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Helene Marks Early Start Foundation


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  • Wednesday, September 12, 2012 12:00 PM | Isabelle (Administrator)
    Early childhood programs with children from, birth to age 3, have been on the rise in ways different that programs for preschoolers, age 3 to 5.. In an article from Young Children, a peer-reviewed professional journal published by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) which promotes excellence in early childhood education, professionals in the early education field speak to directors of programs already serving infants and toddlers. They address the idea that younger children have more specialized care and education needs compared to preschoolers.

    Read Young Children September 2012 article “Babies (and Their Families) on Board!: Directors Juggle the Key Elements of Infant/Toddler Care and Education” to learn how practices such as “family-centered early childhood environments and policies, and individualized sensitively responsive practices” are crucial to ensure infants’ and toddlers’ healthy growth and development.
  • Wednesday, September 12, 2012 11:59 AM | Isabelle (Administrator)
    For some parents finding childcare for their children is almost as hard as picking a college or a career. Some may be unsatisfied with their inquiries and settle, but that wasn’t an option for a mother of two living in Harlem. When Denise Adusei struggled to find adequate childcare in her area, she decided to set up her own preschool. The Peartree Preschool, located on 112th Street near Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, will open this fall with a fairly progressive curriculum, play-based and child-centered, while still addressing what children are eating and environmental friendly principles.

    Read the Columbia Spectator’s feature on the Peartree Preschool to learn more about how Adusei is embracing her new role as mommy and entrepreneur while taking a new approach to within the Harlem school system.

    Find out more information about on the Peartree Preschool website.
  • Thursday, September 06, 2012 9:51 AM | Isabelle (Administrator)
    The colorful work of “ABC: My Family and Me,” was written by 100 city elementary school kids from Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn and washington Heights to create a book which includes 26 stories about their lives and families, each centered around a different letter. The book was part of spring and summer programs funded by literary organization, the Brooke Jackman Foundation, which commemorates 9/11 victim Brooke Jackman.

    The Brooke Jackman Foundation has a similar mission to HMESF, both celebrating the passion of women who believed that books and reading can help a child reach his or her potential. In the book’s foreward, penned by Brooke Jackman’s sister, Erin Jackman wrote “This special book is a way for children to share the unique stories about their family life, it symbolizes the spirit of BJF and the spirit that drives it, but most significantly, this is a book written for children, by children.”

    To find out more about “ABC: My Family and Me” and the Brooke Jackman Foundation, read Alphabet Book Created by City Kids to Debut at World Financial Center .
  • Friday, August 31, 2012 8:34 PM | Isabelle (Administrator)
    Its seems like just a few weeks ago that families began to enjoy 90 degree weather, 15 hours of sunlight, and sandy beaches. No one would have expected these summer days to fly by so fast and be hit with school just around the corner. This Labor Day weekend seems like the perfect time to switch gears and begin to transition children into the upcoming school year. However, getting ready for school isn't just buying school supplies and a new backpack. Judith Sandalow of the Executive Director of Children's Law Center, the largest nonprofit legal services provider in the District of Columbia, represents 1,200 at-risk children each year. Sandalow's blog on the Huffington Post stresses that "being truly prepared for school means that students walk into their first classroom having already developed important skills that allow them to learn."

    Read Judith Sandalow's blog "Helping Children Build Skills for School Success" to understand how children's cognitive capacity, socio-emotional skills, and verbal abilities are valuable assets in children's educational and development success.
  • Monday, August 13, 2012 8:17 PM | Isabelle (Administrator)
    When discussing issues of education, there is no doubt that achievement of our nation's children can be a reflection of teachers's work. While this is may be true, many have mistakenly put the blame on teachers for what is often beyond their control. In the article "Spreading Education Responsibility", Dr. Lane Anderson, a 33-year educator, seeks to shift the discussion of education from blame to accountability

    Students spend less than 14% of their day in schools, so to hold teachers solely accountable for every child's personal and academic success is unfair, while children are influenced by so many others 85% of the time. The article therefore calls us to be held accountable for our children's future, sharing the responsibility of on any child's character and academic development. 

    Read Dr. Lane Anderson's article Spreading Education Responsibility  to find out how being accountable in five major areas of influence on a child can lead to character development and academic progress. 

  • Saturday, May 19, 2012 8:34 AM | Isabelle (Administrator)

    This article gives some great ideas for involving kids in cooking, and reads, 

    "Studies show that children are more likely to eat the foods they grow, choose at the grocery store, and/or prepare. These activities often expand the variety of foods they enjoy and can mean a wider range of nutrients consumed. It is also a good tactic for children who are picky eaters."

    The article has different ways to involve kids of different ages, like mixing ingredients for younger children, helping with measuring for slightly older kids, and looking up recipes and planning meals for teens.

