A New Way to Teach

John Dewey once said, “Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.”

At Creative World Schools, we have spent the last 40 years fine-tuning our approach and philosophy for Early Education.

There is no debate among experts: young children learn best by doing.

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Hands-on experiences are a vital element of every facet of our curriculum. But what really interests us isn’t always the problem, it’s the provocation. Anyone with a 4-year-old can attest to the fact that they’ve heard a few “why” questions lately: why does it work that way? why does that happen? why did you do that?  This curiosity is an incredible gem, untarnished and intact in a young mind. And everything we do in a Creative World School is an application of the idea that lifelong learners are created when that curiosity is allowed to thrive.

We facilitate hands-on learning by asking questions. This approach – what we call inquiry-learning – is the driving force behind our instructional design. Teachers act as facilitators to an organic learning process that begins and ends with what children want to know. Anyone who’s tried can probably confess, you can’t convince a 2 year old that the toy is better than the box: children have their own interests. When children’s personal interests are allowed to drive a line of inquiry, authentic learning happens.

We’re not alone in this revolutionary notion of independent, life-based learning. Here are some movements that are transforming the way children of all ages are invited to learn:

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The Maker Movement

The Maker Movement is all about the power of invention. Just like our Make It Create It challenge this Spring Break, children are invited to explore, invent, and imagine new things. Read More about how this Movement is taking over!

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  1. STEM (or STEAM)

How do you encourage an engineering-minded child? How do you guide your child’s passion for art, or legos, or making a mess in the kitchen to meaningful learning experiences? iSTEAM is all about encouraging the kind of thinking that leads a child to great adventures in the Sciences and Arts.

Do you see your child full of limitless potential? We do, too! Join our family and let your child loose to grow up in an early education environment that will set the course for their future learning!

 

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Happy Veteran’s Day

We are so proud of our parents and friends who are among the real heroes who have fought for our freedom!

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We are always happy to feature Veteran’s Day as a special day in our Creative World Schools.

Our schools support the military year-round through various CW Cares Events, and Veteran’s Day is a special day for remembering our troops by learning family stories, writing letters, and celebrating our freedom.

Many of our counties consider Veteran’s Day to be a school holiday, so we love that our CW Kid’s Club After School students are part of the mix on this special day. We share patriotic celebrations, times of remembrance, and expressions of gratitude.

If you have served: thank you! We are proud of our country and grateful for your service.

Here is a Veteran’s Day poem that many of us are reading today:

Veteran’s Day

by Cheryl Dyson

On Veteran’s Day we honor all,

Who answered to a service call.

Soldiers young, and soldiers old,

Who fought for freedom, brave and bold.

Some have lived, while others died,

And all of them deserve our pride.

We’re proud of all the soldiers who,

Kept thinking of red, white, and blue.

They fought for us and all our rights,

They fought through many days and nights.

And though we may not know each name,

We thank ALL veterans just the same.

 

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Our Pink Out Celebrations

October was Pink Out Month… and we always celebrate in style!

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Our Early Education Schools are intent on making a positive impact in each of our communities. From Pink Out bake sales, trike-a-thons, and family events, we raised money and awareness for all of the moms, grandmas, aunts, sisters, and other women we love!

Building a philanthropic culture is woven into the fabric of our Creative World Schools. Through CW Cares, we promote ongoing initiatives that invite children to give back in a meaningful and age-appropriate way. Up next: we write thank-you letters to the troops for Veteran’s Day! Also, be sure to look out for Canned Food Drives throughout the month of November as we partner with local and area food banks to provide for families in our community.

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Poetry for Children

We love showcasing a variety of literary genres to our pre-readers and early readers. Poetry written for and by children is one of the most imaginative and exciting ways to experience language!

This month in our Exploratorium™, we are all about the rhyme scheme, cadence, rhythm, discord, and style that comprises the multi-hued world of poetic writing for children!

Want a sneak peek into what your young one will experience? Here’s en excerpt from your Family Supplement:

WHAT IS POETRY?

Poetry is like painting with words: using language to artistically describe thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

WHY IS POETRY IMPORTANT?

Poetry demonstrates to young children the power of playing with language. This literary genre is unique in its expression and unrivaled in its capacity to impress and inspire young learners. Poetry makes an attempt to personify, amplify, and describe life experiences. Whether formal or free, poetry is full of possibility in style, length, and content. This freedom affirms to young children that the language they are working so hard to master is full of levity, whimsy, and delight.

