The 3R’s and C…

As we finish our SEA studies we’ll continue learning about the difference between salt and fresh waterlife.  We’ll also be learning about the importance of keeping water-ways clean and how to conserve water … and electricity… Using Mother Goose Time’s “Ocean Commotion” curriculum makes lesson planning easy with prepackaged lessons, including bonus Earth Day supplies!

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Although MGT’s themes are designed for preschoolers – younger friends love to explore the materials introducing them to new concepts – and older students enjoy expanding on the themes for unit studies. Ideas to simplify or build on the lessons are easy to think up or find on sites like Pinterest!

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It’s easy to search up ideas on how to extend a theme (such as Ocean or Earth) into all subject matters.  Past articles I’ve written about “STREAMS” – Science, Technology, Reading (& wRiting), Engineering, Arts, (Music &) Mathematics, Social Studies (& hiStory)… but many schools still see the three R’s as their focal point: Reading, wRiting and  aRithmetic.

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I believe in creatively combining all subjects.  Example: While READING about the SCIENCE of recycling pop bottles, one can write up SOCIAL STUDIES impact and do MATH on how much they’d earn. You can visit a recycling center to learn about the TECHNOLOGY and ENGINEERING involved…

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Thinking of recycling lessons makes me think of another three R’s: Recycle, Reuse, and Reduce.  Reduce makes me think of an important C word = Conserve.  This week we learned such vocabulary words, discussed examples and made plans to put the lectures into hands on lessons.  Such as creating recycled ART sculptures!

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While creating sculptures and researching ways to “Save the World” we discussed possible superhero careers that protect the planet.  During such discussions I take time to build up students LANGUAGE and LITERACY.  As much as Reading and wRiting are important to teach, so is COMMUNICATION (another important C word).

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Language skills start before a child is even born, while the baby listens from inside the womb.  Language skills grow with the baby into babbling and first words.  Speech is an important subject to formally teach as children grow so they are able to articulate thoughts to meet their needs and express themselves.

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Speech is an important skill, but so is listening.  Listening without waiting to respond.  Listening and comprehending information to learn more.  As we develop more learning programs – we will be listening to your ideas about what subjects and themes to offer during our summer session.

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Mi Families (“my families”) will facilitate “education through recreation” this summer, for families and those who work with families, including provider trainings; parent workshops; family events; and youth services. From homeschool classes, tutoring programs, child care services, caregiver resources, etc – more information on our programs can be found at www.MiFamilies.com. Also visit www.MotherGooseTime.com for information on the curriculum highlighted for your youngest family members!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Room2Read

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As kindergartners are expected to learn 1st grade curriculums – preschoolers are pushed into kindergarten lessons – taking away time to play and explore the world – taking away opportunities to build social/emotional skills. Research has proven that schools pushing for “academic excellence” are actually pushing students away from learning.  Instead of giving you supportive data I’ll encourage you to do some “reading for research” and discover how countries, like Finland, find their school systems to be winning the worlds academic race without pushing students.

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Instead of pushing – Mi Families (“my families”) is following examples of what’s working for others and assisting young to old in finding a love for learning. Mi Families LLC facilitates programs for families and those who work with families. Programs include provider trainings, parent workshops, family events, youth services … Youth services range from developmental daycare to teen-team-builders.  Some of our programs are hosted at schools, churches and community centers, while others are offered in my home.

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As the director of Mi Families I have 2 Bachelor Degrees in child and family education and over 2 decades in supportive fields.  My background has helped me build up resources of people and supplies.  Supplies include a vast library of curriculums for infants through adults.  One curriculum pictured in this article is Mother Goose Time who sends a pre-packaged theme each month.  The lesson plans are designed for preschoolers, but even the littlest-learners are exposed to basic concepts, while older students expand on each activity. Hands on activities are one way to encourage a love for learning.

