Our Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

Messy Fun!

January 15, 2018

As a mother to three kids, and an early childhood educator, I am no stranger to messes. After being a mom to two loud, messy, and boisterous sons for years, when my daughter joined our family I had images of cute clothes, and perhaps (and I realize how misguided this was) an interest in more pristine and less loud, crazy, and messy activities. Wow, was I wrong. I now am a mother to 3 wild and crazy children, who are attracted to mud, mess, and anything that is squishy or slimy. While this may make it harder to find clothes that are not stained when it’s time to dress my crew, I have learned that this type of play is not only fun, but also so valuable to the development of children.


When offered something to squish, spread, explore, and manipulate, children have an opportunity to refine their sense of touch. They can also enhance their cognitive and language development, because they are learning new textures and descriptions “this ice is cold!” or “this mud is slimy”. They can explore what happens to their paint when they add different textures and materials… if we add shaving cream to regular school glue, it remains sticky but is now puffy as well! If we add sand to our paint, it may still spread quite a bit, but feels grainy when we finger-paint. Children can even learn more about cause and effect… “what will happen if I jump into this puddle while standing next to it, or if I jump from a step stool?” There are, of course, other valuable sensory activities that don’t end up beneath your child’s fingernails or splattered across their clothes, but these messy activities really do provide valuable learning experiences, and are a lot of fun as well!


Here at Stepping Stones Learning Center, we will gladly have some good, messy fun with your children! We just recommend that if you have an outfit that you would rather stay stain-free, it is best that your child saves this outfit for days that they are not in our care. We will do our best to clean up our messy fun, but if your child comes home looking a little more colorful or messy than they did before you dropped off for the day, just know that you are being offered a visual of their actual learning and development for the day! And we can always recommend a great stain-lifter, because trust us… we’ve seen it all! ;)


If you have any great sensory activities that you love to do with your children, I would love to hear about them, and I know our ECE teachers would love your suggestions as well!


Come see what we have going on at Stepping Stones Learning Center of Littleton! For more information, please visit as on Facebook or at our website:

https://www.facebook.com/SteppingStonesLearningCenterOfLittleton/

https://sslcoflittleton.com/

Happy Fall Ya'll!

October 28, 2018

As more and more leaves fall to the ground, the nights (and some days, depending on Colorado’s mood) get chillier, and both Halloween and Thanksgiving are right around the corner, one thing is clear: Fall is here! F. Scott Fitzgerald said it perfectly: “Life Starts All Over Again When It Gets Crisp In The Fall”. It seems that all of the beautiful changes that occur when Autumn rolls around signal a fresh attitude and renewed spirit, perhaps because we know that many change are needed and we embrace them. Even the youngest children just now that fall is going to bring around a whole new sense of excitement and fun. We start wearing our cooler weather gear, rake up leaves to jump in, pick out Halloween costumes, drink apple cider and hot cocoa, and visit places like pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and fall festivals.


As I reflect on the changes of the season, it reminds me of the many changes that our child care center has seen over the past few months. We have indeed made a handful of changes, with the most notable likely being the change of ownership and the name change from Jordan Alexander’s to Stepping Stones. Some of our changes did result in a bit of an adjustment period, as all big transitions do, but we were so pleased to see how many of our wonderful families and staff members welcomed these changes and championed for our program! We have implemented Brightwheel, which allows for a high level of communication between families and staff. We also hosted a family night, where families and staff were able to interact and enjoy getting to know each other in a relaxed and warm manner. We had our first Kids’ Night Out, and the kiddos had a great time at our center in the after-hours, while parents received some much-deserved time out as well! Additionally, we believe strongly in the need for a sense of family partnership and community in our program, and we have encouraged and seen so much more family participation than before. We truly have seen so many wonderful changes, and are proud of our center, our staff, and our community here at Stepping Stones Learning Center. As we continue to welcome new families, and add qualified and caring individuals to our already stellar staff, we hope to continue to constantly add positive factors and appreciate all of your support and participation!


Hopefully you are all enjoying this beautiful autumn weekend! This week at Stepping Stones Learning Center, it’s Spirit Week! Happy Fall, Ya’ll!


Come see what we have going on at Stepping Stones Learning Center of Littleton!

For more information, please visit as on Facebook or at our website:

https://www.facebook.com/SteppingStonesLearningCenterOfLittleton/

https://sslcoflittleton.com/

Thanks for taking a moment with me~ Ashley

Gratitude

November 5, 2018

Here at Stepping Stones Learning Center, we believe in fostering development in the whole child, including social and emotional development. This is why we incorporate a character trait to focus on each month, and for the month of November we are learning about gratitude! This can be a hard concept for young children to grasp, but it also goes right alongside other important social and emotional concepts, such as empathy and kindness. Gratitude can be especially tricky to pass on to children when we have so much excitement going around when Christmas is coming, and wish-lists are growing!


