• The Apple Tree Learning Centers

  • Infant Childcare Programs

5 Reasons Why You Should Teach Kids About the Great Outdoors—National Great Outdoors Month

| Admin

June has been proclaimed as the Great Outdoors Month. This is a perfect time to share the glory of nature with your child!

There are plenty of reasons why you should pack your stuff and enjoy the Great Outdoors with your kids.  Here are just a few of them:

  1.       Manage Your Kid’s Excessive Use of Technology

There are so many distractions these days competing for your child’s attention.  Gadgets, video games, the Internet, you name it, they’re all out there. And you know, once your child gets their hands on any of it, they give it their undivided attention.

There’s nothing wrong with exposing your kids to technology.  But too much of anything can negatively impact your kid, physically, socially and emotionally.

What is alarming though, is how children spend so much less time outside the home and seldom interact with kids their age. (Sometimes, they don’t even talk to their own parents!)  Technology is creating a reclusive generation who’d rather spend time in front of a mobile phone or a computer monitor. Even recess has been reduced or eliminated at many schools, further reducing the time spent outside.

Want to prevent this gloom and doom horizon? You can, if you manage how your kids use technology. Giving them interesting alternatives such as exploring the Great Outdoors tops the list.

If you have limited time because of work, look into having your child attend a child care program.  There are child care centers that offer outdoor activities in their curriculum.

  1. national great outdoors month

    Explore the Grandness of Mother Nature

The US is well known for its majestic outdoors. Go explore some of it! Kids can learn a lot from actual, experiential discovery. Going camping, fishing, or just playing catch in a neighborhood park? Being outside gives you and your child the opportunity to be one with nature.

Imagine your child responding to a live butterfly flying above her head, instead of watching some video about insects on the web.  It’s amazing to see your child discover new things about nature. Better yet, you’re there to teach your kid about nature itself!

  1.       Bonding with Family & Friends

This June is the best month to bond with your child together with friends and other family members. During the National Great Outdoors celebration, there are plenty of fun activities you and your child can enjoy, such as:

  •         Boating
  •         Camping
  •         Family Fun
  •         Fishing
  •         Hiking
  •         Stewardship

Ask the director of the child care center your kid is attending if they offer any of these outdoor activities and how you and your kid can make the most of it.  Child care centers often align their activities with the Great Outdoors Month celebration, by including field trips to parks and other outdoor activities. And most centers need and appreciate volunteers to join them on these field trips, so ask how you can help!

Spending quality time with your kid this month while being out in nature is a wonderful and enriching experience.  Your child is guaranteed to enjoy endless opportunities for adventure, recreation, and renewal of family ties.

  1.       Health Benefits

There’s no denying taking long walks outside can result in long lasting and far reaching health benefits.  Nature offers an opportunity to explore and get active while strengthening our bonds with family.

The health benefits are not just limited to physical health.  Sure, climbing a steep hill or backpacking with your kid builds endurance and improves overall physical well-being. But there’s more to physical health when you enjoy the great outdoors, including:

Mental Health Balance

Spending time with your kids outdoors is also beneficial to your own mental health.  It’s a wonderful stress reliever especially if you work in an office all day. Hiking, biking, and climbing can help relieve you of the stress that you deal with on a regular basis.  

Social Bond Strengthening

People who love the great outdoors or any kind of outdoor activity usually do well at group work.  Outdoorsy folks improve their social skills over time and they do so while learning how to effectively work with others.

Imagine what it will be like for your kid.

Encouraging your kid to enjoy nature also gives them important skills, such as team building and problem-solving skills. These will be extremely valuable when she grows up.  

Increased Productivity

Believe it or not, people who spend more time outdoors are more productive in their job and personal life.  Kids who spend more time with friends playing in the park tend to show more IQ and EQ than those who spend more time tinkering with their gadgets.

They are more motivated to get involved in activities and they bring this “grit” to solve life’s riddles and challenges.

