MAY 2024


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Dear Angie,

We are so lucky to have some of the best teachers in the field, and we are so excited when we get to celebrate them and all the wonderful things they do! Teacher Appreciation Week this year happens May 6–May 10. We ask that you join us to help us celebrate our amazing teachers by sending them letters of appreciation! We will set up a stationary station in our lobby all week and will give the teachers their notes on Friday, May 10!  


May 24 and 27CENTER CLOSED for staff development day and Memorial Day. Have a safe and fun long weekend!


May 28–June 7 Spring Conferences: We will be holding Spring conferences over these 2 weeks. There will be a sign in sheet on your child’s classroom door. Conferences are available for everyone and usually take about 15 minutes. We will be offering in person and phone conferences.


May 30 Especially for Children SW Minneapolis One-Year Anniversary: We are excited to celebrate one year of being open! We will have an open house with a band and games from 5:30pm-7:00pm. We hope to see you all there!


May 28–May 31 A Week of Celebration: The week of our 1-year anniversary, we would like to celebrate all week! Here are our themes for the days:

Monday: EFC Closed

Tuesday: Wacky Hair Day – come to school with wacky hair! Have fun with different styles and colors!

Wednesday: Superhero or Princess Day – dress up like your favorite superhero or princess.

Thursday: Hat Day – wear your favorite party hat!

Friday: Pajama Day – End the week by wearing your favorite pj’s to school!


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Here is a great resource from Zero to Three about early development of math skills and how you can support them at home.  


Winter in over and Spring has sprung! Please be sure to grab your child’s winter gear to take it home for the Summer.


With Summer approaching we would also like to remind you to bring in sunscreen for your little one! Sunscreen should be labeled with your child’s first and last name and can be given to your child’s teacher. 


Screen Time and Young Children: Taking Stock 


We have heard it so many times that it may be easy to ignore the headlines: screens have transformed our lives in profound ways over the last several decades. Much of the recent media conversation has focused on the negative impact of smartphones, and especially social media, on the brain wiring and mental and emotional health of preteens, teenagers, and young adults.  


Research on the effects of screen time in young children can be confusing and contradictory. However, there are some clear tips from experts that can help parents and caregivers of children under 5 (whose brains are developing at an incredible rate) as they think about screen time:  


Children under 18-24 months: For children younger than 2, there is very limited benefit, and potential developmental risk, to screen viewing.  

Content Matters: The best content for children is slow-paced and reflects real life. (Think “old school” episodes of Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street versus frenetically paced cartoons, even those that are labeled “educational”). 

Behavior: Screen time should not be used to console. In addition, it may be helpful to assess how your child behaves before and after screen can make adjustments to the time spent or the type of content viewed by assessing your child’s behavior.  

Participation: Very young children get the most benefit from screen time when an adult watches with them, participates in active content, and follows up off-screen, reinforcing any lessons from the media content.  

Sleep: Screens should not be used 1 hour before bedtime as they have a negative effect on sleep. 


In considering how our children are affected by screens, experts also encourage adults to consider our own screen time in the equation (which can be very hard!). Children learn by observing the world around them and by interacting with their environment. It makes sense that both the child’s use of screens as well as their caregiver or family’s level of screentimecan impact development. 


Research is important and helpful, but we don’t need a study to understand that the world has changed due to the mobile devices in our pockets. Several months ago, while at the airport, I looked around and observed that nearly every person around me was looking down at a screen. A young toddler was standing close to her parents, taking in the environment around her, and I wondered to myself about what she was learning—or not learning—from this scene. She could not observe or hear many interactions between people because there were not many taking place. Eye contact, smiles, or friendly waves from passersby were nowhere to be found.  


Since that experience, I have tried to be much more aware of not taking out my phone in places where it has become the default norm—because children and adults of all ages still need to experience those interactions and allow their minds to wander. It can feel difficult, but also important, to resist the societal norm that screen-based connections take priority over real-world ones, even in places filled with strangers.  


Screen Free Week is coming up on May 6-12. This may be a great opportunity to disconnect and reflect on how screens, which are here to stay, and certainly have benefits (like keeping in touch with far-away grandparents or giving all family members a bit of time to decompress), best fit into the life of your family. 


Additional Resources 



Now-5/12 Wild Kratts: Creature Power!, MN Children’s Museum

Now-5/19 Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical JR., Stages Theatre, Hopkins

Now-6/16 A Year with Frog and Toad, Children’s Theatre, Mpls               

5/4 First Free Saturday: Haring and Friends, Walker, Mpls 

5/4 Walk for Animals, St. Paul 

5/4 & 5/5 Twin Cities Festival Spring Babies, Brooklyn Park

5/10-5/11 Mother's Day Plant Sale, Arboretum

5/2, 5/9, 5/16, 5/23 & 5/30 Little Explorer Thursdays, Como Zoo

5/12 Mother's Day Concert, Landmark Center

5/17-5/19 Art-A-Whirl, NE Mpls

5/18  Kids Run the Cities, Mpls  

Especially for Children - SW Minneapolis

3908 Stevens Ave.         

Minneapolis, MN 55409

(612) 588-9700

Center Director

Ronan Hernandez-Pratt

Center Assistant Director

Rachel McGill