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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz County

August 10, 2012

Questions to Ask When Looking for a Preschool

Tips to encourage your child's language development

Story Hours for Young Children

At The Santa Cruz Village: Wilder Dance and Blossom Belly
Resources for Parents of Toddlers & Preschoolers

Suki: The Power of Habit: Clean at Last!
This Week
Starry, Starry Night: Art & Astronomy Slumber Party
Click to view our Business Directory

(Graphics) Preschool_EnrollNow.jpgThis is for you --parents of toddlers and preschoolers!

Could  it be that your child whom you could not imagine sending to preschool last spring now may be ready?  It's not too late.  You can still find the right program for you.  Make a list of your requirements and go "preschool shopping".  Many have a website you can peruse.  Many small home daycares that offer a quality preschool program.  All on your list should be visited.  Check out our Preschool and Childcare section.  We offer only a glimpse into all that's available.  If we missed your preschool or home daycare, let us know

The calendar is full of fun events and we couldn't fit every interesting event into the newsletter, so be sure to peruse the online Events Calendar for more choices!

(BUILT IN) (Homepage Icons) kidswalking.gifRemember to Enter to Win Tickets to Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

We have vouchers for HP Pavilion, San Jose
Wednesday, Aug .15 - 7:30pm or Thursday, Aug. 16 - 7:30pm

Email us your favorite family photo with permission to use it in the image circle on our homepage! Closeups and typical Santa Cruz scenes are welcome.


  Questions to Ask When Looking for a Preschool

(Graphics) Preschool_HeartChildren.jpgUse these questions as a guide while you are looking. A good preschool has solid, up-to-date credentials, clear rules and regulations, and firm policies on operating hours, pickup and drop-off times, and when children are too sick to attend.

The ratio of caregivers to children varies, depending on group size. The National Association for the Education of Young Children recommends having at least one teacher for every 5 children 24-36 months and 1:7 or 1:8 for 4-5-year-olds, depending on the group size.

1. How long has the preschool been in business?

2. What are the preschools accreditations?

3. Do you have space for my child?  If not, can we get on a waiting list, and how long is it?  Is there a fee to be on the list?

4. What are your hours? Do you have p/t and fulltime hours?

5. What is your holiday schedule?  What other days is the preschool closed?  Is there a back-up caregiver if you are sick?(In-home daycare program)

6. How flexible are you with pickup and drop-off times?  Is there a late pickup fee?

7. Fees? Weekly/daily? Do you pay monthly?

8. Can parents visit the school or have lunch with their children?

9. What is expected of the parents?

10. What is the schools philosophy regarding teaching, play, discipline?

11. How are the kids grouped in classes?

12. What is the daily schedule for kids?

13. Is there a sign-in sheet? Are the doors secure so strangers cant just walk in?  Who is allowed to pick up children?

14. Does the school provide lunch/snacks?  Expand on the type and preparation.

15. Is there a scheduled naptime?

16. How long have the teachers been with the school and how often do they have to hire new teachers?

 (Ads Preschool) TaraRedwood150.jpg (Ads Preschool) BaysidePreschool.jpg
(Ads Preschool) VillagePreschool150.jpg
 (Ads Preschool) RoseBlossomSchool_180c150.jpg (Ads Preschool) JunebugsGym180x150.jpg
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  Tips to encourage your child's language development

How parents respond to their child's efforts to communicate is very important.  Children learn best when they are encouraged to try and praised when they succeed.  When parents accept their children's attempts to speak, the child wants to continue trying.  This is especially important when children know they have difficulty with language to have good experiences while learning.  Here are some tips to help parents respond to their children in positive ways.  Not only will these help children learn, but also boost self esteem and make learning fun for everyone.

(Photos General) ListeningtoChild.jpg1.        Be an active listener.  Let your child know that you are listening.  You can do this by getting down to their eye level and look at them.  Notice the tones of voice and body language.  This will help you understand your child's message.  Let them know their message is important to you. 

