Kindergarten Students With These 2 Skills are Twice as Likely to Obtain a College Degree (And they Have Nothing to do with Reading)

The good news is, every child is capable of learning these skills--we just have to teach them.

By Amy MorinAuthor, "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do"@AmyMorinLCSW

Your child's skills at age 5 matter more than you think.

CREDIT: Getty Images

It's hard to believe that what your child knows at age 5 could influence his future chances of success. But that's exactly what a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found.

But researchers discovered that the skills that predict future success had nothing to do with reading or writing. Instead, they say your child's social and emotional skills are what determine how likely your child is to go to college rather than end up in jail.

What the Research Found

Researchers from Penn State and Duke University interviewed kindergarten teachers about children's social and emotional competence. The teachers weighed in on how well the kids shared, listened to others, resolved problems with their peers, and were helpful.

Then researchers followed up with the kids once they became young adults to see what happened to them. They discovered that the kids with the highest social and emotional competency scores in kindergarten fared better overall.

For every one-point increase in children's social competency scores in kindergarten, they were twice as likely to obtain college degrees. They were also more likely to have full-time jobs by age 25.

But the kids who had trouble cooperating, listening, and resolving conflict were less likely to finish high school--let alone college. They were more likely to have legal problems and substance abuse issues.

For every one-point decrease in social competency at age 5, a child had a 67 percent higher chance of being arrested in early adulthood. A one-point decrease also meant a child had a 52 percent higher rate of binge drinking and an 82 percent higher chance of living in public housing (or at least being on the waitlist).

Social and Emotional Skills Can Be Taught

With all the evidence that supports the importance of social and emotional skills, isn't it incredible to think that we still pour most of our resources into teaching kids academic skills? From Baby Einstein music to flash cards for toddlers, there are tons of products on the market that promise to help your kids succeed.

But none of those products will actually help your kids become emotionally competent. You have to teach those skills yourself--your kids won't learn them in school.

And don't panic if your child is already past kindergarten. You can teach those skills at any time--but it's important to give kids the opportunities to practice using their skills firsthand.

How to Teach Kids Emotional and Social Skills

In my book 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do, I outline specific exercises that teach kids of all ages how to manage their emotions and sharpen their social skills. With regular practice, kids can develop the mental muscle they need to reach their greatest potential.

Here are a few simple strategies that can help your child begin to gain emotional competence:

  • Label your child's feelings. Say things like "It looks like you're feeling sad today" or "I can tell you are mad right now." Eventually, your child will learn to verbalize his feelings on his own.

  • Validate your child's feelings. Resist the urge to say things like "Calm down--it's not a big deal." Instead, say, "I know you're really upset right now." Regardless of whether you think his emotional response is out of proportion to the situation, teach your child that it's OK to have big feelings.

  • Make empathy faces.  Say, "Make a face that shows me how that boy felt when you hit him." When your child makes a sad or angry face, he'll actually experience that emotion for a moment. And he'll develop more empathy--which is a key ingredient in social success.

  • Let your child experience uncomfortable emotions. It's healthy to feel bored, angry, scared, or lonely sometimes. Teach healthy coping strategies to deal with discomfort, and coach your kids as they practice. With your support, they can learn that uncomfortable emotions are tolerable.

  • Correct the behavior, not the emotion. Make it clear that angry feelings are OK but aggressive behavior isn't. And teach your child that it's OK to feel sad but screaming at the top of her lungs in the grocery store isn't OK. Use discipline that teaches better ways to deal with emotions.

Incorporate Skill Building Into Your Daily Life

Whether your child is 4 or 14, make mental strength training a part of your daily lives. By making it a family activity, you'll also sharpen your skills (or perhaps learn some new ones for yourself). And you'll be giving your child the tools she needs to reach her greatest potential.

January 2019 Newsletter

January 2019 Newsletter

January Dates:

January 1 – No School – New Year’s Day

January 3 & 4 - Tuition Due

January 7 – In-house Registration Begins

January 21 – No School – MLK Day

January 28 – No School

January 29 – Alumni Registration Begins


February Date:

February 8 – Ice Cream Social 4 -5:30

February 4 – Community Registration Begins


January Snacks:

The children will enjoy the following snacks this month: Graham crackers and apple juice, goldfish and juice, Nilla Wafers and peach halves, cinnamon bread and cream cheese, Saltine crackers and cheese slices.


Parent-Teacher Conferences

The 2, 3 and 4-year-old classes will have their parent-teacher conferences in January and February. Please check your classroom bulletin board for conference date and sign up for your conference time. Conferences will be held on the second floor in the library. Children will have a regular school day on their conference day, a substitute will be in the classroom for the teacher.


January 15 – Mrs. Schaefer T/Th class

January 16 – Mrs. Schaefer MWF class

January 17 – Mrs. Lyon T/Th class

January 18 – Mrs. Lyon MWF class

January 24 – Mrs. Campbell – T/Th class

January 25 – Mrs. Campbell – MWF class

January 30 - Mrs. Carbin’s class

January 31 – Mrs. Temenak’s class

February 1 – Mrs. Siff’s class


4CCN Snow Policy

4 Corners Community Nursery follows the Montgomery County School’s closing policy.  MCPS will notify radio and television stations of the decision, usually by 6am.  If it is necessary to close school early, 4CCN will close at 11:45 am.  When MCPS is delayed by two hours, 4CCN will open at 11:15 am and remain open until 1:15 for ALL ages.



Tax Forms

Some of you may be able to use child care expenses as a deduction on your income tax.  If this is the case, please stop by the office for more information.


In House Registration

Registration forms for the 2019-2020 school year have gone home with the 2 & 3-year olds. If you need additional forms, please stop by the office to pick some up. Registration will begin on Monday, January 7th at 9:00 am. Registration is first come first served.


Alumni/Community Registration

Registration for past 4CCN families will be the week of January 29th.

All registration is on a first come first served basis.


Once again the 4CCN community did not disappoint!  Thank you all very much for your generous donations of food for the Luther Rice Food Bank.  Your donations were very much appreciated by the Church.


Holiday Dinner Boxes

I would like to express my sincere thanks to the families participated in the Holiday Dinner box gift.  Your generosity has helped needy families in this community. Thanks to all of you who have helped those in need through this program and Stuff-A-Truck.


Outdoor Play

We will continue to go outside everyday as long as the weather is not too extreme.  Please continue to dress your children in warm clothes, coats, hats and mittens. Please label all garments.


Children’s Yoga Class

Audrey Ho is a former 4CCN parent who is in the process of getting her certification for children’s yoga.  She will be teaching some classes with our children at the beginning of January. Many thanks to Audrey for sharing your talents with our children.


4 Corners Community Ice Cream Social

Our 8th Annual Ice Cream Social will be held on Friday, February 8th. The event will take place in the Social Hall from 4-5:30. The children and families can make their own sundaes and sing and dance with John Henry England.

Look for more information on how you can help out on your classroom bulletin board in the coming weeks.


Help You Child Learn to Make Choices

Do you ever wonder why you child says “no” so often? Saying n is how your child first learns to make choices. Like adults, children like to feel in control of what they do. When children make their own choices, they learn about themselves, how to make good decisions, and lets them know that you trust them.  And, being able to make choices help children avoid peer pressure when they are older.  Allowing children to make choices does not mean that they are allowed to do whatever they want. Below are tips on ways to help your child make choices that work for him/her and for you.



·         Give your child a toy that makes different sounds and has different features. Let her see what happens when she pushes the buttons and pulls the levers.

·         Put three toys within reach of your child. Let him choose the toy(s) to play with. Your child may pick up the toys, look at, and play with them one or all of them.


·         When helping your toddler get dressed in the morning, give her choices. At first, give clear choices. For example:

·         Show two shirts and say, “You can wear the blue shirt or the red shirt today. Which one do you want to wear?”

·         Show tow pairs of shoes and say, “Do you want to wear sneakers or sandals?”

Then ask, “Which shoe do you want to put on first – the right or the left one?”

·         Ask your toddler to pick out two bedtime stories to read together.


·         Let you child help you make lunch. Give her several choices” “Do you want a banana or an apple?” or “Do you ant a cheese and crackers or a cheese sandwich?”

·         When playing with your child, let her choose the games or toys to play with. She will love the chance to play her favorite game with you.

·         Let your child decide in which order he will accomplish tasks. For example, at bedtime, say: “It’s time to get ready for bed. Do you want to brush your teeth or wash your face first?”


December 2018 Newsletter

December Dates:

December 6 & 7 – Tuition Due

Friday, December 7 – 4CCN Stuff-A-Truck

Monday, December 24 –Monday, January 1 – Winter Break


January 2019

Monday, January 1, 2018 – No School

Monday, January 7 – In-house registration begins

Monday, January 21 – No School, MLK Birthday

Monday, January 28 – No School

Tuesday, January 29 – Alumni Registration Begins



We are cleaning out the cupboard this month.  The children will be enjoying the following snacks this month; cookies and fruit, crackers and juice and goldfish and juice.


Dressing for School

Cold weather is on its way and we will continue to go outside unless the weather is extreme.  This is a pleasant experience if your child is properly dressed.  Please make sure that your child has a warm coat, pants, hat and mittens – all labeled with their names.


Winter Break

The school and offices will close at the end of the school day on Friday, December 21st and will reopen on Wednesday, January 2, 2019. Whether you are staying close to home or traveling, have a safe and wonderful holiday!


12th Annual Stuff-A-Truck

Since 2007, 4 Corners Community Nursery has collected non-perishable, not expired food donations for the needy in our area. In the past, the families have been very generous.  Again, this year, we will have a truck parked at the front door for “stuffing” on Friday, December 7th.   Luther Rice Memorial Baptist Church has provided food and clothing for the needy in this area for the past 30 years. All donations will go directly to LRMBC food pantry. This food goes directly back to those who live in our community.  Your support is greatly appreciated.  Thank you!



Holiday Dinner Boxes for the Community

Families have another opportunity to help the needy in our community. The dinner box serves a family of six including $20.00 gift card or a canned ham, potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegetables, fruit, sweet potatoes, stuffing, gravy, dinner rolls, a baked good and anything else you would like to include.  If you are interested in making a Christmas dinner basket for a family, please stop by the office for information.

In-house Registration

In-house registration will begin on Monday, January 7th at 9am. Registration forms will be sent home with 2 & 3-year olds the week of January 2nd.  Extra forms will be available in the school office.  We will offer an on-line registration through our web site as well.

Alumni registration will begin on Tuesday, January 29th – families who have had children here in the past and do not currently have a child enrolled.

All registration is first come first served.

We get so much positive feedback from the community! Thank you all for telling your friends about 4CCN.


4CCN Moving to On-line Registration

This year we have 2 options to register for 2019-2020 school year. Paper registration forms will be distributed the week of January 2nd, when we return from winter break. We also have an on-line option to register. Go to our web site and click on the Enroll Now tab, complete the registration form and pay through PayPal.  All registration is on a first come, first served basis.


4CCN Tours for Prospective Families

We are currently scheduling appointments for tours. Tours are on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Please spread the word to your friends about 4CCN. Word of mouth is our best advertising.


January Conferences

Parent/teacher conferences will begin in January. Please check your classroom bulletin board for information regarding your child’s conference day. Each teacher will have a sign-up sheet with day of conference, you will need to sign up for a time slot. Conferences are about 20 minutes in length and will be held upstairs in the church library.  Your child will have a regular school day during conferences, a substitute will be in the classroom with the other teacher that day.


Ice Cream Social

Join us for some fun!  The annual Ice Cream Social will be on Friday, February 8th from 4 – 5:30 pm.  Make your own sundaes while John Henry England entertains us with his music. More details will follow in January.

2019-2020 Tuition

We will have a $5.00/month tuition increase for September 2019-May 2020. Monday Wednesday Friday will be $370.00/month, Tuesday Thursday $310.00/month and the 5-day program $490.00/month. The registration fee has also gone up to $75.00. The reason for the increase is that we are moving towards an online registration system. In order to do that we have monthly fees which we need to cover. The on-line registration will be a much faster and smoother process, especially new families.


Website to Check Out!

This is a very interesting web site, A lot of really good information about raising healthy children. The web site breaks things down by age. It has a lot of good information regarding child development, common questions are answered, and a lot of great articles. 


Holiday Tips for Parents

The best part of any holiday is waiting and planning for it to arrive. But when children anticipate the arrival of a big celebration, especially one involving gifts and other goodies, the waiting can dissolve into wails and whines.  November and December are full of “can’t wait” celebrations. People everywhere are celebrating.  The downside to all this merriment is that holidays demand we pack a lot of extra work into our already busy schedules.  While holiday stress is almost unavoidable, the following tips may help with the waiting game.

·         See things from a child’s point of view.  Young children can’t often identify why they are uncomfortable.  Try to see whiny and stubborn behavior as an ineffective way of telling you he us uncomfortable, hungry, tried or on holiday overload.

·         Involve your child in preparations.  Provide your child with simple tasks to complete and remind him/her how valuable the contributions are.

·         Avoid using language that holds no meaning for your child such as X holiday will be here in 2 weeks.  Instead look at a calendar, cross days off, make a paper chain link and count down days.

·         Keep your own anticipation to a minimum. Perfection and young children do not mix especially during the holidays.

Happy Holidays!

As the 2018 year comes to a close, the staff at 4 Corners Community Nursery would like to wish everyone a very happy and safe holiday season.  Cheers to 2019!!

What's Going On Inside a Toddlers Brain?

As the parent of a toddler, your big adult mind is always trying to make sense of what’s going through their tiny kid one. “Why are you flopping on the ground?” “Why are you biting me for no particular reason?” “Why are you peeing yourself while maintaining eye contact?” The biggest issue is that you don’t know what they’re thinking, and they can’t tell you yet. But science can.

Dr. Dean Burnett, a neuroscientist (and author of the Idiot Brain, and Guardian columnist who moonlights as a stand-up comic), says that the early days of brain development are fascinating because all of the connections needed throughout life are forming and coming together. Dr. Burnett is also father to a 4-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter, so this is basically applied science. Here’s why your kid’s still-forming gray matter makes their behavior anything but black and white.

Your Kid Is Dory From Finding Nemo

Adults have mental models based on experience and the memory of how things should work. These are schemas to organize situations. Young children don’t. “Everything for toddlers is new and exciting; they don’t have a wealth of experience on how to judge things,” says Dr. Burnett. In fact, kids younger than 7 are basically hardwired to not store many memories. Since they’re not Arnold Schwarzenegger, you can’t assume a child will have total, or even partial, recall.

Repetition Vs. Comprehension

The brain doesn’t grow in the exact same way as the rest of the body. A kid can master crawling through repetition, but that doesn’t mean they will grasp the concept of why they need to put on shoes. What toddlers do understand is that when something is different than the day before, it sets them off. “All the connections in their brains aren’t made yet,” says Dr. Burnett. “When their expectations aren’t met, toddlers have lost control. They don’t know how to react, so they get distressed and sound the alarm bells because you’ve given them a red sippy cup instead of the green one.” (To be fair, that red sippy cup is superior.)

Small Brains Work Twice As Hard

“There’s actually a lot more connections in a child’s brain than in adult one,” says Dr. Burnett. “It isn’t until adolescence that the process of pruning begins, whereby the brain starts losing memories that aren’t ever activated to be more efficient.” Yes, your toddler is processing too much, not too little, which should blow both your minds. Conversely, teens are doing a ton of pruning, which is why they’re always sleeping instead of mowing the lawn.

It’s All Fight Or Flight

There’s a safety detection system that resides deep within the brain, right around the hippocampus, which triggers the “fight or flight” response to high-stress situations. Some of the potentially-lethal things to avoid are part of the evolutionary process (spiders, snakes), while others are learned human behaviors (roller coasters, Phish concerts).  A young child’s brain doesn’t recognize the difference. What’s benign to grown-ups isn’t necessarily to toddlers. “They don’t know when a thing is harmless, they just know it’s unfamiliar, which can set them off,” says Dr. Burnett.

The Evolution Of Screaming

Your toddler’s freak-out over anything (everything?) is to be expected. It’s a form of self-preservation. “From an evolutionary standpoint, part of the reason a child cries and throws a tantrum is to get the most possible attention from an adult within a group or community,” says Dr. Burnett. Flailing and wailing can both scare off predators and call an adult, which makes screaming fits a biological imperative. You can share this exciting scientific discovery the next time you bring your kid on a plane.

They’re Not Tasting Broccoli The Same Way

We all want to teach our kids to be good eaters. But, there’s a cerebral reason children prefer birthday cake over, say, broccoli cake. “Toddlers have different taste sensations, foods can be more vivid for them, so spinach and broccoli may be more bitter or sharp, says Dr. Burnett. “As opposed to ice cream, which is full of sugar. The brain likes it because it’s high energy, so treats will be sought out.” Well, if nature says you should eat this doughnut …

Doomed to Repeat the Past, Only Louder

You thought that, as kids move out of the toddler years, things get more mature. Wrong. As their brains form more permanent memories, kids can be even harder to handle. “At, say 5 years old, children have a base level of understanding, which can make crying fits worse because they have a sense of how things should go,” says Burnett. Tantrums may be infrequent, but they can be doozies because kids, like adults, have to work through their anger. It’s the difference between a toddler melting down for a minute before being distracted by a shiny object, versus a kindergartener’s entire world collapsing when you turn off Doc McStuffins.

The Good Will Hunting Takeaway

A toddler’s head is a complex place. But think about how chaotic your fully-formed brain can be — and you’ve had 30 to 40 years operating it. Dr. Burnett says parents should always remember, it’s not their fault. “They don’t mean it,” he says. “They don’t want to keep you up all night, ruin your schedule, or make your life actively harder.” Or maybe science just hasn’t discovered your kid’s long con, yet.