Arctic Animals

The snowy season is almost as distracting for students as invitations for fun in the sun! While tutoring students I notice their diverted attention to the windows –  mesmerized by falling snow.  I don’t blame them, it’s beautiful out – so we go out and enjoy it.

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If your kids attend for tutoring or child care we go outside so PLEASE SEND SNOW GEAR: snow pants, winter coat, hat, mittens, boots … If you need help acquiring such items please ask for resources.  To keep our highly rated status we must go outside daily –

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Unless the weather is less then 10 degrees (counting windchill) we will play in the snow.  However, since our winter gear gets wet we will only have one outside recess per day.  We’ll still find ways to burn off energy during the other recess time period.

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Since the kiddos are excited about the winter season we have transitioned from our “migration and hibernation” lessons to learning about adaptation – animals that enjoy the snow. We found lots of ways to burn off energy pretending we were arctic animals.

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While younger children learned about such animals their older peers researched deeper into arctic animal survival – vs different traits and facts of animals that enjoy the heat and live in the desert.  They found forms of deer live in both climates.

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Since we are nearing Christmas they decided we are transitioning to deer discoveries next week.  Deer activities may include reindeer games.  No one will be excluded from our reindeer games – not even Rudolf – unless they want to be.

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We celebrate all holidays in our programs, but respect if you choose not to participate in festivities.   If you’d like to help with the festivities – please let me know.  We have various holiday events planned for our youth and adult programs.

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Mi Families facilitates programs for providers, parents and children. Our programs are education through recreation approached – meaning we learn through fun! We learn using various theme based curriculums – such as Mother Goose Time (see material pics posted).

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Mother Goose Time and other chosen materials help teach through enriching activities and open ended projects.  From math to reading, writing, social studies, science and other subjects – we use themes, such as arctic animals to excited others about learning.

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Our child care and tutoring services work with tots to pre teens.  We also provide teen and adult events and workshops.  We are currently scheduling and enrolling for our 2018 programs.  If you’d like to learn more please email Christi@MiFamilies.com.

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If you are currently enrolled please contact me with any requests for scheduling or service changes.  Don’t forget you can network with other Mi Family teammates and members on LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, etc!

Posted in Uncategorized

Migration, Hibernation, Adaptation

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As we pass Thanksgiving and await Christmas, we await the season of winter and observe nature preparing for snow.  We observe the last of the leaves falling off trees and animals preparing for the cold weather. This week our child care, early ed programs, homeschool services and tutor time students learned about how the animals prepare for winter.

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This week tots to teens learned about migration, hibernation and adaptation.  From butterflies and birds to bugs, bats and bears – animals react differently to the cold coming.  Some students said they’d like to migrate to warmer weather, most said they like to adapt to the changes and stay and play in the snow  – a few wanted to sleep away the time like our local bears.

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As younger students did animal activities, older students did research.  All ages and stages  work together in our multi-age programs, often using the same curriculums.  Curriculums like Mother Goose Time are easy to lesson plan around with their open ended themes.  Currently we are transitioning from animal themes to holiday themes throughout our programs.

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Mi Families facilitates programs for youth, their parents and providers.  Our education through recreation approach makes learning fun for all ages.  Families and those who work with families are currently helping us plan out our winter services.  Listening to participant recommendations we often continue to offer the same programs year round, while adding new ideas.

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We listen to the recommendations from adults and children in our programs.  This winter members have asked for more provider workshops, family events and educational programs for youth. Some of our education programs are parent and me based.  This means parents and preschoolers enjoy learning times together, as well as parents join in tutor times to learn tips to extend lessons at home.

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If you’d like more information about our educational programs for children or adults please email Christi@MiFamilies.com.  If you’d like to network with other family members or team members find us on social media sites – like LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube… If you have questions about the curriculum mentioned (and photos supporting their materials) visit www.MotherGooseTime.com

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Mi Families and Friends

Mi Families (“my families”) LLC facilitates programs for families and those who work with families across Michigan.  From Provider trainings to parent workshops, parent and me programs and events, family home child care and homeschool tutoring services … Our programs are growing and so is our Mi Family tree and our team of friends who help provide resources (online and in-person).

