#TheAhaMoments

The miracle of learning is on display in young students every day. Children are constantly having AHA Moments as they learn things for the first time. Whether it’s a first step or a first successfully tied shoelace, children are so good at reminding us to indulge in WONDER and let ourselves be blown away by this awesome world we live in!

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When we were at our annual Creative World School Conference this year, we thought, who better to relay these stories than our teachers? Our CW Teachers are some of the best Early Educators in the world (not that we’re biased ;)) and we know they have the best stories to tell.

This Fall, we want you to be inspired, too! While exciting, we know that Back to School and getting back into the routine can be a challenge… so think of these stories as inspiring reminders to engage with your young learner. We will be sure to post the videos here on the blog as well as on facebook and instagram, just to make sure you don’t miss a single, jaw-dropping, eyes-widening EUREKA moment!

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Buggin’ Out Books: Investigate Insects With Us

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This month, we are Buggin’ Out over all of the awesome books that describe our creepy crawly buzzy slimy friends! From Rhopaloceras (butterflies) to Formicidae (ants), we are grabbing our magnifying glasses and heading to the dirt to discover all things insect. Supplement your child’s journey by grabbing some great reads:

FLYING BUGS:

Flying insects may be different sizes, but all share the common feature of wings. Bugs that fly can be somewhat intimidating for toddlers, as it is more difficult to pick them up and
examine them. Share pictures of flying bugs with your toddlers and talk about what makes them different from other bugs they have seen. Point them out as you notice them on the playground. Do they make noises? Are they quick or slow?

SPIDERS:

Spiders and insects are often placed together in the same category, but there
are significant differences that even young children can begin to recognize.
Noting the differences between insects and spiders isn’t just important
for discerning between the two “in the wild”, but the act of comparing and
classifying is perfect for practicing logic, reasoning, and science skills.

PRESCHOOL BUG BOOKS:

Bugs are fascinating to young children and they offer endless questions to investigate.
Getting up close and personal with bugs allows preschoolers to gain a deeper understanding of what these crawlers are and why they are here.

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A 5-Item Toddler Entertainment Bag

Spontaneity is a joyful element of summer… “let’s go get ice cream!” “let’s go to the park at 6am!” And, for the most part, this is probably successful. The challenge comes when the traffic is backed up… or the lines are long… and the temperature isn’t just rising outside by in your little one’s attitude.

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Luckily at Creative World Schools we have a whole gang of Toddler Pros. These people have studied Toddlers, taught Toddlers, taught Toddler teachers how to teach Toddlers… you get the picture: they may just know it all.

One of these geniuses is our Early Education Pro, Rennaye Hedges. So, we asked her: if you could throw 5 small items in a bag that would help you instantly distract and entertain a toddler, what would they be?

  • Socks
    • Two tube socks. Any color. These can be used for: puppets, to collect impromptu “scavenger hunt” items (like leaves or sugar packets), to put a ball in and make a “dogtail”, to decorate.
  • Colored Tape
    • Want to make a straw sculpture as you wait for your table at a restaurant? Connect straws with tape. Want to make a bracelet, necklace, or headband? Want to wear strips like stickers? There are a lot of possibilities, here.
  • A Tube or Container
    • Think: an empty mini M&M tube or an empty flip-top gum container. Toddlers love to fill and dump. Pull this out to collect samples of pebbles, sand, mulch, or whatever’s around. Dump it out and count or sort it. Fill it up again with something new!
  • Lift-the-Flap or Texture Books
    • Your pre-reader can still interact with books in a variety of ways. Have small sensory or lift-the-flap books available so your little learner can have a quiet moment experiencing and investigating.
  • Crayons/paper
    • Most restaurants will give this to you, so save them! Or, throw a blank piece of computer paper into a ziploc with 3-4 crayons. You can do more than draw: trace your hand, draw shadows, shred the paper… plenty of time-users for busy little hands!

 

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Rennaye Hedges is basically awesome. She develops training programs for our Leaders and Teachers and offers support to our Creative World Schools around the country.

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Why Study Bugs with Your Child?

This month at Creative World Schools, we are Buggin’ Out! It’s a creepy, crawly, buzzy world out there and we are investigating it.

