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Back To School Tips & Tricks I’ve Learned To Keep Us Organized

Back To School Tips & Tricks I’ve Learned

If you know me personally then you would know the following things about me: everything in my house has a label, my meals are planned by the month, I’m extremely structured, and I live by my to-do list daily. I will even go as far as to write an extra to-do down that I accomplish just so that I can check it off. Anyone else like me?

Anyway, a few weeks ago – I posted about how everything is ready for back to school at my house. That post ended up having quite a big reach on Facebook and Instagram, so I figured maybe I should share my tips. Maybe just maybe my tips will help you make things easier this school-year for you! So today i’m opening up my brain and pouring all my info out to you! This post is going to be long, so I apologize for that in advance. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me anytime. I’m always happy to help.

Please note: These ways of living work best for me and my family. All of them won’t work exactly the same for you. But please take these tips & tricks and implement them in your home the way that’s best for you and your family! Also, I don’t want you to read this article and think that I have a perfectly run household. Because that is NOT true! I just have these items set in place to keep us running more efficiently. 

Meals

  • Breakfast: As far as breakfast goes, I believe it depends on your family’s preference. We are breakfast lovers in this house. I usually cook up a batch of bacon or sausage on Sunday for the week. Then every morning I make either egg sandwiches or scrambled eggs and warm up the meat I made on Sunday. I will also sometimes make a casserole or muffins on Sunday and we will eat off that during the week. If you’d really like to prepare, you can cook breakfast and store it in your freezer. Click here for some ideas on breakfast freezer meals. 
  • Lunch & Snacks: This year for lunches and snacks I’m doing things a little simpler. I got two bins. One bin went in the fridge and other one went in the pantry. I’ve encouraged my kids (ages 5 & 7) to pack their own lunch every night. They are to pull 2 items from fridge bin and 2 from the pantry bin. For the first month of school, I help them to pack a healthy and complete lunch. The bins are filled with items like: fruit cups, sliced fruit, apple sauce, hummus, guacamole, cheese slices, pepperoni, deli meat, yogurt, crackers, pretzel, peanut butter, chips, trail mix, etc. (See picture below)

  • Dinner: I like to plan a month at a time so my month has balanced meals. I always grocery shop on Fridays using Kroger ClickList. And I make a monthly trip to Costco to load up on staple, snack, and bulk items. Disclaimer – As a family we eat mostly paleo style so I plan dinners that way. I use a combo of cookbooks (Danielle Walker) and Pinterest to create our monthly meal plan. I love to meal plan & cook so this works for me. If you don’t like to plan, check out either Eat at Home (provides weekly meal plans and a color-coded grocery list) or Dream Dinners (local company that works as your prep kitchen and fills your freezer with meals that just need to be cooked).
{This is my August meal plan}

House Preparation

  • All the Incoming “Stuff”: In the area between my kitchen and living room, we have a dresser with three baskets labeled as Inbox, Supplies, & Greg (see photo below). All incoming “stuff” goes in the inbox and weekly I sort through what is trash, what needs to be filed, what are bills to pay, etc. In this same inbox bin, I have a folder for receipts to go in. Each week I go through and enter them in our budgeting tool. We use You Need a Budget (YNAB) because it syncs with your phone and/or web. The second bin labeled “supplies” is for post-its, morning devotion books, pencils, markers, etc. This bin also contains a homework folder where I place activities for homework. My kids will typically do their homework at the kitchen table while I prep dinner. The third bin is for my husband. In it, he  puts whatever he needs to. He needed a place so I gave him one!

  • Communication: Above the dresser mentioned above, I have a chalkboard that I created (See image below). It’s simply a window that I painted the glass with chalkboard paint. I update this board every Saturday evening. It keeps everyone in the “know” as to what’s going on during the week and what we are having for dinner each night. On Sunday, we do a family meeting during dinner. During that meeting we all share compliments about one another and then I tell everyone what we have coming up the upcoming week.
  • Laundry: Laundry has always been my nemesis. I have tried doing it daily and also doing it once a week. After some trial and error, I’ve found for me it’s works best to do laundry every other day. On a laundry day, I try to see it all the way through. That means that I wash, dry, fold, and put away. I loathe ironing. Like seriously loathe! I only iron every other week on Saturdays. And I took the summer off from ironing. It was glorious!

  • House Cleaning: Because I work full time now I have a house cleaner that comes every other week. 😊 The only cleaning that gets done is on Sunday evenings, we all pick up our areas to make sure everything is tidy. I also always clean up the kitchen and living area most evenings so we start the day with a clean living space. Before the house cleaner, I used Clean Mama’s method of cleaning 15-20 minutes a day so your house stays clean and a once a month deep cleaning.

