Meadows Preschool

Meadows Preschool

A ministry of Willow Meadows Baptist Church

 

July 1, 2020

 

Greetings Meadows Preschool Families,

I wanted to reach out to you to share two things.  First an article concerning the return to schools from the view point of pediatricians.  And secondly, I want to share our projected Health Policies for the 2020-2021 preschool year.  These policies are subject to update as needed.

Families, these are uncertain times.  However, as we honor the seriousness of the CoVid 19,

we also recognize the emotional, social, cognitive and physical needs of preschoolers.

Best practices have always been important to us at Meadows Preschool, because we value preschoolers as a gift from God. Earlier this summer, I was required to create and submit a plan for Health Policies to HHS.  The plan submitted for Meadows Preschool was not only approved, but used by HHS as a model for other preschools to follow.  During this summer our awesome teachers have been keeping current with on-line trainings from Tx. A & M concerning teaching during CoVid 19.  Teaching staff trainings total 400+ hours from June 2019-June2020!!

We consistently strive for a balance between what is best practice for preschoolers and what will help to keep them healthy as they join Meadows Preschool to develop emotionally, socially, cognitively, spiritually, and physically.  When God is in the planning we are strong.

At this writing we are projected to begin our next preschool session the week after HISD begins.  Updates will follow through email to help keep you informed.  Please feel free to contact me via email at cwehmeyer@wmbc.org with questions.  I’ll be glad to help.

 

Grace,

 

Pastor Cyndi

 

Cyndi Wehmeyer

Associate Pastor, Weekday Ps. Ed.

Willow Meadows Baptist Church

713.255.7025

Meadows Preschool Safety Guidelines 2020

  1. No adults/parents in the building*
    1. A teacher-wearing a face shield & mask, will take the child’s temperature with a non-contact thermometer, while the child is in the car: when child is cleared, parent helps the child out of the car.
    2. A teacher will then take the child inside to wash hands and to class-where the fun begins!
  2. ALL preschoolers in by 9:20*
  3. Classes will be sprayed with a hospital grade germicide while children are on the playground and again at the end of the day.
  4. Teachers will wear cloth masks and wash hands continuously throughout the day.
  5. Children presenting symptoms of illness during the day will be quarantined. The ill child will need to be picked-up within 20 minutes. Parents must have a phone number on file – that will be answered during school hours.
  6. Anytime your child will be absent – call Pastor Cyndi 713.255.7025.
  7. If a child has a fever, but no other symptoms, that child must stay home for 72 hours after the fever is gone.
  8. If a child has a fever with any CoVid 19 symptoms, they must stay home for seven days after onset. A note from a doctor will be needed for return.
  9. If a child comes in close contact with anyone with CoVid 19 symptoms, they must stay home for 14 days – contact Pastor Cyndi.
  10. If a child develops CoVid 19, Pastor Cyndi must be notified, by phone, immediately.
  11. Classes will not mix, for example: music, playground, gym play.
  12. No toys or stuffed animals of any kind will be allowed on the campus.
  13. Napping will take place on vinyl mats brought from home. Children may bring a towel labeled w/name.  This towel will be sent home weekly to be laundered.
  14. No cloth sleeping mats.

 

       *Sign-In Schedule:                                     Sign-out Schedule:

Early Birds will be 7:55 – 8:25                  Classes 1:45-2:00

Classes will be 8:55 – 9:20                       Kids Club 3:30-3:55

 

  • WMBC will be closed to Postal workers, Fed Ex, UPS, solicitors, all outside groups, etc.

 

  • Updated July 1, 2020 by CW in accordance with HHS

Pediatric Group Calls for Children to Return to Schools Despite Coronavirus

The academic, physical, and mental upsides associated with returning children to schools outweigh the risks, the American Academy of Pediatrics

By Lauren Camera, Senior Education Writer at U.S. News & World Report

 

“The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020,” the American Academy of Pediatrics wrote.

PEDIATRICIANS SAY students should be in classrooms for in-person learning as soon as possible – the most full-throated endorsement yet for getting children back into schools amid the coronavirus pandemic and one that was included in a set of recommendations released by the American Academy of Pediatrics for how schools should safely reopen.

“The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020,” the group representing 67,000 pediatricians wrote. “Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation.”

“This, in turn, places children and adolescents at considerable risk of morbidity and, in some cases, mortality,” the guidance continued. “Beyond the educational impact and social impact of school closures, there has been substantial impact on food security and physical activity for children and families.”

The recommendations acknowledge that infectious disease experts are still learning about the effects of COVID-19 and that all reopening policies must be flexible to account for rapidly changing scenarios. But the academic, physical and mental upsides associated with reopening outweigh the risks, the group concludes, especially as evidence mounts that children may not be the super-spreaders medical experts initially assumed, they were and that they tend to exhibit milder symptoms when they do contract the virus.

Rules are generally more lax for younger students in preschool and elementary school – a recognition of the reality that younger children aren’t likely to comply with social distancing and face mask requirements – and escalate gradually through middle school and into high school.

While states are rolling out guidance to school districts for reopening, the reality is that most school districts don’t yet have a set plan and are stuck awaiting state and local budget cuts – some projected to be as large as 25% – tied to lost revenue from the economic downturn.

Lauren Camera, Senior Education Writer

Lauren Camera is a senior writer at U.S. News & World Report.

 

See MPS2020 Safety Guidelines, to better understand the safety measures taken at Meadows Preschool.

Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy As To Students

Meadows Preschool believes that God created all children as unique and special and to be treated equally.  Therefore, Meadows Preschool admits children of all race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to children at Meadows Preschool.  Meadows Preschool does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies and other pre-school-administered programs.

 

Mission Statement:

The Mission of Meadows Preschool is to provide a safe Christian environment that nurtures the whole child and supports the child’s family so that the child can grow and develop their gifts and abilities, thus fulfilling each child’s potential.

 

Vision Statement:

Meadows Preschool offers young children the opportunity to feel love and a sense of self-worth while engaging in activities that will help nurture the development of the whole child.  Caring adults who live by Christian attitudes and behaviors engage preschoolers in creative experiences of active learning and support their families through fellowship, discipleship, worship, and ministry.

Pre-K friends learning to recognize shapes, fine tuning small motor control, connecting brain function to hand motions, all while creating art!  Besides, who doesn’t love a penguin?

Meadows Preschool Enrollment & Payment Policies  2020-2021

 

Enrollment Procedures: 

To reserve a space in Meadows Preschool:  turn in to the Preschool office

  • Enrollment form (ALL blanks completed- TDL #’s & phone #’s)
  • Enrollment fee non-refundable (make checks to: WMBC)

 

To complete the enrollment: due by June 16

  • A Certificate of Health–to be updated with each birthday
  • An up to date immunization record – bring a copy that can be kept in the office

 

Payment Policies:

Enrollment is a financial commitment to begin Aug. 2020 and go through May 2021.

  • The total cost of the preschool session has been divided into nine equal tuition payments to be paid monthly August 2019-April 2020.  Families enrolling after August will pay tuition through May 2020.
  • The tuition paid in August 2020 is a non-refundable tuition payment for May 2021.
  • The first tuition payment is due on or before August 6, 2020.  
  • Tuition will be due the 1st week of August 2020 - April or May 2021.
  • Tuition paid after the 1st full week of each month, will have a late fee of 15. added.
  • Tuition must be paid in the month that it is due.  Failure to pay tuition in the month that it is due could result in the child being dropped from preschool. 
  • A written request with a four-week notice is required to properly withdraw a child or drop days. Families are responsible for tuition for the four weeks following the written notice.  This policy includes Early Birds and Kids Club.
  • After July 2, 2020, there will be a drop fee of $25.00, for each day dropped. 

    After July 16, 2020, a full month’s tuition payment will be due for dropped days.

  • Checks can be made payable to W. M. B. C.
  • Children absent for two weeks, without notification given to the director, can result in the child being dropped from the preschool.

 

Note: Bumble Bees & Leap Frogs are toilet independent classes.

 

Holidays: 

  • Our start date will be one week following the start of H.I.S.D.  
  • Meadows Preschool will be closed on H.I.S.D. holidays and in-service days, the Friday before and Monday after Easter, as well as the first Th and Fri of February. 
  • A yearly calendar will be available at Meet the Teacher Night or from the Parent Support Center after April 2020.

 

For more information contact Cyndi Wehmeyer at 713.255.7025 / cwehmeyer@wmbc.org

Enroll & Payment Policies 2020-21

Meadows Preschool


Willow Meadows Baptist Church 4300 W. Bellfort, Houston, TX. 77035

Cyndi Wehmeyer, Associate Pastor, Weekday Preschool Education

cwehmeyer@wmbc.org 713.255.7025



Operational Policies September 2020-May 2021


Times/ Days of Operation:

8:00 Early Birds, 9:00-2:00 Preschool, 2:00-4:00 Kids Club

Monday–Friday, September 2019 through May 2020. Meadows Preschool will close for H.I.S.D. holidays along with other days for continuing education and religious holidays.

Weather Closures: Meadows Preschool will close when HISD closes due to weather. 

Information Sharing: A Newsletter will be emailed the last week of each month for the following month, weekly emails will be sent by class, a yearly calendar will be distributed at Meet the Teachers or from the Preschool Office by April 2020. You can always check the Parent Support Center for recalls, forms, and seasonal information.



Money Matters:

Tuition is due the first full week of each month. Tuition is paid in nine equal payments beginning the first week of August. Tuition paid after the first 10 days will have a late pay fee of 15.00 added. The August 2020 payment is a non-refundable payment for May 2021.

Late Pick-up fees: $1.00 per minute after 2:04 or 4:04, will be charged for each child picked-up after their class ends. This fee is due at pick-up or the following day.

Financial Obligation: Upon enrollment, children are enrolled for, and tuition is due & expected for, the complete session of August 2020 – May 2021. 



Health and Safety:All children must have a current immunization record on file. Update the immunization record and Certificate of Health with each birthday.

Daily Health Checks will be performed each morning upon arrival.

Children may be released: only to the adults listed on the enrollment card, including name, address, phone and TDL #. Adults listed without a TDL # may not pick-up.

When a child is ill: they may not be in attendance at preschool. Parents are asked to call Pastor Cyndi and report when a child will be absent and state the symptoms.

Exclusion due to illness: Children need to be free of a fever for 24 hours, and free of diarrhea and/or vomiting for 24 hours before returning to school. Children with thick, excessive mucus from the nose, undiagnosed rashes, wheezing, wet or barking cough, head lice, or other infectious symptoms – with or without fever - must not attend.

Medications: cannot be dispensed by any staff of Meadows Preschool. 

Children must be up to date on immunizations: at all times.  Provide a copy of the immunization record that can be kept in the office. Provide updated immunization records and Certificate of Health with each birthday or as children receive update immunizations. TB tests are not required by the Tx. Dept of Health.

Teaching staff at Meadows Preschool are not required to receive vaccine preventable disease immunizations. Ex. Flu shots.

Allergies: children with allergies that require an Epi pen will need to have a physician’s emergency plan on file. Form provided & signed by the pediatrician.

Children will need to wash their hands, on campus, before going to their class.

The Ladies and Men’s restrooms are adult free from 9:15 until 4:00.

Bumble Bees and Leap Frogs are diaper and pull-up free. These children will be expected to be fully toilet independent. To meet Health Codes, a parent will be called to change BM’s.

Hearing and Vision testing needs to be performed at your child’s pediatrician’s office, when a child turns four years old, and a copy will be required by the preschool.

Breast Feeding Moms will be provided a comfortable place with a rocker to feed babies. Moms may breastfeed or provide breast milk for babies in care.

Safe Sleep will be practiced. Babies will be place on their backs and nothing will be added to the crib. Please bring Sleep sacks or footie p.j.’s. Only pacifiers without any attachments are permitted.

Sunscreen should be applied on your child, each morning, before they attend Meadows Preschool. Help us prevent skin cancer.

To foster healthy relationships parents are expected to walk their child to class and parents sign them in each morning and then out at the end of the day.

The security code will be made available to parents, for use by adults only.

For the safety of your preschooler Meadows Preschool does not provide transportation, a swimming pool, nor have animals housed at the school. We perform background checks and FBI fingerprinting on all staff. All teaching staff receive a minimum of 24 hrs. continuing education, for each year of employment and are current in CPR, First Aid and brain development.

Abuse and Neglect: Meadows Preschool teachers will be trained annually in the prevention of and how to respond to abuse and neglect. Information will be available on the Parent Support Center for awareness and warning signs of abuse and neglect and prevention techniques. A posting will be available on the big bulletin board with contact information for reporting and gaining assistance for both teachers to use and to help a parent that may need to report or obtain assistance. If you suspect abuse or neglect: speak with Pastor Cyndi or call the Child Abuse Hotline.

