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Navigating Your Child's Education: Ages 3-K

2 min read

All the Feelings

By Dr. Parker Huston on May 5, 2022 8:00 PM

“Don’t be sad.”

“You shouldn’t feel scared.”

“Stop being angry.”

“You don’t need to get your feelings hurt over it.”

“You should be so thankful.”

It’s not uncommon to hear parents addressing their children with comments or corrections involving how a child should or should not feel. This is especially true with emotions many deem “negative” such as hurt, fear, anger, and sadness. Though these admonishments may be well-intentioned, I believe they miss the mark on what human beings are supposed to do. We are, by our very nature, highly emotional beings capable of experiencing a broad range of sentiments. If children are consistently taught to ignore or squelch “bad” emotions, they will likely be unprepared for life. A healthier, more holistic approach is to empower our children emotionally by teaching them to experience and express a wide range of emotions, and help them learn to regulate their emotions when necessary.

Emotional empowerment has five primary stages. Parents can practice each of these stages with their child no matter the child’s age. These are fundamental skills that everyone needs. Developing the ability to identify, express, and regulate emotions is a life-long process, one in which there is always room for growth and improvement. As such, parents can serve as models for their own children as every member of the family seeks to grow and mature.

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5 min read

Intentional Parenting

By Dr. Larry Taylor on Apr 7, 2022 8:00 PM

Early one Monday morning as a principal, the Holy Spirit grabbed my attention. It was a Monday like any other during that season of my life. I went into my school's staff lounge to place yellow slips into the mailboxes of teachers that had not yet submitted their lesson plans for that week. I'll never forget: as I placed a yellow slip into one math teacher's mailbox this particular morning, it was as if the LORD stopped me and said (though not audibly), "Larry, where is your plan? You want your teachers to have lesson plans, but where is your plan for your own life, your spiritual development, your marriage, your parenting, and the discipleship of your own children?"  

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6 min read

Seven Small Books with BIG Ideas

By Laura Fitzpatrick on Feb 24, 2022 8:00 PM

Not all picture books are created equal. Though I cannot claim as many years of parenting as others can (currently in my eighth year of parenting littles), I have had enough time and experience to develop strong opinions about picture books. I've read some with my kids that have wonderful illustrations, some that teach history, others that promote diversity, and still others that foster friendship. Kids' books range from informative to artsy, serious to silly, heartwarming to thought-provoking. There are lots of amazing picture books, and there are also some I would (personally) place in the "not so great" category for one reason or another. 

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4 min read

Teaching Kids 'Tricks'

By Worthington Christian School on Jan 27, 2022 8:35 PM

It is so beneficial when parents of young students have some "tricks" up their sleeves and can teach and reinforce social-emotional skills at home and in life situations. There are lots of practical ways to help children navigate everyday interactions and feelings. Here are a few of the most common and needed "tricks" that help young students on their journey toward social-emotional health and intelligence:

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5 min read

Kids Christmas Crafts that Make the Cut

By Emily Barnes on Dec 9, 2021 8:00 PM

Like many, Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. I look forward to wearing my Christmas sweaters and getting out my late grandmother’s vintage ceramic tree. However, when school is out and normal activities are on hold, I often feel a bit overwhelmed without that familiar structure to our days. It is easy to say yes to all the fun things that this time of year has to offer, but I try to keep margin in my time during Christmas break for special time with my kids. What a better way to point my kids, and my heart, back to Christ than serving others or making something to share God’s love with them. 

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4 min read

Fostering a Heart for Inclusion

By Catherine Todd on Nov 5, 2021 8:21 AM

Inclusion is a word that gets tossed around a lot nowadays. My experience as a mother of four children—two of which were diagnosed with autism in their earliest years—has shaped my perception of and passion for inclusion. For the last three decades, schools and education systems have been moving progressively toward greater and greater inclusion for students are differently-abled physically, cognitively, and neurologically. Amazing strides have been taken to make sure that these differently-abled students receive the same or equivalent educational opportunities alongside their “typical” peers. While inclusion has been addressed on a policy and systemic level, this level of inclusion does not directly translate to inclusion among and by peers. Part of what I experienced with my own children on the autism spectrum is that even when their teachers worked hard to meet their needs and include them at the classroom level, their peer interactions could still be quite challenging.

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3 min read

Raising a Strong-Willed Child

By Worthington Christian School on Oct 7, 2021 8:00 PM

Merriam-Webster defines strong-willed as “very determined to do something even if other people say it should not be done.” Most parents, however, don’t need a dictionary to tell them what strong-willed means. Those parents who are raising a strong-willed child typically know exactly what that means and what it looks like.

