Why a Customized Employer-Sponsored Childcare Program is the Best Choice to Meet Companies’ Childcare Needs

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the childcare industry, causing available childcare slots to drop drastically across the country. According to a survey from the Bipartisan Policy Center and MorningConsult, more than 40 percent of parents have said that their regular childcare provider has closed temporarily or permanently. This has put a great burden on working parents who rely on professional childcare providers so that they can pursue their careers while knowing their children are safe.

Endeavor’s employer-sponsored childcare programs can relieve that burden. 

By offering employees a consistent, reliable, and professional childcare program, employers provide a benefit that assures safety and peace of mind not only for their employees but their families, as well. However, finding a provider that meets all of a company’s needs can be difficult.  From daily schedules, the ages of children served, to the education and care preferences of individual employees, it’s vital that the program employers choose is customized to the unique needs of their families.

With Endeavor’s Employer-Sponsored Childcare Program, we provide employers with a service that allows them to have a program designed specifically for their employees’ needs while balancing their budgetary constraints. Most importantly, we operate the childcare program with experienced childcare and management professionals.

Certainty and Confidence

With so much upheaval in the childcare industry, a program specifically for one company ensures that employees have the confidence that their childcare needs will be met each day. Whether the employee is working at home or in the office, they will be able to remain focused on their work knowing that their children are in the care of trusted childcare professionals.

Designed to Meet Employees’ Needs

Most employer-sponsored childcare programs force companies to fit into an already existing program structure. That’s not efficient and doesn’t meet the unique challenges of each employer. For a childcare program to best benefit a company, it should be designed to fit the needs of the employer and their employees. We focus on all aspects of the program to create customized solutions that fit the work and lifestyle of each company’s community.

Our experienced childcare management professionals take the time to understand what program works best for each company by completing a Childcare Needs Assessment Survey. Through this research process, we are able to develop a uniquely optimized program.

Reflecting Company’s Culture

We design employer-sponsored childcare programs to reflect the company’s culture. These are not cookie-cutter solutions.  We realize that the culture employers create is something special that company leaders have worked hard to create. As part of the development process, we weave the company’s ideals into the childcare program. This upholds the values and spirit of the company while providing a seamless transition to make the childcare program a part of everyday life for employees.

Budget and Flexibility

By developing a program specifically for the company, we have the ability to adhere to the agreed-upon budget that companies allocate for their childcare program. We also understand that employers needs evolve.  Our employer-sponsored model allows us to work as a strategic partner to help address any programmatic changes – such as curriculum requests, service offerings, ages and mix of children served, organic food offerings, or changes to hours of operation.

For more information on our employer-sponsored programs, read about our 6-step process.

 

Endeavor Schools Launches ‘Hybrid’ Montessori Training Program for Working Teachers

Providing professional development opportunities for our teachers is a core asset of our company. And with our Montessori Alameda Teacher Education Program, we provide full-time teachers with the opportunity to learn the Montessori method through a program designed to fit their schedules and needs.

Led by Lee Lanou, the Director of Montessori Education at Endeavor Schools, the Montessori Alameda Teacher Education Program (MOATEP) focuses on principles created by Dr. Maria Montessori, the creator of the teaching method that bears her name. This includes developing the prepared environment and instilling a deep respect for children and sensitivity to their various learning styles. By the end of the program, teachers have a solid understanding of the Montessori method and gain experience in applying them in the classroom.

To fit the schedules of working teachers, the program will include online learning modules, combined with an intensive, in-person summer residency program in Portland, Oregon.

“MOATEP is such a special training program for educators who want to become credentialed Montessori teachers,” Lanou said. “The accessibility for working adults is a cornerstone of our program format.”

Caleb McGuigan, a primary (ages 3 to 6) teacher at Montessori of Alameda in Portland, is one of the first participants in the program and has already began utilizing what he has learned into his classroom.

“Lee does an amazing job of making the subject matter very approachable and understandable,” McGuigan said. “Even after a short period of time I feel as though I’ve been able to grow personally and professionally thanks to Lee and the opportunity to be part of the cohort.”

Combining Two Schools of Montessori Philosophy

Another major feature of MOATEP is that teachers will earn a Montessori teaching credential from the American Montessori Society, but they will also be trained in two schools of Montessori methodology: AMS and Association Montessori International (AMI).

