Music Exercises the Brain: Our Favorite Fall Tunes!

The change of seasons always feels like a fresh start. It gives us reason to pause and take notice of the world around us and the way that we are experiencing life. Earlier this year The Washington Post ran an article that cited studies done at the University of Vermont on the benefit of music for children.*

Their study found that for children: “Music training not only helps children develop fine motor skills, but aids emotional and behavioral maturation as well, according to a new study, one of the largest to investigate the effects of playing an instrument on brain development.”

Whether we’re singing, playing, or listening, every room at Creative World Schools is full of instruments, music, and dancing!

Here are some songs we’re jamming to in our classrooms right now that you can enjoy at home as well:

casparCaspar Babypants is a long-time favorite of many of our teachers. His new covers of classic Beatles songs will have you wanting to hold hands, jump on a submarine, and sing along


Jack Hartmann’s Hip Hop albums may be some of the coolest children’s music out there. We were blown away by how well-mixed and groovin’ his tunes are! Bonus: they’re educational! So, as you’re laughing about interrupting pirates and hip hop cowboys, you’re also secretly learning rhyming and letter shapes.

can you canoe

This is actually the Okee Dokee brother’s 2012 album, not their most recent, but it is amazing. It has a bluegrass feel with some toe-tapping songs mixed with some thoughtful ballads. We love the message to children to get outdoors and enjoy the world around us!


Secret Agent 23 Skidoo is all about empowering children with his zany rapping lyrics and sharp hip hop beats. His latest album, The Perfect Quirk, is all about celebrating what makes each child their wacky, wonderful self! Of course, we can’t help but listen to Space Cadet from his earlier album, Make Believers, at least once a day, too!


The Pop Up’s new album JUST came out and we are loving the electronica, throwback feel. This is a very cool band and we’re pretty sure it’s a better listen if you’re having an indoor picnic.


Recess Monkey’s 2014 album, Wired, is great road trip material: fist-pumping ska music with clever lyrics that will keep everyone entertained. There are some hilariously styled numbers, like Grandpa Is a Time Machine, that you should download right now!

*Washington Post Article

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Fun Fall Sensory Play!

Fall is here and we are craving spiced apples and pumpkin lattes!

Here are some great sensory experiences that you can do with your young child.


Pumpkin Pie Play Dough

1 Cup Flour

1/2 Cup Salt

2 Tablespoons of Cream of Tarter

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

2 Tablespoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice

1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon

3/4 Cup Water

Mix all of the ingredients together for a sweet & spicy sensory experience!


Forage to Explore: Sensory Tray

Go on a fall nature walk and collect items for a sensory spread, such as twigs, nuts, leaves, and more! What catches your eye or piques your interest? Set out your sensory items in tupperware bins or a chip/dip tray and add more items for investigation each time you go outside to explore!

leaf rubbings

Leaf Rubbings with a Twist

Collecting leaves, setting them under paper, and rubbing a crayon to create the negative image is a classic autumn activity  for children. Expand on classic leaf rubbings by using unique media: rub with berries, mulch, or rocks instead of crayons; rub on tissue paper, newspaper, corrugated cardboard, or other textiles. Can you create a collage? Stencil your leaves on top of the rubbings? Think outside the box with unconventional materials for fantastic results!


Colorful Leaf Cookies

Make sugar cookies according to a packaged recipe or purchase pre-made sugar cookie dough. Divide the dough into 4-5 sections and use food coloring to dye the dough fall leaf colors, such as yellow, orange, red, and green. Roll the dough out together and use cookie cutters to create leaves with various colors in them.

Have a beautiful autumn!

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Contextualized Learning: It’s Genius!

Juan Salgado, President and CEO of the Instituto del Progreso Latino in Chicago, IL, was just named one of this year’s recipient’s for the MacArthur Genius Grant. His Instituto has pioneered a new method of teaching called Contextualized Learning, in which he works with students in all walks of life, customizing their education with a field of employment in mind. In other words, if someone wishes to become a Registered Nurse, he or she will learn subject matter and vocabulary targeted at strengthening a medical knowledge base. His success in this has been immense; hence, the genius grant.

