Pointing at Penguins

Pointing at Penguins

By Lizzy and Colin Tahsuda

Eleanor turned one a few weeks ago! We can’t believe our baby is officially a toddler. To celebrate, we took her to the Greensboro Science Center for the first time. She had a blast! We started in the aquarium. We talked about all the various colors of the fish and counted seahorses. The penguins were her favorite! She laughed as they waddled around and dove into the water. We probably could have spent the entire afternoon just hanging out with the penguins!

Outside, we spent time with the meerkats and the red pandas, but her favorite were the maned wolves. We think she thought they were dogs. 😊 She squealed at them just like she does when she sees our dog at home or dogs on walks! At the end of our visit, we rode the carousel. We identified the different animals, and she chose to sit on the tiger. All in all, it was a great day!

Reduce Stress, Maximize Love and Fun

Reduce Stress, Maximize Love and Fun

By Glasher and Ray Robinson

Recently we reflected upon the fact that our schedules are stretched most days. Logan is now in her first season of playing youth soccer. Lauren participates in taekwondo and Girl Scouts. On our busy days, Logan’s emotions can run high, and we may experience meltdowns. We maximize love and manage stress by watching for nonverbal cues like yawning. And we talk about her feelings, and asking her why she reacted the way she did.

We have now purposely scheduled time to relieve stress and regulate emotions by doing yoga before bed. We encourage Logan and Lauren to work together to complete tasks like picking up toys. We decided we needed to spend time relaxing and having fun as a family, so we took a trip to Velocity 360 Fun Zone. The girls had such a great time and there were lots of activities to participate in. Logan and Lauren’s favorite was the trampoline area.

Peek-a-Boo and Teaching Object Permanence

Peek-a-Boo and Teaching Object Permanence

By Jennifer Scotton

I didn’t realize how important a good game of peek-a-boo was until I became a parent. What appears to be a simple pastime is actually a valuable lesson for your child.

Our daughter now enjoys playing this entertaining game on her own. She’ll cover her eyes, and when she uncovers them, we’ll gleefully respond “peek-a-boo,” or “keet-a-boo,” as my three-year-old says. In response, she always giggles! We’re teaching her through simple play that when objects leave her sight, they don’t disappear forever. It is a significant milestone that will assist her in working through any potential separation anxiety she may experience in the later stages of infancy. Playing peek-a-boo is just one more tool we can use to help prepare our children for future success.

Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader

Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader

By Jasmine Faison and Jonathan Linton
Transitioning from the baby to toddler stage is no easy feat, but the more Jade’s awareness and skills grow, the more excited we become. Read and Discuss Stories is one of our favorite Basics from both stages, as it aids Jade’s intellectual development and our family bonding time.
We have been reading books to and with Jade since she was first born. Now, she not only reads with us, but she flips through the pages on her own throughout the day. When she is ready, she brings the books of her choice to us, indicating that she is ready for storytime before bed. We are fortunate to have so many great books to choose from. We are also signed up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, so Jade receives a free book once a month! Join today!
Next stop on our reading journey, our very first library card!

Spring Has Sprung

Spring Has Sprung

Written by Lizzy and Colin Tahsuda

As the weather gets warmer, we are enjoying many outdoor activities. The other day, we took Eleanor to the Greensboro Arboretum for a walk. She loved hearing the birds sing, feeling the warm sunshine, and looking at all the plants and flowers. We even passed by a few dogs, which she always finds exciting! We came across a small park close to the Arboretum and decided to try swinging. She had so much fun! During our visit, she noticed other children playing, enjoyed the breeze, and absorbed everything around her. The outdoors stimulates all of your senses in a way that we take for granted. It’s incredible to watch her learn and experience new things!

Discovering the “Real World”

Discovering the “Real World”

By Shontia and Jayvon Johnson

Exploration is the highest form of discovery for PJ these days. Exposing him to the “real world” environments and occasions has offered him additional vocabulary and analytical thinking. A trip to the Memphis Children’s Museum allowed for him to turn items seen on television or during his learning time through flash cards, become life size!

The opportunity to touch and feel actual equipment, gadgets and items associated with fire trucks, airplanes and “big people” objects, has given Parker freedom to add great value to his young life and desire to know more! We watched as his eyes lit up in excitement and eagerness.

Playground Exploration

Playground Exploration

By Glasher Robinson

When the weather is nice, spending time outside in the Robinson household is a must. On a beautiful Sunday, Logan, Lauren, and I found ourselves at one of our local neighborhood parks. The playground is where I get to watch Lauren and Logan take turns leading, playing, and exploring. When we arrived, there was one other family there. Logan observed Lauren immediately having a conversation, introducing herself and asking if he wanted to play. Logan then introduced herself, too, before heading up the stairs towards the lower slide. During this visit, I witnessed Logan become more fearless in how she played. As she saw her big sister and new acquaintance use the higher slide, so did she. This time she asked to be pushed harder on the swing so she could go higher than she felt comfortable doing before.