Lanou holds from both AMS and AMI, which gives her the unique expertise to combine best practices from both training methods and implement them into MOATEP’s curriculum. In addition, the MOATEP faculty will include additional instructors trained in one of the two methods.

“What this means for the adult learners is that our program dives incredibly deep into the Montessori theory and philosophy, which the AMI training is known for,” Lanou said. “Understanding the ‘why’ behind what we do as Montessori teachers helps us to be able to offer the children a more thoughtful and powerful educational experience.”

The MOATEP curriculum also contains the ingenuity and creativity that AMS training is recognized for.

“Combined together, this allows teachers to become thoroughly transformed in the training process so that they can best serve the children, which is our primary goal,” Lanou said.

“Within the child lies the fate of the future.” – Dr. Maria Montessori

 With MOATEP, Endeavor Schools plans on contributing to the next generation of Montessori teachers, who will be responsible for guiding the next generation of students.

 By teaching teachers, we can positively impact a larger number of children, which continues to grow exponentially,” Lanou said. “And to be able to give as many young children the opportunity to experience a Montessori education as possible, is vital to creating a humanity which will help to heal our world and create a better future.”

For participants like McGuigan, the benefits of MOATEP are clear.

“If you can dedicate personal time to the program, you should be able to thrive as an educator,” he said.

 Program Details

  • MOATEP tuition is free for Endeavor Schools teachers.
  • The hybrid online and in-person program currently focuses on training teachers for the early childhood stage (ages 3 to 6).
  • The infants and toddlers program (for children under 3) will be conducted fully in residence during Summer 2021.
  • Both programs include comprehensive curriculum includes the full Montessori methodology of Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, and Cultural Studies.
  • Participants complete coursework in child development, observation techniques, effective record keeping, classroom management, healthy parent communication, effective administration, and much more.

Endeavor Schools also has plans to expand the program after the inaugural year to include a hybrid program for infant and toddler training, and to bring the residency training to other cities, including the company’s major hubs of Atlanta and Minneapolis.

For more details on the Montessori Alameda Teacher Education Program and how to apply, visit the program’s website at www.moatep.org.

Introducing the Endeavor Schools ‘E for Excellence’ Program

At Endeavor Schools, we’re committed to developing the best early childhood educators so that our students receive the highest quality early learning environments and experiences they deserve. To continue our commitment to our teachers’ professional development, we are introducing ‘E is for Excellence’ – a 2-year program that provides teachers with training and tuition to obtain the globally recognized Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate and receive extensive guidance from pedagogical coaches to further enhance their teaching skillset.

The CDA is a widely recognized accreditation from the Council for Professional Recognition that is designed to assess and credential early childhood education professionals. We will conduct our program in partnership with the ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI), whose CDA program has been awarded Gold Standard distinction by the Council for Professional Recognition.

During the first year of the E for Excellence program, teachers will study for the CDA certification, which focuses on eight core areas:

  1. Planning a safe and healthy learning environment
  2. Advancing children’s physical and intellectual development
  3. Supporting children’s social and emotional development
  4. Building productive relationships with families
  5. Managing an effective program operation
  6. Maintaining a commitment to professionalism
  7. Observing and recording children’s behavior
  8. Understanding principles of child development and learning

After obtaining CDA certification, teachers begin the second year of the program under the guidance of the Endeavor Academic Team, led by Dr. Amy Brereton, Endeavor Schools’ Vice President of Academics. This phase of the program involves discussions and workshops with researchers and thought leaders in the field of early childhood education.

The resources that form the foundation for the second year are developed by some of the most prominent organizations in the Early Childhood Education field, including Harvard’s Center for the Developing Child, The Fred Roger’s Center, Cambridge University’s School of Education’s Play in Education Development and Learning Center, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

This program effectively combines practice and theory in a manner that will improve teachers’ skills, strengthen their understanding of the craft, and enable them to be the next generation of top early childhood educators.

Endeavor Schools Expands Atlanta Presence with Two New Parker-Chase Preschools

Endeavor Schools is proud to announce new additions to its growing network of schools. The education management company has acquired two former Kids ‘R’ Kids franchises in East Roswell and East Cobb, Georgia. Both schools have been renamed as Parker-Chase Preschools, one of Endeavor’s most distinguished brands. The change will take effect immediately and both schools will continue operating without interruption for the children and families they serve.