Part of the Instituto’s Vision Statement states that “The needs of the community it serves have helped define Instituto’s character of achievement through its high-quality programs in workforce development, adult education, youth development, youth education, and citizenship preparation.”*

This is double-force contextualization: driven by the needs of the community to further and strengthen the community in a very specific way! Ultimately, education is power. We all agree that empowering young learners, especially in America’s growing communities, is the most brilliant move we can make for the future!

*Instituto del Progreso Latino

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Literacy Zone: Books About Trees!

Check out some of these books for your child to read while they are exploring leaves, trees, and animals that live among the trees this month:

Print the October Book List!

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How Much Can Children Teach Themselves?

We all know that Early Education promotes independent learning as a path to success in life. Children thrive when their environment accommodates their natural curiosity and their learning is faciliated rather than teacher-driven. At Creative World, our entire curriculum is built around this premise with the goal of empowering young learners!

The basis for our educational approach is the unlimited potential of young learners and their capacity for knowledge. We don’t set limits on what children know or are “ready for” and believe that rich content is the foundation for learning. We believe in curiosity and nurture it as the spark that drives our curriculum. Creative World curriculum integrates three core approaches, or what we call the Three E’s.

In a recent TED Talk on the TED Radio Hour, Sugata Mitra reported some amazing findings in a study he performed with technology and young children:

“Educational researcher Dr. Sugata Mitra’s “Hole in the Wall” experiments have shown that, in the absence of supervision or formal teaching, children can teach themselves and each other.

In 1999, Mitra and his colleagues dug a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC and left it there. What they saw was kids playing around with the computer, and in the process learning how to use it, how to go online, and teaching each other. The “Hole in the Wall” project demonstrates that an environment that stimulates curiosity can cause learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge. Mitra, who’s now a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University, calls it “minimally invasive education.””

“In nine months, a group of children left alone with a computer — in any language — would reach the same standard as an office secretary in the West.” -Mitra

Mitra’s results are astounding and affirm our belief in the unlimited potential of every child! Listen to his TED Talk Here!


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How Self Aware Can My Child Be?

We’ve all bumped shoulders in a crowded room, been cut off in traffic, or been touched by an act of kindness from a stranger. All of these are ways we’re influenced by where other people fall on the spectrum of self awareness. Instilling a sense of person hood and self awareness in your child is an incredible way to cultivate compassion and grace for others. Did you know that self awareness begins at a very early age?

Researchers of Consciousness and Cognition at the University of Emory propose that signs of self consciousness begin to manifest at around eighteen months of age.* Prior to this there are, of course, signs of self awareness or the awareness of one’s self as a distinct entity from another. As your child progresses through increasingly complex stages of self awareness and self consciousness, how can you guide them on this journey to become a gracious and confident young person?

Here are some ideas that we are using in our That’s Me! inquiries this month!

  1. Invite your child to use a mirror (or not!) to draw a self portrait and then describe it to you.
  2. Get a tape measure and take down your child’s stats: height, head circumference, arm length, anything they want to measure and record!
  3. Use an inkpad or fingerpaint to make a piece of fingerprint artwork.
  4. “Me” Puppets: use a small brown paper bag to make a simple puppet and play pretend with you and your child acting out yourselves or each other.
  5. Use pets, family members, and friends as illustrations of how some things are like us and some things are not like us. What are some examples your child comes up with on their own?

Here’s a sneak peek at what our students are learning about themselves:


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That’s Me! Inquiry Approach by Age

September is All About Me at Creative World Schools! What makes each one of us so special and unique? We are exploring and finding that out in our exciting inquiry! Each age group in our schools explores identity and self-awareness in a different way. Here are some approaches from the Early Education Experts at CWS that you can take home with your own little one!