Having older children around to observe how they played increased Logan’s confidence and encouraged her to be more fearless. There was a small window on the playground that Logan quickly transformed into a restaurant. We became her customers and served hotdogs. Their new acquaintance’s shoe fell off and she ran over to help him. I realized that Logan developed a greater sense of independence at three years old than I remember seeing on the playground during previous visits.

Making a Game of Comparisons

Making a Game of Comparisons

By Jennifer Scotton

With a three-year-old and an infant in our house, dinner time can get a bit hectic. As we wait for everyone to get seated, my son and I have been playing a new game to keep him occupied until food is in front of him at the table. I’ll point to his dad and say: “Who is taller, Daddy or Mommy?” He gives us both a once-over and gleefully replies, “Daddy!” We continue this game by comparing the height of everyone in our house, sometimes even adding in the dog and the cat! If we run out of heights to compare, we move on to ages and hair length.

This is an easy game that works well any time, including car rides and neighborhood walks. Using this tool to keep my son engaged has also helped to foster his math and critical thinking skills.

 

 

We’re on the Move!

We’re on the Move!

By Jasmine Faison and Jonathan Linton

Hip Hip, Hooray, Jade has a birthday!

We are approaching Jade’s 1st Birthday with lots of excitement, as she finally started walking! A few steps here and there have quickly turned into full blown walking/trying to run in just a few short weeks.

We are overjoyed, as we have finally made it through all of The Basics for infants, and are now transitioning to the tips for our soon to be toddler!

Explore Through Movement and Play is currently helping most, as Jade navigates a new world that is higher up and more expansive than before 🙂 Following her lead, talking a walk, and using position words are supporting her new physical abilities. The sky is truly the limit for our April 1st baby. Enjoy the first year Moms and Dads, it goes by so fast!

Exploring the Friendly Skies

Exploring the Friendly Skies

By Lizzy and Colin Tahsuda

Eleanor recently took her first plane ride for a family wedding. As first-time parents, we were terrified! Babies can be unpredictable and we didn’t want to disturb anyone on our flights. Thankfully, at 10-months old, Eleanor is very “busy” and easily distracted.

We made the most of the opportunity by pointing out new things. We counted luggage, “read” the airplane safety manual and had a blast on the moving sidewalks in the airport. She ended up having so much fun waving at people, playing with (eating) the boarding passes, studying the “fasten seatbelt” light and observing her new surroundings. Turns out she didn’t even need all the toys we brought with us!

Having Fun While Learning

Having Fun While Learning

By Shontia and Jayvon Johnson

Nurturing the learning environment of our son has been ideal for us! We wanted to make sure that each learning space he enters allows for him to explore his unique learning style, while also being based in best practices.

We have fallen in love with Appleville Academy! Mrs. Stephanie Douglas has been instrumental in developing a center that has well-trained staff, organized administrative process and modern technology and communication for parents.

As many of the lessons provided throughout the month, the last two weeks Parker and his friends have been focused on a new color. While discovering the color green, his class has also used the activity of locating two green bears in a pile of other colors. Through this activity, color recognition, sorting, counting, and fine motor skills are practiced.

It’s a curriculum like this that has allowed for us to continue the lessons in our home. PJ has enjoyed adding to his vocabulary and recognizing his ability to have fun while learning!

 

Snowy Exploration

Snowy Exploration

By Ray & Glasher Robinson

While mom and dad could care less if they woke up to a winter wonderland, Logan, on the other hand, made up a song about how she wished it would snow. This was not the first time it has snowed since Logan was born, but this was her first true exploration in it. As adults, we forget the joy snow brings now that we are more focused on shoveling it rather than playing in it. Step one to getting outside in the snow was layering up in preparation to deal with the cold temperature.

For our snowy adventure, Logan canvased our entire yard. Instead of telling Logan what to do, we simply followed behind her. We studied our footprints in the snow, chased after a squirrel, spoke to a bird and marched around the house playing follow the leader. As Logan observed us mimicking her, her confidence and volume increased. When she jumped so did we. When she ran, we had to try and keep up. Next time, we will have to conquer making a snow angel and snow cream!

Living and Learning

Living and Learning

By Jasmine Faison and Jonathan Linton

We’re almost to 1 years old! As Jade gets closer and closer to turning 1, her interactions, activity and talking have increased so much. We’re amazed at how she figures things out so quickly. Smart girl! 