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Encouraging education is different then pushing academics.  Encouraging education means encouraging curiosity through engaging curriculums and intriguing learning atmospheres.  Inviting students to learn indoors and outside, invites students to learn through open ended experiences.  This week we’re experiencing “Water Wonders.” We’ve transitioned through learning about the sky and weather to the water cycle.  We learned about water as a liquid, solid and gas.  We learned about water ways, water life and water transportation.

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Living in Northern Michigan we learned about the blessing of our local Great Lakes and the difference between fresh and salt water.  Students were excited to learn through MGT’s “Ocean Commotion” activities.  The activities encouraged students to read-for-research beyond their assignments! Students are encouraged to dive deeper into all topics with age/stage appropriate materials.  For our littlest learners this simply means providing a room that has toys ready for pretend, a print rich environment with labels and picture books, and supplies ready for writing and crafting out ideas.

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If you have a little one who’d like to explore learning through such themes check out www.MotherGooseTime.com.  If you have a tot to teen who could benefit from a fun part-time daycare experience or tutor time session let me know! If you’d like to learn more about provider/parent programs or network with our team/members find us on LinkedIn, FaceBook, YouTube, Pinterest, etc… We’re growing on social media and growing programs as spring starts to grow around us! Well, I guess first the snow must melt, but we’re ready to start our spring sessions, which includes Earth Day events…

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* PS – Lots pics show off our PJ party day ;) Usually kids dress for weather/activities

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Room to learn

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Mi Families (“my families”) facilitates programs for families and those who work with families. All programs have an “education through recreation” approach – meaning we teach through fun activities.  We teach through provider and parent workshops, as well as family events and youth services.  Youth services include our discovery daycare for 1-6 year olds, elementary explorers (classes/tutoring) for 5-13 year olds, and teen trainings for 12-18 year olds.

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Teen training programs have a marketable skills focus through team building, character building … and curriculums that teach teens how to teach others.  Teaching curriculums start with teens teaching the littlest of learners.  Teaching curriculums start with the basics of child development encouraging teens to learn about child care and build up a babysitting business.

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Babysitting, and volunteering in child care programs, teaches teens that providing care is the first step before you can provide knowledge. When children feel cared for, when they feel safe and loved, they feel ready to learn new skills.  Although every child learns and grows in their own time and in their own way – development is a continuum where we learn through transitions.

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The word transition means many things – we transition to new places and clothing sizes, we transition through our daily routines, and through learning topics … In Mi Families programs we are currently transitioning from sky to sea studies. After Easter eggs encouraged a transitional topic of eggs – we learned about animals born from eggs – then about birds, then planes, and then clouds …

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We are now ending a week learning about the water cycle … The water cycle is a perfect way to transition to water life and sea studies next week.  We’ll be using Mother Goose Time’s Ocean Commotion curriculum for easy lesson planning. MGT offers a great themed lesson kit for preschoolers that you can simplify for early learners and expand on for older students.

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As little ones are introduced to water concepts, middle ones will learn water life lessons and older students will research fresh vs salt water life.  Through a simple theme of water all subjects will be covered from reading and writing to math, science, social studies … Through a simple theme we can transition our learning areas into rooms that encourage learning and growing.

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APRIL 2018 * CLICK for UPDATED SCHEDULE

If you’d like to learn more about our learning rooms or programs email Christi@MiFamilies.com or visit www.MiFamilies.com.  If you’d like to learn more about some of the materials pictured from Mother Goose Time visit www.MotherGooseTime.com. One of the nice things about MGT materials is how many supplies are re-usable! Many pictures show past years supplies … Next week I’ll showcase current ocean supplies!

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Room to Grow

APRIL 2018 * CLICK for updated theme schedule / lunch menu

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Last week there were no Mi Families (“my families”) programs, as our families and the families we worked with took a break to enjoy Easter. Many refer to the timing as Spring Break, but it’s far from spring in Northern Michigan where we got a couple more feet of snow during vacation.  As the director of Mi Families, me and my own family vacationed in Michigan’s upper-peninsula, where they had over 300″ of snow this winter!

