Monday, April 2, 2018

Why Individualized Care Matters

Why Individualized Care Matters
Study after study shows that individualizing a child’s early education creates a love of learning and helps children engage in their own development. By individualizing each child’s care WOW is able to meet each child’s needs in a unique way.
Here are just a few examples of how WOW individualizes care for each child:
Individualized Curriculum: Our HighScope curriculum takes the learning level of each child and works to develop skills each day. Our curriculum is posted outside each room and is free for parents to review at any time. On each teacher’s lesson plans they individualize the curriculum with their work/choice time additions in addition to planning for early, middle and later learners.
Individualized schedules: Our families are free to drop off and pick up any time during our operating hours. We do not require a set schedule because we know that your family’s needs may change. In addition, each child has their own schedule-infants eat when they are hungry, children can take a nap at any time, and we allow them to choose when they want to play or take a moment of quiet time!
Daily Learning Opportunities: Each day children at WOW have a choice in their learning activities. In our infant and toddler rooms this is called Choice Time, in PS/PK/SA programs this is called work time. During these times of the day all types of activities are offered so children can play while learning social skills, working on developmental milestones and having help to master skills they are working on.
Planning Opportunities: Children help plan all of our activities and learning opportunities! In the infant and toddler programs teachers are trained to spot what activities children enjoy most. They then use this knowledge to plan future activities that our students will enjoy. In our older classrooms children plan their activities each day, do the activities, and review them as part of Work Time. In addition, children are asked what type of special events they would like to participate in!
Student choice: From where students sit, to what they wear, WOW encourages all children, of all ages, to make choices throughout the day! We believe that all children should be able to participate in activities they want to or choose alternative activities if they want. Student choice is a BIG part of our program!

Monday, August 21, 2017

What type of Child Care is best?

Are you starting the search for childcare? or are you looking for a new childcare provider? Before you start the search make sure you know the basic rules and laws that govern different types of childcare in Ohio! 

Why should you care?
All of the rules and laws that are issued by ODJFS Childcare licensing in Ohio were created in order to make sure that your child(ren) are being taken care of and are safe. When you are looking for a childcare provider you should make sure that your provider is at least following safety standards.

Before starting don't forget to review...
  • Review all licensing inspections. For licensed home providers you may have to contact your local ODJFS office to review any licensing reports. See reasons below for why you should pick a licensed child care center see below. To search for a licensed provider, sitter or center, visit:
  • Make sure you talk to your friends. Reviewing online ratings is one way to find out information but make sure you talk to your friends and neighbors so you know that the information you are receiving is correct. 
  • Schedule a tour for peak hours to meet all teachers and staff. Scheduling a first tour is a great way to receive the time and attention you will need to ask questions and receive a lot of information about the center. 
  • Visit again, without a scheduled tour, to see what the center is like when they are not prepared for a tour. This will give you a quick view of what the classrooms are like

Basic things to look for at a child care center
  • Review their licensing reports online (use the link above) and make sure you ask questions about all serious-risk violations that are posted. 
  • Make sure the childcare center is keeping ratios correct by checking to make sure that 2 staff members are on duty at all times and that room sizes do not go above ratio (ratio charts should be posted near, or in, each classroom). Ask about ratio sizes! All childcare providers should know this information.
  • Make sure that there are lesson plans that are current outside each room! Licensed centers must post and follow lesson plans. Ask to review these before having your child start. These lesson plans should be posted outside or inside of each classroom. 
  • Ask to sit in a room for a few minutes to make sure each child is being provided with appropriate care! This is a great thing to do during your second tour!
Family Child Care Type B
  • Hope providers should not have more than 6 children at a time. This includes the providers own children under 6 years old. They should also never have more than 3 children under the age of two at a time. 
  • Ask about backup care, background checks, and curriculum/lesson plans. 
  • View all play spaces and bathrooms
  • Ask about pets and visitors in the home. 
Unlicensed Home Care
  • These providers are not licensed by the state-so getting a background check or references from friends is important. 
  • These providers may never watch over 6 children at one time in the State of Ohio-if they are, they must be licensed.
  • Ask about back up care and who else may be watching your child
  • Make sure you ask about curriculum, schedule and tuition collection!
Why choose a licensed program?
  • Providers receive regular checks through state agencies
  • In a child care center there is always a back up person to keep an eye on things and help in case of emergencies. 
  • Providers are required to have training in basic health and safety skills as well as regular professional development training
  • Monitoring of homes/centers are done to make sure that there are no safety risks. 
  • Providers must have regular activities for children that are developmentally appropriate, a safe environment, emergency procedures, curriculum and appropriate staffing for emergencies
  • Unlicensed sitters are not background checked-you can look up local criminal records through your county and city public records. You may want  to request an FBI and BCI II background check which will let you see if there are any state or federal offenses. 
Who do you ask if you have questions?
  • The best person to contact is your ODJFS licensing agency (found at the link above)
  • Each county in Ohio has an organization that helps with childcare-In Union County, Ohio it is Action for Children. You can reach out to this organization for help
  • World of Wonders will help families find the appropriate center that will meet their needs. If you would ever like to find out more information about WOW reach out to for more information!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

