Monday, December 17, 2018

Gingerbread Man Treasure Hunt

One of the many great parts of working with children during the holidays is how imaginative you can be with them. There's Elf on the Shelf, book fairies that bring special holiday stories, crafts and games galore! This month at The Academy we've stuffed so many wonderful activities for our students to explore, discover and enjoy every single day! Today we did a Gingerbread Man Treasure Hunt, each class got the first clue and it took them all throughout our center! One clue had them on the playground, the next on the stage, up to see Ms. Rachel and on and on until our silly Gingerbread Man got tired and had to go lay back down in the classroom! When we returned he had hidden a special treasure, cotton candy for each child! Hearing their exclaims and ideas on how he had ran past them to beat us to class was the highlight of the day. As the Holidays are approaching our doorstep don't forget that nurturing a child's imagination is the best gift to give! Enjoy some pictures from our hunt today!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Holiday sensory play

The children had so much fun playing with their Holiday sensory bags and baskets. They got to play with snow mixed with different Holiday things. Here are just a few pictures of some of the children playing with their sensory bags or baskets.

The younger children had sensory bags filled with snow and pom poms to play with:

Our older children had sensory baskets filled with snow, pom poms, and Holiday bows to play with:

Monday, December 3, 2018

Fun festive Christmas recipes for children

Here is a link to some fun and festive Christmas recipes that you could do with your child/children this holiday season.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Holiday Safety Tips

As we're all gearing up for the Holidays we here at the Academy decided to share some great holiday safety tips! We hope that while planning trips, decorating your home and all your various traveling this season you remain safe and have so much fun in the process too! Here are some great tips from Safe Kids Worldwide!


On the Road

Distracted Drivers and Pedestrians

  1. Keep an eye out for distracted pedestrians and drivers who may not be paying attention to you, especially when backing out of parking spaces. Shopping center parking lots are busier during the holidays
  2. Remind your teen driver to be extra alert during this holiday season, when conditions are more challenging even for experienced drivers.
  3. Make sure you are not distracted while driving. Commit to keeping your phone down. No text message or play list is worth the risk.

Child Passenger Safety

  1. Buckle up every ride, every time, whether it’s the long trip to visit family or around the block to the mall. 
  2. Make sure every rider in the vehicle has their own seat belt or car seat, even for short rides and when traveling with a large group.
  3. Check your car seat before holiday travel. Seventy-three percent of car seats are not used or installed correctly, so check it before you hit the road. Here’s a quick car seat checklist to help you out. It takes only 15 minutes. If you are having even the slightest trouble, questions or concerns, certified child passenger safety technicians are able to help or even double check your work. Find a Safe Kids car seat checkup event near you. 
  4. Remember that safety in the car goes beyond your little ones. Kids who have outgrown a forward-facing harness seat are not ready for a seat belt or front seat yet. They are safest in a booster seat that enables the adult seat belt to fit properly. Even when children have graduated from booster seats, they should remain in the back seat until they reach the age of 13

Travel Preparedness

  1. Have an exit strategy for your road trip. The car is packed, the kids are in the right seat, the seats are installed properly, and you’re on the open road. Nothing can stop you now, right? Wrong. You will most certainly hear the all too familiar howl that means “I want food” or “change my diaper”. When it happens, try not to worry about making good time. Instead, get off at the next exit and find a safe area to feed and/or change your child.
  2. Prepare for weather emergencies, if you live in a cold-weather state. Pack extra blankets, food and diapers, in case your car is stuck in snow or disabled. Keep your cell phone charged, make sure someone knows your route, and clear the exhaust of packed snow. 
  3. Keep hot foods, large gifts and anything that can become a projectile in the trunk. You never know when you might have to stop abruptly.
  4. Designate a driver or use a car service to make sure you get home safely when you are headed to a party and plan to drink alcohol

In the Home

Holiday Decorate 

  1. Hang breakable ornaments at top of the tree. This leaves room for kids to decorate the bottom with non-breakable items. 
  2. Keep harmful plants out of reach. Some popular holiday plants are poisonous to children and pets, including mistletoe and holly berries. In a poison emergency, call the national Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. 
  3. Be aware of devices with button batteries. Keep decorations with button batteries, such as greeting cards and small remote controls out of children’s reach.

