Love of Reading Starts with Play

Playful Literacy'Every year, teachers are struggling to motivate kids to read, even starting in kindergarten, because of poor attention spans. While the research does not unequivocally state why attention spans are shorter now, there is new evidence to suggest that technology overuse is not helping. Speech-Language Pathologist Frida Matute, founder of a new class called Playful Literacy, is reigniting that natural motivation kids have to learn by organically combining playing and reading.

Playful Literacy’s philosophy is that kids become motivated to read if they learn early reading skills through movement, games and mostly, fun! Playful Literacy builds upon the premise of many evidence-based reading programs like Orton-Gillingham, which use multisensory activities that incorporate movement of the whole body to read. Playful Literacy involves and captures kids through playing games like ‘Pin the Sound on the Donkey’ and ‘Sound Trivia’ as well as word obstacle courses and vowel scavenger hunts. For older kids, the curriculum builds on literacy by incorporating reading and writing through songs, plays and scripts, which engage kids to write content for their own shows, private YouTube channels and blogs. Playful Literacy aims to combine today’s interests with the inherent love of play. This whole-body, multisensory approach to learning is a well-researched and proven method to increase children’s motivation, confidence and success while learning to read.

Playful Literacy

Teaching reading through play and movement is becoming  popularized as specialists in reading, teachers and parents become more aware of the benefits of learning how to read through multi-sensory activities. The Playful Literacy curriculum changes for each grade level, but always embeds reading and writing into highly interesting activities, making learning to read “sticky” for kids. Classes are led by speech-language pathologists with master’s degrees in language and reading specialists trained in Orton-Gillingham. Classes maintain small groups with specialist to student ratios of 1:5 so learning outcomes are met in fun, structured lessons. Playful Literacy is now an option for parents to help their kids love reading during afterschool or summer classes.

WHY DO I NEED TO START THIS NOW?

Playful LiteracyThe term ‘Literacy’ means reading and writing. In order for kids to learn how to read and write, they need to learn skills that prepare them for reading starting in pre-k. In pre-k, self-regulation and active listening are critical precursors to reading. From there, kids learn early literacy skills like rhyming and sound identification. Kids then start blending simple sounds together to read short words. Children with well-established literacy skills are more equipped learners and listeners. These children excel in a variety of domains and build profound abilities for reasoning, language awareness, self-understanding, and formulation of questions (All Children Read).

PLAYFUL LITERACY | LEARNING OUTCOMES

  1. SELF-REGULATION: The ability to recall important information and sustain attention while inhibiting distractions from accomplishing tasks. Students that learn to self-regulate earlier demonstrate long-lasting increased language and learning skills.
  1. ACTIVE LISTENING: Fully listening to a communicative partner is critical to academic and daily life. A large portion of students’ class time involves listening to instruction and newly presented information.
  1. PRE-LITERACY SKILLS: Early literacy skills like sound identification, rhyming, letter identification, and syllable segmentation need to be secured to dive into reading and writing successfully.
  1. THE LOVE OF LEARNING: Playful Literacy’s curriculum is fun! A fun and engaging approach to learning motivates kids to participate.

Playful Literacy spring and summer classes are starting at 92ND ST Y and The Art Farm the week of April 29th and run through August 23rd.

Download the curriculum

Register for a class visit

City Parents Love Shibley Day Camp

Shibley Day Camp

“You want me to put my 5 year old on a bus from Manhattan to Long Island every day this summerare you crazy? 

We often hear these words or see the wheels spinning in parents’ heads when we talk about campers coming to Shibley Day Camp from Manhattan. In fact, a large percentage of our campers do come from the east side of Manhattan in addition to areas in Queens like Long Island City and Forest Hills; and parts of Brooklyn including Park Slope. 