The acquisition demonstrates Endeavor Schools’ commitment to the Atlanta region. With the addition of the new Parker-Chase schools, Endeavor Schools now owns and operates nine schools in the Atlanta metropolitan area with plans to expand further.

The talented, tenured, and dedicated teaching staff at these schools built solid reputations in their communities for providing high-quality early childhood education. As Parker-Chase Preschools, both schools will continue that legacy. They will also remain accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), one of the most respected early childhood education accreditors in the nation due to its high standards for education and safety.

“The Parker-Chase educational philosophy and focus on outdoor and STEM learning is a perfect match for these new locations and aligns with their existing approach,” said Endeavor Schools Chief Operations Officer, Danielle Millman. “Children respond well to an educational style that is structured around them so that their individual talents can flourish. This is why Parker-Chase has been so successful and families in East Cobb and East Roswell will continue to find this a truly positive educational experience.”

Parker-Chase Preschools was originally founded in 1981 in Carrollton, Texas. In 1985, it became one of the first schools to be accredited by NAEYC. Endeavor Schools acquired Parker-Chase Preschools in 2016, adding it to the company’s long list of reputable schools that excel in providing high-quality early childhood education to their communities.

The new Parker-Chase locations will offer innovative programs for infants through kindergarteners with an after-school program for school age students as well. They will also continue operating with the same staff members who have made such a strong connection with families in the community.

“Maintaining these community bonds is at the core of what makes our schools special,” said Endeavor Schools CEO Ricardo Campo. “We are looking forward to continuing these relationships and creating new ones with our Parker-Chase schools.”

This year promises to be a big one for Endeavor Schools as the company is in negotiations to acquire several more schools across the country. By investing in teachers and school facilities, Endeavor Schools is bringing its consistently high standards of education to more children and families.

“Communities need high-quality schools they can depend on,” Campo said. “We strive to provide consistency, reliability, and superior quality to many more families in the coming year.”

How We Plan to Stay Healthy Over Thanksgiving

As part of our transparency effort about our school safety plans during the pandemic, we are sharing our suggestions to staff members about precautions to take during the Thanksgiving holiday.

This list of precautionary measures and solutions was informed by our months-long collaboration with public health experts at the CDC and Johns Hopkins University. Many of these suggestions were originally designed for our schools, but we re-shaped them for the home so that our staff members can apply them during the holidays. By coming back to school safe and healthy, we can continue serving our students with a high-quality education.

Below is the first segment of the guide we are giving to employees. You can also learn more about the safety measures we take in our schools every day by clicking here.

Holiday Celebrations and Gatherings in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and isolating for many people. Gatherings during the upcoming holidays can be an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. This holiday season consider how your holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to keep your friends, families, and communities healthy and safe.

Considerations for Small Gatherings of Family and Friends

Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread. Your household is anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your housing unit (such as your house or apartment). This can include family members, as well as roommates or people who are unrelated to you. People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk.

There are several factors that contribute to the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 at small in-person gatherings. In combination, these factors will create various amounts of risk:

  • Community levels of COVID-19 – High or increasing levels of COVID-19 cases in the gathering location, as well as in the areas where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees. Family and friends should consider the number of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when deciding whether to host or attend a gathering. Information on the number of cases in an area can often be found on the local health department website.
  • Exposure during travelAirports, bus stations, train stations, public transport, gas stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces.
  • Location of the gathering – Indoor gatherings, especially those with poor ventilation (for example, small, enclosed spaces with no outside air), pose more risk than outdoor gatherings.
  • Duration of the gathering – Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings. Being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more greatly increases the risk of becoming sick and requires a 14-day quarantine.
  • Number and crowding of people at the gathering – Gatherings with more people pose more risk than gatherings with fewer people. CDC does not have a limit or recommend a specific number of attendees for gatherings. The size of a holiday gathering should be determined based on the ability of attendees from different households to stay 6 feet (2 arm lengths) apart, wear masks, wash hands, and follow state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.
  • Behaviors of attendees prior to the gathering – Individuals who did not consistently adhere to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), mask wearing, handwashing, and other prevention behaviors pose more risk than those who consistently practiced these safety measures.
  • Behaviors of attendees during the gathering – Gatherings with more safety measures in place, such as mask wearing, social distancing, and handwashing, pose less risk than gatherings where fewer or no preventive measures are being implemented. Use of alcohol or drugs may alter judgment and make it more difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.

