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Sports: Benefits for the Body and Mind

Sports, or any physical activity, are crucial for a child’s development and well-being. Whether organized by a school, a club or just a few friends in their free time, sports offer countless opportunities for a child’s physical, social and emotional growth!

Physical Benefits

Getting active is important for young children who are at a stage in life where physical development occurs quickly. Specifically, sports help with physical growth in these ways:

Motor skills: Hand-eye coordination and timing come with movement and practice. Sports are perfect for training both.

Bone and muscle development: Occasional resistance stimulates the growth and strengthening of muscles and bones. Too much can hurt growth though, so don’t let your child go without rest.

Stronger vision: Taking in an appropriate amount of natural light will decrease the probability of your child developing vision problems in the future. But on really sunny days, a hat or glasses should still be worn to protect your child’s eyesight.

Social Benefits

Almost every organized sport is played with teams. The competition, and the team dynamic itself, comes with perks and lessons for your child:

Team skills: Communication, understanding rules and the importance of sharing are vital skills your child will learn when playing sports.

Friend group: Your child may not like every person on their team but spending time with other children at practice can foster strong friendships.

Confidence: Making friends is not always easy, but playing sports with other children offers opportunities for your child to practice introducing theirself and feeling like they are a part of the group.

Emotional Benefits

When it comes to developing emotional traits and qualities, childhood is an important time in a person’s life. Organized sports not only help build a strong foundation for emotional growth, but also have some added benefits:

Self-esteem: Being a part of a team can give your child a sense of importance, and going to practice to get better can offer a sense of accomplishment as well.

Lower stress: “Letting it out on the field,” is sometimes very healthy. Sports can be a physical outlet for stress, leading to improved sleep and a longer attention span.

Emotional recognition: By playing sports, children will learn that they must control their anger and recognize their emotions in order to keep a clear mind and perform well.

Choosing a Sport

Ultimately, it should be up to your child what sport they would like to play. Moreover, you should accept and support their decision. However, there will be times when your child will want to quit when things get hard. At that point it’s up to you to evaluate what would be best for your child’s physical, social, and emotional development.

To get started you can go online to find local clubs for age-appropriate sports, or find out what sports your child’s school offers after class. You can also observe your child during playtime and see what they like to do!

 

Sports and Activities with Prep

At Prep Academy Schools, we passionately seek to guide the growth every student through an innovative curriculum and a healthy balance of work and play. We have a variety of after-school enrichment programs that children can join to be physically active and develop important life skills.

The Benefits of Character Education

During a time when school violence and bullying have become so prevalent, it’s important now more than ever that we teach our kids more than just literacy and math skills. That’s where character education comes into the picture. Character education is about teaching our children values and setting a moral foundation for them that they will carry with them throughout their lives. Fairness, honesty trustworthiness, perseverance, compassion, generosity, responsibility, respect, and citizenship are the main pillars of character education.

When we teach our children these core values in school at an early age, the benefits are plentiful. Below are some of the many benefits that character education provides:

  • Higher academic achievements: In a research study done by a Rutgers professor, the results showed that schools that focused on developing the moral character of their students proved to be more academically successful than those that did not.
  • Improved attendance: When a child learns how to be responsible, he will understand that going to school is one of his responsibilities. Not only does responsibility improve attendance, but it also helps them understand the importance of showing up to class and turning in work on time.
  • Fewer disciplinary issues: The focus on respect makes children value not only themselves but also their peers and their teachers. Respectful students take their assignments more seriously because they respect their own skills and abilities, as well as the teacher who gave them the assignment.
  • Reduced violence: When children are taught the concepts of fairness, compassion, and respect at an early age, they will use words instead of fists to solve their problems. This creates a learning environment of peace and harmony rather than tension and violence.
  • A feeling of safety: Both children and their parents have reported feeling safer knowing that they are attending schools where the other students also value the same character traits, such as compassion, respect, and trustworthiness.

