Friday, March 28, 2014

Better Behavior Through Loving Discipline

    As children grow up, it is natural for them to challenge you. Sometimes, it just seems easier to let them have their way when actually, young children need limits and their parent's guidance. Discipline works best with a balance of love, respect, clearly defined rules, and understanding. Here are some secrets to effective discipline:

Make Rules Clear: You will see an improvement in your child's behavior when the child knows what to expect. Talk about family rules and explain consequences clearly. For example, for a rule such as "Take care of belongings," you might tell your youngster that if a bike is left out, he doesn't get to ride it the next day. As a child learns to read, write down the rules and put them on the refrigerator as a reminder. Tip: Children are more likely to remember the rules if the rules are few and specific.

Be Consistent & Firm: You can expect your youngster to "test" the rules from time to time. When the child does, stand your ground and apply the set consequences. Being firm and consistent lets the child know that you mean what you say. 

Give Positive Feedback: Shift your focus to what your child does right as opposed to what they do wrong. This will encourage them to try even harder to behave. When you see behavior that you would like repeated, let them know. For example, " I love the way you cleaned your room today."

Information courtesy of Resources for Educators. For more information, please visit their website at:

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Letters to Heaven Balloon Release

    Holly Tree invited parents and children to write letters to loved ones in heaven and send the letters to school. On Wednesday, March 19th we had a "Letters to Heaven Balloon Release." Each classroom was invited outside and asked to bring their letter to their loved ones. We attached the letters to balloons and invited the children to send their letters off to heaven!

 First, we excitedly gathered on the playground with our friends to do the "Letters to Heaven Balloon Release" together!
 The Frank family sent a sweet letter to heaven to their passed pup. Zoey, in the Toddler room & Zane, in Preschool 1, loved their sweet dog dearly. They took this opportunity to tell their pup how much he is loved and missed.
 Logan & Jack from Preschool 3 watch as they send a letter off to heaven.
 Up, up, & away!
 Ms. Quita used this opportunity to write a letter to her grandfather & uncle that have passed onto heaven.
 After all the letters were sent to heaven, we did have some balloons left over. Quinn, of the Toddler room helped us release more balloons to heaven. Even though we had no more letters to attach, we are sure our passed loved ones (and our little ones) enjoyed them:)
 Ava, who is also in our Toddler room, decided to hold onto the balloon for awhile. With that sweet smile, we were in no rush!

Thank you to all of the families that helped our children write a letter to heaven and make this experience something special for all of us to enjoy!

For more information about our program, please visit our website at:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Fun & "Bet You Didn't Know!"

     Tis' the day to celebrate St. Patrick! Holly Tree has decked the halls with shamrocks, leprechauns, and pots of gold! We have also have photos of some of our sweethearts in their finest St. Patty's Day attire! So let me introduce a St. Patrick's Day at Holly Tree, through a fun-filled photo documentary!

Breakfast time!!! Those sneaky little leprechauns.... they turned our milk green!

Our "lucky" breakfast- a shamrock cinnamon roll and a side of milk!

Pre-K is ready to take on this holiday with their festive display!

I caught Ms. Elizabeth's Pre-K class as they were on a quest to find the sneaky leprechaun that was playing tricks on our school! They sure were happy to see me and tell me all about what had happened that day!

Meanwhile, In Ms. Samantha's Toddler classroom, Eli L. was working intensely on his leprechaun art. Way to go Eli!

Our featured St. Patty's Day Artist: Mr. Charlie of our Toddler Room (we especially like the beard!) 

We had to catch this cutie, Ms. Alyssa, having some cuddle time with Ms. Makenya! We love her green outfit! Way to show your St. Patrick's Day spirit!
Could those shamrock pants be any cuter?? One look at our sweet Ava, and I would bet even the trickiest leprechaun would hand over his pot of gold!

Logan shows his St. Patty's pride off with his "lucky" shirt and a BIG smile!

Now let's get to the facts.....

