Most importantly

"What a four-year-old should know"

So here, I offer my list of what a four-year-old should know.

They should know that they are loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.

They should know that they are safe and they should know how to keep themselves safe in public, with others, and in varied situations.

They should know that they can trust their instincts about people and that they never have to do something that doesn’t feel right, no matter who is asking.

They should know their personal rights and that their family will back them up.

They should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use their imagination.

They should know that it is always OK to paint the sky orange and give cats six legs.

They should know their own interests and be encouraged to follow them. If they couldn’t care less about learning numbers, their parents should realise they’ll learn them accidentally soon enough and let them immerse themself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud.

They should know that the world is magical and that so are they.

They should know that they're wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate and marvellous.

They should know that it’s just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practise phonics. Scratch that– way more worthy.

Make some daisy chains! 

"Here’s what parents need to know"

But more important, here’s what parents need to know.

That every child learns to walk, talk, read and do algebra at their own pace and that it will have no bearing on how well they walk, talk, read or do algebra.

That the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement is reading to children. Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but Mum or Dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read them wonderful books.

That being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children “advantages” that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood.

That our children deserve to be surrounded by books, nature, art supplies and the freedom to explore them. Most of us could get rid of 90 percent of our children’s toys and they wouldn’t be missed, but some things are important– building toys like LEGO and blocks, creative toys like all types of art materials (good stuff), musical instruments (real ones and multicultural ones), dress-up clothes and books, books, books (incidentally, much of this can be picked up quite cheaply at thrift shops).

They need to have the freedom to explore with these things, too– to play with scoops of dried beans in the high chair (supervised, of course), to knead bread and make messes, to use paint and play dough and glitter at the kitchen table while we make dinner even though it gets everywhere, to have a spot in the yard where it’s absolutely fine to dig up all the grass and make a mud pit.

That our children need more of us. We have become so good at saying that we need to take care of ourselves that some of us have used it as an excuse to have the rest of the world take care of our kids. Yes, we all need undisturbed baths, time with friends, sanity breaks and an occasional life outside of parenthood. But we live in a time when parenting magazines recommend trying to commit to 10 minutes a day with each child and scheduling one Saturday a month as family day. That’s not OK!

Our children don’t need Nintendos, computers, after school activities, ballet lessons, play groups and soccer practice nearly as much as they need US.

They need fathers who sit and listen to their days, mothers who join in and make crafts with them, parents who take the time to read them stories and act like idiots with them. They need us to take walks with them and not mind the .1 MPH pace of a toddler on a spring night. They deserve to help us make dinner even though it takes twice as long and makes it twice as much work. They deserve to know that they’re a priority for us and that we truly love to be with them.

Alicia Bayer|

October 31, 2018


During toddlerhood (ages 1 year - 3 years) it is developmentally appropriate for toddlers to try out the tricky behavior of biting.

This is normal.

Toddlers, especially while they are still gaining their verbal language skills, are working to navigate through the world around them. While also figuring out their own autonomy alongside their peers.

Toddlers bite for many reasons. They are curious. They are copying others. They are expressing emotion (angry, excited, or frustrated). They may also be teething and want to bite something and the closest thing is another child.

Biting is a behavior, just as any other, that they will test. They begin to notice that interesting things occur when they bite. They get adult attention. The other child screams & cries . They may be able to get the toy they were seeking. Biting, to them, may be a way to make things happen. And it’s an exciting cause and effect opportunity.

As their caregiver it is our job to help them safely explore the world and express their emotions, in ways that are promoting healthy self regulation and are not harmful to themselves or others.

As for biting there are many ways we work to stop incidents of biting.

•bites are stopped before they happen whenever possible. We always work to put ourselves as close to children when a conflict arises. In the case that a child is moving close, with an open mouth, toward another child We will put our hand between their mouth and the other body to stop the action from happening.

•We will also say, loudly “Stop! I see you are very [mad - upset - angry] but biting hurts. I’m not going to let you bite”.

•If We notice someone seeking out the need to bite, we will offer many other safe opportunities for them to do so.  Offering ice packs and teethers is also a helpful distraction and can give the child the stimulus that they are craving. We will also give them positive feedback when We notice they are chewing on objects to help reinforce that some things are okay to bite/chew. 

If you ever have concerns about your child as the biter or the bitee please do not hesitate to reach to discuss his very natural growth opportunity. 


Resources for more learning:

Potty Training

Typically when families reach our Independence classroom, the topic of Potty Training comes up. We are excited to be part of this skill building and want to outline what that looks like in our school setting.

Potty Training at home looks very different than it does at school. At home children have more freedom to use the bathroom and there is a parent/guardian there to assist at all times. At school, we have designated diaper changing times in order to make sure everyones needs have been met (and BM changes on demand).When children become interested in and capable of potty training, we will happily sit a child on the potty at these designated diaper changing times Then, In order to use the bathroom outside of these times children need to be able to communicate with us that they need use the potty, or they need to be physically capable of using the potty on their own. It is very important that parents and teachers are in constant communication so we can work together on this transition. 

There are three phases we would like to outline:

1. Early stages of Potty Training:

-Child shows interest in using the potty. This could be talking about it, motioning to sit down, dry diapers for extended periods of time (during nap, or at night for example) etc.

**Teachers will help children sit on the potty during scheduled diaper changing times: around 10 am and 3pm**

2. Potty Training

-Child shows interest in using the potty.

-Child has spent a considerate amount of time at home potty training. They are successfully peeing/pooping on the potty (this does not have to be consistent).

-The child is successfully pulling up and down their pants at home, and getting on and off the potty themselves.

-Child can communicate and say "I need to go potty", “I need to go” when they do.

** Teachers will remind/help children sit on the potty during diaper times, before nap and before heading outside: around 10am, 12pm, 3pm (or when waking up) 3:30pm, 5:00

When potty training at school:

-Child must wear appropriate clothing. For example, they need to have on pants they can easily pull up and down on their own. No dresses (as they easily dip in the toilet).

-If children are wearing pull ups, we ask that they are the kind that Velcro on the sides and are detachable. This makes it easier to change a child when an accident occurs because we don’t have to get them completely undressed to take the pull up off.

-Please check in with us when deciding to switch your children from diapers or pull ups into underwear at school. If your child is still having frequent accidents we will likely put them back in pull ups or diapers because that is the sign that they are not ready for underwear yet.

-Please make sure children have spare clothing in their cubbies, this is PERTINENT when children are in undies and we ask for 4 entire changes of pants, undies, socks, and an extra pair of shoes or boots.

3. Potty Trained:

- Child fully communicates when they need to use the bathroom. 

-Child is physically capable of pulling up and down their own pants.

-Child is physically capable of getting on and off the potty themselves.

-Child rarely has accidents 

-May be in underwear because they can communicate when they need to use the bathroom outside of designated times.

**Children will be reminded to use the potty during diaper times and before nap and going outside. All other times are initiated by the child**

We appreciate you working with us during this exciting time of potty training. It is important to remember potty training happens at different times for each child. Do not feel a need to rush this process as it becomes very apparent when children are ready and goes much smoother for everyone when the privilege of learning how their body works in their own time is allowed to them.

Thank you!

Miss. Cascade, Miss. Nao and the Whole Bella Mente Team