Family Schedule

  • Abide by Boundaries: It’s important to set boundaries with your family’s time. If not, you will be a frantic family all over the place. I know because I’ve been there and done that! For us, we only allow one extracurricular activity per kid. For the fall season, Finn chose West Forsyth lacrosse and Selah chose ballet. We will discuss spring as we get closer. As for us (the parents), we’re in small group through Browns Bridge Church and like to go to the gym. So between all that we stay pretty busy.
  • Family/Rest Time: “The days are long, but the years are short.” I know there will be a season where we won’t be able to do this. But for now, we try to eat dinner together every night. Some of the best conversations we’ve had have been around the kitchen table. We also incorporated a weekly game night into our schedule a few years ago. The kids love it! During that time, we play board games, cards, hide and seek, etc. We just rotate between each of us to be the one that makes the decision on what we do. Recently, we found a locally made box (PLAtime) that provides the activities and supplies. You can read more about that here. This year we decided to implement a rest day each week. It usually falls on Sundays, but the day fluctuates each week. During the rest day, we just chill at home. By chill I mean we relax – that means no work is done on these days.
  • No Technology: Last but not least, we put all devices away around 5pm and it stays that way for the remainder of the evening. This is a hard one – especially for me. But I’m really committed this year! Family conversations are much richer when technology isn’t in the mix. We keep a copy of Here’s a Question around dinner time if we need help stirring up conversation.

And that’s all my back to school tips in a nutshell. Now I need to have a glass of wine after all that typing!  Hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. I hope this post was helpful to you! Cheers to being more organized this year, Rachael


Rachael Walkup is a wife, mother of two, and owner of CummingLocal.com – a website dedicated to promoting events & small businesses in Forsyth County. Coffee, good food, and wine are the way to her heart. She’s a lover of comfy clothes and deep conversation.

Cumming Recreation & Parks: Fall/Winter Program Registration {2017-2018}

Cumming Recreation & Parks

Cumming Recreation & Parks:  Fall/Winter Program Registration {2017-2018}

The new Fall/ Winter Registration guide for the Cumming Recreation & Parks 2017-2018 Year is currently available.

Please Note: registration opens August 21st!

This guide is filled with opportunities for youth & adults to participate in activities such as:

  • Aerobics & Fitness
  • Art
  • Youth Basketball
  • Self-Defense
  • Tennis
  • Guitar
  • Gymnastics & Tumbling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • & SO MUCH MORE!

You can register by mail, online, or walk-in at the Pilgrim Mill location for any of the Cumming Recreation & Parks activities.

Birthday Parties

Cumming Recreation & Parks

*Also, did you know that you can have a birthday party at many of the City of Cumming Recreation & Parks locations. We recently attended a gymnastic themed birthday party at Dobbs Creek. It was super cute, easy for the parents hosting, and fun for the kids!*

Find out more about birthday party places by clicking here

Cumming Recreation & Parks

Multipurpose Room

Meeting Rooms are available in to rent in 2-hour blocks for 1- and 2-room reservations; 3- and 4-room reservations are available in half-day (4 hours) and full-day (8 hours) blocks only; Pavilions are available in 2-hour blocks; maximum booking of 8 hours daily. The meeting rooms can be opened up to provide one 70’x70’ room or divided by partitions into 4 35’x35’ rooms. The price ranges from $175 and up depending on size and the time needed.

More Information on Renting the Multipurpose Room by Clicking Here

Cumming Recreation And Parks Department

Address: P.O. Box 34 (mail) or 410 Pilgrim Mill Road Cumming, GA 30028
Phone (770) 781-2030
Connect Online: Website | Facebook

Monday through Friday (Hours: 8:30am — 4:30pm)

Cumming Recreation & Parks

High School Football in Forsyth County

High School Football in Forsyth County 2017

High School Football in Forsyth County {2017}

We love taking our kids to High School Football games. They really love it!  There is just something about the Friday night lights, popcorn, and football that makes for a fun family night out. If you are looking for plans on a Friday night, this is a great way to spend it. Especially as the temperatures get cooler.

All the schools have their schedules up, so i’ve linked to them to make things easier. The ticket prices are anywhere from $5 to $10 depending on the High School. And you can purchase tickets when you arrive. They also have a concession stand with different types of food and drinks.

Any of these links will take you directly to the High School Football schedules:

Forsyth Central Bulldogs

Lambert Football

North Forsyth Football

South Forsyth War Eagles

West Forsyth Wolverines

Pinecrest Academy Paladin 

Tips When Attending a High School Football Game:

  • Bring cash for the tickets & the concession stand.
  • Wear school colors for the team you are cheering for!
  • Make sure you are sitting on the correct side. I know that seems like silly advice but believe me, it comes in handy.
  • Grab some snacks before it’s half-time. That’s when most people will head to the concession stand.
  • Be sure to watch the halftime show. This was my daughters favorite part of the game because she loves music so much.
  • Bring something comfortable to sit on. Otherwise, you will be sitting on hard concrete the whole time.
  • You will want to make sure you get there before the game starts to get a good seat.

