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March is Reading Month

As we wind down March is Reading Month , we would like to share what we have been doing at Foundations to support literacy. Founded to celebrate the birthday of the favorite author of millions of children, Dr. Seuss, National Reading Month is aimed at giving kids chance to improve their reading skills and make reading a daily habit.

Why is Early Literacy Important? Children introduced to reading early:

  • read earlier and excel in school compared to children who are not exposed to language and books at a young age (American Academy of Pediatrics).
  • reading, rhyming, singing, and talking — beginning from birth — profoundly influence literacy and language development, the foundations for all other learning (www.healthychildren.org).
  • enter kindergarten with an advantage that carries with them throughout their school years

This week was a busy week filled with literacy activities. Today, the amazing storyteller Linda Pershin Raynor made reading aloud come to life! Read-alouds are powerful because they serve so many instructional purposes—to motivate, encourage, excite, develop comprehension, assist children in making connections, and serve as a model of what fluent reading sounds like. Exciting read-alouds, as Linda gave us today, help children recognize what reading for pleasure is all about.

On Tuesday, volunteers from Target Reads! visited each classroom. Books were read during story-time, snack-time, and even during lunch.

Language, literacy, and communication is an important part of our preschooler’s day, every day. Children also experienced interactive felt board stories, letters in the sensory bin, mailing stories to friends in the classroom, and tons of Dr. Seuss themed activities.

Parents can continue to support literacy at home by reading at least 20 minutes a day, talk daily about home and school, singing and dancing, and putting on plays!

A free service available to parents to support literacy at home is TALK, Text to Learn for Kindergarten. TALK sends biweekly text messages suggesting activities
that parents and caregivers can easily incorporate into daily interactions with their children. The service also notifies parents of free educational activities in their area. TALK is available to parents and caregivers of children ages 5 and under across Washtenaw County. Parents can sign up by texting TALK to 77453 or visiting www.texttolearn.com.

With the assurance that your preschooler is on the road to reading, here is to embracing March is National Reading Month and building on these important foundational skills beyond March 31st.

Family Wellness

Family Wellness is very important to us at Foundations Preschool. In addition to our food program, we also include food exploration, gardening, physical fitness and other wellness activities in to our daily curriculum. To support family wellness, we will be sharing  ideas each month on our blog and through a newsletter to families. This month we are featuring quick, affordable, easy homemade dinners and some indoor activities to keep everyone moving during these COLD days.  We hope you enjoy!

Quick, Delicious Dinners for under $5
(that even picky eaters will enjoy!)

Easy Ravioli Bake
1 jar Favorite Pasta Sauce
1 package frozen ravioli (Meijer or Aldi brands are both good)
2 cups shredded cheese (mozzarella usually, but any cheese will do!)

Spread 3/4 cup of the pasta sauce in baking dish. Arrange half of the frozen ravioli in single layer over sauce; top with half of the remaining pasta sauce and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers once, starting with ravioli. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered 15 to 20 minutes longer or until bubbly and hot in center. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

This is a great meal to precook, and heat up for later. It also works  in a slow-cooker with a timer; dump every thing in before you leave for work and set it for 4 hours on low.  If you have more time, brown some beef or sausage and mix that in too.  Serve with cut up vegetables and fruit for a well-balanced meal.

Taco Sloppy Joes
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 packet taco seasoning
1 cup chunky salsa 1/4-1/2 cup water
Buns, for Serving
(use hot dog buns to control the mess and for fun!)

Brown ground beef, chopped onion, and any other veggie add-ins in a large skillet over medium high heat. Drain grease and add the taco seasoning and salsa.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 5 more minutes until mixture has thickened and is heated through. Add up to 1/2 cup of water to achieve desired consistency. Serve over hamburgers buns or in hot dog buns and add desired toppings such as shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, diced tomato, avocado, guacamole, or sour cream. Serve with a Fruit Salad .

You can even sneak veggies and/or beans in to the sauce (peppers and black beans) if you wish!

Indoor Activities with Balloons

Winter is at its deepest and keeping preschoolers active inside can be a challenge!!

Balloon Games, They never fail. They always make a fun activity with minimum preparation. Here are a few favorites to burn off energy and have fun! 

Balloon Hockey
Balloons from the dollar store
A long cardboard tube for each child playing; the one shown is from wrapping paper
A piece of cardboard for each tube that is approximately
8 by 6 inches, or however big you think it needs to be
Tape – packing tape is shown
Large boxes, baskets, or anything that will act as the goal(s)

To make the hockey stick, cut two slits, approximately 3 inches long, down the sides of the paper tube. Slide the piece of cardboard in to the slit. Put a couple of strips of packing tape along the bottom of the cardboard to make it a bit more sturdy. Use a goal or two depending on how many are playing.

Play keep it up
This one is a classic – but it’s a classic for a reason.  It is wonderful fun and full of exercise and hand-eye-coordination too.  Pop  the balloon into the air and run around trying to keep it from touching the ground.  Add music in for even more fun!