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Many family’s admit that when the weather is cold they spend more time on computers and watching tv – and less time outside.  I challenge you to get out and play with kids no matter what the weather is like where you live.  If it’s cold – bundle up – but get out and connect, build up immune systems and memories as you make a mess, make believe and make friends – outdoors.

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Encourage curiosities about nature by noting seasonal changes with children. One of the first things noted when we returned from vacation was a robin in our snow covered yard.  Although the poor bird looked confused about the weather, it let us know spring is near.  Talking about birds made us question what animals are born in eggs.  Eggs made us reflect back on coloring Easter eggs…

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I let their curiosities lead lessons, which transitioned from Easter back to eggs, to birds, then other things that fly…  Allowing students to lead lessons has proven to help students switch their bodies and brains back to classtime routines after vacation schedules. Vacation continued most of this week due to snow days so we’ll worry about routines and lesson plans next week!

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Next week we’ll continue transitioning back to school schedules and  continue transitioning our topic from the sky to sea studies with  the help Mother Goose Time’s  curriculum.  One of the things I love about MGT kits is how many items are re-useable! This weeks sky and bird focus was built up using past curriculum supplies and materials.  We’ll continue to use MGT kits this spring to learn about Gardens and more!

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Prepacked curriculums make lesson planning easy, but I enjoy MGT because it also makes it easy to simplify lessons for younger tots, while expanding on concepts for older students.  For example while little ones colored eggs, preschoolers learned about different birds, and elementary learners did some research on what other animals come from eggs… and if they all fly…

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Open ended curriculums allow students to fly with ideas and allow room to grow in individual directions. Providing curriculums with open ended and hands on activities encourages academic growth.  Academic and physical growth can also be encouraged by providing learning environments indoors and outside. As our snow melts we’ll be focusing on the growth of spring and the growth of each of our students.

If you’d like to watch your child grow in an engaging environment email Christi@MiFamilies.com for information about enrollment.  Feel free to email or visit www.Mifamilies.com for information on any of our programs.  Feel free to network with our team and family members on Social Media (like FACEBOOK) and feel free to check out our affiliates – like www.MotherGooseTime to learn more about MGT!

Posted in Uncategorized

Creative Space

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Time to transition.  Winter is transitioning to Spring – and our space studies are transitioning to sea studies.  It’s hard to just switch bodies and brains to new temps or new topics though, so we use transitions during change.  Transitions like world studies to learning about transportation- to space travel- to space studies.

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Space studies offered a lot of STEAM studies (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics).  Space studies offered a lot of opportunities to learn through creative representation.  Creative representation is a way of learning through ones senses; playing pretend; relating models, pictures, and photographs to real places and things; making models and pictures using various materials…

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Creating with various materials provides opportunities to learn through hands on activities.  Students discussed shapes while creating paper-mache’ planets.  Color knowledge was reinforced while painting the planets.  Circular planet discussions led to comparisons of oval eggs, and color mixing was learned decorating Easter eggs.

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Easter egg themes easily transition to birds, connecting space with sky lessons.  Birds and airplanes will help us transition to fish and boats.  As the weather warms sea and nature studies will be explored this spring and summer in all our programs.  Mi Families (“my families”) LLC facilitates programs for providers, parents and youth.  Visit www.MiFamilies.com for more information.

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Many of our youth programs use theme and supportive materials from Mother Goose Time (www.MotherGooseTime.com).  Mother Goose Supplies are designed for preschoolers, but can be used to introduced new concepts to tots and encourage lesson expansions with tweens.  We are currently enrolling tots to tweens in our part time child care, tutor time and homeschool programs.

