Monday, September 29, 2014

Benefits of Baby Sign Language

Before a child can properly vocalize their wants and needs, they must master very complex actions of the muscles in their face:
  • Placement of tongue 
  • Formation of lips
  • Shaping of nasal passage
  • Controlling of vocal cords 
  • Breathing regulation, etc. 
There are so many benefits for a baby utilizing Baby Sign Language, it is hard to understand why all parents are not using it! Everyone has had moments in their lives when they could not communicate their needs in a way that others could understand. The result is a level of frustration beyond compare. Babies are the same as adults in this regard. Wanting something and being unable to explain what exactly is wanted frequently results in loud crying, utter frustration, and tantrums. So the first benefit of using Baby Sign Language is it gives your baby the ability to express his or her important needs and thoughts. Other benefits include:
  • Promotes the development of language skills 
  • Reinforces the language skills already developed 
  • Reduces frustration at not being able to express needs 
  • Increases speed of spatial reasoning development 
  • Develops understanding of language for communication of emotions 
  • Creates feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment!
  • May increase IQ 
  • Increases creative thinking 
  • Teaches a 2nd language that is formally and nationally recognized (ASL)
  • Reduces unexplainable emotional outbursts 
  • Increases early literacy skills 
  • Teaches baby how to start (and participate in) a conversation. 
Sign language for infants gives babies a way to communicate what they are truly thinking, feeling and/or needing. Because they learn to communicate early, Baby's mind develops a rapid interest in increasing communication ability. Thanks to early learning of Baby Sign Language, infants learn quickly to match particular shapes or items with a particular gesture. When your baby begins to speak, the same skills are used. One gesture means one thing in infant sign language. One word means one concept in baby talk. This enhances spatial relationships and reasoning, and cognitive skills development. Baby Sign Language also increases the creative use of language. Sign language for babies teaches that proper use of a sign or gesture results in getting needs and wants met. Children at any age are creative. They will soon develop additional signs that only mean something to you or your infant. This is creative thinking and is a skill that is often not taught well once the child reaches school age. Anything that improves creative thinking skills is advantageous. Some parents encourage a child to continue practicing American Sign Language (ASL) even after they begin speaking. ASL is the third most used language in the United States. By practicing and developing ASL as a second language, your child can benefit from having this language skill later in life. Being able to express yourself is a basic human need. Even babies are more contented when it is not a constant struggle to convey a need. Even more crucial, your infant will be able to communicate important problems like being in pain. How many times have parents been stymied about why their child won't stop crying, only to find out that something hurt? As this page has stated, Baby Signing has multiple benefits for your infant- and for parents too! 

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Importance of Dental Health

Last week, we had a visitor from the health department come and teach us some really cool ways that we need to take care of our teeth. They showed us how to brush and floss properly, and ways to prevent cavities. They even brought Ally the Alligator to help us understand the importance of keeping our teeth healthy. 

Taking care of your teeth helps prevent plaque, which is a clear film of bacteria that sticks to your teeth. After you eat, bacteria go crazy over the sugar on your teeth, like ants at a picnic. The bacteria break it down into acids that eat away tooth enamel, causing holes called cavities. Plaque also causes gingivitis, which is gum disease that can make your gums red, swollen and sore, Your gums are those soft, pink tissues in your mouth that hold your teeth in place. If you don't take care of your teeth, cavities and unhealthy gums will make your mouth very, very sore. Eating meals will be difficult. And you won't feel like smiling so much. Here are a few great tips on how to keep your teeth healthy! 

  • Brush at least twice a day: after breakfast and before bedtime. If you can, brush your teeth after lunch or after sweet snacks. Brushing properly breaks down plaque. 
  • Brush all of your teeth, not just the front ones. Spend some time on the teeth along the sides and in the back. Have your dentist show you the best way to brush to get your teeth clean without damaging your gums. 
  • Take your time while brushing. Spend at least 2-3 minutes each time you brush. If you have trouble keeping track of the time, use a timer or play a recording of a song you like to pass the time. 
  • Be sure your toothbrush has soft bristles. Change your toothbrush every 3 months. Some toothbrushes come with bristles that change color when its time to change them. 
  • Learn how to floss your teeth, which is a very important way to keep them healthy. It feels weird the first few times you do it, but pretty soon, you'll be a pro. Slip the dental floss between each tooth and along the gum line gently once a day. The floss gets rid of food that's hidden where your toothbrush can't get it, no matter how well you brush.
  • You can also brush your tongue to help keep your breath fresh! 