2.       Let your child talk without interruptions.  Our language is very complex.  Some children need longer than others to get their thoughts into words. 

3.       Reward your child's speech attempts.  Reward your child's attempts to speak even if you don't understand what they are saying.  You can give rewards in several ways including:

  • Physical - High 5's, smile, hugs
  • Verbal - "Good!"; "I like that"; "I like the way you used that new word."
  • Natural consequences: Child, "Ju!"
  •  Parent, "Juice.  You want juice?"

4.        If you don't understand your child, help the child communicate more clearly:

  • Smile, don't frown. A frown might give your child the impression you are unhappy or angry.
  • Acknowledge your child's speech attempts and frustration at not being understood. You might say, "I know you are trying to tell me something. It's hard."
  • Try to understand one word of your child's communication attempt. Use that word to ask the child to try again: "Tell me more about that kitty."
  • If you continue to have difficulty understanding, ask your child to show you what he/she is talking about.

5.        Give your child enough time to respond to you.  Children with language challenges often need extra time to process what you say.  You should not assume that your child will be ready to respond as soon as you finish talking.  If the child is unable to respond, repeat your statement.  Your child may need to hear it again to fully understand the meaning.  It will take a lot of patients on your part to wait and repeat if needed.  But this will improve your daily communications with your child. 

6.       When your child makes a sound or word error, use feedback.

  • Child: "look, daddy's tar!"
  • Parent: "you're right. That's daddy's car."

7.        Decrease the pressure placed on your child to talk.  Placing too much pressure on your child to talk can result in a frustrating experience for both of you.  Try to keep talking fun!!

8.        Know what to expect of your child.  Help your child communicate within that range of the child's ability.  Get clear and specific information from your speech therapist about what to expect from your child.  If your child is speaking at the one word level, you want to match that level by speaking 1-2 words maximum.

Sarah Paulson, owner of Kids Connecting in Aptos, has a master's degree in Speech Pathology and ten years of experience in Speech Therapy. Sarah's clinical experience includes the following: children with articulation delays; apraxia of speech; Asperger's; high functioning autism; low functioning autism; receptive and expressive language delay; CAPD (central auditory processing disorder); selective mutism; fluency (stuttering); oral motor delays; feeding challenges; AAC devices (alternative augmentative communication); and conducting social groups/camps.


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  Story Hours for Young Children

(Photos General) StoryTimeLaps.jpgOf course you read to them at home -daily, frequently!  There's also value in going to a story time with a group too!  The skills of listening with a group, respecting others' space, waiting turns to speak or ask questions, the pleasure of a smile from a person your same size --all add to the experiences of our little ones. The entire family benefits from an outing.  All of these are free.

Storytime at Capitola Book Cafe
Gather 'round the Princess Chair and listen to animated readings by the beloved Billie Harris and the boisterous Jill Rose. Storytime at Capitola Book Cafe is always entertaining and a great way to learn about new books.

Every 2 weeks on Mon 11am, 1475 41st Ave # G, Capitola


Natural History Storytime, Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Weekly storytime series with a natural history twist for young children. Bats. Bees. Coyotes. Anemones. Join us at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for Nat Time, a new, weekly storytime series. Every Thursday, we will highlight a different local animal, habitat, or natural history topic with stories, songs, puppets and Museum artifacts! Nat Time is geared towards ages 3-6. Families of all ages are welcome.
Ages 3-6 Admission Fees: $4 adults, $2 seniors, kids free, members free

Every Thursday from 3:30pm - 4pm, 1305 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz


(Graphics) StoryTimeatLibrary.jpgSanta Cruz Public Libraries
There's always a story time!