Count, Group and Compare is helping us to teach Jade her numbers, letters, colors, simple household tasks and scenarios like turning water and lights on and off, as well as other things that she is exploring. Our dance parties and singing sessions also aid us in keeping count of rhythm and pacing while we have fun! Jade’s favorite current activity is us counting to 10 while she claps thru it. And of course, counting our fingers and toes! 

Acting Out Emotions

Acting Out Emotions

By Jennifer Scotton

My almost three-year-old son has been experiencing a lot of big feelings as he transitions to his new threenager status. To help him better verbalize what he’s feeling, we’ve been working with him on identifying emotions.

We often play a game where I will dramatically act out an emotion — happy, sad, mad, or excited — and let him guess what emotion I’m portraying. He loves taking his turn to be the actor in the game, too! Using this game has helped him learn to better understand and express his needs when emotions run high.

Dancing to the Beat

Dancing to the Beat

By Lizzy and Colin Tahsuda

Eleanor has loved music since day one. We listen to all different genres throughout the house – a mixture of kid’s music and the music we like. We even have playlists to mark certain activities: playtime, bath time, dinner time, and bedtime!

We love watching Eleanor light up when one of her favorite songs comes on (she currently loves Gnarls Barkley). She dances, claps, and giggles! If she’s upset for any reason, singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” brings a big smile to her face. We love how interactive she is with music, and how listening and dancing to music is something we can all do as a family.

Setting a Pace

Setting a Pace

By Shontia and Jayvon Johnson

Parents, it’s not about perfection, yet setting a pace you can keep up with.

As a parent, you never know if you are doing “enough.” You are always curious to know how what you say or do is positively or negatively impacting your child. You want to simply do your best to assist them in becoming all that they can be, and you must face the reality that you are often doing your best! As an attempt to continue to be hands-on parents that aren’t overbearing, yet intentional, we picked up this great learning resource from Amazon.

Grateful to our sister who teaches this age group daily, she introduced us to this great resource that enables us to interact with PJ in a fun and educational way. This book allows for children PJ’s age to actively engage with the educational content in a fun and creative way! While we all love the opportunity we have to enroll our kids into childcare, some families may continue to struggle with the decision in the height of COVID-19, or simply can’t afford it. This book is a great partner for your child to easily breakdown and recognize foundational learning principles; coupled with Gracie’s Corner of course!

Watch Your Step!

Watch Your Step!

By Glasher Robinson and Lionel Ray Robinson

“Watch your step,” Lauren yelled to Logan! The Floor is Lava is a game often played in our home by throwing pillows on the ground, and then hopping from pillow to pillow without touching the ground (because the floor is lava).

A visit to Greensboro’s Children’s Museum allowed Lauren and Logan to put their design and building skills to the test at the Growing Place Exhibit. They were able to use their hands and feet to manipulate the water flowing in the digital forest. Lauren realized the faux logs served as a barrier to the water after she slid one by accident. Once they saw the water flow more freely, an idea was sparked. Logan began assisting Lauren in designing a forest with a flowing river that originated from the waterfall. Logan shouted, “Lauren, you’re standing in the water”! It was awesome to see them work together and discuss which logs to move to get the water to flow in the directions they wanted.

Snuggle Up and Read

Snuggle Up and Read

By Jennifer Scotton

Reading a book to my six-month-old daughter before she goes to sleep has been a great addition to her bedtime routine. As she has grown more aware of the world around her, it’s become my favorite time of day. After I get her ready for bed, we snuggle up in the rocker in her room and read a short book before I sing her a lullaby and tuck her in to sleep.

One of our favorite books to read together is Baby! Talk! by Penny Gentieu. We love this book because it shows children illustrations of actions alongside the words as they’re read. We look at the pictures as I read the book aloud, acting out what the baby in the picture is doing. She loves looking at the photos of other babies and I can’t wait for the day when she follows along, clapping her hands when I read aloud “clap hands, baby!”

 

New Year, New Movement

New Year, New Movement

By Jasmine Faison & Jonathan Linton

Physicality has been a major theme for Jade as she continues to grow. It will be super important for her to understand what it means to relate to her body and she is already becoming more in tune. She truly enjoys clapping, rolling over, playing with her feet, stretching her arms and legs, leaning her head from side to side, touching our faces, pulling up to stand, and taking assisted steps. We are so excited to see where her curiosity takes her.

Cheers to a wonderful new year full of precious memories and milestones!

Talk To Me

Talk to Me

By Lizzy and Colin Tahsuda

At 7 months old, Eleanor is very vocal these days! She is babbling consistently and, to her father’s delight, “Dada” was her first word!