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Bugs are a great topic for young learners because they are…

  • Small
  • Catchable
  • Curious
  • Alive

We typically highlight a certain kind of bug to study. Different bugs can teach children about so many things!

Ants: social interactions/working together, size & strength

Butterflies: life cycle and transformation

Bees: the environment (as a keystone species) and communication

Ladybugs: predators/camouflage, adaptability

Worms: hard work, soil quality/farming

Little boy (6-7) holding stick with caterpillar on it

(Did you know that in 1881 Charles Darwin said, “It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world.”?)

Some adults are scared of bugs… many are cautious. If you fall into either of those categories, remember that it’s important to empower your child with knowledge so that they understand and can act wisely around bugs.

Check in with your child’s teacher or find your Creative World to learn more about what your young learner will be experiencing in this squiggly wiggly month of fun!

 

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Thanks for an Awesome CW Conference!

We had a blast this past weekend and hope you caught the VISION at our annual Creative World School Conference!

School Owners, Brand New Franchisees, Directors, Team Leaders, and Teachers came out to celebrate, get inspired, and learn together how to be the best we can be.

For all of you who came (and everyone else who’s interested) – don’t forget that we launched our very own Creative World School Instagram account this weekend (creativeworldschool) and all of the conference pics can be found at #cwconference.

We’ll be adding more as our photog gets them to us… you are all awesome and we can’t wait to see how you take your passion and enthusiasm back to your schools.

This Fall will be jam-packed with #theahamoments!

 

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Paper Making With Children

From newsprint to signs to lined, construction, and plain… paper is a familiar substance for all children. This month, in our Exploratorium™, we are featuring Paper as the Art Medium to explore!

Paper is powerful because it presents a start-to-finish journey of creativity. First, we create the canvas, then we shred, tear, cut, pierce, and configure our paper sculptures. How can we add color? We can dive into the science of how different papers absorb or repel moisture, and why. What we can create is only as limited as our own imaginations… which we know are limitless!

Want to take the journey with us?

Here’s a sneak peek at how we’re going to investigate:

MAKE IT

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Collect scraps of paper, shred them into tiny pieces, soak the paper shreds in water until they are very soft, blend or mash the paper into a pulp.

Use a very thin screen and a deep baking dish for the final steps: Mix the pulp with some water in a baking dish (vary thickness for your desired result). Use a small screen to scoop the watery pulp out of the baking dish. Press a dishcloth on top to remove excess water and let dry.

Need some visuals? 

*Through this process, you can add cornstarch, add less or more water, and other variables to create a variety of paper textures.

 SCULPT IT

We are getting inspired by some unbelievable paper sculptors:

Cutting, folding, crumpling, or layering… paper can provide a canvas for the imagination! Think of where you and your child see paper everyday… and save it! What kind of collage, origami, sketch, or sculpture can you make from a collection of receipts, tags, napkins, menus, and scraps? You may be amazed at how beauty emerges from unexpected sources!

Here are some resources we recommend to help you support how your child is learning at our school this month!

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Watch Together

How to Make a Paper Boat by

Traposo US (YouTube)

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Float by Daniel Miyares

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Play Together

How to Make Origami App

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Happy Birthday America! Toddler-Friendly Activities for Your Weekend

HappyBirthdayAmerica.jpgAt Creative World Schools, we love celebrating the Red, White, and Blue! We hope that you are all excited for a fun-filled weekend of celebrations.

 

While having fun at barbecues, friends’ houses, and as the sun goes down, there are some ways to make typical kid games friendlier for young children. Here are some of our expert educator’s ideas on how to include your babies, toddlers, and preschoolers in all of the Patriotic weekend fun:

Instead Of: Water Balloons

Why? Exploding balloons can be frightening for young children. Older children don’t often have good aim. The rubber pieces from a water balloon are a choking and asphyxiation hazard. Instead…

Try This: Splashy Sponges

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You can make a sponge ball from strips of cut up sponges tied with a twisty-tie or rubber band. Submerge these in buckets of water and let the water wars begin!

Instead Of: Fireworks/Poppers

Again, the noise of fireworks and even poppers can be upsetting to babies and toddlers. If your little one is up while it’s getting dark, avoid the noise but get all the glow!

