Combatting the H1N1 Virus

From a lecture of Dr. Vinay Goyal (Thanks to my friend Pindie)

“In a global epidemic of this nature, it’s almost impossible not coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much the problem as proliferation is. The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. While you are healthy, here are some simple steps – “not fully highlighted in most official communications” – that can be used:

1. Frequent hand-washing.

2. “Hands-off-the-face” approach. resist all temptations to touch any part of your face (unless you want to eat or bathe.)

3. Gargle twice daily with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don’t trust salt.) H1N1 takes 2 to 3 days after initial infection in the throat/nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms.
Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don’t underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.

4. Clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (a very good way to clean nasal cavities.) But, blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.

5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (including eating citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that they also contain Zinc – to boost absorption.

6. Drink as much of warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc.) as you can. Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.”

Since the target population for the H1N1 vaccine is the younger crowd, Dr Goyal suggests passing on this hygiene and nutrition information to kids and grandkids. He says that the older population has some immunity, but it doesn’t hurt any one – of any age – to follow the simple guidelines he’s presented.

(With over 20 years of clinical experience, Dr. Vinay Goyal, MBBS, DRM, DNB, has worked in numerous medical facilities, including Bombay Hospital. Presently, he’s the head of the Nuclear Medicine Department and Thyroid clinic at Riddhivinayak Cardiac and Critical Centre, in India.

Based on his experience, he offers the following observations and recommendations one can take to keep a healthy immune system, and prepare against the H1N1 (swine flu) virus. He says that these measures can be and should be practiced “instead of focusing on stocking up on N95 or Tamiflu.”)

Activity Idea: An Apple A Day...

To introduce children to a variety of apples using their senses.

Display and label 5 or 6 different types of apples, with samples available for each.
Provide slips of paper for children to jot down words to describe each apple.
(Perhaps provide a list of descriptive words that the children can learn in order to accomplish this task)

Have a ballot box at the end of the display for the children to vote for their favorite apple.

Follow up activities:
1. Blindfold guessing game--taste and identify.
2. Have the children chart the results.
3. Have the children prepare a campaign advertisement for their favorite apple.
a.) could be a radio ad.
b.) a magazine ad.
c.) a TV ad.

Linking the standards:
Note that there are many standards being addressed by the follow up activities.

Science Standard 3.2 B
Describe objects in the world using the five senses.
- Recognize observational descriptors from each of the five senses
- Use observation to develop a descriptive vocabulary
is addressed in the jotting down activity and in the blindfold guessing game.

Math Standard 2.6 B
Interpret, construct and draw conclusions from bar graphs, pictographs, tally charts and/or tables
is addressed in having the children chart the results.

Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening 1.2 D
Demonstrate a rich listening and speaking vocabulary, the ability to understand (receptive) and
use (expressive) words to acquire and convey meaning
is addressed in having the children prepare a campaign advertisement for their favorite apple.

Art Standard 9.1 K
Create works of art based on varied styles within all art forms
is addressed in having the children make a magazine advertisement.

Are SAC Relationships Worth the Time?

Daile's beautiful baby boy

My arms were full of groceries as I rushed out of the supermarket when I heard a tentative voice call out to me.
I swung around to see a young woman entering the store with a young baby secured tightly in her grocery cart.
"Daile!" I said.
She flashed a beaming smile and in that instant I was transported to 1994.
I remember Daile with her carefully braided hair, the graceful bowing of her violin and her soft spoken nature.  I had known her from her first grade to fifth grade and had seen her coaxed ever so gradually out of her shell.
After her fifth grade (and extended day) graduation, her family and I had kept in touch.
Years later I stood with other mothers taking picture of her and her friends before they went to prom.
Today Daile has finished college and is a young working mother herself.
She is a picture of happiness.
Tired happiness, she tells me, as she now tries to mentally check boxes and juggle priorities as an adult.
I could hear the pride and confidence in her voice as she tells me about life.
I interrupt her mid sentence to say: "Daile, when did you get to be all grown up?"
She laughed and and said, "I wish we could get together soon..."

As we went our separate ways I could not help but feel proud to have been a part of her growing up years.
I believe that somehow, the positive experiences she will provide for her son will be in part, due to the kind of environment we contributed to her childhood.
For myself  it is moments like that-- encounters with former children in my school-age care program-- that I realize that the twelve years that I devoted to my work there, was meaningful.
It is also just another validation that those school-age care relationships can and will last a lifetime if you treat the children in your program with respect and genuine care.