So why do parents send their children in droves from the city every day to day camps on Long Island? We asked a mix of first time Shibley families and veterans and here were some of their answers: 

I feel so grateful to have found Shibley for my daughter. I’m so glad that I can give her the perfect summer camp for a city kid; one where she is outdoors in the sunshine, swimming in the pool and running in the grass every day. She comes home exhausted with dirty knees and crazy hair. Most importantly, she comes home happy. – Mrs. Grillo 

Shibley Day Camp

“Sending our children out of the city for summer camp was the best decision we could have made.  We love our city living most of the year, but the amazing landscape at Shibley provides a true camp experience and the ability to be outdoors for activities as much as possible – a luxury no local camp could provide.  While the bus ride to and from was my greatest hesitation, this was actually one of their daily highlights. They made friends outside of their groups and age bracket which made them feel even more connected to the Shibley community.  I know it was a good thing when I offered to pick them up from camp one day and they both quickly responded ‘NOOOO!'”– Mrs. De Angelis

Shibley Day Camp“As much as we love the city, you can’t beat the variety, offerings, and outdoor facilities that a suburban day camp has to offer. The minute my active little city-bird saw Shibley, he asked if he could go there over the summer. We’re confident that it’s the right choice for us.” – Mrs Goldenberg  

“We knew it was time to give Marco a taste of suburban life when he saw the Shibley Day Camp promotional video and said “look, it’s in the jungle!”  There’s more to life than steaming hot sidewalks and fenced-in city parks. We wanted to give him the opportunity to spend his summers running around in fresh air and green grass, and swimming in a beautiful outdoor pool.”-Mrs. Zambetti

Shibley Day Camp“…imagine not hearing the shrill of car horns and emergency vehicles for days on end.  Instead, imagine the magical sound of kids having fun in a truly natural setting.  My daughter loves escaping the noise of the city and enjoying full days filled with the sounds of nature…” – Mr. McLaughlin 

Shibley Day Camp

Sending our daughter to Shibley from LIC was one of the best decisions we have ever made! Our daughter gets the opportunity to be active in the outdoors on a beautiful large suburban property while participating in so many activities including; swimming, ropes course, playgrounds, sports, color war…the list is endless. Shibley provides convenient busing, which is amazing especially for working parents. She is currently counting down the days until she goes back to camp!– Mrs. Fritz 

Shibley Day Camp

This will be my daughters second summer at Shibley Day Camp, and the excitement in our home is at a whole new level! When is camp starting mom? How many more days again? Living in Manhattan is an amazing experience for my daughter and our family, but like every New Yorker and especially my child who is born in and being raised in NYC, you need a break every once in a while.  When my daughter was old enough she went to Shibley and upon her return from camp that afternoon her happiness and exhaustion was evident. The activities were beyond her imagination and the staff and counselors were just amazing even the bus ride home was an exciting adventure for her filled with fun and appropriate songs and games. City kids have benefits like no other children, but you should not pass up an opportunity to send them to a camp outside the hustle and bustle of the jungle of Manhattan. And make sure its a place like Shibley that your child will love just as much as their own home.– Mrs. Sticco 

Shibley Day Camp

I love sending my daughter to camp in the suburbs for so many reasons.  First and foremost is getting her to spend time outside surrounded by large lawns of green grass and giant shady trees. She learns about nature and escapes the concrete jungle.  Also, I love that there are various pools for swim instruction dedicated to each age level. My daughter finally learned to put her head under water and started to swim last year and now she runs and jumps into the water with no fear. This year she will work to pass the deep water test. Let’s not forget about the bus! I feel like my daughter grew up on that bus, gained independence, developed patience and made great friendships with boys and girls of different ages.  Lastly but equally important are all the outstanding activities that take place outside like carnivalOlympicsrelay racesbungee .. and so much more.. We love Shibley Day Camp! – Mrs. Fastenberg 