Healthy View of the Environment

By exploring the world, kids develop a deep appreciation of nature.  Teaching your child about nature opens their eyes to how important and interconnected the environment is.

Talk to your child about simple, but pressing, environmental issues of the day and teach her how she can make a big difference in her own small way.  Besides, big changes take place with small steps.

  1.       Contribute to the Local Economy by Boosting Local, Small Businesses

Last, but certainly not least, exploring the great outdoors with your kids can bring great value to local and small businesses in your area.  Every time you go out to enjoy nature, you contribute to your local economy’s coffers.

The Great Outdoors Month of June is a time for everyone to share what nature has to offer.  It helps heighten your child’s understanding of nature and their place in it. Plus it’s just a great place to relax in!

  • The Apple Tree Learning Centers

  • Infant Childcare Programs

6 Benefits of Summer Camp for your Kids

| Admin

Are you one of the many parents looking for the best activities to keep your children occupied and productive over the summer? One of the top options is a summer camp.

summer camp

Sending your child to a summer camp can help their growth and development.

Summer camp is more than playing and having fun. It features various activities which provide new learning opportunities for children. It teaches and develops valuable skills that a child can carry with them for the rest of their lives. If you didn’t have the chance to go to a summer program as a child, you may not realize the educational, inspirational, and fun kind of experience it is.

Thinking about sending your child to a summer camp? Here are some good reasons why you should.

Summer camp helps kids develop a unique interest

Several camps cover areas and subjects which are not taught in school. Schools don’t usually offer lessons regarding archery or video games! But there are some summer programs that specialize in these areas. So if your child is interested to learn something that’s outside of the normal school subjects, it would be a good decision to send them to a summer camp. A camp is also an excellent place for them to discover an interest they may not have realized before.

It helps develop a child’s social skills

A summer camp provides kids a perfect opportunity to build meaningful friendships. It teaches campers how to get along with other campers. It may not be easy at first. Your child may feel hesitant and a little scared. But the environment and activities provide helpful opportunities for children to practice their independence. This helps improve their confidence and build social skills.

In a summer camp, a child learns and develops conflict-resolution and risk-taking skills. They learn how to make decisions on their own without their parents’ help.

It develops self-confidence

In a summer camp, kids are encouraged to leave their comfort zones and participate in all activities possible. A camp teaches a child that it is okay to fail and to make mistakes. It helps them identify their limitations as well as discover the things they can still improve on. It allows children to face challenges and take risks in a supervised, safe and supportive environment.

The experiences your child can get from a summer camp equip them with lifelong skills they can use to be successful in their future endeavors.

It provides plenty of time for unstructured play

Unlike a preschool or a daycare center, a camp is where your child can enjoy unstructured play and activities. It is where they can enjoy being free from the daily stress and routine of school life. They have plenty of time for just playing, having fun and carefree living while learning creativity and social engagement.

It keeps them physically active

Today, most children spend a majority of time on their screens – televisions, tablets, laptops and mobile phones. And too much screen time is not healthy.

Summer camp is an excellent way to keep your child physically active, in a secure place, interacting with their peers. Camps encourage them to try healthier and more enjoyable activities, such as swimming, hiking and more.

summer camp

Kids enjoy attending summer camps.

It allows a deep dive into new skills

Even if your child’s area of interest is being taught in their preschool or daycare center, sending them to a summer camp can help them in further learning of a new skill. A summer program can give your child the opportunity and the time to be more immersed in a specific learning. If your child wants to hone their skills in arts, gymnastics or football, look for the summer programs which focus on these areas. Check out the camp descriptions so your child can deep dive into the things they love!

Summer camps benefit your child in more ways than one. You’ll find the benefits go far beyond just having fun and games. Summer camps do a good job of teaching valuable lessons children won’t get anywhere else.

  • The Apple Tree Learning Centers

  • Infant Childcare Programs

Summer Camp Calendars

| Admin

You and your child won’t want to miss any of the action packed, energy filled and educationally amazing activities happening during The Apple Tree Learning Centers Summer Camp!

So click on the links below to see what is happening!

CLICK HERE for our JUNE Summer Camp Calendar

CLICK HERE for our JULY Summer Camp Calendar

  • The Apple Tree Learning Centers

  • Infant Childcare Programs

How To Celebrate National Bike Month With Your Kids

| Admin

Ask just about anyone and they can usually –and vividly — remember when they first learned to ride a bike!

It’s just something you never forget…

Learning to ride is fun!

Learning to ride is fun!

No matter how long it’s been since you hopped on a bike, National Bike Month provides the perfect reason to get back out there and ride again!

Here’s how to celebrate that amazing invention, the bicycle, with your kids… and start a new healthy habit as a family!

Getting Started

Begin by setting out the rules for safe biking. Even if your kids aren’t old enough to really remember everything you’re telling them, repeat the rules for safe biking to them every time you go out. When they see you following the same rules you’re telling them to follow, it will encourage them to do the same.

Teach them the following tips for safe biking:

  • Keep your tires well inflated – match the pressure that’s listed on the tire itself.
  • Inspect your brakes before setting out to make sure they’re aligned and working properly
  • Keep bolts, bearings, and chains greased
  • Wear a helmet at all times, making sure it fits you well and isn’t too loose
  • If you plan to ride at night, wear bright, reflective colors and use a light
  • For trail riding, stay on the right side, pass to the left and use your voice or a horn to alert people and other riders that you’re planning to pass
  • Use hand signals and obey traffic signals, always stopping at stop lights and stop signs
  • Make eye contact with drivers to be sure they see you
  • Ride with the traffic, not against it

Note: Before venturing out, add more reflectors to your bikes – and any clothes you’re wearing. And consider adding flashing reflectors to improve visibility

Set Your Course

To make National Bike Month a fun time for you and your kids, have a plan. Your activities will be determined, in large part, by the biking skills your kids have.

If, for example, you have young kids with little to no experience riding a bike, you’ll obviously be focused on teaching them how to ride a bike. Give them ample time to practice their new skill.

Older or more confident riders who may be up for a challenge might enjoy:

  • setting up jumps in the backyard
  • going “off-road” on nearby bike trails
  • holding a “bike rodeo” with the neighborhood kids where they can take part in:
    • obstacle courses
    • jumps
    • a “balance beam” made from lines drawn on the ground that riders need to stay within
    • “paper boy” – riders toss rolled up newspapers into targets such as large trash cans, baskets, tubs, etc.
    • slow races – points deducted for each time their foot hits the ground before the finish line (builds up their balance and coordination)

Riding a bike is a childhood rite of passage that you don’t want your kids to miss… so get on out there and ride with them!

  • The Apple Tree Learning Centers

  • Infant Childcare Programs

Tips on How to Choose a Great Summer Camp Program in Tucson

| Admin

Summer vacation means more free time for your little ones. For some children, this is a time to play and have fun. For others, it’s an opportunity to learn new skills and hone their studies.

As a parent, you want your kids to make the most of their summer vacation. And an excellent child care option you can consider are summer camps.

Summer camps can benefit your child in more ways than one. They can help in a child’s short-term and long-term development. They provide plenty of opportunities for children to have fun while developing certain skills.

Thinking about sending your little one to a camp during summer vacation? Here are some great tips to help you in choosing the best summer camp program.

Don’t overlook the fine points

little boy fishing

Make sure to choose a summer program with interesting activities

While there are several things to consider when choosing the right summer program, it’s important you don’t take the fine points for granted. It is true that the facilities, location, safety and activities are crucial things to consider. But, it is equally important to look beneath the surface of a summer program.

Good summer programs provide opportunities for children to learn new things about themselves. They are given the opportunities to explore unique and unfamiliar activities. When searching for a summer camp program, look for a program that can influence your child’s future.

It could be something which will nurture their personal growth and development. Or it could be something that will help them get a college admission, land a dream internship, and so on. Since this information is not something you can usually get from brochures, it would be best to conduct research.

[Read more…]

  • The Apple Tree Learning Centers

  • Infant Childcare Programs

Reasons Why You Should Educate Children on the Value of Volunteering

| Admin

Raising kids isn’t easy…especially in a society that often seems so self-absorbed. (selfies, anyone?)

So how can parents help kids see beyond their own immediate interests and concerns?

By involving their children in opportunities to volunteer their time and energies towards helping others.

While volunteering benefits those on the receiving end – both the individuals and organizations served – it’s hard to quantify how much volunteering benefits the “giver” just as much…if not more.

When you give your child opportunities to help others through volunteering you’re also helping them learn:

Empathy

When looking for opportunities to volunteer, the closer your child can be to the end result (e.g. handing the sandwich to a homeless person not just making the sandwich) the more concrete their understanding will be of what they’re doing.

Which also leads to more engagement in the volunteering process.

Confidence

Children gain confidence when they see their own contributions make a difference in someone else’s life. Their success then encourages them to look for other ways they can contribute to their communities, building leadership skills they will take with them throughout their lives.

Cooperation

volunteer holding hand

Volunteer work can teach love and compassion

Social situations are the best way for children to learn social skills, and volunteering is no exception.

When a diverse range of individuals meet through volunteering, they have a common goal in mind, however different people will often approach the same task in a different way, which can potentially lead to conflict.

Children who witness – and participate in – the process of deliberation among the volunteers learn how important collaboration with others is to achieve the desired end result…helping individuals in need.

[Read more…]

  • The Apple Tree Learning Centers

  • Infant Childcare Programs

Tips for Choosing the Right Preschool in Tucson, AZ       

| Admin
Choosing the Right Preschool

Choosing the Right Preschool

Preschool is an excellent place which can provide your child many wonderful learning experiences. It is in preschool they are given the opportunities to grow their abilities, develop essential skills and nurture cognitive learning and creativity.

There are plenty of preschools out there which promise the right balance between learning and having fun. This can make choosing a preschool for your child difficult. It’s crucial you find the school which offers the curriculum and programs that will meet the needs of your child.

Feeling a little overwhelmed? Here are some tips you could use to guide you in choosing a preschool for your child.

Identify your goals

Before you start your search, it’s essential you determine the goals you want to achieve from sending your child to a preschool.

  • What do you want your child to get out their experience in preschool?
  • Do you want them to learn more about the fundamentals of academic education?
  • Do you want them to learn the alphabet and numerals right away?
  • Or you simply want them to gain experience and develop some skills from interacting with other children?

Determining the learning you want your child to gain from preschool will help you choose the right preschool for your kids.

List down your priorities

To help you with choosing a preschool for your child, make a list of your priorities. What factors do you consider as the most important? Do you need the preschool to be near your house? Or do you need it to be near your workplace? Do you need a morning or an afternoon program for your child? Are the food options also part of your decision-making? It’s crucial you figure out your deal breakers or non-negotiables to help you weed out some of your choices.

Seek recommendations from your friends and family

If you want to find the best preschools in Tucson, you can ask your friends and family for recommendations and feedback. This will help you gain an insight into the preschool’s reputation in your community. You may also consider reaching out to some of your peers whose kids are just about the same age as your child. Get some information on the program their children are currently enrolled in. Ask for their honest feedback. It will help you a lot.

Create a list of your preschool options

Based on the information you have gathered from your friends and family, start creating a list of your choices. To help you further narrow down your options, you may want to conduct research. Use the internet and check out each of the preschool’s websites. Learn more about their programs and curriculum. See if these are the things that you are looking for your child. Also take time to read the reviews online. If you can’t find them online, you may also get in touch with them through the phone.

Do a site visit

Once you have narrowed down your choices to a fewer number of preschools, it’s time to do a site visit. When you decide to see the preschool yourself, it would be much better if you bring your child with you. This will give you and your child a better sense of how the school feels in general. Allow your child to observe if they will be comfortable with the school’s environment. Watch how things work in the school. Observe how the teachers interact with the students. Do you think the school is going to be a perfect fit for your child? Do you see any safety concerns?