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Special Snack with out Children's Minister, Ms. Sandra
The children are always thrilled to see Ms. Sandra when she comes to do JAM with them on Tuesdays, but the smiles on their faces were priceless when they saw her on Thursday, and learned that they would be making a special snack with her to take home with them! Here is a recap of all the fun we had with Ms. Sandra! 

Our adorable snacks that the children made with our Children's Minister Ms. Sandra.

Jason showing off his special snack! 

Ms. Sandra helped Mason put the finishing touches on his snack!

Emilee's favorite was putting the M&Ms on her special snack! 

Brooklyn made a cool design with the M&Ms on her snack!

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Flu Season Information 

Flu season is fast approaching, and it is important that parents everywhere are aware of the flu and the proper precautions that can be taken to keep them and those around them healthy. It is not possible to predict what this flu season will be like. While flu spreads every year, the timing, severity, and length of the season varies from one year to another. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May. Here are some great tips to keep yourself and others around you healthy:

  • Wash, rinse, repeat: "The number one thing you can do to protect yourself from a cold or the flu is to wash your hands," says microbiologist Andrew Pekosz, of Johns Hopkins University. Lather up with running water and soap (antibacterial soaps are no better than the regular stuff), and scrub your palms, between your fingers, and the backs of your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. In a pinch, you can use hand sanitizer that's at least 60% alcohol, says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Moisturize your air: Turns out, very humid air may be toxic to flu viruses. Scientists aren't quite sure why, but one possibility is that the droplets that contain the virus shrink quickly in arid environments, allowing them to float around longer; in moist air environments, those same droplets might remain heavy and fall to the floor faster. 
  • Don't rely on C: Though it's been touted as a cold fighter, Vitamin C has never been proven to fend off a cold or the flu. 
  • Sleep More: People who routinely get fewer than seven hours of shut-eye a night triple their risk of developing a cold rather than those who doze for eight or more hours. When you're sleep deprived, your body may produce too many cytokines, the proteins that trigger cold symptoms when your sick. 
  • Taste the rainbow: Immune-boosting antioxidants in brightly colored fruits and veggies battle the free radicals that dampen your natural defenses. Eat plenty of fare such as red beans and berries (the brighter the hue, the higher the antioxidant count) and drink green tea. 

For more information on this topic, please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention at

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Monday, September 15, 2014

We Celebrate National Teddy Bear Day!

We had such a fun time with our furry friends last week! We loved getting to snuggle with them all day and sleeping with them at nap time! We love Teddy Bear Day! Here is a recap in case you missed out on all the fun!  

Will was getting ready for lunch and had someone keeping him company!

Liam loved being able to bring his teddy bear to school! 

Nola and Liam introduced their teddy bears to each other! How sweet! 

Lexie carried her teddy around all day! 

Eva gave her teddy lots of snuggles throughout the day!

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Grandparent's Day Breakfast

We always love when our families can come in and spend some time with us during the day! We had our Grandparent's breakfast on Friday and all of the children were so excited to see their grandparents come for a visit. We had donuts, eclairs, pastries, quiche, fruit, orange juice and other yummy goodies for breakfast! Here is a recap in case you missed the fun! 

We had all kinds of yummy pastries for our grandparents to enjoy!

Beckett had a blast spending time with his Grandma! 

Trey and his Grandma smiled big for the camera before enjoying some yummy breakfast! 

Aeryn and her grandparents were all smiles before breakfast! 

Ashlyn was so excited to have her grandparents come to school for a visit!
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

End of Summer Cook-Out 

Here at Holly Tree Brentwood, we love spending time with our families, and inviting parents to spend some time with their children during the day at school. We had our End of Summer Cookout last Wednesday, and loved spending time with everyone! Here is a recap of all the fun! 

Nola and her mom enjoyed some yummy chips and sliders! 

Will definitely enjoyed his cookie at the cookout!

Eva and her mom smiled big for the camera! 

Isaac and Nyla completely cleaned their plates at the cookout! 

Aidan and Kylee loved their Capri Suns and the cookout! 

Kynslee said "Hold on, let me take a selfie!" 

Liam and his mom were all smiles at our End of Summer Cookout!