So now the big question … who are you cheering for?

Fall Registration Is Open For CDA Dance Classes

Fall Registration is OPEN for CDA Dance Classes

Cumming Dance Academy (CDA) has been a leader in dance education for over 14 years in the Forsyth, Dawson and North Fulton areas. They are committed to teaching only the highest quality in dance as well as implementing a Personal Development program into each class; CDA has become well known for their expertise in raising successful, confident and determined young people.

Fall classes may have already started at Cumming Dance Academy, but that doesn’t mean its too late to register. You can still sign up today!

Fall schedules can be found by clicking here.

“The atmosphere is family oriented, combined with spectacular shows and costumes, and a warm environment to help the girls thrive and grow into confident young ladies. The facility itself is always clean and well managed. I would recommend Cumming Dance Academy to anyone interested in introducing their child to the arts, as well as providing a fun outlet for exercise and creativity.” – Jolie D.

Why Register at Cumming Dance Academy?

Excellent Instructors: Instructors at CDA are either college graduates of prestigious dance programs, have performed professionally, have trained under CDA’s Artistic Director in the CDA Teacher’s Training Program and/or have degrees from an accredited college in the form of education or theater arts.  CDA follows a graduated syllabus for students ages 2 and up, which was created in 1998 by Owner/Artistic Director – Niki Jernigan-Watkins.

Personal Character Development Program:  CDA proudly offers a POWER WORD each month in each class.  Students discuss the importance, meaning and how they can use their POWER WORD to better themselves.

Great Prices and Schedules:  CDA follows the same scheduled closings as Forsyth County Schools, with the exception that classes are held on Early Release days, MLK & President’s Day.  CDA actually teaches 34 weeks of classes per season, building in two extra weeks in the event of inclement weather or unexpected closings.  CDA’s prices are competitive and discounts are offered to both siblings and students who take multiple classes.

For a Very Fair Make-Up Policy:  Sickness, vacations, and missed classes are expected and CDA has made it easy to make up for missed time!  All missed classes may be made up in another classtime of similar level – without a time limit!

Great & Convenient Locations:  CDA’s locations are centrally located within the heart of Cumming & Forsyth County and Dawsonville. CDA’s studios feature large dance spaces with advanced sprung floors, sibling playrooms and free wi-fi.  CDA’s 2nd location (CDA II Performance Academy) is located just two blocks away from our main hub.  With 3 studio rooms, closed circuit tv monitors and additional space for students to wait – without a doubt, CDA has provided its students with state of the art facilities.

Parent & Student Comfort is Important  Construction wasn’t complete of Miss Niki’s dream custom building before considering the student families that would be frequenting each week.  The large lobby area’s are complete with viewing windows, observation doors, cubby holes for dancers bags, water fountains and an information flat screen with all the current updates.  Convenient restrooms for families and a sibling playroom equipped with movies and toys to entertain siblings while they wait are a bonus to families who choose CDA.  CDA also offers a convenient In-House Dance Wear Boutique, “Tutu’s & Tap’s” and can supply all of your dance wear needs.

Locations:

    • CDA I (Office & dancewear boutique) is located at 419 Tribble Gap Road, Cumming, GA 30040.
    • CDA II (Performance Academy) is located at 230 Elm Street, Cumming, GA  30040.
    • CDA North (Dawsonville)  192 Dawson Village Way Suite 150, Dawsonville, GA 30534.

CDA Dance Classes

More About Cumming Dance Academy:

A family oriented studio that has been a fixture in the Cumming community for over 14 years.  We pride ourselves in knowing each individual child and accommodating their needs throughout their education with us. CDA has become well known for their expertise in raising successful, confident, and dedicated young people.  We have seen dancers grow from small ballerina’s to graduating high school seniors traveling onto the next stage in their dance lives.  Once dancers join us at CDA, they stay!  We are a family here at Cumming Dance Academy, Inc.

Connect Online with Cumming Dance Academy: Website | Facebook

Tellus Museum Is Worth The Drive From Forsyth County

Tellus Museum Is Worth The Drive From Forsyth County

Contributing writer, Ashley Jansen, shares with us why Tellus Museum is worth the 45 minutes drive from Forsyth County. Thank you Ashley for such an informative article!

Well – if you don’t read anything but this first sentence… I want to go ahead and give you a spoiler: You’ve got to visit Tellus Museum ASAP!

