Category Archives: Skills Training

Kidz Central Station’s New Winter Classes in NYC for Kids

Living in NYC means you have access to non stop activities and events – even for the kids. There might be a ton of snow on the ground this Winter, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up in your apartment! Take advantage of the cold weather by exploring some of the top winter classes for kids in NYC – here are some of our favorites:

Top Winter Classes in NYC for Kids

Drama Llama

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Where else in the world can you get acting classes for kids – taught by professional Broadway actors?? Students create, rehearse, and perform their very own original script. A final performance is offered for family and friends on the last day of class. Drama Llama has a weekend class starting on 2/15 for ages 6-12. Sign up here!

Soc Roc Soccer

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Speaking of professional teachers, this soccer class for toddlers is taught by former professional soccer players. Classes start for kids as young as 18 months, meaning your newly walking toddler can add soccer foot skills to their newly acquired talents! Classes are going on now all over NYC, so pop in for a free trial, and prorate for the semester! Sign up here.

Cooking at Whole Foods with Creative Kitchen

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There’s no better way to beat the cold than in a hot kitchen! Your little chef can learn about colors, numbers and shapes, and then eat them too! Parents will be just as excited when they see how many new fruits and vegetables their kids will adopt into their routine diets! kids having fun and learning good nutritional habits is a win win!

Fun with Food starts 2/3 with drop-in or semester options available. Click here to learn more!

14th Street Y Language Workshops

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Kids as young as 6 months can starts to learn French,  Chinese or Spanish. And don’t forget parents, you might learn a word or two as well! Every week babies and toddlers can learn about a different culture through singing and percussion jam sessions. It’s all in Spanish, but no Spanish is required! Learn more about the 14th Street Y classes here. 

Or maybe you want to try Russian? Check out the JCC of Manhattan for it’s fifth year of the Russian Shabbat program! For kids ages 3-4. Learn more here. 

S2KIDS Leadership and Social Skills

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This is a  9-week class that teaches leadership and social skills – including eye contact, joining a group, problem solving, empathy and conflict resolution among others. Classes start in Tribeca on 2/15 on weekends. Learn more here. 

Kidz Central Station offers many different classes for any type of indoor activity that gets you out of the house this winter. Click here to view a full list of all available classes, and book one today!

5 Reasons to Try a Soccer Class for Toddlers

Maximo just turned 18 months, in the middle of this polar vortex they’re talking about. Great. I have a very curious toddler and it’s -18 outside? In NYC??? We of course checked out our favorite kids’ class site – KidzCentralStation.com to see what we could find to cure this case of cabin fever. There are tons of options, especially for his age group, which has seemed to be a off-age for us. (Hard to find classes, clothes, and….) So we decided to try the Soc Roc Soccer Semester for the winter. It starts at 18 months, so even though Maximo would be one of the youngest, it sounded like a great “boy” activity to kick off the year!

5 Reasons to Try a Soccer Class for Toddlers:

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1. Social Skills. 

Seriously, is there anything cuter than a room full of little boys all running around demolishing balls and cones together, and encouraged to do so? Maximo was in HEAVEN chasing around the other boys and coaches.

2. Exercise for Mom.

Don’t think you’re gonna just sit back and relax in a sports class – being a mom is a hands-on job! You’ll find yourself running up and down the “field” alongside your little mini me, and burning off unexpected calories for the upcoming bikini season!

3. Following the Rules.

Maximo is 18 months remember, so he’s best skills right now are NOT following the rules and listening to instructions. The best thing about this class is that it teaches the kids to do so. From “sitting on home base,” to learning to tap your feet and clap your hands, to using hand-eye coordination to kick and set up props, you’re getting more out of a soccer class than just exercise!

4. Real Soccer Skills.

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If you sign up for a real class through KidzCentralStation.com, you are sure to find quality classes. This means real soccer players and coaches teaching your babies the basics. I just LOVED how involved the coaches were with the kids. They also made sure to find one-on-one time for each boy with lots of encouragement and high fives. Seriously, so cute. Maximo didn’t take long to warm to to this great interaction.

5. Learn Something New.

This class isn’t all about kicking balls – like mentioned above they actually teach coordination skills, and there were a lot of new things Maximo got to try out – and was really good at! If anything is good at entertaining a toddler, it’s new experiences.

Soc Roc offers a trial class before jumping right into the full semester, so maybe we’ll see you at class next weeK?

Click here to view the Soc Roc Soccer Class Semester

Click here to view more soccer classes on KidzCentralStation.com

The Importance of Social Skills

Research indicates that one of the most fundamental skills for success is social skills (i.e. communication, play skills, perspective-taking, empathy, self-control, confidence, and independence). Most children learn social skills through their everyday interactions with peers and adults, however, some children require more specific instruction than others. If you begin to notice that your child’s social skills are not as strong as some of their peers, do not worry. Social skills can be acquired through direct instruction and additional support.

