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Firefighters and Tornado Warning Excite Young 5s!

May 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Dear Parents of Traver Young Fives,

It has been an exciting May so far! At the very end of April we had some Ann Arbor Firefighters visit our center and show their gear and truck to us. A few days later we talked about the possibilities of tornados and what we have to do in case we have a Tornado Warning. Good thing we talked about it, because on Monday May 12 we had real-life Tornado warnings! We heard the Tornado alarms and were instructed to get into our safe spaces, so we did! We stopped play, the kids all quickly and calmly got over into our mini-tornado bunker and got into the safety positions we had taught them. We had to stay in our safe space for quite a while, so we broke out some transition toys, books and had a snack. Our thanks to parents Iris, Ute and Kelly for gracefully joining in our tornado safety positions and reassuring the children. All the Young 5s were so brave and calm and helpful to us and each other during the Tornado warning! I was taking it all very seriously so I didn’t stop to take any pictures, but I’ll leave you with some photos from the firefighters visit. Be well!

FF 1 FF 2 FF 3

Young 5s April Cont’d

April 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

We continue to enjoy our busy April here in Young 5s! We had a blast the other day at JUNGLE JAVA, we focused our energy and did yoga with the author of “Y is for Yoga” and we had fun playing in the snow…oh winter go away already.

Here is the corrected April calendar for your reference, it has the dates for the upcoming Art Gallery, Pot Luck and BOOK FAIR!

April 2013 Teacher Calendar

Thank you so much to those of you who have donated food, you are an amazing help to the community! The Food Drive runs through April 30th, we can handle whatever you can donate so bring it on! Thank you.

Be well! – Neal

Young 5s Busy April!

April 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

There you are, Spring! Finally!

It’s been a beautiful few days here recently and we’ve been duly enjoying them. We’ve got a busy April coming up, it is the Month of the Young Child and we are ready to celebrate all the miraculous little children at Gretchen’s House and beyond.

I have posted here the April Calendar to give you an idea of the many events we have planned! However we do have a few events planned that are not yet finalized, so we will probably email out a different, finalized April calendar. Please come to us directly, or through phone/email with any questions you may have!

April 2014 Calendar

During April at our Traver center we will be collecting canned and non-perishable food items for donation to Food Gatherers. All and any items you can donate are greatly appreciated!! There will be donation crates (milk crates, with signs) in every classroom and a large donation barrel in the Barn. Thanks so much in advance!

Happy Spring! – Neal

Young 5s: Mystery Readers and Master Builders

March 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Young 5s have been having fun amid the cold-warm-cold-warm/wet-icy-wet-icy week we’ve been having so far, getting creative inside and muddy outside. We rearranged our Block Area to give the children more space to play and improve the flow of the room. We have melted ice and painted snow during Small Group Times, and we have been lucky to have some exciting visitors every day this week! We’ve invited parents and family to visit us as Mystery Readers, and this week we’ve had one every day!

We also got into construction with the straw-builders, instead of the usual magnet-tiles and wooden blocks, and after some careful design and blueprinting (literally) we came up with some monumental creations!


Be well!


Young 5s Say Goodbye/March Calendar

March 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Another fun week at Traver Young 5s, including field trips to Traverwood Library for story time and Placid Way Park for play time! But also a sad week as we said goodbye to our friend Margherita, who will move back to Italy with her family. Arrivederci Margherita, l’Italia è un paese meraviglioso!

Margherita skating away

And for all of us who remain in wintry Michigan, I have posted the March calendar, my apologies for tardiness. Spring also apologizes for its tardiness, it keeps calling and saying it’s just around the corner so let’s hope so!

March 2014 Calendar


Young 5s goes art crazy!

March 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Last week in Young 5s we all rediscovered the joys of throwing things in the air, especially shiny, sparkly or fuzzy things! After witnessing one child toss up the sparkle paper and watch it all come shimmering back down, everyone got in on the “pixie dust” action, and we ended up with quite a mess on our hands! As promised, the pictures are below. Hope you’re having a great week!



Neal takes over Young 5s Blog!

March 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Hello Dear Young 5s Families!

This is Neal and I am taking over blogging duty for our classroom, and I’m very excited about it. Toys-From-Home day really brought out our energy today and we had a great time  during our morning Work Time. My next post will include pictures of what our classroom looked like after work time, it’ll be worth the wait!