Fire Prevention

  1. Water natural trees regularly. When needles are dry, they can catch fire easily. 
  2. Turn off decorative lights before leaving home or going to sleep. Regularly check lights for exposed or frayed wires and loose connections. 
  3. Keep candles and matches out of reach. Lit candles should be at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn, and don’t forget to blow them out when you leave the room or before you go to sleep. Store matches and lighters out of children’s reach and sight. 
  4. Check smoke alarms. Make sure there is a working smoke alarm on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and near sleeping areas. Review your fire escape plan with family members and guests.

Holiday Gift Giving

  1. Read instructions and warning labels when choosing toys for children. Make sure the toy or game is appropriate for your child’s age and development. 
  2. Separate toys by age. Toys intended for older children may contain small pieces, including button batteries, that can pose a risk to curious, younger siblings. 
  3. Don’t forget a helmet. If you are giving a bike, skateboard or scooter this holiday season, be sure to include a helmet to keep them safe while they’re having fun. 
  4. Stay up to date on toy recalls. Safe Kids Worldwide complies product recalls specific to children and sends twice-monthly email alerts for recent recalls

Holiday Cooking

  1. Create a kid-free zone. Teach younger children to stay at least 3 feet away from your cooking space. Place babies in a high chair outside of the kid-free zone where you can see them. 
  2. Keep hot foods and liquids out of children’s reach. Cook on the back burners of the stove and keep hot foods away from the edge of your counters to prevent burns.
  3. Teach older children how to cook safely. Teach them never to leave the kitchen while they’re cooking and always use oven mitts or potholders to carry hot pots and pans. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Spotlight Series: PreK Thankfulness

One of the greatest things about working with children is how straightforward they are. They tell you exactly what they think and have no filter for what comes out! One of our favorite things to do at The Academy of Powell Place is to facilitate a dialogue for children to express themselves and their ideas! This week the PreK classrooms are going to be engaging in activities and lessons that will emphasize what it means to be thankful and how they can show gratitude to others! We started our day off with a mini photo shoot about what each child is thankful for going into the holiday season! Enjoy:

Monday, November 12, 2018

Thankful For Our Teachers

As we approach the holidays here at The Academy of Powell Place we realize how we’re so truly blessed by the teachers and staff that help run our center! We have amazing and EMPOWERING employees who truly care not only for the children and families that walk through our halls but for each other. We couldn’t be who we are without them, we’re so thankful to have them here! Check out a few of our superstars in their element today! 

Monday, November 5, 2018

12 ways to volunteer your time and give back to the community

Give Back to Your Community

Americans have a great capacity to accept and face challenges head-on. In 2007, as the recession began to spread across the country, a surge of people responded and began volunteering like never before. Volunteering is a win-win for all parties involved. Those who receive help are grateful for the help, and volunteers learn that helping others makes them feel better. Consider the following as ways you can start volunteering and pay your good fortune forward.

1. Offer to Help Family

In the hectic lifestyle of the 21st century, the needs of family members are often overlooked. Parents busy raising their own children may forget the plight of their own parents, assuming they are capable of taking care of themselves. Many adult children presume their parents will speak up if they need anything. This is not always the case, especially when Granddad or Grandma have been independent for years. Older people – parents, aunts and uncles, long-time family friends – are often reluctant to share their growing frailty, loneliness, or isolation with their children.
Caring for elderly parents may be necessary, so consider the needs of your own family members first. Drop by for coffee on a Saturday morning, mow the yard, or accompany elderly parents on a shopping trip. Invite them to your child’s soccer games or other family activities. Provide an inexpensive computer with access to email and Facebook (and lessons to learn the new technology), or schedule regular visits to brighten their day.

2. Volunteer at Your Local School

Educators are overworked, stressed, and disillusioned about the educational infrastructure – and they need help. Despite knowing that schools work best when the community is actively involved, too many parents and community members believe it’s someone else’s responsibility to solve the problems of education.
Children need role models and people who care about their lives and behavior. Whether you read stories to elementary school students, monitor outdoor activities, chaperone field trips, or spend a Saturday beautifying the school grounds, your efforts will be recognized and appreciated. Moreover, you can make an investment that will pay dividends in the future.
Local School Volunteer

3. Organize a Yard Sale for Charity

If your talents lie in business, administration, or marketing, consider organizing a yard sale for your community, dedicating the proceeds to a local charity. Almost every household has electronics, furniture, clothes, or equipment that can be donated because they’re no longer in use. These items have value and can be recycled to those who will use them again.