"Bet You Didn't Know," St. Patrick's Day Facts!

  • The Irish have observed this holiday for over 1,000 years.
  • St. Patrick was accredited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.
  • St. Patrick's Day is an observation of St. Patrick's death that occurred March 17th in the fifth century.
  • New York & Boston host the largest St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the US (there are over 100!).
  • The first parade that honored St. Patrick was not held in Ireland, but the United States!
  • People from all backgrounds celebrate this holiday, especially the US, Canada, and Australia. Other locations that hold celebrations include Japan and Russia.
  • St. Patrick's Day falls during the Christian season of Lent. The Irish would typically attend church in the morning & celebrate in the afternoon.
  • Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived, and people would dance, drink and feast on the traditional mean of Irish bacon & cabbage.
For these & more fun St. Patrick's Day facts, please visit:

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

10 Fantastic Things to do with Toddlers & Preschoolers

    Whether it is just a weekend, a snow day, or maybe a family day, as a parent, it is always a good idea to have a few tricks up your sleeve when it comes to being at home with your children! Children have so much energy and imagination! Developing activities that they find entertaining can be easier than you may think.  Who knows, you may just find that your having fun too:) In any case, we have found some activities that the whole family will enjoy.

1. Set up a "Toy Washing Center"- Children love to help, it is in their nature! AND if this activity helps you get around to some of that spring cleaning that you have been meaning to do, then so be it :) First, put a bucket of water at the end of the table, some soap and sponges in the middle, another bucket of water, and towels at the end of the table. Have 2- 3 children dip the toys in the water and pass it down the line to get cleaned, rinsed, and dried.

2. Star Stickers- Place stickers on your child's pointer fingers and yours. Practice positional words such as high, low, over, and under as you move stars around. Then sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and move the stars around to make them twinkle.

3. Start a Collection- Take a walk around your house and find items in nature to start a collection, for example, rocks, leaves, or pine cones.

4. "Cook" with your child- Put a scoop of flour on the table, add a bit of water, and encourage child to mix it together to make dough. Allow them to shape it, squish it, and cut it with cookie cutters!

5. Find it Scavenger Hunt!- Make a picture list of items that the child can go find around the house, for example, a blanket, ball, or a toy car. For added fun, give the child a bucket, binoculars, and a safari hat!

6. Snap, Crackle, Pop- Have different materials, such as an empty chip bag, tissue paper, and paper. Children move the items in different ways and describe the sounds.

7. Family Picture- Get out a roll of paper (wrapping paper will work too) and fun dress-up props and have a family photo session!

8. Dress Up Dance- Put different dress-up items in a circle. Use items that are easy to take on and off like hats and scarves. Play music and let the children walk around in a circle in dress up clothes. When the music stops, they put on the article of clothing they are standing in front of, and do a dance!

9. "I Wonder"- Place different items into a pillow case. Have the child close their eyes, reach into the bag, and feel an item. Ask the child to try to guess what it is by touch, while their eyes are still closed. 

10. Bubble Fun- Blow bubbles and have the children try to pop them with different parts of their body, such as their elbows or feet. Try this inside on a rainy day or outside.

For more fun activities for toddlers and preschooler, please visit:

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Let's Get Curious!

    All of our Holly Tree Brentwood children were ecstatic to see that "curious little monkey," Curious George on Monday, March 10th. George came to visit us from the Discovery Center in Murfreesboro. The Discovery Center is hosting an exhibit that showcases Curious George, familiar buildings, and locations from the series. While visiting the exhibit, children will be able to embark on the adventures of Curious George through interactive science and math activities. George will be visiting the Discovery Center through May 4th. For more information about the Discovery Center, please visit:

    It is safe to say that all of our friends are familiar with the adventures of Curious George! So when the monkey himself walked into the classroom to meet our children, they were ALL smiles! It was pretty easy to get our friends excited about the Curious George exhibit, we read books about him at school often! One of the highlights of George's visit with us was that we got to have a  DANCE PARTY!!! Check out the photos and video from this event!