Upcoming reminder: April is Month of the Young Child, and we will be doing some special things to celebrate all our wonderful young children. One thing we will have throughout April will be a Food Drive organized by yours truly, so please consider bringing any canned/non-perishable food items you would be willing to donate! Many families need help throughout the year, so we appreciate anything you will be able to bring. Thanks in advance and have a wonderful week!

Best Regards, Neal

Young Fives and Cottage Preschool go to the Wave Fields!

February 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Young Fives and Cottage Preschool went to the Wave Fields on the University of Michigan’s campus in January! We put all our winter gear on and rode on the Gretchen’s House bus with teachers, Katy, Rachel, Neal, and Emily. Then, we played on the hills of the Wave Fields. There was snow in between the waves, but not on the top. We used our large muscle skills to run, walk, jump, roll, and crawl around on the waves. It was so much fun! We were really happy that the weather allowed us to go since we have had so many days inside this winter!


Young Fives January Calendar

January 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Hello! Here is the calendar for January 2014! I hope everyone had a great holiday season and a happy new year! We are looking forward to all the fun and learning this year has to bring!


January 2014 Calendar

The Cold Weather is Here!

January 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The cold is here! We go outside twice a day as long as the temperature including windchill is above 0*F. That being said, please bring weather appropriate clothing for your child. This includes a winter jacket, snow pants, hats, waterproof gloves/mittens, neck warmers, and boots. You may also bring in indoor shoes for your child to wear inside the classroom.

I would just like to take the time to remind everyone of our inclement weather policy here at Gretchen’s House. Neal and I have a list of phone numbers to call/text in case of a closing. If you wish to be texted instead of called, please add your name and preferred phone number to the list inside the parent communication binder. The Gretchen’s House website includes the policy, which I am going to add here in this blog post for convenience.

– When the Ann Arbor Public Schools close for inclement weather,
Gretchen’s House will not be open before 10:00 a.m. If the
weather conditions improve sufficiently by 9:00 a.m. to allow
teachers and parents to safely drive to the centers, our
centers will open at 10:00 a.m. On Delayed Opening days,
parents will not be called.

– If the centers are to remain closed for the day, parents will
be notified by phone by their family group leader or director.
In addition, any Gretchen’s House closure or delayed opening
status will be announced on WAAM radio (AM1600). Parents may
also call our special Gretchen’s House phone line: 734.480.8592
to get an update on delayed opening or all day closing status
(after 9:15 a.m.).

When we have a delayed opening:

– Lunch will be prepared as usual, though the menu items may
differ from the schedule if necessary.
– Parents will not be called by center teachers. It is the
parents’ responsibility to listen to WAAM or call our
special phone line to get information.
– Care for School Age children will begin at noon. Afternoon
Kindergarten and School age children wishing to come to
Gretchen’s House on an inclement weather day for hours they
are not normally in attendance must call the center after
10:00 a.m. to check for availability.
– All centers will close at the regular closing time of 5:45.
Parents are asked to pick up their children at their own
regular pick-up time (many children are picked up before
5:45) since those staff who normally leave before 5:45 may
still need to leave at their scheduled time to meet other
commitments (college classes, second job, etc.).
– If the weather takes a turn for the worse, the centers may
call parents to require an early pick-up.

When the centers are closed all day:

– Parents will be notified of the full day closing between
9:00-9:30 a.m. by their family group leader. You can sign
up in your child’s classroom to get a text instead if you
– Parents may also call the Gretchen’s House special phone
line (734.480.8592) to get a closing update.
– Gretchen’s House teachers are not permitted to care for
children from the centers if we are closed due to inclement
weather or dangerous temperatures. The teachers are being
paid for this time and are therefore expected to do
additional planning and preparation at home.
– Parents who wish to share child care with other Gretchen’s
House parents on these days can put their names on our
co-op list and coordinate this care themselves.

Text Message Notifications:
– If you’d like to receive automated text message alerts when
Gretchen’s House Ann Arbor centers have a delayed opening or
are closed due to weather or other extenuating
circumstances, please subscribe to our Twitter feed. You
will need to set your preferences to receive the text
alerts. First, set up an account for yourself at Once logged into your twitter account, go
to At the top of that page,
click on the follow button. Once you see the green check
mark and “following” message in that same spot, click on the
mobile phone icon to subscribe to automated text messages
from us.

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