4. Visit a Senior Center

Too many nursing homes are turned into dumping grounds for older people whose families are gone or are unavailable, and many residents are desperate for conversation and connections with people outside the center. An hour or two a week can make a huge difference in the attitude and outlook of the residents, and you may learn something about life from those who have already traveled the journey before you.

5. Coach a Local Youth Team

The old saying, “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop,” is especially true for children and teenagers. Playing sports teaches kids teamwork, responsibility, and the joy of being physically fit.
Unfortunately, many kids don’t have the opportunity to participate in sports because there aren’t enough coaches or assistants. There are openings in almost every sport in every community for compassionate teachers and volunteer coaches. While some experience is helpful, it’s not always essential for you to be a good youth league coach.

6. Tutor a Student

Students include people of all ages, not just children. Teaching literacy to adults can change their lives. Helping someone learn English can expand his or her horizons, able to further interact in the broad community.
Academic subjects are not the only ones that need tutors – introducing and teaching others about computers and the Internet is needed everywhere, especially in the senior community. Life skills, such as cooking, sewing, and home repairs, are in demand for all ages.

7. Fix and Serve Meals

Despite America’s overall prosperity, the homeless, the unemployed, and the poor often go hungry – almost 49 million Americans in 2012, according to the USDA. Volunteers are needed to prepare and serve food through local charities throughout the year. Meals on Wheels, with an army of almost 2.6 million volunteers, serves 2.5 million seniors every day, offering nutritious meals, warm smiles, and a safety check – often the only conduit to the outside world the recipient receives.
Serve Food Through Volunteering

8. Serve on a Community Board

Charities and community service organizations often compete with other businesses for the community’s attention and support. In many cases, nonprofits are at a distinct disadvantage, lacking the resources to attract, compensate, and retain top-flight executive staff and administrators. If your talents are administrative, or if you have executive or board experience, your knowledge and insights could be welcomed at not-for-profit, community-based organizations.

9. Become a Docent

Museums, art galleries, presidential libraries, aquariums, zoos, and universities frequently need trained guides to lead visitors through facilities to enhance the visitors’ experience. Docent training is usually provided, so the only qualities necessary are enthusiasm, patience, flexibility, and passion. If you enjoy being around people, volunteering at your local museum or theater could be enjoyable and enlightening.

10. Be a Good Neighbor

Before the widespread use of air conditioning, residents of a community were more likely to spend time outside getting to know one another, rather than retreating inside to escape the heat. Now it’s common for neighbors not to know one another; rather, people simply return home from work each night and head inside.
Participation in a neighborhood organization builds a sense of community and provides valuable services to those within the neighborhood. Many neighborhood associations have community watch programs, assist with neighborhood beautification and park projects, and represent the community to local government officials. Knowing your neighbors increases a sense of personal security and connection to those around you.

11. Organize a Food Co-op

Food co-ops – cooperative efforts to buy food in volume to distribute to co-op members – initially started as a way to save money on grocery purchases. Increasingly, they are vehicles that enable members to buy fresh, naturally grown foods directly from farmers and producers at below-market prices.
Co-ops are typically nonprofit organizations that rely on volunteers, and advocates claim they offer better nutrition for lower prices. Bountiful Baskets initially started with a single site in Arizona, but now has more than 100 sites in multiple states, and it continues to grow.

12. Volunteer at a Hospital

Hospital volunteers provide crucial support to hospitals, and also offer comfort and convenience to patients, families, and visitors. Volunteer opportunities include everything from manning information booths, to sitting with patients or working with children. Duties might involve helping with food service or pushing wheelchairs. Hospitals have a wide variety of volunteer needs that are suitable for all ages.
Hospital Patients Volunteer

Final Word

If you’re still on the fence about volunteering, or you’re not sure you have the time or energy necessary, consider the five-year, multi-institutional study that proved giving and being unselfish can protect your health and prolong your life. Every day that goes by without helping another is an opportunity missed. Recognize that others helped you achieve your merits, and now you have the opportunity to pay them back while paying the effort forward.
How else can you pay success back while paying it forward for future generations?