Most parents know they’re dealing with a strong-willed child even if they don’t call it that. A strong-willed child is one who often resists. That is, they don’t take “no” for an answer. They often ask, “Or else what?!” And they know that there’s really nothing they have to do. This attribute often displays itself in the earliest years, even months, of life. An eighteen-month-old that doesn’t want to eat green peas cannot be made to eat the peas. They can be put in her mouth, she can be encouraged to chew and swallow, but it is ultimately up to her whether or not she eats them.

While the adjective “strong-willed” often is used as a negative personality descriptor, that is most often the sentiment for the trait when it has taken the wrong direction. Unhealthy manifestations of strong will include being bossy, competitive to a fault, wanting everyone else to do things their way, difficulty playing on a team, and more. This can result in pushing peers away and driving parents to insanity.

Strong will is, in and of itself, a very positive trait. A person with a strong will is one who is willing to step up when no one else is or when no one else will. It’s a person who doesn't shrink back or give up when all the odds look against them. They have strong convictions and are not easily conquered or discouraged. These are qualities that most parents desire their children to embody in healthy doses. Parents can celebrate their strong-willed children and encourage them in the right direction.

Raising a strong-willed child can leave parents feeling beat down at times. There are some tactics parents can employ to help move everyone in the right direction, but before considering any of these tactics, there are three basic tenets that parents must understand about a strong-willed child. 

1. It’s not authority strong-willed children (or adults) have trouble with, it is how the authority is community. The pointed finger, bossy tone, yelling, and “I’m the boss and I told you to” style of communication does not work.

Navigating Your Child's Education Podcast

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5 min read

From Picture Books to Readers

By Natalie Minch on Sep 2, 2021 8:00 PM

When it comes to the earliest years of literacy with our littles, picture books are what typically come to mind. These books usually contain beautiful, purposeful illustrations that accompany the text that we read to them. Picture books not only help to build those all-important early literacy skills but also help to create deep and lasting connections. Whether it's a book about going to school for the first time or a story about making a new friend, picture books help to expose our young learners to new concepts and vocabulary, as well as the basic elements of reading.    

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10 min read

Math for Preschoolers: Easy as 1-2-3?

By Worthington Christian School on May 27, 2021 8:00 PM

When it comes to preschoolers and math, counting numbers is likely the first thing that comes to mind. Learning to count is typically the first obvious "math" skill that children pick up in their earliest years. But as babies and toddlers become preschoolers and move closer and closer to Kindergarten, there are a number of additional "math" skills that they must acquire as a foundation for their formal education.

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2 min read

Books Build a Lifetime of Connection

By Lisa Golden on Apr 15, 2021 8:00 PM

We know that early literacy is important and a great indicator of future academic success, but there are many other benefits to young children reading and engaging with books, especially when doing so with a caring adult. Reading offers the opportunity for children and caregivers to experience several elements that strengthen their connection with each other.

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4 min read

A Time for Everything

By Laura Fitzpatrick on Mar 11, 2021 8:00 PM

I never thought physics would have a direct impact on my parenting. Yet, as my kids get older, I find myself thinking more about time and space, and I'm beginning to see these realities in a new way.

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4 min read

Oral Health and School Readiness

By Dr. Joel Richards on Feb 4, 2021 8:00 PM

There’s a lot of information to consider with your child’s ability to be ready for school and the new social dynamics it brings. Many questions and hesitations may pop in your mind. Is my child ready, or will they forever be laying in their floating carriage while in cute pajamas like Baby Yoda? Well, maybe you’re not thinking about your little padawan that way. You’re probably thinking about their emotional and social interaction skills, and aptitude for developing basic language, math, and general knowledge. Can your child perform basic tasks like using utensils and crayons, or even brush their teeth? How is their overall health, and have you considered their oral health? Did you know dental health may influence your child’s school readiness and academic success?

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8 min read

Teachers Picks: Favorite Books for Preschoolers

By Grace Early Childhood Center on Jan 7, 2021 8:00 PM

It's likely that you've heard before that preschoolers need at least 15 minutes of reading time each day. Building vocabulary and fluency, laying the foundation for literacy, instilling a love for reading, and creating a special bond are just some of the benefits of carving out this small amount of time each day between a parent and their preschooler.

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3 min read

The Gift of 'Yes'

By David Nicodemus on Dec 3, 2020 8:00 PM

If you were to ask my kids what my favorite word is, I'm afraid that their answer would be the word "no.” I say it often. I say it without thinking. I say it when I'm angry. I say it when I'm busy. I say it when I don't mean it. I say it when I'm lazy, and I often say it because it's convenient and easy.

