Theme Thoughts

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What a warm week we had … good theme our summer theme starts off with lots of water activities.  One theme curriculum we are using is “Imagination Island” from Mother Goose Time.  We transitioned to this theme after learning about bugs, bug habitats, creepy crawlers that you find in water… and now we’re jumping in and getting both feet wet with a water world theme… which this week took a turn from the beach to sand, to waves, to surfboards and boats in the waves and then to other forms of transportation. Then kids starting discussing why they enjoy certain forms of travel and what they like to do on those adventures!

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Although Mother Goose Time provides a very easy to follow day-by-day packaged model with a teachers guide, you can easily adapt their kits as needed and lately my students feel the need to adapt them in different orders as they set the pace and transition from one mini-theme to the next.  I present a topic when interest slows that helps transition to new lessons as needed, but often their interests just builds from one subject to the next.  They love to look at what topics they’ve missed in the box and find a way to connect what we’ve been discussing during circle times and use the questions of the day to share their knowledge or experience on the matter.

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As Fathers Day approaches the water theme naturally transitioned to experiences at beaches, fishing and boating with dad. Boating led to discussions of other adventures with dad and how some of our students dads travel for work and what forms of transportation dad uses.  Transportation themes make it easy to incorporate lessons on reading, writing, math, science, social studies, art, etc into daily lessons.  Because we have students from different stage/age groups some themes are basics to introduce concepts while others give opportunities for children to explore topics deeper.  Transportation with boats led to boat building challenges.

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Boat building challenges encouraged older students to problem solve, use math and science skills etc, while younger kids dived into a world of make believe and explored waterways.  Boats alone could be a month long topic, but slowly it’s morphing into other things that float or swim on water.  Discovering fish and different sea creatures and critters on the beach and other beach activities we’ll be exploring as our first month in the summer sun continues.  As we continue learning under such theme units we integrate arts heavily and therefore will continue enjoying using our imagination for dramatic play, storytelling, building, creating art work, listening to music and dancing…

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This month we’re enjoying dancing to luau music and trying island foods, such as coconuts.  It’s fun for children to learn about different places, especially warm and magical places when you grow up in Michigan! Summer is a time for traveling, but many of our students wont get opportunities to travel far so we’ll have adventures in our summer programs that explore new lands and encourage cultural appreciation.  Students who do go on trips are encouraged to bring in pictures or souvenirs and tell us about their travels.  If your student attends Adventure Academy please let us know of any dates your family will be traveling so others on our waiting list can enjoy some of our learning adventures!

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Yes – we have a waiting list.  We are also starting our fall program enrollment so if you have questions regarding Adventure Academy or other Mi Families programs please email Christi@MiFamilies.com.  Mi Families facilitates programs for families and those who work with families across Michigan and across the web at www.MiFamilies.com, on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.  Feel free to find us and network with us or subscribe to these articles or comment below :) Let us know what other topics you’d like these articles to cover / include.  Pictures included in articles or on social media often showcase our Adventure Academy program and Mother Goose Time supplies.

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Fun in the sun

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The official date of summer is getting closer, but it already feels like summer with schools ending for vacation and the sunny warm weather.  The kids at Adventure Academy have been outside lots this week enjoying the weather.  Many students are still interested in the bugs we were learning about last month so our transition to summer themes has been slow.  We have been finishing off our bug studies by learning about why bugs need water and what else needs water to live and grow.

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From gardening to learning about sea-creatures – we have been exploring the importance of water and how to keep water clean.  We also tackled topics of ways to keep the rest of our world clean and safe.  Summer safety was a big topic this week from discussions of never swimming alone to wearing our sunscreen.  If your child attends Adventure Academy a summer safety note was sent home regarding such topics.  From sunscreen to bug spray and other summer concerns we try and keep everyone safe while they enjoy outdoor activities.

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Adventure Academy kids enjoy outside time daily and you should too.  There are countless benefits to playing outside.  If you need ideas for outdoor play or safety resources let Christi know.  Christi Morgan is the director of Adventure Academy.  Adventure Academy is a youth program through Mi Families.  Mi Families facilitates programs for youth, their parents and providers across Michigan.  Mi Families is updating our program list so check www.MiFamilies.com often.

