workshops

March Madness

Join us this month for all kinds of fun!

TUES - MAR 6, 3:30PM  Family Concert: The Singing Lizard! (1-4 Yrs)

TUES - MAR 6, 7:30PM   Introducing the Sibling

TUES, MAR 13, 6:30PM  Toddler Sleep (webinar format)

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Estate Planning for New Parents

Estate Planning for New Parents
  • 10/4: Join Recess, PREFund and fellow new parents to discuss how estate planning can provide peace of mind and stability for your family. Patricia De Fonte, an estate planning attorney, will lead a workshop detailing why every parent needs a revocable or “living” trust for their minor children and what you can do to protect your family should the worst happen.

Preparing for Preschool

Navigating the first year as a parent is no easy feat.  And then all of a sudden, you're faced with thinking about preschools, the beginnings of your child's educational journey, which can feel totally daunting!  

Luckily there are a variety of great resources to assist you in your search.  Here are our tips for an informed, but not crazy-making, search.  

START WITH A LITTLE BACKGROUND RESEARCH.

First, it's worth doing a little (emphasis on little) general research to narrow down your choices.

  • Location: Between home and work is often best
  • Schedule: Do you need part time, full time, how many hours?
  • Fees: What is the family budget for child care?
  • Philosophy: What type of program will be the best fit for your child, given who they are?

As you start to consider which school philosophies seem like the best fit for your child's personality, check out this article for a quick glance at the various approaches --there's Montessori, Reggio Emilio, Waldorf, PlayBased, Academic, and more.  

This overview from the folks at Winnie is phenomenal and will give you an overall perspective on the search, cost and options. 

 

ATTEND PRESCHOOL PREVIEW NIGHT

(this year, it's hosted by GGMG at the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park on Thursday, September 28, 5:30-7:30pm). This event can feel a bit chaotic, as it's typically super busy and there is a wealth of information under one roof.  We recommend checking out the list of schools who will be at the event ahead of time, and then narrowing down your MUST VISIT school list to 4 or 6 schools.  

As you visit your top schools, you can get the answers you need to more specific questions about philosophies, costs, schedules, pre-admission visits and more. You'll also have an opportunity to meet and talk with parents, preschool directors and other representatives to get a feel for the school and whether it meshes with what you're looking for.

 

START SCHEDULING TOURS & ATTENDING OPEN HOUSES. 

Once you've narrowed down your top choices, schedule open houses or tours or orientations, depending on the school's process.  Asking questions to assess whether or not each school is a right fit for your little one is important.  Here are some things to think about as you meet administration and parents from each school.  

 

WHAT TO DO IN THE MEANTIME?

While you are busy identifying and scoping out the right schools, help your child begin to develop familiarity with a drop-off environment, socializing with peers and, discovering interests.

The Precess Program at Recess is a great resource for establishing the foundational skills needed for a successful transition to Preschool.  Precess, taught by Nicki McGrath, has been an amazing precursor (and even alternative) to preschool for many children over the years.  Learn More

Baby talk before baby talks

Sign Up for Signing

Excerpt with permission from Parenting on the Peninsula and author, Evelyn Preston

Every parent’s been there, those fraught moments when their cuddly, cooing, oh-so-cute baby suddenly turns into a cranky, frustrated infant or toddler, spitting food, constantly crying, or even throwing tantrums. When it’s a toss-up over who’s more frantic and confused, baby or mommy, and it’s definitely not colic, a bump or a burp, there’s an ingenious way to ask baby “What’s up?” The little tyke may not yet have any words but definitely demands to be heard.

To bridge this super charged communication gap, Happy Baby Signs’ dedicated instructors teach new parents how “to talk” with their young offspring via American Sign Language. The amazing results calm everyone, get baby’s message across and offer brain enhancing benefits: accelerated language ability, reduced aggressive behavior and positive interaction plus the bonus of a stronger bond between baby and parent.  

The fun-filled classes with songs and interactive activities teach classic American Sign Language to parents (babies welcome), who then weave it into their infants’ everyday routines. Tricky to learn from a book, however an experienced “personal trainer” can fuse the nuance of signs, sounds and gestures that will work—and stick.

Check out the international best selling book, Signs of a Happy Baby!

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Parents begin the Happy Baby Signs programs just as children’s long-term memory and motor skills kick in at about 4 - 6 months old.  At 8-10 months, as kids start mimicking adults and gesturing their wants, simple signing provides a jump-start for the verbal skills ahead. The 90 minute Introductory Workshop presents the basics and benefits of signing (with a proof-positive video of adorable babies signing), prior to the follow-up six weeks of themed, one hour courses designed to help absorb about 100+ signs (for foods, colors, clothes, animals, playtime, etc.), that cement the magic.

According to Teacher Bill, even the youngest babies want to be connected to the world around them and can be clever and resourceful while learning how. Infants will emphatically indicate, “all done” after meals and baths or begin moving their hand to their mouth when they’re hungry. Emotions shine via smiles and hugs to the unmistakably signal “I love you.”

With mom, dad and grandparents consistently reinforcing with words, expressions and body language, signing kindles indelible associations in the fast forming infant brain. “It’s like riding that proverbial bicycle,” explains Bill, “once learned, not easily forgotten.” Early communication in languages, whether signing, Chinese, English or all together, becomes natural, interchangeable, useful and fun. Babies just do it and quickly catch on!

As children mature, the pleasure of being understood enhances self-esteem that in turn, encourages confidence toward increased communication which leads to more effective signing…a lasting circle of learning that spirals on to pre-school and beyond.

Parents wholeheartedly endorse this training. Just read the testimonials. Happy Baby Signs' instructors are lauded and loved for their special expertise and super enthusiasm. Paraphrased excerpts include, “My baby is rarely frustrated and therefore so am I; my child was so excited when we understood him; such a fun way of presenting the material—never too rigid; my daughter adds signs together for sentences...like 'MORE' + 'BOOK'.” and “the payoff is tremendous!”

As a speaker, Mommy’s Coach, and class participant, Carrie Vawter-Yousfi, says, “I especially appreciated Bill’s teaching by example, his wonderful stories of how signing with his own two young sons made their family life so much easier. I learned to start early, the sooner the better.”

Liza Baskind, mother of three, dispels the mistaken notion that signing will limit speaking. “On the contrary,” she says; “especially for so many children with delayed speech ability, signing will coax out more words, another factor in reducing frustration for parent and child.”

With the increasing popularity and positive results of Happy Baby Signs classes, parents who consider saving for a far off college future can make a nominal investment of time and money for their babies today that pays huge dividends in just a few months. It’s proven that children who communicate early via signing are verbally ahead a year or more by age three. Along with Thoreau’s premise that “language is the basis of all knowledge,” Teacher Bill reminds parents that “You can never redo those most important first two years of life!”