Toddlers use their senses all day as they are discovering and exploring. When they encounter something new, they use their senses to learn more about it and understand what the object is and how it works. One way toddlers learn is through touching things. As you explore touch, think about all the ways your toddlers use their fingers and hands to explore their world. What kinds of things do they like to touch? What are some new textures you can explore together?



Two Year Olds

A two year old’s sense of wonder and curiosity naturally leads them to explore and investigate using their five senses. As they experience their world by tasting, smelling, seeing, feeling, and hearing they begin to understand all that is around them. Provide your two year olds with rich experiences that allow them to use their sense of sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch to make observations and learn new things about their world.


blonde girl close up


Everyone is special in their own way and preschool age children are just starting to understand this concept. Everyone enjoys the opportunity to share information about themselves and find out how they fit in their world. Explore what makes each child unique and special through activities that identify their physical traits, their likes and dislikes, and even how they got their name.


One great way to affirm and support self-awareness and personhood in your child is to tell them their story! How did you choose their name? When did they conquer exciting milestones? If your child is very young, begin writing these fun facts down! As your child grows, they will love hearing new chapters in their own life story and begin charting their own course and identity.


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Fall Family Fun: Foraging!

One of the many wonderful things about being a parent is witnessing your child’s curiosity at the world around them. As the leaves begin to turn and a crispness lingers in the air, spending time outdoors is refreshing. Making the most of family moments outdoors is easy this autumn. A great way to support your child’s curiosity, exercise together, and breathe in the fresh fall air is to forage!

Mother and daughter collecting stones in brook in forest. --- Image by © Markus Moellenberg/Corbis

gerund or present participle: foraging
  1. (of a person or animal) search widely for food or provisions.
    synonyms: hunt, search, look, rummage around, ferret, root about/around, nose around/about, scavenge

14 Oct 2013, Landshut, Germany --- Little girl with autumn leaves sitting on a meadow --- Image by © Sandra Rösch/Westend61/Corbis

All foraging means for our purposes is to look for and gather interesting articles on a nature walk. These items, such as leaves, sticks, nuts, and dried grass, can be transformed into creative projects such as book-binding, leaf-pressing, or making wreathes. The product is unimportant. The value of a foraging expedition is time spent together engaged and observing the world around you. What kind of unique items can you spot and collect? Can you find objects that are the same or different? What do your items look and smell like? Engage in a conversation with your child as you have fun foraging this fall!

Want to see some amazing inspiration? Search #Forage on Instagram for pics of other people’s amazing finds!

Autumnal gardening --- Image by © Zero Creatives/cultura/Corbis

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Author of the Month: Bill Martin Jr.

Did you know that every month at Creative World Schools we feature a notable and inspiring children’s author in our Exploratorium? Focusing on an Author of the Month provides a platform to emphasize literature and expose our students to a broad range of literary styles.

This month, in our Letters and Numbers inquiry in the Exploratorium, we are introducing the children to the works of Bill Martin Jr.! Bill Martin Jr. was an amazing children’s book author who wrote for more than 60 years. He was a dear friend of Eric Carle, who illustrated one of his most famous books, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

brown bear

We love diving into the processes our authors take to craft our beloved tales. It is amazing to witness how children, when exposed to the methodologies behind storytelling, not only access their imaginations but become organically aware of the structures of language and character development. We use our favorite stories as a springboard for creating our own flights of fancy!

In this interview, Bill Martin Jr. describes how he wrote the text for Brown Bear while on a train. How do great ideas come to you? Do you happen upon them in unusual places? Sharing your own process of creativity or inventiveness with your child can prompt them to tune into their own inner genius!

Be sure to check in at the Exploratorium next month as we dive even deeper into literary explorations with our brand new theme, Storybook Tales!

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Educating with Oomph!


This past weekend we celebrated, were inspired and instructed as we learned how to Educate with Oomph! Our 2015 Creative World School Curriculum Conference was attended by almost 250 Early Childhood Educators and we loved collaborating and connecting over the course of two days in Tampa, Florida. We may be biased, but we’re pretty sure that we have the best teachers in the world!



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