Happy Fall! We are sad to see the summer go, but we welcome the cooler weather and new school year with open arms. Good luck to all the kindergarteners going to school. We wish you all the best! 

Especially for Children will be closed Friday, September 1, for staff professional development and on Monday, September 4, for Labor Day.
We appreciate your decision to choose our center. Whether you are new with us this fall or you have been with us for years, we want to say, “We’re so glad you’re here!”

When you put your child into a child care program, you are, in fact entering into a new interpersonal relationship with another adult(s). Someone else important and influential is becoming a part of your child’s life. As staff, we strive to communicate with you and listen to your input. We hope that by talking openly with one another we will team up to develop the best possible plans for your child’s growth and development. When a child senses that his teachers and his parents are comfortable with one another, she will be able to relax, have fun, and get the most out of the experience. Please feel free to take time to talk with your child’s teachers, even about fun and exciting things that may be happening at home!
As we begin this new school year, please take a moment to check your child’s cubby and make sure that your child has weather appropriate clothing that still fits (they grow so fast!) Please pick up your sunscreen from your child’s teacher to take home.

We provide a convenient payment option through which you can set up autopayments from your bank or credit card. Bank (ACH) payments are processed free of charge while credit card transactions incur a 3% fee. You can request a link to fill out your autopayment information from your director.
At Especially for Children, our goal is to celebrate and represent all cultures and backgrounds through our regular daily programming as well as in focused exploration. Exploring a variety of cultures increases exposure and understanding among children (and adults). September 15-October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month.
We invite you to review the resources below for ways to celebrate!
It doesn’t seem to matter whether you have school age kids, the rhythm of the school calendar is ingrained in all of us. September always feels like a time that we are supposed to regroup. It may be arbitrary, but it is hard to escape, so I tend to embrace it and try to think about what I need to refresh in my life each fall.
This year I have one big topic in mind: chores. It seems like that should be a four-letter word. In my mind, I know that engaging my young children in chores is good for everyone. It teaches kids responsibility and how to contribute to the common good, and it takes a small amount of the work off my plate. Except that it doesn’t, because figuring out the right way to approach chores becomes a new chore all its own! We have tried various things since our kids were young like setting and clearing the table or picking up toys, but I always feel that I am lacking a systemic approach. It feels too haphazard and makes me wonder if it is doing them (or me!) any good.
In May, EFC preschool teachers attended a training called “Happy Helpers” that focused on how children’s confidence and behavior improves when they are given genuine and meaningful responsibilities. Teachers walked away from that training with a greater appreciation for how meaningful work helps children build foundational life skills as well as a positive sense of self. I have seen many of them put these principles into practice over the last few months, and I have been really impressed with the results. Which made me wonder, what could we as parents learn that might allow us to foster “Happy Helpers” at home too. Of the many tools and lessons contained in the training, here are a few that stuck with me from one article our trainer shared:
Questions to ask yourself about chores:
  1. Am I being realistic? If something is too hard, it will cause frustration. If it is too easy, children will feel it is unimportant or not “real.” Tailor jobs to children’s abilities – a two-year-old can set forks and napkins on the table, but probably isn’t ready to wash Grandma’s fine china.
  2. Do children know what is expected? Directions should be crystal clear so that children know what you are asking of them. Rather than saying “clean up” try “I need you to put all the toys in the bin, the books on the bookshelf, and your clothes in the hamper.”
  3. Do tasks match kids’ interests and talents? People are more likely to do things they enjoy. Of course, not all chores are fun, but, when possible, try to put your animal-loving child in charge of feeding the dog.
  4. Do kids have a say? Think about how you might give children control of how or when they complete a task. This creates a sense of buy-in.
  5. Am I a good chore role model? Try to maintain a positive attitude about your own chores. (This one is a stretch for me…it’s hard to find the joy in washing pots and pans).

Those questions were all helpful to me as I thought about how to revamp our chore approach this fall. But here was the kicker, the one that really stuck with me: complaining, grumbling and tantrums will happen – accept it! The advice was a little more nuanced than that, but essentially the author is encouraging us not to get too bent out of shape by the complaining. They advise us to accept and ignore it – as long as the job gets done. This will be a shift for me, as my tendency is sometimes to continue talking or explaining until I get to some magical point where my 5-year-old understands the cosmic value of responsibility. News flash, that moment rarely comes. So instead, when I revamp this fall’s chore list, I am going to try to focus on the end goal – confidence, responsibility, and a slightly cleaner house – and spend a little less time worrying about the whining it takes to get there.

NOW-9/4 MN State Fair, Saint Paul
NOW-10/1 (weekends) Renaissance Festival, Shakopee
9/2 Free First Saturday: So Long Summer, Walker Art Center
9/9 Field Fest, MN Landscape Arboretum
9/9-9/10 City of Ramsey Happy Days, Ramsey
9/15-9/17 Excelsior Apple Day, Excelsior
9/23 Family Fun Night, Eagan
Especially for Children
2 H South Pine Dr. 
Circle Pines MN 55014 
(763) 786-9410 

Center Directors:
Linda Kottke and Bridget Doyle