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.
We just finished our Dance and Zumba week, aka week 4 of Summer Camp. It was so much fun! Every day we started off with Zumba as early as 8:00 am when all ages were welcome to join in. Each day we had a new dane routine to learn and review what we learned the day before. In the afternoon we had a more challenging dance routine to practice with the older children. We learned very quickly that dancing and Zumba are quite tiring exercises!! Some of our best moments this week were:
Happy birthday Max!
Next week is our Water week!
Monday is our Field Trip for children 4 years old+. Please send them to school ready for water play (See field trip form). Their field trip backpack should include:
The younger children will have a fun water day at the school.
We will have an in school 4th of July celebration with the children. Please have them wear their red/white/blue attire on July 3rd.
Remember: No school July 4th and July 5th.
See you next week.
Here is the Summer Issue of the AGBMS newsletter. Time flies so fast and we are already in the middle of week 4 of Summer Camp! This issue highlights some of the best moments of the end of the school year and beginning of summer. Enjoy!
Please take a close look at some of the upcoming dates, including the last day of summer (half day). school closing days and the first day of school.
Click on the image below to get a copy of the newsletter.
We just finished our YOGA week, which is the third week of Summer Camp. Every day we learned new yoga poses and relaxing breathing techniques. Children enjoyed doing yoga indoor and outdoors, on and off the yoga mats.
Our greatest teacher of yoga was Oliver, the puppy, as he gracefully and naturally eased us into the week and appeared on some days to demonstrate the proper way to do the "downward facing and upward facing dog" pose and to check if children were stretching correctly.
The afternoon group of children worked on their yoga booklets illustrating yoga poses they learned so far. They can use these to do yoga at home. Please take yoga mats home today.
Lost and Found alert: We are missing a gray zip up hoodie with dinosaurs and spikes on it. If found, please return to the Camp group.
Next week is Dance and Zumba.
Wear stretchy clothes and don't forget your hat and water bottle!
Reminder 1: No School July 3 and July 4th.
Reminder 2: Please apply sunscreen at home before coming to school.
Reminder 3: Please allow extra time for your travel due to construction on Palatine Rd to avoid late pick up fees.
Check out our AGBMS blog:
Enjoy the photos.
We just finished our week 2 of Summer Camp, which was the "Arts and Crafts". Oh what a week! We made "hooked on daddy" magnets as gifts for our dads. This was a multi-stage process that took us several days to complete. I hope all dads appreciate it and hang it somewhere magnetic for everyone to see. We also made glitter glue, painted a decorative bird feeder/night light, created the "happy Father's Day" garland for the picnic and made special cards. Children also worked on their own creative ideas individually. Everyone LOVED glitter!
A special THANK YOU to our dads who joined us for the Father's Day Picnic!
Enjoy the photos!
Happy Father's Day!
Next week is YOGA.
Please bring a yoga mat (labeled).
Our first week of Summer Camp has been so much fun! This was our Kitchen and Planting Surprises. Every day we wrote down the ingredients of what we are making on the board and then got right to work. We cooked so many things!
On Monday we made fresh salsa. It was so educational for children to touch, smell and slice the ingratiates! Most of them did not know about lime or cilantro.
On Tuesday we made mozzarella cheese and portobello mushroom dip. The cheese came as part of a science kid and we did not think that we would be successful at making it at first. Turns out we can do anything!! The cheese came out delicious but lacked a little salt. The mushroom dip was also a big hit. We used an electric skillet to make it.
On Wednesday we made fresh guacamole. Our ingredients included a half of jalapeño pepper! Children loved to smell this pepper and we could not even taste in the guacamole when we ate it.
On Thursday we made scrambled eggs with bell peppers, mushrooms and onions. One of the children grated a whole brick of cheese and we did eat it all with our eggs. The second batch of eggs included the other half of jalapeño pepper left over from salsa and the more adventurous children tried it along with the teachers.
On Friday we made milkshakes or, rather, ice cream floats. We had a dancing party outside followed by planting of flowers and milkweed seeds. We enjoyed eating lunch outside.
Children enjoy eating cold lunch outside. It gets hot and eating something cold tastes and feels so much better.
Please keep a light jacket in your child's cubby for those colder mornings or for the outside/inside temperature fluctuations.
Invest in sharpies and label your child's belongings.
Please apply sunscreen and fill up the water bottle at home so when children come to camp, they are ready to play outside!
Have 2 pairs for shoes for inside and outside play. Please label. Not sure why we do that? Please read about the befits of this attached.
Next week is Arts and Crafts. On Friday is the Father's Day picnic. Dads are invited to join us for lunch at 11:30 am. Please rsvp if you haven't already.
Enjoy the photos!
Have a great weekend.
See you next week.