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5 min read

Paying Attention

By Worthington Christian School on Nov 5, 2020 8:00 PM

When we hear the word "attend" in the context of school, most of us probably think of attendance. Students are marked either present or absent in class, representing their physical presence in a learning space. Merriam-Webster's first entry to define "attend" says...

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6 min read

Preschool Speech and Language Development: What Parents Need to Know

By Kim Crowley on Oct 15, 2020 8:00 PM

As a certified Speech and Language Pathologist for the last 20 years, I have witnessed time and time again the importance of communication development at an early age. I have also seen how children are adversely affected by delayed communication development.

Speech and language skills not only make life easier in the preschool years with increased ease in communication between children and caretakers, these skills (or the absence of them) have a big impact on a child's literacy and overall academic experience. As parents, we are likely familiar with the frustration of not being able to understand our littles, but the frustration will not stop there if speech and language development are not given priority as young ones prepare for formal schooling. Consider this example: if a child cannot tell a simple story out loud as an incoming Kindergartener or first-grader, how will they be able to write a story?

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4 min read

Will You Be My Friend? Fostering Social Skills in Preschoolers

By Aubre Rice on Sep 24, 2020 8:00 PM

"That's MINE!"

"You're not my friend anymore."

"I had it first."

"No one will play with me."

As parents of preschoolers, you've likely heard some of this language. As we think about formal schooling (preschool and Kindergarten) for our littles, we likely think first of the ABC's and 123's, the art activities that teach colors and shapes, name-writing practice--basic building blocks of an education. But one thing that may be easily overlooked at this age is the development of social skills.

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7 min read

Ten Beautifully Diverse Books for Preschoolers

By Laura Fitzpatrick on Aug 27, 2020 9:00 PM

As I scan news headlines and scroll through social media feeds, my heart grows increasingly heavy for the world in which I’m raising my two littles. The violence and division that stem from issues of race and justice are particularly weighty. This heaviness has caused me to examine my own attitudes and actions regarding racial reconciliation and justice and forced me to consider how this impacts my parenting.

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3 min read

A Parent's Constant Companion

By Laura Fitzpatrick on Jul 22, 2020 9:00 PM

When my firstborn son was a toddler, I had a particularly memorable bad dream. I was with a small group of familiar faces. In the way that only makes sense in dreams, we knew we needed to get to a certain destination and we were headed in that (ambiguous) direction. Determined though we were, around every corner of our journey we were met by another life-threatening obstacle. Quicksand, falling rocks, medieval weaponry—the obstacles became more and more terrifying and relentless. In the dream, I remember feeling real fear. I also began to dread the next turn in the journey because I knew something else was coming, most likely more awful than the previous passage.

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2 min read

Let the Little Children Come to Me

By Shelley Brannan on May 13, 2020 8:48 PM

Being quarantined with two rambunctious little boys and a nursing ‘round the clock newborn has been equal parts wonderful and exhausting. The gift of togetherness has been such a blessing to us as we’ve transitioned to a family of five and learned our new normal along with the rest of the world.

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3 min read

4 Fun Ways to Keep Your Preschooler Engaged At Home

By Laura Fitzpatrick on Apr 23, 2020 9:00 PM

Certain moments and seasons of life require that we stay home more than is typical. In my case, more than me or my people would like! Staying in because of inclement weather, illness, or any other reason typically requires a bit more creativity in keeping young troops from getting too restless. Sometimes I struggle to drum up this creativity. I am so thankful for the myriad of free, online education resources and activities available, but I do occasionally find myself slipping into what feels like a black hole of trying to find the right activities. So I asked three Kindergarten teachers what activities they recommend for parents and preschoolers spending extra time at home. Here are some of their suggestions, along with related links that i've sifted through...

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2 min read

Preschooler Boredom Busters

By Emily Barnes on Apr 7, 2020 9:00 PM

It almost goes without saying, at this point, that we are living in unprecedented times. Even those of us who are accustomed to being "stay at home" parents are feeling the effects of mandatory stay-at-home orders. All of the (outside-the-home) activities that I enjoy doing with my children have been shut down. For many of us, this has undoubtedly created extra downtime and life space within our homes, for adults and littles alike.

