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Esther Boylan Wolfson

Esther Boylan Wolfson

Esther Wolfson , director of our Early Childhood Development Center is an Early Childhood Specialist, who received her BA in English Communications from Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University and an MA in Early Childhood Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, both in New York City. Esther worked as a pre-school special education teacher for seven years. Three of those years were spent working in a school for language delayed pre-schoolers, which is her area of specialty. Another special love of hers is cooking with young children. One of her most enjoyable projects was developing a program for cooking with pre-school children for three special education programs. Esther and her husband Myles have three boys aged eight, five and two-years-old. While her three lively boys and her work at WholeFamily, keep her quite busy, in her spare time (if she ever has any!) she is an avid reader who also enjoys creative writing, exercising and swimming.

A word about book recommendations: The age at which a child can benefit from a book varies. Some children have the patience to listen to actual stories by age two, while others do not develop this ability until later. In addition, a child's understanding and ability to learn from different kinds of material grows as he does. In giving age recommendations, I tried to consider when it is worthwhile to start reading a book to your child.

Here's a simple and fun activity to help develop your child's language skills! Appropriate ages: 3 to 5 Time needed: 15 minutes WHAT YOU'LL NEED: * Old catalogues or magazines * Scissors * Glue * Magic Marker * Construction Paper WHAT TO DO: 1. Go through old catalogues and magazines and let your child cut out pictures that interest her. You can do this activity with all different types of magazines or catalogues. I find that children's toy catalogues are particularly great. 2. Keep the pictures in a bag or container and ask your child to pick their favorite picture.

I remember the first big vacation we took together with my son in Israel. On a beautiful summer day, we drove for an hour up a steep cliff to see one of the most beautiful sites in the area, the valley in which David slew Goliath. As we stood looking at the breathtaking view, I held up my three-year-old and said to him, "Mordechai, isn't it beautiful?" He looked at me and said "Mommy, now can we go home and watch Barney?" Sometimes the key with young kids is to "Do Less and Enjoy More." While to adults vacation fun usually includes new, exciting and different activities, what young children often want most is what they are used to.

Here is a very simple activity that I have seen packaged commercially for about 5 times the cost of doing it with materials you already have at home. Appropriate for ages: Two and Up Time needed: 15 minutes WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 1. Sponges 2. Different color paints 3. Paper (or regular) plates to hold the paint 4. Construction paper (or a thicker paper) WHAT TO DO: 1. Cut the sponges into different shapes. Start with basic shapes such as circle, square and triangle. If these are too simple, you can choose higher level shapes -- oval, rectangle, octagon etc.

Appropriate for ages: Two and Up Time needed: 10 minutes and up WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 1. Set up a child-friendly collage tray. * I suggest purchasing a plastic tray divided into a few sections with a circle in the middle. * If you don't have a chance to buy a tray, you can take a regular tray and place three or four non-breakable bowls on it in a circle, with a space in the middle. (If you have disposable plates and bowls, you can glue the bowls onto the tray.) Put a small glue container in the middle.

Looking for a way to keep your pre-schooler busy during those long summer days? Here are some suggestions for easy summer activities. 1. Make homemade ices. (You can buy very cheap ice molds or use small cups and old Popsicle sticks.) Juice or Hawaiian Punch both work great. 2. Take ice cubes out of your freezer and put the bowl outside in the sun. Have your child check it regularly and keep you informed on "what happens." Then show your child how you can re-freeze the water.

So you just read why it's great to cook with kids. Now, here's a step-by step program describing how to cook with your child, teach her all kinds of great skills and have fun, all at the same time. GET READY: 1. Set up a convenient workspace for you and your child. (Or children -- I currently do cooking projects with at least two, if not all three of my children and, yes, we have to work hard on taking turns.) If you have limited counter space, it may make sense to do the preparation on the kitchen table.

Whether an upcoming holiday, a birthday or just for a special surprise, it seems part of our year is spent choosing gifts for our children. In today's age of constant advertising - the Internet, television, magazines and newspapers - it's easy to be overwhelmed by our choices and not know where to start. While nobody but you can know what presents will most excite your child, here are some important points to consider as you start on that yearly dilemma: WHAT PRESENTS SHOULD I BUY FOR THE KIDS?

Dear Parents, My goal in the arts and crafts section, will be to give you fun, different activities to do with your child that will not require a lot of time, money or mess. These are not fancy projects that will end up on your mantelpiece for years to come. These are projects your child can be proud of and really feel that she made on her own. I (for the most part) will use materials that you have sitting around the house and usually throw away or basic preschool arts and crafts items. Here is a list of some things you might want to save and of basic pre-school arts and crafts items that I recommend for every home. Basic Items Colored construction paper Plain white drawing paper Small glues (buy a bigger one for a refill) Child size scissor (lefty scissors if your child is left handed) Thick and thin magic markers Crayons Pastels Paint Paintbrushes (thick and thin) Household items to Save Inside of paper towel rolls Inside of toilet paper rolls Soda bottles Coffee tins Wrapping paper Magazines/catalogues (especially child-related ones) Yogurt containers Cereal boxes If you have a baby you can also save: formula containers, diaper wipe containers This does not mean you should save all of these, all the time.

Q Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I have an eight-month-old son who is bottle-fed. I have a problem getting him to sleep all the way though the night, and to take longer naps. I am also having problems getting him to drink more than four ounces at a time. He wants to eat four ounces or less and then wants more about an hour or two later. He only takes two to three naps of about 20-45 minutes each. I hear that they are supposed to be sleeping about two hours at a time.

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