Summer Childcare Programs Provide Needed Interaction

Monday, April 12th, 2021

After months spent learning virtually at home away from friends and classmates, children are ready to get back to socializing and developing a more structured routine. Building Blocks Learning Center has flexible summer childcare programs to help reconnect children and meet the needs of families this summer. This includes part-time or full-time care, before or after summer school care, and a kindergarten readiness program. Building Blocks’ structured summer childcare programs are designed to provide children with creative experiences, enlightening interaction, and education.

Structured summer programs for children

Structured summer childcare programs can be beneficial for a child of any age. It can help them develop all vital social, emotional, and cognitive skills. Most importantly, it will provide the interaction with other children that your child may have been missing this past year. No matter what your goals for your child this summer, we have a tailored program to fit those needs.

Benefits of summer childcare programs

  • Helps with the development of social skills. Children will get a chance to connect, communicate, and interact with their peers and engage with teachers. Structured summer childcare programs can help children to learn to work together. They will play, share, cooperate, resolve conflicts, and share ideas. This experience is vital to developing the social skills needed in school and life in general.
  • Encourages a sense of community. All children want to belong, and enrolling your child in a summer program can help them feel part of a larger community. It will also teach teamwork, leadership skills, and greater respect for the differences of others. This sense of community is essential after the months of remoteness that may have come as a result of the pandemic.
  • Promotes independence & builds self-esteem. Any time away from parents will help a child gain independence and a sense of their own identity. They will learn to make decisions, become more self-sufficient, and be encouraged to explore new things. They will also have an opportunity to achieve goals. This will enable them to develop self-confidence in their abilities.
  • Helps in developing a passion for learning.  Children’s summer programs nurture curiosity and can help provide children with a greater enthusiasm for school and learning.  Through creative learning experiences and exploring new ideas, they will develop an appreciation for education and acquiring new skills.
  • Teaches determination. An essential skill for children to learn is to overcome challenges and not give up. Structured summer childcare programs can help a child develop a greater belief in their abilities and provide them with the self-confidence they need to overcome obstacles.
  • Introduces new activities. Structured daycare and summer childcare programs can expose children to new interests. This might include music, art, games of skill, or sports. A new activity or hobby learned in a summer program might become a passion for life.
  • Promotes growth. Children will have the freedom to play and learn in a safe and nurturing environment. They will learn important life lessons that will help them build confidence and make lasting friendships.
  • Encourages physical activity. Active play is a big benefit for overall health and well-being. Enrolling your child in a summer program or summer daycare will encourage them to stay active and involved, rather than staying inside connected to devices or video games.

Enrolling your child in a summer program

Children never forget the meaningful friendships, positive interactions, and experiences that come with a summer childcare program. this includes exciting weekly activities, creatively themed events, sports, clubs, and more. Your child will remain engaged and connected to peers in a consistent and safe environment all summer long. At Building Blocks Learning Center, we provide an ideal atmosphere for children to grow and thrive. Our summer childcare programs, daycare, before and after summer school care, and pre-kindergarten readiness programs are conveniently located in Wilkes-Barre, Dallas, and Mountain Top. We can tailor a program to fit our individual childcare needs.

Enroll your child or learn more about Building Blocks Summer Programs by calling 570-793-1725 or by submitting an information request online at

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Virtual Support Labs Help Families Face Challenges

Monday, February 8th, 2021

While it might look like business as usual at some childcare and pre-school facilities, a lot has changed. Including the introduction of virtual support labs at Building Blocks. Operating a childcare center in the age of coronavirus is challenging to say the least. Zubeen Saeed, President & CEO of Building Blocks Learning Center understands that it’s challenging for families as well. “In this time of rising COVID-19 numbers, working parents are seeking safe and dependable childcare they can count on for their changing needs,” Saeed said. “We want them to know we’re here for them, with flexible solutions to fit their requirements.”

“For those working outside the home, as well as those facing the pressures of transitioning to working at home while trying to help children with schoolwork, weekdays can be extremely stressful. That’s why it’s imperative that we remain safely open to provide childcare and educational services for our community,” Saeed added. “It also enables us to give children and families a sense of normalcy by enabling them to participate in their daily routines in a safe manner.”

VSL enhances childcare & early learning programs

In addition to childcare and pre-school programs, Building Blocks also provides after-school care at several area schools in the Wilkes-Barre Area and Dallas School District. They’ve also partnered with West Side CTC for a Pre-k program and Lake Lehman School District for Building Blocks at Lake Lehman Early Learning.  Their newest program designed to assist families during these challenging times is VSL (Virtual Support Labs). VSL is focused on assisting students in their virtual school learning. The goal of VSL is to keep students connected to school while having to be away from the classroom.

