Benefits of Bringing the Classroom Outside

Preschool children playing hopscotch outdoorsTaking the classroom outside has a variety of benefits for young children. Not only does it allow them to enjoy the warm and fresh Florida air, but it can provide a change of pace for young minds and additional opportunities to explore and learn.

Benefits of Outdoor Classrooms

By taking the classroom outside, learning becomes more engaging than when you are sitting in a classroom for long periods of time. Teach math by having them estimate how long it would take to run, skip, or hop across the area or have them paint as messy as they want.

Going outdoors can also help nurture their creativity and imagination. Having them build out of organic materials can help further their questioning and understanding of the environment and world around them. It also opens up an entirely new realm of play and experimentation.

One of the most significant benefits of taking class outside is the health benefit. The outdoors provides more opportunities for exercise, such as running and walking, and even teachers can take advantage of additional outdoor time.

At Bartram Academy, we are always looking for new and innovating ways to keep children active and engaged in their learning. As one of the best preschools in St. Johns County, our staff works tirelessly to create an inclusive and inspiring environment for children.

How Teachers Can Practice Reggio-Inspired Methods

The Reggio Emilia model is a great way to encourage students to be their own person and discover their own interests. Teachers are integral in a child’s learning outside of their home, and when practicing Reggio Emilia, there are important guidelines to follow.

As a teacher at Reggio-inspired preschools in St. Johns County, you should be able to do the following:

  • Understand and respect that children are capable contributors to their own learning process.
  • Respect that they belong not just to the school’s community, but the global community.
  • Understand their right to be in a welcoming space that encourages learning without forcing them.
  • Work towards the common goals of the children, their parents, and teachers.
  • Allow a child to explore their own interests in their own way and cater to their preferred method.
  • Engaged children with a rich and responsive environment where they can explore, negotiate, and discuss with their peers and instructors.

At Bartram Academy, our experienced staff is dedicated to allowing children to find their own way in their education. We provide the tools they need to explore their interests and learn in a variety of different ways.

If you are interested in enrolling your child in our preschool programs, contact us today at (904) 419 7563.

The Importance of Children’s Fitness

As one of the best preschools in St. Johns County, Bartram Academy is always striving towards providing the best possible education to our young students. When it comes to physical education, we encourage children to practice yoga and other age-appropriate programs.

Why is Children’s Fitness Important?

When we think of fitness, we often think of the many diet and exercise programs out there, many of them too intense for adults let alone children. However, physical activity is crucial for a child’s development. Not only does it help them build healthy muscles, joints, and bones, but it helps them learn to play and cooperate with others through team sports.

When a child gets an appropriate amount of exercise each day, it helps expend all of the additional energy that would otherwise lay dormant in their system. This can result in behavioral issues and unexpected outbursts.

At Bartram Academy, we offer monthly fitness classes put on by My Gym Children’s Fitness Center. My Gym provides obstacle courses, tumbling, and more all focused on improving a child’s balance, strength, coordination, flexibility, and agility.

If you are interested in learning more about our part in keeping our students active throughout the day, contact our staff at (904) 419 7563 with any questions.

Creating an Art Cupboard for Reggio Students

Colorful arts and crafts suppliesDesignating an accessible cupboard for art supplies can be a great way to keep your child’s materials organized but within reach. Having a designated art cupboard can allow you to harbor all of the supplies your child desires without taking up space in an already small home or area.

When it comes to creating a Reggio-inspired art cupboard, you want to choose authentic art materials that inspire your child’s skills and interests. Whether you have accumulated many materials overtime or are just starting down the Reggio path, below is a list of art supplies that are perfect for storing in your space.

  • Oil paints
  • Low-temperature glue gun
  • Chalk pastels
  • Watercolors
  • Pipettes
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape
  • Clay and sculpting tools
  • Paintbrushes
  • Odds and ends

Be sure to include some towels for cleanup, as some of your supplies may be on the messy side. Not only will an art cabinet help keep your supplies neat and organized, but it will also help your child learn how to be organized as well when it comes time for cleanup.

