Please join us for our annual truck or treat. If you wish to decorate your trunk please notify your child’s classroom teacher. All candy MUST be NUT Free. If you are decorating a trunk please bring your own candy to hand out.
You may set up from beginning at 9 am and the students will come outside around 9:30.
Reminder that school closes at noon on Friday for teacher in-service. Please arrive between 11:45-12 for pick up.
Today the school remembered 9/11 by gathering in circle drive for a moment of silence and lit candles. They also offered flower in remembrance of this heartbreaking day.
A great time was had by all!! Thanks to all who helped and all who attended. Enjoy some photos below...
It is hard to believe that summer camp is all done, even though we had 10 weeks of it! (that's an extra week compared to our usual summer program!). We had so many amazing moments and we think that this has been the best summer yet!
Here are some of our Summer Camp Highlights:
A very special thank you to all parents and staff who participated in our Summer Camp program and for making it so much fun! Enjoy the break.
The school will be closed until August 23, the first day of school. Parent Orientation at 1 pm.
Are you ready for one more week of summer? It flew by really fast. We just finished week 9 and it was "Theater and Face Painting" week. We did face painting and more face painting. Children asked to be specific characters of plays, movies, or wild animals. The three stories that became our plays this week were: "The Coyote and the Lizard", a Native American story; a Russian story "Bear Squash You All Flat", aka "The Mitten" and "The Little Red Hen". As we practiced our lines, casted the characters in the roles and acted according to the story, we quickly realized - this is hard work! And it takes a lot of time! But it was also a lot of fun. By the way, here is link to a study about the effect of Drama on Brain Function:
This week we were able to have a Bike Day! Children were super excited to ride their bikes in the parking lot. After riding, we had a delicious watermelon snack in the "coffee shop" section of the parking lot, by the sensory gardens.
We raised our lady bugs who have successfully transformed into adults and we released them in our gardens next to the insects that we thought looked like aphids. Hopefully, they have a good life. We read that they live for about a year in the wild. We will be watching them.
Next week is our "Garden Harvest Week". Please remember:
Enjoy the photos.
See you next week.
We just finished our Science Week, which is week 8! Only 2 more weeks to go. We have been studying astronomy! Some of the most interesting celestial objects that captured our attention were nebulas, stars, star systems, planets, galaxies and black holes. We even learned about the different parts of the galaxy and had so many questions about what's out there. Are we really alone in this universe? Are there aliens out there? Would we be aliens to them?
After watching fascinating short films and looking at NASA photos we painted our own versions of celestial objects. We have a gallery of our artwork by the front door. Please stop by to admire.
We also made slime and more slime, built a solar motor and a solar boat, both of which worked in the sun! The children are still working on the solar robot as it proved to be a more challenging project than we thought.
Did you know that we also have been learning cursive in the summer afternoons? Here is an interesting article about the benefits of cursive and handwriting:
We are growing lady bugs and have been observing this metamorphosis in our classroom. It looks like the they are about to turn into pupa! Let's see what happens next.
Children are welcome to bring water squirt bottles to school on Fridays. We have a lot of fun playing with water and mud!
Next week is: Theater and Face Painting!
We just finished week 7, the sports week of summer camp, and it was spectacular!
We did so much, it feels like a month went by! The most exciting part of the week was our special guest from the NFL world, Sean Desai, who is the coach of the Chicago Bears and also a parent at our school. Sean Desai, who has over a decade of experience as a coach at the NFL and collegiate levels, will be in his seventh season with the Bears in 2019 after serving in a quality control role for the past six years. As a quality control assistant, Desai worked with the Bears’ defensive backs and linebackers while also assisting the special teams coaches.
The children were thrilled to be coached by a professional as they learned about the uniform, the sport and the history of the Chicago Bears team. They also got to practice kicking, catching and throwing the ball. How special is that? Thank you Mr. Sean!
Also this week we played soccer, learned about traffic and safety rules, ran relay races, obstacle courses and played in the rain! Ms. Rachel helped us learn more about running and shoes! We celebrated Maya's birthday and some children did show and tell presenting their sports trophies and achievements. What a week!
Next week is Science Week!
Enjoy the photos!
1,000 Hours OutsideHelping Children Succeed Academically
What would childhood look like if children spent as much time outdoors as they do in front of screens? If kids spend, on average, 1,200 hours a year on screens, then spending 1,000 hours outdoors seems like a reasonable challenge.The 1000 Hours Outside Challenge is the brainchild of homeschooling mom, Ginny Yurich. For more tips and strategies on increasing outdoor time for your children, check out her blog: 1000hoursoutside.com.
