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.

Winter Play Activities for Preschoolers

Winter Play ActivitiesOutdoor play is a healthy way to get kids engaged with the world around them. That’s one of the many reasons it’s popular at Reggio Emelia schools like Bartram Academy. You don’t have to run an eco-friendly daycare in Nocatee, FL, to put them into practice for your kids, though. Many of the same ideas that make these schools so good at what they do work at home!


But what do you do when winter rolls around? Well, it might be colder, but that’s no reason to stay inside. With the right winter wear, you can keep up the fun — and the learning — when the weather changes. Here are a few ideas to make the cooler months just as engaging as summer play:

  • Winter Nature Studies
  • Backyard Astronomy
  • Family Bonfires
  • Neighborhood Caroling


Of course, Florida doesn’t offer many chances to play in the snow, but you can still teach your kids about how ice freezes and melts on colder nights. The main thing to keep in mind is that education works best when children see the concepts playing out in the physical world around them. By connecting ideas to action, nature, and activities, you give your young learner a head-start on education that’s also fun for all involved.

Valentine’s Day Crafts for Reggio Emilia Preschools

My Heart MapValentine’s Day is one of the best occasions for teaching children about love. It’s a holiday filled with opportunities to show you care, and at Reggio Emilia schools in Nocatee, FL, those opportunities come in the form of crafts. Instead of a premade worksheet, these programs get kids engaged in hands-on activities like mapping their hearts.


What does a heart map look like? Pretty much exactly what you might imagine! Students draw a heart or have one provided in a template, then get to fill it with the things they love. These can include:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Pets
  • Toys
  • Characters


No matter what your child fills their heart with, it’s a great chance for them to get excited about a big holiday and feel like they’re a part of the fun. It also helps them learn since they get to put their creative skills to use in designing, drawing, and coloring or painting their hearts. In fact, education starts before the first mark gets made because planning out their projects in advance helps kids engage their brains.


There are many other Valentine’s Day activities out there, but the important thing is to pick one that lets young learners express themselves and explore their own perspectives. That’s part of the Reggio Emilia model, and it helps students excel in and out of the classroom.

New Year’s Resolutions to Share With Your Children

New Year’s ResolutionsWe’ve heard it all before. Most New Year’s resolutions made at the start of the year fall by the wayside by February or March. But making manageable resolutions that will help us succeed in some areas can be looked back upon with fond remembrance. At Bartram Academy, we believe that making resolutions as a family can have a favorable impact on sustainability in childcare. Let’s raise healthy, well-adjusted kids who are ready for promising futures.


Isn’t that what we want for our children? And we’d like them to remember with relish a time they resolved to do something for their own betterment or to help others and succeeded. Let’s help our kids by teaching them early how to make meaningful New Year’s resolutions that will teach them the joy of being successful. That’s what sustainable childcare is all about.

Involve the Family

One of the best ways to teach young children the importance of making the right decisions and then sticking with them is to model such resolutions in front of them. Make the New Year’s resolution process a family affair, with a list of names and resolutions made displayed prominently for all to see.


For the youngest members of the family, it is never too early to resolve to be neater by maintaining a clean bedroom or being better at washing their faces and hands after meals and before bedtime. Good listening habits can be encouraged in the creation of a resolution that will involve your young child’s promise to listen to and obey mother and father.

Encouraging Your Child to Sleep Through the Excitement of Santa

Excitement of SantaHere comes Santa Claus. And with his imminent arrival may come a sleepless night of tossing and turning for your young ones. You may hear the pitter-patter of little feet more than once after you’ve tucked your kids snuggly into their beds.


With all this pent-up excitement, how on earth can they drift off to dreamland so visions of sugar plums can begin to dance inside their little heads? Today’s early childhood education specialists can help.


At Bartram Academy, we like to use the popular Reggio Emilia Model to help young children at every turn. The Reggio Emilia approach is today considered to be an exemplary model of early childhood education techniques that can be of assistance at all times.


The Reggio Emilia techniques we employ encourage self-expression and thoughtful decision-making based on the potential decision outcomes. When a sleepless night looms, it is advisable to prepare early with calming, familiar, and low-key activities that remind the child of happy times. A small snack including warm milk or cocoa, a favorite story — without action or adventurous elements – and a favorite blanket or pair of PJs will help. Contact Bartram Academy to learn more about the Reggio Emilia Model. We know you’ll appreciate this well-thought-out approach as much as we do.

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.