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Early Childhood Programming – Why It Matters

We recently spoke about the importance in Early Childhood Development. This is why at this time of year we ask you to donate to The Day Nursery on #GivingTuesday with a donation at #ILGive November 29, 2016.  Please consider supporting our mission to Unlock The Potential.

Other facts proving the value of quality early childhood programs:

  • When a child enters kindergarten ready for school, there is an 82% chance the child will master basic skills by age 11; that chance decreases to 45% if the child is not school ready. Research shows the child’s chances of making up that deficit are slim.
  • Superior learning takes place when classroom experiences are relevant to students’ lives, interests, and experiences.
  • High-quality early education is essential to narrow the achievement gap. Across multiple studies over multiple years, early childhood education has been shown to nearly half the black-white difference in the kindergarten achievement gap.
  • Children who enter kindergarten with strong social-emotional skills experience significantly improved outcomes in education, employment, criminal activity, substance use, and mental health.
  • The ability to self-regulate thoughts, emotions and behavior increases success in school, work, and life.
  • Children who enter school with basic knowledge of math and reading are more likely than their peers to experience later academic success.
  • Early access to STEM competencies (collaboration, cause and effect, exploration and discovery) has been proven to lead to a greater comfort with STEM in grade school.

Thank you for your support to #GivingTuesday and #ILGive

It Takes a Village

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Despite the recognition of the benefits of early childhood education, government funding has decreased, yet the need of low and moderate income families increases. Over 40% of our families receive financial assistance. You can impact the life of a child through your support!

As we congregate as families this Thanksgiving Day we celebrate our family mission of bonding, caring and loving of one another. We hope that when you plan your holiday giving that you include The Day Nursery in this plan and especially on the nationwide day of giving, #GivingTuesday, Tuesday, November 29, 2016.  We have partnered with #ILGive on this day and when you give specifically on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 we get to keep all of the donations made through them on that day.

Please save that day for us and give on this link on Tuesday, November 29, 29106 The Day Nursery #ILGive to help us continue to give to our children the education and inspiration for learning.

The Day Nursery’s mission is to provide quality, nurturing early child care and preschool provided by a professional and caring staff in a safe environment for families in the community.

The Day Nursery was founded in 1912 due to the need observed to have quality early childhood programs for families of working parents. The Day Nursery founders were far ahead of their time in their perception of the value such a program brings to the children, the families, and the community at large.

That need has not gone away. Nationwide more and more families – of all economic backgrounds – are two-income families and need to rely on quality, reliable early childhood care. Over the last forty years, the research has been done and the science developed that indicate that every dollar invested in high quality early childhood programs yields at least $8.60 in value over time. The return increases to as much as $10 for low-income children.

To see more about The Day Nursery and the work we do, see us on Facebook Like Us and share with your friends and follow us on Twitter.

Thank you and have a joyous, wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.


#GivingTuesday with #ILGive

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#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. We are participating in #GivingTuesday along with #ILGive to help the children of our Day Nursery to get a foundation in learning. Because we believe every child should have the opportunity to enter kindergarten ready to learn, regardless of economic background.

Without this opportunity, countless studies have proven that a child has a greatly reduced chance of reaching his/her potential in school and in life.

Since 1912, The Day Nursery in Oak Park, IL has been a leader in providing early childhood education to children, ages 2 1/2 – 6, of working families. We are the only full-time NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) accredited early childhood provider in the community that provides financial assistance to low and moderate income families. Over 40% of our families require assistance. Your gift unlocks the potential for one of these children!

Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many of our supporters focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

In conjunction with this worldwide event we are pleased to partner locally with #ILGive where a donation made to The Day Nursery on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 will not have additional fees, i.e., we get all the money donated by you. This is a direct link to the donation page.  We hope you will click on that link and help support our continued efforts to provide quality and affordable education to those in need.

It’s Almost Time to Vote


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At The Day Nursery we excite the imagination of children on a day to day basis.  Our dedicated staff works to that end each day. Our democracy is exciting too. Tomorrow we get to exercise our citizen participation by voting; while so many people in so many countries are deprived of that opportunity.

Taking your child with you is a teaching moment too.  See this article about why parents are taking their children when they vote. Make sure your friends and family vote too. Make sure all the parents who drop off their kids vote. We are all in this together.

Our friends at NAEYC, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research. They advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children.

Nearly ten months ago, NAEYC announced its own first-time electoral advocacy effort – the Early Ed for President campaign, designed to elevate the conversation around early childhood education and educators in the 2016 election cycle.

Since then, NAEYC members and friends, affiliates and partners all around the country have carried the Early Ed for President messages to candidates far and wide, making sure they know about the importance of early childhood education! And every one of the 105,320 (and counting!) likes and follows on social media mean our voices are growing.

We’ve heard both Presidential candidates talk about child care and early learning – and we want to see more when they, whoever is elected, takes office.

As you vote tomorrow, keep in mind you are voting for your children as well.


Writing Activities for Preschoolers

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Getting a preschooler to write can be difficult due to several factors. An important one is, Is your child interested in writing? In the Rainbow Room, the children have been interested in gardening and insects so I took those interests and produced writing ‘games’ for the children to do based on those interests.


The children are playing Roll-A-Letter. The child rolls a die and must write the letter that the die lands on. This is a great way for the child to work on letters that they already know and work on letters that they are having some difficulty to write.


Is your child interested in cars?  You can have your child painting with cars on paper (in the picture we practiced on the slide first) or have your child drive their car on a letter road.


Before your child can write well they need to have developed the muscles in their hands that will enable them to have the necessary skills to hold and maneuver a pencil. By learning and practicing these skills it will help your child be confident about becoming a writer.


Some examples of writing readiness skills or fine motor activities that will help your child in developing the muscles in their hands are:

Cutting with scissors
Brushing their teeth
Eating with a fork or spoon
Using tweezers
Manipulating small objects (putting a puzzle together, stringing beads or moving a game piece on a board)

Putting a puzzle together with a friend. The children worked together in trying to figuring out and manipulating each piece until they finished the puzzle together.

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Working with play dough. This child separated the play dough into small pieces to give the ladybug 8 spots and a face.

Moving a game piece on a board. The child makes sure his spider lands on each rectangle on its way to the water spout.

Using Tweezers. The children are counting out frogs and are using the tweezers to place each individual frog onto the pond mat.


Cutting with scissors. Cutting paper is a desired skill but you can make cutting interesting by having your child cut a variety of things that you approve of. In this picture the children were really excited to help trim the grass with scissors.


Working with small objects. In this project the children made caterpillars with pom poms. The children then asked for other materials to add to their caterpillars such as leaves and eyes.


It is important to set up children for success. They will gain a level of confidence that will help carry over in later grades and do well. That is why it is so important to help children develop skills that will help them to become great writers. Why not help your child to develop the skills they need while having fun as well? Having your child do school work while having fun will continue their excitement about learning throughout their school career.  

For more information and activities on writing readiness you can visit:


Reunion/Community Play Date

Reunion Sept 10 2016

We once again celebrate our past, present and future children, parents and community supporters to the annual Reunion, on Saturday, September 10, 2016 between the hours of 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. There will be games, music, refreshments and raffle prizes.

It is with pleasure that we get to see old friends and the faces of students and their parents.  Did you know we even have a teacher who was a former student at The Day Nursery?

Our 103 year old institution has so many blessings of children learning as a foundation for their further education.

Here is a look at last year’s reunion.

Be part of this year’s celebration and our future.

Thank you for your support.



A Day In the Life of the Garden Room


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Ms. Kristen!!! Ms. Ayesha!! Ms. Kristen!!! Ms. Ayesha!! Ms. Kristen!!! Ms. Ayesha!! Ms. Kristen!!! Ms. Ayesha!!

Imagine hearing this from 19, 3 to 5 year old’s every single morning as you enter your place of work. Did it bring a smile to your face? I hope it did. This is a common occurrence here at The Day Nursery in the Garden Room. The children exclaim our names, and run clamoring for a hug and to share with us what they had done the night before. Soon all that can be heard is a mixture of words that even the best listener couldn’t decipher. We calmly ask the children to wait and hold their thoughts as we give each child their hug as we enter the room. Ms. Ayesha and I then join the children in the dining room as some are finishing breakfast and others are rummaging through books.

Once settled, the conversations begin, and fascinating stories of trips to the park, the diner, and a friend’s house are shared between friends. Breakfast ends, and we are on our way to the playground. Children run, jump, climb and dig on our large inviting space for the next half hour. Once our time here is done it is time to truly start our day. We wash hands and as a class discuss the weather and what day it is. Are you exhausted yet? No? Good, because this was just the first hour of the day. There is a lot more in store for these precocious learners.

“If your name begins with Sssssssss, you may stand up!” Children follow the direction for one of these transitions and are then allowed to start the area/small group portion of the day. Would you like a slice of pizza? If you said yes, then you are going to love the dramatic play area. A pizza shop was just started there. If pizza isn’t your thing, what about building a tower? An entire city was just built over in the construction area. Would you like to get your hands dirty instead? If this is more your style, you will enjoy our art and writing areas, which boast various mediums in which the children can write and create with.

This is just a sampling of the amazing and educational areas within our classroom. We also work on math, science, fine and large motor skills throughout the morning and rest of the day. Don’t worry though, the children aren’t too exhausted after all this learning, we make sure that they are full of fuel with our meals and snacks. The children and teachers gather around two large dining tables and share a family style meal with each other. Conversations are had and connections are made.

After this refuel we head back downstairs to The Garden Room. As the children enter the soft sounds of instrumental music can be heard as they prepare their spaces for rest. After a short relaxation period, any children that do not sleep are invited to look at books or attend to a quiet activity.

So I must ask one more question…Would you like to join the Garden Room?




Incorporating Literacy into Art Projects

Some parents have asked me how they can incorporate literacy into the various activities that they partake in with their child. This is one of my favorite activities to do with my students. Letter art is a quick and easy way to help your child learn their letters. It incorporates 3 different senses into the activity: touch, sight, and smell.

Materials Needed:

  • Small canvas boards
  • Masking or painters tape
  • Finger Paint (colors of choice)
  • Scents (we use cinnamon or ginger, check for allergens!)
  • Trays
  • Smocks or old shirts

First with the help of your child cut the tape into strips. Then place the tape onto the canvas in the shape of the letter you choose to work on. For our project we started with A.

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Next I prepared our paint colors. If you are not using finger paints add two drops of dish soap to the regular paint being used. It helps to remove the pigment from clothing and skin.

It also helps to keep a wet towel or a package of wipes in arms reach as well!

The next step is to paint your child’s hand. I allow the children to choose the pattern of colors.Not sure

After painting your child’s hand let them loose on the canvas board. While the paint is wet carefully peel the tape away. You can wait until it is dry as well. Once peeled set to the side and this is what your final product will look like.

Letter A

Our First Blog Post

When it had been decided that it was time for the Day Nursery to begin blogging as a means of communication, offering words of encouragement and providing informational resources; I was all in. It was practically one of the best ideas I had heard.

But my excitement and enthusiasm quickly shifted to fear and trepidation when I was asked to submit the inaugural post. I started to think about how I had never done anything like that before. I didn’t know where to begin. What I was going to be required to do? And worst of all, what if I failed miserably? What would others think? The excuses flowed, and continued to flow until I stopped, caught my breath, and took a moment to reflect.

I was being asked to step outside my comfort zone and consider doing something that was unfamiliar. That’s all. By letting go of the excuses, and realizing it wasn’t about success or failure. I needed to allow myself to be curious, learn from mistakes, give it my best and take great pride in the processes.

That is exactly what we, as parents and educators, ask of our children every day. The numbers of skills children acquire and transitions children experience in their first five years of life are extraordinary. They must learn to walk instead of being held, express their feelings through words instead of crying, and even taste new or different foods that are not what they are used to. As adults, our life experiences have given us the tools to work through our emotions and discover the coping mechanisms we need for success. It is in our partnership with families, that we, The Day Nursery, are able to provide children with some of those life experiences through play and curious discover. Setting the stage for the ultimate goal of giving every child what they need to flourish.

So I channeled the courage of a three year old, grabbed a cup of coffee, closed my office door and sat down in front of the computer. I said to myself, “Let’s give it a try!”

I welcome you all to The Day Nursery blog! Over the next several weeks, we will begin to roll out a comprehensive, one-stop shop for news, information, resources and feedback!

But for now, I leave you with this:

“Around here, we don’t look backwards for very long… We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”           Walt Disney

Hey, this blogging thing wasn’t as difficult as I thought. I might even try it again soon.

Thanks for being a part of The Day Nursery family, Cari

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