People at increased risk for severe illness
If you are an older adult or person with certain medical conditions who is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or live or work with someone at increased risk of severe illness, you should avoid in-person gatherings with people who do not live in your household.

Lower risk activities

  • Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household
  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that does not involve contact with others
  • Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family
  • Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday
  • Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home

Moderate risk activities

  • Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
  • Attending a small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place

Higher risk activities

  • Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
  • Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race
  • Attending crowded parades
  • Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household
  • Using alcohol or drugs that may alter judgment and make it more difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.

The following people should not attend in-person holiday gatherings

Do not host or attend gatherings with anyone who has COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

Gatherings can contribute to the spread of other infectious diseases. Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health this season. Flu vaccines are useful any time during the flu season and can often be accessed into January or later.

If you would like to read our Thanksgiving safety suggestions for employees in its entirety, click here.

New Studies Show Schools with Strong Safety Plans Do Not Increase COVID Exposure Risk to Students and Staff

As more data and research has come in over the past few months about the COVID-19 pandemic, many epidemiology experts have concluded that in-person school does not create increased risks for children or staff members.

A recent story from NPR highlights three recent studies that indicate schools can reopen with a strong safety plan, which Endeavor Schools implemented early on at the beginning of the pandemic so that we could stay open for the children of essential workers. (For more details about our safety plan, click here.)

One of the studies came out of Spain, which has been one of the hardest hit countries during the pandemic. The Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya study found no correlation between rising infections and school re-openings. In addition, when students or staff did test positive, 87 percent did not infect anyone at their school.

The Spanish study looked at data from across one country. But Insights for Education conducted a study that looked at data from 191 countries and found that there is no correlation between school re-openings and rising infection rates.

“There is no consistent pattern,” Dr. Randa Grob-Zakhary, the CEO of Insights for Education, told NPR. “It’s not that closing schools leads to a decrease in cases, or that opening schools leads to a surge in cases.”

She added: “Schools do not seem to be the superspreaders that people feared they would be.”

The third study came from Yale University and looked at data from 57,000 childcare and education workers from across all 50 U.S. states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. That study found that the workers who continued working in schools during the pandemic did not have higher infection rates compares to those who stayed home.

“Until now, decision makers had no way to assess whether opening child care centers would put staff at greater risk of contracting COVID-19,” said Dr. Walter Gilliam, the study’s lead author and a professor of psychology at the Yale Child Study Center. “This study tells us that as long as there are strong on-site measures to prevent infection, providing care for young children doesn’t seem to add to the provider’s risk of getting sick.”

As more data comes in, the consensus that schools can be safe environments for children and staff alike is growing.

Dr. Anish K. Jha, a professor of public health at Harvard University, recently wrote on Twitter: “You know where we are NOT seeing a lot of spread? In K-12 schools. Schools aren’t immune but we are likely overestimating their danger. We really do need to open more schools.”

Endeavor Schools’ Safety Plan

Of course, the accuracy of this new data is contingent on schools implementing and adhering to a strong safety plan. At Endeavor Schools, we developed our safety plan with public health experts from the CDC and Johns Hopkins University. You can read details about our safety plan on this site and watch the video below.

Yale Study Shows School Safety Efforts Can Protect School Employees from COVID-19

At the beginning of the pandemic, Endeavor Schools consulted with top experts to implement a comprehensive safety plan to protect our staff and students. A strong safety plan protects school communities and a Yale University study published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics has now provided evidence.

The study, which took place from May 22 to June 8, and surveyed 57,335 childcare workers at the preschool age and below, found that there was no elevated risk of infection to these workers when preventative measures are implemented.

Data was included from all 50 states across the country, with the most data coming from California, Florida, and Ohio – three states where we operate several schools.

“This is the first large-scale study of COVID-19 transmission in childcare programs. The study utilized a large sample of U.S. childcare providers, and results were robust to different analytic approaches and to various tests of exposure interaction effects,” the study’s authors wrote. “Overall, we found no evidence of childcare being a significant contributor to COVID-19 transmission to adults. This finding is consistent with previous studies showing a lack of association between school closures and transmission rates.