So how can we teach these young minds how grateful we are to be a part of their lives, and how they can also be grateful? One excellent way is to frequently express to our children how much we appreciate them and all they contribute to our classrooms, and our families. Just think about how simple this sounds, and yet how powerful! It also provides a great opportunity for us, as parents and educators, to take extra notice of how much we appreciate our children, and when we express this to them, it brings about a special connection, and an even more powerful motivator than praise.


Another wonderful way to encourage gratitude is to involve the children in showing appreciation for others. Miss Dawn’s Pre-K class reached out to the nearby fire station, who sent a fire engine and firefighters in gear to visit us last month. They wrote, and delivered, cards expressing appreciation for the fire fighters’ visit, and their faces were so full of pride and excitement after they did so!


Random acts of kindness can be another fun and engaging way to express appreciation for others! In my family, we have a little tradition where we like to pick someone who we appreciate and ding, dong, ditch their house! But in a kind manner… ;) We will leave a nice treat or special item with a card, just to let the recipient know we are thinking of them and appreciate them.


We also believe in the importance of showing appreciation for, and supporting, community programs who take care of others who may need a little extra kindness. One such organization is the Jefferson County Action Center, who helps individuals out with basic human needs and paths to self-sufficiency. As a show of gratitude to this wonderful organization, we are choosing to support them this month and are collecting canned goods, and other shelf stable items, that they could use to continue to provide all the community assistance that they do! If you have any of these items, we will gladly collect them, before our school-agers make a special delivery on the Monday before Thanksgiving!


One closing thought: We, here at SSLC, are so very grateful for all of the wonderful families and our staff, who partner together to provide a wonderful start in these early years in our children’s lives! We truly believe in a sense of community, and love the community that we have here! We appreciate you!


Come see what we have going on at Stepping Stones Learning Center of Littleton!


For more information, please visit as on Facebooke:

https://www.facebook.com/SteppingStonesLearningCenterOfLittleton/



Thanks for taking a moment with me~ Ashley

We are Thankful!

November 5, 2018

Hello All! This is a short week, due to the holiday, so it is fitting that this is also a fairly short post. Last week, our past was all about gratitude, and this is feeding off of that theme a bit. We are so thankful, and we have so MUCH to be thankful for. If I were to sit down and write it all out, this would be a much longer entry! However, here is the short list:


We are thankful for our spouses, partners, friends, children, and other people who are in our lives, and who we are happy to show our love and appreciate to.


We are thankful for our staff, who show up ready to roll with whatever comes their way and provide the children in our care with comfort, instruction, support, and consideration. Thank you Katrina, Makayla, Jade, Chris, Clarissa, Tessa, Ambur, Brandi, Dawn E., Abby, Haley, Judy, Tiphani, Dawn M, Sheryl, Dani, and Darcy!


We are thankful for Miss Barb, who shows up on time every day, with a smile and joke, ready to make the children hot, healthy meals and snacks!


We are thankful that we have an opportunity to support organizations in the community, who believe in helping others who may need a little extra understanding and consideration- such as the Jeffco Action Center.

We are thankful to those who dedicate themselves to serving their community, and who come by to talk to our children about why they serve: police officers, doctors, nurses, fire fighters, and more!


We are thankful to people like Miss Beth the storyteller, and Lisa Cole from the Columbine Library, who find ways to encourage our children (and staff) to be silly, read, laugh, and dance!


We are thankful to state initiatives that encourage and advocate for the need for quality child care programs, and offer resources to further the skill and education of early childhood educators.


We are thankful that we live in a state where we get to see snow, but it doesn’t have to stick around!


We are thankful for nap time (the children during the week day, and us on the weekend) so everyone has a chance to rest and recharge!


We are thankful for challenges to overcome, that make the goal line that much sweeter to cross.


And last, but certainly not even close to least, we are thankful for all of the families that make up our community here are Stepping Stones Learning Center. For all the participation and assistance, and for choosing us to care for your children, we are thankful for you: both parents and children!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Come see what we have going on at Stepping Stones Learning Center of Littleton!

For more information, please visit as on Facebook or at our website:

https://www.facebook.com/SteppingStonesLearningCenterOfLittleton/

https://sslcoflittleton.com/

Thanks for taking a moment with me~ Ashley


We are Thankful!

November 5, 2018

It’s that time of the year where we all straddle the line of being a little frenzied and chaotic (or perhaps more than a little) and happy to be sharing our holiday traditions with those that we love! In my family, we absolutely love what we call a “Polar Express” night. We will bake cookies and make hot cocoa, before driving around to look at lights, while also listening to Christmas music. Afterwards, we snuggle up and watch the movie, The Polar Express! We also love to head over to the kids’ grandparents’ house and have Hanukkah dinner, complete with latkes, kosher roast, the lighting of the menorah, and of course, dreidel!


