Let Them be Little

As society changes, our expectations and goals for children seem to follow. This trend can be a double edged sword. While the world they live in may have been transforming at an alarming pace, a child's pace is determined by a myriad of developmental factors.  Simply said, a child's progress, especially academically, needs to be nurtured and allowed to develop without force or inappropriate expectations. Let them be little, as the song goes. Give them the time, as we do here at La Casa Preschool, to try new things in new and varied ways. Let them explore the gifts of play, without the pressure of needing to be "gifted.” ALL OF OUR CHILDREN ARE GIFTED. Their gifts will just be revealed in their own perfect time. Trust that your own good instincts, trust your teacher's expertise, trust your schools, many of which are in your own backyard, trust all who join you on the educational journey, to know how best to bring out the very BEST in the children that we all love.

Weekly Prayer....  Dear God, We are entrusted to care for the children. All children! Help me to respect them and to allow them to grow according to Your plan. Amen. 

preschool playing

Staying Present as Parents

sand preschool activity

It important, as teachers and as parents, to be "present" in the lives of our children because it is your presence that they crave. And not just in the literal sense. We need to be present and engaged in what they have to say and what they want to communicate to us. To know and understand their feelings, what makes them happy, what is making them sad, mad or any number of things they might be experiencing is our responsibility and truly, our gift!  If you have a chatty one at home, bonus! But if not, observing nonverbal cues will speak volumes and can open an opportunity for dialogue if you initiate that.  That gift will just keep on giving!

Speaking of speech.....we are attempting to secure a provider to come to campus and asses the children at parent's request.  The early years are critical in being proactive on issues, if there are any. Early intervention is key. To that end we will continue our search for screenings and/or referrals.  Keep in mind, in the meantime, please remember that each school district has departments for the free screening of children in the areas of speech/language and other developmental concerns.  In November we will be offering vision and hearing screenings and will be sending home information regarding those services very soon. 

Please know that we appreciate the "gift" of being present with your children (and all of you!!!) each day. 

Weekly Prayer....  Dear Lord, when I falter help me to remain calm and faith filled. Remind me of the things I should be grateful for and swell not on my failings. Amen. 

Child Education Milestones

The developmental path of children is not a "one size fits all" phenomenon. Each child will hit milestones at different times and stages. Keep in mind that the child that is in the 4's class now, is just a few short weeks of the summer removed from being in a 3's class! And, by now their physical size may betray them. They may look bigger and capable than they actually are.....even if you think they should be! So, be patient with these precious learning beings. They are doing the best they can at learning to be the very best "them" possible. It takes time. And patience. And exceptional teachers to instruct. And loving, wonderful parents to encourage. It takes all of us doing our part so they can do theirs with confidence and success.

How great it is to see the "alumni" come back at events like Open House, or on early release days from the elementary schools. What a joy to see them and to hear how much they LOVE school and that they are thriving! A job well done by all, I'd say!!

Weekly Prayer....  Dear Lord, for the many blessings we receive we are grateful and give You praise. Continue to help us to remain humble and kind to each other and to show love and patience always. Amen. 

Preschool Sock Hop

Did you Know? Facts about La Casa Preschool

This will be my 33rd Open House! Imagine that! And the memories of all those years are always sweet and filled with so many experiences. Now, a lot has changed over the years...our campus, for one thing!

Did you know...the original "old La Casa" Scottsdale preschool was on Thunderbird Road at 61st St. We moved from there in 1997. In fact, we have now been on this new campus longer than we were on the old one! That is incredible to imagine!

Did you know... that the first year on this campus we held classes in the Sunday School rooms with no sinks???? And there wasn't even a playground yet? Imagine the teacher's fun!

Did you know....for many years we offered morning AND afternoon classes; meaning a morning 3's or 4's OR an afternoon 3's or 4's. Parents had a choice of which one was best for their child. Can you even imagine there really were children who did not nap?

