Friday, April 27, 2012

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

With spring finally here the Sellwood Preschool Class took a deeper look at one of our favorite stories, The Hungry Caterpillar. After reading the story, the children munched on a few of the snacks that the Hungry Caterpillar ate on his journey to becoming a butterfly! They even punched holes through the food to represent how the caterpillar ate his food! How fun!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Artistic Expression at Gateway

The Gateway Kindergarten class has been studying a new artist each week in order to explore different medias, forms/styles of art, and challenging themselves to try something new! Many believe there are numerous benefits associated with children learning art at a young age.  Here are 20 reasons to support artistic expression in your child (taken from 

  1. Art stimulates both sides of the brain.
  2. 33% of kids are visual learners.
  3. There are studies that show that kids, who make art, read better and get better grades in science and mathematics.
  4. The kids learn by using their senses and art is ideal in this process
  5. The kids need a place to express themselves at school.
  6. Art promotes self esteem
  7. Art encourages kids to give more attention to the physical space that surround them.
  8. Art develops hand and eye coordination.
  9. Art stimulates perception.
  10. Art teaches them to think openly. It represents a culture of questioners more than a culture of responders.
  11. Art teaches that there is more than one solution for a problem.
  12. Art teaches kids to think creatively to solve problems.
  13. Kids can share and reflect on their work of art and learn something about the world they live in.
  14. When art is integrated with the other subjects in the curriculum, kids commit more to the learning process.
  15. In the process of doing art, the child is exposed to different possibilities, to discover and to freedom, this way they avoid falling into the control and the predictability of the conventional education in the United States of today.
  16. Art nourishes the human soul. One feels good doing it.
  17. Art brings the cultural resources of the community into the class.
  18. Art involves parents and tutors in the school, inviting them to participate as volunteers in diverse activities.
  19. Art provides a common ground across racial stereotypes, barriers and prejudices.
  20. Art is valuable all by itself.
Art inspired by Vincent van Gogh's "Sunflowers" painting.  van Gogh dreamt many of his paintings before they were put onto paper. After the Kindergarteners had some 'dream time' we worked on drawing horizon lines and painting images of our own sunflowers.  

The next week we studied Joan Miro, a Spanish surrealist painter.  We focused on Miro's thick black outlines and overlapping shapes that could be viewed as many different objects, animals, or figures. 

Last week we looked at artwork from Georgia O'Keeffe who was known for her beautiful landscape paintings and larger than life flower portraits.  We took the time to "zoom in" on the real flowers with magnifying glasses so that we could see the many details of one flower.  The kiddos did a great job filling their papers with bright, beautiful, and realistic flowers! 

We will be continuing our artist study for the next few weeks as the children are learning a lot about different artforms, ways to express themselves artistically, feeling proud of their work, and really loving it! 

Earth Day Fun!

The CMLC children celebrated Earth Day on Friday, April 20th! Check out some of the cool projects they created!

The Broadway School children planted flower and vegetable seeds in honor of Earth Day!

 Broadway's Alder Classroom painted a banner with their handprints that says "We Love our Earth"

The Westmoreland School children created Egg Carton Planters and had fun working on Earth Day Puzzles!

Teacher Tara planted seeds in Peet Pots with her Pre K students.

The Sellwood School Kindergarten Class made Earths out of recycled construction paper while discussing small ways in which they can make a difference at home, like turning off lights and being more conscious about water usage while brushing their teeth and taking baths. 

Sellwood's Preschool Sequoia Classroom explored Forest Habitats and created natural material collages! 

The Gateway Preschool Class decorated a bulletin board about 10 ways to help save the Earth.  They chose how they would like to help and wrote the idea on their hand print and added it to the bulletin board! 

The Kindergarten children re-used old milk jugs decorated in fabric to make Sweet Pea Planters.  They are going to take home sweet pea seeds and plant them with their families! 

The Woodstock children planted wild flower seeds during their Earth Day Celebration!

The children at Woodstock explored the Earth with magnifying glasses!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Infant Sign Language is a helpful tool to help our children and teachers communicate during the pre-verbal stage. Some of the most basic and frequently used signs in our CMLC infant classrooms are shown below:

Research shows that children who learn to sign early in life often develop increased vocabularies and more advanced cognitive skills. It also aides in strengthening the bond between child and caregiver.
Here is Mabel telling teachers she is finished painting.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How Do Our Gardens Grow?

Our CMLC schools are very anxious to get out into our gardens and start planting away! The rains are here to help our plants grow and thrive. Now, if only we could get a little sun to go with the rain!:)

The Gateway school has already started the planting process with some broccoli and squash starts, donated by one of their families. This coming week, they will be planting some sunflower seeds to add a splash of yellow to their garden plot!

The Broadway school is also getting a great start to their gardening, starting with the Alder classroom, who will be doing some planting this Friday in celebration of Earth Day!

The Woodstock, Sellwood, and Westmoreland schools are looking forward to getting their gardens up and growing and their little hands dirty very soon! We are all so excited to be getting lots of new seeds and starts for our gardens, following our Urban Farmers Fundraiser. Don't forget to submit your orders to your school's director by Friday, April 27th!:)

All of our schools welcome help from our families in the gardens, especially those of you with green thumbs! Please see your school's director for information on how and when you can help out in your school's garden.

And that's how our gardens grow! We will be posting pictures of our school gardens throughout the Spring and Summer months so keep your eye out!

Georges Seurat

The Sellwood Kindergarten Class learned about French painter, Georges Seurat. He developed a technique called pointillism (using small distinct spots of pure color). The students used the backs of their paint brushes to make points of color on their paintings of trees in the park!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring Garden and Earth Day Ideas!