Traditions are so important to our families, and this month we have been learning about some of the traditions that many of our families uphold, as well as some traditions that are big in other parts of the world. We cover Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza, but there are so many other big days in the winter months that call for celebration and traditions! A few of our families have shared that they hide a pickle shaped ornament in the Christmas tree, and whoever find this ornament receives an extra little gift. We also have a family who spends their entire Christmas season completing random acts of kindness, just to spread a little cheer and holiday in their community. One of our families shared a very special Belgian tradition… in Belgium, children do not typically receive their gifts from Santa. Instead, they receive a gift from Sinterklaas, and then at Christmas time family friends will exchange gifts. Sinterklass himself has a white beard and hair, and seems to mostly match the description of Santa, and he also has a big red book with the names and information of all the children and their behavior over the past year. Sinterklaas’ celebration mostly takes place on December 6th, and on the evening of December 5th children place their shoes by the fireplace. They will also leave a small gift for Sinterklaas, such as a letter or hand-drawn picture, and a carrot for his horse. The next morning, if the children were good, they find gifts from Sinterklass, as well as goodies, like chocolate and candy!


Learning about Sinterklaas inspired us to learn a bit more about some other traditions that other parts of the world carry out this time of the year. Iceland has a good one: the Yule Lads! In the 13 days leading up to Christmas, 13 mischievous and tricky trolls come out and visit the children, leaving gifts for nice boys and girls, but naughty children are left rotten potatoes! Their names are quite a kick as well: Stekkjastaur (Sheep-Cote Clod), Giljagaur (Gully Gawk), Stúfur (Stubby), Þvörusleikir (Spoon-Licker), Pottaskefill (Pot-Scraper), Askasleikir (Bowl-Licker), Hurðaskellir (Door-Slammer), Skyrgámur (Skyr-Gobbler), Bjúgnakrækir (Sausage-Swiper), Gluggagægir (Window-Peeper), Gáttaþefur (Doorway-Sniffer), Ketkrókur (Meat-Hook) and Kertasníkir (Candle-Stealer). Hmmm, a visit from Doorway-Sniffer sounds interesting, don’t you think? ;)


If you find yourself in Columbia on December 7th, you will be able to witness the Day of the Candles! This sounds like a beautiful and bright kick-off to the holiday season, and it certainly one I would love to see! The streets and homes are decorated with candles and paper lanterns. Tunnels of light are created, and there are contests held to award the best light displays. It’s also common for towns to set off fireworks and hold festive concerts.


While decorating with lights and lanterns is fairly common in the U.S. as well, the Ukranian tradition of decorating with spider webs during the holiday season is pretty interesting! Christmas trees in the Ukraine are often covered in spider webs. Ukranian folktales tell the story of a poor family who grew a Christmas tree from a pinecone. Despite being poor, the children really wanted to decorate their Christmas tree, but were unable to do so due to their financial status. To their delight, they woke up in the morning to discover that spiders had decorated their tree by weaving webs among the branches. To this day, Ukranians use spider webs to decorate their trees and to wish for good luck in the upcoming New Year.


What about your family? Do you have any fun, interesting, or quirky traditions that your families uphold during the holiday season? No matter what holidays you celebrate, or what traditions your families share, we wish you a wonderful, happy time and would love to hear all about your family’s unique traditions and celebrations!


Come see what we have going on at Stepping Stones Learning Center of Littleton! For more information, please visit as on Facebook or at our website:

https://www.facebook.com/SteppingStonesLearningCenterOfLittleton/


Thanks for taking a moment with me~ Ashley

Thank You for Your Input!

January 16, 2018

Hello! We wanted to take a few minutes to thank you for participating in our parent input survey. We had so many families respond, and gleaned some valuable information! Below you will see a brief summary of the results:


We are considering changing the days that we are closed for the holidays and in-service.


The majority of families stated that they would love to see less school-wide closures. We know that having child care available when you need it is so crucial. We do still believe in giving our staff the time to make sure that they can celebrate holidays, and take care of themselves, and we will close a few times a year for in-service and preparation so we can continue to provide the best level of care that we can. However, we are choosing to not close for an extended period of time in December, although you, of course, are always welcome to determine when it is best for your family to not have your child attend. We hope that this helps a bit during the holiday season in 2019!


We have a few teachers who are qualified to teach kindergarten.Would you be interested in a full day kindergarten program?


The responses were split 50/50 on this one! It is certainly something we may offer in the future, but we would also like to wait and see and what ends up happens state-wide, with kindergarten and the possibility of changes as we see what our new governor has in store! We will definitely keep this in mind as we plan for the future!


How satisfied are you with the level of communication you receive from our staff?


We are proud to say that this is one area where most of our families were very happy with the amount of communication they receive. Brightwheel certainly has allowed us to increase communication between parents and staff, and we will continue to encourage communication and are learning new ways that we can let you know about your child’s day, development, and center-wide information! We will typically communicate using multiple means, as we want to make sure that everyone is receiving important information. The primary means for communication will be Brightwheel, but we will often place notes in your child’s folder in their class, and post communication as well. Additionally, all teachers have the weekly lesson plan posted outside of their classroom, and ideally will continue to communicate on a daily basis so you know what your child is up to! Finally, if you are ever wondering about specific policies and procedures, we posted a copy of the parent handbook on our website, so it is easily available: www.sslcoflittleton.com. We do not want you to feel bombarded by information, but we also want to make sure that you always know what is going on or have access to important information!


