when we have siblings in the school.  Alexander, from our Pre-K class, became really interested in the mail box housed within his brother Samuel’s class (2A).  After some conversation with his younger brother, he became so intrigued by the idea that he brought it up to his classmates and teachers.  Thus, a new connection formed.  The Pre-K and 2A classes have been corresponding ever since; delivering packages and sending notes to each other.

We’ve even received mail and packages from recent Buckle My Shoe graduates with siblings still in the school- it has been such a joy to open our mailboxes every morning and see what new treasures are waiting for us.   

Parents, feel free to drop a note in one of our mailboxes!

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INSPIRED BY MUSIC

Music and its impact on children and learning continues to be a thread we are exploring school wide.  We started off the New Year with a trip to the NY Philharmonic to see the Very Young People's Concert series featuring the Strings instruments.  What an inspiring experience! We were introduced to the violin, viola, cello, and double bass. We learned the different parts and components of the instruments and looked at their similarities and differences. There were two distinct styles of playing the string instruments that we were exposed to: pizzicato (plucking the strings), and arco (playing with the bow). After the concert, everyone was able to try the instruments for themselves. We are eagerly awaiting the second concert on February 6th where we will hear the Brass family instruments.

 

LOOKING FORWARD

We have many great activities and events to look forward to in the coming months.  Here's a peek at just a few.  Individual classrooms will share more details about each.


Trip To Lincoln Center

Monday, February 6th
Pre-K & 13th Street
Visit the New York Philharmonic to see the Very Young People's Concert
Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 14th
Classrooms will celebrate kindness, love, and the value of friendship.

Presidents Day

School Closed
Monday, February 20th and Tuesday, February 21st
Staff Development

Friday March 3rd
School Closed

Mindfulness Workshop

Thursday, March 9th 3:15-4:30
Join us for an incredible workshop brought to us through one of our very own Buckle My Shoe parents.

Mindfulness for families:
A mindful family is the foundation of a stress-free life. Join Ayman Mukerji Househam, a mindfulness teacher and researcher, to learn tools to cultivate a mindful family. The event will combine teaching with working sessions that can be applied to everyday family life.
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Tuesday, March 14th (13th St.)
Wednesday, March 15th (Tribeca)
Literacy Week

March 20th-March 24th

This week is a celebration of the importance of reading with our children and exposing them to great books.  Early literacy sets the foundation for a future love of reading, builds knowledge, and opens our imaginations.  The Scholastic Book Fair will be held in the front of the school throughout the week, and each classroom will have a wish list of books to donate.  13th Street will come down to Tribeca to visit the book fair! 

The culminating event of this week will take place on Friday, March 24thwith a Book Character Tea Party. Each of the children will be invited to dress as his or her favorite book character and tea parties will be had in all of our classrooms.  

  • Teachers in individual classrooms will share in detail about each of our upcoming events and celebrations.

Meet Isabella

Isabella Abbonizio. For the past few weeks, she has been slowly introducing your children to classical music and building their ability to recognize sounds, rhythms and instruments. Isabella joins our team in addition to our music specialist Evan, who will still be making music with your children each week. 

Isabella, an Italian-born musician, researcher and educator, holds an M.A. in guitar performance from the Conservatory of Bologna and a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Rome Tor Vergata. During her doctoral studies, Isabella was a lecturer in musicology and music education at Roma Tre University, and since 2001 she has been teaching classical guitar, music theory, and music education privately and in schools from elementary to College level. In New York, she has been a visiting scholar at New York University (2011-2015) and is on the faculty of The Harlem School of the Arts. Her strong passion for education and the overwhelmingly positive responses from her students led her to start a music company, DalMaestro (http://dalmaestro.com). Now a mother of two children born in the last two years, Isabella is determined to develop a well-structured curriculum for teaching music fundamentals to young children, Fortissimo. 

Isabella is working "through creative expression in song, rhythmic movement, and attentive listening," to show children how to keep a beat, stay in tune, coordinate movement, and follow a musical narration with carefully selected pieces of music such as Peter and The Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev, and In The Hall of the Mountain King by Peer Gynt. She is also working closely with BMS teachers as we embark on a special project to document the affect classical music has on young children. The Johns Hopkins School of Education has also done research on Music and Learning, and we are looking closely at work written by Chris Boyd Brewer to inform our own learning. 

"Music will activate students mentally, physically, and emotionally and create learning states with enhance understanding of learning materials." -Chris Boyd Brewer

Every classroom will be playing classical music each morning and afternoon at specific times and taking note of differences in children's attention, thinking processes, movements and intention. We are very excited to start sharing these discoveries with you. 

"Music stabilizes mental, physical and emotional rhythms to attain a state of deep concentration and focus in which large amounts of content information can be processed and learned." -Chris Boyd Brewer

In addition, we are working on a special workshop for parents in early May with Isabella so that you can be an active participant in this music program and can extend this information at home with your child. 

Here's a link to the article on the Johns Hopkins University website: 

http://www.education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/strategies/topics/Arts%20in%20Education/brewer.htm

Dealing with Separation

Dear Parents,

We know starting preschool is on a lot of your minds right now and one of the biggest questions we always receive is about separation. 

It's natural for your young child to feel anxious when you say goodbye. Although it can be difficult, separation anxiety is a normal stage of development.

Children love reading. Through books, they can discuss their fears, share their excitement, and learn from the stories. Reading books that deal with what our children are going through can help them adjust to their new situation.

Here are a few titles that I love to read with children to help them through this transition:

These stories show children enjoying blocks, painting, snack time and music, and mirror our schedule at BMS.  

Easing separation is about preparing not just your child, but you.  Here's a link to a NY Times article addressing both of you.

 10 Ways to Ease Your Child's Preschool Separation Anxiety (and Yours)

10 Ways to Ease Your Child's Preschool Separation Anxiety (and Yours)

 

Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have along the way,

Linda

Buckle My Shoe postcards come and get em :)

Designs by Lassie Collective, a design studio in New York owned by one of our mothers.