Author and Poet Roger Housden explains:

“Poetry at its best calls forth our deep being. It dares us to break free from the safe strategies of the cautious mind; it calls to us, like the wild geese, as Mary Oliver would say, from an open sky. It is a magical art, and always has been — a making of language spells designed to open our eyes, open our doors and welcome us into a bigger world, one of possibilities we may never have dared to dream of…. And yet for all its magic, poetry uses the common currency of our daily speech. It uses words that are known to all of us, but in a sequence and order that surprises us out of our normal speech rhythms and linear thought processes. Its effect is to illuminate our lives and breathe new life, new seeing, new tasting into the world we thought we knew.”

This is the key for young children: using the speech they are learning in conversational and academic environments to promote—not stifle—their inherent curiosity! Poetry accomplishes just that.

 

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Pumpkin Decorating with Children

At Creative World Schools, late October is all about Storybook fun: make-believe, costumes, and – of course- decorating pumpkins!

Check out our Creative World School facebook pages to see which of the genius ideas below were all-star winners.

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Our students’ little fingers stay safe from carving with some of the most ingenious, creative pumpkin decorating ideas ever. Our teachers really went above and beyond this year with some of the most amazing storybook/character-themed pumpkins we’ve ever seen.

Do you have a family tradition of carving, painting, or decorating pumpkins? It’s a great bonding experience and a chance to express your creativity!

Check out our Pumpkin Decorating Pinterest Board for all of the ideas!

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An Unconventional Classroom: The Exploratorium™

Creative World School is a family brand… and a family business. In 1970, when my mother Billie McCabe founded Creative World Schools, we enjoyed humble beginnings as small neighborhood childcare centers that focused on introducing education into early experiences. This philosophy of the importance of early learning blossomed into the unique inquiry curriculum that each Creative World School uses today!

We believe that young children have distinct needs and abilities that should be facilitated in a developmentally appropriate way. We don’t believe in forcing children into academic environments before they’re ready. Ample research and our own extensive experience proves that children are natural observers and their curiosity will drive them to have authentic learning moments when they’re in the right environment.

This belief led us to dream big and create something no other childcare company has: our Exploratorium™. The Exploratorium™ is a large, atrium space in the center of our schools where child-led exploration, amazing investigations, and hands-on learning is on display. Our Franchise Owners understand the value of this unique space as it captures the imagination and interest of parents and children alike.

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Dr. Marianne Whitehouse, PhD and CEO of Creative World School Franchising is an Early Education expert who believes young children are full of limitless potential!

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How to Build Your Child’s Attention Span

Have you ever wondered if your child’s attention span is too short… or could be longer?

Do you ever wish your child would just STOP and PAY ATTENTION to something for more than a few seconds? Children are naturally curious and their investigation of the world around them often takes the form of short bursts of focus with frequent change and interruption.

Just like with adults, children vary in their ability to focus without being distracted.

However, expert research tells us that there are some ways you can help your child grow in their ability to concentrate.

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  1. Limit stimulation

As adults, we have carefully curated the ability to “tune out” many stimuli, such as background noise/conversation, music, people or objects moving across our field of vision. As young and new beings, however, our children are finely tuned IN to these stimuli, as they seek to learn as much as they can about the way the world works. Pay attention to the number of things that could be grabbing your child’s attention at any given moment, and create a space in your life and home where your child has the opportunity to give a task or experience undivided attention.

2. Limit objects

Tactile and sensory stimulation are some of the first ways your young child experiences the world. We are encouraged as new parents to create a warm and stimulating environment, which is true and good. However, as your child begins to perceive more details about the world around them, the amount of “choices” they have (toys, objects, activities) can divert them from dedicated attention to any one item. Provide simple, numbered choices and remove unchosen items from view while you learn and play with one thing at a time.

3. Let an activity finish

In the hustle and bustle of “what we have to do next,” we often shorten our young child’s engagement in a desired activity. Sometimes we DO have to leave the park NOW… but sometimes we don’t. Try, at least once a week, to enjoy an activity that your child sets the time frame for. Let them continue their play until they elect to do something different. You may be surprised at how long they’ll last!

Love our expert advice and want us to partner with you as your child grows? Find a Creative World School near you to Enroll Today!