We had a wonderful time at our family night a few months back. Would your family appreciate if we hosted similar events a few times a year?


This was another area where we received some very positive feedback. We love interacting with all of you, and giving you a chance to interact with our staff and other families. This is something we value, and enjoy, and will be planning more of! Perhaps we should start planning a spring bbq...


We hosted a Kids' Night Out back in October, and had a pretty good turnout! Would you be interested in future Kids' Night Out Events?


We had an overwhelming YES response to this one! In fact, we are trying to put together a Kids’ Night Out around Valentine’s Day ;) More to come!


Would you be interested in our center hosting screenings for your child (hearing, sight, diabetes, celiac, developmental)?


The majority of families either answered yes, or yes if they were free or low cost. Since there are so many wonderful resources and programs out there, we intend to get as many involved in our program as possible! Next month, we have vision screening, a dental presentation from a pediatric dentist, and we are working with a program that screens for diabetes and celiac to offer free screenings and resources, should you wish to take advantage of them. All screenings will, of course, be optional and we will never do so without your consent!


Would you be interested in more language and/or sports offerings for your child?


Again, almost all families responded in favor of these types of offerings. We do have Coach Megan starting our winter session of soccer this week, but we would love to bring in even more! If you know of any programs, such as basketball, yoga, etc, we would love to hear about them. We have been in talks with various organizations about various sports and fitness programs, but we love to work with programs that our families suggest and recommend.


Additionally, Meredith has a plan to start introducing different languages to each of the classes, and we are working on incorporating sign language in lesson plans as well! You will certainly see us striving to add these different elements to our program, as we aim to serve and foster development in the whole child!


Would you like if we had more opportunities for families to volunteer, in our classrooms or working on projects from home?


We recognize that so many of our families are busy, busy, busy and we appreciate you just being a part of our community! If you would like to volunteer with us, feel free to see Darcy or your child’s classroom staff, and we would to include you! We appreciate you all, and always welcome parents to help out with crafts or be our special visitors or reading friend! We have even had some parents, and grandparents, express that they would love to help prep art projects at home, and such. We would absolutely welcome this, parental involvement is so valuable and appreciated!


As far as the level of overall satisfaction, we were touched to see how many of you rated us so highly. We are honored to be your care providers, and we promise that we will continue to better our program and provide care that is intentionally considerate for each individual child, and his/her family. We loved the suggestions and will certainly be putting many of them to use! Please know, we are always up for a chat with you, whether you have questions, concerns, or just want to check in or share a funny story about your kiddo! Thank you for being a part of the SSLC family!

Books!

March 4, 2019


Hello SSLC Families and Friends!

This week, in the center, we are focusing on the wonderful, fantastical, and sometimes downright silly works of Dr. Seuss, since his birthday and Read Across America Day occurred this past Saturday. I know that I absolutely love to read, and always love when this time of the year rolls around. It seems fitting, then, to make this entry about books, reading, and their role here at SSLC!


This afternoon, Miss Sheryl shared with me a new favorite book that she had found at the library, and read to her class. The book is called “Blue Sky, Yellow Kite” by Janet A. Holmes and Johnathan Bently. She gave me a brief run down, about a little girl who made a new friend. This friend had a kite that she loved so much, that she stole it from him. However, she did not want him to know it was her who was responsible for his kite missing, so she was forced to hide it away, where neither she or her friend could enjoy it. Eventually, she returned the kite, with a note of apology, and he made her a new one. Sheryl also shared how she loved that her friend did not get mad. He instead responded with kindness and forgiveness. Her synopsis intrigued me, so I went ahead and read this book as well, and I too was touched.


I think one of the reasons that we, as parents and educators, get excited when we find a new gem, like “Blue Sky, Yellow Kite”, is that these books help us teach some complex concepts to these small and eager minds. We aim to teach kindness and forgiveness, but sometimes have a hard time finding ways that the children will understand. Stories, like this, get down on a child’s level and provide a beautiful illustration that the children can connect to. These stories also open up a dialogue between us and the children, and can remind us, as adults, to return to that childlike wonder and connection.


As children get older, and we have to deal with some more difficult topics of discussion, books can help us do so as well. I truly believe that, for every situation in life, there is a Bernstein Bear, Winnie the Pooh, or Dr. Seuss quote to help us address it! Books like “The Lorax”, “The Bernstein Bears, and the Trouble with Strangers”, or pretty much any Winnie the Pooh excerpt help us find ways to explain what can be very emotional, scary, or confusing topics to children who are getting older, and need our help navigating the challenges and struggles that may come their way.