According to the study, a major reason why there was no increased exposure is the high level of safety procedures in many schools, which include the following steps:

  • symptom screening upon entrance
  • smaller class sizes
  • social distancing
  • frequent handwashing
  • sanitation of touched objects and surfaces throughout the day

At Endeavor Schools, our safety plan has included all these mitigation efforts and much more. In addition to these protocols, we have professional janitorial services periodically perform enhanced cleaning in our classrooms and outdoor areas and we have also upgraded the air ventilation systems in several of our facilities. We have also implemented stricter limitations on who can enter our schools, limiting entrance only to students and staff.

It is heartening to see a study by a reputable institution like Yale University show that a strong safety plan can protect school workers, especially in the early childhood education field, where children need close supervision. And given that our safety efforts exceed the norm, it only encourages us to continue doing better to protect the health of our staff and students.

Endeavor Schools Launches Learning Labs to Provide an On-Campus Option for Elementary Students in Remote Learning Programs

With the uncertainty surrounding school openings this fall, families need stability and safety so their children can continue their education. For this reason, Endeavor Schools, a top education management and private school company, has created its new Learning Labs Program, which gives elementary students enrolled in remote learning programs an on-campus experience.

Through the Learning Labs Program, elementary students can focus on their work, socialize with peers, and receive teacher assistance throughout the day. They also enjoy the other benefits of being at school, including safe playgrounds for outdoor exercise, healthy food options for lunch, and much more. To keep students safe, Endeavor Schools has enacted a strict safety plan that was developed in coordination with the CDC and Johns Hopkins University.

These qualities are vital components of a well-rounded education, especially for young children. Endeavor Schools designed its Learning Labs to ensure remote learning students have all the educational opportunities they would have during in-person schooling.

“We want to ensure that children have an opportunity to enjoy a positive educational experience this fall,” said Endeavor Schools CEO, Ricardo Campo. “Our Learning Labs Program emphasizes our longstanding commitment to high-quality education while helping families restore normalcy to their lives.”

Experienced, Talented Educators

With more than 50 schools across the country and deep experience in teaching elementary school-age students, Endeavor’s Learning Labs provide a high-quality education program led by a talented team of educators, support staff and seasoned school leaders.

In addition to its talented instructors, high-quality learning materials, and beautiful campuses with a wide array of amenities, Endeavor Schools is also offering STEAM projects and other enrichment opportunities to students enrolled in its Learning Labs.

The combination of an on-campus experience and extracurricular activities make the Endeavor Schools Learning Labs a fantastic alternative for displaced students this fall.

Proven Safety Protocols

The Endeavor Schools Learning Labs will emphasize the school experience while maintaining maximum safety standards. The company’s safety plan has been implemented into each one of the company’s schools across the country. By exceeding safety standards recommended by federal and state governments, Endeavor Schools has the proven ability to protect its students and staff members.

Staff members have been thoroughly trained in the new safety procedures and have been practicing them for several months. Endeavor Schools never closed during the pandemic so that it could provide childcare and education to children of essential workers. The experience gained over the past several months has enabled the staff to gain valuable experience in safety measures, such as maintaining social distance in the classroom and sanitation practices necessary to reduce risk of viral transmission. The Endeavor Schools teaching staff has expertly adapted to the stringent but necessary conditions that are required in schools today.

“We realized early on that essential workers would be counting on us to help them with their childcare needs under new safety guidelines and our teachers stepped up to the task,” said Danielle Millman, the Chief Operations Officer at Endeavor Schools. “That experience has given our staff the ability to provide education to more students under the current circumstances and we are grateful for the opportunity to continue serving our communities.”

The Endeavor Schools Learning Labs Program began operations earlier this month at several of the company’s schools in Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Minnesota, and Texas. In September, the program will be offered at schools in Nevada, Oregon, and California, and potentially other markets.

For more information on this program, please visit: https://www.endeavorschools.com/learning-lab-programs/

Using Outdoor Learning to Maintain a Montessori Environment and Safe Classroom

With our new safety practices to ensure the health and well-being of our staff and students, maintaining a nurturing Montessori environment has created new challenges for our Montessori guides. But these new challenges have given way to new opportunities, such as embracing outdoor learning.

