August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month!

This month you’ve gotten your children’s immunizations and made sure they are ready for school. Did that include their eye health? That is an often overlooked aspect of children’s development. August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. Our partners at Prevent Blindness Georgia screen children in our child development centers to ensure Georgia’s children are vision ready for school!

Prevent Blindness Georgia’s website provides valuable information about preventative care, safety and problems eyes belonging to all ages.

Prevent Blindness recommends a continuum of eye care for children to include both vision screening and comprehensive eye examinations. All children, even those with no signs of trouble, should have their eyes checked at regular intervals. Any child who experiences vision problems or shows symptoms of eye trouble should receive a comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist.

Suggested timetables for children’s eye health, based on key children’s health organizations are:

Newborn infants

Newborns should have their eyes checked while still in the hospital nursery. This examination in the nursery should be for general eye health and include a red reflex test. This examination can help detect several congenital eye problems, some of which can be very serious and permanently threaten vision.

During regular well baby exams, from birth to 3 years of age

Pediatricians should use family vision history and a vision assessment to see if vision problems exist. Beginning at well-child exams at age 3 and continuing annually through 10 years of age, vision screenings should be performed assessing your child’s visual acuity and ocular alignment.

If a child fails a vision screening or there is any concern of an eye or vision problem

The child should be referred for a comprehensive professional eye examination. This combination of vision screenings with referral for a comprehensive professional eye examination are the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association supports a comprehensive professional eye examination performed by an eye doctor at age 6 months, 3 years and 5 years for all children.

Prevent Blindness strongly believes that some children should be directly referred to an eye care specialist for a comprehensive eye examination rather than undergo a vision screening. These include:

  • Children with readily recognized eye abnormalities such as a crossed or wandering eye or a droopy eyelid.
  • Children with known neurodevelopmental disorders in any area (e.g., hearing impairment, motor abnormalities such as cerebral palsy, cognitive impairment, autism spectrum disorders, speech delay). These children have a higher rate of vision problems than those without neurodevelopmental abnormalities.
  • Children with identified systemic diseases known to have associated eye disorders, or those with family histories of a first-degree relative with strabismus, amblyopia, or high refractive error.
  • Children whose parents believe their child may have a vision-related problem.

The above information was republished with the permission of PBGA.

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5 Tips for a Sensory –Friendly 4th of July

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Independence Day is fast approaching, and while many of us are counting down the days to celebrate with fireworks, parades, and BBQs those same activities can be overwhelming and nearly unbearable for children with sensory sensitivities.
Whether your child struggles with Autism, ADHD, or Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) with a little extra attention and preparation, they too can enjoy the 4th of July fun.

Talk About It
Preparation is essential when it comes to activities with any child. Make sure to prepare your child for whatever you have planned well in advance. Explain, what noises, smells, and activities will be present and follow up with visual aids, like The Story of 4th of July or videos of fireworks. Also, set expectations by giving your child a time frame, so they feel more in control.
Pack Favorite Items
Keeping your child comfortable is the best way to avoid a 4th of July meltdown. Familiar snacks, toys, and games can provide comfort and act as a distraction if your child becomes over-stimulated by any sights, sounds and smells. Continue reading “5 Tips for a Sensory –Friendly 4th of July”

10 Ways to Spend Father’s Day Weekend in North Georgia

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Father’s day is fast an approaching. But before you rush to buy him yet another tie or toolbox, try getting a bit more creative. There is nothing more memorable than the gift of a unique fathers day experience. From sharing a hot dog in historic Turner Field to witnessing a sunset on top of Stone Mountain, there are tons of ways to celebrate father’s day in north Georgia. To plan a day he’ll remember, check out these ways to celebrate your dad this father’s day.

 

FAMILY FOOD FEST ATLANTA

Enjoy multicultural food from nearly 100 cooks, chefs, caterers, and restaurants this father’s day at the 2nd annual Family Food Fest Atlanta! Share some of the best foods Atlanta has to offer with your dad this Father’s Day.

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GREAT CITY RACE – ATLANTA BELTLINE SCAVENGER HUNT EDITION

Strengthen your bond as teammates with a fun-filled urban adventure this Father’s day at The Great City Race. Explore the Beltline and solve clues at metro-Atlanta’s turbocharged version of the TV show “Amazing Race.”

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FATHER’S DAY CAR SHOW AT STONE MOUNTAIN PARK

Come out to Stone Mountain Park on Father’s Day to enjoy a vintage car show featuring Camaros, Mustangs, Chevys from the 1950s and more.

Details Continue reading “10 Ways to Spend Father’s Day Weekend in North Georgia”

11 Tips (and Bonus Matieral) to Prevent Summer Brain Drain

The countdown to summer break is now in single digits. Don’t forget that it’s very important to make sure your kids continue to learn even though they are not going to school in the next couple of months. Here’s a look back at our tips to help you and your kids prevent summer brain drain.

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School may be winding down for the summer, but your child’s learning shouldn’t be. With only a couple more days of school left for our child development centers, let’s not forget that our learning shouldn’t go on summer vacation!

According to a 2011 RAND Corporation report, the average summer learning loss in math and reading for American students amounts to one month per year. More troubling is that it disproportionately affects low-income students: they lose two months of reading skills. Children entering Pre-K and Kindergarten should be encouraged to practice all their new skills they learned during the school year.