-Chesca Silva

Who Says you need the Beach to have Fun??

-A Digital Camera with video taking capacity.
-Beach Accessories (Beach Towels, Beach Umbrella, Sand Toys, Bathing Suits, goggles, squirt guns, hats, floating accessories (like wings, inflatable toys, life jackets etc), picnic baskets, beach chairs) old magazines, tents, etc.
-If possible: borrow a "sound machine" or a CD with ocean sounds.
-buy a cheap plastic baby pool fill with two or three bags of playground sand available at home depot.

Various Activities leading up to the "Beach Day:"

Map the nearest beaches to where you are.  Find its distance. Look for pictures of the place and check out the different activities the beach offers. 
With the children's help, plan and set up a beach area.
Brainstorm on all the elements that make a day at the beach, fun,
-water play
-sand play
-shell hunting
Come up with solutions with the children to have makeshift substitutes.
For example: 
Water play: squirt guns, water balloons, painting with paint brushes/water/colored chalk, watering cans, wading pool, sprinkler and hose if possible. Slip and slide, etc.
Sand play: fill a child's plastic wading pool with three bags of playground sand.
Shell hunting: purchase shells from a craft store.

-Purchase a hermit crab from a pet store and have the children care for it. 
-Teach the children water safety
-Teach the children how to do CPR.

Make a beach music list.  Have the children vote on their top 50 selection.
Burn a CD to play on "beach day"
See if you can borrow a steel drum or have someone do a steel drum demonstration.
Look up other various forms of "island music"

On "Beach Day" have children wear their swim suits, or clothes they can get wet in.

-Have a paddle ball tournament.
-Frisbee toss.
-Beach ball volleyball
-Long jump contest.
-Water balloon toss  (the furthest toss)
-Limbo under the stream of a water squirter.
-Slip and slide.

-With Buckets of Water, Colored Chalk and paintbrushes have a boardwalk where artists can display their side walk art.
-Have children create sand sculptures in your makeshift sand box.
-With paper and glue create sand pictures drawing with the glue and shaking sand on the glue.

-Have various groups pose for their beach scenes and take pictures. 
-Discuss how advertising agencies use pretty pictures to sell products. Have children 
pose for advertisements/magazine ads.  
-For older children--discuss how some advertisers use subliminal messages to sell products. Have children plan their own indirect way of taking pictures to sell products and have others guess what product they are "selling."
-Encourage children to make their own music videos using the beach props.

- Hide shells (purchased in bulk at a craft store) all around the "beach area" and have the children find them.  Give them a maximum of how many each children can take home, so that everyone gets a chance to "find" shells.
-Have a picnic.
-Make a fresh fruit salad.
-Make ice cream (or serve ice cream)

Have Fun.

What We Can Do Without

The children who come to the center on the university campus are from different countries around the world. Many of their parents are studying in the United States, leaving friends and familiarity to be together.

"It's amazing,"one parent tells Sarah, one of the teachers.

"These kids do so well with so many different backgrounds. You must have six different languages in this room."

"My theory is that it works because there is one language that none of the children know very well yet," Sarah replies.

"What's that?" the parent asks.
Sarah answered: "Prejudice."

(Source: For the Love of Children Daily Affirmations for People Who Care for Children.
by Jean Steiner and Mary Steiner Whelan)

Activity Idea: Top Ten Lists

Create Top Ten Music Lists

Materials Needed:
CD player and CDs (with headphones if possible)
Wide variety of different types of music (screen ahead of time for appropriateness)
Comfortable places to sit (large pillows, beanbags, rugs, etc)
Paper and pens
Posterboard and markers

Create a comfortable area where children can sit and listen to music. Invite children to visit the area regularly to listen to a wide variety of different types of music. Point out that music can communicate many different feelings and moods. Also, point out that the same music can communicate different things to different people. As children visit the area each day to listen to music, have them build individual lists of the music they really like a lot-music that really speaks to them. Encourage children to rank the music on their lists from 1 to 10, with 1 being their facorite piece of music or theme song. Have each child transfer his/her list to posterboard and write a brief description of why he/she likes each piece on the list. Display the posters in the quiet listening area to encourage others to check out the music on the Top Ten Lists.