Kinderhouse Montessori in San Diego, CA is one of several Montessori schools in the Endeavor Schools family that has increased use of its outdoor spaces to utilize the natural fresh air and sunshine. Although Endeavor Schools has high-quality HVAC systems in each of its schools, the use of outdoor spaces can make it easier to do activities that enable social distancing. In addition, Kinderhouse’s Jing Zhu says her children experience a calming and stabilizing effect, which can be conducive for concentration and learning.

“The outdoor environment provides children with more natural and milder stimulation in a way the children probably won’t be over or under-stimulated,” Zhu said. “Children just love to be outside. Most of my toddlers are exhilarated when it is the time to be out.”

Outdoor learning is not a novel idea when it comes to a Montessori setting. In fact, Dr. Maria Montessori advocated for outdoor learning during the course of her research.

In The Discovery of the Child, Montessori wrote: “Let the children be free; encourage them; let them run outside when it is raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and, when the grass of the meadows is damp with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet; let them rest peacefully when a tree invites them to sleep beneath its shade; let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning as it wakes every living creature that divides its day between waking and sleeping.”

Dr. Amy Brereton, the Vice President of Academics at Endeavor Schools, said outdoor learning activities have been implemented throughout the Endeavor Schools network.

“We promote guided explorations in the natural world whenever possible,” Brereton said. “These explorations may be aimed at learning specific science content, such as plant and animal biology, geology, habitats, astronomy, physics, etc. Also, explorations could have more to do with geography (cartography, terrain, hydrology etc.) or sociology (animal social behaviors, outdoor occupations, community planning etc.).

Tinkering outdoors to learn STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) is another way Endeavor Schools utilizes the outdoors for learning.

“Tinkering involves providing children with a variety of loose part materials that they can use to build endless creations,” Brereton said. “Children have used planks and tubes to make ramps and pathways for balls or trucks (physics, engineering); cardboard or boards to make buildings (engineering, math); ropes, tarps and poles to make tents (engineering, math); and a variety of materials to craft simple machines (technology, math, engineering).”

She adds: “Most children do not consider their creations to be complete until they have taken the time to decorate them (art). These types of projects are well suited for the outdoors because the open space makes large scale creation possible.”

There are also the many benefits of unstructured outdoor activity outdoors, which gives children a chance to rest their minds and process all the material they have been soaking up in school and life.

“While schools across the country are choosing to shorten or eliminate recess, we are choosing to offer children more unstructured time outdoors,” Brereton said. “When children’s brains are working hard to master content, they need breaks. These breaks offer the brain time to file information.”

Pedagogists have done a great deal of research on the benefits of recess. These include increased focus; fewer behavioral issues; improved cognitive function; increased social and emotional growth; and improved physical health, such as stronger immune systems.

“A strong Montessori program supports children’s unstructured engagement with the outdoor environment in the form of recess or ‘brain breaks,’” Brereton said. “The younger the child, the more often they need such breaks.”

Recess is vital for the mental, as well as physical health, in a Montessori setting, according to Lee Lanou, the Director of Montessori Education at Endeavor Schools.

“Dr. Montessori knew, and research confirms, that movement is essential for the growth of a child’s intelligence,” Lanou said. “Movement in nature not only strengthens their muscles but also aids in the development of auditory discrimination, visual cues for depth perception, balance, coordination, agility, and it offers a rich variety of sensory stimuli for the young child’s absorbent mind.”

And most importantly, children experience more joy and happiness throughout the day then they have time outdoors.

When describing her children learning outside on a recent beautiful San Diego day at Kinderhouse Montessori, Zhu said: “Their faces are just glowing, their eyes are shining, and I feel like we are in love with the playground and each other.”

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Anti-Bias Resources for the Endeavor Family

In the midst of two pandemics, COVID-19 and systematic racism, we need to ask what changes we are capable of making to bring about the world we want, and our children deserve. Below is a list of guidelines that we use to promote equality and tolerance in our schools.

One of the most powerful ways that we can support children’s appreciation of diversity and respect for differences is to walk the walk.

