Our Blog about Sustainability in Childcare

How to Be Germ-Free Through Eco-Friendly Cleaning

Home cleaning productsMany families have adjusted their lifestyles to promote a greener and more eco-friendly household. At our eco-friendly daycare, we uphold the same values. A greener, more sustainable world is our goal, and we strive to teach our students how to create that world for themselves. One small change you can do is to eliminate harmful cleaning chemicals from your routine.

How to Be Germ-Free Through Eco-Friendly Cleaning

  • Use chlorine bleach alternatives. Chlorine bleach can be incredibly harmful, so it is essential to switch to natural alternatives that are just as effective. Peroxide-based bleach, quaternary ammonia, and borax are all safe options for your children and the environment.
  • Do not buy aerosol spray cans. Instead of purchasing aerosol sprays that emit chemicals into the atmosphere, opt to create your own air fresheners through the use of essential oils and baking soda.
  • Create your own cleaning products. It is amazing what a little vinegar and water can do! Create your own cleaning solutions from ingredients you trust instead of spending money on vibrantly colored chemicals.
  • Mix ingredients such as vinegar, borax, and antibacterial essential oils. Only a few ingredients can create natural window cleaner, mold and mildew remover, carpet cleaner, and all-purpose cleaners. Find a combination you like the most and never spend money on harmful chemicals again!

What Makes a Reggio Emilia Preschool?

Young child playing with blocks in a preschool classroomWhen searching for a preschool for your child, it is essential to find the best school for your educational and personal beliefs. When it comes to Reggio Emilia-inspired schools, Bartram Academy is the leading pre-K and childcare center in the St. Johns area. Our founders and staff all adhere to the Reggio Emilia method of education and strive to prepare your child for elementary and beyond in the best way possible.

Reggio Emilia schools are defined by their project-based curriculum that focuses primarily on the interests of individual students. Children enrolled in the preschool or childcare programs are encouraged to play and explore in any way that they see fit. Self-expression is an essential component of the curriculum and children will express themselves through a variety of artistic methods, including drawing, music, dancing, and painting.

At Bartram Academy, we are dedicated to helping your child grow in confidence and learn how to live a sustainable life. Though the many projects we offer, they will learn how to cooperate, problem-solve, and resolve conflicts with other students. We invest tenfold in the education of our students and teachers to provide the best experience possible at our school.

When you are searching for the best preschools in Jacksonville, FL, Bartram Academy has the staff and curriculum necessary to prepare your child for school and life. Contact us today at (904) 419-7563 to learn about our enrollment options.

What is the Difference between the Reggio and Montessori Methods?

Child drawingThough similar, Montessori and Reggio schools follow different educational methods, which can cater to different interests and ideals. When you are looking to enroll your child in one of the best preschools in Jacksonville, FL, you want to ensure you are choosing a school that fits their needs. Below are the differences between the Montessori and Reggio Emilia methods.

One of the main differences between the two is the sense of community. In a Reggio school, children, parents, and their teachers are considered partners in learning. Communications between all parties and documentation of a child’s education is a significant part of the Reggio method’s philosophy. In Montessori schools, there is a pre-determined curriculum for students, and there are certain expectations on how they should respond.

Another difference is the level of involvement teachers have with their students. In Reggio schools, teachers are viewed as partners in learning and engage in different styles and methods children choose to learn from. Teachers at Montessori schools observe the children as they learn without interfering. This helps a child learn more independently and grow as they learn and develop.

If you are interested in enrolling your child in a Reggio-inspired preschool, Bartram Academy offers an exceptional program for students in the Jacksonville area. Contact our school today at (904) 419-7563 to discuss enrollment.

3 Fun Activities for the Winter Holidays

A young family reading in natureThough we rarely see below freezing temperatures or snow in Florida, celebrating the winter holidays can still be just as exciting as up north for you and your children. Below are three sustainable activities you can do with your children this holiday season.

