Summer Ideas from EC Parent Advisory Council

The Early Childhood Programs at Hopkins have a parent advisory council which has been instrumental in creating positive experiences for our families.  By volunteering to work with this group, you are able to give back to the early childhood programs your child so enjoys.  In addition, you have the opportunity to meet and befriend active and engaged parents from your school district.  The advisory council is a great way to make a difference in the lives of your children and the children of your community.

The advisory council has created a facebook page which offers a list of summer activities and events going on throughout the Hopkins School District area.  It is updated regularly to reflect the many wonderful family friendly opportunities that summer-hungry children are looking for.  For example, they have recently provided information and links to activities such as the Golden Valley puppet wagon, the Paws to Read library program and the farmer’s markets being offered in the area.

Intrigued and looking to find out more?  Follow this link to the council’s Facebook page:

Early Childhood Advisory Council Facebook Page

This council is comprised of a dedicated, hard working group of people invested in helping their children and the community’s children get the most out of their early childhood school experience, and they have a great time doing it!  If you are interested in learning more about the council, and possibly volunteering, feel free to call the Harley office to be connected with Christine Fehst, our coordinator, at 952.988.5000

Reggio-Inspired Preschool Program Openings for Fall 2011

Needing quality, engaging, preschool programming for your child? Hopkins Public Schools has two choices to meet your family needs…

Part-day, part-week Kaleidoscope Preschool classes are available for children ages 3-5 at our Harley Hopkins location.  Call 952.988.5000 for more information or to register.

Looking for full-time programming for your year before kindergartener?  We’ve only a few openings still available for fall in the Hopkins Public Schools Stepping Stones program located at Gatewood Elementary School!  Open 6:45 am to 6 pm, Mondays through Fridays.  Check us out at www.choose!


How To Get From Here To There (Safely)

Summer is full of play dates and camps and vacations and adventures.  Because of all the activities, parents often spend a lot of time in the family car. The Hopkins Early Childhood Staff would like to send a reminder to all families that car seat safety is an important issue for every ride in the car –even when it feels like it will be such a short trip that the fight over getting buckled up is just not worth the time.

Children perform at their best when they know they are expected to follow a consistent routine. Therefore, keeping the routine of buckling into the car seat or the booster each time you enter the car will eliminate the arguments that begin with “But you let me last time!”

There have been significant shifts in the laws and recommendations over the last few years, so a review of what is now recommended may be in order. A rear facing car seat is where your infant should sit, in the backseat of the car, until she has reached the manufacturer’s maximum height or weight requirement. This means that a twenty pound baby who is one year old is not automatically turned around to a forward facing car seat. Instead, that child would remain rear facing until she reaches the limits of the car seat’s capacity. Only after she exceeds these limits would she be placed in a forward facing car seat (remaining in the back seat of the car).

For more information on the most up-to-date recommendations for car seats, read the information provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

A booster seat is recommended after the child outgrows the maximum weight or height capacity for her forward facing car seat.  In Minnesota, the booster is then used (in the backseat) through the age of seven, unless that child is already 4’9″.  Because a seat belt is made for an adult shaped body, the booster seat allows the child to be correctly positioned within the belt in case of an accident.  For this reason, some recommendations go beyond the age limit or height limit and offer a “positioning survey” instead.  By meeting all the requirements of the survey, the parent is assured that the child is safely clicked in with a seat belt alone. Some children do not meet all the requirements until they are ten or twelve years old. Find the survey at SafetyBeltSafeUSA, and click on “Boosters and Belt Fit: 5-Step Test, located under the Parents’ Corner heading.

Minnesota has recently revised it’s laws to better align them with updated recommendations.  Learn about the legal requirements for car seats at the web site for the Office of Traffic Safety, which is a division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Nobody wants to be stuck in a car on a beautiful summer day, and so bicycle riding is becoming more and more common throughout the neighborhoods. Minnesota is a city that welcomes bikers of all ages, and generally accommodates recreational as well as commuter biking. Help those stuck in cars while you are feeling the wind in your hair by following the bike safety recommendations of the NHTSA–and don’t forget that a properly fitted helmet is important for protecting your brain.

Have a safe summer!