As a pre-school, Cuddles-N-Care makes frequent use of pictures and art-related activities. "We use a calendar. On it, we have daily themes as well as weekly themes. And since we have three programs [for our three age groups] we can coordinate it. For example, this month is Green. The toddlers do more with colors, so they might take a look at how colors glow in a collage. We also have a letter we work on for two weeks and a shape. Each day is coordinated for the three age groups around the colors, the shapes, and the letters. The Pre-school and Pre-K students go beyond that. They still enjoy the arts and crafts, but they take it to a higher level and start to write—their names and some letters. We are big on arts and crafts here, because we know that is how children learn. They learn through their senses—what they can touch, what they can feel, what they can taste and smell—what they can experience."
Pre-school programs maintain close ties with parents, and Marlo's program is no exception. "I hear from my parents all the time, and I know they like the arts and crafts work we do. Mostly they say, 'Marlo, I've got no more room on my refrigerator!' But they’re just kidding, because they know there is learning here."
Feedback from young children is hard to gage, but Marlo takes pride in the comments she often hears from her kids: "I hear,'Miss Marlo, you are the best teacher.' Or 'Miss Marlo, I love you.' Or one kid who ran down the sidewalk saying, 'Cuddles-N-Care is the best school!' That’s how I know they like it here. But mostly, I use the art. I keep the art activities because what they do with art tells me what they are learning—and they always like the Museum. They like walking around and seeing everything, but they like it best when we do a hands-on activity and follow it up with an arts-and-crafts activity in the classroom. It’s perfect for them and I love it."
"I sometimes have former students come back. Sometimes their parents bring them to help out here, sometimes just to visit. But I know that I was there to help them get started in school. We were their first start—and it feels good."
For more information, please contact Education: School & Teacher Programs by phone at (215) 684-7580, by fax at (215) 236-4063, or by e-mail at .