Balloon Tennis
Use plastic spoons , paint stirrers, or large popsicle sticks and use painter’s
tape to attach to paper plates. The game is simple. Hit the ball back and forth. Make up your own rules as you go. You can also use these
to play keep it up.

Balloon Speed Bag
Tie a string on the balloon and hang it from the ceiling.  Tie it high and they jump to hit it. Lower it to head level, and have them bump it off their heads or use it as a speed bag. Lower the balloon to waist level and have the kids practice kicking it. 

The Importance of Bedtime

For toddlers and preschoolers, bedtime is often the most challenging part of the day. It means another transition and separation from parents, at the same time everyone in the household is frazzled! Setting up a calm, loving, and predictable bedtime routine is one of the best ways to make sure that your child (and you) gets enough sleep.

The benefits of adequate sleep for children are many. Well-rested kids:

  • Go to sleep faster-An overtired child can be an overactive child due to increased cortisol levels. Sleep begets sleep.
  • Behave better-Sleep deprived children are more likely to have intense temper tantrums and have difficulty getting along with peers.
  • Have increased attention and learning-One study showed that 2/3 of kids deprived of sleep met the clinical diagnosis for ADHD. If being deprived of sleep leads to a drop in attention, children may miss out on learning and on opportunities to be creative. And if they are easily irritated and frustrated because their bodies and brains are tired, they may not learn as much either.

Adding or changing a bedtime routine can be hard, but involving your child in the process can make it go more smoothly. Nancy Buck, a developmental psychologist, suggests finding a relaxed time, such as Saturday morning, to talk about upcoming changes in a non-blaming way. For example, “Bedtime is consistently unpleasant and seems to regularly turn into an argument. Let’s see if we can create a plan to solve this ongoing problem.”

This gives your child an opportunity to choose quiet activities they would enjoy to wind down, whether it be stories or coloring or a bath every night. Once the ideal bedtime routine is in place, be consistent but somewhat flexible; if one night your child would like a puzzle before bed then change it up! As long as the essential elements of a bedtime routine stay in place, children are more likely to get adequate sleep.

Many Families Use Checklists

The following illustrates some steps in beneficial routines. Yours can be anything that works for you and your child:

  • Leave at least an hour for quiet-play and the bedtime routine. Roughhousing, running, playing tickling games, and even watching TV shows or videos make peaceful transition to sleep especially difficult.
  • Offer a small low-sugar protein snack one hour before bed such as turkey and cheese or plain yogurt with berries. The protein really does help your child fall asleep and stay asleep!
  • Turn down the heat and lights to promote relaxation, maybe even play soft music.
  • Use the bathroom, brush teeth, and change in to PJs while singing songs or talking about your day.
  • Read stories, listen to an audiobook or a sleep story-together. When parents are emotionally available at night their child will feel more secure and go to sleep easier and faster.

What works for your family? Share in the Comments!

References:

  1. Wendy A Hall, Elizabeth Nethery. What does Sleep Hygiene have to offer Children’s Sleep Problems? Paediatric Respiratory Reviews, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.prrv.2018.10.005
  2. Impact of Sleep Extension and Restriction on Children’s Emotional Lability and Impulsivity; Reut Gruber, Jamie Cassoff, Sonia Frenette, Sabrina Wiebe, Julie Carrier
  3. Dr. Laura Markham, The Importance of Bedtime Routines
  4. How to Develop a Bedtime Routine, Parents Magazine Online
  5. West, Kim (2009) The Sleep Lady®’s Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up Happy

Family Style Meals

“Yum, I love this soup! Can I have a second bowl?”

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Our four-year olds LOVED the Chicken Tikka Masala served at lunch yesterday.  Our Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Kraig, prepared the meal ‘deconstructed’ so the children could enjoy the meal their own way. At Foundations, teachers and children eat lunch family style. The food is served in bowls or on platters and passed around the table. The teacher eats with the children and socializes with them, similar to the way a family might eat together at home.  The practice of family style meals is widely encouraged in early care and education. Why is this?

Researchers have found many long-term benefits of family-style meals; the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), High-Scope,  and the National School Nutrition Program (CAFCP),  all consider meal-time as a required part of the curriculum. “Snack and mealtimes provide daily opportunities to demonstrate the program philosophy in a visible way through the practices of participatory learning and authentic conversations that build relationships between children and adults (GSRP Implementation Manual, 2017). Some of the benefits include:

  • Children learn and practice social and motor skills such as sharing, passing, pouring, and turn taking.
  • Children have control over which foods and what size portion they wish to consume. Being allowed to eat based on their own hunger level helps children learn self-regulation and understand the sense of fullness.
  • Children are encouraged to try new foods by seeing other children and adults eating them. This sets up a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
  • Messes are a part of family-style meals; children learn that mistakes happen and they act responsibly while helping to clean up.