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A famous Michigan man, Henry Ford, once said that “coming together is the beginning.  Keeping together is a process.  Working together is success.” Mi Families works together with our parent and provider partners to build bridges and connect others with resources through our programs. Our programs offer a unique education through recreation approach – meaning we provide fun, hands on learning experiences.

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Hands on learning is provide through theme based activities.  Themes connect lessons to real life and make teachings more relatable and “rememberable”  for students.  Depending upon the student ages/stages we use various top-rated curriculums.  For our youngest students we have many curriculums to utilize, such as Mother Goose Times monthly package.

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This month Mother Goose Time has boxed up a fun Rainforest Theme.  We have incorporated their Rainforest fun into our “all around the world” lessons.  This week we compared the rainforest foliage, fauna and food to local wildlife and wildeats.  We talked about preparing for celebrations in other cultures and celebrating Thanksgiving, by filling tables and cornucopias with items provided from the wild.

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We compared the first Thanksgiving with current traditions.  Mi Families uses celebrations of all sorts for teachable themes.  In my-family we use Thanksgiving to teach thankful hearts and prepare for upcoming gift giving with perspective on what we can give, instead of what we want to get.  As my children think of what they hope to get they are reminded of what they have that they can first share with others…

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Living in a daycare and tutoring center my children have ample items to play with so we encourage them to consider what items aren’t being used which we can donate.  We also encourage friends and family who want to give gifts to give experiences like restaurant, movie, bowling, puttputt and other certificates or monthly subscriptions to magazines or creative kits that come in the mail with science, social studies, and stuff to do – like crafts.

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Crafts and other “stuff to do” actually get used.  I’m seriously STILL trying to get my boys to use gifts they were given last Christmas!!! They are thankful for the gestures, but just seem overwhelmed by “stuff” and would rather have something specific to do.  Especially if that something to do was was someone special.  They are thankful for presence before presents. We all are

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Homework, Homeschool & Home-based Child-care

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Mi Families facilitates programs for providers, parents and youth.  Our recreation through education programs include professional workshops, family events, children’s educational services… Educational services include tutoring, homeschool classes, a quality rated preschool…

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Mi Families was designed to provide various services requested by families and those who work with families across Michigan.  Those who participate are considered part of o f Mi family tree. Those who provide services are part of Mi family team.

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Our team consists of amazing families across the state who have different resources to share with participants.  As the Director I can’t meet all requests from my home in Northern Michigan.  I can’t be across the state at all times and I have to prioritize meeting the needs of my own family.

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My own family is part of Mi team. My husband has helped provide resources to others and taught various programs and even my elementary aged sons help “teach” younger students.  Students who attend our multi-age groups love being helpers for little-ones and being encouraged by bigger-ones.

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In our home-based child-care tots to tweens work together on theme based projects.  Where little-ones are introduced to new concepts, bigger-ones expand on themes for deeper unit studies.  We use various topics through various curriculums in our classrooms.

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One curriculum our students enjoy is from Mother Goose Time, which provides an easy lesson plan to follow for preschoolers, yet it’s easy to adapt lessons for other age-vs-stage groups.  MGT provides theme based supplies including teacher materials and parent resources.

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Parent resources include news letters and hand outs explaining information such as what your child learned “today” during hands on activities such as craft making. Handouts are added to their portfolio-binder, along with their work and daily notes that travel between home and school.

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Pictures are taken during activities and events, then posted online for parents to see their children engaged in the learning process. Many of the pictures posted in this article showcase MGT supplies.  This month we are transitioning to MGT Rainforest activities as well as learning about weather and seasons around the world.

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Around the world topics include social studies, geography, science and other core subjects, which are taught through fun lessons such as “animal adventures.” This month animal adventures will take us around the world and in our backyard as hunting season approaches…

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Some students have been talking about hunting turkeys – read next weeks article to learn how we incorporate themes to include holidays such as Thanksgiving.  Mi Families uses all sorts of holidays and celebrations to learn about the world around us.  To learn more or inquire about enrollment email Christi@MiFamilies.com

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Halloween & Homework

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playtime

Some programs avoid holiday celebrations in attempt to avoid any complications of cultural differences.  Mi Families embraces holiday celebrations of all types – in attempt to learn through cultural differences and celebrate even the smallest “holidays.”  We even celebrate different “national days” such as last weeks “National Authors Day and next weeks “National STEAM day.”