Remote or distance learning has been overwhelming for student, parents and educators alike. It has also been difficult for schools to differentiate and support students with diverse learning needs and provide the individual support they need. Because COVID-19 has presented so many challenges related to how children are schooled, the team at Building Blocks felt that many children may not be receiving the help they need to succeed. VSL was their solution to address this important need.

VSL keep children connected to classroom

Versatile VSL spaces have been specially designed with stringent health and safety guidelines in mind. A comfortable atmosphere conducive to learning was also important. Building Blocks currently offers virtual support labs in their Wilkes-Barre, Mountain Top, and Dallas locations.  Introduced about six months ago, the VSL program has been well-received by parents looking for a more effective learning environment for their children. 

Students in each of the labs are supervised by an onsite virtual support facilitator who keeps students on their individual school schedule and provides assistance with school work as needed. The facilitators ensure students are logged on for classes on time and that they stay focused during classes. They also supervise classwork as it is being completed, as well as independent work, providing assistance where needed. Students enrolled in the different VSL locations are from various area school districts and are on many different schedules. Some with a virtual learning schedule and others with non-virtual classwork. The Building Blocks staff ensures each student is on track and receiving the individual assistance they need. This has been a big stress relief for many parents who have been juggling both work and in-home educating duties.

Assisting students with virtual learning

VSL was the brainchild of Building Blocks Learning Center’s Chief Administrative Officer, Lake Gemzik. “We always strive to provide the services and solutions our community needs, and we saw a real need in assistance with virtual learning,” Gemzik said. “Feedback from parents regarding the virtual support labs, has been very positive. Working parents have found this to be a big relief during this stressful time. Knowing their child has somewhere to go that is age appropriate and dedicated to learning with one on one attention takes the stress off of parents who are already being stretched in so many directions. They even receive a progress report when they pick up their child as to the school work completed and any left to be done.”

Safety top priority at Building Blocks

Safety remains top of mind at Building Blocks Learning Center. If plans are not implemented and steps in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a childcare setting, the results could be disastrous. The Building Blocks team feels confident they are proactively taking all of the steps necessary to protect the children and staff. They have created an environment that minimizes the risk of the virus in their classrooms and childcare spaces. Saeed and her team believe their active response plan, designed with guidance from the CDC, PA Department of Health, and DHS Licensing Agency, along with cooperation from parents, has enabled them to curtail health risks and any long term closures from occurring.

The plan includes a strict mask policy for children over 2 years of age and staff, a “What if” scenario for parents. There are also strict guidelines regarding dropping off and picking up children including temperature checks and a drop-off and pick-up station, frequent hand washing, a stringent disinfection policy, and special shoes that remain on-site. Reduced classroom sizes and restricted age groupings have also been implemented. Building Blocks also requires health screenings for children and staff returning from vacation, as well as those who have been in a large group setting, or those in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Communication is key

The staff communicates regularly with parents through memos, letters, and emails. They keep parents updated on safety policies and procedures and reinforce the importance of following policy in keeping the facility safe and open. They also provide parents with helpful tips on helping children adapt to mask-wearing and adjust to repeated hand washing. Even with the added precautions, many parents are still grappling with the decision of whether or not to return their children to daycare/preschool.

According to Gemzik, enrollment is down approximately 40% because of the pandemic. “We’ve adapted and adjusted our programs to be as safe as possible, while still providing children with a positive experience to learn and grow,” Gemzik said. This includes incorporating fun and festive activities within the center, such as a Roaring 20’s day and other enrichment days that enable children to still enjoy a more creative learning experience with mask and social distancing guidelines in place every day.

Quality childcare & childhood education you can count on

As a parent looking for childcare or pre-school placement, Building Blocks encourages you to evaluate different facilities to ensure they have the staffing and plan in place to implement all of the necessary safety and disinfecting precautions, while still providing your child with a quality care and learning experience. Don’t hesitate to speak to your pediatrician about your childcare concerns.

“Parents should be able to feel completely comfortable that they have placed their child in a safe environment,” said Saeed.  “A strong focus on risk mitigation will enable Building Blocks Learning Center and other childcare and daycare facilities to earn the confidence of parents looking to find safe childcare options.”

For parents interested in help with virtual learning, the Building Blocks Learning Center VSL Program is open to all school-aged children. VSLs are located in the Building Blocks Learning Centers in the Twin Stacks Center in Dallas, in Wilkes-Barre on Route 315 across from the Woodlands and on South Mountain Blvd. in Mountain Top. To learn more about VSLs, visit or call 570-793-1725.