  • Monday, May 14, 2012 3:22 PM | Isabelle (Administrator)
    HMESF was thrilled to receive these pictures from Sunshine Learning
    Center, along with this message:

    "Let me hope the season of Spring finds you in good health and high
    spirits. We here at Sunshine learning Center are excited in welcoming
    the season as we take a look at Plants, Growth and Changes. We
    appreciate all you do for us. Attached you will find pictures from our
    Crazy Hats activities. 'Hats' off to the Helene Marks Foundation and
    all the wonderful mothers. We love you. Enjoy."

  • Monday, April 30, 2012 10:44 AM | Isabelle (Administrator)

    Last week, HMESF heard from a previous Helene Marks Teachers' Award winner, Paula Preston. We were excited to read about how the library donation that she received from HMESF has been received. Paula wrote,

    "I must tell you I use the books that I received as a gift from the Helene Marks award each day in my daycare.  They are delightful books that are very well made, and the children love them.  Thank you again from the bottom my heart for making a true difference in children's lives, as you have made books available…that would not have been otherwise available.  I was so humbled to have received the Award in honor of Helene and continue to be inspired by Terri Lynne Lokoff as well as Helene. God Bless!"

  • Tuesday, April 24, 2012 5:39 PM | Isabelle (Administrator)
    An opinion article from the NYT Sunday Review discusses learning self-control and thinking through the consequences of actions, and how this can positively effect academic achievement. 
    The article reads, "The connection between self-control and social skills seems to be a two-way street. Helping children to identify their emotions and think through possible consequences before reacting improves self-control, in the classroom and at home. According to an analysis of 213 studies involving more than 270,000 students from kindergarten through high school, programs to enhance social and emotional development accelerate school achievement as much as interventions targeted at academic subjects."

    These skills can be worked on at home, but the article concedes, "Children of stressed and overwhelmed parents have fewer opportunities to do so and benefit greatly from preschool programs as preparation for later schooling. In addition, boys, on average, develop self-control later than girls. Regardless of initial ability, increasing self-control improves life outcomes."

    You can read the full article here:


  • Sunday, April 22, 2012 7:53 PM | Jaime Marks (Administrator)

    On Thursday, April 19th, my father and I attended the Terri Lynne Lokoff Childcare Foundation (TLLCCF) Tylenol, National Child Care Teacher’s Awards Ceremony at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia.  It was quite an evening, filled with excitement and awe.  As you looked around the room, and recognized that this diverse crowd was here for one reason; advocating quality childcare.  The program consisted of an array of distinguished keynote speakers- Child Care Advocates, the Philadelphia Police Commissioner, the District Attorney of Philadelphia, an Army Colonel, a physician and VP of McNeil Consumer Affairs, and a representative of the 188th Legislative District in Philadelphia.  One after another, these impressive individual addressed the group stressing the importance of early childcare.  There were statistics and anecdotes mentioned through out the program, indicating how building a foundation at this early age is essential for the success for a child later in life. 

    One of the Speakers, Dana Friedman, the President of the Early Years Institute and a policy analyst for children’s issues, as well as an HMESF supporter, highlighted the impact of media and the multiple screens viewed by a young child.  She mentioned that in children aged 2-5; the average time spent with screens was 32 hours per week.  Since 1980 the use of screens doubled in these same aged children.  How does this negatively affect children? There is a major impact on social emotional development, health, and education.  These children have been raised with screens instead of engaging in traditional play with other children.  As a result there is in an increase in ADHD, kids bouncing off the walls in childcare, less attention tension span, increased insomnia and nightmares.  There is a rise in childhood obesity, asthma, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems.  There is a decrease in school readiness, lower vocabularies, as children are falling behind in school.  Dana asked all the parents and providers in the room to take a minute over the next week to determine the amount of time their children were spending in front of the screens and not interacting with others.  If we are ultimately focusing on the quality of the social emotional well-being and education of early children, this is something we all must evaluate and change.

    The evening continued with the recognition of early child care providers representing the 50 states.  The 48 who attended the ceremony were acknowledged.  The Teacher’s Award was founded in 1994 to date there have been 687 recipients.  My father and I had the privilege of presenting this years’ recipient Jessica Aquii with the Helene Marks Award. It is apparent from the success of the program to date, all the hard work and dedication of the providers, the TLLCCF, and Children’s Tylenol, I am proud to say, that my mom Helene Marks had quite an impact!  She had the foresight to create an award that focused solely on the provider, whom she felt was never properly celebrated.  The TLLCCF provides $1000 to the winner of the award.  Now, the Helene Marks Early Start Foundation  (HMESF) is thrilled to continue my mother’s vision by collaborating with TLLCCF on this initiative for the fourth year.  We announced and provided the top 10 finalists, as well the recipient of this years’ Helene Marks Award with a library of books that will be sent to each of their centers over the next few weeks. As the event came to a close, we were excited to announce that as of 2012, there are 61 HMESF libraries throughout the United States. 

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