We make a point to talk to her as if we expect her to respond. Even during mundane activities, such as diaper changes, we explain to her what we are doing and point out objects. “This is your diaper, Eleanor!” It can feel silly to talk to a baby, but she understands more than you might think. She now babbles back to us and she can mimic our tone and inflection. We carry on all sorts of conversations.

Can’t wait to hear what she says next – we hope it’s “Mama”!

Discovering Dinosaurs

Discovering Dinosaurs

By Shontia and Jayvon Johnson

It’s an adventure in itself discovering ALL of the dinosaurs! Yup, we said it, we have been learning about dinosaurs (well PJ more than us lol).

Over the last 3 months, Parker has had this strong interest in dinosaurs. Can you believe it, this 2-year-old is naming dinosaurs we can’t even pronounce! To match this level of amazement, one of his phenomenal aunties gifted him our latest read “Noisy Dinosaurs.”  In the pages of the book are embedded sound boxes that make the dinosaur on the page even more real! As we read and explore the dinosaurs, we engage PJ in making connections to the colors, letters, or numbers that he may be focused on in daycare. We turn our living room into Jurassic Park “Johnson Edition,” while allowing him to let his imagination run wild!

Often, reading on this level creates an environment that makes it fun and engaging. While we may lose him to taking the acting out of the book into a full-blown production, we hope that the aftermath of reading sessions like this produce a more intrigued and attentive reader.

Everyone Has a Story to Tell

Everyone Has a Story to Tell

By Glasher Robinson and Lionel Ray Robinson

We model reading aloud to Lauren and Logan and then discuss the story by asking them to provide their understanding of what was read by summarizing it or telling us their own version of a similar story. Depending on the responses the girls give, we will follow up with asking them questions or asking them to act out their interpretation.

Storytelling is a part of our cultural roots as African Americans. Both Lauren and Logan share this talent. Lauren at 7 years old, seems to shine in this arena thanks to her flair for dramatic expression and use of non-verbal gestures.

We have started turning our family outings into opportunities for the girls to share with us their understanding of their experiences. We are seeking to expose the girls to a variety of reading materials besides the traditional form of books and extend their reading comprehension practice beyond answering questions after reading.

Countdown to Transition

Countdown to Transition

By Jennifer Scotton

Transitioning from playtime to naptime can be a bit of an issue for most toddlers and certainly for mine. To ensure our son knows what to expect and when to expect it, I’ve enlisted the assistance of my smartphone. When naptime is approaching, I tell him “okay, buddy — Mommy is going to set the timer on her phone. In five minutes, when this timer goes off, we have to go upstairs and take a nap, okay? After you wake up from your nap, we can come back down here and play with the racetrack again.” He somewhat reluctantly responds with “okay.”

When the timer goes off, he stops what he’s doing and looks to me for direction. I ask him “Guess what time it is?!” with excitement in my voice and he generally remembers what is supposed to come next– in this instance, naptime. Providing the predictability of what to expect and an approximate timeline helps to keep him from melting down when we ask him to move from having fun playing to settling down for a nap.

It’s OK it be Upset

It’s OK it be Upset

By Jasmine Faison & Jonathan Linton 

Because Jade is such an active little one, of course she has moments when she becomes upset. It may be when she separates from us, is having teething pains, wants something that she is not old enough to safely play with yet, or just plain ole not feeling it.

Maximizing Love and Managing Stress has helped us in those moments. Jon and I always show Jade how much she is loved thru our daily cuddles and kisses, comforting her when she needs us, and playing with her in ways that bring joy and a bit of learning. Now that we are 7.5 months in and our routine is rock solid, we get the chance to go easier on ourselves and be more grateful for the journey, while putting words to Jades possible feelings, so that she can become more familiar with how certain things make her feel. It is our responsibility to set the tone on how she can and will manage stress. Some days are harder than others, but we’re heading into the holiday season feeling good and ready to hit our next milestones.

Developing a Reading Routine

Developing a Reading Routine

By Lizzy and Colin Tahsuda

Eleanor loves books. From about 3 weeks old, we started including books as part of her bedtime routine. At that age, she could barely see 10 inches in front of her, but we wanted reading together to become a habit for all of us. Now, at 6 months old, she is very aware that after her last bottle of the evening, it is time for jammies and books. We go to her bookshelf and pick out three to read.

Just recently, she’s been gravitating toward specific books which is so fun to watch! Chicka Chicka Boom Boom appears to be her favorite. She loves the rhyming and the exaggerated voices we use when all the letters tumble down the coconut tree. She’s even started turning the board book pages herself. We love reading to her and look forward to the day when she can read to us!

Guilford Basics