Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

Deciphering and Limiting Children’s Television – An Extra 500 Hours with your Preschooler

Like a guest that overstays their welcome, the glow of the television shines from early morning to late in the evening in many America homes.  In many ways, T.V has replaced family game time, conversation and even babysitters.  According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), children in the U.S spend approximately three hours a day watching television.  Because of the influence that programs, characters and commercials can have on children, Congress requires broadcast television stations (commercial and non-commercial) to offer “educational and informational” (EI) children’s programming.  This Congressional requirement dubbed “Children’s Television Act” was instated in 1990.  The FCC created its own rules in order to comply with the CTA mandate.  Stations must:   

  • provide parents and consumers with advance information about core programs being aired;
  • define the type of programs that qualify as core programs; and
  • Air at least three hours per week of core programs.

According to the FCC:  “Core programming” is programming specifically designed to serve the educational and informational needs of children ages 16 and under. Core programming must be:

  • at least 30 minutes in length;
  • aired between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.; and
  • A regularly scheduled weekly program.

Parent’s can identify these programs by looking for the E/I icon displayed throughout the program.  The FCC limits commercial time to 10.5 minutes per hour.

If television is a must in your household, the E/I icon can serve as an initial guide for parents. 

That said, 3 hours per day X 7 days a week X 52 weeks/per = 1092 hours per year.  Consider limiting television time, if you take away 50% or 1.5 hours per day, you are giving your children over 500 extra hours of time to create their own show, art, read, dramatic play, play dates and whatever else they enjoy. 

Need some ideas?

  • You can find recipes to make with your kids here:
  1. What’s Cooking Blog –    
  2. Kid’s Health Recipes –
  • You can find book recommendations here:
  1. Reading is Fundamental Read List for Preschoolers:
  2. American Library Association List for Preschoolers:
  • You can find some children’s craft ideas here:
  1. Martha Stewart Kids –


Enjoy every moment!

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in Ongoing Journey

The Next Step in My Journey…

As my readers know, I am on a journey from the world of finance to the world of early childhood education.  A few months ago I started the research process to determine the best road to take.  I spoke with Professors, graduates, visited schools, attended information sessions and even sat in on classes.  I narrowed down to my favorite which was not hard. 

Almost two decades after I first applied to schools, and a 13 year financial career, I once again began writing essays and requesting recommendation letters.  The process this time included an additional on the spot essay and interview. 

With humble intentions, I announce that I was accepted to the program of my dreams!  June 1, I begin work towards my Masters in Early Childhood Special Education and General Education at an amazing school in New York City.  My hopes are to be in a preschool classroom soaking up even more knowledge by September. 

Not only is this a huge step forward towards my goal to open a Preschool it will also impact the topics with which I blog about.  As I learn and study, I will report here on current research, my own findings and tactics used in progressive Preschools.

What has been almost a lifelong dream has now become tangible.  It is here, it is real and I am on my way.  I look forward to sharing this journey with you and I cannot wait for the day I can post from my own school.

Here we go!!!!

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

World Water Day – A Message and Action Steps for Preschoolers

The UN declared March 22, World Water Day starting in 1993.  The WHO has made 2005-2015 the International Decade for Action – Celebrating Water for Life.  Between the two organizations, there is plenty of reading and statistics available to parents on water.  It is important to educate ourselves so we can make decisions that positively effect water for our lifetime, our children’s and their children’s lives.  It is also important to understand the facts so we can raise our children to be good stewards of the earth in their time.

For  parents:

 For the children, it may help to ‘boil’ the information down into ‘easy to swallow’ tidbits and action items.  I have done so below.

 Basic tidbits to relate the importance of a large and clean water supply to your Preschooler:

  1. Our body is mostly made of water (70% according to the Nature Conservancy.)  We need water for energy, muscles, immune system, and our brain, even to get old or bad stuff out of bodies.
  2. Dirty water can contain garbage or illness.  It is bad for us to drink.  It is also bad for the fish, the animals and the plants that can also get sick from dirty water.  We need healthy plants, fish and animals as these are part of our ecosystem (more simply put we need to eat to survive.)