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Mi Families reaches out with resources for families and those who work with families.  All programs are education through recreation focused – meaning we have fun learning! This summer we’ll keep students brains from melting by learning through hands on activities.  “Sun-Fun” activities and lesson plans are developed with access to top rated curriculums.  One of the curriculums that all ages enjoy is the theme based Mother Goose Time kit we get monthly.

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Many of the pictures posted showcase Mother Goose Time activities, supplies and materials.  This month we are using MGT to review basic skills through summer themes such as “Alphabet Island.”  If you’d like to learn more about Mother Goose Time or other curriculums we use in our camp and Tutor Time services email Christi@MiFamilies.com.  We are full for our summer program, but are already starting to plan for the next school year! If you’d like to enroll your child for our fall programs email Christi soon!

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Spring2Summer

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Every month kids explore a new theme at Adventure Academy.  Through top rated curriculums, such as Mother Goose Time, infants to pre teens work together to learn about the world around them. This spring they explored topics of growth and change together, which led to nature discoveries, from trees to flowers to bees and butterflies and bugs that came crawling out once our snow melted.

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Our snow is gone and our land has warmed up for summer adventures.  As we move from spring to summer themes we transition slowly instead of just simply changing topics.  Just as a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly our lessons are morphing from “Bugs” to “Beach.” So this week as May turned to June we went from Bugs to beach creepy crawlies, such as crabs, then we learned about shells and beach critter habitats.

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Beach critters helped us start thinking of planning beach field trips and other summer adventures.  Summer fun has to include summer safety lessons on wearing sunscreen and of course bug spray when you live in Michigan’s mosquito land.  Our “bug to beach” transition will continue through our “island adventures,” which include learning about Ellis Island before transitioning into our July summer themes… 4th of July topics, camping, stars, superheroes…

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We have some fun themes to explore in our summer school programs.  All subjects are integrated through the fun themes making it the perfect way to keep kids learning all summer long.  We have a waiting list for camp and tutor time programs.  If you’d like to add your child to our waiting list or sign up now for fall programs email Christi@MiFamilies.com.  Feel free to email or visit www.MiFamilies.com to learn more about Adventure Academy or other programs facilitated by MiFamilies.

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Also feel free to network with us on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, Youtube … We share fun videos including reviews on YouTube.  Here’s an unboxing of next months Mother Goose Time curriculum.  The pics above also showcase some Mother Goose Time supplies and other fun activities the kids at Adventure Academy are enjoying as we transition from Spring to Summer themes.

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Stop Bugging Me

Click for larger pics :)

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As we finish up our BUG unit the children reflected on this months theme from Mother Goose Time.  Mother Goose Time provides us with a new themed kit each month filled with activities, manipulatives, stories, music… and lesson plans offering ideas for using such materials. Although some instruction was offered for individuals and small groups, this month was more student led.  Observations showed that the best learning experiences happened when I stopped bugging them ;) discoveries were made through student curiosities and not through adult instruction. Our multi-age peer groups problem solved and work together while exploring all subject matters using BUGS and other spring topics.

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Spring provides ample opportunities to learn through fun topics and learn outdoors.  All subject matters were covered but there was an overall focus on science this month.  Physical science exploring textures and using our senses outdoors. Life science discovering how things grow and change.  Earth science observations of the weather and how it affects the textures, senses and wildlife.  Even the baby was curious about the world around her.  Infants thru pre teens all seemed to enjoy spring at Adventure Academy.  They learned and played and explored and took pictures of their explorations.  The pics featured in this article were taken by 8-11 year old students – showcasing their science discoveries, Mother Goose Time curriculum and peer observations!

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As our students review what we learned this spring they are also preparing for our summer program.  We have very limited part time spaces left available for camp and tutoring programs.  Email Christi@MiFamilies.com if you’d like more information about our Adventure Academy programs.  Adventure Academy is our youth program for Mi Families.  Mi Families also facilitates programs for parents and providers.  Feel free to visit www.MiFamilies.com for more information or network with us on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.  Have ideas for program you would like offered for families and those who work with families? Let us know!

