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!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

CMLC + Sunshine Division

Creative Minds Learning Centers is honored to be partnering with Sunshine Division to help provide food for families and individuals in the Portland area this holiday season. Through their food drives, the Sunshine Division serves over 1,200 families a month! 

The Sunshine Division is a long standing and successful program in Portland, dating back to 1923! Volunteers and uniformed police would deliver holiday baskets around Portland to those in need and were dubbed the Sunshine Boys because they spread sunshine to houses they visited! While the Sunshine Division has grown quite a bit from its early days, its mission has stayed the same: to provide emergency food and clothing relief year-round to Portland families and individuals in need.

Want to read more about the history of the Sunshine Division? 
Check out the story in full:

Today the Sunshine Division has many programs that help provide free food and clothing to those in need. Head over to their website to read about other incredible programs they support,  like their onsite clothing store “Threadz,” which allows those elligible to take home a bag of clothes, a coat, and a pair of shoes for everyone in their household or Izzy’s Kids ‘Shop with a Cop,’ which  pairs up 500 low income children with an officer to provide a super cool shopping experience for school clothes!

Stay in the loop with the 
Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division’s facebook page.

We are proud to contribute to another successful year for Sunshine Division! Don’t forget to drop off donations in our school bins until the 21st! 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Creative Curriculum at Creative Minds!

We are so excited to provide our families with more information about The Creative Curriculum used at all of our CMLC schools! Communication with families is so important to us and we know there are some days that you have brought home a Daily Communication Report Sheets and wondered “What are Mighty Minutes?” or “What exactly does a Large Group Discussion entail?” or “What curriculum concepts did my child learn about today?” We would like to give you more information about our curriculum; how the lessons are designed, what your kiddos are learning, how they are learning, as well as fun activities that they participate in at school.  

We start off the school year with a beginning of the year study that helps teachers and children get to know each other. It shows students where to locate and find things in the room, what  activities are available, how to explore different interest areas, and outlines expectations for the teachers and kiddos for the year. Based upon teacher observations, teachers are able to choose from a variety of different accredited curriculum concepts within The Creative Curriculum, including but not limited to; Trees, Clothes, Buildings, Reduce/Reuse and Recycle, and a school wide favorite, the Balls Study. Each one focuses on that specific topic for six weeks, engaging them by things like Questions of the Day, which asks something as simple as “Where can you see trees around your neighborhood?” This gets the ball rolling with a concept discussion, engaging them to talk as a group about trees. Then, basic concepts evolve and turn into more complex and academic based learning opportunities. Our Large Group Discussions commonly proceed from this. There are different developmental activities on the curriculum’s intentional teaching cards that focuses on exploration and discovery in several learning areas: Social and emotional, literacy, mathematics, physical, and library. Each age group has an age and developmentally appropriate goal. Often these are our Small Group Activities where the children are able to create, explore, and use critical thinking skills with a teacher-lead project that meets each child’s individual needs. This can range from learning how to follow or create a recipe, showing students how to express their feelings, even acting out a story they have read   for read aloud time. 

Mighty Minutes help create additional learning opportunities during transitional times of day such as waiting in line. It promotes language, math, and learning with movement when the students need a little wiggle time. These can be used as great tool for grabbing the students attention when needed.

Here is a glimpse of some of our current studies in action! The kiddos are exploring the Clothing/Textile Unit at our schools. They’re examining things like buttons, fabrics etc. What are they used for? Interest area activities designed for dressing baby dolls. Are their clothes smaller or bigger than ours? Seeing things like clothes in sensory bins to find what different clothes feel like. Even trying them on in our Dramatic Play areas. During an art activity we had kiddos learn how to describe things, telling their peers what their favorite piece of clothing looks like then creating it during art time. We are even lucky enough to have our families partner with our teachers to come in and show us what clothes from other countries and cultures look and feel like!