A copy of the Minimum Standards for Child-Care Centers: and the most recent Licensing inspection report are kept in the Meadows Preschool office for parental review. The local licensing office can be contacted at (713)–940–5283. 

Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-252-5400 or www.txabusehotline.org

Tx. Dept. of Family and Protective Services website www.dfps.state.tx.us

 



General Information:

Lunch: bring a lunch of healthy foods, the children can feed themselves, and include a thermos of water – please no sugary or caffeinated drinks. A snack will also be needed for some age groups. These should be marked with the child’s name.

NO GLASS CONTAINERS ARE ALLOWED IN PRESCHOOL.

Discipline and guidance: redirection, direct conversation, and when appropriate, time out with the time appropriate for that child. Corporal punishment is not allowed. Children that continually cause a safety hazard for others due to their behavior will be withdrawn from the preschool, after a conference with the parent.

Gang Free Zones: in accordance with House Bill 2086; an area of 1000 feet around Meadows Preschool is a gang free zone allowing for greater prosecution of gang activity.

 Playground: Persons without a background check on file, may not use the playground during preschool hours.



Enrollment and Information Sharing:

Enrollment in Meadows Preschool: open to preschoolers that are 5 months by August through Pre Kndg. A child is fully enrolled when a completed enrollment card, health certificate w/ immunization record, and the enrollment fee are received.

Parents have access to the preschool: for observation and to participate in program activities. We ask parents to go to Pastor Cyndi’s office for a guest badge.

Parents that wish to review and discuss policies: procedures or concerns of Meadows Preschool with Pastor Cyndi, may call the preschool office during office hours.

Contact with Teaching Staff: to speak at length with your child’s teachers, please make an appointment to speak with them during napping times. During drop-off and pick-up the teachers are actively involved with the children. Teachers may not give cell phone numbers to parents, or receive texts during school hours.

Class emails will go out weekly to help keep you informed.

Newsletters will go out the last week of each month, by email.

The large bulletin board as well as the Parent Support Center outside Pastor Cyndi’s office will also be a source of information.

 

* Parents will be asked to sign a child-care enrollment agreement, found on the enrollment card, to show that this Operational Policies document was received.

 Take some time to read this document and then save it to use for referral.

  • When calling Meadows Preschool, always use Pastor Cyndi’s office number:255.7025. If there isn’t an answer, leave a message.


What to Bring

  1. A lunch and drink, each marked with name - bring foods the child can self-feed .
  2. A small snack, marked with name & K C, for Kids Club (2:00-4:00).
  3. A vinyl rest mat & small blanket to be left at the school, labeled with name.
  4. A change of clothing; to be kept at the school, labeled with name.
  5. Children in diapers or pull ups need to bring a box of wipes.
  6. Children in diapers need to bring paper diapers.
  7. Backpack large enough to transport art projects, papers, lunch box, etc.

All diaper bags, back packs, lunch containers, etc. not clearly labeled; will be labeled at preschool by the teachers. Labeling is mandatory.



What not to Bring

  1. Medications of any kind – Rx or over the counter
  2. TOYS–stay at home. Please do not leave it to the teacher to put the toys away for you.
  3. Sick preschoolers.

Children need to be free of a fever for 24 hours, and free of diarrhea and/or vomiting for 24 hours before returning to school. Children with green mucus from the nose, diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, rashes, wet or barking cough, or other infectious symptoms must not attend – with or without a fever. Children need to be able to fully participate in the class activities.

Arriving on time to preschool is a sign of respect, will prevent class disruptions and help us have healthier, happier children.



Birthday Policies

* First, speak with your child’s teacher, and arrange a date, so, we can make sure the special sign in sheet is in the binder, requesting permission from the parents for children to eat the birthday treats. * Parents may bring: store bought fruit cups, applesauce, two bite cupcakes, cheese sticks & pretzels, small muffins, ice cream cups, etc.

* All food items must be in the original packaging – to meet health regulations.



HOW ARE YOU FEELING TODAY?

Meadows Preschool Daily Health Check

Meadows Preschool Teachers will do a daily health check on each child each morning. It consists of asking parents or guardians of any unusual behaviors, rashes or changes in eating/sleeping patterns and a quick visual inspection. We will be attentive throughout the day for anything out of the ordinary that might signal a child is ill.