Note: Younger children may want to come up with a word, a phrase or even a drawing to describe each piece of music on their lists rather than writing full descriptions.

(Source: Communication Connection 100+ activities by Roberta Newman)

**A variation on this activity would be to have children listen to music and vote or rate what their favorite to least favorite songs are. Post it. Let children discuss what appeals to them, or what they do not like about certain music.

Question of the Day: Help! How Do I stop children from hitting each other?

Question: How do I handle a group of children in my program that constantly forget to keep their hands to themselves?

We found a good answer to this question in the book Conscious Discipline by Dr. Becky A. Bailey
(Page 176)
Answer: Dr. Bailey says that children convey their wants and their needs through their actions.
They hit and grab to get what they want. We can help children by teaching them to use words.

In the situation where one child hits another on the head with a pencil, Dr. Bailey walks us through six steps to help the child use words instead of actions:

Step 1: Since we do not actually know what a child's motives are, we might as well assume that it is positive. So the first thing we should do is state the child's positive intent by completing this sentence, "You wanted _____." This builds security and cooperation.
So we might say, "You wanted Cameron to look at you."

Step 2: Without making judgements, describe the child's actions by completing the sentence,
"So you _____." This builds consciousness.
So we might say, " You wanted Cameron to look at you, so you thumped him on the head with a pencil."

Step 3: Give the child the benefit of the doubt. We might say, "You did not know the words to use to_____." or " You didn't know how to _____ without being hurtful." This defines the child as a good person who made a mistake.
You might say, "You didn't know what else to do to get Cameron's attention." This builds self-esteem.

Step 4: State the limit and why it is needed. This gives the child a clear boundary of what is not acceptable. Say, "You may not ___ ! It hurts."
You might reiterate, "You may not hit Cameron with the pencil. It hurts."

Step 5: Teach the child what should be done in that situation. Help the child practice the words needed. To teach the child a new course of action, use the following words:
"When you want ____, say (or do) ____. Say or (do it) now."
Tell the child, "When you want Cameron to look at you, say: Hey Cameron, look here. Try it now."

Step 6: Encourage the child for being willing to try a different approach. If possible, point out how the new approach has proved successful.
You might say, "You did it! Cameron is looking right at you."

The SAC Lunch Book Giveaway

May 2009
It is our pleasure to offer the 1st SAC Lunch resource book giveaway.

Your participation is needed.

For the next two weeks, anyone that drops us a SAC comment, asks us a SAC question, shares a SAC tip or story with us will be eligible to win a great resource book.

Once you participate in the comments section, your name/site name that you provide will be added to a drawing and a winner will be selected at random.

This is a fun and easy way to build your resource library while you help us with your valuable feedback and input.

Upcoming Trainings for SAC

What: SAC Planning and Implementing Summer Thematic Units. (C1-Level 1)
Learn ways to develop thematic units for the specific needs of children.
Practice developing own thematic unit.
Where: Westmoreland County Community College, rm. 2110
145 Pavilion Lane, Youngwood, PA 15697
When: May 30, 2009
8:00 AM-10-AM

What: Art and Books: Ideas for Your Summer Camp (C2-Level 2)
Explore creating a summer environment that is print rich and artfully wonderful! Leave with lots of new ideas and the enthusiasm to begin using them.
Where: Westmoreland County Community College, rm. 2110
145 Pavilion Lane, Youngwood, PA 15697
When: May 30, 2009
10:15 AM -12:15 PM

What: Tips for Trips: Field Trip Ideas for Your School Age Program (C2-Level 2)
Learn how to make the most of field trips by creating positive experiences outside of the site.
Where: Westmoreland County Community College, rm. 2110
145 Pavilion Lane, Youngwood, PA 15697
When: May 30, 2009
1:00 PM-3:00 PM

What: Links to Learning Foundations -A prerequisite for all other Links to Learning courses (C2-Level 2)
Be introduced to basic child development as it relates to SAC. Find out how to involve youth in identifying their interests and learn how to select, plan and develop these activities. Participants will begin to create curriculum/overview for their school-age program and link activities to the PA Learning Standards which are both STAR 3 Performance Standards. The use of thematic units in SAC will also be discussed.
Where: University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development, Basement Training Room
400 N. Lexington Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15208
When: June 6, 2009
8:30 AM-3:00 PM