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using our senses

Last week we used Authors day to talk about fact vs fiction.  Some little ones were frightened by Halloween and we used the opportunity to talk about real vs pretend and how to overcome fears of scary costumes to scary weather. This week we’ll use our STEAM focus of real vs pretend to transition from Halloween costumes to other forms of pretend and make believe… planning and preparing for storms and other seasonal topics.

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creating costumes

Students learn best when they are having fun.  Finding any reason to celebrate adds to the fun and it’s easy to turn holidays into lessons.  Using traditional holidays, National day calendars, cultural appreciation days or other themes can make lesson planning easier.  Want a really easy theme based program that comes with the lesson plans? Look into boxed curriculums such as Mother Goose Time!

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art smart

Mother Goose Time is geared for preschoolers, but can be adapted for younger children to learn new concepts or older students to expand on lessons.  Octobers curriculum was “Weather all around us,” which we combined with fall seasonal activities and holidays, such as Halloween.  We will now begin our transition to holidays, seasons and weather AROUND THE WORLD – including weather and life in the Rainforest.

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classroom conscience

Learning about other places and people helps students not only become more culturally aware, but more culturally accepting.  Learning about other people and places helps students appreciate their own culture and find a sense of belonging to their place in this world.  Teaching through themes helps students connect subjects with the world around them and with topics that they are curious about.

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kids kitchen classes

When students are curious about study units you don’t have to try and engage their attention, as they become more focused on the activities and often expand lessons for further understanding beyond the assignment.  I have had parents comment to me that their students added on to tutoring homework because they wanted to “learn more” about a specific subject.

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brain builders

Finding manpulatives, worksheets and other theme based activity ideas is easy (especially through social media, such as Pinterest).  Letting students take lead on how far their theme will take them or what direction can help you assess their interests and understanding on the subject.  I’ve had tots to teens – even adults, ask me to continue on with particular topics beyond the lesson plan – and other times lead lessons in unpredictable directions.

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seasons, holidays…and other cultural themes

Mi Families offers theme based programs for all ages.  We are currently scheduling parent/provider workshops for 2018, as well as homeschool programs for K-12 students, elementary tutoring services and early education opportunities.  We currently have a couple part time openings for tutoring AND  in our early ed / Adventure Academy childcare.  Email Christi@MiFamilies.com for more information about any of our programs.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Pumpkins & Portfolios

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weather studies

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During the fall Mi Families (“my families”) LLC incorporates apples and pumpkins and other seasonal foods and fun into our programs.  Seasonal activities and holiday celebrations provide unique ways to interact with students and provide authentic observations. Last week I was asked to post about our student assessments and although different programs offer specific assessments, observations over time provide more authentic results.

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fall fun

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When a student is engaged in a fun activity or anticipated celebration they are not feeling judged by assessors eyes on their abilities. Purposeful programming offers unique opportunities to observe students strengths and struggles during natural timing.  As students play and explore and manipulate and create-  one can be assured they are getting accurate accounts of student needs and talents.

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annual pumpkin patch party

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All students have talents.  All students have needs.  By focusing on ones strengths and talents you’ll find you’re meeting individual needs and encouraging growth in areas of struggle.  Adventure Academy is Mi Families program for tots to teens providing learning adventures through themed lessons.  Using curriculums such as Mother Goose Time students can learn basic concepts or expand on topics for deeper knowledge.

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MGT inspired activities

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Though multi age and stage programming students lead their own pace and are encouraged by peers, but not pressured to perform.  Simple seasonal fun with pumpkins lead to younger students exploring new vocabulary and understanding concepts through sensory discoveries.  Older students expand on pumpkin topics using them for related math, science and social studies lessons.  As they learn observations are noted and work is saved in portfolios.

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art=smart

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Portfolios help show progress.  Portfolios show children’s knowledge growing while gaining experiences through different themes.  Portfolios can note constancies in area’s of struggle, including behavioral/ health through daily notes.  Portfolios may include correspondences between caregivers, teachers and other providers.  Photographs as well as documented assessments may also be included in portfolios.