Did you know....that the children from the old campus are now turning 40???? or are very, very close there to it!!! And, that we now are blessed with THEIR children? Unimaginable!

Did you know....that our lives will intersect with a great many people on a daily, weekly, yearly basis. One thing I DO KNOW FOR SURE is that the point of intersection is almost always connected to La Casa; it is a magical phenomenon that keeps occurring as you see people from your past that you once knew and had relationships with. Not hard to imagine....its a fact!

Open House, then, is a wonderful opportunity to get acquainted or reacquainted with the people in your lives that are special; and are simultaneously now or once were previously very important to you. The staff, the parents, the children, the extended families and friends are all important to each of us, and myself most of all, as they combine to make La Casa a truly blessed place! This Open House, themed to promise FUN the whole night long is sure to instill memories of Happy Days that you will remember for a long time. I IMAGINE I'll see you there! I'm looking forward to it!

Weekly Prayer....  Dear Lord, help me to cherish the friends beside me and the love shared between us. Watch over them and keep them safe, happy and healthy. Amen. 

Scottsdale STEAM Preschool Activities

Reading is Fundamental

reading preschool

This summer, we launched our first ever "Summer Reading Program." By different measures, it was a successful event. Not so much by the small number of kiddos returning with their "form" to redeem a prize, which was fun to see; but also, in the GREAT awareness of the value in reading that it invoked!  As the expression goes....reading is truly "fundamental."  Through reading to a child at a young age, letters and sounds become real. Reading with expression enhances verbal skills. Reading books of varying length and age-appropriate complexity builds vocabulary, word knowledge and recognition while stimulating comprehension skills and literacy proficiency. Reading with, and to, your children is such a gift. AND....it need not stop when they are little. Read to your highschooler. Now there's a summer reading list to think about!!!!! You may even find yourself enjoying "Call Me Ishmael" again!!! 

But if you are looking for some great reading for YOU, try “No Bad Kids", by Janet Lansbury. This book for parents will help you remember these precious, little kiddos we have been given to love have really only been on this earth a very short time. Let's give 'em time to perfect their craft of being "grown up" and keep our expectations in check!  Childhood's a journey, remember, not a race. 

Happy reading.....happy children!!!

Weekly Prayer....  Dear Lord, the Bible should always be on my reading list. When I need guidance and support, I can turn to it and feel comforted. Help me to use Your words for strength and encouragement.  In Your name I pray, Amen. 

Trust and confidence go hand in hand.

What an amazing start to the new school year we are having.  I have often said of the four year olds....they come to class the first day as if they had just been away for a long weekend.  So confident.  So ready to experience all that school has to offer. 

Not quite so confident are the three year olds, but still eager and with the exception of a very few, are adjusting as if they just know instinctively that this is a good place and it will be OK.  And, yes, someone who loves them really will come back to pick them up at the end of the day.  So, they begin to feel its alright to have fun in the meantime. 

Trust and confidence go hand in hand.  When a child feels loved and safe and is having fun "playing" while they learn, they begin to grow with the realization of their capabilities.  They begin to risk and try and practice at being successful and pretty soon, they just are!  It is such a gift to see this progression.  Thank you all for giving us (the teachers and myself) the rare privilege of watching their transformation!  I put emphasis on the concept of "learning through play" because, after all, that is and has always been our teaching methodology.  Seems we were on the right track all along.  Please click here to read a great article from the American Academy of Pediatrics on the importance of play to a child's development! 

I can't write you a prescription to have your children play as the article suggests every pediatrician should do.  But... I CAN assign you homework!!!!  Your assignment this weekend, and every day there after, is to PLAY PLAY PLAY. You'll all be the better for it!

Weekly Prayer....  Lord, help me to remember always that the littlest of your children still have great worth and strength in ability.  Help me to nurture them through the growing process so that they will learn and know many important things, but the most important is Your Love and presence in their lives.  Amen.


preschool children doing puzzle