Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Genius in the Making

This blog post first appeared at UrbanMamas

A Genius in the Making

There isn't a single UrbanMama (or UrbanPapa) who doesn't gaze down into their child's eyes and see a genius. That sparkle, that twinkle, that infectious giggle surely is just a front for a brain that is working its way toward a great future. And you promise yourself you will do everything you can to get this wonderful child there.
But how?

Scientific American reported that you may be trying too hard. In an article that appeared several years back, they suggested that "Many people assume that superior intelligence or ability is a key to success. But more than three decades of research shows that an overemphasis on intellect or talent—and the implication that such traits are innate and fixed—leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unmotivated to learn."
Motivating a youngster to learn is done through play, through art, through song and dance. It is done while they aren't paying attention to the process. It is done by allowing them to be, first and foremost, kids.

Kids who learn with a soft structure often learn about abilities and talents they didn't know they had. "Praising children’s innate abilities," SA suggests "reinforces this mind-set, which can also prevent young athletes or people in the workforce and even marriages from living up to their potential." Interaction with children younger is beneficial as well.

Of the two views of intelligence the magazine reported on, my program has always leaned toward the development of a "mastery-oriented" child, done by encouraging them to try new things. Simple things like working with clay, dancing, trying their hand at cooking, or something as simple as finding out what makes them laugh. We work in our organic garden, play in the snow, and sharing their show-and-tell. Rather than developing a "fixed mind-set” which leads to "[m]istakes [that] crack their self-confidence because they attribute errors to a lack of ability, which they feel powerless to change", I look towards flexibility.

Instead I like to offer your child a chance to develop the kind of intelligence that "is malleable". While offering what many of the other fine daycares listed here provide, I will take your child on a growing journey, allowing them to develop in a soft structured way that suits them best.

Bonni Petillo
Bonni's Funtastic Daycare

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What to do with $450

This post first appeared at Urbanmamas.com

The other day, as I perused one of the local free papers, I came across an ad for daycare. A new center had just opened and the fee for their services were $450 more than the tuition I charge. Ironically, they were offering many of the same things I was offering parents - except I offer a small family (no more than six children) in-home, (close to downtown in the NE) daycare situation and have been doing it for quite some time (over 22 years of caring for kids like yours).

The similarities are few: they have several openings (I have two) and they want girls (which would be great for my situation as well since I have one girl and three boys - although in the big scheme of things, this makes little difference at this age). The two spots I have open are both full time and with good reason: this is as much as school as the older kids attend, with scheduled activities and learning albeit in a soft structured setting. Full-time, just like big kid's school is as much to train your child as it is to train you.

The biggest difference between this "center" and me is the savings (the difference what I charge and what they charge) of $450 a month. Think how much college money that could provide in your child's 529 plan. Over the course of their time with me, that $450 saved dollars per month would take your family on several very nice vacations, buy hundreds of gallons of gas, thousands of pieces of fruit at the farmer's market, and tens of thousands of gallons of milk.

I encourage you to think about what you are getting in a daycare situation. Lots of money doesn't buy better care. Good care, such as what I provide is invaluable in the formation of your child, their well-being and their leap into school one day.
Check out my site and send me an email with any questions.

I look forward to hearing from you smart shoppers with smart kids.

Bonni Petillo
Bonni's Funtastic Daycare.com