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When your child is in a child care setting, you want them to feel safe and secure. At Foundations, our teachers strive to make meal times a fun learning experience so children see themselves as part of their child care “family”. Serving daily meals family style helps children learn the routine and manners that go with mealtimes, while continuing to build up children’s self-esteem and sense of belonging to a nurturing community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Play is More than “Just Fun”

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At Foundations Preschool, we prioritize outside play year-round. Play, especially outdoor play, is critical to a preschooler’s development. As Albert Einstein said, “Play is the highest form of research!”  The best part of learning through play, is that children don’t even know they are:

•  Developing Cognitive skills – How does ice feel? How does this herb taste?

•   Strengthening Physical Abilities-What happens if I pedal faster? Why do we  slide down instead of up?

•  Building New Vocabulary-What is this plant? What type of bird is that?

  • Practicing Social Skills-Who’s turn is it on the swing? How do I know if someone wants to play with me?

Outdoor play provides health benefits as well.  Studies at Stanford University have found that even 5 minutes in nature can improve a child’s ability to self-regulate and pay attention. In 2014, a study at University of Colorado showed that children’s exposure to green outdoor spaces helped decrease their stress levels by offering an escape from life’s daily routine.  Outdoor play enables children to ‘recharge their batteries’ by taking part in very different activities from the classroom experience.

Outdoor play allows children to be children! Some of our favorite childhood memories are outdoor activities. Using open space to fulfill basic childhood needs—jumping, running, climbing, swinging, racing, yelling, rolling, hiding,
and making a big mess—is what childhood is all about!

As winter is upon us here in Michigan, we are looking forward to snow balls and icicles. “Just remember that bad weather always looks worse through a window.” – Tom Lehrer

Get outside and play like a kid!

Still Looking for Preschool?

Foundations Preschool is the best choice for your money! We’re one of the highest rated schools while staying affordable for working parents. Our teachers and staff are always doing what’s best for your child. We know that each child has different needs and interests.
Preschool students
We welcome Great Start students, but if you are not eligible for that program, we accept DHHS and Child Care Network funding as well as providing tuition scholarships. We believe that all children should receive a quality start to their education, no matter their parent’s income.

Parents can’t always take time away from work. We provide on-site speech therapists and social workers. We have on-site dental, hearing and vision screenings so that you don’t need to take time away to schedule these visits. We take pride in being able to identify as early as possible your child’s needs.

Our school chef is a nutrition and fitness specialist. He creates balanced, delicious meals for our students, and plans weekly physical activities. Every day your child is served two full meals plus snacks. These are included in the cost of tuition, and saves you time because you do not need to pack food for them. Your kids are active while they are at school – working their bodies as well as their minds!

Summertime is Almost Here


Welcome to Days of Discovery – our fun in the sun summer program for ages 2 yrs 9 mos – 6 yrs old.

Your camper will enjoy a summer of ​discovery​ at Foundations Preschool of Washtenaw County! This 10-week summer program runs from June 18​–August 23​, where each week’s activities are ​full of fun and learning.

Kids will explore three large outdoor playgrounds with gardening beds and water play areas. On-site “field trips” bring music, science and art to the children.

The absolute LOWEST RATES based on a sliding scale​.​ DHHS is accepted. No extra fees for extended hours (open 7am – 6pm) and all meals and snacks are provided.
WEEKLY THEMES
Week 1: Dinosours!
Week 2: Nature
Week 3: Super Heroes
Week 4: The Beach
Week 5: Red, White and Blue
Week 6: Pirates
Week 7: Science
Week 8: My Community
Week 9: Animals
Week 10: Space Exploration

Daily focus:
Mad Science Mondays
Tasty Tuesdays
Musical Wednesdays
Artsy Thursdays
Fitness Fridays

Enroll Now!

Time to Reserve Your Spot for the Fall!

Enrollment at Foundations Preschool is simple!

We accept children ages 2 years and 9 months through 4 years, at time of your enrollment.

If your child will be 4 years old before September 1, 2018 [CLICK HERE]

There is currently a “single point of entry” for all subsidized preschool programs (GSRP and Head Start) within Washtenaw County (Foundations Preschool runs a GSRP program.) You must follow these steps to apply to Foundations Preschool School.  This is for enrollment in the state funded GSRP Program (begins in September 2018).

  1. Go to: washtenawpreschool.org and fill out the interest form preschool web button
  2. On the interest form as “Preference 1” specify “Foundations Preschool
  3. Once you submit the washtenawpreschool.org interest form, you will be contacted if you are eligible.
  4. If you have any questions or need help filling out the interest form contact us at (734) 677-8130.  We are happy to offer our computers and our assistance!

If you do not qualify for the above program OR your child will not be 4 by September 1, 2018 and is at least 2 years 9 months old [CLICK HERE]

Requirements for enrollment in our 3-year-old program:

  1. You must live, work or go to school in Wasthenaw County
  2. Your child/family must have at least one factor off of the list of criteria as seen here: (CLICK HERE FOR LIST)
  3. Your child is 2 and 9 months years old at time of enrollment
  4. You can download and fill out the application here:

****HERE TO DOWNLOAD APPLICATION FORM****

*****Here to download Tuition Rates******

or call (734) 677-8130/visit us to request an application.

 

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