Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Falling Into Learning at Love And Grace

Autumn is an exciting time of year for Love And Grace Christian Academy. Thank you for visiting our blog to share the joy. We learn, worship, and play together at our conveniently located, award-winning academy for children from 6 weeks to 12 years of age. Fall is a beautiful season with holidays children enjoy learning about and celebrating with their classmates and families.  This harvest season, Love And Grace students are learning about plants and animals, multicultural holidays, fire safety, and the importance of a healthy diet and exercise. Our autumn blog carries information about our fall curriculum, planned celebrations, and Ms. Griffith's helpful parenting tips.

THANKS, DAVION!  It was terrific for Davion and his mom to bring red, brown, and yellow leaves to his class. He and his mother collected the leaves one gorgeous autumn day. Davon's classmates arranged the colorful leaves into attractive collages on paper and display them in our windows for all of the academy's students and visitors to enjoy. As the children glued the leaves to the paper, Ms. Angie pointed out how leaves differ from one tree to another and discussed the changes plants undergo during various seasons. The wonders of nature declare that God loves diversity. Each tree is different, and no two leaves are alike, even from the same tree. Each leaf has its own unique beauty like children do!

CONGRATULATIONS TO MS. ERIN! We rejoice with one of our favorite teachers over the birth of her lovely daughter, Janiyah.  Children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward" ~Psalm 127:3. The Love And Grace family gives praise with Ms. Erin over her family's marvelous reward.

WELCOME, KARISSA, JACKSON, and MASON! We are pleased that your parents selected Love And Grace Christian Academy. Karissa loves playing and learning with other toddlers, and Mason enjoys the toys, books, and crafts our four-year-olds use. As Karissa and Mason mature in our care, they will be instructed in basic reading, writing, math and science using the A Beka Christian-based program and Scholastic's "Let's Find Out" early learning material. Our students delight in using the computer labs, well-equipped playgrounds, and libraries.

Love And Grace students have a school garden; they go on educational field trips, and thrill their families at school talent shows for certain holidays.  Do you think you cannot afford such a rich environment for your child?  We accept Georgia CAPS and work with parents experiencing financial hardships in order to make Christian school accessible for more children in our "village." Love And Grace has open enrollment, affordable rates, and an incentive program for new enrollees and those who refer them. More information is in our Back to School blog under the "Enrollment Information" subtitle at this link: http://goo.gl/s0SVH . Please feel free to call with questions and to arrange a tour.

First Day at a New School

New students adjust quickly at Love And Grace where each child is treasured. Mrs. Griffith has 30 years experience in early childhood education. Hundreds of DeKalb County children who arrived in the Griffith's care as babes and toddlers remained until they reached the maximum age. They enroll in the academy's excellent summer program as well as before and after school care with transportation to area schools. Our low student-to-teacher ratio with dedicated teachers and staff ensure that children get the individual attention they need to feel happy and secure and to thrive academically. Specific information on the academy's programs and curriculum is available in our introductory blog, "Summertime Fun and Learning," at this link: http://goo.gl/khIGN.


Our garden has greens and pumpkins ready for harvest! Our children learn about horticulture by planting seeds, tending the garden, and gathering a yield of delicious, nutritious fruits and vegetables.  Raising a garden with the children teaches them about God's loving provisions that we rely on all of our lives.  They learn about the origin of food and the importance of patience as we await the first tiny stalks. By counting seeds as they plant and spacing the seed pods evenly, our students learn math skills. Raising a garden gives an excellent opportunity for children to learn about weather and its relevance to agriculture. Students work together in teams, which is important throughout their school years. Teamwork is a important for success in most careers. Love And Grace toddlers are taken to the garden to enhance their sensory perceptions. They like to touch and smell ripe tomatoes and cabbage leaves, then go inside to draw and color food that decorates our academy and refrigerators at home. Science, math, and appreciation for God and teamwork all happen in Love And Grace's garden. Love And Grace introduces children to math and science in a way they can understand, and hands-on learning is fun!


"Look, Mommy, a skeleton!" We hear that exclamation frequently when parents and children come to Love And Grace for a tour of our facility, which is conveniently located at 4164 Rainbow Drive, Decatur GA 30034. That is at the intersection of Rainbow Drive and Wesley Chapel Road. Phone (404) 288-2350.