One more reason that I truly value books is because of the way that they inspire creativity and silliness. Sometimes everyone just needs a good laugh, or to be able to close our eyes and let creativity take us away! I absolutely adore books like “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney, or any book written by Drew Daywalt, such as “The Day the Crayons Quit” or “The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors” because they get a giggle out of my three year old and my ten year old at the same time, and encourage us to not always be so serious! Throw in some Harry Potter books, or the adventures of “Geronimo Stilton”, and the kiddos are taken into a new world, where they can visualize and imagine things they have not seen or thought of before, and be inspired to create their own creatures, places, and adventures.


Books certainly are revered and valuable to us, here at SSLC, and we love sharing our favorites with each other, and with our SSLC families. If you ever have one that your family is particularly fond on, we would love to hear about it! We are always excited to make new additions to our libraries and favorite lists. If you ever need a good suggestion from us, please do not hesitate to ask. Odds are, we can recommend a good book or two (or thirty)!


Come see what we have going on at Stepping Stones Learning Center of Littleton! For more information, please visit as on Facebook or at our website:

https://www.facebook.com/SteppingStonesLearningCenterOfLittleton/

https://sslcoflittleton.com/

Thanks for taking a moment with me~ Ashley

Hello! We wanted to take a few minutes to thank you for participating in our parent input survey. We had so many families respond, and gleaned some valuable information! Below you will see a brief summary of the results:


We are considering changing the days that we are closed for the holidays and in-service.


The majority of families stated that they would love to see less school-wide closures. We know that having child care available when you need it is so crucial. We do still believe in giving our staff the time to make sure that they can celebrate holidays, and take care of themselves, and we will close a few times a year for in-service and preparation so we can continue to provide the best level of care that we can. However, we are choosing to not close for an extended period of time in December, although you, of course, are always welcome to determine when it is best for your family to not have your child attend. We hope that this helps a bit during the holiday season in 2019!


We have a few teachers who are qualified to teach kindergarten.Would you be interested in a full day kindergarten program?


The responses were split 50/50 on this one! It is certainly something we may offer in the future, but we would also like to wait and see and what ends up happens state-wide, with kindergarten and the possibility of changes as we see what our new governor has in store! We will definitely keep this in mind as we plan for the future!


How satisfied are you with the level of communication you receive from our staff?


We are proud to say that this is one area where most of our families were very happy with the amount of communication they receive. Brightwheel certainly has allowed us to increase communication between parents and staff, and we will continue to encourage communication and are learning new ways that we can let you know about your child’s day, development, and center-wide information! We will typically communicate using multiple means, as we want to make sure that everyone is receiving important information. The primary means for communication will be Brightwheel, but we will often place notes in your child’s folder in their class, and post communication as well. Additionally, all teachers have the weekly lesson plan posted outside of their classroom, and ideally will continue to communicate on a daily basis so you know what your child is up to! Finally, if you are ever wondering about specific policies and procedures, we posted a copy of the parent handbook on our website, so it is easily available: www.sslcoflittleton.com. We do not want you to feel bombarded by information, but we also want to make sure that you always know what is going on or have access to important information!


We had a wonderful time at our family night a few months back. Would your family appreciate if we hosted similar events a few times a year?


This was another area where we received some very positive feedback. We love interacting with all of you, and giving you a chance to interact with our staff and other families. This is something we value, and enjoy, and will be planning more of! Perhaps we should start planning a spring bbq...


We hosted a Kids' Night Out back in October, and had a pretty good turnout! Would you be interested in future Kids' Night Out Events?


We had an overwhelming YES response to this one! In fact, we are trying to put together a Kids’ Night Out around Valentine’s Day ;) More to come!


Would you be interested in our center hosting screenings for your child (hearing, sight, diabetes, celiac, developmental)?


The majority of families either answered yes, or yes if they were free or low cost. Since there are so many wonderful resources and programs out there, we intend to get as many involved in our program as possible! Next month, we have vision screening, a dental presentation from a pediatric dentist, and we are working with a program that screens for diabetes and celiac to offer free screenings and resources, should you wish to take advantage of them. All screenings will, of course, be optional and we will never do so without your consent!


Would you be interested in more language and/or sports offerings for your child?


Again, almost all families responded in favor of these types of offerings. We do have Coach Megan starting our winter session of soccer this week, but we would love to bring in even more! If you know of any programs, such as basketball, yoga, etc, we would love to hear about them. We have been in talks with various organizations about various sports and fitness programs, but we love to work with programs that our families suggest and recommend.


Additionally, Meredith has a plan to start introducing different languages to each of the classes, and we are working on incorporating sign language in lesson plans as well! You will certainly see us striving to add these different elements to our program, as we aim to serve and foster development in the whole child!


Would you like if we had more opportunities for families to volunteer, in our classrooms or working on projects from home?


We recognize that so many of our families are busy, busy, busy and we appreciate you just being a part of our community! If you would like to volunteer with us, feel free to see Darcy or your child’s classroom staff, and we would to include you! We appreciate you all, and always welcome parents to help out with crafts or be our special visitors or reading friend! We have even had some parents, and grandparents, express that they would love to help prep art projects at home, and such. We would absolutely welcome this, parental involvement is so valuable and appreciated!