**Please note that this class is already filled to capacity. This session will be offered again in the fall.**

What: SAC-Its Raining: Now What? (C1-Level 1)
Don't let the rain stop you from having fun this summer. This workshop will provide you with games and activities to keep your campers busy during those frustrating rainy days.
Where: Community College of Allegheny County-Boyce Campus, rm. SWG 659
595 Beatty Road, Monroeville, PA 15146
When: June 6, 2009
8:00 AM-10:00 AM

What: SAC Planning and Implementing Summer Thematic Units. (C1-Level 1)
Learn ways to develop thematic units for the specific needs of children.
Practice developing own thematic unit.
Where: Community College of Allegheny County-Boyce Campus, rm SWG 661
595 Beatty Road, Monroeville, PA 15146
When: June 6, 2009
8:00 AM-10:00 AM

What: Tips for Trips: Field Trip Ideas for Your School Age Program (C2-Level 2)
Learn how to make the most of field trips by creating positive experiences outside of the site.
Where: Community College of Allegheny County-Boyce Campus, rm. SWG 661
595 Beatty Road, Monroeville, PA 15146
When: June 6, 2009
10:15 AM-12:15 PM
Each session costs $5.00 make checks payable to PAEYC at
5604 Solway St. Pittsburgh PA 15217
To sign up online for any of these classes click on our link to
PA Keys Professional Development Sign-up
or call PAEYC at 412 421 3889

May 18, 2009 SAC Professional Development

Featuring: Nationally known school-age presenter and author, Roberta Newman.

Title: Guiding Children's Behavior

Workshop description: Guiding Children's Behavior is a session recommended for program directors, managers, leaders and front line staff. This workshop provides a comprehensive exploration of steps staff can take to create an environment that encourages children and youth to engage in the program in positive and productive ways.

When: Monday, May 18, 2009 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Where: Woodlands Foundation
(Room: Meditation Center)
134 Shenot Road Wexford, PA 15090

6 hours of professional development

***Meals and refreshments are provided***

Registration Fee: $15.00

register online

or contact Molly at PAEYC
(412) 421 3889

Help Wanted

A Before and After-Schol Program in Point Breeze, Pittsburgh needs YOU until the end of the school year.
Work hours: 7-9 AM and 3-6 PM Mondays to Fridays.
If you or anyone you know is interested, please call (412)665 3995.

(Posted May 4, 2009)

First and foremost, School-Age Care (SAC) Staff must enjoy working with 5 to 10 yr old children. SAC staff must ....
-be enthusiastic and constantly alert.
-be able to communicate effectively with the children and their parents, as well as with teachers and other SAC staff.
-be mature, patient, understanding, and energetic.

It is also helpful when SAC staff share their skills and interests with the children. (i.e. music, art, drama, and sports)
Staff must be able to build positive relationships with all children in order to...
-anticipate and prevent problems.
-enable them to deal with disruptive behaviors.
-provide fair but firm discipline.
*Email us at if you would like us to post a job for you.

The 16 Principles of Effectiveness

Listed below are Laurie Ollhoff's 16 principles of effectiveness for SAC programs. How many of them are seen in your program?

1. SAC time is valued as the child's time; their needs and ideas drive the program.
2. SAC programs grow and evolve with kids-children have an ever-changing role and purpose in the program.
3. Intentionality is the key to adult-child programming.
4. SAC programming porvides balance in a child's day and life.
5. The role of adults is to facilitate rather than direct.
6. In SAC - movement is life, learning and living.
7. SAC sites are miniature societies.
8. SAC has access to the appropriate facilities and equipment allowing for flexibility and enrichment in programming.
9. Parents are cherished partners.
10. SAC is the link to education, families and communities.
11. SAC is a social setting - social skills are taught and practiced.
12. Individual choice and community building are equally important.
13. SAC management and budget are devoted to supporting staff and program standards.
14. Issues of diversity and sensitivity are championed by staff and children.
15. Staff's individual gifts and talents are a celebrated part of the program.
16. The space utilized is kid friendly.