3.  We need clean water to play!  A lot of us visit the coastal areas every year (according to the EPA, 1/3 of all Americans).  Dirty water causes the beaches to close.

 Action items for Preschoolers:

  1. Understand some of the basic facts (listed above on why water is important.)
  2. Understand how much water we use and with little changes how much we can save.
    • Next time you fill a bath, explain that is how much water is fresh clean water is wasted in a week if the sink is left on when they are brushing their teeth.  For parents – the average faucet gives water at 2 gallons per minute.  Brushing teeth takes about 90 seconds, 2 times per day.
    • Have them remind you to take the car to the car wash!  According to the Nature Conservancy a car wash uses 32 gallons of water versus 500 gallons on average to wash the car at home.
  3. Take a trip to a lake, river or ocean.  Enjoy the day and the recreation.  Talk about all the living things in and around the water and what would happen if the water was dirty.
  4. Take your child to a nature center.  Even at this young age they can get involved in monitoring and clean up activities.

 We can all do our part to impact our water supply.  Beginning the conversation with children early can be a great way to encourage a sense of stewardship for our water and our environment.

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in Well Rounded Wednesday

Celebrating St Patrick’s Day with your Preschooler

Have Fun with Your Little Leprechauns!, Artwork by Tamiko NicholsonSpring brings such excitement into little lives.  Once again, children can spend time outdoors and beautiful things begin to grow.  Along with Spring comes St Patrick’s Day.  This is a great opportunity to have a little fun with your kids and help them enjoy the holiday.  I heard from some of my Mom friend’s and they had great ideas.  I have added a few of my own and listed them below.

1.)  Explain the meaning of the day – Wikipedia has a great explanation (that can be abbreviated for preschoolers.)’s_Day.  You can talk about Ireland, find it on a map and discuss the culture and foods.

2.)  Leave evidence of Leprechauns – Put green food dye in the toilet bowl, green eggs for breakfast, finger prints and some chocolate gold coins for lunch, introduce some traditional Irish foods at dinner or try green mashed potatoes! (Thanks to my Mom friend’s for some great creative ideas!)

3.)  Make some St Patty’s Day CraftsDraw four-leaf clovers, talk about what your kids feel lucky about and help write it on the leaves.  Have your kids help decorate green or gold cookies.  They can even help baking.  Make a Leprechaun mask – use a paper plate, green construction paper for a hat, and orange crepe paper for the beard and eye brows (

4.)  Play some St Patty’s Day Games – On the following website I found some great ideas ( Green Clover – It’s the same as Red Rover Red Rover just say Green Clover Green Clover.  This game is played by making two lines of kids.  One line calls ‘Green Clover Green Clover send Suzy over.’  Suzy runs towards the other line and tries to break through.  If she cannot she must join the enemy team!  Have a treasure hunt!  Hide Leprechaun loot around the yard (for example chocolate gold coins.)  Have your kids find them.  You can then have then sort or count the different treats they find.  Play  Leprechaun hide and seek. Take a green hat or scarf.  The Leprechaun gets to wear it and hide.  Everyone else ‘seeks’.  Whoever finds the Leprechaun then becomes the one to hide.

Most importantly – enjoy the day and the luck of the Irish.

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in Well Rounded Wednesday

The Synergy of Creative Inspiration: Preschoolers and The Glassblower

You know those adorable drawings your children make: pictures of family, houses or that one eyed creature that lives in their imagination.  Most parents hang pictures on the refrigerator and replace them as new drawings are created.  The refrigerator in many ways is the family gallery, a way to show and show-off art creations.  It has also been a way to encourage budding artists to display their talents.

The Museum of Glass ( has taken children’s art preservation a step further.  Children draw pictures at the museum of whatever they imagine.  The glass blowing team selects a piece of art work and then re-creates the image out of glass.  The re-creation is done in the glass blowing theatre so everyone can sit and watch.  The child whose art was selected gets to take home a glass replica of their creation.