Try This: Glow-in-the-dark Bubbles

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It’s as easy as mixing bubble solution with glow-in-the-dark paint (or breaking glow sticks *away from your children* and pre-mixing your bubble fluid). Here’s a quick tutorial.

Instead Of: Pool Time

A crowded pool can be an intimidating and challenging place for a small child. Getting splashed with water and being near older children or adults who are jumping in, swimming, or playing games can be a bit overwhelming.

Try This: My-Sized Water Play

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Simply throw an under-bed storage bin on a picnic table and you have a quick water table! This is light and easy enough to take almost anywhere. Grab items straight from your picnic and you don’t even have to lug toys along: plastic cups, plastic spoons, and straws make great water play accessories.

Happy 4th Everyone!

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Early Childhood Educators: Unsung Heroes

It’s not Teacher Appreciation Week. It’s not Education Professionals Day. It’s a Monday. And thousands of educated, competent, cheerful, and hardworking men and women are performing care routines, facilitating learning moments, and connecting with our children.

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A study performed late last year by the National Association for the Education of Young Children found this:

Research results show that 6 in 10 voters recognize that a child’s earliest years are crucial for learning and development, and nearly 9 in 10 voters believe that early childhood educators are an integral part of our society, valued at levels similar to firefighters and nurses.*

They are breathing fresh life into young learners. They are mustering fresh enthusiasm while singing the same song for the 100th time to a group of two year olds. They are changing another diaper or encouraging another potty training moment. They are cracking another smile, guiding through a behavioral moment, setting up another art project. The reality is, the amount of time, effort, and education it takes to truly engage with young children is astounding… and admirable… and sometimes we just want to say…

Thank You.

Because you deserve to hear it.

To all of the silly, wacky, wildly creative, ingenious people who make our children fall in love with you and burst with laughter every day… Thank You.

If you are an Early Educator who is part of our Creative World School Family: you know we love you. Thank you. If you are an Early Educator who is a part of any organization, persevering in excellence… Thank You. You are all heroes!

*http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/NAEYC%20Press%20Release%20FINAL.pdf

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All About Water Books

We are deep into our All About Water Inquiry… find some expert guidance and some of our favorite book picks for every age!

Toddlers/Twos: All About Ducks!

Teaching them about the different creatures they may find in water and how to care
for and respect them, will give your children the tools to engage in more meaningful
learning experiences, as well as the ability to learn to care for nature.

Preschool/PreK: The Ocean

Even if you’re not headed for a tropical vacation destination this year, looking at family pictures of water fun at lakes, rivers, and the beach can be a great catalyst for discussion. Find shells on location or in a craft store to explore! What kind of shapes and patterns do you see as you play with, paint with, and create with shells!

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All About Water: Wet’n’Wild Sensory Play

In Early Education, we talk about sensory play all of the time. Unless you’re, well, in Early Education, you may be wondering… what is sensory play and why does it matter?

As young children develop, they learn about the world through their senses:

TASTE is one of the earliest and sharpest human sensations as infants begin drinking milk. Young children understand safety and love through TOUCH. As infants grow, their ability to SEE and HEAR grow… and these are the precursors for communication!

So, all sensory play in Early Education really means is that we create experiences that target and stimulate various senses in such a way that young children learn more about the world around them.

This is Science 101 and taps into every young child’s inner explorer!

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In June, we are All About Water… and we can use water to target every sense. Here are some ways we’re facilitating awesome learning moments:

Water TASTING: we can gather and sample water from many different (safe!) sources and compare the taste! Does distilled water taste different than spring water? We can use many new words to describe our experience.

Water SPLASHING: what does water feel like? Let’s feel cold water and warm water: how is that different? What if water gets very cold… and freezes? What does it feel like to swirl or splash in water?

Water SOUNDS: Drip, Drop, Splash, Swish, Echo, Wave… water makes all kinds of sounds! We can investigate what the world sounds like above and below the water… and use non-fiction resources to find out why.

Water SCAPES: Does water always look the same? Does water have color? If not, why not? If so, why? We’re going to compare and contrast pictures and real life field experiences as we gaze upon the wide, wet world around us.

Amazingly, children are able to extract some pretty abstract scientific principles from these simple investigations. DIVE IN with us!

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