The month of May just beckons for the outdoors, appreciation weeks, and end-of-school fun. Many daycare centers have a “school year” curriculum that runs September-May, with a more flexible and activity-based calendar in the summer months to accommodate vacations, drop-ins and occasional participants. The weather is usually optimal during this month, so enjoy biking and outdoor hikes before the summer heat sets in!
The first week of May is traditionally Teacher Appreciation Week, with Tuesday of that week touted as National Teacher Appreciation Day. The National Education Association heads-up the celebration to honor the nation’s public school teachers, but don’t hesitate to use the opportunity to thank private/parochial teachers as well! While token teacher gifts are always appreciated (think practical and not another coffee mug), teachers repeatedly indicate that a thank you note, drawing, or other sentiment from the heart is always at the top of their list!
Provider Appreciation Day is appropriately celebrated each year on the Friday before Mother’s Day. The founding organizers in 1996 saw the need to recognize the tireless efforts of providers who care for children of working parents. As more and more parents are in the workplace, the issue of who cares for our kids is crucial. The day raises awareness of early educators who give tirelessly and generously of their time, often with low pay. As with teachers, any heartfelt sentiment or small gesture is greatly appreciated. After all, everyone likes to hear, “job well done!”
Most school years end with a parent-teacher (or caregiver) conference so that any questions can be answered, progress reviewed, and plans for the next year put into place. It’s a great opportunity for parents to gain insight about their child and how they learn and behave while at daycare or school, so why is that we get nervous about the meeting? Use this one-on-one time to ask questions and to better understand what makes your child tick!
From swim lessons to sports clinics and summer fun activities at daycare programs, churches and rec centers, youth planners are busy organizing summer fun camps for months. Many of those activities fill up fast, so don’t delay. Have you made your plans yet?
Riding a bike provides kids with a sense of freedom and exhilaration, not to mention speed! But there’s much to do before teaching your child to ride a bike or plan a bike trip. May is Bicycle Safety Month, which is dedicated to reminding adults to make sure that riders have proper fitting helmets, that bicycles are in a safe operating condition with working breaks, properly-aired tires, and are adjusted at the appropriate height. Many daycare centers feature bicycle rodeo days or end-of-year parking lot parades (where kids decorate their bikes and ride them parade-fashion). Parents can encourage excercise and outdoor fun by riding bikes with their youngsters on a regular basis.
Most daycare and schools end the school year with a fun party for the younger kids. It’s a way to help kids associate that they’ve grown up another year and to celebrate all the new skills learned and friends made. And, with kids, any party is a fun party! Oftentimes, those end-of-year celebrations involve a simple gift exchange as well. Parents can save lots of money and stress by either making a small token of thanks or making their selection ahead of time so they can be worry-free later on!
A growing emphasis is being made to provide kids with healthy, low-fat and appetizing meals that they will actually eat–no small challenge. Look at a menu, and you’ll hopefully see more selections of fresh fruit and vegetables and lower calorie desserts (such as frozen yogurt instead of ice cream). If you like what you’re seeing, then consider using the first week of May–proclaimed as Child Nutrition Employee Appreciation Week–as an opportune time to say “thank you!” Of course, staff will appreciate a kind word or kudos any time during the month…or any time at all!
School isn’t over, summer is still months away, and so how could anyone possibly be thinking about fall child care options now? Get real, moms and dads. The hunt for child care when summer ends has already begun. In fact, in certain parts of the country or at coveted programs, you’re already too late. So, along with planning end-of-year school parties and summer fun, don’t overlook what you plan to do when the new academic year begins!