Baby Bounces... for babies 0 to 13 months
Tuesday 10:15am Branciforte 427-7704
Toddler Storytimes... for toddlers 1-3 years
Monday 10:15am Live Oak 427-7711
Tuesday 10:15am Aptos 427-7702
Wednesday 10:15am Boulder Creek 427-7703
Thursday 10:15am Scotts Valley 427-7712
Friday 10:15am Downtown 427-7707 x5720
Preschool Storytimes... for 3-6 year olds
Monday 10:15am Downtown 427-7707 x5720
Tuesday 10:15am La Selva Beach 427-7710 x6002
Wednesday 10:15am Scotts Valley 427-7712
Friday 10:15am Capitola 427-7705
Evening Storytime... for families with young children
Tuesday 6:45pm Felton 427-7708
Thursday 6:45pm Garfield Park 427-7709
Spanish Storytime... for 0-8 year olds
Monday 5:30pm Live Oak 427-7717


Watsonville Public Libraries

Freedom Branch Library
Bilingual Laptime: Wednesdays and Thursdays: 10:30 am - 11:00 am
Bilingual Toddler Time: Wednesdays: 11:30 am - 12:00 pm

Watsonville Public Library Main Branch
Reading together Time: Wednesdays: 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm 


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  At The Santa Cruz Village: Wilder Dance and Blossom Belly

Dance Wilder

(Photos General) WilderDance_HeatherWilder.jpgHeather Wilder has been teaching both partner dance and contemporary dance to all age groups for over 15 years. She received a special minor in dance from Humboldt State University in 1996. Among her many professional dance accolades is being named the 1999 WOR New York Swing Champion, as well as being cast as a dancer in "Swing" the movie. Her most prized accomplishment, however, has been the opportunity to spread the joy of dance to young students and to watch them blossom through the art. 

Whether it is seeing sheer delight on the face of a toddler as he bounces to the rhythm of music, watching a teenager's self esteem rise as she moves through the course of a session to recital or witnessing the jostling of grandchildren as they anxiously await the dance performance of their grandparent, Heather feels that dance can play a positive role in anyone's life.  It is her true pleasure and passion to share this joy in movement.  

Heather is also the mother of two amazing young children who keep her "dancing" all day long!  These fairly recent additions in her life help her appreciate, even more, the opportunity to teach through a place like The Santa Cruz Village.  In addition to being a nurturing environment, The Village offers an intimate dance space and an amazing play room for helping entertain siblings while a class is in session.  It was truly created with the whole family in mind. 

You can learn more about classes offered by Heather Wilder by visiting her "Wilder Classes".  

Blossom Belly Hypnobabies & Birth Doula Services

(Photos General) SusanCollum_BlossomBelly.jpgSusan Collum is a Certified Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis Instructor - HCHI; Certified Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypno-Doula - HCHD; Certified Birth Doula - CD(DONA); Operation Special Delivery volunteer; Professional Member, Birth Network of Santa Cruz County and offers a childbirth prep class at The Santa Cruz Village.

"The birth of my children, my first by cesarean, the second one VBAC, or vaginal birth after cesarean, transformed me as a woman, mother and doula. It was my own experience with childbirth and motherhood that gave me an understanding of how crucial informed support is for birthing parents. Even as a young mother-to-be, I felt late to the game for everything. I knew little about pregnancy, childbirth, or child rearing. I knew that not everything that was told to me by my care providers made sense, but I didn't always know why and often didn't know the alternatives. After years of research, study and training, I have come to understand and respect the different childbirth choices we have. I have seen the beautiful difference Hypnobabies can make in the way new families experience their birth, and am so proud to be able to offer this course to parents in my area. While the births of my children were truly the most wonderful moments of my life, I know that with the Hypnobabies tools and loving assistance of a doula by my side they would have been even better. If only they had Hypnobabies then!

Although birth is universal, each woman's experience is unique. As I have seen through the years, there are many different ways to give birth; I support my clients by allowing them the space to labor in the way that makes sense to them. Then they can look back on the day their baby was born and feel both fierce and strong, as well as nurtured and protected. I use observation, direct communication and intuition to tailor my support techniques to a family's specific needs. Giving birth is a monumental event in a woman's life. With education, preparation, and support, it CAN be joyous and empowering.