As far as the level of overall satisfaction, we were touched to see how many of you rated us so highly. We are honored to be your care providers, and we promise that we will continue to better our program and provide care that is intentionally considerate for each individual child, and his/her family. We loved the suggestions and will certainly be putting many of them to use! Please know, we are always up for a chat with you, whether you have questions, concerns, or just want to check in or share a funny story about your kiddo! Thank you for being a part of the SSLC family!

Fun Ways to Prevent the Summer Slide!

May 28, 2019


School’s out for summer! Our school agers are bursting with excitement over the decrease in classroom time, and all of the wonderful summer fun they have planned. However, our job here at SSLC is to make sure that we are providing fun AND learning, no matter what the season is! We also want to prevent the dreaded summer slide- studies show that children who do not read, write, or engage in learning activities over summer break are likely to lose up to 3 months of academic progress! It doesn’t have to be all worksheets and table time though (although Summer Bridge workbooks are pretty fun and an easy way to spend a few minutes a day practicing academic skills). Here are some fun ways that you can keep your child learning and on track to progress successfully into the next school year:


1. Read, read, read! Local libraries have wonderful summer reading programs, for children of all ages (including infants), complete with goal setting, book recommendations, and prizes. However, you can also spend time giggling through comics and joke books with your kiddos, thumbing through magazines, and more! I love reading a chapter each night with my kiddos, and I know they look forward to it as well! Headed on a road trip? Audio books are great options as well, and free with a library card!


2. Gardening! This one has so much value and learning potential. Science certainly shows up, when learning about what plants need to grow and thrive. You can use math skills to calculate spacing and quantities. Responsibility and pride will certainly appear as well, giving your child an opportunity to cultivate emotional skills, as they watch their plants grow! Additionally, there is a lot of evidence showing that children who grow fruits and veggies are much more likely to try them, and like them!


3. Field trips! Parks, museums, zoos, and more… encourage your kiddo to draw or write in a journal both before (making predictions and setting goals) and after, to summarize their trip! Aside from the wealth of knowledge that these trips can hold, they teach us adults something as well (even if it is just to take time out of our busy schedule to enjoy a day of fun and family).


4. Cooking! This presents an opportunity for a budding chef to practice decision making, measuring, calculations, and creativity. Nothing like bonding with your kiddo as you whip up some traditional, or maybe not so traditional, goodies. Gummy bear muffins anyone?


5. Word of the week! You can play scrabble and up the skill level with an older school ager, or simply work on introducing new and fun words to introduce into your conversations. My 10 year old gets a real kick out of finding LONG words to work into our dinner chats.


6. Game Night! Battleship, Uno, Flash Card games, Labyrinth… they all provide a little family fun and opportunities for kiddos to keep those math and decision making skills SHARP! Put some friendly wagers on it, such as who gets to pick the next field trip location!


7. Enroll in a summer camp program that offers STEM, field trips, summer bridge learning activities, and more ways to flex those learning muscles. As educators here, we firmly believe summer is for fun AND learning, and will have a blast keeping the wheels turning in these brilliant young minds!


Come see what we have going on at Stepping Stones Learning Center of Littleton! For more information, please visit as on Facebook or at our website:

https://www.facebook.com/SteppingStonesLearningCenterOfLittleton/

https://sslcoflittleton.com/

Thanks for taking a moment with me~ Ashley

Hello! We wanted to take a few minutes to thank you for participating in our parent input survey. We had so many families respond, and gleaned some valuable information! Below you will see a brief summary of the results:


We are considering changing the days that we are closed for the holidays and in-service.


The majority of families stated that they would love to see less school-wide closures. We know that having child care available when you need it is so crucial. We do still believe in giving our staff the time to make sure that they can celebrate holidays, and take care of themselves, and we will close a few times a year for in-service and preparation so we can continue to provide the best level of care that we can. However, we are choosing to not close for an extended period of time in December, although you, of course, are always welcome to determine when it is best for your family to not have your child attend. We hope that this helps a bit during the holiday season in 2019!


We have a few teachers who are qualified to teach kindergarten.Would you be interested in a full day kindergarten program?


The responses were split 50/50 on this one! It is certainly something we may offer in the future, but we would also like to wait and see and what ends up happens state-wide, with kindergarten and the possibility of changes as we see what our new governor has in store! We will definitely keep this in mind as we plan for the future!


How satisfied are you with the level of communication you receive from our staff?


We are proud to say that this is one area where most of our families were very happy with the amount of communication they receive. Brightwheel certainly has allowed us to increase communication between parents and staff, and we will continue to encourage communication and are learning new ways that we can let you know about your child’s day, development, and center-wide information! We will typically communicate using multiple means, as we want to make sure that everyone is receiving important information. The primary means for communication will be Brightwheel, but we will often place notes in your child’s folder in their class, and post communication as well. Additionally, all teachers have the weekly lesson plan posted outside of their classroom, and ideally will continue to communicate on a daily basis so you know what your child is up to! Finally, if you are ever wondering about specific policies and procedures, we posted a copy of the parent handbook on our website, so it is easily available: www.sslcoflittleton.com. We do not want you to feel bombarded by information, but we also want to make sure that you always know what is going on or have access to important information!