I have to occasionally remind myself that boredom makes space for creativity, so it's okay to not entertain our kids every moment of every day. Letting them explore, make messes, and try something new greatly impacts there cognitive development, even if it's not explicitly "school" or academically-related. There are many everyday activities that, when we allow our kids to take part, will help them continue to develop those skills. Kids learn through playing and here are a few ways to help them learn in a fun way:

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5 min read

Springtime Books for Preschoolers

By Laura Fitzpatrick on Mar 3, 2020 9:00 PM

I typically let my kids pick out what books we read at bedtime each evening (I hold veto power over their choices if it's longer than I have the energy for). One of their go-to picks these days is the Little Golden Book classic Home For a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown (author of the classics Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny). A cute story about a bunny in search of a proper place for himself, this book's first pages accurately sum up how I feel about this time of year:

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3 min read

Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten?

By Jennifer Denorme on Feb 20, 2020 9:00 PM

This is a question that crops up in the minds of preschool parents each spring as the next school year is on the horizon. A child’s age is often the initial consideration for kindergarten enrollment (the state of Ohio mandates that a child must be enrolled in school by the age of 6), but there are so many factors to consider as we as parents and educators try to determine true readiness.

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7 min read

Nine Books to Read with Your Preschooler this February

By Laura Fitzpatrick on Feb 4, 2020 9:00 PM

February is the worst month of the year, according to my husband (an Ohio native). The cold, cloudy days of winter seem to drag on and threaten to keep Spring from ever arriving.

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3 min read

Preschool Song Ring

By Aubre Rice on Jan 23, 2020 9:00 PM

One of my favorite things to do every morning is visit the two-year old classroom at the early childhood education center where I work. They greet me with big smiles and out-stretched arms. At the beginning of the year I realized quickly that to bond with these little ones I needed to find something to do with them each day that would be our “thing.” It would be our special time to do something that we all love to do together. A time that they would look forward to each day. That “thing” ended up being singing, but it didn't come easily at first.

The benefits of singing with preschoolers are undeniable, and the memories made through sharing childhood songs are sweet. But I had to come up with a creative solution to overcome some communication barriers in order to make this time truly memorable and impactful for these littles...

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2 min read

College Financial Planning for Preschoolers

By Kim Jenerette on Jan 7, 2020 7:00 PM

For over 25 years, I have presented to audiences at high schools and college fairs. Before I present, I ask a number of questions to better understand my audience. One question is to ask how many folks in attendance are parents of high school juniors or seniors. Invariably, the majority raise their hand and I jokingly (?) respond that for these parents, it is not a financial aid presentation night, but a financial aid “panic” night. While the audience is kind and offer a half-hearted smile or chuckle, for the majority of parents, this is a fact: families have not adequately planned and saved for college costs.

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7 min read

'Tis the Season: 10 Holiday Picture Books for Preschoolers

By Laura Fitzpatrick on Dec 10, 2019 7:00 PM

Kids love Christmas. The gifts, the decorations, the treats, and the tradition can become magical memories for them. As parents, it's such a joy to observe their excitement.

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5 min read

43 Activities to Help Preschoolers Build Fine Motor Skills

By Laura Fitzpatrick on Nov 19, 2019 7:00 PM

If you've ever watched a preschooler try to tie their shoes, zip up their jacket, color "inside the lines," or cut paper, you know this for sure: the fine motor struggle is real at this age. All of those small muscle movements that require the eyes to tell the brain to tell the fingers, thumb and wrist to work together...it just doesn't happen overnight. It takes time and practice with a variety of activities to hone those fine motor skills that are so crucial to skills preschoolers will need to help them write, draw and care for themselves as they grow.

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4 min read

Thanksgiving Preschool Books

By Jim Parrish on Nov 5, 2019 7:00 PM

Thank you.

These are two powerful words.

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2 min read

Music for Preschoolers: More than Just Songs

By Emily Chitkara on Oct 22, 2019 7:00 PM

Even if your child is not going to be the next Beethoven or Yo-Yo Ma, adding music and movement to your child’s routine can have a great impact on their development. And not just their musical development. “A music-rich experience for children of singing, listening and moving is really bringing a very serious benefit to children as they progress into more formal learning,” says Mary Luehrisen, executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation.

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4 min read

Fall Into a Good Picture Book

By Worthington Christian School on Oct 10, 2019 7:00 PM

This month's book list features read-alouds that focus on the time of year when colors are changing outside, leavings are starting to come down, and there are lots of seasonal activities: fall! 

Fall is a great time of year to discuss the natural changes and transitions that occur outdoors. Even the youngest of littles can tell that temperatures are lower and the scenery is changing. Sharing picture books about fall with young readers helps them put words and meaning to what they are observing around them.

Making real-world connections while reading is deeply impactful for young minds and developing readers.