Location & Tickets

Ok, so if you are still reading let me tell you the details as to why! If you have followed along with any of my other reviews you know I have 3 boys ages 10, 5, & 2. My 5 year old is a HUGE dinosaur lover. We left on a Saturday morning at 10 am and got to Tellus around 10:45. The grounds are absolutely stunning. Really beautiful. I even mentioned to Mark (my hubby) it would make a beautiful place for bridal portraits.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for children, and 2 and under are free so it was $60 for our family – but it was worth every penny.

There is an orientation theater with a 12 minute video introducing all the exhibits of the museum. {TIP: It’s sorta out dated and not worth your time and not necessary to enjoy your visit.}

Planetarium

There is a planetarium that I wished we could’ve enjoyed, but we missed the show. I would have loved to show my boys what the night sky looks like and all the constellations. My son saw it on a field trip and said it was excellent. {TIP: Call the day before you go (or the morning of your arrival) and ask the times of the planetarium shows. It’s only $3.50 per person.}

Mineral Gallery

We started in the Mineral Gallery. It was so beautiful. Very interesting to see all the different sizes, shapes, and colors of minerals from around the world. They had a life size periodic table where examples of each mineral was displayed as well as what it is used for. I wish my chemistry teacher had done something like that for me in high school!

Fossil Gallery

We moved onto the Fossil Gallery. It was WONDERFUL!! There were more than a dozen HUGE dinosaurs. It was amazing. Something they had I had never seen before was marine dinosaur fossils. I really can’t say enough about this exhibit and I’m leery of sharing too many pictures because I want you to truly experience it for the first time.

It was onto the Science in Motion Gallery. They have a Wright Flyer, vintage cars, and aircraft. There was a neat section on space ships and as well as a piece of moon rock from Apollo 11!

Gem Panning & Fossil Dig

Off to the side of this gallery was a real treat so make sure not to miss it: Gem panning and Fossil Dig. They give you a pan and a tiny zip-lock baggy. The guide shows you how to pan for gems and you can keep whatever gems you find. Just behind this is the Fossil Dig. You get a brush and can “find” fossils. But as you brush there are real fossils within the sand which you can keep one per person. They are all different types of shark teeth. My boys got a huge kick out of this!

My Big Backyard

I couldn’t believe that after this there was still a Family/Kid area to go explore: My Big Backyard. There were a lot of fun experiments for the kids to do all relating to sound. {TIP: It can get pretty loud so if you have sound-sensitive children just be aware.}

We left around 1:30 and we couldn’t believe we had been there almost 3 hours – it had flown by and the kids were never bored. We will for sure be back and I HIGHLY encourage you to put Tellus on your upcoming activity list.

Upcoming events:

  • On August 21 there will be the first total solar eclipse in the southeast since 1970. From 1-4 pm Tellus is hosting a viewing in their observatory and on the front lawn through smaller telescopes. They will also have a live feed in the Theater from the best possible location. A Tellus astronomer and WSB TV meteorologist Glenn Burns will also be there. For more information on this event, click here.
  • On August 23, Tellus Museum is hosting a Lunch and Learn about the “Beautiful and Exotic Places That Should Be On Your Bucket List.” For more information on this event, click here.

More events at the Tellus Museum can be found here.

Connect with Tellus Museum: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Address: 100 Tellus DriveCartersville, GA 30120

Phone: (770) 606-5700


Ashley Jansen is wife of 14 years to Mark and mom to three boys, Hamilton (10), Luke (5), and Garrett (2). Originally from Texas, she has lived in Forsyth County for the last 13 years. She loves Mexican food, watching football and baseball, reading a good book, making Excel spreadsheets, and prefers candy over chocolate and Dr. Pepper over Coke. She is a recent breast cancer survivor, but still prefers purple over pink.

To learn more about Ashley and our other contributing writers, click here.

Using the PLAtime Box to Connect with Children

Using the PLAtime Box to Connect with Children

In the craziness of this busy fall season – how do we set aside and protect time with our kids? Personally, we try to have a family night every Friday or Saturday. During this time, we have dinner together as a family and afterwards we will play some sort of game (hide and seek, board games, or cards). A couple months ago, I stumbled upon a local company making these PLAtime Boxes. They were so kind to bring me one to check out. I incorporated the activities from the box into our family time and we absolutely loved it! I felt the concept was super unique and allowed us to easily connect as a family. And I’m so excited to share about how YOU can use the PLAtime Box to connect with YOUR children as well.

“Let our Fall PLAtime box help you infuse relational rhythm into your routines! You set aside the time and we maximize your time by handling the planning and preparation.”

The Fall PLAtime Box Contains:

  • 7 planned activities
  • All supplies needed for each activity
  • Instructions for each activity
  • A dozen extended play options

Platime

When we used the PLAtime box, I realized that this made things so much easier for me. I didn’t have to plan a thing. I didn’t have to buy anything else. And I didn’t have to gather additional items in my home. I was able to sit down with the box, pull out an activity, read the instructions, and start connecting with my kids right away!