Children may not enter or remain in preschool if they have any of the following:

FEVER -exclusion for 24 hours VOMITING -exclusion for 24 hours EXCESSIVE COUGH -exclusion until symptoms are improved EXCESSIVE RUNNY NOSE or GREEN MUCUS -exclusion until symptoms are improved WHEEZING ALLERGIES THAT NEED MEDICATION DURING PRESCHOOL HOURS CONJUCTIVITIS -PINK EYE -exclusion until treated and symptoms are gone HEAD LICE -exclusion until treated and all nits are gone UNDIAGNOSED SKIN RASHES -exclusion until diagnosed and treated ANYTHING THE TEACHER IS CONCERNED ABOUT

  • This policywill help keep our children and teachers healthy at preschool and fulfill our goal to always exceed the expectations of the federal guidelines from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Thank you for partnering with us to provide the best experiences for your child.

HAND WASHING POLICY:

Redbirds, Rabbits, Honey Bears, Bumble Bees & Leap Frogs will need to stop by the restroom to wash hands BEFORE going to class.

Operational Policies 2020-2021

Meadows Preschool Tuition Schedule Aug. 2020-May 2021 

Early Preschool (babies – young 2’s)

Class

Teacher child ratio

Days

Tuition

9:00-2:00

Tuition +

Kids Club 2:00-4:00

Turtles

Aug 2019-Feb 2020

2/5-6

1 Day

161.

221.

Turtles

 

2 Days

320.

393.

Turtles

 

3 Days

435.

566.

Turtles

 

4 Days

557.

737.

Turtles

 

5 Days

678.

857.

Redbirds

Nov 2018-July 2019

2/8

1 Day

161.

221.

Redbirds

 

2 Days

320.

393.

Redbirds

 

3 Days

435.

566.

Redbirds

 

4 Days

557.

737.

Redbirds

 

5 Days

678.

857.

Rabbits

Feb 2018-Nov 2018

2/10

1 Day

159.

210.

Rabbits

 

2 Days

312.

381.

Rabbits

 

3 Days

420.

557.

Rabbits

 

4 Days

538.

696.

Rabbits

 

5 Days

645.

787.

Early Birds

Monthly rate

1 Day

31.00

2 Days 53.00

3 Days

80.00

4 Days

104.00

5 Days

121.00

Drop-in Fees

9:00–2:00 46.00

9:00–4:00 69.00

Early Birds

9.00

Kids Club 

26.00

 

Late Fees

Late Pick-up: 1.00 per minute, after 2:04 or 4:04

Late Pay: 15.00

Early Preschool Enrollment & Supply Fee -non-refundable (10. Enrollment Discount for a sibling)

 

Returning Preschooler: 225. for 1 to 2 Days New Enrollee: 260. for 1 to 2 Days

  1. for 3 to 5 Days 280. for 3 to 5 Days

Cyndi Wehmeyer, Associate Pastor, Weekday Ps. Ed.

713.255.7025 / cwehmeyer@wmbc.org

Meadows Preschool @Willow Meadows Baptist Church

4300 W. Bellfort, Houston, Tx. 77035

 Meadows Preschool Tuition Schedule Aug. 2020-May 2021

Preschool (2 ½ yrs. – Pre K.)

PRESCHOOL

Teacher child ratio

Days

Tuition 9:00-2:00

Tuition +

Kids Club 9:-4:00

Honey Bears

June 2017-Feb 2018

2/12

2 Days

280.

379.

Honey Bears

 

3 Days

445.

544.

Honey Bears

 

4 Days

538.

699.

Honey Bears

 

 5 Days

624.

775.

Bumble Bees

Sept 2016-June 2017

2/12-13

2 Days

280.

379.

Bumble Bees

 

3 Days

445.

544.

Bumble Bees

 

4 Days

538.

699.

Bumble Bees

 

5 Days

624.

775.

Leap Frogs

Sept 2015-Aug 2016

2/13

3 Days

445.

544.

Leap Frogs

 

4 Days

538.

699.

Leap Frogs

 

5 Days

624.

775.