Many of us lead segregated lives without even being aware of it. Children as young as 6 months of age are aware of racial differences. Professor Kang Lee from the University of Toronto says that lack of exposure to racial diversity may cause racial bias in infants. Do you and your children have the opportunity to engage with a diverse group of friends and professionals in your community? Does the literature in your home include a diverse representation of experts, heroes and characters? Building book collections that celebrate diversity can be challenging due to the centuries of racial and gender inequality that have resulted in there being a lot more white and male protagonists in children’s literature than any other demographic. This said, there are so many new and wonderful books coming out (a list of titles can be found below). You can take inventory of the books in your home and seek to get a healthy balance of representation.

Talk about differences.

A child is never too young to talk about racial differences. Because many of us feel uncomfortable talking about race we opt to be ‘color silent’. In the absence of helpful conversations about race with trusting adults, children develop their own theories based on images and experiences that may be unhelpful. Instead, talk about race. Help children to understand why people look different and affirm the beauty and power of all races.

While children of any age can engage in conversations about racism, the conversation should be age appropriate.

Young children are very concrete in their processing of information. Talk about behavior that is hurtful versus helpful and do not give them more details or information than they
can handle. Concepts like murder are difficult for young children to understand, but they do understand the notion of ‘hurting someone’s body’ and doing and saying things that lead to sad and angry feelings. Older preschoolers and elementary age children are keenly aware of the bad feeling of something being unfair. Upper elementary children and adolescents are ready to deeply discuss the concepts of justice, equity and civil disobedience. All children, especially young children, need examples of what TO DO not just what not to do. Beverly Daniel Tatum encourages us to highlight the allies and resistors who confront racism.

Respond to incidents of prejudice by focusing on feelings and pushing back against stereotypes.

Incidents of prejudice can be powerful learning opportunities for children, including children who may be perpetuating stereotypes. Start by comforting the target of the bias, encouraging them to name their emotions. Then, reject the stereotype by offering counter examples (i.e. superheroes, princesses, Jedi, presidents and wizards can be people of any race).

The goal is for the children to develop their own sense of appreciation of diversity, to develop helpful strategies to advocate for others, to identify and speak against the hurting, belittling or marginalizing of others and seek to consistently strive to be aware of and confront their own biases.

A few links are offered below as resources in our quest to continue to educate our children, students, and ourselves and stand up for equity and social justice.

Resources for Talking about Race, Racism, and Racialized Violence with Kids: This document was compiled by the Center for Racial Justice in Education
Anti-racism Resources for White People: a large compilation of resources for white people and parents to deepen their work in anti-racism.
Teaching Tolerance: Teaching about race, racism, and police violence. Includes classroom resources such as: lessons, learning plans, tasks for children by grade level, teaching strategies, posters, readings, and films.
How You Can Be an Ally in the Fight for Social Justice: Activist DeRay Mckesson explains how we can all show up and stand up.
Social Justice Standards (K-12), Age-appropriate learning outcomes are divided into four domains: Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action. Free to download the Standards.
JenCort.com: Jen Cort is a dynamic school consultant who “invites the elephants in the room to tea.” She works with teachers, school leaders, and students and focuses on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. (Blog, podcast, workshops, school consultations)
Anti-Bias Education Booklists: Selection of multi-cultural and social justice books for children, young adults, and educators
Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books: from Teaching for Change – Building Social Justice Starting in the Classroom
• Instagram @theconsciouskid

Resources for Educators of Young Children (birth through 3rd grade)

NAEYC Resources: Resources from the National Association for the Education of Young Children
Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves book – excellent resource for Early Childhood educators
Interacting with Children and Youth on Issues of Diversity and Bias: The first few pages of this PDF from the Partnership Against Hate address how children develop attitudes about race in the first few years of life
Coping with Violence: Compilation of online resources for parents, teachers, and others working with young children.
Protecting Children from Extreme Screen Violence: Blog post about protecting children from screen violence
Becoming Upended: Teaching and Learning about Race and Racism with Young Children and Their Families: NAEYC article

Resources for Educators of 4th through 12th graders

Helping Students Make Sense of News Stories about Bias and Injustice: Resources from the Anti-Defamation League
Interacting with Children and Youth on Issues of Diversity and Bias: Great instructional PDF from the Partnership Against Hate
Array Now: Started by Ava DuVernay, director of Now They See Us, this is a compilation of African American independent films-an array of stories and voices.
A Collection of Resources for Teaching Social Justice: from Cult Pedagogy