Bartram Academy is a Reggio-inspired preschool and day care in Ponte Vedra Beach. We provide a variety of art activities for children and are always happy to help parents provide the same opportunities at home. Contact us today for more information about our school and practices.

Let Your Child Create with Real-Life Tools

Children baking with their motherReal-world materials are a great way to help your child learn, build, and create. Instead of providing them with fake, plastic versions of everyday tools and materials, let your child play with the real thing. The ability to create, pretend, and invent with authentic materials will provide much more satisfaction to your child’s imagination. The different weights, textures, colors, and working parts will benefit their mentality.

Child-sized versions of real-life tools are an excellent way for children to experience the real thing. For example, child-sized gardening tools allow them to effectively dig and play without carrying heavy equipment or useless plastic versions. Providing them with magnifying glasses, functional film or digital cameras, or modeling tools will allow your child to get right into what interests them without being limited to the poor quality of many plastic replicas.

You will often have plenty of real-world materials and tools around your home already. Go about your home and search for anything that may be of interest to your child and place them in a bin or on a shelf for their next play session.

Real-life tools can include:

  • Dress-up costumes
  • Old telephones or phone books
  • Old computer keyboards
  • Kitchen Tongs
  • Rolling pins
  • Measuring cups
  • Watering cans
  • Clay sculpting tools
  • Rulers
  • Fabric scraps
  • Sandpaper
  • Binoculars

At Bartram Academy, we are dedicated to providing self-driven enrichment and education to all of our students. If you are looking for the best Reggio Emilia schools in the St. John’s area, contact us today to inquire about our enrollment process for the upcoming preschool year.

How to Make a Mini Greenhouse out of Recyclable Materials

Tomato seedlingsGardening can be a great summer activity to enjoy with your child. When you’re growing plants from the seed or purchasing seedlings to start out with, it may be too much of a shock to plant them directly into the garden. If you don’t have the space or an option for a greenhouse at home, you and your child can quickly create a mini one out of a few recyclable materials.

How to Build Your Own Mini Greenhouse

All you need to make your greenhouse is some toilet paper rolls, a large plastic container with a lid and air holes, such as a fruit punnet, and seed raising mix.

Cut the toilet rolls in half or thirds depending on the size of your container. You want to make sure that when you close the lid, there is still plenty of room for the plants to grow inside. Then place the paper rolls inside your container and fill it with the seed raising mix. Carefully add your seeds or seedlings to the filled toilet paper rolls, gently water them, and close the lid of the container.

The toilet paper rolls are great because they allow you to plant the sprouts directly into the garden when they’re ready without disturbing their roots. They are also comfortable for your child’s small hands to hold so they can help transport them into the garden.

The summer months are an excellent opportunity to spend time with your children and to continue their learning outside of a school environment. As one of the best Reggio Emilia schools in the St. Johns, FL, area, Bartram Academy is available all year long to provide resources and activity ideas for you and your children.

Fun Summer Activities to Plan with your Child

Child riding a bicycleWith school almost out for the season, many kids are spending their last few days dreaming up all of the fun they will have once summer officially starts. As a parent, you want to ensure your child has time to relax, but it is also crucial to continue educating their young mind. Fortunately, there are a variety of summer activities that are both enjoyable and educational for children.

  • Ride a bike: Riding a bike is a great way to get outdoors, get active, and learn a new skill. Whether your child already has their “big kid” bike or are just starting out, going for regular bike rides will help them develop their motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
  • Blow bubbles: It may sound simple, but blowing bubbles can be a tricky skill for children under three. Offer your child a variety of wands to experiment with, and you can even work together to develop a homemade bubble solution to use.
  • Sidewalk chalk: Make the outdoors your child’s canvas by providing a variety of sidewalk chalk. Let them draw whatever they desire on the driveway, whether it’s a hopscotch board, their pets, or a full scene that tells a story.
  • Reading: Reading is one of the most important skills your child will learn. Take the time during the summer to help them develop these skills in a way that is fun for them. Have them pick out a book to read together every day and encourage them to try and read on their own as well.

