Congratulations to Mrs. Hyma, our hero in Todds! She is such an amazing person. Her patience, nurturing spirit, and love for the children is evident. Whenever Ms. Lee asks Mrs. Hyma to do anything, her answer is always “Sure, Ms. Lee!” with a smile. She’s a kind, gentle soul who loves what she does and never complains. Mrs. Hyma, we appreciate you so much and you truly make a difference here at Faith Lutheran School.

Mrs. Malti is our Teacher of the Month. Mrs. Malti is very creative. She really enjoys planning hands-on, engaging activities for the children to experience.

Mrs. Malti is also a mentor to her peers; she was more than willing to meet with new teachers to help get them acclimated to our curriculum. Mrs. Malti is not shy about asking questions to keep us all thinking out of the box, and we appreciate her for that!

Congratulations, Mrs. Malti! We appreciate you! Enjoy the parking space, Amazon gift card, and gold Employee of the Month pin.

Mrs. Terri Heavener is the Employee of the Month in April. Mrs. Terri plays a major role on our team. She maintains the children’s health records, manages enrollment applications, and parent communication, ensures the teachers have the supplies they need, and fills in when needed in the classroom. We appreciate you Mrs. Terri – thank you for everything you do! She will enjoy the benefits of the Employee of the Month parking space, a gift card and a gold employee of the month pin.

Parent teacher conferences what to expect and how can I make the best of my time with my child’s teacher. Establishing an effective and trusting partnership with your child’s teacher is important to your children’s success. Below are a few tips from Child Mind Organization.

During the Conference

Listen carefully. It is perfectly acceptable to take notes. This is particularly helpful if one parent or other involved relative cannot attend. It can also help you remember details so that you can ask questions later.

Offer your perspective. Many times, teachers will ask you about your child’s activities at home and your views of your child’s strengths and areas where help might be needed. Even if the teacher does not ask, speak up and provide your observations and any concerns.

You want to hear good news about your child. If the teacher does not offer any positive comments, ask directly, “What does my child do well?” And remember that teachers often hear only negative comments, too. Be sure to try to offer a compliment, a thank you to let the teacher know you appreciate what they are trying to do to help your child-even when what the teacher is trying to do may not be working.

Do not be afraid to ask questions. If you do not understand something or feel your concerns are not being addressed, then ask the teacher. Teachers and other educators easily slip into jargon and forget that many parents are not familiar with the terms they use every day. Ask what test scores mean and what the results mean for your child. Stop and ask for explanation of unfamiliar terms or programs. Not understanding can quickly lead to misunderstanding.

Before the Conference

Prepare a list of questions you want to ask your child’s teacher. Is my child meeting expectations for learning and behavior? How has my child performed on daily class assignments, on tests, on homework assignments? How does my child compare to others in basic skills? Does my child follow school rules or does my child exhibit any behavior problems? If my child is struggling in any area, what has been tried to improve performance? Does my child pay attention in class? What else can be done at home or at school? What are my child’s strengths? Are there any concerns about my child’s health, or adjustment? Are there materials or resources that you would recommend? How does my child get along with other students?

Referral to special education. If you or the teacher have concerns about referral to special education, find out about your rights ahead of time. State and community agencies and advocate organizations can provide this information, and all schools should also have a printed copy of parents’ rights under state and federal law.

Be ready to collaborate. Generally, teachers will give parents bad news because they want to help the child do better and not to place blame on the parent or child. But sometimes the message does not come across that way, and parents naturally become defensive and protective, maybe even angry. Assume the teacher has your child’s best interests in mind and respond calmly and tactfully. Indicate that you are most concerned with solving the problem and helping your child succeed. Offer to meet further to discuss the problem and to work out a solution. Remember that teachers are often as afraid to deliver bad news as parents are to hear it.

For more information

A portrait of Heather Wong, smiling at the camera.

Mrs. Wong is our Employee of the month for February. Mrs. Wong is always at work at least a half an hour before her start time to prepare for her students, and she is always willing to help her peers. We appreciate you Mrs. Wong! She will enjoy the benefit of the “Employee of the Month” parking space and an Amazon gift card.