  1. Have a Pajama Day

Winter break is meant to help young minds relax and rejuvenate after a term of learning at the best VPK in Jacksonville, FL. By having a day where the whole family gets to stay in their PJs, you can help promote relaxation and spending time together. Do crafts, make blanket forts, or get everyone involved in cooking breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

  1. Spend a Day at a Local Farm

Visiting a farm is a great way to keep kids active while they are having fun. Whether you want to go fruit picking or teach them about the different animals that live on the farm, your child will be able to be fully engaged in learning about new things. If possible, take a tour of the farm to teach them the connection between food and where it comes from.

  1. Have an Outdoor Adventure

Kids love to be outdoors, and we are fortunate to have consistently lovely weather in our state. Plan an outdoor adventure for your children, such as a scavenger hunt or fort building competition to help them be engaged and active. Do not forget to bring plenty of water and snacks!

Benefits of Bringing the Classroom Outside

Preschool children playing hopscotch outdoorsTaking the classroom outside has a variety of benefits for young children. Not only does it allow them to enjoy the warm and fresh Florida air, but it can provide a change of pace for young minds and additional opportunities to explore and learn.

Benefits of Outdoor Classrooms

By taking the classroom outside, learning becomes more engaging than when you are sitting in a classroom for long periods of time. Teach math by having them estimate how long it would take to run, skip, or hop across the area or have them paint as messy as they want.

Going outdoors can also help nurture their creativity and imagination. Having them build out of organic materials can help further their questioning and understanding of the environment and world around them. It also opens up an entirely new realm of play and experimentation.

One of the most significant benefits of taking class outside is the health benefit. The outdoors provides more opportunities for exercise, such as running and walking, and even teachers can take advantage of additional outdoor time.

At Bartram Academy, we are always looking for new and innovating ways to keep children active and engaged in their learning. As one of the best preschools in St. Johns County, our staff works tirelessly to create an inclusive and inspiring environment for children.

How Teachers Can Practice Reggio-Inspired Methods

The Reggio Emilia model is a great way to encourage students to be their own person and discover their own interests. Teachers are integral in a child’s learning outside of their home, and when practicing Reggio Emilia, there are important guidelines to follow.

As a teacher at Reggio-inspired preschools in St. Johns County, you should be able to do the following:

  • Understand and respect that children are capable contributors to their own learning process.
  • Respect that they belong not just to the school’s community, but the global community.
  • Understand their right to be in a welcoming space that encourages learning without forcing them.
  • Work towards the common goals of the children, their parents, and teachers.
  • Allow a child to explore their own interests in their own way and cater to their preferred method.
  • Engaged children with a rich and responsive environment where they can explore, negotiate, and discuss with their peers and instructors.

At Bartram Academy, our experienced staff is dedicated to allowing children to find their own way in their education. We provide the tools they need to explore their interests and learn in a variety of different ways.

If you are interested in enrolling your child in our preschool programs, contact us today at (904) 419 7563.

The Importance of Children’s Fitness

As one of the best preschools in St. Johns County, Bartram Academy is always striving towards providing the best possible education to our young students. When it comes to physical education, we encourage children to practice yoga and other age-appropriate programs.

Why is Children’s Fitness Important?

When we think of fitness, we often think of the many diet and exercise programs out there, many of them too intense for adults let alone children. However, physical activity is crucial for a child’s development. Not only does it help them build healthy muscles, joints, and bones, but it helps them learn to play and cooperate with others through team sports.

When a child gets an appropriate amount of exercise each day, it helps expend all of the additional energy that would otherwise lay dormant in their system. This can result in behavioral issues and unexpected outbursts.

At Bartram Academy, we offer monthly fitness classes put on by My Gym Children’s Fitness Center. My Gym provides obstacle courses, tumbling, and more all focused on improving a child’s balance, strength, coordination, flexibility, and agility.

If you are interested in learning more about our part in keeping our students active throughout the day, contact our staff at (904) 419 7563 with any questions.