Consider your child’s needs

After your site visit, you may be pretty much decided on the preschool that you will choose for your child. But before you make the final decision, remember to put your child’s needs above everything else. If possible, choose the school that will make your child happy. Take their preference into consideration, too. After all, you want a preschool where your child will learn to love and enjoy learning.

It may not be easy to choose the right preschool for your child. But use these tips to get started and it will be much less stressful.

Looking for a preschool that is focused on your child’s holistic growth and development? Please consider our Tucson preschool.

  • The Apple Tree Learning Centers

  • Infant Childcare Programs

How to Celebrate National Nutrition Month at Home and School

| Admin

“Invest in Yourself – Buy Nutrition” was the theme for the first National Nutrition Month. It was created in 1973 by the American Dietetic Association (ADA). The ADA is known now as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It actually started as a week long to begin with, but has expanded to a full month to reach more people.

This month of awareness is meant to help everyone focus on the many benefits of living a healthy lifestyle, of which nutrition plays a key part.

There are a lot of ways to celebrate National Nutrition Month both at home and at school. Looking for the best way to help the information be effective and stick? Make it fun!

Here are a few ideas to help you get started.:

Create a theme for each week which focuses on a particular aspect of a healthy lifestyle.

For example:
Week One – MyPlate – what it is and how it can help you eat healthy food
Week Two – Why choose whole grains?
Week Three – How to read nutrition labels
Week Four – Get moving every day!

Supermarket scavenger hunt

Take a class field trip to the local supermarket (or parents, take your kids shopping with you) and make a game out of finding healthy food choices.

Using an “I spy” type of game, give the kids clues about the food you’re talking about.

For example, you could say, “I spy something orange, it grows in the ground and is a bunny’s favorite food”.
Or, “I see something that’s bright red, grows on a tree and is delicious in a pie.”
Another way to have fun learning about nutrition? Have the older kids come up with their own clues that they can then share with the younger ones!

Make your own plate

fruits and nuts

Find creative ways to achieve a balanced diet.

  • Using MyPlate as a reference, give each child three paper plates. Cut out images of food from magazines, or use some grocery ads.  Ask them to put together three healthy meals (e.g. breakfast, lunch and dinner).
  • Once they’ve completed their meals, discuss the reasons why they chose the foods they did.  When applicable, ask them what would have been a better option. Discuss portion size too!
  • Combine efforts where possible. Get the entire school or family involved in supporting your efforts. One way is to coordinate what you teach in the classroom – or at home – with the school nutrition staff.
  • In the cafeteria, focus on a healthy food choice each day. Hang up posters showing a particular food item. Include the nutritional benefits, and show suggestions on how to serve the food.
  • At home, use a new food each week – or several times per week – in your family meals to expand your child’s palate. This helps open up discussions about why some foods are healthier choices than others.

Note: The school’s website, social media, newsletters and morning announcements provide wonderful opportunities to share information and reminders about what makes a healthy food choice.

Volunteers

Think about people in your network who can add to the conversation about nutrition. Know a local chef? Ask them to come in and discuss how they prepare foods for their clients.  A physician or a personal trainer can discuss the impact of eating foods that give you energy.

Other ideas

Partner with the local library to provide nutritional education opportunities through story time events, coloring contests and/or activity sheets for kids.

Get kids involved in a food donation campaign to your local food pantry or shelter.

Put together a lesson plan discussing the science behind baking. Discuss what ingredients are needed, why they’re needed and what happens when they’re used.

Classroom and/or school vegetable projects. Have kids choose their favorite vegetable, and plant the seed in a small container. Have them take it home with them at the end of the school year so that they can plant it somewhere at home (assuming the season is right for planting!)

As you can see there are a lot of ways you can drive home the importance of a healthy lifestyle, while making it fun and memorable.