Language impacts our social, cognitive and literacy aspects of development. Infants when they’re born cry as a form of communicating soon, they learn if I make a specific sound my mom and dad responds by feeding me, changing me, or picking me up. It’s just as important as a toddler and a preschool that we continue to respond as they develop their language skills. Children also benefit from quality conversations to build their language and literacy skills. I read this article from “Experience Learning” that talks about quality conversation with children as an Early Childhood Education professional I see firsthand the difference when we engage children in quality conversations rather than “baby talk” it truly makes a difference in their development read the article below:

Quality Conversations with Children

Caregivers can learn how to have quality conversations with children with these simple tips to promote language skills at home.

Research has shown that the more a child is able to talk and understand spoken words, the stronger his future reading and writing skills will be. 

Help promote language skills with your child at home with these easy tips:

  • Ask your child open-ended questions (what, who, how, why).
    This gives your child the chance to think about the question, think about an answer and expand his logical thinking.
  • Encourage your child to go further in his thinking. When he shares with you, ask him. what makes him think that or what he will do next.
  • Narrate your actions. By narrating your actions, you will increase the amount of words your child hears in a day. “I am stirring the dough. Let’s add the eggs.”
  • Narrate your child’s actions. For example, “I see you are running your car under the chair.”
  • Use vocabulary words your child might not have heard before in everyday conversation, then take time to explain the meaning in simple terms.
  • Give your child opportunities to have conversations with other children.
  • Take time to talk, ask questions and listen as your child navigates oral language.

Take time to communicate with your child and try practicing one skill at a time to have quality conversations with children.

This article is credited to Experience Learning for more information the link is below!

Share this:

Quality Conversations With Children | Inspired Learning (

Being a toddler teacher, I have helped potty train many kids. It’s rarely easy, and it can be a very stressful experience for those who are not ready for it. Thankfully, there are tips, tricks, and plenty of resources out there to help along the way.  

The Science of Potty Training 

According to the Seattle Children’s Hospital, an infant does not have the muscle strength to control their bladder until around 18 months old. Just like with any skill, it is something that they will need patience in order to fully master. 

The process is also different for girls and boys. The main reason for this is that it takes longer for boys to develop the muscle strength needed to control their bladder. Studies also suggest that girls simply become interested in using the potty earlier than boys do. 

How to Know They’re Ready 

Without knowing the signs, it can be hard to find the right time to potty train your child. A few things to look for: 

  • They start communicating, especially when they need a diaper change. Though this is often verbal, it may not always be; they can also make a face or tug at their pants/diaper. 
  • They start hiding or seeking privacy when they go. 
  • They starts having more “scheduled” bowel movements. 
  • Their diaper stays dry for longer periods of time. 
  • Generally, they show a desire for more independence.  

Don’t Start Too Early 

Rushing a toddler into underwear before they’re ready is a common mistake. This can be a point of much frustration (both to the caregiver and the child), as well as cause an unhealthy relationship with the potty.  

It may also cause health concerns. It may cause them to be a “chronic holder” who holds their bladder longer than is healthy (Cleveland Clinic). This can lead to urinary tract infections or constipation. 

Accept that Accidents Happen. 

While accidents can be frustrating and unpleasant to clean up, it’s all a part of the process. When this happens, it’s important to stay calm and reassure them. Then ask the children to change themselves and help me clean up the mess. 

When you get mad about an accident, it can often lead to them being scared, which can then cause more accidents. 

Choosing the Best Method. 

There are many ways to potty train your child. Not every method will work for you or your child, so use what is best for your family. 

If your child is in school, be sure to communicate your plan with your child’s teacher so that they can help and keep consistency. 

3-Day Method: How to Potty Train Your Child in 3 Days: Potty Training Tips ( 

This method is very hands-on and requires you to stay with your child for 3 days. While effective, it requires you to put everything aside and focus only on potty training for the full 3 days, which is not always viable. 

Child-Oriented Method: Child-Oriented Potty Training – BabySparks 

This is what I personally use in my classroom. As the name suggests, it focuses more on the child’s desire to begin potty training and does not have a “deadline.”  

Parent-Lead Method: The Only Potty Training Schedule You’ll Ever Need | 

Also known as the “Schedule Method,” this one is used for parents who like to follow a strict schedule. It can be combined with either the 3-Day or the Child-Oriented method. 

Changing Circumstances 

As with any developmental skill, potty training can be affected by major events in a child’s life. It’s very common for a child who has already been potty trained to suddenly start having accidents again if something changes at home, such as the birth of a new baby, a family move, a new school, or even a vacation. It is also not uncommon for a child to have accidents when they get sick. 

If it lasts longer than a week and is turning into a pattern, then the child may be experiencing regression. Regression is different than the odd accident out of the blue, or even a short string of accidents that happen within a few days.  

What to Do When Regression Happens 

Regression does not happen only with potty training. It can also be seen in social skills, language, emotional regulation, or just about any domain (Cleveland Clinic). It’s also not uncommon to see it happen at any age, even well into elementary school. 

If a regression does happen, it’s important to assure your child that you are there to support them. Do not put any undue pressure on them, but make sure that the potty is accessible.  

You can also try to determine the reason for regression. Was there a change at home, or is it something medical going on? Once you know what is causing the accidents, you can look for a way to help.  

The Cleveland Clinic explains many ways to help with regression: Potty-Training Regression: What To Do – Cleveland Clinic 

What About Bed-Wetting? 

Bed-wetting is very normal (especially in boys) and can persist for many years after a child has been fully potty trained. It can be caused by many things – health concerns, psychological reasons, or even lack of control while sleeping.  

In most cases, it goes away by age 6 (Cleveland clinic). If it is happening consistently (at least 2 times a month) after that point, don’t panic! It is always best to talk to your child’s pediatrician about any concerns you have. 

Book of the Month: “Potty” by Leslie Patricelli. 

A new toddler title charts a crucial achievement. There comes a point in a toddler’s life when going in one’s diaper is only one possible option, and the question must be raised: “Should I go in my potty?” 
With pitch-perfect humor and pacing, Leslie Patricelli follows the inner dialogue (sure to have little ones shouting responses) and hilarious actions of everyone’s favorite Baby, winding up with an over-the-top look of surprise and delight that will have both parents and offspring laughing out loud–“I did it!” 

Potty (Leslie Patricelli board books): Patricelli, Leslie, Patricelli, Leslie: 9780763644765: Books 


Glowacki, J. (2015) Oh crap! potty training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right. Gallery Books.  

(2021) The best potty training tips, Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic. Available at:,clean-up%21%204%20Children%E2%80%99s%20books%20to%20pass%20the%20time. (Accessed: February 24, 2023).  

Lonzer, D. (2022) Potty-Training Regression: What To Do About It, Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic. Available at: (Accessed: February 24, 2023).  

Potty training your child – Seattle Children’s (no date) Seattle Children’s Hospital. Available at: (Accessed: February 24, 2023). 

A trail of muddy footprints leads from the back door to the kitchen. A colorful smear of paint on the bedroom wall. Toys have been dumped all around the living room floor. You heave a sigh, not looking forward to cleaning up the mess. 

It’s no secret; children favor messy activities. Splashing in water, finger- painting, digging in the dirt—you name it. However, caregivers often don’t want to deal with the clean- up afterwards, so they avoid these activities. Other times, they want to do these things but just don’t know where to start. 

Sensory/messy play is an essential part of a child’s growing development. So, how can we offer it without overwhelming ourselves? 

What is sensory play? 

In childcare, when we say “sensory play” it is often referring to science activities. However, science is just the tip of the iceberg. Sensory play refers to any activity that involves the senses. The more senses an activity incorporates, the better! 

You’d be surprised what counts as “sensory play.” Trying new food? A good sensory opportunity. Going to the beach? Lots of new sounds, smells, and textures for children to explore. Even listening to music or going outside offers important sensory input for children. Even infants learn about the world through sensory activities. 

Touch Sense (Tactile)
Tactile refers to our sense of touch and to the information our body gets through the skin.
- Our sense of touch is important because it helps us learn about our body and the environment we live in.
- Some of the tactile receptors are close to the surface of the skin and others are deep in the skin.
- Light Touch gives the brain an alerting message, "Pay attention". It is a useful sensation to increase a person's awareness of what is going on.
- Touch Pressure sensation occurs when you get a firm touch on your skin. Many people find comfort in touch pressure input.