There are many ways to incorporate learning during the summer months. Below are some tips followed by a list of online resources.

Ideas and tips: 

  1. Kids have been learning while they play, so do the same at home.blog3
  2. Go outside and explore your environment. Identify trees, plants and animals and have your child…

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Every Week Should be Teacher Appreciation Week – Part II

National Teacher Appreciation Weeks is one of our favorite weeks of the year at ESNG. Last year, we profiled four of our early education teachers (read that post here). We had such a good time having them tell everyone about themselves, that we added a couple more teachers to the mix.

Without further ado:

IMG_2328Name: Rosa Arlotta
Child Development Center: Barrow
Classroom: B

Why did you start teaching? I wanted to be part of the most effective and enjoyable way to change the world.

What’s your favorite part of teaching? My favorite part is the moment when I know that a child has been helped.

How do you hope your teaching will benefit your children as they enter school? I hope my teaching can provide learning strategies that will benefit children as they enter K-12 school.

Name: Ida CanalesResized_20160503_121832
Child Development Center: Warsaw
Classroom: F

Why did you start teaching? When I became a mother, I realized how important your role is in a child’s life.

What’s your favorite part of teaching? To see how children grow in their knowledge and learning.

How do you hope your teaching will benefit your children as they enter school? I know they will be prepared for school. They already will have an understanding of a routine in a classroom and teacher. They will be happy and healthy as they start kindergarten.

…and we had a great announcement on Tuesday. One of a very own, Ms. Jimmie Moss, was honored at the White House for her excellent work as an early educator.

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Ms. Jimmie has been teaching at Madison County Head Start for 17 years and has been a part of the Easter Seals family since we began administering the program in 2007.

When asked about the importance of being recognized by the White House, Ms. Moss focuses on her students. “I have been blessed with the opportunity to come to work every day and see the smiling faces of these precious children and to know that I will have a part – even though small – in their future. That is more reward than I could ever ask for,” she said.

Jeff Randa, manager of the child development center, said, “Ms. Jimmie epitomizes what it means to be a loving, caring and generous teacher. Her classrooms year in and year out are filled with happy, smiling, laughing children. She leads by example and creates a special, individual experience each day for her children, parents, and co-workers—every child believes that they are her favorite. She is certainly a very worthy recipient of this prestigious award and is exactly what every Head Start teacher should strive to be.”

So, even though the official teacher appreciation week is winding down, don’t forget the work educators do every day. They shape the minds, confidence, and lives of our youngest citizens. Thank you!

Head Start Just Turned 50…But Doesn’t Look a Day over 30!

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Last month, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Head Start. During President Lyndon Johnson’s state of the union address in January 1964, he proposed ground-breaking government programs – now referred to as the War of Poverty –  to combat the 19 percent national poverty rate. The War of Poverty programs included what is now Medicaid and Medicare, Job Corps and Head Start. In May 1965, announcing the creation of Head Start, President Johnson said,

“Five- and six-year-old children are inheritors of poverty’s curse, and not its creators. Unless we act, these children will pass it on to the next generation, like a family birthmark. I believe that this is one of the constructive, and one of the most sensible, and also one of the most exciting programs that this nation has ever undertaken.”

Fiv20150424_100939 (1)e things you should know about Head Start:

1. Head Start focuses on the whole child…

Since 1965 Head Start and Early Head Start has served 32 million children.

Head Start focuses on preparing 3 and 4 year-olds for elementary school not just through education. The program also makes sure they are healthy. It provides health services such as immunizations, dental, medical, and mental health and nutritional services.

2. …and the whole family.089
Parents are involved in the planning and implementation of activities by serving on policy councils, participating in classes and workshops on child development and volunteering in the program. ESNG’s programs – from early literacy to mental health – are family-centered. In addition, social services provided by the Family Service Advocates ensure that families have the resources to help their child.

 

3. Head Start helps kids reach higher education.
101A study by Harvard University’s David Deming found that children who attended Head Start programs were more likely to graduate from high school and go to college than their siblings who did not participate in Head Start programs. That is to say, though, that once these children reach elementary school it’s not a breeze. These resources need to continue, but Head Start gives its alumni a better chance of success over time.

 

4. There are many, many successful Head Start alumni:
Silva Mathews Burwell, US Secretary of Health and Human Services
Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation
Chris Rock, Comedian and Actor
Bonnie St. John, Harvard Graduate, Rhodes Scholar, Paralympian, Author and Motivational Speaker
Shaquille O’Neal, Basketball player
Anna Maria Chavez, First Latina CEO of the Girl Scouts
Loretta Sanchez, Congresswoman

5. In 1968, Head Start began funding a television series that would eventually be called Sesame Street.*
Creators of Sesame Street wanted a show that would engage children and teach them important concepts they would need to be successful at school. It worked! After Sesame Street was introduced, children living in places where its broadcast could be more readily received saw a 14 percent drop in their likelihood of being behind in school.

*Okay, that may not be a fact you should know, but it may help you win the next trivia night…

Head Start and Early Head Start are such important programs that are in place to break the cycle of poverty. It starts with the whole child, whole family and whole community.