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Outdoor Gear

February 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

This past snow storm has left some remarkable snow piles for the children to explore! We ask that you please continue to send in hats, waterproof gloves, boots and snow pants during the snowy season! Extra socks and a full set of back up clothes are also helpful. As this most recent snow begins to melt, we will be in the messy season. These items will help to keep your children dry and comfortable as we explore the outdoors!

In addition, please remember to label all of your child’s extra gear. As teachers navigate through the day, we want to ensure we are able to keep track of all the gloves, hats, boots and snow pants to return to you each day. If you happen to find yourself with any extra items that you may no longer need, we gladly accept donations that allow us to have extra items on hand!

Thank you for your cooperation!


Valentine’s Day at Gretchen’s House

February 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Many of us have fond memories of elementary school Valentine’s Day parties and celebrations. The majority of the Ann Arbor Public Schools still celebrate with cards and parties. For the young children in our programs, Valentine’s Day is a very abstract concept. They are just learning about feelings of love and friendships. The idea of writing their name on a card 20 or 30 times is likely a skill they have yet to master, and that even as school age children we didn’t much enjoy!

Our approach to Valentine’s Day here at Gretchen’s House, is in line with our philosophy for all curriculum; meet the needs and follow the interests of the children. We will focus on children’s interests and age-appropriate activities that promote healthy social interactions. Teachers will be tuned in to see if children are interested in making cards, writing names and talking about friendships. We will have new and interesting materials available for children who want to create pictures, cards and other creations.

Like most things with young children, the interest may surface more after the big day. It is hard for younger children to remember a year ago and what the holiday is about. Often children receive cards and treats from relatives or hear about their sibling’s big day in school. It’s possible the children may talk about Valentine’s Day here at the center, long after the day has passed! Teachers at Gretchen’s House will be ready and happy to continue to support the interest as long as it lasts.

Although, we won’t be having a classroom exchange of Valentine’s – if your child is interested in making Valentine’s, we ask that you utilize the parent mailboxes for your exchange rather than bringing them into the classroom. We want to remain respectful of all children’s feelings. As we know not all families celebrate, it can be difficult for the children if they don’t receive as many as the other children in their class. Opening them at home will ensure it’s an experience they are able to enjoy in the comfort of their own home! In addition, please remember that we are an allergy aware center – for this reason, we ask that if you decide to bring in Valentine’s you limit it to cards only.

We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we work together to ensure Valentine’s Day is a positive experience for the children. Please let me know if you have any questions and/or concerns.

Thank you!



Railroad Infant/Toddler February Calendar

January 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A child can ask questions that a wise man cannot answer. ~Author Unknown

February 2015-2

Think Spring!~Denise


The Betsey room explores pine cones.

January 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The toddlers in the Betsey room used pine cones that were donated by Evan’s family to paint a group picture.  A couple of the children “planted” a “tree” in the middle of the paint.  While others dipped the pine cones in the paint to spread the paint on the paper.   —-Denise and Sarah

Betsey room gets a new Play (dough) station!

January 10, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The sensory area has expanded to include play dough and cookie cutters.  On Monday, the older children in the group made a couple of batches of play dough.  Later in the week, Jonah’s parents gave us some play dough as a going away gift.  As you can see, it is a very popular area.  The children have made everything from pumpkin pies to puppy dogs.


Denise and Sarah

Railroad I/T January Calendar

December 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

January is right around the corner.  Time sure does fly when you’re having fun!  Gretchen’s House is closed  December 24 through January 4, 2015.  We will reopen Monday, January 5th.  The railroad wing teachers hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday break.

January 2015

Denise, Sarah, Deb, Betsy, Hillary, Ashley, and Megan

Railroad Betsey–Helping friends

December 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The friends in Malcolm’s group are helping him feel comfortable in his future classroom.  Malcolm starts transition next week so we went to visit the Garden Preschool for small group several times this week.  All the children were excited to play with new toys.  ~Denise

Railroad I/T December Calendar

November 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Happy Holidays!  Wow!  This year went fast.  It was so great to spend the last year with all of you.

Here is the December calendar. December 2014

Denise, Sarah, Debbie, Betsy, Hillary, Ashley, and Megan



Railroad I/T November Calendar

November 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Welcome to November!  Just a reminder that Gretchen’s House is closed on Thursday, November 27 and Friday, November 28 for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Hope you have a  great holiday!

Here is the  November calendar:

November 20142

Denise Lechtanski



Important Updates and Reminders

October 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Thank you everyone who attended Curriculum Night this past week. We appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to join us and learn about your child’s daily experiences. I want to also thank the teachers for spending their evening here at the center and showing such dedication to the children and families in the  their classroom.

New Contracts Are Coming

It is that time again when we will be providing you with a new contract for the next year. Your current contract will be ending on December 31st. This is a great time for you to communicate any changes in care that you might need in the new year. If you need additional days, fewer days or if you care needs are changing all together, please let us know so we can provide you with accurate information.

This is also a good opportunity to update your expected time range for the 9 1/2 hours of care policy. It is important that you abide by this policy as we plan our staffing around your scheduled time so that we can always be in ratio. We want our high quality of care to be consistent throughout the day including early mornings and late afternoons.

Signing In and Out

Please be sure to sign your child in every morning and sign them out every evening. It is a licensing requirement and it is important to have this accurate documentation. Teachers do track the time you come and go on their roll call sheet, but parents are responsible for completing the official document. We certainly understand that mornings can be very busy, so teachers will plan to give gentle reminders over the next few weeks. We want to support everyone in making this part of their daily morning routine.

Fall and Halloween

We are looking ahead to plans for Halloween, and we wanted to clarify our Fall activities with all of you. As with other times of the year, we will focus on children’s interests and age-appropriate activities that promote healthy social interactions. We know some children may be hearing about Halloween from older siblings. We anticipate that they may be interested in more storytelling and books about the fall season as well as the many foods that they have helped in harvesting from their field trips and gardens at home.  We will make sure our book areas are enriched with various types of stories and incorporate more imagination storytelling and posting of those stories.

We will not organize a parade or have a “Halloween party” or celebrate Halloween in the way that you may remember from elementary school. In the past, we have incorporated costumes and parties into our plans, and we have found the activities to be inconsistent with our philosophy. The abstract concepts of Halloween are lost on many children. After they experience the event at home, then they have a more concrete idea of what Halloween is all about.

We invite your child to bring in their costume after Halloween to enhance the dramatic play that naturally happens in our room. We will not have a formal “dress-up time,” but children may show their friends their costume and use it during work time. Keep in mind that other children may want to have an opportunity to play with your child’s costume with him or her, so you should only send the costume if it can be shared during dramatic play. If you are at all concerned about not ripping the costume or getting paint on it or if the costume is too elaborate to play in, or if the costume is particularly scary, please do not send it in with your child. The children are encouraged to run, jump, climb, explore and paint while at Gretchen’s House and it can be difficult to undertake these tasks while worrying about not getting dirty or ruining a special costume. Thanks in advance for considering all of this!

Finally, because we serve many children with food allergies, we want to remind everyone not to send in candy and other treats. Thank you for your understanding and please let us know if you have any questions.



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