30 Truths About Child Care Teachers

30 Truths About Child Care Teachers

  1. We sing a lot-when you come in a room and we are singing, we would love it if you would join along. Often  you will find us sharing songs and singing to each other. Most of us sing randomly throughout normal tasks, even when there are no kids around!
  2. We are incredibly patient: We are masters at taking a deep breath and jumping back in when we feel overwhelmed. 
  3. We cringe when someone calls us a babysitter: We are constantly doing assessments, looking for sick kids, following hundreds of licensing rules, helping children learn and get along. We are not babysitters!
  4. We do more than just play all day, but we love to play: We often talk about how our job is the BEST job in the world!
  5. We wash our hands ALL THE TIME: Our hands dry out becasue we can wash our hands over 50 times a day, and the soap dries them out. We need to stay healthy and clean in order to be with your kiddos.
  6. We get sick, a lot: New teachers get sick the most, and we seem to always get sick when we get back from a vacation. We are in charge of helping everyone wash their hands, wiping noses, and cuddling ill children. If we are out for a day, we are sorry, but we don't want to spread the germs!
  7. We love Pinterest: We make grand plans for our classrooms with the help of the internet. We are thankful for Pinterest everyday!
  8. Sometimes our lesson plans fall short: Sometimes we work for an hour on a lesson plan only to have the kids not be interested in it, or we forget a material, or it just does not work. We don't worry about it though and instantly work on turning the materials into another mess!
  9. We are used to all behaviors: Trust me, we have seen it all and we work with a team of people who have years of experience. If you have questions about your child's behavior, just ask!
  10. Even when you think your child is having the worst day ever, trust me, we have seen worse: Parent's worry about how their kids act at school, but we know that it is just part of their development. We will let you know about concerns, but we have seen it all!
  11. We know that everyday objects are better than the world's most expensive toys: We love toys, but kids love everyday objects like a bin of rice or pots and pans way more!
  12. We love going outside as much as the kids: It is time for us to run around, act like kids, and get some fresh air!
  13. We can have 20 children wash their hands in just a few minutes: At home it takes us 10 minutes to get one child to wash hands, but at school we are masters of getting all the kids to wash their hands in a matter of minutes. Songs help!
  14. We don't always tell you when "firsts" happen at school-we want parents to see their child's firsts (steps, word, sitting up, first time reading a word) so we don't always tell you when they happen!
  15. We laugh, a lot-we laugh all the time. We have a fun job and we love it!
  16. We can remember 100 names of kids at school, but often forget our own kid's names!
  17. Most of us hate glitter, some of us LOVE glitter-Glitter is either awesome, or a mess....we don't judge you if you throw our your glitter projects before they get in the car....but we keep using glitter because the kiddos love it!
  18. Sensory is the best activity, but worst to clean up-Sensory activities, sand/water/goop/etc. are a huge mess, but the kids love it and we know it is an important tool to building small motor skills and learning basic concepts
  19. The brightest moment of our day is when something "clicks"-We love to see when a child signs for the first time, 
  20. The little things from parents matter-a quick thank you, a nice note, a complement on a project done in class-this can make our day!
  21. Sometimes sitting back for a moment and watching the children get along is all we need- We know our biggest job is to teach social skills, as that is what children need to know to succeed in kindergarten. When the entire class collaborates on a project, sometimes we just watch and help! It is wonderful to see our hard work paying off
  22. We love it when someone notices our hard work
  23. Cleaning is part of our job, but not our favorite part
  24. We talk about your child all the time-We spend most of our time with other people's children and love it so much! If you come in during lunch you will probably find all of us standing around talking about the successes of our students. 
  25. We love our jobs!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

WOW Check out these book recommendations for parents!