Creating an Art Cupboard for Reggio Students

Colorful arts and crafts suppliesDesignating an accessible cupboard for art supplies can be a great way to keep your child’s materials organized but within reach. Having a designated art cupboard can allow you to harbor all of the supplies your child desires without taking up space in an already small home or area.

When it comes to creating a Reggio-inspired art cupboard, you want to choose authentic art materials that inspire your child’s skills and interests. Whether you have accumulated many materials overtime or are just starting down the Reggio path, below is a list of art supplies that are perfect for storing in your space.

  • Oil paints
  • Low-temperature glue gun
  • Chalk pastels
  • Watercolors
  • Pipettes
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape
  • Clay and sculpting tools
  • Paintbrushes
  • Odds and ends

Be sure to include some towels for cleanup, as some of your supplies may be on the messy side. Not only will an art cabinet help keep your supplies neat and organized, but it will also help your child learn how to be organized as well when it comes time for cleanup.

Bartram Academy is a Reggio-inspired preschool and day care in Ponte Vedra Beach. We provide a variety of art activities for children and are always happy to help parents provide the same opportunities at home. Contact us today for more information about our school and practices.

Let Your Child Create with Real-Life Tools

Children baking with their motherReal-world materials are a great way to help your child learn, build, and create. Instead of providing them with fake, plastic versions of everyday tools and materials, let your child play with the real thing. The ability to create, pretend, and invent with authentic materials will provide much more satisfaction to your child’s imagination. The different weights, textures, colors, and working parts will benefit their mentality.

Child-sized versions of real-life tools are an excellent way for children to experience the real thing. For example, child-sized gardening tools allow them to effectively dig and play without carrying heavy equipment or useless plastic versions. Providing them with magnifying glasses, functional film or digital cameras, or modeling tools will allow your child to get right into what interests them without being limited to the poor quality of many plastic replicas.

You will often have plenty of real-world materials and tools around your home already. Go about your home and search for anything that may be of interest to your child and place them in a bin or on a shelf for their next play session.

Real-life tools can include:

  • Dress-up costumes
  • Old telephones or phone books
  • Old computer keyboards
  • Kitchen Tongs
  • Rolling pins
  • Measuring cups
  • Watering cans
  • Clay sculpting tools
  • Rulers
  • Fabric scraps
  • Sandpaper
  • Binoculars

At Bartram Academy, we are dedicated to providing self-driven enrichment and education to all of our students. If you are looking for the best Reggio Emilia schools in the St. John’s area, contact us today to inquire about our enrollment process for the upcoming preschool year.

How to Make a Mini Greenhouse out of Recyclable Materials

Tomato seedlingsGardening can be a great summer activity to enjoy with your child. When you’re growing plants from the seed or purchasing seedlings to start out with, it may be too much of a shock to plant them directly into the garden. If you don’t have the space or an option for a greenhouse at home, you and your child can quickly create a mini one out of a few recyclable materials.

How to Build Your Own Mini Greenhouse

All you need to make your greenhouse is some toilet paper rolls, a large plastic container with a lid and air holes, such as a fruit punnet, and seed raising mix.

Cut the toilet rolls in half or thirds depending on the size of your container. You want to make sure that when you close the lid, there is still plenty of room for the plants to grow inside. Then place the paper rolls inside your container and fill it with the seed raising mix. Carefully add your seeds or seedlings to the filled toilet paper rolls, gently water them, and close the lid of the container.

The toilet paper rolls are great because they allow you to plant the sprouts directly into the garden when they’re ready without disturbing their roots. They are also comfortable for your child’s small hands to hold so they can help transport them into the garden.

The summer months are an excellent opportunity to spend time with your children and to continue their learning outside of a school environment. As one of the best Reggio Emilia schools in the St. Johns, FL, area, Bartram Academy is available all year long to provide resources and activity ideas for you and your children.