Wednesday, July 13, 2016

When A Kiddo Runs Away From You

Nothing can get your heart going like losing sight of your child even for a moment or having them dart toward the street. Here are a few ideas for helping keep these moments to a minimum!

My go-to expert, Janet Lansbury, recommends- as she does for any challenging scenario- calming ourselves and starting from a place of emotional stability.

When kids test limits, they don't benefit from caregivers breaking down or giving in, but instead need leaders who can calmly and confidently handle them. This helps children find the limits of acceptable behavior, and these limits help them feel safe and secure.

Lansbury says:
"...running away (like all testing) is typical, normal behavior rather than a sign that we’re inept parents or have an unruly child that hates us. But since a toddler on the run in any situation is potentially unsafe, this is the type of testing we should do all we can to prevent from happening."

Things To Try

  • Give her lots of space to run free in safe spaces.
  • Set her up for success by asking, "When we get to the mall, do you want to ride in the stroller/hold my hand or walk?" When she excitedly says "walk!" it's the perfect time to remind her of what you'll expect of her.
  • You can try learning songs/reading books about being safe, but it's most important to practice appropriate behavior out and about when it counts.
  • Engage and entertain her as much as possible during errands.
  • Set clear, non-negotiable limits: "Remember that you need to hold my hand." Then enforce as necessary while doing your best to acknowledge and connect: "I know you want to run right now, but it's not safe to run away so you need to stay right near me or I'm going to hold your hand. Later, when we're at the park you'll be able to run a lot!" 
  • Don't keep offering warnings or count to three. If he refuses to comply, gently and immediately physically enforce your limit: "I can't let you run away. I'm going to pick you up now to make sure you're safe." (If they struggle: "When your body and voice are calm, I'll know you're ready to try walking with me again." 

Share Your Experience

What's working for you? What's got you ruffled? 

Leave a comment, or stop by your office or classroom to talk about your triumphs or your travails when it comes to your kiddos making a break for it. I love talking about positive discipline with families of our Honeysuckle Junior Toddlers at CMLC Sellwood! 

Much Love,
Teacher Suzanne

P.S. Janet Lansbury's Facebook Page is awesome! She shares incredibly helpful conversations among parents on a daily basis.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Tough Stuff

Hello Creative Minds Family!

I’m Suzanne, one of the Junior Toddler Teachers here at CMLC!

I recently felt the call to start writing on our blog to help share information and create a supportive space for our families and my fellow teachers.

When I consider what hardworking parents and teachers really want and need, I think it’s simply more happy time with their kiddos! That might entail spending fewer hours figuring out how deal with the day-to-day issues that can really eat away at precious time, and that left unchecked can leave us exasperated and exhausted.

So I decided to focus on bringing you the CliffsNotes from the best blogs, books and social discourse out there right now for dealing with the most challenging issues we face as caregivers.

You can frequent the sources (which I’ll always link to), and/or you can check here for the gist of it! I know when I’m looking for help with a specific issue, I feel like, Somebody, just tell me what to try!

So please jump in, share what you want to hear about, and what’s working for you!

Upcoming topics include ideas for keeping calm and compassionate when dealing with:

  • When A Kiddo Runs Away From You
  • Aggression & Anger
  • Testing Limits
  • Sibling & New Baby Issues
  • Magic Words and Phrases for Parents & Teachers
  • Diaper Change Shenanigans
  • Eating Issues
  • And More! :)

Leave a comment with another topic that’s big for you right now, or share the one you’re most looking forward to discussing!

Much Love,
Teacher Suzanne

Monday, April 4, 2016

Rolling through the Ball Study

Gateway’s Pre-K class has had so much fun with our Ball study this month. The study has allowed for a lot of hands-on learning along with discussions and stories. For our last week we are focusing on balls that are unconventional: hot air balloons, balloons, eyeballs, cotton balls, etc. Today we created our own Hot Air Balloons and discussed what we thought it would be like to ride in one.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Building Study Fun

Gateway’s Pre-K class had a blast starting off the Building Study with “The Three Little Pigs”. We huffed and puffed our way through the construction of all three houses and quickly learned why some materials are better than others. It was a cooperative experience with building and reenacting a much loved story.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Creative Sensory Play in Sellwood Infant Classrooms!


