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Archive for February, 2011

There are so many sites cropping up every day, it’s hard to keep track of them all. Here are a few safe favorites for elementary teachers, students, and parents.

Giggle Poetry is a fun website, filled with hundreds of poems to read and rate. The categories at GigglePoetry.com range from school lunch poems, to principal poems, to nursery rhymes. Kids of all ages love to read and recite new rhymes!

Spelling City makes spelling more fun than ever. Kids can master their weekly spelling lists by playing unscramble games and hangman. The audio component is great for auditory learners, because a real person says each spelling word. You’ll even find free printable handwriting worksheets for practicing handwriting at SpellingCity.com.

Science is never boring, thanks to Kids Astronomy. This handy website has free games and space exploration resources for kids of all ages. Travel through the universe today at KidsAstronomy.com.

You’ll find interactive math lessons at AAA Math. It’s a completely non-threatening way to improve math skills because the learner has all the time in the world. K-8 students can learn at their own pace and get immediate feedback at AAAMath.com.

National Geographic for Kids is a totally interactive science portal for students. What kid doesn’t want to help endangered lions, or learn how to make a cat condo for their own little feline? Check out NationalGeographic.com/Kids and inspire little naturalists.

NetSmartz is the perfect site for teaching Internet safety to children. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children operates NetSmartzKids.org. Kids can never be too careful online!

And finally, Excel Assist is your go-to website for buying new and used educational supplies from other schools and educators, or you can post your own items to sell for no charge. You’ll also find freelancing positions at ExcelAssist.com; or if you’re looking for extra freelance help from an educator, you can post your project for free.

There are plenty of safe education sites to choose from – you’ve just got to know where to find them.

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In today’s child care business, the professional development of workers is often overlooked due to time constraints. There is never enough time to get everything done. Being a child care educator, and child care center owner, is more than a full-time job, possibly keeping you from providing the training and coaching necessary for the other educators and workers in your child care facility. One way to solve this problem is by hiring a freelance coach to provide training, consulting, and guidance on what you’re doing well, what needs work, and how to make it happen.

Who are freelance education coaches?
People who freelance and coach others in child care management and education come from many backgrounds. They can be retired teachers, retired child care providers, business managers, specially trained child care managers, professionals, or First Aid and CPR certifiers. The person you choose to hire depends on the purpose of the training or coaching. For First Aid training you’ll hire someone certified for that, usually a medical professional or enforcement officer.

For curriculum guidance you want someone who has educational experience, and it’s better if they are experienced specifically in preschool ages and early education development. A local or freelance nutritionist can help in providing healthy meals and snacks, and preparing menus and recipes. Other trainers and coaches can be found for other items.

Where can you find freelance coaches or trainers?
Word of mouth is one source for freelancers, ask around your local community and you will often find someone to fit the bill. Another excellent source is the Internet. Several sites specialize connecting freelancers with people needing their services. Some sites specialize just in education areas.

It’s a simple process to post the services you need. Then a freelancer, or more than one, can bid to complete the work. When you find someone who seems capable of completing work and who proposes a price that is satisfactory to you, the two of you arrange the terms under which the work is to be completed.

The management of your child care facility will run more smoothly when everyone on staff has been properly trained, weaknesses have been identified and addressed, strengths are focused upon, and continued plans for success are set out. Without outside freelance help it’s almost impossible for the average owner of a child care facility to accomplish this task.

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You’ve been a part of education and school systems for over 30 years, retired, and now would like to do something with all your experience. There is a great opportunity for you to freelance and provide educational services online. By joining an exchange site, you are able to connect with child care educators, early childhood educators, and preschool providers to aid them in their goals to provide quality services to the next generation.

Curriculum Guidance and Suggestions
One way you can help child care providers is by helping prepare a curriculum for the upcoming year, including lesson plans, suggested material to cover, and sources of teacher aids. Curriculum changes and new products enter the market on an annual basis. It’s almost impossible for a child care educator to keep up. However, a freelancer can easily research the new ideas and aid the child care provider in their choice of curriculum. Another aspect of this is how to arrange the day – when to work on math skills, when to work on letter skills, how much play time is needed, etc.

Parent Communication
A well-seasoned educator can suggest new ways to keep parents informed. It’s also an added benefit if a freelancer actually prepares the written communication such as monthly newsletters, school policies, and parent instructions. Having an experienced educator work on these details frees the child care provider to focus on time spent with the children. Parent communication is a key aspect for keeping parents and growing your business.

Project and Field Trip Suggestions
Educational experiences are always enhanced with projects and field trips. A field trip is as simple as going to a field next door and looking at the different leaves. However, sometimes it’s difficult when you’re trying to get through each day to be creative with projects. Having an experienced educator makes the work easy. The provider can choose what suggestions interest them and which ones don’t.

Classroom Management
Classroom and time management are areas in which several teachers struggle, especially when just starting out. An experienced teacher can provide suggestions about things to do to make your management more effective in the classroom. This aids the education process as well as lessening the stress on the teachers. Another aspect of this is how the classroom is arranged. Having a source for new and innovative ways for this to work is a plus for new teachers.

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Both adults and children benefit from spending time in the great outdoors, and it’s not just because of the so-called sunshine vitamin. Research shows that nature inspires awe in people, and that feeling of wonder is hard to find in a world that sometimes runs at a frantic pace.

Some children are naturalists, meaning they learn best in an outdoor environment where nature’s minerals, flora, and fauna are on display. In other words, some children are at their best when they’re outside. They’re capable of solving problems better in the open air than, say, sitting at a desk.