There is amazing synergy between child artists and the glass blower.  Children have no boundaries or obstacles, no concept that there could be restrictions to creating a piece.  Their imaginations flow freely.  The artists, grown-up, don’t have the same boundless imaginations however they do have the professional training and amazing artistic skills.


In comments from the parents, one mother said the experience awakened a true sense of being an artist in her daughter and she has not stopped creating.  It is beyond the acknowledgement of hanging art on the fridge; it is immortalizing your child’s creation and giving them a sense of great accomplishment.

Since not everyone can get to the Museum of Glass or have their art selected, what can you do?

Here are a few ideas from simple to slightly challenging to immortalize your child’s art:

  • Laminate it!  While simple, it makes it permanent and special to a child.  Select a favorite piece of art; bring it to a Kinko’s or Staples.  For a few dollars they can laminate the piece.
  • Frame it!  Stores like Ikea and Target sell pretty, low cost frames.  Select some favorite pieces of art and frame them.  You child’s room can become their own personal Modern Museum of Art.
  • Take is a step further – bronze it!  Remember bronzed baby shoes?  Have a favorite 3-D creation bronzed.
  • Have an artist re-create it.  If you have an artist in the family or perhaps a great friend, ask them to re-make the art with their own medium.  They should follow the exact design.


Early in life, while the whole world and all its opportunities lie ahead, anything and everything can be explored and encouraged.  Art, just like music, writing and even sport can be a means to express, it can be an outlet, and can grow into a lifelong passion.

© 2010  All rights reserved. 

Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

Three Reasons to Buy Organic for your Preschooler

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a 501c3 organization that advocates on Capitol Hill for health-protective and subsidy-shifting policies.  There two primary goals are:

  • To protect the most vulnerable segments of the human population—children, babies, and infants in the womb—from health problems attributed to a wide array of toxic contaminants.
  • To replace federal policies, including government subsidies that damage the environment and natural resources, with policies that invest in conservation and sustainable development.


According to EWG, there are a number of reasons to buy organic for your Preschoolers.  When it comes to the toxicity of pesticides children are especially at risk.  (

    1. “It is now well established that pesticides pose a risk to vital organ systems that continue to grow and mature from conception throughout infancy and childhood. Exposure to pesticides and other toxic chemicals during critical periods of development can have lasting adverse effects both in early development and later in life.”
    2. “The metabolism, physiology, and biochemistry of a fetus, infant or child are fundamentally different from those of adults; a young, organism is often less able to metabolize and inactivate toxic chemicals and can be much more vulnerable to the harmful effects of pesticides.”
    3. “The nervous system, brain, reproductive organs and endocrine (hormone) system can be permanently, if subtly, damaged by exposure to toxic substances in-utero or throughout early childhood that, at the same level, cause no measurable harm to adults. The developing brain and endocrine system are very sensitive, and low doses at a susceptible moment of development can cause more of an effect than high doses. It is especially important to reduce pesticide exposures of babies and young children so as to minimize these risks.”


The U.S Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration conducted over 80,000 tests for pesticides on foods between 2000 and 2007.  The EWG put together a list of 47 fruits and vegetables from worst to best in regards to pesticide load.  There is a copy of the list below or it can be accessed here:

1 (worst) Peach 100 (highest pesticide load)
2 Apple 93
3 Sweet Bell Pepper 83
4 Celery 82
5 Nectarine 81
6 Strawberries 80
7 Cherries 73
8 Kale 69
9 Lettuce 67
10 Grapes – Imported 66
11 Carrot 63
12 Pear 63
13 Collard Greens 60
14 Spinach 58
15 Potato 56
16 Green Beans 53
17 Summer Squash 53
18 Pepper 51
19 Cucumber 50
20 Raspberries 46
21 Grapes – Domestic 44
22 Plum 44
23 Orange 44
24 Cauliflower 39
25 Tangerine 37
26 Mushrooms 36
27 Banana 34
28 Winter Squash 34
29 Cantaloupe 33
30 Cranberries 33
31 Honeydew Melon 30
32 Grapefruit 29
33 Sweet Potato 29
34 Tomato 29
35 Broccoli 28
36 Watermelon 26
37 Papaya 20
38 Eggplant 20
39 Cabbage 17
40 Kiwi 13
41 Sweet Peas – Frozen 10
42 Asparagus 10
43 Mango 9
44 Pineapple 7
45 Sweet Corn – Frozen 2
46 Avocado 1
47 (best) Onion 1 (lowest pesticide load)


Note: We ranked a total of 47 different fruits and vegetables but grapes are listed twice because we looked at both domestic and imported samples.