We had a wonderful time at our family night a few months back. Would your family appreciate if we hosted similar events a few times a year?


This was another area where we received some very positive feedback. We love interacting with all of you, and giving you a chance to interact with our staff and other families. This is something we value, and enjoy, and will be planning more of! Perhaps we should start planning a spring bbq...


We hosted a Kids' Night Out back in October, and had a pretty good turnout! Would you be interested in future Kids' Night Out Events?


We had an overwhelming YES response to this one! In fact, we are trying to put together a Kids’ Night Out around Valentine’s Day ;) More to come!


Would you be interested in our center hosting screenings for your child (hearing, sight, diabetes, celiac, developmental)?


The majority of families either answered yes, or yes if they were free or low cost. Since there are so many wonderful resources and programs out there, we intend to get as many involved in our program as possible! Next month, we have vision screening, a dental presentation from a pediatric dentist, and we are working with a program that screens for diabetes and celiac to offer free screenings and resources, should you wish to take advantage of them. All screenings will, of course, be optional and we will never do so without your consent!


Would you be interested in more language and/or sports offerings for your child?


Again, almost all families responded in favor of these types of offerings. We do have Coach Megan starting our winter session of soccer this week, but we would love to bring in even more! If you know of any programs, such as basketball, yoga, etc, we would love to hear about them. We have been in talks with various organizations about various sports and fitness programs, but we love to work with programs that our families suggest and recommend.


Additionally, Meredith has a plan to start introducing different languages to each of the classes, and we are working on incorporating sign language in lesson plans as well! You will certainly see us striving to add these different elements to our program, as we aim to serve and foster development in the whole child!


Would you like if we had more opportunities for families to volunteer, in our classrooms or working on projects from home?


We recognize that so many of our families are busy, busy, busy and we appreciate you just being a part of our community! If you would like to volunteer with us, feel free to see Darcy or your child’s classroom staff, and we would to include you! We appreciate you all, and always welcome parents to help out with crafts or be our special visitors or reading friend! We have even had some parents, and grandparents, express that they would love to help prep art projects at home, and such. We would absolutely welcome this, parental involvement is so valuable and appreciated!


As far as the level of overall satisfaction, we were touched to see how many of you rated us so highly. We are honored to be your care providers, and we promise that we will continue to better our program and provide care that is intentionally considerate for each individual child, and his/her family. We loved the suggestions and will certainly be putting many of them to use! Please know, we are always up for a chat with you, whether you have questions, concerns, or just want to check in or share a funny story about your kiddo! Thank you for being a part of the SSLC family!

They Grow Up So Fast!


September 5, 2019


They grow up so fast. It’s a phrase we utter often when speaking about our children, and it’s because it genuinely is true. One day you are exhausted, rocking a tiny ball of tired (but beautiful) fury, and thinking “Will I ever sleep again?” The next day, you are riding an emotional roller coaster because tomorrow is your youngest child’s birthday, the baby of the family, and she is turning four. (Ok that’s me- I’m the one on the emotional roller coaster!). What I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, though, is that even though we often want to slow down time and savor those moments where the kiddos are young enough to still let us give them a good snuggle, rock with them before bedtime, or laugh at our funny story time voices, we still sometimes get sucked into the idea that our children need to learn more, do more, be more.


We worry (because that’s what parents do) that our child is not walking as early as other children did, or using more than 4 words to piece together a sentence when her friend chats on and on, or that our 4 year old is not yet ready to recognize and write their full name- first and last. We know that the years 0-3 are crucial periods in a child’s life, and a time when they are quickly learning new skills and rapidly establishing new connections. We start to wonder if we should seek a pediatric specialist’s opinion, or get the children going on worksheets, flash cards, and drill them on pronunciation. We don’t worry out of ill intent, we absolutely want the best for our children, but sometimes it can be hard to remember that children grow and meet milestones at different speeds. Sometimes simply allowing them the tools and time to play, and be creative, will provide them with a big portion of exactly what they need to succeed.


Earlier this week, I came across some powerful words by author Alicia Bayer, “In America, we currently have this idea that our children are struggling academically so the answer lies in pushing them more and more, at earlier and earlier stages…If our children are struggling academically, it does not make sense to make them do more of the same things that are failing them and from a younger age.” Coming from a parent and early childhood educator, this is such a beautiful reminder. Each child will learn. However, they will learn best if we individualize their care and learning, and remember that every child has different learning styles, personalities, needs, growth rates, etc. If one child needs support in one area, such as developing verbal skills, we should be inspired to find ways to meet this child on his or her level, and to recognize that this does not mean the child is not special, intelligent, or willing. They simply have their own path, just as all children do. If we implement this attitude early on, during these crucial early years, we are setting a strong foundation that they can build upon for the rest of their lives!