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Imaginative play can inspire young minds

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

Anything is possible with a little imagination. The power of pretending can help your child be or do just about anything.  From ruling their very own kingdom to walking on the moon or even racing in the Daytona 500. Imaginative play is an integral part of a child’s overall development. As parents, we should always encourage imaginative play. Whether it’s as simple as playing superheroes with their friends on a quest to save the world or scientists traveling back in time to save the dinosaurs. Your child is limited only by his or her imagination.

The benefits of imaginative play

Imaginative or pretend play can help a child’s brain develop skills they will use in everyday life. This can include the development of decision-making skills, reasoning skills, and problem-solving skills. Pretend play can introduce children to new experiences in a fun and non-threatening way.  It can teach them how to deal with a variety of different situations. It can also help them tap into their inner creativity, which can stay with them thought life.  They are basically training their brains to think more creatively. Some of the most creative people in the world were big into imaginative play when they were children.

Improved language and communication skills, as well as motor skills, are additional benefits of pretend play. Just listen to your child interact during make-believe playtime. You’ll be surprised as to their language skills and so much more. Watch them build an airplane out of some old scraps of wood in the backyard and you’ll be amazed at their dexterity.

Most importantly, imaginative play is integral to the development of important social skills. When taking on a specific role during pretend play with friends, they learn empathy, how to cooperate with others and how to share. Imaginative play also helps them to develop confidence and self-esteem. All very important qualities in their journey through life. 

Encouraging imaginative play 

You can help encourage your child’s imagination by scheduling playtime into each and every day. Children’s schedules are usually as packed as most adults. Some even more so. Between team sports, dance classes, pre-school and more, there’s often little time left for good, old-fashioned play. We understand that structured activities and of course a quality education is important, but so is playing. It can be a very valuable learning experience as well.

Help your child think out of the box by providing them with tools they need to get their creative juices flowing. From sheets to use as superhero capes to old clothes for dress up or a pair of binoculars for their pretend African safari exploration. Something as simple as a cardboard box can turn into anything from a castle to a pirate ship. A ruler can become a magic wand that transports your child to another time or place.

Children are limited only to their imagination. You can help nurture it and help their imagination thrive. Plan playdates with their friends. Help them build their own pretend playsets. A mini play kitchen for the budding chef or a hospital for the aspiring doctor. You can join in on the pre-tend play fun as well. Be a co-pilot when your child takes off on his or her next big pretend adventure. Imagination is the door to your child’s future. Help them open it.

At Building Blocks Learning Center, we provide children with the tools they need to excel in a fun, safe and nurturing environment. From infant to pre-school programs, pre-k, and childcare, we strive to inspire them to explore, discover and grow their individual talents. Click to learn more about Building Blocks Learning Center. 



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How to keep your child healthier in daycare & preschool

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

Childcare centers and preschools are fabulous for providing toddlers with opportunities to socialize and learn in a safe and nurturing environment. You may be considering enrolling your child in daycare or preschool but are concerned about the prospect of dealing with frequent illness. Fear not. While kids do pass things on to one another, there are precautions you can take to keep your child safe and help prevent the spread of germs.

Tips for keeping your child healthier in daycare & preschool 

  1. Teach your child about proper handwashing. This is their best defense against the spread of germs. They should always wash their hands with warm water and soap. Lathering and then scrubbing for about 15-20 seconds. Perhaps teach them to sing a song in their head or recite the alphabet as they wash to ensure the adequate time. They should then rinse hands under warm, running water and dry with a clean towel. Teach your child to wash frequently. This includes prior to eating, after using the bathroom and after playing.
  2. Stress to your children the importance of not touching their faces, putting their fingers in their mouths or biting their nails. This simple lesson will go far in helping to prevent the spread of germs.
  3. Be sure your child is up to date on all recommended vaccinations and has regular checkups with a pediatrician.
  4. Be sure your child is getting plenty of sleep each night. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children 1-2 years of age should sleep 11-14 hours per 24-hour period including naps. Children 3-5 should sleep 10-13 hours. Make sufficient sleep a priority for your entire family. You are a role model for your child, so set a good example. You should also reduce screen time around bedtime. Too much screen time can impair your child’s quality of sleep.
  5. Encourage a healthy diet. Just as getting enough quality sleep can reduce your child’s risk of getting sick, so can maintaining a healthy diet. Be sure your child starts each day with a healthy breakfast. Plan for healthy snacks and make mealtime a priority. Whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, provide many nutrients to a growing child.
  6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Hydration is as important as nutrition. We can’t stress this enough. Staying hydrated can prevent fatigue and improve mood and overall health. Promote healthy drink choices like water, sugar-free juice, and milk.
  7. Teach your child to cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and to wash their hands afterward.
  8. Although you like your child to share, there are certain things they should never share. Tell your child not to share a snack or drink container with other children in daycare & preschool. Drinking from the same bottle or straw or eating a snack from the same bag can spread germs quickly.
  9. Encourage your child to get plenty of exercise. Exercise helps boost the immune system and prepares a body to fight off germs.
  10. Choose a clean childcare facility with a formal sick policy and adequate preventative measures. Be sure to do a site visit to the daycare/preschool prior to enrolling your child. Ask how often the toys, sleep mats, and other shared items are cleaned and sanitized. Ask about other facility cleaning policies, such as the cleaning and disinfecting of changing tables. Does the facility teach and encourage good hygiene habits on a daily basis? Are there adequate sinks for proper handwashing? Does the staff take adequate germ spread prevention measures? Hand washing is as important for staff as it is for children. Finally, ask the childcare facility about their sick policy. These are all important points when choosing the right daycare center.