*Unboxing from earlier this month

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picture your kids problem solving

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Picture your children problem solving without adult interaction.  Adults should be supervising at all times, but too often I observe adults directing too much of their children’s play and learning activities.  Too often adults jump in to help children problem solve how to play the game, manipulate the materials, create their craft, solve conflicts with peers … Peers need time to solve their conflicts, children need time to interact with others and objects without guidance.  Instead of removing obstacles from their paths, adults can model problem solving skills that they see arise by re-creating such obstacles they observe.  Instead of avoiding activities that can create conflict, chaos and mess I suggest planning those activities with intent for teachable moments.

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Mi Families teaches parents, providers and children through various programs, including Adventure Academy.  Adventure Academy is our multi-age childcare and tutoring program where I schedule “teachable moments” in the lesson plans that go beyond core curriculum subjects. We work on our core curriculum, but also make time for open ended exploration indoors and outside.  One curriculum that is helpful at providing open ended exploration is Mother Goose Time.  This Month we are learning about bugs.  We are are reading and writing about bugs, we are using bugs for math, social studies and science … we are using bugs to teach being gentle to all creatures and how to not fear all creatures…

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Bugs are providing many opportunities for teachable moments and problem solving. The pictures posted showcase some of the activities we have been doing, but it can’t show the observations overhead of a child problem solving.  It can’t record peers working together problem solving or discussing their new scientific findings.  It does show that the kids have been busy learning through play and hands on learning adventures.  It does show that the kids have been enjoying the month of May.  As we near June I am starting to prepare for our summer programs.  Note our summer schedule starts Memorial week and goes through Labor day week.

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We have limited part time spaces remaining in our summer program if you know a child who’d like to enroll at Adventure Academy.  This summer we’ll be hosting mini camps and tutor time sessions.  Email Christi@MiFamilies if you’d like more information about Adventure Academy or about other Mi Families programs.  Mi Families provides education through recreation for families and those who work with families across Michigan.  Learn more about our FUNctional resources at www.MiFamilies.com or by following us on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc… We’re reaching out with resources beyond Michigan with the help of social media.  Looking for specific resources or hoping we cover specific topics in our articles? Comment below!

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Spring Transitions

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Spring is a transition season… not yet hot, but no long freezing. Many love the transition seasons of spring and fall, especially in Michigan with the changing colors of leaves falling or flowers growing.  Spring is a transition season where Mi Families, LLC focuses on growth.  Mi Families (“my families”) offers year round programming for families and those who work with families. Throughout the year we offer hands on thematic programs for all ages.  Adventure Academy is the program designed for our youngest members (0-12year olds) and we’ve been busy observing the growth of our students and the world around us as April transitioned to May.

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In April we focused on Easter, eggs and birds.  Birds transitioned to other animals and habitats, and we’re now transitioning to our focus on bugs.  One of the curriculums we’ll be using in our multi-age classroom is Mother Goose Time, who just sent us our “bugs and crawly things” box.  As we un-boxed this months kit we planned out how we’d move from birds to bugs.  Young children were introduced to new topics as older students discussed how birds live in nests, people live in houses, and all living things have unique habitats. The students themselves planned a transition from “April showers bring May flowers… May flowers bring bees and other bugs.”

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Adventure Academy students discussed how they would like to transition from one unit to the next and problem solved how to incorporate all subjects into daily lesson plans.  Birds led to nests in trees which led to other things that live in trees, including bee hives and where else can bees live… Bee’s led to other bug homes such as a spiders web and an ant hill.  Next week we’ll start our BUG ABC’s starting with “all about ants.” I love watching the wheels turn in students heads as I offer theme studies and let students decided the order to approach each topic.  Students are excited to learn when given the opportunity to lead their own educational adventure.

