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5 Steps to Finding the Right Daycare Or Pre-School

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Step 1 – What Kind of Daycare Would Work For your Child?

Who is Being Served?

The bottom line here is who is the customer? While many daycare or childcare facilities seek primarily to please the parents, those who ignore the children will always loose out in the long run. Why, because where a child is not satisfied, the parent is the first to know.

On the other hand, this should make you as the parent aware that the childcare facility or daycare will pull all the stops to ensure that you are impressed. Your role, however, becomes the pay attention to the customers that they already have. Are the children’s hands and faces clean? Do you smell stale diapers? Are the teachers paying attention to the children – do they look them in the eye? What tone of voice do the teachers speak with?

How does your Child Learn?

My four year old, for example, has an outgoing personality – so outgoing that I have to pull her away from giving hugs to complete strangers at the mall. To her, every female senior citizen is yet another ‘grandma’.

Well, we decided to enroll her at an excellent Montessori pre-school and it was a disaster! The freedom that is encouraged in the Montessori setting was seen as a license to socialize. When asked to choose an activity, she would try to help all the younger children in the class first. The result: all the work that she managed to bring home seemed to be incomplete. As an educator, I knew that something was not right, especially when I knew that she would complete the same types of activities at home for me with no problem.

After having been there seven months, we decided to move her to a more traditional school setting. Presto! After the settling down period, she settled in close to the top of her class.

The Montessori setting did not enhance her particular learning style. How does your child learn? What type of personality does your child have? Will the childcare facility or daycare of your choice be the perfect match for your child? I had to think this through carefully because the pre-school setting plays a large part in building the educational foundation for the child. Click on this link to read my article called ‘How is Your Child Smart’?

Step 2 – Know What You Need

There is a fine balance to strike between the needs of your child and what is practical, but this is where I do my best to strike that balance.

As a parent you have practical needs that must be met; for example the daycare facility must be located somewhere that is either close to home or work. Does it have a drive up facility that will cover your vehicle if it is raining? Do the staff get the children out of our vehicle (often known as the kiss and ride service)?

Create a Picture in Your Mind

The first thing I’d encourage you to do is think of what the ideal daycare setting would be for your child. If money was no object and distance and time of no concern; what kind of daycare or childcare facility would you want your child to benefit from? Yes, it’s OK to dream!

Take these thoughts and write them down. Add them to the checklist that I have created and take this to every facility that you go visit. When you have completed the tout of the building, make notes on how the facility meets your requirements. At this point, do not allow your budget to limit you. With economic times like these, you will be surprised at how flexible directors can be. Remember, you are the customer and they want your business.

Opening Hours

Does the daycare or childcare facility have opening and closing hours that suite your job? Is it close enough to your home or work? Does it give you enough time to get to the next point on your journey?

Food

When you look at the menu (it should be displayed by the entrance), does the food sound like food that your child will eat? Can you bring your own food? When is the last meal served? Will your child be coming home on a full or empty stomach? Are you (physically and financially) capable of cooking or purchasing fast food every night to feed your child?

Price/Budget

How much are the fees? What about the registration, activity and book fees? Are you expected to buy supplies too? Is lunch provided or is there a fee for the lunch that is provided? Find out about late fees. How much does it cost if you are fifteen minutes late picking up your child? If you know that there is a possibility that you might be late, can you afford to pay this amount?

Ask the director if there are any “special offers” or introductory rates. If you have a skill that might benefit the facility, offer to exchange your skill for a regular discount. Small business owners are always looking for somewhere to save money. Believe me, I’ve been there!

Peace of Mind

This is probably the most important indicator that this is the right place for your child. Take your child with you when you are doing the tours. Watch his or her reaction to the teachers, the facility and the children. If they can speak, ask them what they think of it, if they want to come back tomorrow.

Ask yourself these questions. Would you feel at ease leaving your child there every morning? Do you think that if you left your child there, there would be a nagging feeling deep down that something could be wrong? Do you think that your child would be happy with your choice?

The facility might look perfect on the outside, but take the time to listen to and trust you gut feelings.

Step 3 – Know What to Look For

Using Your Five Senses

Smell: The most important thing to do as you enter the daycare facility is to smell the air. The smell of diapers, damp or unappetizing food is a tell tale sign that there might be some neglect going on. Sniff as you go past trash cans (they should be covered) and most importantly, look out for smells coming from the children.

Sight: Keep your eyes peeled, as the saying goes! Look around the floor and in the corners for dead bugs (or their wings). Take the time to look up. Marks on the ceiling tiles, or water marks inside the light panels could be tell-tale signs of other hygiene issues. Take a peek into the director’s office if you can – but remember that pre-school directors are extremely busy people.

Sound: Are the teachers yelling at the children? What kind of tone were they talking with before you walked into the room? Were the children under control, restrained or was there a balance between the two? The sounds of a classroom often depict the atmosphere. An uncontrolled classroom is often a reflection of a teacher who does not know classroom management or a teacher who does not have an engaging lesson plan. There are always exceptions (such as a hyper-active child), but good classroom management should be a priority because structure is said to be beneficial to the child.

