March Madness

March 14, 2011

It is my favorite time of year!  Okay, I know I sound like Jay Bilas, but March is my favorite month.  AP is turning four, Wade is turning seven and I am turning….well, that is not important.  I get excited about the potential for a snap of warm weather on any given day.  I also like the hustle and bustle of Spring.  Soccer, baseball, ballet, soccer, soccer, baseball, in that order every week until the end of May.  Many of our schools start their spring enrichment programs this month.  Kindergarten registration is coming soon!  Summer planning is in full swing!  My favorite part is getting the opportunity to spend a small fortune to register my children for summer programs and camps.

I have to admit, I USED to be one of those moms who had my kids summer camps planned the first week in February.  I waited and waited for the mailman to deliver the summer camp catalogs.   I circled and highlighted in a different color per child the program that I thought they were interested in.  I honestly think I can say we have been to every summer camp in Richmond for children under the age of eight.  Who knew a child’s interest could change from animals to soccer in two weeks?  Every year we have our favorites…this year will be no different.  However, this year I am letting the kids pick their camps mostly.  Here are the rules:

1.  It has to be in Richmond.

2.  You get to pick three camps.

3.  You must have a good reason for choosing the camp.  A good reason would be “I want to learn how to draw cartoon characters” or “I want to learn how to kick the soccer ball with more force.”  A not so good reason is “all my friends are going.”  

The boys have been reading and circle much like I have done in the past.  Tough choices!  I can’t wait to see what they choose this summer!

If you or your children are looking for summer programs with an educational flair, visit for a full list of our summer offerings. 

We will also be at Peak Experiences for the Richmond Family Summer Camp Expo on March 27th!  Hope to see you there!

49% of children from middle class families in Virginia do NOT know their alphabet!!!

February 10, 2011

WOW!  Really?  I am completely appalled at this statistic.  Parents are not the only ones to blame.  Yes, parents NEED to read to their children every night, talk to them,  explain how things in their environment work and make sure their children attend high quality preschools.  But, parents can’t do this alone.

Didn’t Hillary Clinton say “it takes a village to raise a child?”  Well, I think it is time for the states to become more involved in Early Childhood Education.   This needs to be a priority for our state and local governments.  Why is it we try to fix education from the top down and not from the bottom up?  Quality early childhood programs have time and time again proved to improve the quality of life for millions of children, reduce crime, make the workforce of the future more productive, and strengthen the overall economy.  Not to mention early childhood education is much more economical than building prisons, rehabilitating drug abusers, and supporting a welfare system.  Based on the research compiled by Robert Lynch, he discovered long term findings of children who participated in quality early childhood programs:

• Higher levels of verbal, mathematical, and intellectual achievement

• Greater success in school, including less grade retention and higher graduation rates

• Higher employment and earnings

• Better health outcomes

• Less welfare dependency

• Lower rates of crime

• Greater government revenues and lower government expenditures

Given the consistent results of why a quality early childhood experience is necessary, I urge you to make sure this is a priority for your family by supporting schools that provide exceptional programs and support initiatives to increase funding for early childhood education.

It’s time to hit the ground running!

January 10, 2011

I am sure some of you are taking the first few days of 2011 literally running!  I wish I could say I was in that group.  I really loved running, but I have come to the conclusion unless I am on the soccer field running for the goal or being chased by a large bear I am not going to run anymore.  I will stick to spin class, the elliptical or stair climber.

I am going to hit the ground running this year with my children’s education though.  I got a head start on my daughter over the holidays by working on some skills she was severely lacking.  I am too embarrassed to list all the things we had to address over the holidays.  I am pleased to say that she started back to preschool on Tuesday on a new foot. WHEW!

January is always the month when parents start to make the realization that their child may not be quite up to speed at school.  This is when they begin to question what should they do to address the situation.  Should you let a few more weeks go by and see what happens?  Should you enroll them in an after school program to help?  Should you vow to spend more time working with them each night?  Should you get them a private tutor?

If you are questioning if your child needs a tutor, here are some questions to ask:

1.       Are your child’s grades beginning to slowly drop?

2.       Is your child showing frustration in a particular subject(s)?

3.       Has your child developed low self-esteem and/or thinks negatively of him or herself in regards to their school performance?

4.       Does your child have anxiety towards school?

5.       Does the teacher send notes home asking you to assist the child with his or her homework?

6.       Has the teacher, school or doctor recommended your child have the assistance of a tutor?

7.       Is your child an advanced learner, a gifted student or needs enrichment beyond what the school can provide?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be a good idea to start looking into a private tutor who can support you and your child.

A tutor can give your child the individual attention that he or she needs, they may readily identify what problem areas your child may have more quickly than a teacher–who has to assist 25-30 students each day, some children tend to take instruction easier from someone they do not have emotional ties with and tutors have the education and experience to help a child with their academic work.   We also know how well children respond to one hour of an adults undivided attention too!

Maybe I will see you on my run!

A Little Scholars Christmas Wish List 2010

December 6, 2010

(To the tune of Here Comes Santa Claus)

Here comes the Christmas list!

Here comes the Christmas list!

Little Scholars’ favorite toys!

Legos, Bristle Blocks and all the Tangrams,

For building girls and boys!

Bananagrams are spelling, Potato Heads singing,

All is merry and bright.

Hang your HexBugs and line your Inchimals,

‘Cause Santa Claus is coming in sight!

Here comes the Christmas list!

Here comes the Christmas list!

Little Scholars’ favorite toys!

We’ve got a game that is filled with family fun

Double Shutter’s bringing lots of joy!

Hear those Dice jingle jangle,

Oh, what a beautiful sight.

Jump in bed, cover up your head,

And read a good book tonight!

See our 2009 Twas the Night Before Christmas Little Scholars’ Wish List for more gift ideas!

Read like a Scholar!

November 10, 2010

Can you believe it is already that time of year?  I am not talking about the holidays, but Parent Teacher Conferences! I will be going to my boys’ conferences on Thursday.  I am anxious just writing about it.  Like many of you, I have concerns about my sons’ progress.boy reading

Time and time again though, I hear more parents express deep concern about their child’s progress in reading.  Reading is the one skill that a student must be proficient in to be successful in all other subjects.  “Reading” not only means a child’s fluency, but their comprehension of the text too.

Research shows that children learn about reading before they enter school. In fact, they learn in the best manner through observation. Young children, for example, see people around them reading newspapers, books, maps, and signs.*

Parents of preschoolers can foster reading at home by:

  1. Talking with your preschoolers about signs in their environment.
  2. Showing your children you enjoy reading themselves.
  3. Reading to your child and pointing to the words as you read. This helps children begin to notice words and that words have meaning. They also gain an awareness of the conventions of reading, such as left to right progression, and from the top of the page to the bottom, and that sentences are made up of words.

Current research in reading reveals three important considerations for parents:  Children who read, and read widely, become better readers, reading and writing are complementary skills, and parents are important to children both as role models and as supporters of their efforts.*

Parents of school aged children can develop reading skills by:

  1. Being a good role model by allowing your child to watch you read.
  2. Reading ALOUD often to your child even if they are in 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade.
  3. Providing a variety of reading materials such as books, magazines, and poetry in a vast array of topics.
  4. Encouraging activities that require reading such as reading a recipe, making and following a grocery list, or researching their favorite sports team.
  5. Establishing a consistent reading time.  My family’s reading time is before bedtime.
  6. Writing notes to your children…stick it in their lunch box, post it on the fridge and encourage written responses.
  7. Having your child read to their younger brother or sister.  This helps with fluency, expression, and comprehension.

*Excerpted from: Swanson, B. B. (2001). How Can I Improve My Child’s Reading? Parent Brochure. ACCESS ERIC.

To see what reading programs Little Scholars offers, check out our enrichment programs list.  We have not extended our services to Middle Schoolers as well!

Middle Scholars

October 18, 2010

I have to be honest…Middle School was a struggle for me not only the academics, but the social aspect of middle school. Robious Middle School was a big school with LOTS of new kids and I was not the most popular anymore. Ugh! The thought of having to go through this stage three more times with my own children is scary!

Middle School students can be known as being an intimidating group of children to work with. Well, I have decided to take this challenge on, but not single-handedly, but with a great team of educators!

Middle Scholars is our new division exclusively for middle school students. We will offer the same personalized and rich approach to education, which is important for students of this age. Our goal for each student is for them to possess strong analytical and critical thinking skills that will promote student success across all subject areas. Building confidence and independence as a learner will provide your child with a positive academic career. We provide Educational Development Sessions as well as enrichment programs for middle schoolers coming soon to your home, your child’s school, or our learning academy.

Read more about Middle Scholars and the enrichment programs offered

Back to School!

September 13, 2010

It really is my favorite time of the year!  I love all the shiny new school supplies and the overall excitement that is amidst us!  There is only one little thing that keeps me in check and that is the exhaustion level of my children.

I am sure you can picture this…your sweet little child hops in the car (or off the bus) and the moment you pull away (or he leaves his bus spot), they change into this child you are pretty sure does not belong to you.  Nothing is right, there is nothing that could possible soothe him and he is STARVING!!! What happened to him at school?  Well, that sweet little child held all of his emotions in check all day at school and now you get to be victim to all of them…yes, all of them!  Guess what? Then you get to tell him it is time for homework, a quick snack, off to practice, home, another snack, shower, read and bed…did I get it right?

I had a parent ask me the other day, how do parents get it all done?  Here was my answer to her:  “I can only speak from my experience with three children and what works best for our family. I only let the boys do one sport/afterschool activity (they always choose a sport and it is torture to only choose one!).  I believe the rest of the time is spent on education and free play. I am committed to making sure I am building a strong educational foundation because it is critical when they are young (90% of learning occurs between birth and age six). ”

I think we often lose focus sometimes about what is really important for our children.  It is essential we provide they downtime for free play. It is critical we provide them an environment where they can have success in education as well.