An organization donated an adult-sized skeleton to Love And Grace to help our children learn about human anatomy.  (Love And Grace is a non-profit organizations. Donations are appreciated and tax-deductible.)  X-rays of the skeletal system are in our windows, but not to celebrate Halloween. Learning about bones and seeing how fragile they are help children recognize the importance of seat belts, playground safety. Big sisters or brothers like Amad learn it is important to be gentle with younger brothers and sisters. Discussing the delicate bone structure of our anatomy also makes children appreciate the fact that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Ps.139:14) by a loving Creator who is definitely interested in the details.  The children are also learning about fire safety - stop, drop and roll. Love And Grace has regular fire drills.


Love And Grace students learn as they play in addition to having structured class time.  From toddlers to pre-teens, our children enjoy nature walks and the academy's playgrounds every day except during inclement weather. After-school students receive homework assistance and incentives to do well in school, like an occasional afternoon movie. Our students use "Keys for Kids" daily devotionals to help them discover who God wants them to be. Children learn from the real-life issues presented in that great collection of stories. When Angel and other after-schoolers take turns reading aloud to the group, they improve their reading skills and prepare for public speaking. Sada is a good listener, and Mariah loves to lead songs or give us a solo. Our three and four-year-olds are learning about animal behavior.  In the fall, squirrels hide acorns and birds fly to warmer climates. Christina and Emanuel find counting acorns entertaining! Animals grow winter coats, and people dress in layers. Days may start cool and grow warm by afternoon or vice versa. Learning about weather and seasons is fun when lessons include nature walks, arts and crafts. Little James, Elijah, or Skyla might even decide to become a meteorologist.

Children at Love And Grace have an assortment of building blocks. Young children build houses or entire towns using large, soft, colorful blocks in various sizes and shapes. Our older children enjoy numerous construction games and tools and wooden building blocks. Mason built a roller coaster that helped him to understand gravity.

Children love to learn about the world around them, and this pleases our Father.
"The entire earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein."
(Ps. 24:1)


Love And Grace's personnel, students, and families traditionally share a Thanksgiving luncheon and a winter party to celebrate Christmas and other holidays during fall and winter. Celebrating multicultural holidays is an important lesson in social studies. Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas are traditional holidays. Children are taught the significance of each by a series of fun activities.  But other holidays are important for some people:  Hanukkah, Diwali, Los Posads, Islamic New Year, and Kwanzaa. The Bible says we are to "rejoice with those who rejoice" (Rom. 12:15).  Love And Grace children are learning abut those holidays, also. Christmas cards and 2012 calendars are are autumn fundraiser products, and orders are being placed now. Parents are encouraged to support fundraisers and attend functions at the academy. Fundraisers ensure that our children continue to have the best equipment, toys, teaching aids, educational computer games, children's music CDs, interesting field trips, and more. 


Performing Arts

Love And Grace and our children appreciate parents who help bridge the gap between home and school by occasionally visiting the academy and participating in celebrations and fundraisers. Family involvement promotes school success. Our last gathering was a fish fry and car wash in August, which was announced in our "Summertime Fun and Learning" blog in July (use the link above, or access all our blogs from the handy index on the blog's left margin).  Students are proud to show family members their artwork and the wide assortment of books, toys, and games they enjoy every day. Specific dates for events at the academy are posted on the bulletin board at our sign-out desk.


Regular hand washing is probably the most important habit for maintaining good health during the flu season or any time. A visit to the supermarket reveals a multitude of regular soaps, antibacterial soaps and gels. It is best to limit the use of antibacterial products because they kill both good and bad bacteria, and the good bacteria is a part of the protective system; overuse may actually decrease ability to fight infection. If you purchase antibacterial soaps, avoid those that contain triclosan, which has been registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a health risk. Its long term effects on humans is not known. Whereas some early care and educational professionals use hand sanitizers as an alternative to soap and water because they are easy to use, Love And Grace uses them only if we are on a field trip and no other alternative exists. Children and the academy are kept clean to reduce illness and absenteeism. They are taught to do sneezes or coughs into their elbow area, not their hands.  Cleanliness is a way to care for the temple.

          Activity:  Pour 3-4 cups of flour into a paper or plastic bag. Have your child dip his hand into the bag of flour then shake hands with family members. Explain that germs, like the flour, spread from person to person although he cannot see the germs. Next, have a child dip her hand into the flour and wash her hands before shaking hands with family members. Children will understand the difference that hand washing makes.