So if you are anything like me – then you are wondering…”how does it box work?”

How Does the PLAtime Box Work:

1. ORDER: You order your box by clicking here. PLAtime has provided you with $5 off coupon. Make sure you enter the promo code: CLFALL17. {Please note – This promo expires September 15th.} 

2. EXPLORE: When the box arrives, take some time to familiarize yourself with the box and its contents. Then go ahead and set a 20-30 minute time to use the box each week moving forward. You will only use one activity per week in that window of time.

3. CONNECT: When the set time comes, you simply sit down in the living room with your family and follow the instructions on the card. You can also visit the PLAtime Blog for more ideas on how to use this system with multiple children in the home as well as how to boost sibling relationships using the activities.

platime

Two Things to Keep in Mind:

  • The concepts are the product – not the items! The items are not a toy to keep child occupied but they are extremely common items used to build relationships. Think of it this way – the items are more like props to highlight the fun side of parent who may have otherwise been too tired to use their imagination. (Sounds like me after a long week!)
  • This box will make saying “yes” to relational play time easier because it is more interesting for you as the parent. And you don’t have to do anything except follow instructions.

Ok – are you ready to order? I can’t wait to use this Fall PLAtime box with my family. Be sure to let me know what you think!

Click here to order the Fall box

INSIDER INFO: Coming soon – An Emotions Box! Use our Emotions Box strategy to teach the children in your life emotional vocabulary. Then move beyond words into practical trial and error to find their personal favorite activities to manage their own emotions. The emotions box is set up with 4 vocabulary building activities, 1 self evaluating activity designed to be repeated at least once, and over 20 calming play options.

More Information About PLAtime:

PLAtimeAt PLAtime, we see and feel the struggle to carve time and energy to really connect personally. We recognize the urgent obligations of each day. Using items that are not necessarily toys, we connect parents and kids by simplifying PLAtime while simultaneously stretching imaginations & developing strong neural pathways.  We equip parents to routinely include PLAtime with mealtimes, bath-times, friend-time, school-time, and sports-time.

Connect Online with PLAtime: Website | Instagram | Twitter

Enrolling Now: Exceptional Childcare at Kiddie Academy Cumming

Kiddie Academy Cumming

Kiddie Academy Cumming is Enrolling Now!

A mother who passionately wanted to provide better childcare options in her community founded Kiddie Academy in 1981. The first location was in Baltimore County, Maryland. Since 1981, Kiddie Academy has continued to grow and develop. At Kiddie Academy the focus is on learning, creativity, compassion & character. They like to say that amazing starts here.

The exciting news that we are sharing today is that Kiddie Academy is coming soon to Cumming GA. This will be the third location in Georgia and first in Forsyth County. They are conveniently located at 450 Brannon Road, Cumming, Georgia. This location is close to the Collection at Forsyth.

Enrollment Offer:

And they are already enrolling students right now! If you enroll before 9/30/17 you will receive 3 weeks of free tuition. For more information on this offer, call them at 470-253-7114.

Kiddie Academy Cumming

10 Questions to Ask When Choosing Child Care:

1. Is the schedule of daily activities posted and current?

2. Does the center encourage use of outside area for learning activities as well as free play?

3. Are there leaning centers in the classrooms that allow for different types of play such as: art, library, blocks, dramatic pay, science, technology, etc?

4. Is there adequate shade available outside where the children play?

5. Is parent feedback sought and used in making program improvements?

6. Is there a daily method of communication between the teachers and parents?

7. Does the facility appear to be orderly and clean, void of clutter?

8. Does the cost of care include nutritious meals and snacks? Are menus posted?

9. Does the center have low staff turnover?

10. Does staff appear lively, smiling, and interacting in a positive manner with children?

These questions were provided by Kiddie Academy. For more questions to ask, download the “Checklist PDF” by clicking here.

Kiddie Academy Cumming

Why Parents Choose Kiddie Academy:

Highly Trained Professionals: You can rest assured knowing the staff has been highly trained and is up to date on licenses and certifications. The staff is also extremely attentive and enormously admired.

Curriculum: “Life Essentials® is an overarching philosophy that includes our programs and techniques. From family style dining to character education, our developmentally appropriate curriculum gives your child a full day of learning no matter what he or she is doing. Some of the best learning happens without your child knowing it.”

Highest Safety Standards: Kiddie Academy is proud of the safety standards we have put in places They are of the utmost highest. Your child’s safety is their number one priority.

Catered Lunch and Snacks Served Family Style: They serve snacks and a catered lunch in a family style environment where children and teachers can connect over a meal.

Open Communication Between Parents and School: From newsletters to calls, our staff is committed to keeping the conversation open.

Uniformed Preschool: The children wear uniforms at Kiddie Academy Cumming. We will give four polo shirts for the first year of enrollment (two during registration and two in the fall season).

Kiddie Academy Cumming

More About Kiddie Academy:

We realize that there are many childcare and daycare options available. Only Kiddie Academy provides the kind of care that focuses on days filled with learning and fun, the key ingredients of our Life Essentials® curriculum. We are also a nationally networked franchise, which ensures strict standards and a consistent experience for your child.

Why standards-based learning is important.

Kiddie Academy’s proprietary Life Essentials curriculum focuses on social and emotional character education, and physical and cognitive outcomes which are aligned with state preschool learning standards. These standards are based on skills, knowledge and abilities that children achieve through developmentally appropriate activities and experiences.

The Life Essentials curriculum meets or exceeds the requirements of each state.

Connect Online with Kiddie Academy Cumming: Website | Facebook

Address: 450 Brannon Road Cumming, Georgia 30041
Phone: 470-253-7114

Six Tips from a Pro: How to Ease Your Child’s Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety

Six Tips from a Pro: How to Ease Your Child’s Separation Anxiety

Oh, the questions of the first day of school:

“Will I have friends?”
“Will school be fun today?”
“Will parents come to carpool on time?”
“Will I have a good snack?”

And those are from the teacher! Seriously, everyone experiencing the first day of school has questions and anxieties, especially young children and their parents. It is perfectly natural to have separation anxiety or uneasy feelings, as parents and children learn to trust another adult. The good news is that nervous mornings can quickly turn to days of calm and security.

Experienced teachers are masters of calming the nerves of parents and children. I promise that, as teachers, we spend a great deal of time brainstorming successful tactics that have helped a child enter and get involved in the classroom.

One of the best gifts you can give to yourself and your child is familiarization with the new classroom and teacher. At Pinecrest Academy, we offer several days for parent and child to come to school together to explore new surroundings and talk with teachers: Family Picnic, Meet and Greet, Pre-K Orientation, and a small divided class on the first day of school. These experiences help Pre-K students ease into a new school year.

separation anxiety

Here are other helpful hints for surviving the mornings when saying goodbye is difficult:

1. Talk to your child’s teacher privately before the first morning drop-off if you think your child may struggle. Do not have this conversation in front of your child. The teacher will reassure you of how she will distract your child and get him involved with new friends.

2. Send in a small “lovey” or comfort item with your child. Trust me, teachers will appreciate that and will know how to wean your child from it. We want your child to feel safe, too!

3. Do not make “goodbyes” too long. Sometimes a goodbye routine (i.e., “hug, kiss, high five, ‘Good-Bye’ “) signals that it’s time to go and keeps your child from asking that “one more thing” and needing another reassurance.

4. Once your child is engaged in an activity or conversation with the teacher, make your exit quick and do not re-engage with your child. While sneaking away may cause anxiety later for your child, a quick kiss and “be back soon” from across the room can allow your child to stay engaged and occupied, ready to enjoy the day.

5. Keep comments to your child positive. Let your child know how much she is loved, but refrain from telling her that you’ll be sad or miss her while away from her. A child can feel guilty for causing you angst or wonder why school can make you feel bad. Instead, let your child know how excited you are to hear what she did at school when you see her very soon.

6. Never leave telling your child you will still be “just around the corner” if you’re not really going to sit there all morning (which wouldn’t be fun, anyway!). Just give him the assurance that your teacher will always be able to contact you and school is going to be so much fun!

More often than not, these stressful mornings are short lived and your child will become confident in coming to school in no time. However, if your child does continue to struggle after a few days, stay committed to your plan. One particular year, I had a 3 year old who took months before coming completely into the classroom when he arrived. He chose to stand in the corner between the cubbies and the hallway door with his backpack still on his back. Kudos to his parents who trusted me and knew that I was right there observing their child, giving small bits of encouragement, until he was ready for his day with his friends to begin (which really only lasted about 5 minutes!)

Above all, smile and stay strong! Your child trusts you more than anything, and if you say it’s going to be great, be assured that we will make sure that it is! May God bless you and your family as we start this next school year together.

Dana Oshinski is Grade Level Supervisor and PreK Teacher at Pinecrest Academy, and can be reached at doshinski@pinecrestacademy.org.

The original blog post can be found by clicking here

Learn more about Pinecrest’s PreK program.


Pinecrest Academy is a private Pre-K through 12, college preparatory Catholic school located in Cumming. They have openings in their Pre-K3 and Pre-K4 program for fall 2017.

Visit their website for more information on their programs. 

Children’s Museum of Atlanta August Programming

Children's Museum of Atlanta

Savor the final weeks of summer with Children’s Museum of Atlanta August programming

Families can celebrate music, friendship and Fido with special programs

The Children’s Museum of Atlanta invites families to keep the summer fun afloat with a month filled with sun-sational events. Little ones will have the opportunity to play with puppies, celebrate their besties, explore multi-sensory exhibits and dance along to silly songs while they soak up the last few weeks of the season!