Race-Equity Books for Toddler – High School

Toddler/Early Elementary (Baby-Pre-K-2nd Grade):

• A is for Activism by Innosanto Nagara
• Woke Baby by Mahogany L. Browne and Theodore Taylor III
• Counting on Community by Innosanto Nagara
• Brick by Brick by Giuliano Ferry
• Nursery Rhymes for Social Good: Alternative Poems for Future Activists by Holly
Elizabeth Olsen and Elie Galih
• An ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing and Paulina Morgan
• Skin Again by Bell Hooks
• Shades of People by Shelley Rotner
• The Skin I’m In: A First Look at Racism by Pat Thomas
• The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
• The Skin You Live in by Michael Tyler
• We’re Different, We’re the Same by Bobbi Kates
• All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
• Skin Like Mine by LaTishia M. Perry
• Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi
• Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena
• I am Enough by Grace Beyers
• I Believe I can by Grace Beyers
• Hey, Black Child! by Useni Eugene Perkins
• The Undefeated (Caldecott Medal Book) by Kwame Alexander
• Teach Your Dragon About Diversity: Train Your Dragon To Respect Diversity by
Steve Herman
• Hands Up! By Breana J. McDaniel
• Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship by Irene Latham
• A Kid’s Book About Racism by Jelani Memory
• Let the Children March by Monica Clark Robinson
• Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh
Elementary- (3rd Grade-5th Grade)
Nonfiction
• Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester
• Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness (Ordinary Terrible Things) by Anastasia
Higginbotham
• Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by
Marianne Celano, PHD
• Our Future: How Kids Are Taking Action (How Kids Are Making a Difference) by
Janet Wilson
• We Are the Change: Words of Inspiration from Civil Rights Leaders (Books for Kid
Activists, Activism Book for Children) by Harry Belafonte
• Teach Your Dragon About Diversity: Train Your Dragon To Respect Diversity by
Steve Herman
• How to Make a Better World: For Every Kid Who Wants to Make a Difference by
Keilly Swift
• Kid Activists: True Tales of Childhood from Champions of Change (Kid
Legends) by Robin Stevenson and Allison Steinfeild
• I Know My Rights: A Children’s Guide to the Bill of Rights and Individual
Liberty by Rory Margraf
• Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! by Marley Dias
• Civil Rights Then and Now: A Timeline of the Fight for Equality in America by
Kristina Brooke Daniele
• When a Bully is a President: Truth and Creativity for Oppressive Times by Maya
Gonzalez
• The Power Book: What is it? Who Has it? And Why? By Claire Saunders

Fiction

• Watson’s Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis
• Ghost Boy by Jewell Parker Rhodes
• For Black Girls Like Me by Mariama Lockington
• Clean Getaway by Nic Stone
• A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee
• Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood

Older Kids (Middle School-High School)

Fiction

• Watson’s Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis
• Monster by Walter Dean Meyers
• The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
• Ghost Boy by Jewell Parker Rhodes
• Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan
• Dear Martin by Nic Stone
• Clean Getaway by Nic Stone
• A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee
• Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Renee Watson
• Count Me In by Varsha Bajaj
• Crow by Barbara Wright
• Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
• All American Boys by Jason Reynolds
• How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon
• I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones

Non Fiction

• Tell Me Who You Are by Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi
• Racial Profiling: Everyday Inequality by
• Rise Up: Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories by Amanda Li
• Young Revolutionary: A Teen’s Guide to Activism by Chanice Lee
• This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The
Work by Tiffany Jewell
• We Are the Change: Words of Inspiration from Civil Rights Leaders (Books for Kid
Activists, Activism Book for Children) by Harry Belafonte
• Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America by Ibi Zoboi, Tracey
Baptiste, et al.
• How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation by Maureen Johnson
• Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time by Tanya Lee Stone
• You Are Mighty: A Guide to Changing the World by Caroline Paul
• Girls Resist!: A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution by
KaeLyn Rich
• Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! by Marley Dias
• Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices Edited by Mitali Perkins

Graphic Novels

• March (Trilogy Slipcase Set) by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
• New Kid by Jerry Craft
• I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina
• Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown