Monday, August 30, 2010

A Typical Week

Many have asked about our curriculum. Here is what a typical week looks like at Ivy League-West.

The theme is: Friendship


Prepare and bake an Amish Friendship Bread loaf (or two)

(Painting Day)

Watercolor with yellow paint on one huge sheet of paper.
Friends working together.

(Coloring Day)

Trace each others hands and color them in red.
Make a hands friendship wreath for our door.

(Crafting and Games)

Make friendship bracelets with string and beads
Toss the ball and say one kind thing about the person who catches it.


Help each other clean off table tops, sweep floors, sort and fold laundry.

Our schedule flows as follows:

(Greeting, introductions and free play)

Morning Circle Time
(Calendar, Story Time in English and Spanish,
Singing in English and Spanish, Finger Plays,
Music and Movement)

Morning Activities
(Depending on Day of the Week ~ See Above)

Morning Snack
(The children help prepare and serve snack)

Out Door Activity
(Scheduled Games)

Wash up - Prepare Lunch Table -Eat Lunch Family Style

Story Time - Nap Time

Wash up - Prepare Afternoon Snack- Snack Time

Free Play
(Indoors or Out)

Wash Up - Story Time - Departure

Saturday, August 28, 2010


How do you measure success? If you measure it by the depth of your friendships, I would have to say that our Opening Celebration was a huge success. If you measure it by the number of blessing that have touched your life, then last night was a huge success. To all the wonderful friends, old and new who came out to support us last night...THANK YOU! I truly enjoyed spending time with each and everyone of you. The night went on a little longer than planned which I hope is an indication that you all had a great time too.

I meant to take and post pictures, but as usual I got so excited and was truly living and enjoying the moment, I completely forgot to take picture to share. Thank you also to everyone who sent blessings, flowers and good wishes. You were missed. A special thanks to the many, many inquiries I've received during the past couple of days. I can't wait for the start of our program.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Here I Sit

It's 11:00 p.m. I should be heading to bed but for the last few night I lay in bed with thoughts swirling through my head. I don't sleep for a long, long time. It's not anxiety keeping me up, it's excitement. Tonight however anxiety crept in. Tomorrow night is our Opening Celebration. I've been busy getting the word out about the preschool and the celebration. I've had some inquiries and invited those parents to come. The cakes are cooling, the "to do before 3:00 p.m." list is sitting on my desk. Just like that panic starting to set in. What if no one comes? "Don't be silly, your friends are coming!" Yes, but what if no one signs up? "Parents will sign their kids up." The doubts work their way in and I push them out, but the seed of doubt has been planted and tonight is looking like a sleepless, restless night.

I start browsing online hoping to get sleepy. I randomly start wondering who has my book, Please Don't Move the Muffin Tin by Bev Bos. Did I loan it to someone? Did I sell it to Powell's Books? For no reason other than she's on my mind, I google Bev. Lo and behold she has a blog! I click around and come across this.

I need to be faithful to the process. I've done the work to get this far, I have the support of family and friends. Now I need to trust. I do with all my heart. I'll will hold that thought as I drift off tonight. I didn't find my book, but I've found Bev and her wise words. All is good.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Less is More

Have you ever stood in a supermarket aisle and felt completely overwhelmed by the number of choices available? I'm all for choices and especially for freedom of choice. Recently however I was standing at the supermarket aisle and felt that if I didn't get out of there soon, I would have a panic attack. I was buying band-aids. Simple...right? Not really because I realized that I could buy waterproof, clear or a multi-box that had various sizes. I could buy Spiderman or Cinderella. I could get them with or without ointment. I could buy band-aid brand or the store brand. Suddenly I was sucked in to comparing prices and quantities and quality and I stood there numb and unable to make a decision.

I often write about Little Tikes and how I don't like all that plastic. I really don't have anything against Little Tikes. There are built well and built to last. I think my problem is when I walk by daycare center or home daycares and I see Little Tikes toys strewn in the yard like weeds. I find it overwhelming, like trying to find a box of band-aids in the supermarket aisle.

When you walk into Ivy League Daycare the first thing you'll notice is that it doesn't look like a "preschool". We did this on purpose for two reasons. First, it is our home and we want it to look like a home and secondly, I find being surrounded by primary colors for 10 hours a day overstimulating. The colors on our walls are muted, the furniture is painted in a serene light green. There are splashes of red and yes there is even some plastic, but not much at all. There are toys, but only enough so that the children can choose what to play with without being overwhelmed by choice.

What about stimulating their creativity? I smile whenever someone asks about this. I think that in an effort to sell products, companies have put on a great campaign and we parents have taken the bait, hook, line and sinker. The campaign states something along the lines that we must stimulate our child's imagination or creativity by buying them this (usually brightly colored plastic) toy. Actually nothing can be further from the truth! First, your child comes equipped with an active imagination and geared for creativity. I think that as parents and educators, we should provide some thing to allow their imagination to take flight, but we need not go out and spend a fortune to do it. Paper, crayons, paint, rocks, shells, scraps of cloths, needle, thread. Other than that, some pots and pans, a broom and dustpan and you have hours of entertainment for your child.

For a while, my children had a ton of toys, yet more often than not, they were making forts with the sofa cushions or making "music" with the pots and pans. They would "wash" dishes for hours. They made fishing poles from sticks and yarn. My daughter still beams with delight at the sight of Styrofoam.

The whole purpose of an imagination is to actually leave something to the imagination. Let the kids color in the primary colors. Let them build something from scratch. Maybe you won't even recognize what it is, but to them, it's a bird or a plane. I'm excited to see all the wonderful things children are capable of doing once they are in an environment that allows them to do it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ivy League...YUM!

I enjoy a good burger and fries on occasion but I don't indulge often because when I do, it's usually because I'm crunched for time and then I'm not having a "good" burger and fries, I'm actually having a greasy burger with salt laden fries and spend the rest of the day regretting it. Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but my body doesn't seem to do well unless it's well nourished. I get sluggish and lethargic and feel gross all over.

We've been pretty busy around here. If you keep up with us on Facebook, you know that we've been working early mornings until way past sundown, day after day for weeks now. My typical mode of operation is to work continuously while I order pizza or chomp down on a burger or spend the day staving off hunger by filling up on chips. Not this time. I just can't risk slowing down or getting sick. This time I planned and planning has made all the difference. I stocked up on berries, yogurt, lean turkey, cheese, hummus, avocados and tortillas. I make it a point to stop, make lunch and dinner and then sit down and eat it. Turns out that taking a break to prepare and savor my food goes a long way into re-energizing me. I can work later, for longer periods of time and I'm losing weight.

There has been such a push for healthy school lunches stemming from the rise in childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. What I wonder is how we ever got so far away from providing healthy lunches for children. We don't worry about those things at Ivy League-West. Here we will be providing two healthy snacks and a wholesome, healthy lunch everyday. Our menu will consists of at least two vegetarian lunches a week. The other three days lunches will always include vegetables and/or fruit. Snacks will always include fresh, raw vegetables or fruit. The fruit will always be fresh with the exception of canned pineapple in natural juice or frozen fruit.

Milk will be available at lunch and natural juice at morning snack. Water will be provided throughout the day and for afternoon snack. The following is a sample menu. Our menus will change monthly as well as seasonally. You can expect warm, rich soups and stews in autumn and winter and cool, refreshing sandwiches and salads in summer. Our quarterly newletters will have some of the recipes used in our menu.

Autumn/Winter Lunch Menu

Beef Stew over rice (it's thick and hearty with lots of veggies)

Pureed White Bean Soup (my mom's favorite when I was a child. She could hide all those yummy veggies I refused to eat)

Stir Fry Noodles with veggies (do you see a pattern emerging?)

Black Bean Soup with plantains

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Roasted Bell Pepper and Tomato Soup.

Chili con carne and corn bread

Chicken Quesadillas

3 Cheese Quesadillas

Annie's Organic Macaroni and Cheese

Tuna Melts

Pumpkin Soup (actually pumpkin everything during the fall)

Carrot-Ginger and Cashew Soup

Steak Tacos

Snack list

Raw Veggies with dip

Apples with peanut butter

Trail Mix (with just a few dark chocolate chips)

Yogurt with Pineapple and Granola

Hard-Boiled eggs (maybe even deviled with yogurt if we are feeling fancy)

Crostini's with Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella

Bagels and cream cheese

Pears slices with crackers

Hummus on tortillas

Avocado slices

Obviously these are just a sample of what the children as well as the teachers will be eating. Listing all these yummy foods has made me hungry. I'm off to make dinner.

Enjoy your evening,