Feature Exhibit: Blue Man Group – Making Waves
Through September 4, 2017

The national touring exhibit, supported by Harman/Becker Automotive Systems and created by the Boston Children’s Museum and Blue Man Group and powered by JBL®, will take the whole family through a multi-sensory exploration of sound that provides an opportunity for everyone to play together while discovering the fun of music. The 1,500 square foot exhibit features six interactive stations where children will have an opportunity to see, feel and create sound just like the Blue Man Group.

Themed daily programming during Blue Man Group – Making Waves exhibit will occur through September 4, 2017. Programming subject to change and may be altered during special events. All programs included with admission unless otherwise noted.

Mini-Musical: A Sound Connection
Weekdays at 11 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.; Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; Sunday at noon and 2 p.m.
Children will join robot W.A.V.E. and Caveperson Sonar on a journey through the Earie Canal to experience the wonder of sound by listening to animals in the wild and learning to dance like a sounds wave!

Story Time
Weekends at 1 p.m.
“Zoola Palooza: A Book of Homographs” by Gene Barretta
An exclusively animal musical group, Zoola Palooza is in town to teach little ones all about homographs – words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently and have separate meanings.

Music & Movement: Surround Sound
Weekdays at 1 p.m.; Saturday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; Sunday at 11 a.m.
What sound is created when a stick crashes into a trash can? What happens when a pencil hits a coffee cup? Children can join the Imaginators in learning that sound is all around us when making music through found objects!

Super Spectacular Science Show
Weekdays at 3 p.m. and Weekends at 4 p.m.
Professor Lab Coat and his assistants will lead a mesmerizing science demonstration for the entire Museum.

Eat A Georgia Rainbow
Sunday at 3 p.m.
Children will embark on a scavenger hunt and cold cooking activity with the Imaginators to learn more about fruits and veggies harvested in Georgia throughout the year.

Art Studio Projects
Weekdays 10:30 a.m. –3:30 p.m.; Weekends 11 a.m. –4 p.m.
Little ones can discover colors and explore artists from around the world through various crafts like making and decorating a banjo, experimenting with powder paint, blow paint and splatter paint as well as creating a noise maker from recycled objects.

Build It Lab
Weekdays, 10:30 a.m. –3:30 p.m.; Weekends 11 a.m. –4 p.m.
Children will put their woodworking and creative tools to the test in this supervised space where they have access to real tools and materials. Encouraging inventions, this Build It Lab will spark creativity by allowing young innovators to build items such as a rain stick and drum.

Science Bar
Weekdays 10:30 a.m. –2:30 p.m.; Weekends 11 a.m. –3:30 p.m.
Science is everywhere, especially on the mezzanine at the Museum! Step Up to Science is the new STEM exhibit area and features interactive exhibits about light, robotics and how the human body works! Families can saddle up to the science bar for a full menu of fun activities, knowledge and have their questions turned into answers by one of the STEM educators.

August Special Programming

Friendship Days
Sunday, August 6 and Monday, August 7
Kick off National Friendship Day at Children’s Museum of Atlanta with family-friendly workshops that focus on the value of friendship. Continue the celebration on Monday with the Museum’s first annual Member Friends and Family Day when current Museum members can bring up to four friends to the event for FREE!

  • Special Story Time
    Sunday at 1 p.m.
    The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister shares the story of a beautiful fish that learns to make friends through sharing his most prized possessions.
  • Special Music and Movement
    Sunday at 11 a.m.; Monday at 1 p.m.
    Children can hop over to the start line to compete in the three-legged race with the Imaginators and other friends. Little ones are invited to continue the fun by dancing along with friends to some groovy tunes!
  • Special Mini Musical: Big Hearts
    Sunday at noon and 2 p.m.; Monday at 11 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.
    Kelly the Knuckle Cruncher loves to frighten other kids into handing over their toys and favorite lunchtime treats. Guests will take a journey with Auburn and her best friend Skipper as they navigate the ways to change the school bully’s heart and teach him how to be a friend.
  • Art Studio
    Sunday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Monday from 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    Little ones can design a personalized puzzle to gift in honor of National Friendship Day!
  • Build It Lab
    Sunday from 11 a.m. – 4.p.m.; Monday from 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    Children will construct a tic-tac-toe board using different types of wood and colored stones. When the board is complete, they can challenge a bestie to a friendly game!

Visiting Artist
Saturday, August 12  

  • Miss Gail and the Jumpin’ Jam Band
    Noon
    Little ones can wiggle, hop and sing along to Miss Gail and her Jumpin’ Jam Band’s silly songs. Created especially for children, their original songs help with early development to keep them moving throughout the performance.

Total Eclipse Takeover
Saturday, August 19 –Monday, August 21
In honor of the total solar eclipse that will be visible across the continental United States on Monday, August 21,             children can learn more about the special event through dancing, special story times and more. As a special treat, kids 12 and under will receive solar eclipse glasses on Saturday and Sunday while supplies last!

  • Special Story Time
    Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.
    Children can follow along as a charismatic cast of animals travel the path of the 2017 eclipse across the United States in The Big Eclipse by Nancy Coffelt, all while learning what causes eclipses, their strange effects, common myths and even what hippos do when day turns to night!
  • Special Music and Movement: Glow in the Dark Dance Party
    Saturday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; Sunday at 11 a.m.; Monday at 1 p.m.
    Kids can grab neon, glow in the dark accessories and join the Imaginators for a dance party featuring songs that are inspired by the sun and the moon!
  • Super Spectacular Science Show
    Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m.; Monday at 3 p.m.
    Every afternoon, Professor Labcoat shares a fascinating science demonstration with the whole museum! Families can join him to see what kind of fun he and his assistants have cooked up as they explain the total solar eclipse through science!
  • Art Studio
    Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Monday from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    Children will create and customize their very own spaceship to celebrate the eclipse!
  • Build-It Lab
    Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Monday from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    Little ones will construct a star using nails, wood and yarn to use as décor for the big day.

National Dog Day Celebration
Saturday, August 26
Dog lovers are in for a treat with a full day of face-licking, tail wagging puppy fun! Children’s Museum of Atlanta will host Canine Companions for Indepenence and their furry friends as they teach little ones about the importance of an assistance dogs’ voyage from puppy hood to hero! Please leave furry friends at home as no outside dogs are permitted in the Museum.

  • From Puppy to Hero
    Noon and 2 p.m.
    Staff members and volunteers from Canine Companions for Independence will be at the museum to inform children about the journey dogs complete to become an assistance dog.
  • Special Story Time
    1 p.m.
    Little Critter just got his very own puppy and can’t wait to teach him tricks, give him a bath and curl up with him at bedtime. A reading of Just Me and My Puppy by Mercer Mayer will teach children the responsibility of caring for a pet.
  • Special Music and Movement: Who Let the Dogs Out
    11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
    Kids are invited to help the Imaginators investigate who let the dogs out as little ones search for clues to bring the puppies back safe and sound!
  • Art Studio
    11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    Children will get creative when they design a toy or exceptional accessory for their favorite stuffed animal dog!
  • Build It Lab
    11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    Little ones will construct and decorate a wooden dog leash holder exclusively for their adored pup!

For more information on the April program offerings or to support Children’s Museum of Atlanta, visit childrensmuseumatlanta.org or call 404.659.KIDS [5437].

Press Release – Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for A Matter of Motivation

 

“It’s All Connected Expo” and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Cumming, GA. A Matter of Motivation LLC is hosting an Expo to celebrate their recent expansion.

The free 4-hour business expo will feature vendors, motivational training, a fashion show, headshots, door prizes, food and much more!
For twenty years, A Matter of Motivation Founder Jackie Martin has been training, coaching, and speaking to business owners and their teams on how to better communicate and connect with themselves and each other. As the number of disengaged employees in the US continues to rise, Martin is more passionate than ever about helping leaders build a more connected, productive and fulfilling workplace.

To meet that need, Martin is expanding both her team and her training offerings. Now with five skilled trainers, Martin rolls out new workshops and seminars that serve to create more engaged working environments. It’s all under her signature series called “Connected U” and is relevant for individuals, entrepreneurs, civic and non-profit boards, small businesses and corporate teams. Some of the transformational training will be demonstrated at the It’s All Connected Expo.

At the Expo guests can also expect a fashion show, more than twenty local vendors, door prizes, headshot opportunities, food, and mini-training. The A Matter of Motivation team will also be available to do free personal coaching and training moments throughout the event.
“We know sometimes you need a dose of motivation to get through your next task. We will all be available throughout the event to give you the motivation you need. Talk to any of the team about a challenge you need clarity on, we love to assist in growth – after all, we are all connected!” said Agenna Mathley, trainer and coach.

The Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce will kick off the event with the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 4:30. Please let us know you will be joining us, RSVP here.

It’s All Connected Expo and Ribbon Cutting
August 16, 2017
Fowler Park Community Center
4-8p

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  • Children’s Museum of Atlanta August Programming

    Savor the final weeks of summer with Children’s Museum of Atlanta August programming Families can celebrate music, friendship and Fido with special programs The Children’s Museum of Atlanta invites families to keep the summer fun afloat with a month filled with sun-sational events. Little ones will have the opportunity to play with puppies, celebrate their … Continue reading “Children’s Museum of Atlanta August Programming”

    read more

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    read more