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First tour of 2015

If you'd like to visit our program, please RSVP via "contact" link here on our website.

Let us know that you'd like to join us for a visit on Monday February 23rd at 5:30pm.

We look forward to meeting you!



We are holding an open house tomorrow, October 25th, for families who are interested in joining our program.

The event will be held from 9:00-11:00am.

We ask that you please email us to RSVP if you'd like to join in on the event!



On Common Core

I was added quite some time ago to a Facebook group devoted to stopping common core. Many things I’ve seen posted in the group didn’t really resonate with me. Nobody was truly placing a finger for me on why I stand in the position of “against” Common Core.  

Last night in that same group, a parent posted a math problem that was sent home with her child. 


The mother wrote,

What does this mean??? Is she suppose to write 5 examples of a problem equaling those numbers without using the "broken" number?? 

Not even 5 min in and she is already calling herself dumb and crying...

No instructions came with this and she said they didn't do any of this in class and there is no math book...”


As an educator who grew up loving math and works with her early childhood program and her own children in non-traditional methods (meaning...not-how-we-grew-up-learning-math), I was able to provide this mama a few ideas in helping her daughter (and herself) understand how to solve this problem. 

The comments on the thread however were puzzling to me...

I saw mothers and fathers struggling...frustrated...fed-up...

Conversation turned to suggesting we should return to multiplication tables and rote memorization (which I’m quite certain is not the answer).

Then came this quote from a fellow in the group,

Stupid.... I meet with my kids principal tomorrow to discuss this crap! Stand up and opt out. The truth behind this Common Core crap would scare you to death! I'm not joking guys!

So What on earth IS this big bad, scary Common Core thing?!

Very basically it's a set of standards that are being imposed on our childrian via repetetive (yearly) testing in an attempt to assess whether they are "on track" in their learning.

If I'm supposed to jump to my feet and opt out, why?!

I FINALLY set out to determine for myself how to articulate what my problem is with Common Core.

Of course my research started with Teacher Tom. Where else would I start?! This meant I didn’t need to dig very deep to find what lies at the root of the problem for me!

In his Everything You Need To Know About Common Core post from back in February, Tom linked to an absolutely AMAZING speech by Diane Ravitch, education historian (Network for Public Education). This speech is lengthy. I HIGHLY recommend you read it (and let me know if you do). In recognizing however, that as most of you are parents of very young children who are not yet passionately invested in the state of our educational system, perhaps I can entice you to read the entire speech as shared by Valerie Strauss in Washington Post by pulling a quote from it,

Early childhood educators are nearly unanimous in saying that no one who wrote the standards had any expertise in the education of very young children. More than 500 early childhood educators signed a joint statement complaining that the standards were developmentally inappropriate for children in the early grades. The standards, they said, emphasize academic skills and leave inadequate time for imaginative play. They also objected to the likelihood that young children would be subjected to standardized testing. And yet proponents of the Common Core insist that children as young as 5 or 6 or 7 should be on track to be college-and-career ready, even though children this age are not likely to think about college, and most think of careers as cowboys, astronauts, or firefighters.

Is this not ludicrous?! That educators...the ones who are professionally trained to know what and how our children learn at what developmental levels would not be consulted to see to it that the standards we expect for our children to “know” be developmentally appropriate?!

These standards we have placed across our country upon our children are not just. They bring greater inequality to our learners.

As Ravitch concluded in that same speech, 

We cannot have a decent democracy unless we begin with the supposition that every human life is of equal value. Our society already has far too much inequality of wealth and income. We should do nothing to stigmatize those who already get the least of society’s advantages. We should bend our efforts to change our society so that each and every one of us has the opportunity to learn, the resources needed to learn, and the chance to have a good and decent life, regardless of one’s test scores.

So how could we do differently?

How could we work to develop an educational system in our society that would be more appropriate and greater supported by the public than Common Core?

I’m not sure the answer. I'm quite certain the answer does not lie in making a better test. I'm pretty sure the answer lies somewhere within educating each child exactly where they are! 

I’m intrigued by what I read from Teacher Tom (yes again!) in his recent Taking The Time And Care To Do It Properly blog post.

For now, I will continue to pursue educating children where they are, as opposed to getting them ready for something ahead. I will be present. I will work (as I hope many of you do also) to make progress happen in an improved direction from the one we are headed with the current Common Core!


How many ______kindergartens must we have BEFORE kindergarten?