They do grow up so fast! So, as parents and educators, lets enjoy these oh so short young years, and allow the children time to play, experience, learn, and grow in a manner that will set them up for years to come!


Come see what we have going on at Stepping Stones Learning Center of Littleton! 

For more information, please visit as on Facebook or at our website:

https://www.facebook.com/SteppingStonesLearningCenterOfLittleton/


Thanks for taking a moment with me~ Ashley

Hello! We wanted to take a few minutes to thank you for participating in our parent input survey. We had so many families respond, and gleaned some valuable information! Below you will see a brief summary of the results:


We are considering changing the days that we are closed for the holidays and in-service.


The majority of families stated that they would love to see less school-wide closures. We know that having child care available when you need it is so crucial. We do still believe in giving our staff the time to make sure that they can celebrate holidays, and take care of themselves, and we will close a few times a year for in-service and preparation so we can continue to provide the best level of care that we can. However, we are choosing to not close for an extended period of time in December, although you, of course, are always welcome to determine when it is best for your family to not have your child attend. We hope that this helps a bit during the holiday season in 2019!


We have a few teachers who are qualified to teach kindergarten.Would you be interested in a full day kindergarten program?


The responses were split 50/50 on this one! It is certainly something we may offer in the future, but we would also like to wait and see and what ends up happens state-wide, with kindergarten and the possibility of changes as we see what our new governor has in store! We will definitely keep this in mind as we plan for the future!


How satisfied are you with the level of communication you receive from our staff?


We are proud to say that this is one area where most of our families were very happy with the amount of communication they receive. Brightwheel certainly has allowed us to increase communication between parents and staff, and we will continue to encourage communication and are learning new ways that we can let you know about your child’s day, development, and center-wide information! We will typically communicate using multiple means, as we want to make sure that everyone is receiving important information. The primary means for communication will be Brightwheel, but we will often place notes in your child’s folder in their class, and post communication as well. Additionally, all teachers have the weekly lesson plan posted outside of their classroom, and ideally will continue to communicate on a daily basis so you know what your child is up to! Finally, if you are ever wondering about specific policies and procedures, we posted a copy of the parent handbook on our website, so it is easily available: www.sslcoflittleton.com. We do not want you to feel bombarded by information, but we also want to make sure that you always know what is going on or have access to important information!


We had a wonderful time at our family night a few months back. Would your family appreciate if we hosted similar events a few times a year?


This was another area where we received some very positive feedback. We love interacting with all of you, and giving you a chance to interact with our staff and other families. This is something we value, and enjoy, and will be planning more of! Perhaps we should start planning a spring bbq...


We hosted a Kids' Night Out back in October, and had a pretty good turnout! Would you be interested in future Kids' Night Out Events?


We had an overwhelming YES response to this one! In fact, we are trying to put together a Kids’ Night Out around Valentine’s Day ;) More to come!


Would you be interested in our center hosting screenings for your child (hearing, sight, diabetes, celiac, developmental)?


The majority of families either answered yes, or yes if they were free or low cost. Since there are so many wonderful resources and programs out there, we intend to get as many involved in our program as possible! Next month, we have vision screening, a dental presentation from a pediatric dentist, and we are working with a program that screens for diabetes and celiac to offer free screenings and resources, should you wish to take advantage of them. All screenings will, of course, be optional and we will never do so without your consent!


Would you be interested in more language and/or sports offerings for your child?


Again, almost all families responded in favor of these types of offerings. We do have Coach Megan starting our winter session of soccer this week, but we would love to bring in even more! If you know of any programs, such as basketball, yoga, etc, we would love to hear about them. We have been in talks with various organizations about various sports and fitness programs, but we love to work with programs that our families suggest and recommend.


Additionally, Meredith has a plan to start introducing different languages to each of the classes, and we are working on incorporating sign language in lesson plans as well! You will certainly see us striving to add these different elements to our program, as we aim to serve and foster development in the whole child!


Would you like if we had more opportunities for families to volunteer, in our classrooms or working on projects from home?


We recognize that so many of our families are busy, busy, busy and we appreciate you just being a part of our community! If you would like to volunteer with us, feel free to see Darcy or your child’s classroom staff, and we would to include you! We appreciate you all, and always welcome parents to help out with crafts or be our special visitors or reading friend! We have even had some parents, and grandparents, express that they would love to help prep art projects at home, and such. We would absolutely welcome this, parental involvement is so valuable and appreciated!


As far as the level of overall satisfaction, we were touched to see how many of you rated us so highly. We are honored to be your care providers, and we promise that we will continue to better our program and provide care that is intentionally considerate for each individual child, and his/her family. We loved the suggestions and will certainly be putting many of them to use! Please know, we are always up for a chat with you, whether you have questions, concerns, or just want to check in or share a funny story about your kiddo! Thank you for being a part of the SSLC family!