Curious George was greeted with lots of love from our friends. We read all about the adventures of Curious George here at school! Some of our favorite adventures are: Curious George has a Birthday Party, Curious George Goes to the Zoo, Curious George Visits the Aquarium, and of course, Curious George Goes to School!

Owen Messemer of Ms. April's Preschool 2 room is a huge fan of Curious George. He brings his "George" to school everyday with him. On the way back to class, Owen said "I love you George" and blew him kisses. Way to melt our hearts, Owen!! 

Curious George and a friend from the Discovery Center began telling us about all the fun activities we can do at the exhibit! 

Then, after we all got really excited about the exhibit, we had a super spectacular dance party with George!

Be sure to check out the video below for some footage from our dance party!

A BIG THANK YOU to the Discovery Center for stopping by to brighten our day:)

For more information about our program, please visit our website at:

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Screen Time for Children: Is it Healthy?
     At an Early Childhood Training that our staff members recently attended, screen time in early childhood was a topic of discussion that I found really interesting. Screen time, and technology in general, are topics that are increasingly relevant to our everyday lives.
     Undeniably, the media has a huge effect on our culture. We are exposed to media through a variety of ways, however, our children are mostly exposed to media through TV, internet, & video games. As a parent, you might find yourself asking the question- How much is too much? Well let me clarify, according to, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children that are under two years old have no screen time and that children above two years old only have one-two hours of quality screen time per day. Unfortunately, the average American child has four hours of screen time per day, double the recommended amount!
      Too much screen time does have a detrimental effect on children. According to, these effects can include: obesity, irregular sleep, behavioral problems, impaired academic performance, desensitization to violence,  and less time for play.
     For families that are exceeding more than the amount of recommended screen time per day, here at some suggestions to reduce or limit exposure (according to
  • Start with being a good role model! Limit your screen time and your child will be encouraged to follow.
  • Refrain from using screen time as a reward or punishment, this may make screen time seem more important to children.
  • Set screen time limits and most importantly, enforce them!
  • Keep screen free bedrooms! Children that have access to computers and televisions in their bedrooms tend to have 1.5 hours more screen time than those children who do not have them in their bedrooms.
  • Focus on family during meals. Eating meals as a family promotes conversation and allows you to become more involved in each other's lives.
  • Provide alternatives! Cook together, go on a nature walk, paint, etc.

For more information about this topic, please visit:

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Welcome to Seuss-tastic Seussville!

    Theodor Seuss Geisel is best known as the American writer & cartoonist of the widely illustrated Dr. Seuss children's books. He is an author that we all know and love. His fun stories have captivated our hearts & minds since we were children. We are excited to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss this month at Holly Tree through fun decor, dress-up days, & special snacks! With the help of our children & staff members, we have turned our front building hallway into "Seuss-tastic Seussville!" We invited our friends to wear green or dress in stripes today to show their "Seuss spirit!"
 Welcome to "Suessville!". With Dr. Seuss' wacky story telling techniques, we just had to bring that wacky-ness to our hallways!
 A special thank you to Ms. Samantha, Ms. Dominique, & our "Seuss-tacular" Toddlers for creating "Thing One" & "Thing Two" hand prints! Be sure to stop by and check em' out!
 And of course, "Seussville" would not be complete without truffula trees!!!
 Our Featured Seuss Artist: Kelsey Bailey of Ms. April's Preschool One classroom! We think this "Cat in the Hat" gives the real one a run for his money!
 Another special thank you to our Nursery One & Two friends for creating our fish for our "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" display! Definitely the most adorable fish we have ever seen! 

 Look at these striped cuties showing some "Seuss-spirit!"

 Looks like Mr. Lorax may be taking over Ms. Sara's kitchen this month!

 They've got spirit, how about you?!

For some "Seuss-tastic" activities please visit:

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