Shibley Day Camp

“The environment is such a departure from more urban settings. It’s like having a relative with a country house who lets your kids go run, swim and play all day (under adult supervision). Their summer days don’t crawl by looking for things to do. Every day is spent in a beautiful wooded sanctuary that gives my children the feel of a upstate sleep-away camp. But I get the added bonus of seeing them at the end of every day, exhausted and relaxed as they regale me with the stories of their adventures. Without a haven like Shibley, my kids would probably never lay back on the grass and watch the clouds on a beautiful summer day like they were in their own backyard. They don’t have to compete with neighborhood kids for a hot swing on a blacktop playground. They don’t have to wonder how they will fill their hot summer days in a concrete jungle. Instead, all four of my children learned to swim from Red Cross certified instructors, they climbed rock walls, played softball, hockey, basketball and gaga….Over the many years I have realized it is a different kind of friendship that forms over the summers, when you only see each other for a few months. Those relationships are special. They will have these camp friends for a lifetime. – Mrs. Haberstumpf

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Book a private tour today so we can show you our beautiful, private and wooded 20+ acre facility!

Contact heath@shibleydaycamp.com or call us at (516) 621-8777. 

Shibley Day Camp

Spring Recess Camps 2019

Spring Break

NYC Public Schools celebrate Spring Recess from Friday, April 19, 2019-Friday, April 26, 2019.  Don’t miss this great opportunity to get your children involved in fun activities and camps during this time off of school.  Below are great options.

STEM CAMPS

  • Robots & Science Spring Break Camp locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn with NORY.  Young innovators will use their strengths, as well as develop new skills, to program a robot and build circuits and structures.
  • Robotics and STEAM – Spring Break Day Camp in LIC with Snapology.  In the Creature Creator Robotics morning session, your animal lover will create their own animal inspired robotic models. Students will learn about gear ratio, sensors, simple machines, and programming.  In the afternoon session Science of Superpowers program, students explore the world of their favorite superheroes.
  • Video Game Design and Drone Commander – Spring Break Day Camp in E. Village/Chinatown/LES with Snapology.  Design your very own online game with Stencyl game creation software. In the Drone Commander class, your student will be introduced to the world of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and develop a deep understanding how to control and manage this exciting technology.

ART CAMPS

Happy Campers spend action packed days going on an exciting artistic adventures: Camps include instruction & exploration in Painting, Drawing, illustration, Cartooning, Manga, Found Object Art, Mixed media, Collage, Sculpture & more. At Creatively WILD Art Studio in Brooklyn.

TAKE YOUR KIDS TO A MUSICAL

  • Beauty and the Beast – The Musical! in Greenwich Village at Literally Alive! Theatre.  This adaptation, based on the original book by Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont, is filled with charming musical numbers, delightful dancing, endearing and amusing characters, wonder and magic. *Please note that this is an activity and show for the whole family! Drop-offs are not allowed and childcare is not provided.

SPEND A WEEK AT THE ZOO

  • Spring Break Wildlife Mini-Camp at Queens Zoo.  Just like us, animals eat, play, sleep, spend time with their family and explore! Throughout the week we will get to know animals in a whole new way. Snacks will be provided. Children must bring their own nut-free lunches.

SPECIAL LIBRARY EVENTS

Picky Eating? There’s an App for That

Picky Eating App

From the real experts at Hassenfield Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

Researchers at NYU Langone Health have launched When to Wonder: Picky Eating, a new app that studies children’s food preferences and emotions to better understand picky eating in young children and provide real-time suggestions for parents.

Picky eating is common among children, and parents of picky eaters often find themselves lacking the knowledge they need to address their child’s distinct challenges and needs. The Picky Eating app, intended for use with children age 6 and under, employs questionnaires, a child-friendly food sort game, and video activities, all completed on a smartphone to gather information from both children and parents.

Participants are screened for eligibility and then prompted to give informed consent to be enrolled in the study after downloading the app. The data collected through the research study is anonymized and securely stored at NYU Langone Health to enable researchers to examine children’s emotions, behaviors, and development as well as the impact of social and demographic influences, parent–child interactions, and other risk factors on young children’s development and mental health.

The main feature of the app is a food sort game using high-quality images of foods; children and parents separately play the game, swiping through to indicate whether a food is “yummy” or “yucky.” Then parents play the same game answering the question “Will your child eat this?” Afterward, the parent and child can compare answers by viewing their matches. Another interactive feature enables children to watch short videos while the front-facing camera records a video of the child, allowing computer vision tools to characterize the child’s emotions and attention.

The app offers parents evidence-based advice on their child’s food preferences, eating behaviors, and emotions, and provides suggestions on how to support their child’s healthy eating. In some cases, families are encouraged to seek further consultation with their healthcare providers.

Interested in checking it out? When to Wonder: Picky Eating is available to download for free from the Apple and Google app stores.

Q&A With Shibley Day Camp in Long Island

Shibley Day Camp

It’s cold outside but parents know that summer vacation is fast approaching.  Finding the right camp experience, the right fit for our children is one of the most important things that we can do.  To help give our parents guidance and options in this decision, Kidz Central Station spoke with Heath Levine, Camp Director at Shibley Day Camp in Roslyn, Long Island.

Shibley Day Camp

What are your session lengths and dates and is there flexibility?

We have flexible session lengths because we know that for every family looking for a full 8 week program there is a family that wants to travel or children interested in trying a specialty camp out for a week in addition to spending time at Shibley over the summer. The minimum program is 4 weeks because we feel that is the amount of time needed to make real connections with the other campers and become immersed in the Shibley experience. We allow campers to enroll for any 4, 5, 6 or 7 weeks. There are no rules about consecutive weeks however we always encourage our youngest campers to start at the beginning and attend consecutive weeks when possible for consistency. Our staff is trained to treat each Monday like the first day of camp, especially with our youngest campers who miss their parents the most while at camp.

Shibley Day Camp

What are transportation options?

In Manhattan we pick up campers on convenient street corners up and down the east side. We aim to keep our bus rides at one hour with the understanding that we can not control or predict the traffic on any given day. Buses are driven by professional bus drivers and have at least one bus counselor (usually two) from our wonderful staff. The bus has a bag of fun which includes stickers, coloring, games and books for children who need some entertainment in the morning or afternoon. Camp starts the second they step on that bus and doesn’t end until they are returned safely home at the end of the day. We have air-conditioned mini buses with seatbelts. Car seats are provided by Shibley. We offer a mini day option for 3-5 year old campers that ends at 2pm. The full day buses leave Shibley at 4:15pm. Bus service is also available in Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn.

Shibley Day Camp

Describe the “typical” daily schedule.

The key word when describing a day at Shibley is “BALANCE”. All campers have instructional swim in the morning and all full day campers swim again in the afternoon for fun. We provide a hot lunch (many child friendly options daily & ability to handle most allergies/dietary restrictions) and two snacks daily. The rest of the day will include at least one sports activity, one arts activity and one adventure/climbing/science type activity. We want to make sure that all campers have activities that they love every day while also exposing them to new activities that they may want to spend more time doing after camp ends. It is also important (especially in Junior Camp) that campers have structured activities in addition to unstructured “free play” activities like playground time, Lego building and other forms of creative, self-directed play.

Shibley Day Camp

What are some of Shibley’s best special events or camp traditions?

​We have many exciting special events throughout the summer. Two of the favorites are the Goose Cup, a boys field hockey championship game and the Shibley 500 where boys and girls race wooden cars they have designed at woodworking down our hill to make the fastest time. Our 3rd-8th grade campers have the option of attending Sleepaway Week which gives them a taste of the sleepaway camp experience while surrounded with familiar Shibley friends and staff. Our Theater and Solid Gold productions during show week are also a big hit! Each summer we have multiple dress up days including our GREEN Fridays where we celebrate our GREEN Values – Generosity, Respect, Empathy, Endurance and Nurture.

Heath Levine is a lifelong camper and experienced educator. His passion is for creating a camp program and culture where all children (and staff) take risks, explore interests, make friends and discover who they want to be. He is an active member of the American Camp Association as a standards visitor in the accreditation process of camps. Heath and his wife met as day camp counselors and have two beautiful daughters who attend camp.

Digital Strain: Screen Time and Overuse Injuries

screen time

From the real experts at Hassenfield Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

Screen time is a popular topic—from how long kids should be allowed to use devices each day to what age they should be allowed their own phones, tables, or other devices. Among the potential negative effects of too much screen time are what doctors have begun to refer to as “text neck” and “text thumb.”

Just like any repetitive activity, especially among children whose bodies are still developing, these overuse strains can occur when excessive time is spent using devices and when users engage in prolonged postures that tend to be awkward or stressful on the back, neck, shoulders, and extremities.

Orthopedic specialists and pediatricians have noticed an uptick in “text neck” and “text thumb” in recent years, especially among younger tech users—up to 50% of youth report symptoms of neck and shoulder pain, and up to 42% report symptoms of hand and wrist pain.

There are some ways that you and your kids can alleviate or prevent these types of digital overuse injuries:

  • Support the forearms while using a device, with an armrest, your thighs, or a table.
  • Type using both thumbs, to avoid overstraining one.
  • Position your device at a height to balance head, neck and upper extremity stress—if you hold it at eye level, that’s good for your neck but increases strain on your upper extremities. If you hold it in your lap, that can hurt your neck. Try to find a position in between.
  • Don’t text with high velocity—this can cause thumb inflammation and pain.
  • Avoid prolonged static postures by taking opportunities to move your body, head and neck, and upper extremity positions during use.

Not only can overuse of digital media cause these unique strains on growing bodies, but time spent on digital media also displaces other activities including physical activity and sleep. It’s important to help your child achieve a balance in those important areas of their health. Variety is the spice of life!

 

screen timeCordelia W. Carter, MD, is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, where she serves as director of the Pediatric Sports Medicine Center. She is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day With Your Kids

Valentine

Celebrate our favorite love holiday with these parent-child foodie activities around NYC!


Valentine’s Heart Cupcakes Workshop, Feb 10th 2019

Taste Buds Kitchen. Celebrate the season of LOVE with delicious red velvet cupcakes. Enjoy whipping up scrumptious creations from scratch and working with fondant to create the perfect heart shaped toppers. Bring your loved ones. This class is designed for kids and parents to cook together! $45 per child w/ one caregiver included.

  • Age: 2 to 5 years, Time: 9-10am, Location: 109 West 27th St, 10FL, New York, NY 10001

Sweet Hearts Gift Box, Feb 6th – Feb 12th 2019

Chocolate Works Upper East Side. Everyone loves Valentine’s Day and CHOCOLATE! Decorate your chocolate GIFT box with colors and fill it with chocolate/candies. Enjoy a marshmallow dip in the delicious Chocolate Fountain & Ice cream. These tasty treats are as pretty as they are yummy.

  • Age: 3 to 13 years, Duration: Choose your 1 hour time slot,
    Location: 1410 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY

Valentine’s Love Shacks Workshop (Ages 2-8 w/ Caregiver), Feb 14th 2019

Taste Buds Kitchen. Bring your little Valentine and get creative decorating your very own Love Shack in this signature Valentine’s Day Workshop. From pink frosted roofs to heart shaped window panes, you and your creative chef will love the endless decorating options as you work together to design and decorate your very own gingerbread house masterpiece. Invite friends to join you for this creative workshop! $75 per child w/ one caregiver included.

  • Age: 2 to 8 years, Time: 4-5pm, Location: 109 West 27th St, 10FL, New York, NY 10001

What to do on President’s Day with NYC Kids

Celebrate President’s Day on February 18th with kid-friendly fun around New York City.  Our kids have the day off school and for many of them, it also Midwinter Recess/February Break. Take advantage of the time off with these fun camps and activities!


 

NORY

Presidents’ Day Robots & Science Camp on February 18th with locations in Manhattan and  Brooklyn. Half Day or Full Day sessions. Young innovators will use their strengths, as well as develop new skills, to program a robot and build circuits and structures.  We encourage children to ask “why” and will never answer “just because.”

 

Wildlife Conservation Society

Mid Winter Wildlife Camp from February 18-22 at the Queens Zoo. 9am-3pm. The water cycle, decomposition cycle, and so much more! The earth is an incredible place that naturally recycles. Join us this week to learn how to be the best Earth-dweller you can be and gain an appreciation for our planet.