Here are a few helpful tips to improve your child’s social skills:

  1. Make connections with school friends at home. Having play dates is a great way to encourage extra communication and interaction with peers.

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  2. Join extra-curricular school activities that are of interest to your child. For example, many sports help children practice and understand turn-taking, others’ perspective, dealing with winning vs. loosing, team work, good sportsmanship, and common interests with peers. Additionally, it can improve self-confidence and foster a sense of belonging.
  3. Create social stories! This is a great way to prepare your child for a situation that may be particularly challenging. Social stories work to improve the child’s understanding of a behavior or event by explaining it ahead of time and providing suggestions for appropriate responses to the situation. You can find many premade social stories online that can be modified or adjusted to suit the individual needs of your child.
  4. Role-play scenarios that have occurred or will occur in your child’s life. Role-playing is a fun and effective way to make your child feel more comfortable with past or potential social situations in their life. For example, if your child is nervous about giving a speech in front of the class, s/he can practice multiple scenarios with you as the audience. Make sure to set up both positive and negative reactions from the audience to ensure that they are prepared. You may set up a scenario where the audience is disruptive and provide your child with helpful strategies to navigate the situation. You can even role-play scenarios that have occurred in the past and discuss ways that your child could have or should have handled the situation differently so that they are prepared in case a similar situation arises in the future. Many social groups offer this type of therapy!
  5. Real Time Therapy. We created this term to reflect the idea of simply stopping a situation in its tracks and using it as a teachable moment. For example, if you witness a social situation in which your child did not act appropriately, you can bring it to their attention immediately after the incident occurs, and then provide the child with suggestions on how to better handle the situation. This tends to be most impactful for many children, but be sure not to embarrass them in front of others, as this could have a negative impact.

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Winter Activities for Toddlers – 5 Reasons to Brave the Cold For Some Kids’ Classes

I get it –it’s cold. It’s REALLY cold when the wind catches you just right turning the corner around a big building. You don’t want to leave your house. But eventually you are going to have to step outside. (Okay maybe YOU CAN stay in all winter by ordering groceries and online shopping – but how is your baby/toddler handling it? As a mom myself of a VERY explorative toddler, I know I need to get him out of the house, even for a short walk, at least once a day. So if it’s too cold to play in the park – why not try one of the hundreds of classes offered right here in your backyard? Take advantage of NYC this winter with all the opportunities hiding away from the cold inside.

winter activities for toddlers

Winter Activities for Toddlers: Here are 5 Reasons You should Brave the Cold to Attempt a Kids Class This Winter:

  1. Socializing. Not only is it good for your toddler/baby to start learning how to interacting with other kids – it’s good for YOU to interact and socialize with adults. You can’t just talk on Facebook and baby talk all day. Your brain will mush. And other moms at class won’t mind talking about ‘mom stuff.’ You might even make a new friend or two.
  2. Exercise – Remember how you used to take phys-ed classes everyday at school? It’s healthy for kids to get out and be active – not just for physical health but for mental health as well. Bonus – letting them burn all that energy means they’ll knock out faster for bed. Plus, think of those extra calories you’ll burn on the walk there!
  3. The Enrichment – Sometimes it’s just better to learn in groups and let someone else teach. Yes you do a good job at home, and those Little Pim videos are awesome – but it’s good to switch it up and have an interactive activity from time to time.  Plus, you can sit back and relax a little on this one.

winter activities for toddlers

  1. Cabin fever – it’s easy to let it creep up on you during the winter – especially if you are a stay-at-home-parent or work-at-home-parent. But just like us, kids will get stir crazy if cooped up in a tiny little apartment watching cartoons day after day.  Do both of you a favor and take a tiny walk to a class to get some fresh air, sunshine and socialization! Winter blues is a real symptom!
  2. Learn Something New. Toddlers are in an explorative phase – so why not use classes to your advantage and let them find something new that they love? Maybe they love music, but haven’t done a lot of art. Or, maybe they love open play and running around but have never tried to bake a cake? And don’t underestimate the chance to learn something new yourself. Maybe you’ve never baked a cake in your tiny NYC kitchen either!

Using KidzCentralStation.com you can find all kinds of different classes – by age, by type of class, even by neighborhood. So you don’t HAVE to trek it all the way to 57th Street in the snow if you live in Tribeca! Most places also offer a free trial class, so you can try before you buy. We all know how picky toddlers can be – so this takes the stress out of commitment until you know they LOVE it! Plus, there are even reviews on site to see how other moms/toddlers liked the class as well!

What are you waiting for? Book a class today!

Can Your Baby Speak A Foreign Language?