I am asked all the time about my favorite parenting books, for help with specific problems, and how to advance the early education of children at home. Here are a few of my favorite books and a few favorite books from our staff!

If you have any recommendations feel free to email them to me at

So many times we are asked for our favorite discipline systems and our favorite books to help parents at home. I have recommended this book to so many people, I should probably start getting a cut of every sale. I not only use this system at home, but often talk to parents about using it at home. It takes the negotiation away from discipline and puts in place clear and easy to follow rules for your kiddos.

1-2-3 Music Effective Discipline for Children 2-12

Early Reading
This system is amazing! It will teach your child to read and takes only minutes a day. This system is best used when children have clear words, have an attention span of about 15 minutes, and when they show interest in reading. This is a phonics based program and includes comprehension.

Child Development
The Whole Brain Child is a great book that gets right to the point. It not only talks about your child's emotional development but also gives you tips on how to raise resiliant children.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Assessments: Do they really matter for young children?

Short answer...yes!

Why are they important?
Each time your take your child to the pediatrician they do a quick developmental screening on your child. This is why they ask you if they are walking, running, can go up stairs, starting to read, know letters and colors, etc. These short assessments catch major developmental concerns, however it is important to do more in-depth assessments to make sure you child is developing appropriately. 

What types of assessments do you recommend? 
Your young child (under kindergarten age) should receive regular assessments to monitor a variety of developmental areas including: speech/language, motor function, social/emotional, and cognitive development. 

Where can you get screenings? 
Some counties offer screenings through their health departments, some through health fairs and other community action agencies. In addition your child's doctor should be able to run screenings. The other place your child should be receiving screenings is at their daycare/child care center. All center's entering, or belonging to, the SUTQ program, or those that wish to meet the needs of all of their students, should be running annual screenings, with further screenings if needed, to advise parents on how to best improve their child's development. 

What screenings does WOW offer?
All the children at WOW receive a variety of ongoing screenings. 
DECA: We currently run a social/emotional screening called the DECA on all children. This screening spots problems and gives all the parents information on how to improve the emotional resilience of their children. This screening is done once a year and has follow up screenings if concerns arise. Within the next year we will also be providing parents with a home screening for their children that will give parents even more resources.
Brigance: This screening monitored the cognitive function of all children. This screening is also done once a year and follow up is done on students who need additional help in one or more areas. 
COR Advantage: COR Advantage (NOT THE COMMON CORE) is a system of observing students that is used with the HighScope curriculum. This system is more of a "report card" that tells you how your child is doing in a variety of areas. It is an ongoing system that our teachers use year round. We have three grading periods during the year where you will receive the results of your child's observations done during the past few months. Since it is a rolling system, your child will not be assessed in a short time period-instead it gives a complete view of development over time. We offer all parents a time to talk with their teachers after the assessment results are processed. This system is extremely important for us to plan our curriculum and lesson plans. It helps develop an educational plan for each individual student!

What should I do if I am have concerns?
First step is to call your pediatrician! Most pediatricians will be able to write you a referral for further follow up. You can also call your county's board of developmental disabilities. They may have resources that you can use to get your child the help they need. Early intervention is the key to finding problems and helping-early intervention has been shown in studies to be the single most important factor to keeping children at the same level as their peers. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

It's Potty Time!

Teaching your child to use the potty-in one easy step!

In my line of work I get asked about potty training on almost a daily basis. To date I have successfully potty trained my 2 children, over 50 children as their direct teacher and supervised/guided people in potty training hundreds of children-so it is safe to say, I have a little experience in this area.

Before I start on my "how do you know your child is ready" tips and my "one step" potty training techniques, I want to state that potty training is worthless! You read that right. If you want to teach your child to use the potty in a developmentally appropriate, easy, and stress free way-do not potty train your child. You read that right: DO NOT POTTY TRAIN YOUR CHILD.!

Many people push their child to use the potty too early. This is not only not a developmentally friendly approach but it can also create a ton of stress for you and your child. If you wait until your child is ready, yes-you may use a few extra diapers, but you will not have to worry about a lot of messes and your child will be a lot happier.