Reading together strengthens families and stimulates good reading habits in children. At dinner, family members should take turns reading something aloud - news stories, cereal box panels, history, humor, anything! When parents establish a reading routine with their children, they provide more family bonding time and an opportunity for children's vocabulary and preliteracy skills to grow. Independent evaluations found that children whose parents read to them regularly recognize letters of the alphabet and write their names sooner.  Having older children read to the family strengthens their literacy and confidence. Why not print the Love And Grace blogs and read them at dinner?

Mom and Daughter Exercise Together

Be a healthy role model.  Children learn best by example. Go food shopping together and choose healthy foods. Discuss your choices and let your child make a nutritious selection.  Get creative in the kitchen. Cut food into shapes with cookie cutters. Prepare simple recipes together like trail mixes. Stop being a short-order cook. Offer choices before preparing meals, i.e., "Would you like broccoli or cauliflower today?" Have everyone in the family eat the same food. Reward your child with attention, not food. Never offer sweets as a reward. It teaches children that sweets are preferable. Talk about happy subjects during meals, and really listen to your child. Encourage physical activity, and set a good example by being physically active and using safety gear. Try new foods together. Introduce new menu choices one at a time. It is best to introduce children to new foods at the start of the meal while they are hungry, but avoid lecturing or forcing children to eat.

Love and Grace Serves Nutritious Meals and Snacks

Daily physical activity is part of a child's foundation for a long, healthy life. Helping children adopt an active lifestyle early will have a tremendous impact on their physical, intellectual and emotional development.

          Creepy/Crawly exercises help babies get around and use the right and left sides of their bodies at the same time. This helps later with reading and writing skills.  (1) Lay the baby on her tummy on a carpet of smooth, clean surface; (2) Place a favorite toy in front of her, just out of reach; (3) Encourage her to go get it. (4) Let the baby reach and retrieve the toy, but then make a game of moving it out of reach again; (5) Repeat the game as long as the baby stays interested.

          Hands, Bellies, Toes is an exercise enjoyed by toddlers through age three.  The game helps children identify body parts, flexibility, and understand the concept of up, down, low, and high. (1) Stand facing your child and beginning slowly, call out the names of the three body parts that are in the title; (2) Ask your child to touch each body part as you call out the names; (3) Once your child is successful, mix it up - the order of the body parts; (4) Change the tempo at which you call out the body parts - sometimes slow and sometimes fast; (5) When your child gets ready, play Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes. (6) Once again, change the order of parts and the tempo at which you call out the body parts. Guaranteed giggles!

          Mirror Game is a cooperative game for ages three through six. that encourages social/emotional development. Children have to do with their bodies what their eyes are seeing. This helps with writing, among other things. (1) Stand facing your child; (2) Tell him you want him to do exact what you do, just as though he were your reflection in the mirror; (3) Begin by making slow movements that you can do in place, like lowering and raising arms, nodding your head, or clapping your hands. Take turns being the leader; (4) Help your child be more flexible by bending and straightening at the waist, stretching arms overhead or slowly reaching for your toes (keeping knees slightly bent); (5) To help muscle strength, lift and lower the heels or do deep knee bends; (6) For healthy hearts, run or jump in place, stopping occasionally to rest.

CONGRATULATIONS on your desire to help your children adopt healthy habits at an early age: regular hand washing, reading, a nutritious diet, and daily exercise!

Sleep safely. The peak time for SIDS is 2 to 4 months, although it can and does happen later in the first year of life. The risk of SIDS can be reduced by up to 40% by putting babies on their backs to sleep.  Use safety-approved cribs and mattresses. Keep cribs free of extra items: toys, stuffed animals, and excess bedding. Only one baby should be in a crib. Never allow second-hand smoke around your baby, especially while the infant sleeps. The baby's room temperature should be comfortable for a lightly-clothed adult. Tuck your baby's blanket at the foot of the bed and allow it to extend no further than the child's chest. Check for any recalls on your baby's bedding. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has a site online listing recalls on infant and child's products (excluding toys) at this link http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/category/child.html .

DeKalb County Schools and Library Info

Board-Approved School Calendar
Use this link to access and print the calendar: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/news-and-events/calendar/

Remember that Love And Grace Christian Academy is open on teacher workdays and  during the Christmas break when DeKalb County Schools are closed. Children enrolled in our after school program can spend their school vacation days at Love And Grace for a nominal additional fee. Please check your Family Handbook for information, or just call us. Drop-ins are also accepted, except for infants and toddlers. When your relatives come for Thanksgiving and Christmas, send all the children to us and have fun shopping!

The DeKalb County Library ~ Information for all the library branches is available at this link: http://dekalblibrary.org/branches/