Baking with the kids: Your Kid Can Do It Banana Bread

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Spending time with my kids in the kitchen is one of my favorite stressful activities! The potential for disaster is great when you mix messy ingredients, heating elements, and excited little people on step stools wielding blunt objects. But the potential for fantastic memories, not to mention the little self-esteem boost your little one will get from having made something? Those are most definitely greater. One of my favorite recipes to make with my kids is this banana bread recipe, adapted from one found on my all-time favorite recipe blog, Smitten Kitchen. Her recipe is just lovely and delicious so feel free to just follow it. Our adaptations below have come about through dozens upon dozens of trials and errors and ultimately aim to make it just a tad healthier. The brilliance of this recipe is that my four-year old can more or less make it with very little help from...
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Montessori School Social Development in Multi-Age Groupings | Falls Church, VA

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                                     Excerpt from “What is Montessori Elementary?” by David Kahn Parents often ask whether the Montessori elementary program, with its emphasis on small-group activity, provides enough opportunities for social development.  Moreover, they may wonder whether a multi-age class affords enough same-age peers for each child to have a wide choice of friends. Like Montessori preschool, Montessori elementary is based on three-year age groupings.  Students in the first, second, and third years are grouped together in the same classroom, just as three-, four-, and five-year-olds are together in the preschool.  At both levels, the multi-age grouping provides children with opportunities for broad social development. Friendships developed in a multi-age setting have depth.  Children make an effort to get along together because they know they will be together for three years.  Moreover, the presence of a wide...
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Follow the Rhythm of the Child: The Montessori Method | McLean, VA

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               Excerpt from Brook’s Field of Dreams, 1996 Your child is like a seed growing into a flower.  The Montessori Method allows the child to grow at his or her own natural pace, and we should therefore try to let go and not be so concerned with instant results by digging out that “seed” to check on its daily development. This quote of Maria Montessori captures the beauty of her method.  She believed that children learn on their own and the goals of early childhood education should be to cultivate a child’s natural desire to learn.  To her, learning to read, write, and do math should be as natural to the child as learning to walk and talk.  The Montessori environment and equipment invite children to learn these skills during their own periods of interest and readiness.  Teachers show their respect for the rhythm of each child’s life in...
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Bring On Spring!

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The weather is growing warmer. Really, I promise it is. For the first time in months I see nary a snowflake in the ten-day forecast. Get ready, friends, winter is fading! I love spring. It has long been my favorite season and I ache for it more this year than I ever have. Everyone creeps out of hibernation and takes to the streets. Early morning walks for coffee, playdates at the park, impromptu sidewalk parties right outside your front door… springtime is when we all come alive. Throughout the winter, my daughter and I wrote up a list of our favorite things to do in the spring. We run through the list on our rides to school, dreaming of the days when we’ll finally be able to turn dreams to reality. Here are a few of our favorites: A day at the park Swings and slides. Games of tag and hide-and-seek....
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Literary Arts Week: Learning About Margaret Wise Brown

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    “Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight light and the red balloon.”   It didn’t take long after my daughter was born for the little bunny and his goodnight routine to become part of our goodnight routine. The little toy house and the kittens and the mittens. Before long we could recite it from memory, a blessing when bedtime found us with achy, tired eyes. We marked our children’s growth by its pages: the first time they reached out a chubby little hand to flip the page, the first time they engaged with the story, the first time they excitedly pointed out the red balloon. And, eventually, the day when my daughter could also recite the routine from memory.   Though her words are now solidly imprinted on my brain and in my heart, I had never taken a moment to learn more about Margaret Wise Brown....
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Let’s Talk: How To Find Out What Your Kid Did All Day

  We push through the door and she’s off. She loves to run. So she bounds around the corner and hops up the steps. Unsurprisingly, I don’t have quite that much energy reserved for the last few miles of my day, so I trail behind.  I catch up with her at the parking lot and finally have a chance to ask.     “How was your day?”     Her typical, ambivalent, “Good.” escapes as she works to catch her breath. And that’s it. Most days, nothing more comes out unprompted.     And I’ve tried all of the versions of, “Well, what did you do today?” But we all know those don’t work. That sort of open-ended question isn’t going to lead us anywhere. And it makes sense, how would you answer such a question?     So over the past couple of years, I’ve developed a few tricks to...
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Why Do We Hop?

Why we hop “Are you going to die?” Charlie Brown asked. “Good grief!” Linus shouted. “What kind of a question is that!” I read Why, Charlie Brown, Why? to the students of Brooksfield this week. Four readings to each of the four different classes. And each time I got to that part, I looked up to see how the little faces in front of me would react to that one line. My oldest is four and this territory of heavier topics in books is still somewhat new to me. I’m still the mom who skips over the piece about death in books when it isn’t relevant to the story. I’m still the mom who ducks out to buy a new fish when the old one dies. I’m still the mom who can’t quite find the words to talk about the big, scary topics. But when reading this book to our children...
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When Cabin Fever Strikes

When cabin fever strikes So far, it has not been the prettiest winter. And with at least another six weeks to go, our chances for another several snow days are looking pretty good. Back in December, snow days were a breeze. But now, as so many of them have stacked up, we’re all starting to run out of ways to stay entertained and keep from going stir crazy. So here are a few infusions of inspiration as we face another snap of cold weather and threat of storms this week. 1. Rearrange a room It’s technically still the beginning of the year. What better way to create the feeling of a fresh start and pass those house-bound hours? Put on some music and start pushing furniture around. For added fun, choose your child’s room and let them be creative with how they want to arrange their space. Added bonus for you:...
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Seven Reasons We Love Brooksfield

  Seven Reasons We Love Brooksfield   To be quite honest, I could write this list every week and every week find seven different reasons that we love Brooksfield. After just a year and a half, we’ve made so many friends, created so many memories, and all of us have grown so much. Long after we’ve moved on to other schools and friends, we will all still look back on our Brooksfield years with such fondness.   Here’s a quick roundup of reasons we love Brooksfield this week.   1. We bought a new game called Zingo this weekend. After one glance, our daughter exclaimed, “I know this game! I play it in Spanish class!” And then she proceeded to teach us how to play.   2. The smile on her face when she wakes up on Friday and realizes it is John Henry day!   3. That we have a...
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Healthy In The New Year

Healthy in the New YearDid you put ‘get healthy’ on your list of resolutions this year? How about ‘eat healthier’? Are you hoping to feed your family better food this year and improve everyone’s health?These are fantastic goals, and pretty popular resolutions. But they are so tough to achieve. Large and nearly all-encompassing, it’s no wonder that many of us drop these resolutions just weeks into the year and feel lost as to where to turn next.If you want to eat healthier this year, try starting with small steps. Pick just one of the items below and give it a try for a few weeks. Then add another. A series of small steps is so much easier to accomplish than a big, scary resolution.1. Replace just one meal a week with something homemadeBy the end of last year, we had gotten into a bit of a blue box of mac ‘n...
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