While it’s not possible to conduct class outside every day, educators must simply remember to incorporate outdoor playing, walking, and learning activities into the curriculum. It’s a great opportunity to discuss caring for the environment and the importance of not causing harm to the earth’s ecosystem.

Some schools have begun growing plants and vegetables in greenhouses both as a science lesson, and as a way of showing how important it is to watch over the food chain. Poor nutrition is a national epidemic, so it’s time to take ownership of our food supply.

Greenhouses and outdoor equipment and supplies are pricey, so your school may want to look into buying used or new equipment from an online auction. And by all means, if you no longer need some of your outdoor supplies, be sure to list them for sale so another needy school can acquire them. You can even list them for free on a new educational network website that’s up and running.

The benefits of spending time outside are endless. Recess offers time to play, interact, and enjoy the sunshine. As kids get older, schools tend to shift their focus away from outdoor time. Can your students afford to forgo that time? With our environment hanging in the balance, kids need to appreciate and value all that Mother Nature has to offer.

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Experts in nutrition can freelance and make extra money by consulting with child care centers, early education centers, and preschools. More and more parents desire, if not demand, healthy meals and snacks for their children while in an education setting. And why not, there’s little doubt that healthy eating is good for all of us. But, maybe you don’t know what to feed little picky eaters that is healthy, or how to introduce new foods.

This dilemma provides an excellent opportunity for the nutritionist looking to make extra money. A freelance nutrition expert is the best answer for the child care professional who needs help with healthy menus. So, how do these two come together? The best way is an educational exchange site, or other website, where one person can post needs and the other can provide the service; or the freelancer can post availability so the child care educator can find them.

What Can a Nutritionist Do for a Child Care Center?
First, he or she can evaluate the current menus and food choices being provided. This does not necessarily have to be on-site. Information can be emailed between the parties. However, if the surroundings in which the children are eating is a concern, the best solution is for the nutritionist to visit the facility.

Second, the freelance nutritionist can recommend food choices for meals and snacks, as well as provide a list of foods that should be avoided.

Third, a menu plan can be prepared by the nutritionist for use by the child care center. This can include sample menus for breakfast, lunch, and snacks from which the child care providers can choose menus; or a weekly, or other period, set of menus to be followed by the provider.

Fourth, the nutritionist should provide recipes for the recommended menus. Ingredient lists and shopping lists for each week are a huge bonus for the child care provider, saving an enormous amount of time.

Finally, the nutritionist can educate the child care workers regarding food storage, food handling, and food preparation. In addition, recommending equipment, facilities, and containers for use is a good idea.

Unless the physical surroundings need to be inspected, all dialog between the nutrition expert and the child care provider can be via telephone and email (or other messaging devices), making the process easy and simple for both parties.

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There will always be those days when work is more than you can handle, but when your work is overwhelming on a regular basis, it pays to look outside for a little help. Whether you run a school or learning center or work at one, the requirements of your job may be more than any one person can handle.

Perhaps you need help designing a new curriculum or workshop. Maybe you need exciting materials for an important meeting in a few weeks, or maybe your technical skills for making a PowerPoint presentation just aren’t up to par. Perhaps you have some office duties that you’d rather hand over to someone else? Whatever void you have to fill, there are educators and professionals who do these kinds of jobs on a freelance basis.

Sometimes our professional jobs take a backseat to our personal lives. It’s just a reality. There are going to be weeks and months when you’re not at your professional best because something traumatic or disturbing is occurring in your life. While the rest of the world presses forward, you’re struggling just to keep up with the minimum requirements of your job. What do you do when you don’t qualify for a leave of absence? You’ve got to ask for help. This is the perfect time to hire a freelancing educational professional to give you some slack.

You’ve got to adjust your sails when the tide turns against you in life. By hiring outside help, you’ll be able to get your job done without reproach. Because you can now post your request for help for free on a new educational network, you can sit back and wait for specialists to bid on your project. Don’t you feel better about taking this burden off your shoulders?

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Wouldn’t it be nice if the movie Field Of Dreams’ catch phrase “If you build it, they will come” applied to all businesses. Unfortunately, opening a preschool does not necessarily mean there will be students beating your door down. Generally, if you’re in a small community it’s easier because there is less competition, but in large communities and cities, competition can be widespread, making it difficult to grow your preschool’s attendance.

You cannot be successful, nor will you be fulfilled in your mission, if you don’t have students in the seats – or on the floor as the case may be. In most places, you will have to create unique ways to reach out to the community to market your school. There are three steps that must be taken to grow any preschool program: 1. Quality; 2. Communication with parents of enrolled students; and 3. Community exposure.

Quality
It will be next to impossible to maintain a preschool that does not involve a quality program. The overall experience must be such that children love coming to school. The things considered are curriculum, play areas, learning experiences, extracurricular activities, and menus if eating on-site.

Communication
Word of mouth is a powerful tool. When you provide a quality service, those already benefiting will rave about it. Therefore, the more communication you have with the parents the better. This can be in the form of regular meetings, newsletters, quick chats at drop-off and pick-up, and training staff and teachers to be communicative with parents.

Community Exposure
Finally you will need community exposure to grow your preschool, saturating the community with your presence. Community exposure can involve advertising, open houses, inviting the community for plays and programs, fall fairs, grandparent involvement, minimal fundraising programs, and mailings. While some of these can be costly, others require no additional cost for the community exposure.

Help for Growing Your Business
Consultants are available who can come to your child care business and aid you in your efforts. They will ensure the quality of your program, suggest creative ways to communicate with parents, and help you incorporate unique methods for increasing your community exposure. Ask parents, grandparents, other preschools, and schools if they are aware of anyone reputable providing this service. You can also find freelance providers online who will consult with your preschool to help you grow it to its potential.

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