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As we begin preparing for summer programs we are re-designing learning spaces to encourage education through creation, as well as education through recreation.  Check future articles for education ideas that encourage critical thinking and problem solving skills – by encouraging students to use their brains and bodies through all subject matters.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Art = Smart

Classrooms are a place intended to make students smart.  Yet they have proven that the typical classroom, where students sit at desks in rows listening to lectures, is not the smartest environment to learn in. Only 1/4 of our students are auditory learners, yet most teaching is still explanation based – meaning teachers are explaining information – they are talking more then showing or allowing students to learn through doing.29196948_10160218551110381_1787678296461426761_n

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“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” is an ancient Chinese proverb … Somehow Benjamin Franklin got credit for such words, but whoever spoke them first was wise.  Students of all ages need to be involved in learning.  Mi Families (“my families”) LLC continually updates our programs to be “education through recreation” experiences.  This means our programs are full of fun ways to learn!

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Mi Families facilitates provider trainings, parent workshops, family events and youth services … This winter session I have been busy teaching Art Smart classes through theme based adventures.  Tots to preteens have been learning about the world around them (and before them) ,while exploring different art mediums to create projects helping them remember the unit studies.

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From Arctic Adventures to Dino Days, World Wonders to Out of this World activities students have been able to learn all subject matters through themed art projects.  Themes were provided from Mother Goose Time for early learners and expanded on for older students.  While younger friends learned new concepts – elementary kiddos dove deeper into each subject matter.

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We blasted off into space and have been learning about our solar system.  After researching space and creating planet projects through lessons of color and shape we’ll transition to Easter fun.  Easter is an EGGcelent time to change circles into oval shapes and mix primary into secondary colors.  Shapes and colors experiments reinforce geometry and science lessons. All subjects can be taught through hands on learning.

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STREAMS = Science, Technology, Reading (&wRiting), Engineering, Arts, Mathematics (&Music), Social Studies (&his-Story)… All subjects can be exciting to learn about when you create a classroom atmosphere that encourages creative thinking and problem solving.  All subjects are taught through our preschool, tutor time and homeschool courses.  Email Christi@MiFamilies.com to enroll for spring and summer programs!

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Visit www.MiFamilies.com to learn more about our programs.  Network with us on LinkedIN, Facebook, YouTube, Pinteres … Network with our friends at www.MotherGooseTime.com to learn more about products pictured in this article

Posted in Uncategorized

Art Brain = Right Brain

The acronym STREAMS helps us remember to cover diverse subject matters while teaching children.  STREAMS = Science, Technology, Reading (&wRiting), Engineering, Arts, Mathematics (&Music), Social Studies (&hiStory). Some want to add more subjects to the list of required courses such as physical education, health, safety, character building, home economics and other electives…

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Some want to limit courses believing only STEM needs to be our priority. We indeed need to prioritize certain technological skills sets in these changing times, but we also need to remember that some students don’t process information as well on their left side of the brain… Some aren’t analytical / methodical thinkers, but rather use their creative right brains to learn.

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The STEM curriculum focus was created to build up our technological work force, but we still need other skills sets to run the world.  We need skilled laborers to continue fixing up the world as baby boomers are retiring.  We need teachers that teach about the past, not just future technologies. We need to build up a workforce of people who can use both sides of their brain!

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The left side is said to be more logical, while controlling the right side of the body.  The right side coordinates the left side of the body, while being creatively focused. Instead of focusing on right vs left brain or strengths vs struggles – focus on teaching a love for learning.  Teach kids by engaging them in interesting hands on lessons.  Teach through themes they are curious about.

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Recent world studies built a curiosity for travel and transportation, which led to curiosity about traveling world wide and outta this world! Using Mother Goose Time’s pre-packaged curriculum little learners were introduced to space concepts, while older students expanded on the theme. Last week  transportation studies went from cars, trains, boats and planes – to rockets and astronauts.

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Students learned about astronomers and learned how they can research space travels while on earth through telescopes! They are excited to continue our SPACE STATION activities next week.  As we continue to lesson plan for spring and summer adventures feel free to email Christi@MiFamilies to ask about our programs.  Mi Families (“my families”) facilitates “education through recreation” programs for all ages!

