The Power of Fairytales

Posted by: Rhonda April 7, 2020

A mother once approached Albert Einstein and asked him what she might do to prepare her young son for a successful career in science. “Read him fairytales,” he replied. “And, if you want him to be very intelligent, read him more fairytales.”

This is comforting advice for a nation-full of parents unexpectedly facing the responsibility of educating their children at home. Fairytales, stories handed-down by word of mouth for generations, are more than just entertainment. Our predecessors understood that storytelling provides a rich, childhood foundation in oral language which is a critical prerequisite for literacy.

So as we navigate this new norm of education, the least we can do is read, or tell, children fairytales! Lots! Over and Over! And we may discover that this is exactly what our children need. Besides being a great tool for education, fairy tales “affirm that, yes, there are difficulties in life, but we have the courage, strength, and steadfastness to meet them,” wrote a beloved advocate for children, Joan Almon.

Read Almon’s popular essay “Oral Language: The Foundation for Literacy”

Bean Sprouts

Preschool Science at Home

Posted by: Rhonda March 31, 2020

Beans in a Bag Germination Experiment

I do this activity every spring with my preschool class. It’s always fun to see the keen interest the parents have watching the experiment develop over the course of several weeks. This year, the whole family can participate because they’ll be doing it from home!

You should try it too. All it takes is a Ziploc bag, a few dried beans, and a curious preschooler. Add a paper towel and some water and watch the miracle of germination slowly take place.

Instructions here.


Simple Activities for Kids at Home

Posted by: Rhonda March 17, 2020

In this time of unprecedented protocols and social distancing, many parents are looking for ways to occupy their children at home all day. Rather than turning to screens for an easy babysitter, there are many creative and educational activities that can keep children productively happy without fancy art supplies.

For example, with only some yarn and a fork you can make a host of pompom chicks to celebrate spring!

pompom chick small

More ideas and activities here.

Stay well. All the best from Community.

Active Play

What about those wiggly kids?

Posted by: Rhonda March 10, 2020

Young children are constantly moving. Asking a child to pay attention seems to intensify this intrinsic need. So do we crack down and tell children to “sit still and learn”?

No! If we want children to find success, we need to give them more opportunities for movement—big body, physical, purposeful movement.

“For children, this desire to move is integral to the development of the brain and ultimately the ability to learn,” writes Preston Blackburn. By giving children the opportunity to move, “we will see an improved ability to attend, focus, behave and learn.” Read more.

Maple Sap

Maple Sugaring Time

Posted by: Rhonda March 3, 2020

The environmental problems that confront the next generation are severe. The future of our planet depends on the degree to which our children are made environmentally aware, respectful of the earth, and protective of its invaluable resources.

The best way to do this is by giving children, at the earliest possible age, opportunities to develop an emotional connection with the natural world. As educator David Sobel writes, “We must give children a chance to love the earth before we ask them to save it.”

Here in the Northeast, “Sugaring Time” ticks all the boxes. It’s fun, but hard work too. It fosters teamwork and it combines the educational disciplines of chemistry, physics, and biology in one single sublime sensory experience that children will never forget. Does your climate offer an experience that’s comparable?

Watch and learn how the Randolph School incorporates Maple Sugaring into its curriculum here.