One afternoon, my 3-year-old student-friend was sharing with me how cool and how fast his train can go. He then excitingly went on from his subway’s train type, color and number to what he does on the subway while traveling from downtown to uptown. Like many other three-year-old boys, he loves cars, trains, and airplanes. What is not so ordinary is that he shared this story with me in perfect Mandarin –despite his non-Asian appearance; and the fact that none of his parents or other family members speak Mandarin.

How does this happen?

Neuroscientists have been showing that before a child is born, he/she already begins their learning journey in mommy’s womb. After they are born, those neural connections, which help in acquiring sensory pathways, language, and higher cognitive functions, start to grow rapidly in the first year of infancy. A fascinating aspect is that a child’s language skills mature around nine months old, generally way before they begin speaking words.

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What follows are a couple of suggestions to get a child started on their foreign language journey:

1. Start Young
Babies as young as six to nine months old could start to join a mommy and me foreign language program. Early exposure to foreign language will help infants expand their sound spectrum and strengthen the neural connections that support language learning.

2. Find a Creative Language Immersion Program
Language is a tool learned through action. Look for a program that focuses on cultivating children’s creative and artistic nature through playful and culture-related activities. We will get into more details on how to choose a program next time. To find a class nearby, Kidz Central Station is always my favorite site to go to.

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3. Live Sounds and Reciprocal Interaction
The most effective way in foreign language learning is immersing in live sound and reciprocal interaction. Once or twice a week a Mommy and Me class in a foreign language is a good start. Although babies may not be able to speak yet, you will see the signs showing that they really know the words and phrases after participating in the class for couple months. Besides taking classes, some language programs also provide reasonable rate for one-on-one private sessions at your home if kids are enrolled in their group classes.
Each child has his or her own unique way to learn and should proceed down that learning journey at his/her own pace. More questions or want to share your experience? Feel free to email me at mimi@languagebeans.com

By: Mimi Lin.  Mimi has been working with young children for over 15 years. Her Ph.D. dissertation is about music, language and creativity in early childhood education. She is also the founder of two creative schools- Music Beans & Language Beans where she enjoys the learning journey with young children.

Keep Your Kids Reading During The Summer!!

Our kids work so hard all year, let’s keep it up over the summer. As an educator, I have been making this statement for years, but now it is my turn to do the work with my son. Here are few questions to ask youself to get ready for the summer!

Is your library organized?
If your children can’t find books they like, they will not read! I organized my son’s books using baskets and put them into categories.  It takes a short amount of time and it is totally worth it!!!!

Library

Do you know what your child’s reading level is?
The best way to find out your child’s reading level is to ask his or her teacher, or have a reading specialist perform an evaluation. Once the reading level is determined, make a basket of books that your child can read to you, or on his or her own! Tip: to find books at his or her level you can use Scholastic book wizard, or a great app called Level it!

Leveled Library

What time will you read with your child or will her or she read independently?
Set a specific time to read everyday!  I usually like to read with my children before bedtime. First, I have my son read me a leveled book and then I let him choose a book that I will read to him.

DAD READING WITH CHILD

Do you know that reading is all around you?
Make sure you use your neighborhood and all around your house to read!!!  Your child can read you signs, labels, lists, game titles. This is a great way to learn sight words and use them in a real life setting!

Sign

Lauren Bernstein is the executive director of Lauren’s Little Learners in Livingston, NJ. She specializes in individualized instruction for students ages 3-10 in in reading and writing.

 

 

5 Reasons to Enroll Your Child in a Class

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I remember the first time that I enrolled my daughter in a mommy and me class. It was shortly after we moved to the city from Florida and I thought that it was a great idea for both of us to get involved. She was nearly nine months old and other than her daycare that she attended in Florida, she had never been exposed to a formal class setting with other babies her age. Now, three years later, I continue to see the benefits of enrolling her in that class. It was the gateway to so many wonderful opportunities for her to learn and grow. There are several reasons to enroll your child in a class, no matter what the age. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Social Interaction-With a class full of other children the same age, it’s a great time for your child to interact with others. They will learn how to get along with others, share, and even develop amazing friendships. My daughter met a little boy at her first class at age nine months and they have continued their friendship over three years.

2. Independence-Enrolling your child in a class is a great way to help them gain some independence. Even if you are interested in taking a mommy and me class, there are still moments when you have the opportunity to sit back and watch them interact with others. It really helps when they get older and are in drop-off classes. It helps them look forward to those classes rather than have separation anxiety.

3. You Meet Other Moms With Children The Same Age-These classes are a great way for you to meet other moms. Some of my best friends are the moms that I met while taking my daughter to a class. The best part is that they have kids that are the same age as her and enjoy playing together. This makes for great playdates that can also give you some one-on-one adult time with a friend.