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Mi Families offers programs for families and those who work with families through provider trainings, parent workshops, family events, homeschool courses, elementary tutoring, child care … To network with Mi Team or members find us on LinkedIN, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest… For more information visit www.MiFamilies.com.  For MGT’s space curriculum (or other themes) visit www.Mother GooseTime.com

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left-brain-right-brain

Posted in Uncategorized

A is for ART

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What weird weather we’re having in Northern Michigan this weekend!  Usually the first week of March still finds us under many feet of snow.  Much of our snow is melting so everything is wet and mucky outside, which is why I still ask parents to send students with boots and snow-pants whether it’s 10 or 60 degrees when they attend…  We play outside often in our education through recreation programs.

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Mi Families facilitates programs for families and those who work with families through provider trainings, parent workshops, family events, homeschool classes, tutoring services and educational child care.  All programs offer hands on curriculums, meaning lessons are fun and engaging for all ages/stages.  Our multi-age/stage classrooms are themed focused and we are currently transitioning from February’s LOVELY themes to March-ing around the WORLD – and outta this world activities!

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Students of all ages are curious about the world and easily engaged by such themes.  Using pre-packaged curriculums, such as Mother Goose Time, makes lesson planning easy for our early education programs and adaptable for younger kiddos to learn such concepts – while older students expand on the topics. As it’s time to start planning our Spring and even Summer subjects I asked participants for input and many requested more STEM activities.

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STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) is an academic focus designed to help students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills.  STEM encourages creativity that some felt should include artistic studies.  With hopes that STEAM lessons would naturally encompass the Arts through language (ex: collaboration and communication), and social studies (ex: design and engineering challenges).

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Art is often viewed as an elective study instead of being a practical function.  Through decorating art work students begin to learn colors (science) and shapes (math) that lead to geometry and later the understanding of graphic use for marketing and presentation.  Through make believe children learn creative brainstorming and innovative performing art skills for later speech and persuasive writing approaches.

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Arts can add to the creativity of teaching STEM, but it’s important to realize scientists and engineers don’t lack creativity and ingenuity … Both the left and right sides of our brains NEED ART.  ART  =  SMART! One student pointed out that while learning about the earth we should do lots of art as ART is in the middle of eARTh! During any theme one can integrate all subjects – but during our world studies – it’s been easy to add in “STREAMS!”

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STREAMS = Science, Technology, Reading (& wRiting), Engineering, Art, Mathematics (&Music), Social Studies (&his-Story) … Integrating all subjects through an engaging theme keeps students learn new things – and as Dr Seuss just reminded me on his birthday “It’s better to know how to learn then to know.” And if you’d like to learn more about our programs feel free to email Christi@MiFamilies.com or visit www.MiFamilies.com.

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Feel free to network with our team members or family participants on LinkedIN, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, etc … also check out www.MotherGooseTime.com to learn more about the some of the products pictured in this post and their theme based approach to early learning.  Mi Families supports any curriculum that encourages learning through fun – hands on activities :)

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 CLICK HERE for MARCH’s updated schedule / meal plans / themed activities 

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STEM to STEAM to STREAMS

In 2004 the acronym STEM was designated to stand for “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.”  Even with this “No Child Left Behind” push – our American students continued to rank behind many other countries.  Some people sat around and said “we need to add in the Arts” so STEM became STEAM.  Others asked “what about Reading and wRiting?” STREAM?

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No matter the letters that define our subject focus the point is that these fields are becoming recognized as the core of everything we do / need to do. STEM connects everything, whether it is language arts, other art forms (including music), even sports and agriculture …STEM is suppose to help us build a foundation for what kids learn about to build careers …build our future workforce.

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What does the future look like for our current students? When I was a kid – I expected Back to the Future to help provide that answer – even the Jetsons cartoon, but today’s kids see different options.  Some are not good options as many fear being shot at during school, terrorism, global warming, or other future uncertainties.