If you are interested in enrolling your child in one of the best preschools in Jacksonville, FL, contact Bartram Academy today. We specialize in the Reggio Emilia model and are always working to provide fun and educational activities to children.

Benefits of Enrolling your Child in Daycare

Children making arts and crafts in daycareDaycare is often a necessity for many parents, as they are working during the week to ensure they can provide for the family. Being able to “do it all” can be stressful for parents, but fortunately, they can depend upon our Reggio Emilia school to ensure their child is growing well while on the clock. Studies have also found that daycare is not only beneficial for the parents but the child as well. Below are just a few benefits of enrolling your child in daycare.

A regular schedule: Children in daycare are often provided with a full slate of daily activities to not only keep them occupied but to ensure they maintain a stable schedule throughout their day. At Bartram Academy, we offer a variety of Reggio-inspired activities for preschool age children to keep their minds active and interests engaged.

Social development: Another benefit of daycare is that your child will have the ability to socialize with others. Social development is crucial for a child and interacting with other children at a young age helps them develop these skills more quickly. This will help make the transition into schools and other social activities easier down the line.

Meet other like-minded parents: Through morning drop off and pick up, the parent will be able to meet other parents with children around the same age. Not only does this provide more opportunities for playdates outside of school and daycare, but it helps build a support system for the parents and even life-long friends.

Learning Sight Words

Mother reading on a tablet with her childAs your child learns how to read, learning sight words is crucial to the development of this new skill. Sight words are words that often appear in text, but are not words that a child can figure out by sounding them out phonetically. Below is a list of common sight words preschoolers should know:

  • I
  • Go
  • See
  • Like
  • My
  • Is
  • And
  • To
  • The
  • A
  • You
  • It
  • Said
  • Not
  • Down
  • Can
  • Big
  • Little
  • We
  • Am
  • Have
  • On
  • For
  • At
  • Up
  • Look
  • She
  • He
  • In
  • That

When teaching these words to your child, you should include them in context with other words they often see, such as their name, siblings’ names, pets, friends, street name, or any other words that your child is exposed to on a daily basis. Sight words can be learned through basic memorization, similarly to how you learn color names or multiplication tables.

Sight Word Learning Strategies

Whenever you are reading to your child or going about your day, point out these words at any time you happen across one. If you are reading a book, have your child underline each instance of the word and trace the letters. When following the Reggio Emilia model, you can become extra creative by writing a book together with your child, using sight words in repetition. Allow them to develop the story, guiding them through proper word usage.

5 Benefits of Inquiry-Based Learning

Young girl reading a book at preschoolInquiry-based learning is an open-ended approach to education. The students primarily guide this approach through their questions, research, and overall curiosity. At Bartram Academy, we are committed to allowing children to find their path when it comes to learning and to investigate, question, and be curious about anything and everything that interests them. Below are five benefits of inquiry-based learning for preschool children.

  1. It nurtures passions and talents. When children are passionately engaged in learning, they become empowered and will feel more in control of the information they take in. Being actively involved allows them to grow more focused on the subject and develop a strong connection with what they enjoy.
  2. It increases their motivation and engagement. By being engaged in their learning, children are more likely to be more motivated to continue learning new information and skills.
  3. It allows them to develop research skills. Research skills are something your child will need all throughout their life, and developing them early in an engaging way will enable them to enjoy the research aspect of learning both in school and on their own.
  4. It fortifies the importance of asking questions. Good questions can open their minds and help develop children into creative thinkers. When children are encouraged to ask questions, it opens them up to a deeper understanding of their interests and the confidence to continue researching them.
  5. It allows children to take ownership of their education. Allowing children to think for themselves will benefit them all throughout their life. As one of the best preschools in Jacksonville, FL, we encourage all of our students to find their path towards learning and creating.