Who wants to track one more thing? You do! Nature time for kids is so valuable for childhood development that we cannot leave this extremely important element of childhood to chance. We all know kids need nature time but emerging research is clear that children need to experience hours of outside free play every day. In America, the average child spends 4 – 7 minutes in free play outside on a daily basis. We are far from where we need to be! A yearly goal is helpful because there are many factors that contribute to the possibility of getting outdoors, such as school schedule and weather. Over the course of a year, the 1000 hours outside goal, which averages out to just under three hours a day, has provided all the sensory input our kids have needed. We don't worry if the kids aren't feeling well a certain week or if a certain week is full of sub-zero temperatures. We know that we will make up the time when the crocuses emerge or during summer camping trips. This method has worked for us for years in a row!
How can spending time outdoors help children develop an enthusiasm for learning?
So often we when we think of learning we think of paper and pencil. Or maybe we think of watching an educational program or listening to an engaging speaker. It’s important as parents and caregivers to know that movement, and especially movement in free play, is a major contributor to brain growth. In fact, movement is the pre-cursor to all learning. Here are three easy ways to ensure your child gets the movement he or she needs for optimal brain development.
1. Give your child lots of opportunities to practice balancing.
Have you noticed how children naturally look for things to balance on (think street curbs and the arms of your couch)? There is an innate drive inside a child to work on their balance skills and to balance on increasingly complex things. An infant is constantly working on balance, moving from rolling to sitting to pulling up. A toddler will try balancing on a log and then jumping a few inches to the ground over and over again. A grade-schooler will also try balancing on a log but one that is suspended over water with the goal of reaching the other side. Middle and high schoolers love things like slack line and ever increasing balancing challenges. As a child’s body and muscles become more coordinated their brain capacity increases. Higher academic achievement is always correlated with higher levels of fitness.
So what can you do? Take your kids outside and expose them to different types of terrain. Moving over uneven terrain will help them as they work on their balance. Hike with your kids and then watch as they are drawn to fallen trees and to large rocks to climb on. Encourage them as they test their bodies and work towards more difficult goals. All of that balancing work will contribute to academic success!
As a child's body and muscles become more coordinated, their brain capacity increases.
2. Give your child a rich sensory environment.
Every one of our senses carries information straight to our brain. Consider all of the senses that are engaged when a child plays in a stream outside. They feel the coolness of the water, rocks beneath their feet, and mud squished between their fingers. They hear splashes, the sound of moving water, and the chorus of insects and birds. They see all sorts of variations of colors. They see reflections. They see items of all different shapes and sizes. They taste the water as they splash. They may even taste some dirt. And of course there’s the smell of the great outdoors which will vary depending on where you are.
Every square inch of our bodies is designed to take in information and send it to our brain. The more time we allow our children to be in sensory rich environments the greater opportunities there are for brain growth.
So what can you do? Take your kids outside and let them explore with all their senses. The longer the better! Try and find differing environments: a field, a stream, a beach, a forest. The great thing about nature is that even if you frequent the same place often those places are ever changing and will always have something new to offer your child.
The more time we allow children to be in sensory rich environments, the greater the opportunities for brain growth.
3. Give your child lots of eye-strengthening opportunities in nature.
When I think about movement I don’t tend to think of my eyes but vision is actually closely related to movement. Every single time we move, our eyes adjust and take in new information. The more our eyes move together, the stronger they become and the stronger the connections to the brain become as well. Tracking with our eyes is an extremely important part of reading and so we want our children to have developed muscles when they reach the age where they are physically ready to read.
Think for a moment about the differences between looking around inside versus looking around outside. Outside the stimuluses are almost infinite. Moving clouds, flying birds, swaying leaves, small insects moving along the ground, etc. Additionally, even in the same location the outside stimulus will change day to day due to weather, season and other factors whereas the inside walls remain largely consistent. Outside the lumens from the sun enter right through your eyes and go straight to the brain elevating the mood. A child in a relaxed and good mood is in a much better state to learn than one who is anxious or depressed. Consider your baby’s eyes when you take her on a hike. As you carry her on your hip or in your baby carrier her eyes are constantly adjusting with the up and down of each step. As you do this you are helping to strengthen her eyes and organize her brain.
So what can you do? Expose your kid’s eyes to the vastness of the outdoors by allowing them to be in nature frequently for lengthy periods of time. It’s always worth your time to let your kids play outside! Give yourself a goal. Schedule it is as one of your first things. And be confident that it will contribute to greater academic success over time.
Dr. Debra Trude-Suter
Chief Education Officer/Executive Director