Taste: If it is around snack or lunch time, feel free to ask if you can taste the food being served to the children. You may come across as being a little weird, but if they are not willing to give you some of the food, you might want to know the reason why.

Touch: As you walk through the daycare or childcare facility, run your finger on window ledges and on tables for dust and dirt. Touch the toys is you can – they should be sanitized and left to air dry every evening. Remember, children love to put toys in their mouth.

Step 4 – Know About the Facility

The Director

Most directors have been in the business for many years, and know the daycare business through and through. Occasionally, however, you may come across a director who just bought the business but has no experience in the industry. This can sometimes be a challenging combination, so find out as much as you can about your director before you part with that non-refundable registration fee.

The Facility

The childcare or daycare building usually speaks for itself. People are usually drawn towards the newer daycare buildings, but we need to look beyond the facility and focus on the level of care that is being provided within the walls of the building. While a neglected building should definitely ring alarm bells, don’t allow a newer building to replace your instincts.

The Teachers

Observe as much as you can of the teachers. Do they come across as caring? What tone of voice do they have when things do not work the way they should? Do they pay attention to the children? What kind of qualifications do they have? What does your state define as ‘qualified’?

Unfortunately, teaching can be a stressful job and it often results in some staff turnover. If your child’s teacher leaves and is replaced by another teacher this can be upsetting for your child. Try to prepare them by explaining the change to your child in advance.

Training & Teaching Skills

A company that invests in their staff will always reap the returns. Ask about what type of training is offered to the staff. Most states require that all employees have a certain amount of hours in training. If this is up to date, you will see it in the on-line inspection report.

Curriculum

Always ask what curriculum is being used. Some of the well known curriculum types include Abeka, Creative, High Scope, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Theme based, etc. The curriculum must be stimulating enough to keep your child interested. Keep in mind what your child already knows and what you would like them to know at certain milestones. Then assess whether the curriculum in question will meet those needs. Remember different children learn in different ways, so think about what makes your child smart.

On-Line Inspection Reports

Most states have these now. It gives you a snapshot of how the facility of your choice stands with the regulatory body. Usually a Childcare Consultant visits the center once or twice a year to assess how well the center is in compliance with the state regulations. These reports are the records of these visits. They outline what the consultant observed while they were at the center. Now, remember that this is usually written in “bureaucratese” but if you take the time to comb through it, it could save you a lot of wasted time.

Step 5 – Know About the Industry Regulations

Who is Responsible Childcare Regulations in your State?

Everybody has a boss and the daycare or childcare industry is no exception! In fact it is heavily regulated, for obvious reasons – they take care of our most prized possessions – our children! Each state has a regulatory body that oversees this role and they are often linked with the Department of Human Resources. Click on the link below to see who regulates the childcare industry in your state.

What Are the Governing Body’s Expectations for Your Child?

Many states have developed ‘Standards of Care’ (or the equivalent) that daycare facilities are expected to meet. These documents outline the levels of care that can be provided. I have found in my research that you can usually bank on this – the higher the level of care, the higher the price. In other words, much of the time, you get what you pay for.

Ratios

The student to teacher ratio tends to vary from state to state, but the internet makes sure that this information is only a few clicks away. Georgia, for example has the following early childhood ratios:

6 weeks to 12 months 1 : 6

1 year to under 2 years 1 : 8

2 years to under 3 years 1 : 10

3 years to under 4 years 1 : 15

4 years to under 5 years 1 : 20

Ratios vary from one state to another, so check out my website to find out the staff to student ratios in your state.

Your child’s class should always be within the state ratios – that’s the number one rule in childcare. If you find a NAYCE (National Association for the Education of Young Children) accredited center, know that they are always below the ratio, as their standards are higher than that of the state. Understandably so, NAYCE accredited daycares or pre-schools usually have slightly higher prices to pay for the extra staffing costs.

I hope this gives a starting point in the quest of finding a daycare for one of the most important people in your life! All the best in your search….

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Elite League of Legends Teleport Tricks to Destroy Your Friends

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Every day, thousands of gamers log onto League of Legends to play Riot Games’ free DOTA-style video game, unfortunately most of them get crushed by the elite few that know all the tricks of the trade. The most popular tricks often involve one of the lesser used summoner spells in public games; the incredibly useful but oft-ignored teleport spell, and while these tricks can take weeks to master, it only takes a few moments to read on and learn them.

1. Fiddlesticks’ Surprise — If there is one sound that strikes fear into the heart of every experienced League of Legends player, it’s the horrifying “Caw! Caw! Caw!” of Fiddlestick’s monstrous ultimate, which is nothing less than an area of effect spell of doom for everyone caught in its wake. The problem with this spell, of course, is its two-second channel time that requires you to be smart about when you’re ready to attack. Surprisingly, few players realize the power of this ultimate when combined with the utility of the teleport summoner spell.