I feel privileged to be invited into the private space of childbirth by the families I work with."

  Resources for Parents of Toddlers & Preschoolers

The Village Birth & Family Enrichment Center

The Village is a safe and welcoming space for all families to connect and flourish at any stage along their journey. The Village provides an environment to learn, share, give and receive support in a community of families.

In The Village, no one stands alone.Peering in the windows you may see a prenatal yoga class, a children's arts and crafts day, a child birth or breastfeeding class. Perhaps dancing, or someone preparing for a massage. From family planning and birth prep, to new babies and the young child, The Village has a place and an offering for all Mothers, Fathers, Children and Families!

We can't wait to see you!

First 5 of Santa Cruz County

At birth, an infant's brain is only 25 percent of the size of an average adult's brain. Incredibly, by 3 years of age, a child's brain has grown to 90 percent of that of an adult. During infancy and early childhood, children are flooded with new experiences that impact their brain development. The first 3 years of a child's life offer parents an amazing opportunity (and accompanying responsibility) to shape their child's growth and form healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

FIRST 5 Santa Cruz County has provided parents and caregivers with the Top 10 Things to help give children the best start in life.  Read these articles full of Quick Parenting Tips.

Live Oak Family Resource Center

Sharing and Social Skills Saturday, August 11, 10am - 12pm
1740 17th Ave, Santa Cruz 

We all want our children to: share, think of others, and be generous.
However, adults often use techniques that work against developing
these traits. Come learn:

  • What you can expect of your toddler and preschooler in regards to social skills
  • Ways to encourage sharing, apologizing, & compassion
  • How to promote healthy boundaries in your family

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  Suki: The Power of Habit: Clean at Last!

(Photos General) SukiRedHead_138.jpg

I have a weakness for books that take brain research and attempt to apply it to our everyday lives. I think this is one of the most fascinating aspects of the time we're living in: We're amassing all this new information about how our brains work... so what do we do with it?

My husband knows my weakness, and recently passed on a book he was reading, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It's a quick read, and not necessarily life-changing. Duhigg offers brain research and lots of anecdotes to back up what I think most of us instinctively know: Habits are easy to form and usually hard to break. Except sometimes, when we seem to drop a habit as easily as a smoker drops a cigarette butt.

You can read the book to get the particulars about the research and the real life anecdotes. But what interests me after reading this is thinking, How does this apply to parenting? And that's where the point of the book becomes very interesting to me.... Continued>>>

  This Week

(Ads) SantaCruzParentFacebook.jpg(BUILT IN) (Icons/Graphics) Text_Calendar.jpgBelow is only a partial list

of upcoming events and activities.

Click on our EVENT CALENDAR.

Submit your event!

Check the Events Calendar for More Fun!


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Preschools &


Aptos Christian Child Care
Children's Cottage
Rocking Horse Ranch Preschool
Rose Blossom Nursery School
Santa Cruz Montessori
Simcha Preschool
The Aptos Academy

Twin Lakes Children's     Enrichment Center


Ben Lomond
Glen Arbor School 336.2932
Children's Center of San Lorenzo Valley
Redwood Mtn State Preschool


Bonny Doon & Davenport
Bonny Doon Community Preschool
Pacific School


Campus Kids Connection
Hearts & Hands Preschool


Mt. Hermon Play School
Quail Hollow Children's Center
Seedlings 402.3978


La Selva Beach/Watsonville
Casa de Kids
El Jardin Bilingual Parent Cooperative Preschool
Fairgrounds Child Development Center
Go Kids Preschool
Green Valley Christian School
Mount Madonna PreSchool
Secret Garden
Watsonville Parent Cooperative Preschool


Santa Cruz
A Child's Reflection Preschool
A Child's View
Bayside Baptist Preschool
Butterfly Garden
Calvary Preschool
Children's Alley
Children's Preschool Santa Cruz
City of Santa Cruz Parks & Recreation
Coastal Community Preschool
Common Threads Montessori
Discoveryland Christian Preschool
Emmeline Child Care Center
Family Network Preschool
Free To Be Me Preschool and Childcare
Good Shepherd Catholic School
Granary Child Development Center
Growing Years Preschool
Harvey West Park Kids Kottage
Holy Cross School Preschool
Johnny Crow's Garden
Junior Kumon
Lifespring Preschool
Midtown Montessori
Montessori Children's Garden
Neighborhood Child Care Cntr
Santa Cruz Daycare
Santa Cruz Parent Education Nursery School
SC Toddler Care Center
Secret Garden Too
Sycamore St Child Dev Ctr
The Magic Garden
The Village Preschool
Westside Parent Education Nursery School


Scotts Valley
Baymonte Pre-School
Montessori Scotts Valley
Scotts Valley Children's Center


Soquel Children's Center
Soquel Parent Ed Nursery School
Tara Redwood School

Home Daycare

Santa Cruz
Angela's Home Daycare
Auntie Wendi's Daycare
Golden Rule Afterschool Care


Leslie's Place Home Daycare

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 Starry, Starry Night: Art & Astronomy Slumber Party

Starry, Starry Night: Art & Astronomy Slumber Party

Starry Night and the Perseid Meteor Shower

Join us on Friday, August 10, starting at 7pm and continuing into the morning ('til Saturday at 8am) for Starry, Starry Night, Montalvo's Art & Astronomy Slumber Party! Celebrate the night sky with a variety of fun, interactive, and educational activities, watch the Perseid Meteor Shower, then sleep under the stars on the Great Lawn. 


The evening will include a conversation with a NASA astronomer, storytelling sessions, hands-on arts and music workshops, artist JD Beltran's amazing AstroTable inside the Villa, space-themed movies showing in the Carriage House Theatre, and more! Beverages and snacks will be available on the Great Lawn, and telescopes will be set up so that you can view the stars.


Bring your sleeping bag (no tents!) and sleep on the lawn, then awaken bright and early to a free pancake breakfast served on the veranda of the historic Villa.


This one-of-a-kind event is the perfect way for both adults and kids to explore the stars and be inspired! 

For ages 6 & up. Under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

RSVP on our Facebook Event Page!

Montalvo Arts Center, Where Art & Astronomy Collide!
August 10 from 7:00pm to 8:00am
Ages: 6 and up Admission Fees: $20 & up, (see below)

General: $80 Adult | $50 Child | Family (2 adults + 2 children) $230
Member: $70 Adult | $40 Child | $200 Family
Friday Evening Only (no sleepover): General: $50 Adult | $35 Child || Members: $40 Adult | $20 Child

Tickets are only available through the Montalvo Box Office at 408-961-5858, 10am-4pm Monday-Friday.

Location: Park Grounds, 15400 Montalvo Road , Saratoga
Phone: (408) 961-5858 •website


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A Stellar Experience - Star Gazing at Quail Hollow
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  A Stellar Experience - Star Gazing at Quail Hollow
Quail Hollow Ranch
Date: 02/09/2018 from 7:00pm to 11:59pm
Details: Star gazing with the pros!
City: Felton Phone: (831) 454-7941 view all details >>
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Summer Gathering of Mountain Men
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  Summer Gathering of Mountain Men
Roaring Camp
Date: Every day (Aug 18-Aug 19)
Details: Live history! Visit Roaring Camp's summer gathering of wild and woolly mountain men.
City: Felton Phone: (831)335-4484 view all details >>
Musical Saw Festival
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  Musical Saw Festival
Roaring Camp Railroads
Date: 08/11/2019 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Ages: All
Details: Listen to the world's greatest saw players ...and learn how to play a saw!
City: Felton view all details >>
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