  • Bumble Bees & Leap Frogs are toilet independent

Early Birds

Monthly rate

1 Day

31.00

2 Days

53.00

3 Days

80.00

4 Days 104.00

5 Days

 121.00

Drop-in Fees

9:00–2:00 46.00

9:00–4:00 69.00

Early Birds

 9.00

Kids Club 26.00

 

Late Fees

Late Pick-up: 1.00 per minute, after 2:04 or 4:04

Late Pay: 15.00

Preschool Enrollment & Supply Fee -non-refundable (10. Enrollment discount for a sibling)

 

Returning Preschooler: 225. for 2 Days New Enrollee: 260. for 2 Days

  1. for 3 to 5 Days 280. for 3 to 5 Days 

Cyndi Wehmeyer, Associate Pastor, Weekday Ps. Ed.

713.255.7025 / cwehmeyer@wmbc.org

Meadows Preschool @Willow Meadows Baptist Church

4300 W. Bellfort, Houston, Tx. 77035

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The Importance of Play

It’s a well-known fact that American kids are playing a lot less these days. From 1981 to 1997, children’s playtime decreased by 25%, the report says. A national survey of 8,950 preschool children and parents found that only 51% of children went outside to walk or play once per day with either parent. And because of increased academic pressure, 30% of US kindergarten children no longer have recess.

Plenty of people argue this trend bodes poorly both for childhood and for kids’ future employment. At Davos, the uber-elite gathering of global power brokers, AI experts and global CEOs argued that free play encourages kids to develop agency, collaboration and creativity—just the skills that workers will need to maintain an edge over the robots. And psychologists not associated with the report, including Peter Gray from Boston College, have said the consequences of a lack of play could be dire, including rising rates of mental health problems in teens. That’s why the Academy says it’s time to collectively reboot our thinking about play, understanding it not as a trivial, expendable pastime but as an essential activity that science shows is core to children’s healthy development.

The many benefits of play

The AAP identifies four kinds of play, noting that they change as children grow up. Object play starts with an infant putting everything in her mouth, and later using objects as toys (“Look mama, I am on the telephone!” says a child holding a banana). Then there’s physical or locomotor or rough-and-tumble play, which starts with pat-a-cake and moves to pillow fights and negotiating free play at recess. “Rough-and-tumble play, which is akin to the play seen in animals, enables children to take risks in a relatively safe environment, which fosters the acquisition of skills needed for communication, negotiation, and emotional balance and encourages the development of emotional intelligence,” the authors write.

Outdoor play allows kids to integrate a bunch of senses: throwing balls or playing tag lets them learn to use the body and mind in tandem. Perhaps that’s why research shows that countries that offer more recess to young children see greater academic success among the children as they get older. There’s also social or pretend play (which can happen alone or with others), when kids experiment with taking on roles—teaching a classroom full of stuffed animals, or playing house.

The AAP cites a laundry list of evidence underpinning the benefits of play. Randomized trials of physical play in 7- to 9-year-olds showed that play enhanced attentional inhibition, cognitive flexibility, and brain functioning that suggested better executive control. Pretend play helps kids build self-regulation because children have to collaborate on just how the imaginary world they are living in will work, thus “improving their ability to reason about hypothetical events.” Play is also particularly important for kids exposed to toxic levels of stress. “The mutual joy and shared communication and attunement (harmonious serve and return interactions) that parents and children can experience during play regulate the body’s stress response,” the report says.

Getting play back on track

While the report’s authors worry that parents’ laser-focus on achievement has eaten away at play time, they attribute the problem to social pressures rather than poor intentions. “Parental guilt has led to competition over who can schedule more ‘enrichment opportunities’ for their children,” they write. “As a result, there is little time left in the day for children’s free play, for parental reading to children, or for family meal times.”

To change this, the AAP recommends that preschools encourage more playful learning, both to foster stronger caregiver–infant relationships and to promote executive functioning skills. It also suggests that doctors not only encourage parents to protect children’s unstructured playtime, but have parents let their children take the lead—for example, if a child is doing a puzzle, it’s okay to suggest a piece of a puzzle that might fit, but not do the puzzle yourself. Of course, “scheduling” free play is easier said than done. For a lot of parents, it’s logistically challenging, requiring caregivers or environments that support affordable free play that also keeps kids safe, fed, and close to school or home. That’s a lot harder than booking kids into a coding club. But our pediatricians want us to give it a try.

Read more from our series on Rewiring Childhood. This reporting is part of a series supported by a grant from the Bernard van Leer Foundation. The author’s views are not necessarily those of the Bernard van Leer Foundation.

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Meadows Preschool
is a ministry of
Willow Meadows Baptist Church
serving families
for over 55 years!