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portfolios and pictures

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Portfolios are a great long term way to observe and assess students.  If you are curious about specific observation and assessment options please email Christi@MiFamilies.com.  If your curious about Adventure Academy or other Mi Families programs feel free to email, visit www.MiFamilies.com, or follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc… Feel free to ask questions and network with our Mi Families team and members!nov sch

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Posted in Uncategorized

Always assessing

Mi Families (“my families”) LLC provides programs for families and those who work with families.  Programs include quality rated educational services for youth, as well as working with parents and providers on topics related to children.
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Participants often ask about developmental assessments.  We do assessments differently than many programs to avoid students feeling anxious about learning new skills.  We assess over time focusing on installing excitement in learning new things and trying new activities.
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This week our programs included fall themed activities.  We discussed changing of seasons and weather.  We talked about ways to stay healthy and safe and have fun in different types of weather.  We discussed ways to enjoy the season of fall.
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Often programs do assessments of their participants during fall.  Mi Families does assessments of programs and how to better serve participants needs, interests and goals.  In some programs, such as Adventure Academy we offer student assessments, but do not require it.
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 We do not require student assessments at a specific time, through evaluations such as standardized tests.  Using observation we note how students participate in divers activities.  We document learning through play experiences and skills used with open ended materials.
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 Depending on the students age/stage we document learning in different ways and by using different tools, such as ASQ’s.  With our preschoolers we offer Mother Goose Time assessment tools and provide portfolios including work collected through MGT crafts, etc.
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 Portfolios may include pictures, art work, and observations, which are sent home daily for participants.  The portfolios/ daily binder goes back and forth for parents to send notes back as well.  The portfolio serves as documentation of so much more than a simple assessment.
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 The portfolio is an authentic assessment telling the story of each student’s growth.   The portfolio helps show development, struggles, and strengths.  Knowing each student’s unique strengths and struggles help develop individual goals.
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Goals help determine which activities to offer students.  Although all programs are themed directed, activities are individualized offering unique learning experiences.  If you’re looking for well rounded learning experiences for your tot to pre-teen email Christi@MiFamilies.com.
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 Feel free to email regarding any of our programs or visit www.MiFamilies.com for for information.  Feel free to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIN etc to network with our team and family members.
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Feel free to suggest which other social media sites you’d like us to post on and what you’d like our posts, articles and programs to include. From infants to grandparents we are growing programs, including full family programs – like family CPR classes!22491877_10159529052930381_6590714234393895345_n
Posted in Uncategorized

FALL into routine

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Now that the weather is finally acting like fall we can FALL into our classroom routines.  It doesn’t matter if it’s in our adult workshops with parents and providers or in programs with our youngest students – it’s hard to focus on classwork when the warm weather invites you to play outside.  Since the warm weather was a gift in our Northern Michigan area we accepted the invitation and took many outside breaks or turned the outdoors into our classroom.

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Sometimes we brought the outdoors inside, adding leaves and other fall observations to our sensory tables or activities.  We talked about how to stay healthy and safe as the weather gets colder and discussed appropriate clothing to wear during different seasons.  Using clothing as a theme we were able work on basic skills and practice motor development.  Using clothing we were able to assess where students were on the developmental continuum.

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Mother Goose Time is one of the curriculums we use with our young students, which includes a developmental continuum for reference, as well as various assessment tools.  Some programs like to do initial assessments at the beginning of enrollment, but with our early education and elementary tutoring programs we wait on assessing and developing goals until after getting to know the student and being able to authentically observe them.

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Observation includes getting to know the students interests, strengths, struggles, learning styles … Authentic observations are not standardized tests, which often do not accurately showcase a student’s abilities or needs. Observations are not only noted at specific time periods, but are continuously updated.  We do offer initial developmental screenings for participants who would like such information, as well as recommendations and referrals.