We all know our littlest CMLC friends love to explore new things, and we have been doing just that through implementing a various number of sensory and art play throughout our curriculum. Artwork with our young ones should be nothing less than a messy good time, and we have been achieving just that. Our younger infant class (Huckleberry) has been busy with lots of messy and fun painting projects thanks to the creative minds of Teachers Jazmin and Kaleigh. Between sticky hands and colorful yarn play, these younger infants have been exploring so much about their senses and the textures around them (as well as having a pretty good time in the process). Alongside them, our older infant class (Blackberry) has been spending a lot of time working with different sensory play options such as beads, sound “shaker” bottles, crinkle papers, glitter water, shaving cream, and more, thanks to the help of Teachers Megan and Alex! We think it’s easy to say that shaving cream will forever be a top favorite among the kiddos.

We love our Sellwood infants!

-Teacher Alex
(Older Infant, Blackberry Class)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Ivy Room at Happy Valley takes a look at what learning looks like in slums of Nairobi

Nelson Mandela once said: "education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world." Now, I know that when he made that statement we wasn't specifically thinking of the Mathare Valley Slum of Nairobi Kenya, but I couldn't think of any other place where this statement rings more true.

                I ( Teacher Marisa from the Happy Valley School) wanted to take the time to share about a very special place that is dear to my heart. From looking at the picture above this place isn't anything luxuries or glamorous, in fact on any given day this place is overwhelming, crowed, filthy, and despair seems to spread from shanty to shanty...or at least that's what the surrounding city of Nairobi Kenya would want you to think. The place I am referring to is the Mathare Slum. This slum is no more than two miles long by a mile wide, yet is home to more that 850K people living within this valley. You would think for a place where houses(shanty) are made out of tin, where there was no heat, running water or electricity that the people living within this valley would be down and out, depressed or even ready to give up. However, if you were to walk through this valley, you would come to find something much more different.

                Thanks to two Kenyan natives who saw a need and wanted to do something to empower their brothers/sisters to find hope, they started an organization called Missions of Hope International("MOHI"), "Hope" is the key word here. What started with one school and 50 students in 2000, is now a Mecca of hope with 16 schools and over 12,000 students. MOHI has partnered with this valley to work along side of these families as they empower themselves and seek hope, from helping children go to school, helping mothers and fathers learn a trade to provide and income for their family, to helping them get the medical attention they may need.

                I was very lucky in getting the chance to partner with MOHI last year. I got to spend some time traveling to six different schools providing them with a library. Now, this may not seem like a big deal, in fact most of us have a small library within our own houses ( I've got two book shelves full of books I've collected over the years), the idea of a library is something new and exciting for these schools. You see these teachers, are starting to learn, some for the first time what its like to read aloud to a classroom of eager kids. Students are excited to see pictures of things that they are actually studying. Most of their learning is done by the teacher writing a lesson on the blackboard and the students copying it into notebook. Teachers are also learning what its like to put together an interactive lesson, where not just a lecture is given but reading, and teaching tools and questions are involved. Students are getting excited about their studies again. As students and teachers are getting more and more excited about teaching and learning, families are getting excited about how they can make changes in their own homes and community. HOPE is finding a way back into the slum, through the form of education.

                So, why am I taking the time to write to you about a place that you probably will never visit? Well, this March, myself and a group of educators are headed back to the Mathare Valley to provide six more schools with libraries. They will spend a little over two weeks training teachers how to use the library, providing them with books that will go with the units they are already studying, spending time reading aloud to classrooms, and encouraging teachers to keep up all the hard work they are doing in their classrooms.

                How can I help you may ask?! What a great question! Although this trip is an exciting one, it comes with a lot of expenses. To help cut the cost, the team is asking for help. We need help with supplies that we use to cover the books that we are taking to the six schools ( covering the books with contact paper will help them last longer in these dirt floor classrooms). We need donations to help purchase the wood to build six bookshelves that are being built to house all the books and teaching supplies. Not only will this provide jobs for the community, it gives the community a chance to be involved in the education of their children, and what lesson wouldn't be complete without some sort of craft! 45 different classrooms between these six schools need crayons to help do this art project.