An awesome way to get the drop on your opponents with Fiddlesticks, is to lay a ward down in the farthest bushes on the top or bottom lane of the map. When done correctly, you can teleport in behind your opponent and out of sight, waiting for the right time to launch from the bushes and strike. This is particularly effective if for some reason you are playing Fiddlesticks in the lane, as you can recall base before quickly teleport behind them to create mass confusion.

2. Nunu’s Trap — Nunu is well-known in League of Legends to have one of the strongest ultimates in the game, capable of swallowing entire teams in its large radius and exploding them into a million bits. Unfortunately, this is perhaps the most difficult ultimate to land in the game as it has a long stationary channel that is easily interrupted and even more easily stepped out of…. that is, of course, unless you have the teleport summoner spell.

With the teleport spell at your disposal, Nunu can quickly become a frightful player for the opposing team. Try sneaking a ward right into the middle of the middle lane to teleport to later, and wait until your opponent’s solo mid steps by it. When he does, teleport in and quickly ice-blast him for the slow effect, pop your ultimate and watch as he explodes with the help of a teammate already in that lane. This is an awesome technique because you will actually give yourself an additional second or so for your ultimate to go unnoticed, as your opponent will be extremely confused as to how you appeared next to him out of the middle of nowhere.

This is also an effective technique at grouping hot-spots, like Baron, Dragon, or a short distance in front of your middle tower. Placing a ward a bit in front of your middle tower is particularly rewarding, as once you teleport in and cast your ultimate while your opponents are attacking your tower, they will be pinched in and be forced to move into the tower where all your teammates await, or back toward you for an icy surprise of ultimate death.

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How to Play Spoons Card Game

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How would you like to play a game that could be enjoyed by the entire family regardless of age? Sounds pretty fun, right? Well, we’re going to teach you about just that game. It’s called spoons, and it’s one of the more popular card games. It’s really simple to play, and it’s really enjoyable! So just follow these simple steps.

What you’re going to need:

  1. Spoons ( You need one less spoon than there are players. So let’s say that there are 5 players, you need six spoons )
  2. Deck ( Full Deck of Cards )

Game Set Up

To set up the game, you’re going to need to count the number of players. Let’s say that there are six players in your group. You’re going to need six suits of cards. You don’t need to use the whole deck.

Now, at this point, you’re going to need to put the spoons in the center of the table and pass out an equal number of cards to each player. Then you’re ready to go!

Game Play

Once each player has a hand of cards, it’s time to get started. The object of the game is to get a suit of hands in your card, so what you’re going to do is select one card from your hand and pass it to the player on the left. At this point, the player on the left, the one receiving the card, has the option to take that card into his hand, or he can pick a card from his hand and pass it to the player on his left. This continues until one player has an entire suit of cards in his hand.

Once that happens, his goal is to sneakily grab a spoon from the center of the table. If other people find out he has an entire suit, they could inadvertently make him the loser, so don’t let that happen. Once you’ve grabbed the spoon you reveal your hand to the other players.

They then have to hastily grab their own spoons. The player who is left without a spoon is then declared the loser and removed from the game. The game play continues until there are only two players in the group. At which time, they are both declared the winner.

Get Your Game On!

As you can tell, spoons is a real simple game, and it is perfect for those family game nights. So we recommend you give it a try! We guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

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Dog Training Academy – How to Create Obedience in Your Dog

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Training a dog can be a frustrating act but not anymore with the Dog Training Academy e-course. Dogs tend to be unruly at times with excess of barking and whining along with aggressive actions towards visitors. It is high time to start training your dog using well established and proven methods when you find him reacting in a non responsive manner to your commands.

Lack of training can lead to behavioural problems in your dog and this can turn them into a disobedient pet. An unruly pet can end up tearing furniture or behaving in an uncontrollable manner. It is hence necessary that you take the right measures to control behavioural problems and to train your dog. This is where Dog Training Academy can help you get the perfect pet by bringing in obedience in your dog. The training course is a 7 day series that consolidates tips and tricks on training your dog on obedience matters.

Training a dog is not an easy task, but the job now becomes simple for you now with this free training e-course. The methods of training and the skills of the owner and pet normally determines the time taken to train a dog, but this training e-course can resolve all your problems in just about 7 days. They provide you with many widely practiced professional methods of obedience training to bring in fast and effective behavioural changes.

Basic bonding and effective communication is required between you and your dog before you can start training on obedience. This kind of essentials that needs to be obtained before the dog can respond to your basic commands and orders are detailed in the Dog Training Academy course.

There are many ways of training your dog other than the e-course methodology. One such way of obedience training your dog is by taking him to a training school. Such schools provide professional help offered by expert trainers who can handle any kind of dogs. But is it necessary to check whether such schools are recognized ones before your enrol your dog. Such kind of schools also charge a hefty amount for a complete training spanning around 3-4 weeks time as compared to the free course.

A proven training plan and a step-by-step guide of the plan can make you feel the difference in your dog’s behavior in just a week time. The training plan can bring in more obedience and security in your dog at the end of the course. Enrol for the Dog Training Academy course and you no longer need to worry about torn furniture or garbage in your living room.

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