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Infants and Toddlers: Happy Spring!

April 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Happy April I/T Families! It seems as though spring has finally arrived. We have been enjoying some time outside. The children have been excited to see the daffodils and tulips coming up on our playground. Outside time has been preceded with choruses of, “We don’t need our snow pants!” The birds and squirrels have been very active and busy around our playground, which the children love to see!

We have been celebrating Month of the Young Child. We enjoyed a popsicle snack. We have been doing a lot of art for a special project and for our Art Show that is located in the upper level of the barn (the larger building behind the main building). On Thursday, April 23, we will be having a “showing” in the barn from 4-5. Parents and other family members are welcome to join us for a snack and to check out the art from all the classrooms. You are also welcome to view the the art at any other time that the center is open if this time does not work for you. Just let us know, so that we can give you the code to the barn door.

Finally, we still have many days available for mystery readers. The only time of the day that doesn’t work is from 1-3 when the toddlers are resting. We would love to have some parents sign up and come in to read. Feel free to bring your own books!


Praise vs. Encouragement in the Infant/Toddler Room

February 20, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Happy February everyone! I would like to share some ideas from one of the most valuable trainings that I have had here at Gretchen’s House. It was about praise versus encouragement.

How many times have you overheard a parent say,  “Good job!”? How often might this be something that you say to your child? Not that often? I would have answered the same way before the training.  It can often be a “go to” phrase when we want children to feel proud and validated. However, I learned that there are better ways to make our words meaningful and validating in a more concrete way.

Imagine you have been asked to write a really important report for work. You work really hard on the report. You put in overtime and really do your research. You are extremely proud of your work.  How would you feel if your boss only said, “Good job”? How would you feel if your boss said, “That was a great report. It was well researched and thorough. You worked really hard on it, and I can tell you put in some extra hours”? The first comment is praise, and the latter is encouragement. The encouragement feels a lot better, doesn’t it?

According to an article by John F. Taylor (1979), the differences in outcomes for children between praise and encouragement are as follows:

Praise Encouragement
stimulates rivalry and competition stimulates cooperation and contribution for the good of all
focuses on quality of performance focuses on amount of effort and joy
evaluative and judgmental; person feels “judged” little or no evaluation of person or act; person feels “accepted”
emphasis on global evaluation of the person-“You are better than others” emphasis on specific contributions-“You have helped this way”
creates quitters creates ‘triers’ and persistence
 fosters fear of failure and dependence fosters acceptance of being imperfect; fosters self sufficiency and independence

Children who are often praised can come to depend on it. They are often less willing to take risks. If they are already doing a good job, they don’t want to try something different and fail, thus losing their “good job” status. Children who are encouraged may be open to trying new and different things because the focus is on their effort not the outcome. Picture two toddlers of similar age and ability. One child finds their shoes and takes them to their parent. They hear, “Good job,” and the parent puts their shoes on for them. The other child finds their shoes and takes them to their parent. They hear, “You found your shoes.” The child then unsuccessfully attempts to put their shoes on and hears, “You worked really hard to put your shoes on.” The parent then helps with the shoes. The second child is much more likely to continue to try to put their shoes on by themselves because their effort is being acknowledged.

One of the best examples I’ve heard came from a mom when we did this training at Curriculum Night a few years ago. Her older daughter was drawing a picture. The mom told her, “Good job.” The daughter responded with, “But mom, I’m not even done yet!” The compliment was not meaningful to the child. Perhaps she thought, “I just got a good job for something that isn’t even done yet. Do they even mean it when they tell me good job?” A comment such as, “You’re working really hard on your picture,” would have meant a lot more to her.

I never realized how much I said, “Good Job,” until I had this training. It takes some time to break the habit. Think about how you can rephrase your “Good Job” statements. Be specific and acknowledge effort. Some examples: “You put your coat on all by yourself.” “You used a lot of different colors on your marker drawing.” “You tried your green beans.” “Snow pants are really hard to put on. You’ve been trying so hard to get yours on. Are you ready for some help?”

A “Good job” every now and then is completely fine, but a little encouragement goes a long way!


Large Muscle Activities for the Preschool!

January 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The children in our preschool class have had so much energy these past few weeks and the teachers have been working hard to support them. As you know, the weather hasn’t always been in our favor. So, we really needed to get creative.
This morning for large group we brought the children to the gym and got out the big blue tumbling mats. We invited the children to participate in an activity that would work out all their large muscles.
We asked the children to “tow” each other across the gym on the big blue mats. The teachers offered their helping hands with the “towing” but the children were very independent and wanted to do it on their own.
They started with just one child on top, then two, and they even towed their teachers! It was such a fun way to get there muscles moving and blood pumping! As we know all this moving is good for the children’s brain development.  Here’s a link to an article that talks about research showing the importance of movement to brain development:

“Why Your Classroom Needs More Dance Parties”

Stay warm out there!