From: Best Practicies: Guidelines for School-Age Programs by Michael Ashcraft

School-Age Children Need Choices

A great School-Age Care (SAC) program needs to give children the opportunity to LAP, RAP, SNACK and NAP. Opportunity means children have some choices to make for themselves in the after-school setting. SAC should not be a continuation of the traditional school day. Giving children choices about when to do the lapping, rapping, snacking and napping allows them to practice and improve their decision-making skills.

LAP- Let the children release their energy by running and being active upon arrival. They have had little time during the day to “let off steam” and many children have an abundance of energy when they arrive to after-school. SAC programs are today’s version of yesterday’s neighborhoods because they provide a safe venue for children’s spontaneity. Adding a few minutes of free play can make all the difference in the world.

RAP- Children should be able to socialize with their friends. The traditional school day has not given them much opportunity to talk and interact with people they choose. SAC programs are the perfect place to develop important social skills and lasting relationships.

SNACK- Some children are hungry when they arrive while others had a late lunch and do not want to eat immediately. Having a snack area where children can serve themselves when they are hungry builds independence and gives them the opportunity to have conversations with different children.

NAP- Other children just want to relax in a quiet area to read or rest after a full day of school. Like adults, children need to unwind, clear their thoughts, have a place to do quiet work and process their day.

-Suzanne and Chesca


I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.

-Chinese Proverb

Charlie struggles to get all of his school stuff into his backpack.
"Weren't you here when we had a session about how to do that?" the teacher asks.
"I was here but I forgot." says the ten year old.
The teacher empties the backpack. "Watch. Put your books in like this," he says demonstrating
how to put the books in so their titles are visible."
"Now, try again," he tells Charlie.
Charlie slides in two spiral-backed notebooks, his grammar text and workbook and a math book and stuffs in a snack. "It all fits," he grins.
At the after-school club, Charlie drops the backpack to the floor while he opens his locker.
Nothing spills.
"See that," he says to his friend Kevin, who's scrambling after papers that slid out of his canvas back. "Packed it myself."

*Patience with children teaches not only the lesson at hand, but also gives children the pride of accomplishment that is necessary for building faith in themselves.

(Source: For the Love of Children: Daily affirmations For People Who Care for Children
by Jean Steiner and Mary Steiner Whelan)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

School-Age Care Professional Development Day
Saturday, March 7, 2009 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
CCAC North Campus
Room 1119
8701 Perry Highway
Pittsburgh, PA 15237

6 hours of professional development
***Includes continental breakfast and lunch***

Register online

Classes offered ($5 per session):

  • Ethics and Professionalism in the School-Age Workplace
  • Literacy = Fun!
  • On the Level . . . Positive Guidance and Discipline
  • Relationships 101: How to Improve Relationships
  • SAC 101: An Introduction to School-Age Care

It was a pleasure to meet so many dedicated practitioners last Saturday. Thank you to all for making the day successful.

Suzanne and Chesca

(Pictures from the event will be posted here.)

Challenges We Face in SAC

Round Table Discussion is defined as a number of persons gathered together for conference and discussion of a topic.

On January 29, 2009 a group of after-school professionals came together to participate in the first SAC Round Table in southwestern PA this year. Before discussing the challenges that we face in the SAC field, we talked about what we thought we were doing right and what we would like to see more of in SAC programs.

What we are doing right:
* Staff plan for and with our after-school children.
* After-school programs are flexible.
* Staff understand that relationships are important.
* Staff are role models.
* Children are given choices.
* Parents learn more about their children through assessments and daily interactions with staff.
* After-school programs are not a continuation but a supplement to school and home.
* Children feel safe not just physcially but emotionally.
* After-school programs broaden the horizons of the children they serve.
* Please add to this list in the comments section.

Challenges we face:
* Finding and retaining good staff.
* Properly compensating quality staff.
* Building positive relationships with families.
* Sharing common goals between directors, parents, staff and children.
* Transporting children to and from programs.
* Dedicating space specifically for after-school needs.
* Serving children with special needs.
* Stating and implementing policies that deal with behavior issues.
* Finding the time and motivation to attend professional development.
* Please add to this list in the comments section.

Round table discussions serve as 2 professional development hours and also serve as an opportunity to network and share ideas about SAC issues. We hope more people will be able to join us for the next session. We will keep you posted for the next meeting and hope to see you there.

It was nice to meet Traci, Mary Lou and Christopher.
Thanks to Jan for leading the round table.