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3 min read

Everything is Theological

By Troy McIntosh on Sep 26, 2019 7:00 PM

At some point, all parents face a decision about how they will provide for the education of their children. There are, perhaps thanks to our consumerist society, more options today than ever before. As I listen to parents talk about how they will make their decision, I hear the criteria they use to filter their decision-making. These often include things like reputation and tradition, test scores and student performance, accessibility and location, cost and affordability. These are all worthy considerations.

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4 min read

Reading and Relating: Picture Books that Celebrate Friendship

By Worthington Christian School on Sep 10, 2019 7:00 PM

This month's book list features read-alouds that focus on friendship. Learning to interact with others and fostering friendships is such an integral component of preschooler development. It is at this age that we as humans begin to grapple with and hone relational skills like sharing, communicating, asking for and offering forgiveness, accepting those who are different from us, and more.

Reading books that model these relational skills can create rich opportunities for parent-child conversations about real-life situations. Engage with your child about the relational dynamics presented in these books, asking them questions about the characters and storyline and helping them make connections with their own experiences.

Happy reading and relating!

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3 min read

Naptime Ninja: A Craft for the Non-Crafty Preschool Parent

By Laura Fitzpatrick on Aug 29, 2019 7:00 PM

Naptime. That blessed hour (or two, if you're lucky!) of peace and quiet whilst the littles are sleeping. Whether you work outside of the home or in the home, you know the power of nap time.

It's that time of the day that us parents of littles can collect ourselves, hear our own thoughts again, prep dinner, exercise, do a bit of damage control around the house, or even spend a few minutes reading or praying. 

But then it happens. Your toddler stops taking naps. Whether it's a gradual transition to not napping that involves a drawn out process of daily struggle or a change that seems to come all at once, our little people eventually stop taking those beloved naps.

Topics: Toddlers Craft
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3 min read

Ten Great Back-to-School Books to Read with Your Preschooler

By Worthington Christian School on Aug 6, 2019 9:59 AM

August is here and that means a new school year is quickly approaching. Even littles that may not yet be in preschool or Kindergarten can tell that this time of year is abuzz with stores full of school supplies and older friends and siblings preparing themselves for a fresh start.

Our reading list this month is packed with school-related read alouds that you can enjoy with your littles.

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1 min read

Walking the Walk as Parents of Preschoolers

By Jim Parrish on Jul 25, 2019 10:00 AM

As parents we like watching our kids do activities. The preschool years are especially fun because our littles are just getting to the age to play a sport or take a class. They play soccer like a herd of cats and we love watching. T-ball is played and we watch them and then break out the snacks. If it’s a dance recital, we get there extra early to secure that right spot to observe our little darlings in action (not to mention we need to record it all to share on social media). We love to watch them, and that is the right thing to do. There comes a time, though, when we all realize that we are not just watching them…they are watching us, too.

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5 min read

Summer Reading for Preschoolers

By Laura Fitzpatrick on Jun 25, 2019 9:52 AM

Most of us parents know that reading to and with our children is important. Reading is one of my three year old daughter's favorite things to do together. It's the only time she will sit (still and quiet) with me for any length of time. When she and I read together, I experience what the research experts say are the benefits of reading with our littles:

Topics: Toddlers Reading
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2 min read

A Holistic Approach to Education and Discipleship

By Worthington Christian School on Jun 20, 2019 11:47 AM

So much of our lives and society is compartmentalized and segmented. It’s easy to think, “Worship happens at church; pastors are responsible for biblical teaching and discipleship. Learning about the world happens at school; teachers are responsible for disseminating knowledge. Experiencing relationships happens at home and with friends; parents are responsible for teaching their children about love, grace, and forgiveness.” While these assumptions and responsibilities are in part correct, they do not fully represent how Scripture prescribes our lives.

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2 min read

Preparing Our Preschoolers for a Lifetime of Faith

By Troy McIntosh on Jun 18, 2019 12:46 PM

Now that our youngest daughter has gone off to college and left my wife and me as (mostly) empty-nesters, I sometimes wonder whether we provided our daughters with the parenting they will need to be spiritually healthy as young adults. I suppose most Christian parents engage in this thought process at some point. And, of course, like most parents, I look back and think of a thousand things I would do differently if I could go back in time given what I now know.

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2 min read

Sippy Cup Spirituality

By Jim Parrish on Jun 18, 2019 12:39 PM

Back in the day when my children were of toddler age, and somewhat beyond, sippy cups played a very important role in that season of growth. I call these the sippy cup years of parenting. Within those years there is a vibrant spiritual truth waiting to flow into each of our lives.

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