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Creative Re-Use in the Classroom

Creative Re-UseIt’s never too early to start teaching kids good environmental habits. That’s what we teach at Bartram Academy. Our eco-friendly daycare is committed to teaching students about being good to the environment. By starting them on this path at a young age, they will continue to be environmentally responsible throughout their lives.


At Bartram Academy, we challenge our students to think outside the box. This means finding new ways to use items that most adults would otherwise throw away. Here are just some of the ways we repurpose items in the classroom:


Cans, Cups, Containers: We use these items to store crayons, colored pencils, paintbrushes, and even paint. This saves us from having to buy new cups.


Cartons, Canisters, Cardboard: These items are great for storage and organization. Something as simple as an egg carton can be made into a perfect organization tray for kids.


Bottles, Baskets, Boxes: There’s no limit to what a kid can do with these items. From storing liquids to stuffed animals, we love it when students think of their own ways to use these items.


There are plenty of other items kids can bring into their class to use for arts, crafts, and other activities. If you’d like to contribute more of your recyclable items to the classroom, don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher or caregiver at our eco-friendly daycare to see what you can bring in.

Love the Earth – Activities for Preschoolers

Earth DayIt’s a rather unfortunate fact that children today are becoming alarmingly disconnected from nature and the great outdoors. While the advancement in technology has made leaps and bounds in the classroom environment, it does nothing to help foster a healthy appreciation for the Earth itself. That’s why the staff at our eco-friendly daycare in Durbin Crossing, FL, makes it our mission to connect kids with the world around them.


With Earth Day fast approaching, here are some great activities we encourage kids to do whether they’re learning at home or with us at the Bartram Academy:


Scavenger Hunt: Encourage kids to search for birds, plants, and other animals while out on a nature walk around a park or neighborhood.


Planting Trees in a Sensory Bin: Young kids may not be ready to tackle real tree planting, but a sensory bin that allows them to pretend will certainly be a fun activity.


Discovery Bottles: Make Earth Day-themed discovery bottles with various earth-themed materials such as plants, rocks, and water.


Dirt Cups: Nothing pleases a child like a tasty mid-day snack! Making “dirt” cakes are just as fun to make as they are to eat.

Celebrating Earth Day

Seed PaperEarth Day is still more than a month away, but that doesn’t mean your eco-friendly daycare in Nocatee, FL, should slack on the celebrations. This event is part of a global movement to raise awareness for conservation and the protection of plant and animal species. Teaching children about the importance of saving resources and protecting Nature’s beauty is one step we can all take to build a better future. Here are some activities you can host at your daycare to cultivate good energy for Earth Day 2020.


Making seed paper is a great way to teach the value of recycling. It is also a fun-filled activity that encourages sensory play. Additionally, it helps build motor skills while letting children invest more in the process rather than the end result. There are many ways to craft homemade seed paper–it can also encourage children to take up gardening.


Another activity you can try is painting with recycled objects. You can give children old newspapers or magazines to paint new images onto. Alternately, you can pass around a bin full of “junk” and allow children to craft mixed-media pieces from them. It’s a great way to spur creativity and get children to think beyond the traditional functions of objects that many of us take for granted.


Earth Day is all about respecting the planet and the resources we must all share. By hosting Earth Day activities at your eco-friendly daycare, you can do your part in cultivating a growing generation.

The March Dino-Dig: Dinosaur-Themed Activities for the Little Ones

Dinosaur Excavation Sensory BinNothing sparks a sense of discovery and imagination like the dinosaurs. While discoveries are being made every day about these organisms, they are sure to inspire wonder in your little ones. When planning a set of activities at your eco-friendly daycare, you can always start with these prehistoric reptiles. Here are a few activities you can host when it’s time to look after the children.


You can help children develop fine motor skills with an excavation sensory bin. Fill a tabletop sandbox with models of dinosaur skeletons, and allow your little explorers to find the pieces. This activity builds hand-eye coordination and builds on sensory play.


Also, try out an icy excavation. You can freeze dinosaur toys in ice and allow the kids to discover what is hiding in these cold “eggs.” By using droppers full of warm water, the children can build sensory and perception skills. It is also a great way to demonstrate physical changes of matter as the water goes from solid ice to liquid.


There are many ways that you can spark a child’s sense of discovery and love for learning while encouraging play. With a little imagination, you can turn any afternoon into a fun-filled experience at an eco-friendly daycare.