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Adventure Academy is full for our spring learning adventures, but we have a couple part time spaces left for our summer camp and tutoring sessions.  Email Christi@MiFamilies.com for more information on our summer programs or other Mi Families programs.  Also feel free to visit www.MiFamilies.com or visit us on our YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook and LinkedIn sites. Mi Families is reaching out with resources across Michigan and online – Looking for a particular resource? Email Christi or msg us below! Looking for an easy to use curriculum that can be adapted for multi-ages and stages? Check out Mother Goose Time.

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From Our Nest

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Bird month flew by! All month long the kids at Adventure Academy were learning about birds, eggs, nests … so Mi Families other programs hosted related themes for parents and providers.  From spring bird watching hikes to watching birds hatching out of eggs … and Easter egg painting and egg hunts … and best nest competitions … April showers didn’t stop our spring celebrations.  As April showers turn to May flowers we’ll continue celebrating spring with learning about flowers, bees, butterflies, bugs and other creepy crawlers.  Mi Families has fun programs for all families and those who work with families.  “Adventure Academy” is Mi Families program designed for our youngest family members.

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Adventure Academy will continue learning about spring growth, while planning for our summer youth programs.  Infants thru elementary stage students are invited to join us for year round adventures in learning in our home-based-center.  Each day we learn and play through theme related topics.  This months bird lessons brought us to this weeks transition theme of birds to nests to bird homes to other animal habitats to people homes to homes around the world.  Parts of Michigan still got hit with snow this week so while they are still in igloo mode – we were building shelters and planning campouts.

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Pretending we’re camping or building shelters … pretending we’re birds or coloring eggs … Adventure Academy learns through hands on experiences and integrates the arts into our daily curriculum.  From pretending and using dramatic play skills, to creating crafts and singing songs – students strengthen motor development and learn basic skills through “art smart” techniques.  Simply cutting out shapes from different colors of paper to create house pictures created opportunities for authentic observation of what basic skills the students had.  One curriculum that helps provide opportunities for such observation is Mother Goose Time.

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Mother Goose Time offers more open ended art experiences then other pre-packaged curriculums.  One activity that recently encouraged students to make choices through artistic processes was creating bird masks.  Children expressed ideas throughout the project, such as how to overcome challenges of sticking the straws to the paper to hold it up for play.  Older students helped problem solve when glue did not work.  Art is beneficial to learning in so many ways, but especially when open ended.  Open ended moments help children conquer new skills and showcase their unique personalities and creative genius.

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From fine motor skills like cutting and pasting to large motor skills like dancing to bird calls, there are ways to integrate all themes into an art rich curriculum.  Mother Goose Time makes this easy by providing crafts and music, etc in their monthly kits.  Each day we transition to a new topic through discussion of the last days activities.  As we transition from birds to bugs we’ll discuss habitats and observe the world around us.  If you know a child near Kingsley, Michigan who’d like to join in our learning adventures email Christi@MiFamilies.com.  We are FULL for our spring semester, but have a couple PART TIME spaces remaining for summer camp and tutor time sessions.

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If you’d like to learn more about Adventure Academy or other programs facilitated by Mi Families LLC, feel free to email Christi or visit www.MiFamilies.com.  Also feel free to network with our team or members on Linked IN, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, etc… We are reaching out with resources on line and in person across Michigan.  If you’d like programs to be facilitated in your area reach out to us and we’ll see what we can do! If you’d like to see what we’re up to next – subscribe above! Thanks for reading this article :) If you have any comments, such as topics you’d like us to cover in future articles – let us know below

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It’s a HOPPY Easter

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It’s a HOPPY Easter! We had a short week last week (and this week) due to germs and the holiday so we are still celebrating.  All Mi Families (“my families”) LLC programs celebrate holidays in various ways.  Our child development and tutoring program, Adventure Academy, uses the festive fun in our lesson plans. Like Christmas, Easter has many religious and secular teachings associated with the holidays.  Although Mi Families offers “Mi Ministry” events, Adventure Academy sticks with Easter Bunny fun to be sensitive to religious differences for our students.