Winter Illness Info

January 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s that time of year when many children come down with viral infections, or what is better known as the common cold. We do our best at Gretchen’s House to minimize the spread of infection with lots of hand washing, but you may still find that your child comes home with a virus. I found this terrific article on Healthy that gives clear advice on treating these kinds of infections. You can find it by following this link: “Healthy” The article shares information about caring for children with stuffy noses, chest congestion and coughs.   The article also gives many suggestions for how to help our little ones feel more comfortable while they recover. Feel free to follow up with your classroom teacher or me if you have further questions.

Stay warm and healthy out there!


Fall Has Arrived in the Infant/Toddler Room

October 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

One day, about a week and a half ago, some fall decorations arrived while the children were sleeping. When the toddlers went outside in the afternoon, they immediately discovered the new items on the playground! They touched the larger pumpkins and carried around the smaller pumpkins and gourds. The bales of straw were perfect places for sitting and climbing! A favorite activity was putting the small pumpkins and gourds in the back of the cars and driving around with them. The infants explored pumpkins, gourds, leaves, and pieces of straw while playing on a blanket. The squirrels have also discovered the pumpkins and gourds, so we have been seeing them on our playground a lot lately!

The week our driveway was paved!

July 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

As I’m sure you are aware, our driveway at Gretchen’s House Traver was just repaved!  The children in our preschool classroom were fascinated to see all the different kinds of trucks, equipment, and workers.  They spent a lot of time observing what was happening and were even able to talk to a few workers and take a look at some of the equipment up close! What may have seemed like an inconvenient construction process turned out to be an amazing learning experience for the preschoolers!

When the digger trucks arrived at school that first day the children were glued to our fence asking questions and making observations about what they were seeing!   
The next day the asphalt trucks came to lay down the new road.  We watched from our patio!
“That truck has fire in it!” Alex noticed about the asphalt trucks.   
The workers parked this roller truck on our patio and let the kids come and take a closer look.  He explained that it was his job to drive the truck and roll out the asphalt!

Last but not least, the parking lot stripers! The kids were amazed by the machine that painted our parking spots!

Such an exciting and interesting week!



This week in preschool!

July 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Wow! We had such a fun filled week!

On Wednesday we had a water day. The preschoolers, and the teachers came to school ready to have some fun in the sun… well… more like clouds, but that didn’t disappoint us!

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“This is the BEST DAY EVER!” – Martin and Jack H.

We also went on a walk on Friday, to collect beautiful things that we found in nature.  While we were on our walk we stopped and admired a beautiful crane that was in the duck pond across from our school.  We also were able to run up and roll down a big hill. We really enjoyed our walk.

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We really learned a lot during all of our explorations. We can’t wait to show you what we’ll do next week!


Younger Scamp Calendar

June 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Hello Scamp Parents!

I am attaching the Younger Scamp calendar for the whole summer on here for your convenience.  Young Scamp 2014 Calendar

If anything changes, I will email you and change it on here.

Looking forward to a great summer,


Young Fives April’s Done, was so much fun!

May 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

What a great April we had in Young Fives! April was the Month of the Young Child and in that spirit many parents donated food to fill our barrel and help the needy. Food Gatherers thanks you! We made art, displayed our art, had a book fair, acquired some new books for the classroom and had some great field trips! We went to Jungle Java, Placid Way Park,  did yoga, and went to Logan to hear some 4th Grade music!

Parents, please start thinking about scheduling Teacher Conferences with us, we will be doing conferences in person, after school on the days of May 19, 21, and 28. Please look for conference sign-up sheets in the classroom soon!

Also, on Thursday May 15 and Friday May 16 the Upper parking lot and driveway will be closed for re-paving, so please anticipate having to park in the lower Staff parking lot, and walking through the playgrounds to drop off your children for those two days. Sorry for the inconvenience! Finally, a picture to express how April went for the Young Fives…

Java Crazy faces blog

Yep, that about sums it up. Be well! – Neal

Main House Preschool- January Calendar

January 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Hello Main House Preschool Families!

The month of December is almost over and we will be starting Winter Break this upcoming Monday! This year has flown by! Attached is the January calendar to print off and look at at home. If there are any changes that are made it will be updated.

Thank you!

January 2014

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