When should you keep your child home from daycare & preschool

For an overview of Building Blocks Learning Center’s sick policy, please reach out to any of our center administrators in Wilkes-Barre, Mountaintop or Dallas.  Remember, even the healthiest children will get sick occasionally. How sick is too sick to send to daycare or preschool? If your child has a fever, a persistent cough, is vomiting or has diarrhea, you should keep your child home. If they have a contagious condition such as pink eye or head lice, they should also be kept home. If you have questions or are unsure, contact your childcare provider for their specific policies.

Read more blogs and helpful tips like this on our website at



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Tips for Helping Your Pre-Schooler Build Math Skills

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

Math skills are one of the most important things we can teach our children at an early age. Early exposure to math and math concepts can have a big impact on a child’s skill levels later in life. Learning math can help a toddler to develop the ability to solve problems. This is so essential to success in school and life in general. As a parent, you will find that your preschooler is naturally curious and already interested in math as it relates to his or her everyday life. The best way to teach your child valuable math skills is through every day hands-on activities, tasks, and games.

5 Tips for helping your toddler learn math skills

1 Count together. Counting everything together with your pre-school child is a great way to get started. Children love to count, so make a habit of counting all the time. Count crayons in the box, tiles on the kitchen floor, pictures on the wall and bananas in the bunch. Teach them to recognize and read numbers as they learn to count.

2 Make snack time a fun learning experience. Snack time is a great way to practice counting and other math skills. Your toddler will love counting the number of cheddar goldfish or animal crackers in a bowl. Teach addition and subtraction by adding a few or taking some away and having them count the new total.

3 Use toys and playtime to help your pre-school child count and sort. You can do the same with toys as snacks. Count, sort and categorize. How many matchbox cars are in the box? How many are blue? If we took away all of the blue matchbox cars, how many cars are left? The same can be done with blocks, dolls, or whatever your child likes to play with. Sort by color, type or whatever interests them. Combine categories or remove items to help with adding and subtracting. It’s always important to keep it fun. Playtime isn’t all about building math skills, but when made into a game it can be enjoyable.  Board games and other games can also be learning tools. Moving a certain number of spaces on a board or following the “Simon Says” directions of jumping four times can be learning opportunities as well. So can more or fewer games, sequencing games and building and counting blocks.

4 Use regular daily activities as teaching opportunities. Keep it simple and keep it fun. How many steps do we climb to get to the second floor or how many squares are on the sidewalk in front of the house? Make laundry time teaching time. How many socks are in the basket? Ask your toddler to sort the clean socks and put them into pairs. Sorting objects, putting them into different categories and then counting them again. The simple task of sorting and counting laundry can help a toddler develop problem-solving skills. Even setting the table can be a math skill learning opportunity for your child. It will help your child understand the one to one concept of one fork, one knife, one spoon, etc. for each person. Cook together and teach your child how to measure ingredients. It’s a great bonding experience, as well as a math lesson. Finally, make grocery shopping a teaching experience. Have your child help with simple shopping tasks. Ask them to put six apples in a bag for you or pick out five cans of soup. Teach strategic counting. How many Cheerios boxes do you see on the shelf? If you’re paying with cash, let them help you count out coins. They’ll love helping and learn to love math at the same time.

5 Help your child learn important math concepts. Math is about more than just counting. It’s learning concepts such as quantity (more or less), measurement and size (taller, shorter, bigger, smaller). This will help your child develop mathematical reasoning skills. Shapes and patterns are important as well. Learning and naming shapes and identifying patterns is fundamental to a child’s understanding of math. Practice recognizing shape, such as a square post-it note, a triangle-shaped slice of pizza, a cracker that looks like a rectangle, etc.

Enroll your child in preschool and let the learning continue 

Building Blocks Learning Center has preschool and daycare locations in Wilkes-Barre, Mountaintop and Dallas, PA. Our program provides an age-appropriate education curriculum that can help your preschooler excel. Building Blocks pre-k program will help prepare them for the transition to kindergarten. Learn more about all of our childcare and educational programs on our website.



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