Why is sensory play important? 

Sensory play holds a very important role in a child’s development, in both the short and long term. Here are just a few reasons why it helps: 

  • It helps them understand their senses and their own bodies more through hands-on learning.  
  • It helps improve critical thinking and problem-solving skills through practice as kids explore cause-and-effect relationships. 
  • It develops fine- motor skills, which are used in activities such as cutting with scissors and writing with a pencil. 
  • It supports emotional regulation, giving children something to help calm their emotions when they are angry/upset. 

Having several opportunities through the day for children to explore with their senses is vital to their growth and development. Caregivers can offer both structured and unstructured activities. 

How can I “accept the mess?” 

It can be very hard allowing your child to fully explore sensory activities. When I was brand new to teaching, I was far too focused on the aspect of “cleaning it up” and not the importance of allowing my students to make that mess. We often forget that the process for learning can be very chaotic at times, and that a child NEEDS to dump water onto the floor just to see what happens.  

So, what can we do about it? I decided to start where it would be easier for myself. At first, water play made me frustrated with how many times I needed to wipe it off the floor, so I traded it out for simple shredded paper and built myself up from there. There are still some days where I decide a huge mess would be too overwhelming, and so I trade it out for something more manageable, saving the big mess for another day. 

If messy play makes you anxious or is overwhelming, then start where you are most comfortable. You can make it easier on yourself by putting a tarp underneath or keeping it outside/in the kitchen. You can even ask your little one to help with the cleanup by handing them a child-sized broom or a wet-wipe. After all, even cleaning up can be a fun sensory experience! 

How do I introduce sensory play? 

Chances are, you’ve already introduced sensory play without even realizing it. However, there are several ways to deliberately encourage sensory play. Factors to keep in mind are a child’s age, interests, and developmental stage. 

For infants, start small. Offer them textile blocks, colorful scarves, or music.  

For older children, try spraying some shaving cream on the table and letting them play with it. You can also take them outside to dig in the garden or pick flowers. Going to a petting zoo or farm is also a great experience for them. 

You can also start a sensory bin – get a large, clear tub and fill it up with whatever you want. You can put it in the kitchen, on the porch, or even on a spare table. Sensory tubs can also be purchased online if you want one with a fun design to it.  

You can fill the tub with dried oats, magic sand, fake snow – anything you can think of! Your children may also have some great ideas for it. 

Other sensory bin Ideas: 

For Infants: 35+ Brilliant sensory bins for Babies – Kid Activities with Alexa 

For Toddlers: Sensory Bins Ideas for Toddlers – Enchanted HomeSchooling Mom 

For Preschoolers: 19 Amazing Sensory Bins for Preschool – Taming Little Monsters 

For School-age: Sensory Bin Ideas for Kindergarten at Home – How Wee Learn 

How else can I offer sensory play? 

Some children are more sensitive to sensory input than others. They may dislike the feeling of paint on their hands, or certain textures might make them upset. Luckily, there are many ways we can change the game and help them feel more at ease. Sensory toys such as Pop-its or a weighted blanket are a great place to start. For some older children, you could offer them a pair of gloves so they can protect their hands. 

If a child is simply not engaged, try catering it to their interests. Are they super into cars? Try having them drive trucks through the mud. Do they like baby dolls? Make a “baby doll bath station.” The possibilities are endless. 

Book of the Month: Faith and Science with Dr. Fizzlebop: 52 Fizztastically Fun Experiments and Devotions for Families. 

A fun science book that incorporates experiments with devotionals. Inspiration comes from bible stories, learning about the world through hands-on experience. Aimed at an older preschool/kindergarten demographic. 


Kostelyk, S. (2020) The importance of sensory play for children, The Chaos and the Clutter. Available at: (Accessed: October 12, 2022).  

Susie (2018) Are you terrified of messy play? (You don’t have to be!), Busy Toddler. Available at: (Accessed: October 12, 2022).  

What is sensory play and why is it important? (2019) UGro. Available at: (Accessed: October 12, 2022).  

What is sensory play and why is it important? (2022) Action for Children. Available at: (Accessed: October 12, 2022). 

