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April Notes from the Director

April 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

April is the official Month of the Young Child and at Gretchen’s House we like to take the opportunity to focus on the community, parents, staff and as always, the children.

Community Focus

In celebration of the Month of the Young Child, Gretchen’s House tries to include children in a community outreach activity that is interesting and meaningful for them. This can be tricky since we know that many of the community outreach projects are difficult  for them to understand. We have decided to support St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital. While we understand that the concept of riding trikes to raise money for sick children is a very abstract one, we do know that children enjoy the activity of riding on bikes, trikes and scooters and/or pulling wagons, wheel barrels, etc. Our focus with the children will be to re-introduce the bikes now that the weather is better and discuss bike safety throughout the month. We will have lots of materials for the children to decorate the outdoor equipment and enjoy a special activity with the bikes.

It is important to note that all children will be included in the activity if they are interested in participating; regardless of donations. No one will be excluded. Please see the attached copy that outlines the official date for each classroom and other helpful details. A hard copy will be put in your mailbox as well. St Judes Information sheet

We are also collecting books for Reach Out and Read, a non profit program that collects new and gently used books. These books are used in doctor’s offices in lower income areas so families have the opportunity to read together while they wait to see the doctor. Often books are given to the children to take home.

Potlucks are coming up in the next few weeks. Be sure to check the calendar for your potluck date. We look forward to having dinner together as a Gretchen’s House community.

Parent Focus

Parents seemed to really enjoy the parenting series. A special thank you to Beth MeLampy, who divided her time between two sides of town to support as many families as possible to participate in the series.

Parents will be receiving a gift from their child and a gift from Gretchen’s House. Keep checking your mailbox!

Have you wondered  about the best times to transition your child from an infant seat to a forward seat or a forward 5-point harness set tot a booster? Please mark your calendar for Monday, April 24, when the University of Michigan Pediatric Trauma Program will be coming to present and interactive discussion on  child passenger safety. It will be from 5:45 – 6:45 at Dhu Varren in the gym. You will need to sign up in advance as child care and a light meal will be provided. Car Seat Safety Training

Children Focus

Your child will be receiving a book from Gretchen’s House, a gift certificate to Washtenaw Dairy for a free ice cream cone and will have a popsicle treat. And as always, our curriculum will focus on physical development, social emotional development, cognitive development and language and literacy. Special visitors will be coming to the center and field trips may be planned as well.

Staff Focus

Teachers will receive a gift from Gretchen and some fun appreciation treats and thank yous throughout the month. Parents are welcome and encouraged to participate in some kind of act of appreciation. Card, notes, etc. are always treasured by the teachers who care for your child(ren) each day.

Thank you,



About Laura Griswold
Dhu Varren Director Laura Griswold has been a part of the Gretchen’s House team for almost twenty years, starting in 1992 as an I/T teacher at GH Mt. Pleasant. Laura served as the director of GH-Mt. Vernon for six years and as the director at GH-Traver for four years before opening the Dhu Varren center in October, 2003. Laura earned a Bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Development from Eastern Michigan University. She is a certified High/Scope trainer and also serves on the Washtenaw Community College Child Care Advisory Committee. Laura has two sons in elementary school who are GH graduates. In her spare time, Laura enjoys reading, scrap booking, and spending time with her family.

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