Getting Kids Back into a Routine After the Holiday Break

Child Not Wanting to go to PreschoolChildren are adaptable and quickly make the best of most situations. Sometimes it’s not easy for them to take the initial steps into a new routine, but make the move they do. Once there, they settle in and get along like a pro. However, on the other hand, kids can fall out of a routine just as quickly, for example, on a holiday break from preschool or daycare.

As the end of a vacation approaches, you can prepare your young one for getting back into their school routine with a few simple steps. The staff at Bartram Academy, a Durbin Crossing preschool, has written this blog post to help you with holiday-related transitions.

Firstly, you need to recognize it’s a big moment for young children, some of whom have never had a vacation before and are unfamiliar with the concept. When they are reluctant to return to school, look at it as an indication they had a good break, not an act of defiance or rebellion.

You can pave the way for a smooth transition by helping your student re-familiarize with the school environment. Talk about school and the friends they will see and the fun things they will do. If you can, show them pictures of their school, friends, and teachers a couple of days before going back to their Durbin Crossing preschool. The first week back, allow extra time for the daily routine and reassure your little person each day as they settle back into school.

Holiday Gift Ideas Inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach

Wooden Stacking StarsIt’s very possible to learn through play; in fact, children are always doing this. They do it instinctively. This the basis of the Reggio Emilia model as it is a play-based approach that fosters a sense of seeking and learning at the same time. Through it, children build their knowledge base by interacting with the environment and the people within it.

It is possible to encourage mental growth and develop fine motor skills with toys that educate while encouraging imagination and mental growth. Many toys fill this need for preschoolers, and the staff at Bartram Academy have assembled a list here to help with informed decisions.

Wooden Blocks – Blocks are among the toys that help spur a vigorous and growing imagination. They are a large component of loose parts play that is fundamental to the Reggio Emilia model.

Puzzles – Puzzles incorporate learning and help with coordination, and pattern recognition.

Lacing Cards – These cards help develop hand-eye coordination, which is useful for fine motor skills and learning to print.

Chalk Boards and Chalk – Tools such as these encourage imagination and free play while also helping with the development of drawing, printing, and writing skills.

Puppets – These are great for pretend play and helping children with communication and interaction.

Encouraging Your Picky Eater to Eat Their Veggies

Boy Resisting Eating His Vegetables“You’re going to sit at that table until you eat all your broccoli” might be one approach to get a picky eater to finish their vegetables, but it’s not a good one. There are other simple and less antagonistic ways to encourage your little one to eat veggies and similar healthy foods.

Establishing healthy eating habits with your child, including getting them to eat vegetables, will set them up for wellbeing over the long term. Sustainability in childcare, much like that practiced at preschools such as Bartram Academy, for example, includes a focus on healthy eating with meals made from fresh and sustainable ingredients. Here are a few tips to help your youngsters adapt to meals of that type when they attend preschool.

At mealtime, serve the vegetables first. In that way, hungry children are more apt to eat them right away.

Use vegetables as healthy snacks. Cutting them into fun shapes also helps encourage children to eat. Who wouldn’t want to bite into a dinosaur?

Vegetables and fruits make great breakfast foods, as well. It’s not just time for cereal, toast, and pancakes.

Teaching your children where food comes from, and letting them help with preparation gives them a greater appreciation of their meals.

Take the time to share meals together. It’s a great way to encourage healthy eating habits.

Preparing Your Child, and Yourself, for Preschool

Mother Walking Child to PreschoolAs much as you love your child, you know that there will come a time when it’s best for their development to be exposed to new opportunities without you by their side. It’s natural to want to protect them and keep them close where you can stand watch at all times, but that’s neither possible nor healthy.

When the time comes to let your child stretch his or her wings a little bit while making new friends, learning, and having new experiences, you want to make sure it’s in the best possible setting. You don’t want to give in to separation anxiety, for yourself, or your child.

The way to overcome that tendency, and ensure success for your child, is by considering some of the best preschools in Jacksonville, FL, such as Bartram Academy, for example. There are other ways to prepare your child and yourself for preschool too.

Here are a few additional things to consider:

  • Create routines and consistency, much as they will encounter at preschool.
  • Develop self-help skills for many situations, such as buttoning a raincoat.
  • Encourage your child to help with tidying up at home.
  • Attend playgroups and storytimes. These are similar settings to preschools.
  • Teach your child that they need to share attention sometimes. They will need to learn to wait their turn.