Character Education at Prep Academy

Our curriculum at Prep Academy is designed to ensure the development of the whole child – intellectually, socially, developmentally and emotionally. Through age-appropriate activities and real-world scenarios, we help our students develop positive character traits such as self-worth, responsibility, self-confidence, and compassion. All of our teachers lead by example and serve as caring and nurturing role models for their students.

6 Fun Things to Do with Kids in Polaris and Columbus, Ohio

Weekdays can get crazy for families with busy schedules. From school and work to sports and dance practice, not to mention homework, sometimes it seems like the week will never end.  But when the weekend finally rolls around, you may find yourself with a little free time to get out for some much-needed family fun. The Columbus metropolitan area is a great place for families looking for something fun to do on the weekend.

Families living in the Polaris and Columbus areas of Ohio don’t have to look very far for some weekend activities.

Below is a list of kid-friendly places in Polaris and Columbus, Ohio:

Fun in the Jungle, 345 McGill Street, Sunbury, Ohio: This indoor family entertainment venue offers a large jungle-themed play area, arcade featuring over 1,000 games, mini bowling, virtual reality, birthday parties with private rooms available, and food.

Glow Putt Mini Golf, 161 Granville St, Gahanna, Ohio: Featuring a safari themed 18-hole miniature golf course, this glow-in-the-dark venue is perfect for both children and adults. The prehistoric dinosaur theme makes it a cool place for birthdays or weekend outings with friends and family.

The Jungle Gym, 755 US 23 N Delaware, Ohio: Offering gymnastics classes, parkour, open gyms, rock climbing, and parties, The Jungle Gym is the perfect spot for kids with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. The Jungle Gym also features options for kayaking, slacklining, indo boarding and more.

Recreations Outlet, 484 W Olentangy St, Powell, Ohio: With basketball hoops, trampolines, playsets, and spas, Recreations Outlet is considered “Ohio’s Playground Headquarters” with a little bit of something for everyone. Although this is a showroom for their products, Recreations Outlet lets everyone test their products before investing in them, offering pay-to-play options, play passes, and birthday parties.

Magic Mountain Fun Center, 8350 Lyra Dr, Columbus, Ohio: This action-packed venue features attractions including Go-Karts, Miniature Golf, Laser Tag, Bumper Boats, KidsGym Climbing Playground and Video Arcade. Offering both indoor and outdoor attractions, Magic Mountain Fun Center is the ideal place for family fun any time of the year, rain or shine.

Peapod Play Café, 4874 Thompson Rd, Columbus, Ohio: This chic café, featuring life-size playsets and obstacle courses, is perfect for families with little ones. Offering a clean and comfortable environment serving coffee for adults, this is a great spot for play dates and to meet other parents in the community.

Striking the right balance

At Prep Academy Schools, we understand that learning and play go hand in hand with children. Play activities and opportunities for family bonding enhance school learning and help kids build confidence. We strive to achieve a healthy balance of work and play for our students. Children who attend Prep Academy Schools are challenged academically with our exclusive Accelerated Curriculum designed by Early Childhood Development Specialists with the Accelerated Student in mind. We balance this challenging curriculum with fun activities and a creative learning environment.

We encourage our families to continue this creativity after school and on the weekends by exploring the fun options that the Polaris and Columbus communities have to offer. At Prep Academy Schools, we believe that a healthy balance of work and play leads to healthier children and adults!

Teaching Your Preschoolers the Value of Money

One of the most important life skills that anyone can acquire (even as a child) is the ability to manage money. At a very early age, attitudes and habits towards money begin to form. This is why it’s such a good idea to make sure that your preschoolers develop positive financial habits as early as possible. Teaching your preschoolers the value of money can be easier than you think. Here are some helpful tips that you can use to teach your child about the purpose and value of money.

Counting Coins

Once your preschoolers know how to count, you can start to explain to them the value of each coin and its relationship to other coins. For example, you can teach them that five pennies are worth the same amount as one nickel, and two nickels are worth the same amount as one dime. This will help them understand that all coins are valuable, but some coins are worth more than others.

