Screen time and brain development
By Chloe Learey, Executive Director
Results from a study recently published online at JAMA Pediatrics and widely reported in the media show that parts of the brain are less developed in children who use screens more than an hour a day without parent interaction. This is the guideline set by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Specifically, white matter, which is like “cables” that help different parts of the brain (gray matter) communicate was less well-developed, potentially slowing the brain’s processing speed. Additionally, the white matter responsible for executive functioning (processes that help us manage ourselves and our resources in order to achieve a goal) was underdeveloped. These aligned with results of the cognitive tests showing that the children with less-developed white matter demonstrated poorer performance on emerging literacy and expressive language skills as well as less ability to rapidly name objects.
This does not mean that screen time is causing brain damage! Continue reading
The Book Nook
By Sueño LeBlond, Early Education Outreach Specialist
In celebration of the new movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, I bring to your attention the children’s book Be My Neighbor by Maya Ajmera and John D. Ivanko with words of wisdom from Fred Rogers. This beautiful photo essay illustrates the universal themes and values that communities are built upon.
Through engaging photography, this book provides a window into humanity’s rich diversity while maintaining, in the words of Fred Rogers, that “as different as we are from one another… we are much more the same than we are different.” Readers journey around the world glimpsing children in their neighborhoods – from a playground in South Africa, a temple in Thailand, and a vegetable market in Mexico. Each turn of the page offers an evocative spread of pictures which open the door to rich dialog between you and your child about human diversity and universal truths.
There is simple text printed in large, bold font through the book which, to my mind, is lacking in elegance. Each spread also contains a dry paragraph with supporting information to accompany the photographs. The authors would have done better to supply readers with a series of provocative questions to help children compare their own experiences with those represented on the page. Fortunately, we can ask these questions ourselves when reading with our children.
Outside of traveling, books are the best way to cultivate an appreciation for the world’s diversity. Maya Ajmera and John D. Ivanko’s collaboration provides us with a great place to start. The pair has worked on other books, as well, which are worth your attention. To Be an Artist and Back to School are similar in structure to Be My Neighbor, but focus on the universal language of the arts and education respectively. For younger children, To Be a Kid and Animal Friends: A Celebration of Children and Animals are published as board books.
Part of the proceeds from the sales of these books are donated to the Global fund for Children (founded by Maya Ajmera in 1993) to support innovative community-based organizations that serve the world’s most vulnerable children and youth.
Shopping online? Support Winston Prouty at the same time
Giving to the Winston Prouty Center couldn’t be easier. If you’re planning any shopping on Amazon.com, simply go to smile.amazon.com and select Winston Prouty Center. A percentage of your purchase will be donated to us. Thank you! More info
Early Learning Center News
The day before Thanksgiving, we held our annual Harvest Feast. Click here to see more pictures.
Tis the season! We hope you all had a wonderful first Thanksgiving with your babies. May the upcoming holidays be filled with celebration and family memories to cherish!
The last of our older infants has graduated to the Willow room. We are sad to say goodbye to Shawn, but he is ready for the next steps in development and socialization. We do have two open slots that will be filled by the Danzi family in January and the Godin family in February. We are creating a winter feel in our room as we prepare for the holidays. We are singing songs about snow and the season, we are walking outside and looking at the wonderful winter wonderland here on the hill and will be making and planning different sensory toys for our Acorns to touch, tap, roll, grab and hold. The Acorn team would like to wish you all a happy holiday and a healthy and magical New Year!
This month in the Willow Room we welcomed Cade, Shawn and Aria to our classroom. All of the children in our room enjoy offering hugs, kisses waves and warm greetings to everyone who enters, and the social games that are already a part of our classroom culture seemed to help ease the transition and to welcome our newest classmates. Games like “row row row your boat”, and peek-a-boo as well as reading and singing together have been favorite classroom activities for the past few months and the newest children have joined right in. The Willow children also really seem to enjoy spending a long period of social time at the table together during snack and lunch time, often offering to “cheers” each others water cups before taking a drink. It is amazing to watch the connections that the children continue to build with one another, and we are looking forward to continuing to watch as they learn and grow together as class in the coming year.
The weather has become colder and we are wearing our hats and mittens now. This is our first year playing outside in the big playground during the chilly and wet weather and we are experiencing lots of senses, from the feel of the breezy wind, and the sound of crunchy leaves as we stomp to the playground. We even found ice in some of the pots and pans in our mud kitchen. In the classroom we have made a food collage in celebration of the Thanksgiving Holiday and getting together with our extended families. We continue to enjoy our woods walks and have collected sticks, nuts, and leaves. For the harvest meal we supplied broccoli for the Stone Soup and pumpkin pie for dessert.
We look forward to December and have already enjoyed our first snow; we had fun playing in it, and making our first snowballs. In the Maples we like to introduce themes relating to holiday traditions that our families celebrate. We explore the sounds, colors, and symbols of holidays and make a special gift for our families. We are always looking for volunteers to share their Hanukkah and Christmas traditions. Have a wonderful December from all of the Maples.
November in the Birch Room was very busy. We studied a favorite activity: Building and Construction. We used various building materials such as Lincoln logs, marshmallows and toothpicks and popsicle sticks. We explored different ways to build and read 4 different versions of the Three Little Pigs and compared the stories. We also used measuring tapes to measure and sorted various screws and nails. We also built a stick house outside during our walks with Alfred and we keep adding to it. In December look for lights and jingle bells to be added. We ended the month by discussing Thanksgiving and being thankful. We made Thankful Turkeys and read lots of Thanksgiving books. For the Harvest Meal we made zucchini bread and cut up potatoes for the Stone Soup. In December we are looking forward to talking about gingerbread, jingle bells and the giving.
Dates to Remember
- Friday, December 13 – Center closes at 12:00 for All-staff meeting
- Monday, December 23 – January 1 – Center closed for Winter Break
- Friday, January 12 – Center closes at 12:00 for All-staff meeting
12/3 – Happy Birthday Luisa, CIS Early Interventionist
12/10 – Solveig is 2!
12/15 – Brayden is 3!
12/15 – Delia is 3!
12/16 – Happy Birthday Kathy H, CIS Early Interventionist
12/19 – Ali is 5!
12/31 – Molly is 5!
Resources & Events for Families
Dinner Together – Friday, Dec 13
Dinner Together is a gathering for families who are struggling with mental health or trauma who would like to find connections and support with their peers. Friday, December 13, 2019, 5:30-7:30pm at the Winston Prouty Center. Hosted by the Copeland Center. For more information, contact Katie Wilson at 802-451-0140 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Child care provided.
Free Kids Cooking Class! Fun with Food and Art – Gifts of the Season
In this month’s edition of the Brattleboro Food Co-op’s Fun with Food & Art, Brattleboro Museum and Art Center’s Linda Whelihan and the Co-op’s Lizi Rosenberg will have everything you’ll need to make some presents using your creativity and some awesome art supplies and ingredients! December 10th – 3:30 pm. More information
Legislators hear from child care providers & families
The Winston Prouty Center, in partnership with the Windham Early Childhood Educators Co-op and KidsPLAYce hosted an annual get-together for people concerned about child care and their local legislators on Tuesday, December 3rd. The meeting was facilitated by Chloe Leary, executive director of Winston Prouty, and Dora Levinson, the regional coordinator for Building Bright Futures of Vermont. In attendance were state Sen. Becca Balint, Senate Majority Leader and a resident of Brattleboro, Rep. Mike Mrowicki, of Putney, Mollie Burke and Emilie Kornheiser, both of Brattleboro, and Emily Long, of Newfane. Read the Brattleboro Reformer article about the meeting
Winston Prouty Podcast
Be sure to catch the latest episodes of our podcast, which you can find on your favorite podcast platform. Our most recent conversation is with Brandy Levesque, CIS Consultation & Behavior Support Specialist