Have you ever wondered why your child scribbles? Congratulations—they’re learning to write! Are they making a long string of random letters, with no clear words in it? That is an important stage to writing called Emergent Writing.  

Learning to write is a very long process that can take 6-8 years to perfect, with many stages and steps along the way. While there are ways we can support a child’s writing skills, it’s important that we do not rush them. They should be allowed to figure it out at their own pace. 

When will they start writing? 

Depending on the child, they will start writing around 5-6 years old. However, a child is learning the skills necessary to write from as young as 6 months old. 

When learning to write, there are a lot of steps that a child must go through before they’re ready.  

  1. Preliterate (Scribbling) 
  1. Emergent (Start of Letters) 
  1. Transitional (Invented Spelling) 
  1. Fluent (Dictionary Spelling) 

(NAEYC, 2017) 

Why do they hold crayons like that? 

As they build up the muscles in their hand, children will hold writing utensils in many ways. The way they hold it right now is simply the most comfortable way for them. 

(Greutman, 2010) 

They may spend a longer or shorter amount of time on any step than this diagram provides. They may even skip a step entirely. This is perfectly okay, as it’s important for them to explore their strengths and grow confidence in their abilities.  

Right vs. left handedness 

A child usually shows their hand preference around age 3, though this may take more or less time, depending on the child. Both right- and left-handed dominance is natural, and there is no difference in how they will learn to write.  

I want to stress that it is NOT a good idea to force a left-handed child to be right-handed. When you force any child to use their non-dominant hand for an extended period, it disrupts the natural flow of their brain, and can cause several short- and long-term effects such as bedwetting, extreme fatigue, poor concentration, and more. (Penwise, 2021). 

How can I support their writing skills? 

There are many ways to help children learn to write, and it’s important to give them many opportunities to practice.  

  • Fine motor activities build up hand muscles. Activities such as playdough, threading beads, or painting/coloring are good places to start. This will help them develop their hand-eye coordination and self-confidence. 
  • Pointing out print around them. Reading to them or helping them read, pointing out the letters in their names, and playing with foam letters/letter cards will help them get familiar with the idea of print. 
  • Asking for communication. When they’re writing or playing, you can initiate a conversation about the activity. Using open-ended questions will get them thinking and help them learn how to express their ideas through words, which will help them when they are ready to learn how to write. 

What are open-ended questions? 

An open-ended question is a question with no clear answer. It’s okay if a child does not answer right away, as it will still get them to think. Even when they are not talking yet, it’s good to help them learn vocabulary and recognize words. A few questions you could ask are: 

  • What are you cooking? 
  • What other materials could you use? 
  • How can we fix that? 
  • Where can we find that? 
  • What happens after that? 

If you’d like to learn more, here is an article that goes more in-depth on why open-ended questions are important to early language/literacy skills: 75 Interesting Open-Ended Questions For Children ( 

Book of the Month: The Boy Who Loved Words, by Roni Schotter 

In this Parents’ Choice Gold Award-winning book, Selig collects words, ones that stir his heart (Mama!) and ones that make him laugh (giggle). But what to do with so many luscious words? After helping a poet find the perfect words for his poem (lozenge, lemon, and licorice), he figures it out: His purpose is to spread the word to others. And so, he begins to sprinkle, disburse, and broadcast them to people in need. 


Booe, M. and Booe, J., 2022. Forcing A Left-Handed Child To Be Right Handed: A Good Idea? | Little Ninja Parenting. [online] Little Ninja Parenting. Available at: <> [Accessed 12 September 2022]. 

Greutman, H., 2010. Typical Pencil Grasp Development for Kids. [online] Growing Hands-On Kids. Available at: <> [Accessed 12 September 2022]. 

Kids, P., 2022. Support your preschooler’s emergent writing skills. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 12 September 2022]. 

Kim, T., 2022. Promoting Preschoolers’ Emergent Writing. [online] NAEYC. Available at: <> [Accessed 12 September 2022]. 

Klöppel, S., Mangin, J., Vongerichten, A., Frackowiak, R. and Siebner, H., 2010. Nature vs. Nurture; Long-Term Impact of Forced Right-Handedness on Structure of Pericentral Cortex and Basal Ganglia. [online] JNeurosci. Available at: <> [Accessed 12 September 2022].