Before you start teaching your child to potty-make sure they are ready!

Can you answer YES to all of the following?

  • Your child stays dry for a few hours at a time
  • Your child can follow wimple instructions and copies behaviors
  • Your child can tell you they want/need to use the potty (does your child talk?)
  • Can you child pull their pants up and down
  • Does your child show signs that they need to go potty before an accident occurs (this can be anything! I had one son who went to a corner and did his business before each accident, my other one did the "potty dance")
  • Does your child show an interest in using the potty?
  • Does your child want to stop wearing diapers or wear "big kid" underwear?

If you answered YES to all of the above-it is time to get ready!

Getting ready to use the potty
Before you start-make sure that you, and your child's support team, are ready! Everyone has to be on board so talk to babysitters, family members, and your child's school. Make sure you do the following:
  • Pick a time when you will have no large changes happening in your child's life (such as moving, a new baby being born, changing schools, etc.)
  • Make sure you have the proper supplies (let you child pick out their underwear!)
  • Start using potty words (....I know...I usually don't let your child use potty words, but teach them words for pee and poop so they can talk about what is coming out of their bodies. 
  • Get your child used to the toilet (big toilet, toilet seat, little toilet-it does not matter!). Have them sit on it a few times in their clothing, or with their pants down. Leave the little potty chair out. Let them be in the bathroom. This will help your child to get used to the potty and not afraid. 

It is time! Here is the ONE STEP "secret" to getting your child to use the potty!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not kidding. That is it. Put your child in underwear, with no diaper or pull-up. Do it and don't look back. 

So there are a few tips and tricks to help this go a lot faster, and a lot of reasoning why this is a great way to approach teaching your child to use the toilet. 

  • Do not punish- I can't stress this enough. Acknowledge that your child has had an accident and let them know that mess happens!
  • Ask your child to go to the toilet every half an hour-do not force them to sit on the potty! Do not make them stay on the potty for an extended period of time.
  • Let your child change their own clothing- By feeling the wetness in their clothing they will understand the natural process that is taking place in their body. People do not like the feeling of body waste on their body-if your child is in a pull up or diaper they can't feel when they are messy! Yes-it is kind of gross and you will have to help (and probably clean the bathroom when they are done) but have your child take off their pants and underwear, put it in the washer and put on new clothing. 
  • Praise your child and forget the mistakes- When your child has an accident-do not make a big deal out of it! Just go to the bathroom with them, have them take off their clothing, sit on the potty, and tell them good job! The positive reinforcement will help them use the potty. If you want to reward your child for going to the potty-that is fine, but is not necessary.
  • Diapers/Pull-ups are OK some times-Night time and long car/shopping trips. That is it! It does not matter which you use-however if you use pull-ups you child can learn to change themselves. 
  • DO NOT GO BACK-Do not be worried about setbacks! Some children will never have an accident-others will have slip ups due to a variety of reasons. Do not put your child back in pull ups or diapers for any reason during the day! Do not go backwards as you will extend the training period and your child will take longer to learn to use the toilet. 

How long will this take?
For some children they may potty train within a few days. For other children it may take weeks, or months, before they are completely accident free. Some children will continue to have night accidents for years after potty training. If you are concerned, make sure you talk to your physician!

Author: Lauren Fontaine has been working with children for almost 2 decades. She is currently the Executive Director at World of Wonders Child Care and Learning Center and the proud mother of two boys. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Sensory Play!

At any good early learning program sensory experiences will be a part of the daily routine. In a school that uses the HighScope curriculum, such as World of Wonders, you will see daily, age appropriate, sensory experience incorporated into learning. This includes experiences with sand, water, and other items.

At WOW we not only use sensory experiences during choice time and work time, but we also plan 4 seasonal sensory days a year. Here are some pictures from our most recent sensory day.

Using different items in a bucket of mud helps with small motor skills and manipulation of objects.

This sensory experience was used to talk about ducks, swimming and water.
 Dry dirt and toy snakes were used to discuss habitats.
Flower petals used to talk about the change in seasons

 Feathers, eggs and toy birds were used to talk about bird life cycles

This bin is made out of diapers! No really! We took diapers, soaked them in water and then took the goo out of the diapers. We used food coloring to make it fun colors. This is a great way to learn about measuring. (Don't worry the diapers were clean!)