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If you’re looking for child developmental information contact Christi@MiFamilies.com for parent/provider workshops or infant through teen programs.  Mi Families (“my families”) LLC facilities programs for families and those who work with families across Michigan.  We have a couple part time spaces available in our early education and tutoring program, located in Kingsley, if you know a tot to pre teen who’d like to join in learning adventures at Adventure Academy!

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Posted in Uncategorized

Healthy homes

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Mi Families (“my families”) LLC has been busy facilitating programs in homes, schools, libraries … and everywhere we go we are hearing people talking about germs.  As Autumn activities continue we Fall into flu season and often providers/parents are calling to cancel services … which we appreciate, especially if the program involves little ones.  Some of our students have needs, including being medically fragile and their families are thankful for your consideration!

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To help families keep their homes healthy we focused on providing healthy hints this week. We talked about resources for medical care, including dental services and programs like Children’s Therapy Corner.  We tried out new healthy foods and planned out some fun farm field trips.  We learned about the importance of rest and how much sleep we need. We discussed ways to stay active and safe – even when we can’t get outside due to bad weather.

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As the weather gets colder and storms come in we’ll continue talking about ways to stay healthy and how to properly dress for the seasons.  How to stay safe in seasonal storms and how to stay calm will be other upcoming topics.  Different ages/stages will explore different curriculums during such lessons.  Our youngest learners in our parent & me programs and at Adventure Academy will be exploring supplies provided by Mother Goose Time.

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As we transition from “All About Me” to “Seasonal Studies” we’ll be starting assessments in some of our programs.  “All About Me” was a transition time to acclimate new students and start up new programs and now that we know each other and our routine – it’s time to assess how our schedule, services and students are doing.  Assessments are used to develop goals for programs and individual persons and are conducted through authentic observations, instead of standardized testings.

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All of our programs are stage before age designed understanding that everyone grows and learns at their own rate.  Everyone has areas they struggle and areas of strength.  By using strengths and interests we encourage growth in areas of struggle and develop goals.  Goals are as diverse as our programs.  If you’d like your child to be involved in a goal orientated program for early education or elementary tutoring please email Christi@MiFamilies.com as there are a couple part time spaces left…

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If you’d like information on all of our programs options visit www.MiFamilies.com.  Feel free to find us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, etc for more information or to network with our team or members.  Visit www.MotherGooseTime.com for more info on their product (pics in article showcase many of their supplies).  Our resource library is growing curriculums for all ages/stages/subjects.  Email Christi for more curriculum reviews.

CPR

Posted in All About Reading

Sensory School

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“Back to school” excitement is calming down and the weather is cooling down, so students are transitioning easier to fall routines and school schedules.  In all our programs this month we’ve been focusing on get-to-know-you activities with our children and adult learners.  We learned how to introduce ourselves, researched family trees, made new friends … We talked about communities and caring for people near and far.  We learned about empathy and reading feelings through others faces.  Emotions and expressions led to lessons on body awareness and using our five-senses.

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Students agree that learning through all our senses is more effective than just listening to a teacher lecture.  Listening skills are important, but so are conversation skills, observation skills and even using our tasting and smelling skills when we can.  Since it was “Johnny Appleseed” week it was easy to adapt smelling and tasting into our lesson plans.  We used sensory science while tasting different apples and making applesauce.  We read about Johnny Appleseed’s character, which led to discussions on sharing and caring.

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Apples also led to discussions on the letter “A” and different apple colors … We went back to the basics this week and talked about the letter A, colors, shapes, etc in many of our children’s programs.  We used our senses to work on our basic skills and create art work.  We used our senses to talk about the changes in the season and making healthy changes so we grow up healthy.  Next week we’ll continue learning about how to stay healthy and safe. We’ll be using “My Amazing Body” curriculum from Mother Goose Time for a few of our students.

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Depending on age/stage of our students we have many curriculum options in our different programs. Mi Families (“my families”) LLC facilitates programs for all ages.  One of our youth programs, Adventure Academy, has a couple part time spaces open if you’d like your child to join in our learning adventures.  Email Christi@MiFamilies.com about enrollment.  Feel free to visit www.MiFamilies.com for information on our other programs.  Visit www.MotherGooseTime.com to learn more about their curriculum!

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*Many images posted showcase MGT supplies and materials*

Posted in Uncategorized