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The students who answered with positive expectations seemed to be looking at the past for answers.  The past – as in our history – as in what lessons we should or should NOT repeat. But history isn’t in our acronym.  History is often as a Social Studies topic so maybe – STREAMS? When we add to lists of subjects we need to teach are we adding too much to our students workload?

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Maybe we need to focus on Social Studies to answer that. Maybe we need to look across the world at how other countries view education and how they format their schools (such as Finland).  Maybe we need to ask students how they learn best and what they want to learn about. In Mi Families (“my families”) programs I encourage students young and old to lead our learning.

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When students lead learning they love learning! Using theme based studies they are curious about can help engage them as you incorporate all subject matters through such themes. Companies such as Mother Goose Time make unit studies easy to prepare for while providing teachers with lessons and materials in one box.  MGT can be modified for tots through pre-teens to learn from.

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While working with preschoolers and elementary students this week I listened as they discussed school subjects and how some are connected.  Geology and Geography connect Science and Social Studies.  Studies of Historical fact and Mythological fiction helps us understand stories behind holidays (cupid vs st. Valentine, Santa vs Jesus).  Stories help us learn about religion, creation…

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Children are curious about our past and find studies of paleontology and archaeology fascinating. As we finished our dinosaur theme we have transitioned to art history (hieroglyphics) to world history (Pangea) … If you know a student looking for fun hands on learning please email Christi@MiFamilies.com.  We are currently enrolling for SPRING and SUMMER 2018 sessions!

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Mi Families provides childcare, tutoring, homeschool coop classes, parent and me programs, family events, parent workshops, provider trainings … Feel free to visit www.MiFamilies.com for more info.  Feel free to network with us on LinkedIN, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube … & feel free to visit www.MotherGooseTime.com to learn more about some of the products pictured in this post!

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full STEAM ahead

Today is Scientific Saturday! Mi Families (“my families”) schedules many Scientific Saturday activities. Mi Families is building up STEAM programs as requested for families and those who work with families… From provider trainings, parent workshops, family events and youth services we’re trying to meet all requests!

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STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. Our recreation through education approach offers all subject matters through fun learning activities. Currently tots through teens are using transitional themes to cover all school subjects in our preschool, tutoring and homeschool co-op classes.

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Our youth themes have been transitioning through Winter to the Ice Age to Dinosaurs.  Lesson planning is easy using theme based curriculums from companies such as Mother Goose Time , even for multi age and stage classrooms.  While little ones are introduced to new concepts, older students expand on the lessons.

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This past week we had a DINOmite VALENTINES day and started transitioning discussions of the world of yesterday to the world of tomorrow. Time travel activities are helping us learn the importance of loving the world around us, loving the people around us, and loving ourselves.  It was a LOVELY week!

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The week ended celebrating the Chinese New Years and learning about the other side of the world. Whether we’re learning about the other side of the world or the world long ago – the world is fascinating to children.  Our social studies and science lessons combine through geography and geology.

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World studies encourages problem solving through scientific studies.  Earth science encourages observation of a our local environment vs global environments, nature and weather.  Learning about global concerns of yesterday vs tomorrow helped students debate dinosaur extinction and current endangered animals.

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Life science encourages students to consider how the environment impacts animals, people and all living things.  Life science grows empathy towards life, teaching students to care about future environments. Environments include land, sea and sky.  Future themes will incorporate all environments.

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All subject matters are taught through all themes, including STEAM lessons.  STEAM includes all science areas from earth to life and physical studies.  Physical science is the study of inanimate natural objects, including topics such as astronomy. Children love exploring physical science through sensory play and other materials.

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Sensory play and ART SMART activities are enjoyed in all our classrooms… If you’d like to learn more about our different classroom environments and program options please visit www.MiFamilies.com or network with our team and family members on LinkedIN, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.

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*Also visit www.MotherGooseTime.com to learn more about product images in this post*

FEB

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