4. Bonding Experience-One of my favorite things about taking my daughter to a class was getting to spend that time with her uninterrupted. It was an hour for us to focus on one another and focus on my daughter having fun. As she got older, we would spend our time talking about the class later in the day and her mentioning her favorite parts. It became something that we shared and loved to talk about. We could bond both inside and outside the classroom.

5. Express Creativity-Whether you enroll your child in art, music, or soccer, they are able to express their creativity. This will help them outside of the classroom and as they get older.

Lauren Jimeson is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Read more from Lauren at her personal blog, A Mommy in the City, where she chronicles her life living in New York City with a suburban mentality. For more updates, follow Lauren on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram!

Parenting Skills to Make Your Child Successful

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When you ask a kid what they want to be, they immediately know! Whether they want to be a doctor, lawyer, actor — kids know even from the age of 5 and no one can stop them from achieving their goals! Most of what they learn to become successful is through education but the rest it simply parenting. Parents should never underestimate the value of what they teach their kids which can make them successful in life. Here are steps/techniques that will guide your kids along the way!

Honesty.

Honesty is the best policy! How many times have you heard the saying: “when you lie, you’re not hurtling others but yourself.” Take his statement for what it is. Being dishonest can ruin relationships whether it is business or personal.

Adapting Listening Skills.

There’s a difference between hearing and listening. It’s important for kids to listen to information related to them in order to grasp an understanding. You’ll know when your children are listening when they ask questions or make comments. Listening helps kids engage in conversations more which can help them become less shy in meeting friends.

Humble & Humility.

The best way to our teach children is by example. Behind superstars, parents are role models to kids. They admire and follow our lead. An arrogant person can never teach humility. Being a parent means we have authority – not arrogance. It’s important as parents that we remain patient and respectful to our kids. There are ways to engage in a conversation or discipline your child without yelling. When we educate quietly—we model humility. If you think that the only way they will listen is if you yell, then you are not disciplining properly. This can have an effect on their social skills and how they interact with other children in the future.

Understanding The Value of a Dollar.

I believe in allowance and working to get what you want. Kids will learn why mommy and daddy at times are tired when they get home from work. Some parents look at this as a bribe — but it is merely placing responsibility on the child.

Turning a Business Into a Hobby.

Nowadays, kids don’t have to learn how to start a business in college. It starts way before then. Teach them now in a fun but educational way. Do they like to bake? Can they make a delicious lemonade? Talk to your kids about turning something cool into something spectacular! Kids love money because they can buy whatever they want. By showing them how to make a profit will influence them in creating a business. Kidpreneurs ( kid + entrepeneurs) do exist. Sometimes it’s up to parents to give them a little motivation to their creation!

These skills will help guide our children socially, academically and mentally as they grow into  successful adults!

 Image via Flickr User Fairfax County

Music Lessons Teaches Life Skills!

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So you want your child to learn to play an instrument. Besides actually learning to play an instrument, did you know that your child will also pick up life skills without knowing? Here are some of them:

1. Teaches your child to be responsible – While your child looks over the weekly assignments, prepares to have all books at the lesson, and attends lesson, he/she is also learning this is a responsibility. With that said, it would be advised that you are not in charge to do the above except to guide and monitor.

2. Teaches your child to succeed with self-discipline – Learning to play an instrument requires daily practicing. If you learn to do something on your own daily, this is in training for self-discipline. The wonderful thing with music is – you cannot procrastinate! While you can cram  for an exam, it isn’t possible to cram your playing. Not only do you need to be mentally prepared, but your muscles (hands or other parts of the body) will also need to be prepared to play well at your lesson!

3. Learn to effectively time manage – Like most things in life, planning is important. If your child is given music to prepare for the next lesson, he/she will need to figure out how to get that done before the next lesson. This can mean that they decide to practice a page a day, or perhaps two lines a day. Whatever the case may be, your child needs to see how much time is allotted for this activity and work towards the goal (finish preparing the assigned music). This skill will transfer to school, work, and maybe even when they have children of their own!

4. Builds confidence and self-esteem – When you can do something well, aren’t you proud of yourself? When your child performs in front of family and friends, he/she will be extremely proud of such accomplishment. By achieving his/hers musical goals and showing off, your child is building up confidence and high self-esteem which is essential to one’s success in life.

5. Fosters creativity – Music is such a wonderful way to be creative. Playing a piece of music that sounds like spring, or maybe like thunderstorms are coming allows your mind to be imaginative. Even if the music sounds different to you than to others, there is no right or wrong! This reminds your child that being creative is fun and everyone has the right to express an opinion.

If you didn’t know about all these additional benefits to music playing, I hope this encourages you to help your child look into music lessons. As the weather gets nicer and the school year is coming to an end, this can be a perfect time to look for new activities!

Image via Flickr User Dark Dwarf