Its so exciting when a community starts getting excited about the education of their children. Providing a library isn't going to end the problems within this slum, but providing teachers with more tools to teach their students and to get their students excited about learning is a really good place to start!

                Happy Valley Families, especially those in the  IVY classroom, keep a lookout these next couple months as we learn more about what schools look like around the world and learn more about our friends in the Mathare Valley who are going to school and learning their one, two, threes and ABCs just like us!

Supply List:

* 5- 60ft rolls of Contact Paper

* 6 Book Shelves: $200 each

* Boxes of Crayons: enough to supply 45 classrooms with a classroom set ( 4-5 boxes of the 800 set boxes of Coloration Crayons)


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Creative Minds Learning Centers New Fall/Winter Menu and Tribute to Our Cooks

Our schools have recently switched to our Fall/Winter menu, which includes items like homemade corn muffins, new black bean, cheese and veggie tostadas, and the much loved whole wheat, marinara pasta. Our all time favorite cheesy pita pizza remains on the menu, and the kiddos are eatin' it up! As per request from our families during our recent school survey, we have added more variety to this menu. The children really seem to be enjoying the mixture of new menu items and old favorites.

 Check out the full new Fall/Winter menu here:

Creative Minds' snacks and meals are prepared with the freshest ingredients, including local and seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. All of the dairy products served at our schools are locally made and Hormone-free. Daily, our students enjoy nutritious Organic milk with their lunch.

 We pride ourselves on serving your child the very best ingredients available in their healthy meals while giving them delicious and kid-friendly options. Creative Minds offers wholesome meat free meals with flavor and color that get children excited about healthy eating.

The amazing cooks at Creative Minds Learning Centers work hard to ensure that our children receive high quality snacks and meals every day. We honor and celebrate their dedication to our children and schools and are proud to be able to feature their accomplishments.

Khoi Nguyen is our Broadway school Cook. She has been with CMLC for over 6 years! Her favorite CMLC menu item is the homemade blueberry muffins. When not at work, Khoi loves to spend time with her husband

Our Happy Valley Cook is Trinh Nguyen. She has been with CMLC since January 2013. Trinh's favorite CMLC menu item to make is the cheesy, veggie pasta bake. Trinh takes a lot of pride in keeping her school kitchen very tidy and neat. She enjoys exercising and cooking Vietmanese food for her family in her free time.

Alana Hardy helps out with the cook duties at our newest Tualatin school. She has been with CMLC for over two years, and has a daughter that attends the Tualatin school. Alana loves being outdoorsy, and her favorite menu item to make (and eat) is the pita pizza.

Thuan Pham has been the Woodstock cook for over four years. She loves to make the pita pizza (adding her own special spice blend, which includes some chili pepper for flare) and the cheesy black bean rice bake. In her free time, Thuan enjoys spending time with her kids and husband. She likes to
work out, and cooks for her own Vietnamese restaurant that she runs with her sister.

Our Sellwood cook is Allison Elix. She has been with CMLC Sellwood since our opening in June 2011. Allison's favorite menu item to make is the blueberry muffins as she enjoys to bake. She loves to go hiking on our beautiful Oregon trails and read in her spare time.

Emily Taylor acts as Director and Cook at our Gateway school. Emily has been with CMLC for over five years. She enjoys baking, which makes the banana bread, muffins, and blueberry crisp her favorite CMLC menu items to make. Emily enjoys being crafty and getting outdoors when she is not at school.

Emily Linden runs the kitchen at CMLC Westmoreland.She has been with CMLC since September 2015. Emily's favorite menu item, like many others', is the cheesy pita pizza. Emily's hobbies include: crocheting, her dog, hiking, video games, writing, and listening to all kinds of music.

A huge thank you to our cooks! We appreciate your hard work and ability to make great food for our kiddos!