Action Steps:  To encourage healthy choices at home, keep delicious fruit, cut and ready to eat in a spot that is first to be seen and easy to reach for your preschooler!

Healthy Food Choices are Easy to Grab and Go!

© 2010  All rights reserved. 
Posted in Ongoing Journey

Tech Update – Kindle Blog Subscription

 Kindle: The #1 Bestselling Product on Amazon

Great News!  You can now support ‘From Hedge Funds to High Chairs’ by subscribing to the blog from your Kindle.  Amazon has listed ‘From Hedge Funds to High Chairs’ on their blog list:  Kindle makes it convenient and easy to take all your reading with you on the go.  The monthly subscription for delivery of this blog to your kindle account is $1.99.

Don’t forget you can also keep up with ‘From Hedge Funds to High Chairs’ in the following ways:

Thank you for reading!

© 2010  All rights reserved. 
Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

People Should be More Like Dogs – Three Important Lessons for Kids from our Four Legged Friends

A friend of mine recently took a 10-day vacation to the Bahamas.  While she was away I watched her adorable Yorkshire Terrier named Darcy.  Every morning and every night (plus a few extra times) Darcy and I went for a walk.  During those times, I realized we humans have a lot to learn from our four-legged friends.   Dogs share the same child-like wonder with their surroundings that preschoolers experience.  Man’s best friend seems to approach the world and the creatures in it with curiosity and love.  Wouldn’t it be great to model and encourage some of these very same traits in our children?  A lifetime of love or hate, prejudice or anti-bias can all be effected by lessons learned in childhood.  Let’s look at how Darcy handled it…

Lesson One – It’s great to get out, stretch and take a walk in the community…every day!

While I was watching Darcy, I took 20+ walks I probably would not have taken.  I am a walker, however the cold and snow has kept me on the treadmill versus pounding the pavement.  Since I had Darcy, I had to walk outside and it was wonderful!  The cold air was invigorating and refreshing.  In the wee hours of the morning in NYC, there is a world of activity from seafood deliveries, to joggers, commuters to green markets.  Everyone seems to be happy before the push of the crowds set in for the day.  Darcy taught me to put aside routine and explore the world!  There is so much to see and so much to do: it’s a shame to not get out and walk everyday!

Lesson Two – Smell the world!

On our walks, Darcy and I didn’t quite hit the 15-minute mile pace of my usual walks.  We walked and stopped, walked and stopped.  Darcy likes to stop and smell the roses and the garbage and sidewalk and the walls…  She likes to look into parks, peak in a shop and check out stray objects.  So many times on walks, people are lost in thought on a familiar route or in a rush to get where they are going.  Children share more of this hyper-awareness and excitement. “What is that?”  “Why is he standing there?” and so on.  This curiosity should be encouraged!  Once again, there is so much to learn from our surroundings and from others.  Take the time to answer questions and curiosities.  Stop and smell the world with your child!

Lesson Three – You should greet everyone that comes across your path, regardless of their color, size or company.

Darcy, the Yorkshire Terrier from New York City is a lover of all!  It doesn’t matter the size, the color or the brand of the leash, Darcy greets dogs that pass by and shares her own dog version of a hand-shake (or sniff.)  She meets so many friends along the way instead of making a judgment about a fellow canine being too young or too old, to nice looking or potentially troublesome.

Parents can easily incorporate some of lesson three (anti-bias) into their own home environments by following some simple strategies from “Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves” by Louise Derman-Sparks & Julie Olsen Edwards.

  • Encourage children to express their emotions and work out conflicts – Read books about feelings, play games making faces to portray emotions and give them words for their feelings.  When there are conflicts, use dolls to role play and solve problems.
  • Never allow personal attributes to be a reason for exclusion or limiting children – An example of this would be a game “just for girls.”  Ask children to think of a role so everyone can play.  Make it clear a person’s identity is never a reason to exclude.  To respect children’s choice of playmates help them learn language like ” This time, we want to play by ourselves.  We will play with you another time.”
  • Help children to try all activities – Encourage all children to play with dolls, blocks, dress-up clothes and vehicle toys although they may have a different style of play.  They will experience a rich range of materials and activities.
  • Use holiday traditions and celebrations – Celebrate holidays throughout the year, in a way that honors and explores diversity.  For example, on International Women’s Day show photos of significant women in the world that have impacted the lives of children.
  • Customize December Holidays – Read books about all the winter holidays including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza.  Find and display materials that illustrate Santa’s or children from multiple races and discuss traditions.

Preschoolers can learn more about different shades of skin color through in ‘The Colors of Us’ by Karen Katz

The Colors of Us

There is so much to learn from being out in the world and being a part of the community.  Think what a difference we could make in the world if we spent our time focusing on what makes people special versus judging what makes us different.

© 2010  All rights reserved. 
Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

The Snozzberries taste like Snozzberries -A Real Golden Ticket Contest Willy Wonka Style

I still remember the very first time I saw Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  It was MAGICAL!  I pictured myself as another character in the movie and dreamed of walking into the room where everything was made of candy.  I thought to myself, I would have given the everlasting gobstopper back also.  It is still the only movie, when on tv, I just can’t pass.  I still watch it with the same wonderment and imagine myself in that room. 

Those are the reasons why I nearly fell off my chair yesterday when I learned Willy Wonka (Nestle) is holding a REAL golden ticket contest.  The tickets will be in the new Exceptionals Bar.  The prizes are amazing with the 10 Grand Prize winners getting a trip around the world for themself and 3 friends plus $12,500 in spending money.  While it’s not the Chocolate Factory, the world is an adult version of candy store with so much to offer and so much adventure (and Wangdoodles, and Hornswogglers, and Snozzwangers, and rotten, Vermicious Knids!)

This is a great reminder to share this amazing movie with your kids someday!  It is also a terrific excuse for some family chocolate time!

Call me Veruca…but “I want a golden ticket daddy and I want it Nooooooooooooooooow!”

Happy Hunting!

“There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there, you’ll be free if you truly wish to be.”

Posted in Children's Literature Series

Read Across America Day – March 2nd

Today, March 2nd, 2010 is Read Across America Day!  According to more than 45 million people are expected to participate.  Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to make reading fun. has provided some great ways to celebrate reading and Dr. Suess’s birthday!  There are reading activities, crafts and ideas for parents here

Here are five great ideas from

  • Pump Up the Poetry: Want to give poetry a modern bent? Get kids to launch a poetry slam. Especially for older elementary and middle school students, slams toss rhyme off the page and make it come alive.
  • Cozy Up with Books: Invite a bunch of kids to a pajama party and ask them to bring their favorite book. Pop up some popcorn and ignore the usual bedtime. Share stories around the circle, getting each kid to read, or ask their parent to read for them. Give away some flashlights for some under-the-blanket reading once it’s time for lights out.
  • Recruit Local Heroes: Get children to contact their local sports teams, mayor, or other heroes and ask them to come on over for a Read-athon. Seeing people they admire reading helps make it seem cool.
  • Break Some Records: Give your child a copy of the Guinness Book of World Records and challenge him to break a reading record himself! Whether it’s with a group of friends or flying solo, records are made to be broken!
  • Hats Off: Read Across America is celebrated on Dr. Seuss’s birthday because he’s the most read children’s author of all time. Celebrate Seuss in style by reading a selection of his books and creating some stovepipe hats. Hats are easy to make using a coffee can with a paper plate taped on to make the brim. Just cover in paper, paint on some white and red stripes, and kids are good to go!

There is an adorable Dr. Suess Readers Oath and certificate available to review and encourage your kids

Enjoy the day and READ, READ, READ!