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
We just finished week 6 of Summer Camp, the "Exotic Animals" week. It was just amazing! We started off with a special visitor in our garden, the "flying lobster" moth", also known as "hummingbird moth". This animal is native to Illinois and Northern territories, but very few people know about it or have seen it before. It is a fairly large insect and it looks like half hummingbird and half lobster. It came to our garden to feed on the nectar of mint, which was flowering in full bloom. We took a video and photos of this animal and then discussed various possibilities of what could it be and wrote it on the board. Surprisingly, the very first guess "flying lobster" was the correct answer!! We now have a canvas photo of it hanging in the Iris Room and here is the video of its visit to our garden:
The highlight of our exotic animals study was the visit of the Flying Fox Conservation Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to conservation of animals. They brought a variety of animals, including Steve, the sloth (he is famous!). Children had a great time touching and learning about chinchilla, armadillo, tenrec, aracari, lion rabbit, kinkajou, a snake and of course, the sloth! What a great experience!!!
Armadillo video: https://youtu.be/BeFd4jGXbzE
Steve, the sloth video: https://youtu.be/QJsi6wyRoLE
We also learned about fennec foxes, macaws, sugar gliders, pink dolphins, dogs and chickens as we learned the basics of their care.
At the end of the week some children prepared presentations about their favorite exotic animals. They received lots of applause.
Ms. Julie from the local library visited us this week and read us stories about Old Mcdonald and different animals.
We also celebrated Jonathan's birthday. He is now 5 years old! Happy Birthday Jonathan!
Next week is Sports Week.
We have activities planned for each day of the week as we will be practicing different types of sports. Please send children wearing tennis shoes and shorts to school as we will be moving a lot! We will have a special guest, who is quite famous in the NFL world, to give us a lesson on Football on Wednesday. And on Friday everyone is welcome to bring a bike to school.
Friday 7/19/19: Bicycle Day. Bring your bike to school with helmet, knee pads and elbow pads. We will block off the parking lot and ride around the sensory gardens. No scooters, skates and other non-bicyle vehicles. Tricycles ok. Note: Friday only. All bikes and bike items have to be labeled with the child's name. Please drop off the bike in the morning by the front entrance of our school (parking lot) and pick it up at the end of the day.
Lost and Found Alert: Still looking for a gray dinosaur hoodie with spikes.
Here is our Week 5 recap! We are officially right in the middle of the summer camp program. There are 5 more weeks left! This week was our Water Week. It was a short week and we enjoyed it immensely. The best part of the week was our field trip to the Splash and Play Water Park! This park is located in Buffalo Grove and it is open to adults and children of all ages. There are fountains, buckets of water and water cannons to play with. It also has a fun playground adjacent to it and we enjoyed all of it! Children staying at school had a lot of fun with water activities, shells, mud kitchen and gardening.
Not sure if the children should be playing in the mud? Check out this video about Mud Kitchen and its benefits:
We also prepared a singing/dancing program for our in-school celebration of the 4th of July. The whole school gathered in the library today for a formal Pledge of Allegiance and not so formal singing of the "Star Spangled Banner", "America, the Beautiful" and a dancing/singing interpretation of "This Land is Your Land". Oh, what fun!
As you are getting ready for the festivities of this holiday, please be mindful of animals, elderly and war veterans who might not enjoy the loud noise as much as others. And since some of the firework shows are late at night and you might be letting your kids stay up late to watch them, please remember that having a consistent bed time for your children is very beneficial for their health and happiness. Here is an interesting article about that Ms. Debra shared:
Remember: No School July 4th and July 5th.
Happy Independence Day!!
Next week is Exotic Animals week.
Let's what exciting things can we learn?
Enjoy the photos.