As we get ready to start planting in our garden, we are mindful of recycling and limiting waste. Why throw it away when you can reuse it for an art project or gardening? We found a cool idea on Parent's Connect: Plant an Egg Carton Garden

Another fun way to celebrate Earth Day is to think of five ways your child can help. Even the smallest of children can do their part and trust us, they love helping!

Another fun website for Earth Day ideas: Earth Day Ideas

As we get to the end of Creative Minds annual Spring Garden Fundraiser through Urban Farmer, we want to thank everyone for their support of CMLC's Gardening Programs! All funds collected go directly into the children's school gardens. 
You can find information about them here:  Urban Farmer. Please submit your order directly to your school since the CMLC receives less for online orders. 

Here are some other ways to help your child's school garden program:

  • Donate fruit, vegetable and flower seeds such strawberries, beans, watermelons, cucumbers, sunflowers, marigolds, daisies, petunias, etc. For a list of plants that are safe for children, please go to: Safe Plants for Children
  • Donate garden tools such as water cans, shovels, small buckets, garden pots, etc.
  • Garden Decorations the children can enjoy setting up with help in their garden.

Broadway Schools Garden last year which had squash, strawberries, tomatoes, spinach, pansies and many more vegetable varieties.The children enjoyed the efforts of their hard work! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Reggo Inspired Art Program

A frequently asked question is what does "Reggio Inspired Art" mean? Creative Minds Learning Center schools offer a Reggio Inspired Art Program in the mornings. This program features highlights of the Reggio Emilia approach which when executed properly is art with very little to no boundaries. CMLC teachers guide the children with a theme but do not have a cookie cutter, "color in between the lines" approach to their art. The art project evolves based on the children's interest and input. Here are some other key elements to Creative Minds Reggio approach to the art program offered daily at the schools.

  • Community support and parental involvement- Reggio Emilia's tradition falls in line with Creative Minds which is to expand on a view of children as the collective responsibility of the local community. In Reggio and Creative Minds communities, the infant, toddler and pre-primary programs are a vital part of the community.The parents' role mirrors the community's, at both the schoolwide and the classroom level. Parents are expected to take part in discussions about school policy, child development concerns, and program offerings evaluation. Because a majority of parents—including mothers—are employed, meetings are held quarterly in the evenings so that all who wish to participate can do so. Parents are encouraged to attend these meetings to contribute positive ideas enhancing the school as a community. These meetings held at Creative Minds are called Parent Involvement Meetings.
  • The role of teachers- In the Reggio approach, the teacher is considered a co-learner and collaborator and not just an instructor. Teachers are encouraged to facilitate the child's learning by planning activities and lessons based on the child's interests which is added to Creative Minds calendar school-wide. This calendar offers flexibility based on the individual teachers ideas and the children's interests. The teacher starts the lesson by asking questions to further the children's understanding and be actively engaged in the activities alongside the child, instead of sitting back observing the child. As a partner to the children, the teacher is inside the learning situation. Murals are some of the children's favorite art group projects since they all add their unique touches and learn new ideas from one another.While working on projects with the child, the teacher can also expand the child's learning by collecting data such as photographs, notes, videos, and conversations that can be reviewed at a later time. The teacher needs to maintain an active, mutual participation in the activity to help ensure that the child is clearly understanding what is being "taught".
A variety of materials are used in our Art Programs.

Sellwood Kindergarten

Today the Sellwood Kindergarteners learned about "ch" words and -ell and -all word families!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

CMLC's "Reading is a Gift" Book Fair: April 2nd - 13th!!

Help CMLC schools continue to build their classroom libraries with our "Reading is a Gift” Book Fair Fundraiser!
50% of your order total will go back into our school libraries!

(Books that we received for our libraries from last year's book fair fundraiser)

At CMLC we value early literacy and books as form of bonding between adults and children. Our teachers are constantly reading to the children here throughout the day, and our students are encouraged to explore books on their own. Early Literacy is reading from memory and sight word recognition, listening and looking at pictures, a baby chewing on a board book, a toddler asking for the same story over and over and so much more! These are the bricks that build the foundation for future reading.

Help support our schools, and drive into reading with your child! It is fun and easy to find books that best suit your family—shop online and choose from over 1500 amazing titles. Usborne and Kane/Miller books are just some of the best children’s books on the market today. You can also choose to make a donation to your child’s classroom by purchasing a book from the classroom “wish list” of books selected by the teachers.

We encourage you to share these wonderful books with your family and friends as well! We are very excited for this opportunity to continue to promote reading with the children and to update our classroom libraries.

Online ordering is simple!
  • Click on the web link for your child’s school.
Sellwood, Westmoreland, and Woodstock:
Broadway and Gateway: 
  • Select the books you’d like to order and add them to your shopping cart.
  • Complete your order using a credit card for payment (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover)
All orders will be shipped to the school at no charge. Your order can be shipped to a different address for a minimal fee. Orders will be distributed at the schools at the end of April. Please fee free to ask about other ordering options (non-Internet orders or payment by cash or check).

All orders must be placed by Friday, April 13.

Thank you for your support!

This month's CMLC Art Calendar opens students eyes and minds to environments near and far, starting with their school environment. Yesterday at Westmoreland students and teachers worked together to create maps of the school. As an added project our Pre-Kindergartners and Preschoolers collaborated on imaginative Discovery Maps. We look forward to broadening our horizons in April and learning about far away ecosystems and what we can do to better the environment. Check out our entire Art Calendar to learn more: