Head Start and Arkansas Better Chance does really amazing things for our communities and families. What makes it extra special are the amazing employees who spend their time improving the lives of families and children. As a Head Start and Arkansas Better Chance Agency, FACT could not be of service to our families without our amazing staff.
This summer, we’d like you to get to know them!
This is Tevin Brown. He’s been with the agency for 5 years and works at our West Woods Preschool in El Dorado.
His Supervisor states, “He is hardworking and he comes to work every day. He has never called in to say that he needed a day off. He loves and takes pride in doing his job.”
–Tevin, why do you like working with children?
Tevin: I like to work with them from the beginning to the end of each school year so they have better learning skills. We also definitely get to show love to the kids.
–I love that! Our kids are so easy to love and it’s a blessing to be there for them. Why do you like being an educator?
Tevin: To help children with coping skills if needed. I also like to help them learn to write their name, letters, numbers, and use all different colors. When you are an educator, you have to learn your ability of what you can do.
–That’s a wonderful sentiment, to learn your ability. We should definitely strive to lean into our strengths and it’s great you do that! Can you tell me more about yourself? Things not about your work at FACT?
–Woah! That’s a big family! I knew you volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club– that’s actually what inspired FACT to begin Staff Spotlights! I saw where you assisted Greg Harrison this year at the Boys and Girls Club. I asked for permission to share the team pictures. Greg told me you were a big help this spring!
Tevin, you are a blessing to FACT. You are truly impacting lives and making a difference in our community in a number of ways.
At West Woods, Ms. Crew and Ms. Mae’s class had a fantastic year and are ready to show off some of what they learned! We know it’s not the same as our typical celebrations, but the kids worked hard! We can’t wait for our young ones to return and are so excited for the adventures that await the ones moving on to Kindergarten!
At West Woods, Ms. Crew and Ms. Mae's class had a fantastic year and are ready to show off some of what they learned! We know it's not the same as our typical celebrations, but the kids worked hard! We can't wait for our young ones to return and are so excited for the adventures that await the ones moving on to Kindergarten!
One thing we do in our preschools is provide possible new food experiences to our children. Magnolia East took a bite out of Blood Oranges and they certainly enjoyed this new-to-them citrus experience!
Our Magnolia East location provides services to preschoolers not yet eligible for Kindergarten. Magnolia, Arkansas is also home to one of our Early Head Start preschools to meet the needs of infants and toddlers. Check our Locations list on the menu to find the right school near you!
Our friends at Kids Eat Right remind us that rewarding children with food is a No-Go!
What parent doesn’t want good behavior and great grades?
Rewarding children for good choices is an effective way to encourage behaviors that parents value. Unfortunately, adults sometimes reward children with sweets and other food because it tastes good and kids get excited about it. Even though bribing children with candy to clean their rooms and eat their vegetables may lead to a clean room and a clean plate, there can be negative long-term consequences.
When food is given as a reward, children start to connect it with something good or bad, rather than to see food as fuel for their body. In the long run, this could lead to emotional eating as adults and generate an unhealthy relationship with food. Food rewards also teach kids to expect food when they’ve done something well, which can lead to poor nutrient intakes, eating when not hungry and excess calories. And it teaches them that the food rewarded is more desirable than other foods. Non-food rewards may be a wiser strategy.
Non-Food Rewards Kids Love
Praise is highly effective and costs nothing. Take time to identify additional non-food rewards that motivate your children. If your children are old enough, brainstorm a list of incentives with them. Here are several to consider:
Playdate with friends
Sleepover with friends
Special time with parents or grandparents
Sitting at the head of the table for dinner
Trip to the park, pool, skating rink, bowling alley or movies
Time off from chores
More screen time (computer, tablet, TV, video games)
Additional minutes on the cell phone
Additional car privileges
Please keep in mind that some of the listed non-food rewards may need to be modified to follow safe COVID-19 precautions.
Non-Food Rewards at School
You may have a successful non-food reward system at home, but food rewards in school might send mixed messages to your children. Discuss your concerns with your children’s teachers. Explain the downsides of rewarding children with candy or celebrating a class victory with an ice cream party. Then, offer other options such as temporary tattoos, student of the week awards, eating lunch in a special place, additional time for recess, class field trips and watching movies.
Instead of using food as rewards, use outdoor activities that encourage physical activity such as going to the park, riding the bike or playing basketball. Show your kid you enjoy these activities and be a good role model for them to follow. By emphasizing non-food rewards, your children will strive for those.