Education & Development

  • Imaginary Friends: Should you be Concerned?

    Should I be concerned if my child has an Imaginary Friend? Answer: NO, you shouldn’t be concerned if your child has an imaginary friend! In fact, imaginary friends are very common. A study conducted by the University of Washington and University of Oregon psychologists found by age seven, 65% of children have had an imaginary friend at some point in their lives! Here’s what you need to know: Myth: Children are living in a world of confusion and truly think their imaginary friend is alive.      Fact: Children know their imaginary friend isn’t real. They are able to separate fantasy from real life! This phase is all pretend and make-believe. Myth: Imaginary friends show loneliness or lack of social skills in a child.      Fact: Children with imaginary friends are actually exercising their imaginations. Research shows children with imaginary friends are very social, engage in more laughing and smiling with peers, and have a sophisticated understanding of how others may feel or think.  Myth: Children who have imaginary friends are troubled.      Fact: Having an imaginary friend does not show a child is troubled. However, if a child has experienced a traumatic event or difficulties in life, an imaginary […]

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  • Why We’re Revolutionizing Our Art Studio…

    New Year; New Art Studio! In 2017, our Art Studio will transition into PROCESS-BASED art! What is PROCESS-BASED art, you ask? Process-based art is about the journey, not the destination. Process-based art is about creating, imagining, and exploring…not replicating. Process-based art does not have instructions, or a sample end product. The opposite of PROCESS-based art is PRODUCT-based art, where children are working toward an art goal. In PRODUCT-based art, children are worried about following the instructions, the “right” and “wrong” way of how it should look, they may even become frustrated if they feel their art does not look like the sample. At Pretend City, we want children to learn through play. We want them to learn through their art projects. This is why one of our resolutions is to switch over to process-based art; where children can create unique, open-ended pieces of art, build confidence, and use their imaginations. Examples of PROCESS-based art include: Easel painting with a variety of colors and brushes Exploring and creating with clay Finger painting Making collages using tissue paper or construction paper of different colors and sizes Using stamps Weaving cloth, yarn, or paper Stringing beads independently and creatively Using unusual tools to paint […]

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  • Why are Young Children often Afraid of Santa?

    As a Child Development Specialist for over four decades, a Psychotherapist AND the wife of the best Santa around, I have some degree of expertise about why young children are often afraid of Santa.  And I can tell you that there is no one reason!  But I can give you a variety of reasons and since you know your child better than anyone, I will leave it up to you to identify which may be the reason your child may not automatically jump in his lap and snuggle up to Jolly Ol’ St. Nick. Reasons they are afraid of Santa • Normal Child Development Stages – Children under about age two have very predictable stages of both stranger anxiety and separation anxiety. When a child is handed to Santa from the comfort and familiarity of their parents’ arms, both are triggered. •They are not aware of Santa as a person – Santa has an unfamiliar costume on and lots of facial hair covering his face.  Now you and I see him and feel warm and cozy as it likely evokes pleasant holiday memories.  Not so for a young child.  They see a “mask” and costume much like we see on […]

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  • 52% of OC Kindergartners are NOT Ready for School

    Did you know? 52% of Orange County children are not Kindergarten Ready. How Do We Know This? The Early Development Index (EDI) measures the readiness of young learners. Orange County school districts partnered with the Children and Families Commission and brought the EDI to kindergarten classrooms across the county. After reviewing the alarming results, local leaders strategized to help parents and family members help their kindergarteners get back on track. Let’s look at Orange County. The EDI assessed 100% of kindergartners at public schools in Orange County, (about 34,288 children). The results showed 48% of kindergartners were on track in all 5 developmental areas, while 52% of kindergartners were not. What is School Readiness? The U.S. Department of Education defines the five domains of school readiness as follows: Language and literacy development Cognition and general knowledge (including early mathematics and early scientific development) Approaches toward learning Physical well-being and motor development Social and emotional development How is Pretend City Helping? Each month, Pretend City brings specialized programming to accomplish a variety of these developmental areas. We ensure children are “school ready” by providing opportunities to practice these domains. One example includes the home-changeover, where children are exposed to the home-lives […]

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  • 3 Ways to Ace the School Year…as a Parent!

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year…Back to School! Your child already thinks you’re a rockstar parent, but these 3 tips for Back to School can really help you ace the new school year as a parent! Plan Ahead: Easier said than done, right? However, planning ahead with your child can reduce the morning chaos. Prepare for school the night before: Set a bedtime: 9-11 hours is the key amount of sleep for younger children–establish a bedtime with your child so they can get into a routine and receive the brain rest they need for a successful day of learning! Locate the essentials: backpack, sneakers, lunchbox, etc.–put them all in one place the night before so you can grab them on your way out, making the morning run smoother. Pack their lunch: Prepare your child’s lunch the night before and store it in your refrigerator. Leave yourself a sticky note reminder to grab it before your child leaves. Get Involved: We know you’re busy juggling everyday life as a parent–the ultimate taxi service, the house cleaning fairy, the laundry champion, etc. However, getting involved at your child’s school can benefit them in the long run. Contact the teacher: Call, text, or email your child’s […]

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