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Easter bunnies….chicks…eggs… The chicks and the eggs fit right into our current theme of “Birds and Eggs,” and added circle time discussion of what can be born in an egg.  Not a bunny.  We talked about how different types of animals are born in different ways.  This topic led to how different types of animals move in different ways.  We’ve been observing birds flying and decided ducks are “super birds” as they fly, swim, walk on land … Pretending to be ducks and other animals led to some wonderful dramatic play experiences.

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Dramatic play offers opportunities for teachers to observe students exploring ideas, trying new roles, interacting with others, expressing themselves and showcasing their abilities.  Dramatic play of animal adventures provided opportunities for me to observe where students were on all areas of the developmental continuum: social emotional, physical, language, literacy, math, social studies, science, creative development…  For example: a simple piece of chalk outside led to an activity of children drawing eggs then hopping over them as the Easter Bunny.

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Children are often self conscience when they are aware of being observed / evaluated as themselves, yet are more open to exploring through dramatic play.  Taking on the roll of the Easter Bunny led to authentic observation of skills such as large motor development of jumping and fine motor skills using the chalk.  Coloring eggs with chalk, crayons, markers, and paint led to exploration of different art forms and color mixing knowledge.  Investigating eggs and watching birds provided insight into what students knew about such topics and how they interact within natural settings.

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Adventure Academy learns outdoors and in our multi-age classroom.  Because this program is stage before age focused we offer various curriculums to meet various learning needs and abilities.  One curriculum we enjoy for all ages is Mother Goose Time.  Mother Goose Time’s monthly themes can be simplified for younger children while expanded on for advanced students.  In each Mother Goose Time kit you are provided with activities for daily sub-themes, as well as a bonus day for topics such as holidays.  This months Easter kit continues to be enjoyed.

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Easter has transitioned our bird topics to learning about other animals, especially the animals we are beginning to see as Northern Michigan warms up and birds fly back, wild turkeys run across our playground, frogs hop over from the swamp, bugs are discovered under rocks… As this week continues we’ll be observing local wildlife and discussing the wildlife around the world.  From pelicans to penguins and bees to beetles – wildlife is fascinating.  The children love acting out animal adventures and learning about their movements and habitats.

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As we learn about our wild world we’ll incorporate the arts into our lesson plans.  From dramatic play to visual arts to music and movement – Adventure Academy teaches through hands on experiences… often messy experiences!  Our education through recreation learning programs are available year round.  The spring semester is full but we have a couple part time spaces remaining for our summer session.  If you’d like to enroll your child email Christi@MiFamilies.com.  Feel free to email regarding any of our programs or visit www.MiFamilies.com for more information.

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loving learning

 

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Lesson planning with MGT

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Mi Families (“my families”) LLC facilitates programs for families, and those who work with families.  All of our programs focus on “education through recreation,” meaning all of our programs teach through fun activities.  During a past training a teacher commented that she loved coming to our workshops, because they helped her think of non-traditional ways to teach.  At some point someone thought the best way to teach was to have students sit and listen, but research tells us “we don’t learn best at a desk.”  As Ben Franklin once said “tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.”

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experience baby supplies

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“Involve me and I learn,” is the key to our education through recreation programs.  From teaching teachers to educating small children – involve them in the learning process, the planning process… Interact and observe to discover what they are learning and how they learn best. Each student has their own unique style of learning, their own interests, talents, goals and needs.  Adventure Academy considers each unique student when lesson planning.  Adventure Academy is our program designed for the youngest of Mi Families members.  Adventure Academy provides childcare for tots to teens, infant – preschool developmental assistance and elementary level tutoring service.

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The main goal of Adventure Academy is to teach students to love learning. Students love exploring different subjects through different curriculums.  One curriculum all our students enjoy is Mother Goose Time.  This theme based package is designed for preschoolers, but older students love using the topics for ideas on subjects to research further.  Our youngest learners use to simply be exposed to the new topics, but this month even the baby is joining in the spring theme and learning about birds. From feeding the birds migrating back to Michigan, to providing nesting materials for birds to lay eggs in – all ages and stages will be involved in learning the experiences.