Today I was privy to a conversation in a local group asking about recommendations for a junior kindergarten. Based on the conversation, I believe that "junior kindergarten" is something that comes BEFORE "pre-k", which comes BEFORE kindergarten.
Do we all understand what the purpose of kindergarten is? Have we really all forgotten what "kindergarten" means? 
Check this out! It talks about the origin of "kindergarten"!
We have taken what was SUPPOSED to be 1st grade and moved it down to our kindergarteners!Then we pushed it down to our preschool aged children! We just keep pushing it down to younger and younger children! How will these poor children EVER learn true social skills when not given the freedom to develop them as naturally happens through play?!

This is why I do what I do...the way I do it...

...because we seem to have forgotten what childhood should be.

We seem to have forgotten how important play truly is!

Remember this...



Creating a Genuinely Stimulating Environment

As parents we pretty much unanimously agree on wanting our children's brains to grow and develop! We recognize that this will happen through play, but what more must we do to be sure that their play experience stimulates said growth/development?

Last night a grandmother asked me about some of her toddler grandson's needs. This woman is the childcare provider for her grandson (in her home) while his mother is at work. During our conversation, she led herself to wonder if perhaps he needs more than she can provide for him now that he is a mobile little guy with a greater need to explore than when he was 'younger'. 

Perhaps this little boy has reached a new stage of...need for 'more'...the need to be able to explore his world 'more' than what opportunities are currently providing him. I wonder if perhaps a little more cognitive, sensory, and physical challenge and stimulation are what this boy is seeking.

As I returned this morning to the book I've been inching my way through (Let Them Play by Jeff A Johnson and Denita Dinger), I read the following in a section on "Thoughtful STIMULATION"

"Environments with too many predictable features tend to reduce the neural activity in the brain," writes Nikki Darling-Kuria in Brain-Based Early Leraning Activities: Connecting Theory and Practice. "When the environment is challenging, a child's brain will continue to make new and more concrete connections. When we get used to certain patterns in our environment, we become less challenged." (2010, 33) On the other hand, too much unpredictability can have negative developmental effects. Physical environments that offer thoughtful stimulation more fully engage the busy and curious minds of young children and lead to more play-based learning.

Tips for creating opportunities for thoughtful stimulation:

-Shun screen time. Plenty of evidence shows that sitting in front of televisions and other screens hinders learning. Even a pile of empty cardboard boxes, scissors, and a few rolls of masking tape provide more interactive and developmentally appropriate ways to stimulate learning in young children.

-Implement a battery-free zone. Screen time is a big source of overstimulation, but there are others too. Consider all the electronic learning toys that whiz, whistle, and whirr. The sounds and flashing lights these gadgets make are sometimes the only interesting things about them. Kids get bored with them quickly, and the toys end up going unused. (Or the kids find creative but sometimes inappropriate ways to use them.) Avoid overstimulation by implementing a batter-free toy policy in your early learning environment.

-Think about color. Bright primary colors are not necessarily the most appropriate choice for walls and furnishings in an early learning program. Loud colors can overload the senses and influence behaviors. You are responsible for the whole feel of your physical space. Neutral walls with rich but subdued splashes of colors throughout the environment may provide stimulation that is more appropriate.

Now I may have lost some of you due to the above exerpt's use of the term "your early learning environment" and "early learning program." I hope not!

If you have young children of your own, your home is an early learning environment/program. 

This piece speaks to the need for the children for thoughtful stimulation. All of our children deserve to have their minds challenged but not overloaded. I hope that this exerpt serves as a thought-provoking check for you to evaluate whether the child/children in your care are receiving that type of experience while in your care...whether they are your own children or children you are caring for in their parents' absence!

So...non-screen, non-battery-powered, non-crazy-colored play? What does that look like exactly?

I'll say this. Keep it simple and don't overthink. What are some of the things you have around that you could allow children to explore?

-water...how could you set up opportunities inside and outside for them to explore water? dish-tubs of water? water table? ice (blocks, cubes, etc)? hoses?

-earth...digging space in dirt? sandbox? could you create a temporary sandbox indoors via a tub of sand?

-bubbles...big tubs of them? old-school little plastic jars of bubbles? dish soap in tub before adding water to make it bubble over top for play?

If you'd like, you could take a scroll down through our photos and pull out one of the activities we've done with our preschool children. Feel free to ask if you're curious about tips on execution!