Our Blog about Sustainability in Childcare

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.

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.

Teaching Your Child to Collaborate with Others

Collaboration in Early Childhood

The necessity of dealing with others is an important skill for your child to learn. In fact, the earlier, the better. When we think about it, whether at home in the family setting, at school with other students or, eventually, in the workforce with other employees and management, collaboration is a skill that we all need to cultivate.

Collaboration is essentially working with others, joining together to achieve a common purpose. This is an excellent skill for your youngster to learn. This skill is even taught as part of a curriculum for childcare in St. Augustine, FL at Bartram Academy. Collaboration moves the process forward in a positive way during the many group activities and projects in our childcare and early VPK academy.

The teachers at Bartram Academy encourage youngsters to share their thoughts and consider others’ opinions while strengthening and retaining a strong sense of self. Starting early to practice this skill helps your child throughout school and life. Such cognitive development is one of the areas we emphasize at our academy. We teach your little one life skills, such as collaboration, that encourage personal and academic growth now, and professional growth for their future.

To learn more about what the curriculum at Bartram Academy can off your child, contact them today at 904-419-7563.

Choose a Preschool that Employs Eco-Friendly Practices

An Active Role in the Environment

Many parents today worry their children do not seem to have an appreciation of nature. For the most part, youngsters don’t spend a great deal of time outside playing and exploring. Instead, many little ones spend their time plugged in. This doesn’t have to be the case.

In our child-care center and preschool, we believe in teaching respect for the planet, as well as the creatures and plants that populate it. This can be as easy as taking them outside to play each and every day, making them part of our daily recycling process, and feeding them organic and all-natural food.

Another way we demonstrate our commitment to the environment is through eco-friendly daycare. We only use green cleaning products in our preschool. This means your child is not exposed to harsh chemicals from the cleaning process. Instead, we make up our own safe, sanitizing solution to eliminate the germs that can abound in places where there lots of little children.

Yet another practice is to employ the use of essential oils to maintain a healthy environment and help the little ones relax. Our oil diffusers use lavender during naptime to calm and soothe children. Such practices as these teach your child to be environmentally responsible in their life.