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bird-beak min2-win-it games and other bird-brain-builders

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stages of writing in MGT journals

Experience Baby is the a new curriculum offered through Mother Goose Time that goes with each monthly theme.  Experiencing learning through hands on fun is easy with Mother Goose Time’s monthly kits.  Adventure Academy looks for such hands on fun when choosing curriculums and activities.  Our spring semester is full, but if you know a child looking for hands on fun this summer we’re starting to enroll for our camp and tutoring sessions.  CLICK SUMMER SCHOOL for more information about this program.  Visit www.MiFamilies.com to learn more about our other programs.  Find us on social media sites to network with us or email Christi@MiFamilies.com with any questions!

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Many of the pics used in this article showcase MGT supplies.  Here’s an unboxing of this months kit.  Sorry It cuts off early – I had a child helping me make the video ;)

To learn more about MGT or order a kit visit www.MotherGooseTime.com 

 

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New season, new students

It’s spring break so Mi Families is having a quiet week.  Mi Families (“my families”) facilitates programs for families, and those who work with families.  One of our programs is Adventure Academy. This education through recreation adventure is for our youngest family members.  In a home-based-center infants through preschoolers are provided with developmental assistance and child care services.  Tutoring services are also available for preschoolers through elementary students.  Next week we start our spring semester!

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spring fun

This week most of our families were enjoying a vacation and some new students visited our site to enroll for spring and summer sessions.  Our spring session is full and we have limited spaces remaining for our summer program. Email Christi@MiFamilies.com if you have a child who’d like to join in our learning adventures! Our learning adventures are top rated and highly recommended, because of the unique approach to care and education.

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old and new “mayfly” day supplies

In understanding that each child is unique, each child receives individualized services.  Every child develops at their own rate and uses their own learning styles to conquer new skills.  Through observation I consider each students multiple intelligences, including the ways my own children learn best.  Where one of my children learn best through arts and music, another is a physical  learner who enjoys numbers before words.

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MGT circle time prep

Both of my boys are more self-understanding before social-interactive learners, but I wonder how my little girl will interact and connect with others and knowledge.  At 8months old, she’s just starting to participate in our small group experiences.  She is very curious about what her older siblings and peers are doing each day and was excited about the contents in the Experience Baby package recently delivered by Mother Goose Time.

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MGT book and matching puzzle

Mother Goose Time is a preschool curriculum that all our students enjoy.  The monthly themes can be simplified for baby’s to be introduced to new topics, preschoolers to use as directed and elementary students to expand their knowledge on.  If a topic is of special interest to a child I encourage him or her to find a focus point. For example, this past month we have been enjoying a unit on Ponds…

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MGT supplies

We have been observing the pond across the road change from winter to spring and one student became interested in pond life waking/returning to the pond.  He chose to expanded his knowledge on the subject with further research.  Some of our students are gifted and easily motivated to go beyond the subject matter, some of our students have learning challenges and need extra encouragement to conquer new learning goals.

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dragonfly craft – inspired by MGT kit

Tots to pre teens learn together in our one-room-classroom and encourage each other to conquer goals and try new things. Our multi-age program is inclusive for children of all needs and abilities.  Our “stage before age” focus makes it easy to adapt lessons for all and prepare activities that can include everyone.  Even a puzzle can be a group project.  Even opening the mail seems to be a group activity, where I can’t open the next Mother Goose Time box without kids wanting to help me!

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babies love books

Next month we’ll continue learning about Spring with a focus on birds (and Easter).  Next month my baby will start joining in the activities along with some other new students.  Activities will continue being adapted for each child.  Each child has a binder that daily notes and projects are added to showcase their growth.  We’ll observe the growth of each child and the seasonal growth around us, while preparing for our summer program.

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Prepping for next months activities * watch our video below

https://youtu.be/qZAD0ZDzTcM (MGT Unboxing)

If you’d like information on our summer program or any other programs we offer check out www.MiFamilies.com.  If you’d like to network with us find us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest … If you’d like to receive future articles to see what we’re up to next please subscribe above.  If you have any comments feel free to leave them below or email me! I look forward to connecting with more families and growing our family team as we continue to grow programs and resources across Michigan!

 

 

 

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