Suzanne and Chesca

How to Make Cooking with a Group of Children Stress-Free

Some practitioners shy away from cooking activities because they dread the mess and the chaos that is sometimes associated with children and cooking. Cooking in after-school is a great time to incorporate reading, math, science and social skills.

The following recipe was shared with us by:
Mrs. Dorothy Clark (a 20 year veteran in the school-age care field)


1/2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1 can (15 1/4 oz.) DelMonte Whole Kernel White Sweet Corn, drained
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) DelMonte Diced Tomatoes with Garlic and Onions
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained

Combine corn, undrained tomatoes and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Stir in beans; heat through.


Brace yourself. Know that children will be excited about cooking:
  • Many children do not have the opportunity to participate in cooking at home.
  • The anticipation of eating the end result makes children more active.
Give children tasks that not only preoccupy them but teach them something. For example:

  • Even if you know the recipe calls for 1 can of corn, have a child measure it out. See how many 1/2 cups there are in a can.
  • Even if the canned tomatoes are already diced, you can have a 6 or 7 yr old cut them some more with a regular butter knife.
Engage children in conversation by asking questions like:

  • "How many quarter cups make a half cup?"
  • "Who knows where the corn in a can comes from?"
  • "What should we with these empty cans?" (discussion about recycling or recyclable art)
  • "Discuss how cornstarch thickens liquids"
  • "Safety tips while cooking (using a stove or hot plate, knives, etc)
Give each child a role. For example:

  • can openers
  • corn drainer
  • someone to measure the corn
  • bean drainer/rinser
  • someone to measure the black beans
  • tomato dicer
  • stirer (everyone should get a chance to stir)
  • clock watcher (timer)
  • ground pepper and cornstarch adder/mixer
  • someone to add the black beans at the end.

Use the cooking activity to instill certain values such as:

  • Cleaning up after yourself
  • Sharing and taking turns
  • Table manners

Thanks for this recipe Mrs. Clark and congratulations on your 20 years at LEDP!

A Conversation about Relationships

Standing L->R: Ida, Chesca, Suzanne and Desirae
Seated L-R: Melissa, Raff and Andrea

Saturday, January 17, 2009.
A group of dedicated practitioners got together for coffee, juice and bagels to have a conversation about relationships.
Aside from earning two Professional Development hours, the idea behind the session was to move beyond the basic and obvious necessities of school-age care by improving relationships.
Building relationships in the school-age care setting makes life better not only for the children but for everyone involved.
Through the exchange of ideas and experiences amongst this dynamic group of women,
it was apparent that we all agreed that we must establish a meaningful relationship before we can lead, influence or work with others.

IDA-Stressed that consistency teaches responsibility and is crucial to a positive relationship with children. 
Both IDA and SUZANNE maintain that we do not all have to agree but we must treat everyone with sensitivity and respect.

ANDREA shared how she can like a certain child despite how challenging the work with the child can be.
We identified how important it is to find something to like in a person and build a relationship from there.
DESIRAE reminded us of the importance of giving children control with boundaries. She also tries to ignore the negative in an effort to nurture more of what she hopes to see in a child.

When MELISSA interacts with children she calls upon her own experiences as a child and is able to empathize.
RAFF's experience in supporting a child's interest is what inspired a big project at her site called the international food festival.
After a cooking activity with the children, and listening to them say: "wouldn't it be cool if we tried food from around the world?"
A culturally and socially enriching activity was born.

CHESCA says that talking is a major part of listening.  Reflecting or repeating to a child what we hear them say lets them hear themselves and confirms to them that we are hearing them correctly.

We discussed how L-I-S-T-E-N is an effective tool that can be used to develop and improve relationships:

- Like something or find something positive.
-  Inspire. We are inspired when someone reminds us of what is positive in ourselves.
- Sensitive. In order to connect we must be sensitive their emotions and needs.
- Talk. As we listen, we should reflect the words back to the speaker.
- Empathize.  We should remember or imagine what it is like to be in the place of others.
- Nurture. Make each encounter something that nurtures. Nurture what is good.

The beauty of this tool is that it works not only with our work with children but in our daily interactions outside of work as well.
Life is not defined by the quantity of things we have but the quality of our relationships.
It was a great conversation we had and we look forward to seeing you again.
We hope more practitioners can join us at future sessions.

~Chesca Silva