A piggybank is another great way to help your preschoolers understand the value of coins. Teach them how to save coins in their piggybank and have them pick a time to empty it out and count the coins inside. Your children will enjoy sorting the different coins into separate piles and adding up the value of each pile.

Money as a Currency

Preschoolers can learn that money is a way of exchanging things. You can demonstrate this by giving your child a small amount of money (a dollar or two) and then asking them to select a piece of candy or fruit from the store. Explain to them that the money you gave them can be exchanged for the item they selected. This will help them understand how valuable money is in day to day life.

Young children can also learn that money is a currency through playing “store” and using play money. You can encourage this game by setting up a small “store” in your house and allowing “customers” (you can use stuffed animals or dolls for this) to purchase items using the play money. Having them set prices on different items can teach them that certain things are more valuable and therefore cost more money. This will help them understand that different amounts of money are used in acquiring different things.

Couponing

Teaching your preschoolers that couponing is a practical way to save a little extra money on an item is another good way to help your children understand the value of money. You can use coupons as learning tools for your children by allowing them to look through a coupon book with you and having them pick out which coupons they think would be the most useful for your family. Cut out these coupons and put them in an envelope.

The next time you take a trip to the store, put your preschoolers in charge of carrying the coupon envelope. Ask them to help you locate the items on the coupons. This is a valuable learning experience for your children on the importance of finding discounts and choosing the best deals.

Saving Money

One of the most important financial habits for children to learn is how and why to save money. A great way to teach this is by making a savings account for your preschoolers. Young children will get excited about this because it makes them feel like adults by having their own bank account. It is also a great way to teach them financial responsibility. If your children receive an allowance, encourage them to deposit a percentage of it into their savings account so they can watch the money grow over the years.

 

At Prep Academy Schools, one of our main focuses is on mathematics. Beginning in our Pre-K program, students learn basic number concepts by manipulating and counting real objects. We also work to instill life-long values of honesty, integrity, and responsibility, which are all great qualities to have when learning the value of and managing money.

How to Throw the Best Birthday Party Ever!

Do your children’s birthdays always tend to sneak up on you? You are not alone! You probably never have enough time to prepare mentally or emotionally for that one day that makes your child another year older. Not only is your baby growing up way too fast, but you have so little time to create fun birthday memories while they’re still kids. Here are some ways to make sure your kids will say they had the ‘best party ever!’:

Plan Ahead

  • Choose a location. The party doesn’t have to be held at some extravagant venue (unless you want it to be). Your child and his friends can have just as much fun goofing around at your house or a park as they will anywhere else… and your wallet will thank you!
  • Search for inspiration on the web. Pinterest will probably be your best friend when it comes to party planning. There are so many cool ideas for themes, party favors, and food on this website that you may not need to look anywhere else!
  • Send invitations early. You’ll want to know a head count at least a week before the party to prepare for how much food you’ll have to buy/make/order. A good way to do this is to send out the invitations at least four weeks in advance and have each family or invitee RSVP at least 10 days prior to the party. If you want to save some time and money, you can send them electronically through websites like Evite and Paperless Post instead of handwriting them all one by one.

The Size Matters

  • Know your child. Some children simply aren’t as social and prefer smaller gatherings to huge parties. If this is the case, you can choose to keep it within the family, or you can invite just a few friends and do something more intimate, like a sleepover or tea party. If your child is a social butterfly, and you can handle a lot of people, you can invite your child’s whole class, soccer team, neighborhood friends and more to the party!
  • Know who’s coming. If you plan on inviting children who are not in the family, be prepared for their parents to come as well. Sometimes it’s a good idea to have a separate area for the grown-up crowd inside where it’s quieter, so parents can mingle over adult food while the kids play outside.