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Family Reading: Folktales for Young Children

In our Storybook adventures in the Exploratorium™ this month, we are diving into Folktales!

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Folktales are a great addition to your family reading time.

Folktales are powerful because they feature themes that challenge us: good versus evil, right versus wrong, light versus dark. This, coupled with masterful storytelling, captures a young child’s imagination.

Lisa Lunge-Larsen, author of The Troll With No Heart in His Body, has listed some of the most powerful and inspirational lessons young children can extract from folklore:

  • Remember who you are.
  • Be true to your own nature.
  • Follow your dreams.
  • Every action has consequences, so be attentive, be kind, and always do what is right.
  • Life is a journey; nobody else can do the journey for you.
  • Your journey will unfold according to a pattern. The pattern is a guide.
  • Use your gifts.
  • Help will be offered when you most need it and least expect it.
  • Despite the odds, good will triumph over evil, love over hatred.
  • Don’t ever give up.
  • Be careful what you wish for.
  • Things are not always as they appear.
  • Everything you need can be found inside yourself; it is always there.
  • Miracles happen.
  • There is magic in the world.

HOW CAN YOU PARTICIPATE? Storytelling is an ancient way to preserve the legacy or a character or narrative. It can be incredibly powerful to investigate the folktales related to your family’s culture. At Creative World this month, Exploratorium™ teachers will be sharing folktales from a wide variety of cultures… and we want your input! What folktales did you grow up hearing? Are their family stories that comprise your family’s own “folklore” that you could come and share with us? Are there any special books or tales that you can read to us? We want to hear everyone’s unique voice as we dive into this literary focus!

 

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Fine Motor Skills in Young Children

Fine motor skills are a vital developmental milestone for young children.

What are they?

Fine motor skills are the development and coordination of small muscles, usually in the hands and fingers.

When do they start?

From a baby’s first “grasp” of an item to a toddler’s careful “pincer” grasp, fine motor skills are in constant development from your child’s earliest days.

Why do they matter?

We often think of fine motor skills as a necessary precursor to writing, which is true, but think of all of the other life skills that require a careful manipulation of your hands and fingers:

Typing (or tapping), drinking from a cup, pouring, holding small objects (like your car keys), using tools like a screwdriver or scissors, carrying thin objects (like a book or iPad), plugging in a phone charger, pushing buttons, opening drawers, buttoning or zipping up clothing, opening a doorknob….

In other words, it would literally be incapacitating to not have fine motor skills!

At Creative World Schools, we help children grow in their fine motor skills by real, hands-on learning all day long!

 

 

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In the Trees Classroom Inquiry

Tree_Icon.jpgOctober is all about Trees at Creative World Schools.

From Infants to Preschoolers, we are leaving the classroom and getting into nature to explore what trees are, how they grow, and what they provide us.

Outdoor learning and learning about nature has great value for young children. According to the Natural Learning Initiative,

“Childcare center naturalized outdoor learning environments (OLEs) stimulate the diversity of children’s play experience and contribute to their healthy development. Best practice design of OLEs incorporates trees, shrubs, vines, flowers, grasses, edible fruits and vegetables—to connect children with nature and diversify their outdoor experience.*”

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Here are some of the basic concepts we’re learning about**:

  • A tree is a large plant.
  • There are many kinds of trees including hardwoods and softwoods.
  • A tree has many parts; leaves, branches, bark, trunk, and roots.
  • The leaves on some trees are like needles.
  • The trunk is the stem of the tree and is covered with bark.
  • The roots of a tree are underground.
  • Roots help the tree stand; they also get water and nutrients from soil.
  • Sap is a liquid that supplies food to the tree.
  • Trees need soil, water, and sunlight to grow.
  • Trees provide us with wood.
  • Many items are made from wood, such as houses, chairs, tables, some toys, doors, fences, paper and paper products.
  • Some fruit grows on trees.
  • Apples, bananas, and oranges are examples of fruit that grow on trees.
  • Trees provide homes for many animals.
  • Trees provide us with shade to keep us cool and protect us from sun

Check back to follow our progress all month long or find a Creative World School near you to get involved in this awesome arboreal adventure!

*https://naturalearning.org/sites/default/files/Benefits%20of%20Connecting%20Children%20with%20Nature_InfoSheet.pdf
**http://mypages.iit.edu/~smart/scotchr/lesson2.htm

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