 

The Fashion Class

Mid Winter Recess Fashion Camp from February 18-22 in Midtown West. Half day or Full day sessions. Fashion Campers will have a blast sewing and creating with other stylish kids during the February Mid-Winter Break 2019!  Each day breaks down into five classes with experienced instructors who work in the fashion industry.

 

Karma Kids Yoga

Holiday Kids Camp! from February 18-20 in Flatiron/Union Square. 9am-12:30pm. Take part in this super fun Holiday Camp for the preschooler community! Enjoy music, dance, yoga, drama, science, storytime, crafts, singing, free play, games and more! Healthy snacks and a pizza lunch provided.

 

Snapology

Open Play from February 19-21 @11am in Long Island City. Want to let your little one play with Lego bricks and Duplo blocks, with none of the cleanup? Take one of our morning classes and enjoy an hour of creative play!

Vascular Birthmarks in Babies: What Parents Need to Know Part 2 of 2

Vascular birthmark

From the real experts at Hassenfield Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

Last time, we learned about the most common type of vascular birthmark in babies, the infantile hemangioma. Read on to learn more about the other most common vascular birthmark in babies, capillary malformations.

Capillary Malformations

Capillary malformations are another very common vascular birthmark. More commonly called “port wine stains,” “angel’s kiss,” or “salmon spots,” they are the result of dilated capillary connections close to the surface of the skin. Unlike infantile hemangiomas, these vascular birthmarks are almost always clearly visible at birth. They start off pink, red, or salmon-colored, flat and flush with the skin, and usually stay flat for years. They are painless and do not bleed, and they do not follow their own growth cycle like infantile hemangiomas do. Depending on the type, they either fade early on, or grow with the patient and remain present for life.

When capillary malformations are located along the middle of a baby’s body, they are called medial capillary malformations. On the face, they appear in the middle of the forehead, and point downwards in a V shape that ends with the point of the V around the tip of the nose. The sides of the V can cross the skin of the eyelids. On the back of the neck, they spread from the bottom of the hairline to the upper neck. They can also be located at the base of the spine. While common, medial capillary malformations usually fade on their own by two to three years of age, and generally do not require treatment.

Capillary malformations that are closer to the sides of the body are less likely to disappear without treatment. If these more lateral birthmarks are left alone, they can continue to darken and begin to grow thicker. They tend to turn a rich purple color, and will go from flat and smooth, to raised, with areas that feel like nodules under the skin. When they get to this point, they become much more difficult to treat.

Which Capillary Malformations Need Treatment?

In general, if a capillary malformation appears to be growing or darkening, it should be evaluated by a specialist. This is not only because there can be cosmetic consequences to leaving it alone, but also because, similar to infantile hemangiomas, capillary malformations can be external signs of internal issues. If this is the case, your doctor may order an MRI to check your baby’s internal organs. In particular, the brain and eyes may need to be examined if there are extensive capillary malformations over the face.

In very rare cases, a capillary malformation birthmark can also be an early sign of more serious health issues that are not obvious until late childhood. Because of this, babies with capillary malformations that are not in the middle of the body and/or do not fade after birth should be followed by a vascular anomalies specialist.

Laser therapy is the mainstay of treatment for capillary malformations. If laser therapy is chosen for your baby, the treatments will be spaced out to allow time for healing in between sessions. Your doctor might also prescribe a cream that helps to shrink the blood vessels close to the skin’s surface, which helps to make the effects of laser treatment longer lasting. This cream is also available without laser therapy, but is more effective when combined.

Take Home Message for Parents

All in all, most vascular birthmarks are completely benign, and will not lead to any complications or necessitate any treatment. If any of your baby’s marks resemble what has been described here, and you have more questions, speak with your pediatrician about seeing a vascular anomalies specialist. And congratulations on your new baby!

hassenfield
Megan M. Gaffey, MD, is a pediatric otolaryngologist at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone. She specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of children with complex ENT issues. She has focused training in vascular malformation management.