The Specifics

  • Cater to your child. If your child is obsessed with trains, throw him a train-themed party! You want your child to enjoy their special day as much as possible.  As silly as their ideas may sound, there are simple ways to make any theme look great with a little creativity and fun activities for everyone.
  • Set up games. Kids usually know how to have fun on their own, but having a few games out and ready to go is a great way to keep children highly entertained. Pinterest is one of the most popular resources for game ideas that you can make yourself!

At Prep Academy, we know that each child is unique.  We strive to make each child feel special, not only on their birthday but every day! Birthday parties are a great way to bring out the best in each student both artistically and creatively, and to interact with other children of their age. A social gathering or party is also a great way for children to develop socially and emotionally outside of the classroom. Creating memories while celebrating a birthday is just one way to show a child that he or she is special!

 

 

10 Tips to Having Them Mind Their Manners

It may seem like manners have become a thing of the past, but teaching your kids how to be polite and courteous should not become a forgotten art. Manners will almost always be appreciated even though they are so often neglected in today’s society and a child who shows social grace will make a good impression right away. Learning manners will not only aid your child in their social development now but will stick with them throughout their future as a teen and eventually into adulthood.

You should begin teaching your children these 10 manners when they are around the daycare or preschool age.

  1. Please and Thank You. This is one of the first courtesies your toddler should learn. When they need something you should tell them that the proper way to ask for it is with a “please.” When they are given something, whether it is a gift or treat, you should tell them to accept it with a “thank-you.” Practice this with your child until it becomes a habit.
  2. Sharing. You’ve heard the age-old saying “sharing is caring,” make sure your child hears it too. You can encourage sharing by giving him two toys that are similar and then having him offer one to his friend during their playtime.
  3. Apologizing. If your child does something that injures another person, either physically or emotionally, teach them that it’s necessary to apologize. Tell them that the action they did hurt the person and that they should say they’re sorry.
  4. Conversation. Young children often don’t realize that it’s rude to interrupt someone when they are talking. A fun way to teach them how to wait for someone to finish talking is to use a toy ball that you pass back and forth throughout a conversation. Tell them that they can talk once they have the ball in their hand and when they are done speaking, they can pass it back to you.
  5. Eye contact. An important part of having a polite conversation is making eye contact. Teach your child to make eye contact with a person by asking them to notice the color of a person’s eyes and to report it to you after the conversation.
  6. Questions. Tell them that they should always answer questions when they are asked. Even if they don’t have an answer, teach them that it’s better to say “I don’t know” then to say nothing at all.
  7. Handshaking. When greeting a person for the first time, instruct your child to shake his hand. You can teach them how to shake hands at home by using this little trick: show them the web of your hand (the area between your thumb and pointer finger) and tell them that when shaking a hand, they should touch their web to yours. Practice this a few times until they get the hang of it.
  8. Eating properly. Table manners are important, especially if you want to take your child to a restaurant without having to worry about any yelling or incidents. Teach your toddler how to use a fork and spoon and how to wipe their own mouth with a napkin. Make sure they know that its not acceptable to talk with a mouth full of food or to walk around the house while eating.  By age 3, they should be able to sit at the table for at least 15 minutes. Do not let them throw food at home. If they throw their food, you should discourage them by saying, “If you don’t want your food, then I’ll take it away but we don’t throw our food on the floor.”
  9. Formalities. When introducing other adults to your child, introduce them as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” followed by their last name. If the person being introduced prefers to be referred to on a first-name basis, they will tell the child, “Please call me Ana,” and let your child know that it’s okay to call her that from now on.
  10. Getting attention. Make sure they know that interrupting is rude in almost all cases unless it’s an emergency. For example, if they need to use the restroom or if they are feeling sick, tell them that they can interrupt by saying “Excuse me.”

At Prep Academy, we believe that manners are a good indicator of a child’s gratitude as opposed to the entitlement that a child is naturally inclined to feel. Practicing gracious behavior is a great way to build character development, which we believe is necessary in order to support the growth of a well-rounded child. We make it a point to include character education as a part of our curriculum here at Prep Academy and we believe that positive discipline techniques are the key to nurturing life-long skills.