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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!


Cottage Preschoolers do Yoga!

January 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The preschoolers in the cottage welcomed Anita Adhikary, author of Y is for Yoga, on Tuesday! The children absolutely loved doing yoga with Anita; they were engaged the entire time and were willing to give all of the different poses a try!

Children’s yoga is a great tool to help children calm themselves, focus, and relieve stress. It also allows children to become more aware of their bodies and minds. Finally, yoga is great for physical development.

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Anita will be coming monthly to do Yoga with the children, and between visits, we will continue to practice yoga during large or small group times throughout the day.

If you are interested in learning more about Anita or are interested in buying any of her books, here is a link to her website: 

Ashley & Emily

Welcome Back Infant/Toddler Families!

January 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

We hope everyone had a relaxing winter break! December seemed balmy compared to our frigid January weather. We have not had as much time outside lately due to the subzero temperatures, and we are feeling a bit stir crazy! I would like to share some suggestions of inside activities we do here at Gretchen’s House that support our need to move, even when we can’t get outside!

One of our go-to activities is to put on some music and dance. Take turns doing moves and try to copy each other.  Another favorite is seeing how many different ways you can think of to move across the room (walk backwards, crawl, jump, roll, etc.). You can read a book about animals and move your bodies like them. If you have a yoga ball, you can bounce together on it. If you have an older infant, you can crawl around next to them or line up different sturdy items for them to cruise along. Younger infants can practice tummy time and sitting up. Give them interesting things to look at and explore like laminated pictures or a shiny metal bowl.

Here is a link to a few more ideas of movement activities you can do with your infants and toddlers at home.

See how many different activities you can think of to move your body inside. We hope the rest of the winter brings us many days of outside time!



Infants Explore Treasure Baskets in Small Group

December 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Our infants manipulated and explored treasure baskets during small group time today.  Each of them were given a basket containing a tennis ball tube and clothespins.  They each explored their basket in their own way. Nadia carefully removed a clothespin, then held it in front of her face, examining it.  She then brought it to her mouth and explored it that way for a while.  Elijah tipped his basket over and grabbed both the tube and a clothespin that had fallen out.  He used trial and error when trying to figure out how to get the clothespin into the container, he would put his whole hand in while holding the pin, and really had to work hard to figure out how to open his hand to let it drop.  Zeb picked up his whole basket, and spilled it on to his lap.  He mouthed the tube while he rolled onto his side.  He dropped the tube when he saw the clothespins and grabbed one in each hand and mouthed them. He also explored the basket, pulling the handles with each hand and tossing it, then scooting after it. They all noticed and watched what the other children were doing. They also watched me as I explored my own set of materials.  These sorts of simple materials allow the children to practice their small muscle skills, to experiment with scientific concepts like experimenting and predicting and with building relationships with other children. Enjoy the photos!


KODAK Digital Still Camera KODAK Digital Still Camera KODAK Digital Still Camera 


Small Group Time in the Cottage Preschool

December 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Small group time is one of the most significant parts of the High Scope daily routine. Small groups allow teachers to support the children in their family group by extending their explorations, learning experiences and to introduce children to new experiences. The children are provided with materials that they are able to explore in their own way, and they are selected based on the children’s interests and abilities. Here are a few small group activities we have done this past month!

Magna tiles and blocks are a hit in preschool! These are versatile materials that teach problem solving, geometry, numbers and counting, measurement, and experimenting and predicting. These are also materials that encourage interaction among peers, so children also learn how to play and communicate with others! During this small group the children used blueprints as a way to add more details to their creations.



The preschoolers explored shaving cream with their hands and paint brushes! They began by spreading it out all over the table, then went on to write their names in the shaving cream, draw pictures of their families, as well as draw shapes!

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Today we used unifix cubes to make two, three, and even four part patterns! Some children chose to build with them as well, using the cubes to make their families! Unifix cubes are great for strengthening small finger muscles, counting, measuring, and learning the language associated with math and measurement.

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Ashley & Emily


Leaves, Leaves Everywhere in I/T

November 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

We are well into the fall season here in the Infant/Toddler Room. The trees that help shade our playground throughout the summer have changed color and dropped their leaves. The children love the leaves! We have had a lot of help raking the leaves and scooping them up into crates, wheelbarrows, leaf bags, and the compost bin.

We work a lot of fun into our leaf clean-up, too. Big piles of leaves are perfect for jumping into! The toddlers like scooping up big handfuls and tossing them into the air or loading up a wheelbarrow to push around the playground. They have found many ways to use the leaves. Coming soon, we’ll see what they do with the snow!

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Cottage Preschoolers love the snow!

November 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

When the first snow of 2014 hit Ann Arbor, the Cottage Preschoolers at Traver could not wait to get outside and play! For some, it was even their first time seeing the cold, white, fluffy flakes falling from the sky! The children enjoyed running and swinging in the snow, but most of all they loved tasting it! Not only did the snow excite the children and inspire talk about the colder weather, but it brought talk about the changing of the seasons and what happens during winter. Emily and I cannot wait to see the questions and activities that this winter will bring!

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Enjoy the snow and stay warm!

Ashley & Emily

Toddlers Explore Paint and Shaving Cream!

November 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Last week, the toddlers shed their clothes and donned smocks for some paint and shaving cream messy fun! Using the sensory table as a big bowl, we squeezed in paint and sprayed shaving cream on top of paper. The toddlers ran their hands and fingers along the paper, making lines and streaks of different colors mixed with the puffy white shaving cream. Then, we added our bumpy sensory balls to the mix. Nolan and Nick slid their balls back and forth in the paint, making more streaks and getting the balls covered! Ava patted her ball into the paint and then onto the paper. The younger toddlers liked feeling the paint in their hands and holding the paint covered balls. Once the paper got too wet and started ripping, we took it out and used the balls and paint on the sensory table bottom. They moved the balls in different ways like bouncing and rolling them. Since the balls were covered in paint, they made tracks and marks on the table as they moved along! There are many learning outcomes in an experience like this.  Children are building relationships with their peers, exploring the properties of paint and shaving cream and exploring art materials. Needless to say, paint got everywhere! A couple toddlers even needed baths!


The Cottage Preschool’s trip to Three Cedars Farm

October 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Last Wednesday the Cottage Preschoolers along with several family members took their first big field trip of the year to Three Cedars Farm! As the leaves started changing colors and the pumpkins and gourds were placed around the center, the children took an interest in everything fall! We explored pumpkins and gourds on the playgrounds, and even opened them up to see what was inside. We’ve been singing songs about pumpkins such as  “5 Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Gate” and “10 little Pumpkins” during large group time.

On our trip we saw animals like pigs, sheep, chickens, and bunnies; took a hay ride out to pick our own pie pumpkins; and- the favorite for most- finished the field trip with apple cider and donuts!

Thank you to all the parents who were able to join us on this trip!

Ashley & Emily

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!

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