Music To My Ears: Bring Home the Benefits of Singing

Posted by Jennifer Kelman and Jenna Knaster on November 16, 2018 at 12:09 PM

Think back to when you were a child. What kind of music did your parents listen to? Do you remember your parents singing you a lullaby? Perhaps you remember singing songs with your family, friends, or community as part of a celebration. Music is part of being human. Singing with your child is an incredibly important part of developing a well-rounded, creative, and expressive child. An article in the Chicago Tribune notes that singing has a variety of health benefits, from increased antibodies to lower stress levels. In addition, singing has been shown to strengthen mental alertness, build social connections, and improve lung function. From forming key memories with your child to engaging the mind and lowering stress levels, you might consider adding singing to your family life .

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Topics: Parenting Tips, Arts

How Open Studio Art Classes Unlock Creativity

Posted by Authored collaboratively by Betty O'Regan and Nina Silverman on November 2, 2018 at 2:45 PM

When students come to art they may think they’re going to learn to draw or paint, but by the end of each class they have done so much more than skill-building. While we certainly do teach children about the different tools and techniques that they can use to express themselves artistically, we also encourage risk-taking, develop problem-solving skills, and build their self-confidence.  And there is no better time to see students displaying all of these traits than during an Open Studio session.

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Topics: Arts, Sanford School, Education

Finding the Right School For Your Child

Posted by Heidi McGregor on October 19, 2018 at 12:30 PM


Have you ever wondered what teachers look for when considering a school for their own children? 

Consistently, teachers agree it is important to visit a school on a typical school day when students are present. No surprise...these teachers also feel you should do your homework. Start with a list of questions that are relevant to your child’s development. After all, you know your child best. Here are some of the questions they suggest: 

Classroom observations

  • Do you see happy children and teachers?
  • Are the classrooms welcoming?
  • Are the children engaged in active learning?
  • Are the classrooms child-centered, creative, and organized?
  • Is there appropriate use of technology, such as computers, smart boards, or tablets?
  • Are the children interacting and having conversations with each other?
  • Do the students interact with you? 


  • Does the curriculum have a solid research foundation for success?
  • Is the curriculum flexible, allowing teachers to customize it to student needs?
  • Is there a world language program? When does it start?
  • How is technology integrated into the curriculum to enhance student learning?
  • How frequently do the students attend special classes, such as art, music, PE, and technology?
  • What is a typical amount of nightly homework? At what age does it begin?


  • What is the level of faculty education?
  • Are there professional development opportunities to keep faculty current in their fields?
  • Do teachers have organized meeting times to collaborate with one another?
  • What is the teacher turnover rate ?
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Topics: Education, Academics, Community

Building Connections for a Caring School Community

Posted by Krista Berneike, Jen Bowen and Ann Marie Galasso on October 5, 2018 at 12:00 PM

"Students are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors and succeed academically when they feel connected to school," according to the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report.  Having a home and school connection brings positive benefits concerning both academic success and healthy decision-making. Below are a few activities that can be used to strengthen the support network for children in the classroom to create a caring community.

knowledge is power: Learn about your students

  • Collection Museum: During the first week of school we ask students to bring in something they love or collect, like shells, rocks, or Legos. They present to the whole group about their collection and then we display all of the items in a Classroom Museum and give students time to explore all of the exhibits.
  • Star Student Program: Each week we choose a Star Student, and that child shares things about themselves with the whole group, such as bringing in their favorite book for a classroom read aloud. The rest of the students show how much they value the Star Student by writing kind notes to the child. At the end of the week, the Star Student is presented with a bound book that includes all of the notes from students and teachers talking about the things that make that Star Student an important part of the community.
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Topics: Community, Parenting Tips, Education

Move It!: A Beginner’s Guide to Physical Literacy

Posted by Shannon Helmecki on September 21, 2018 at 12:30 PM

When you hear the word “literacy” you probably think reading and writing, but did you know that there’s also physical literacy? Project Play gives this definition: "Physical literacy is the ability, confidence, and desire to be physically active for life.”

What Is Physical Literacy?

Put simply, physical literacy is developing the fundamental movement skills that children need, such as running, hopping, throwing, catching, and jumping. Once achieved, it gives children the confidence to participate in a variety of physical activities, sports, and games, whether on dry land or in the water or snow. With practice, kids are better able to enjoy being physically active in ways that can continue throughout their lifetimes. When students adopt a "can do" attitude about movement, the same attitude can carry over to their schoolwork. In fact, many studies have shown that engaging in physical activity can lead to improved academic performance, so when kids get active they reap both physical and cognitive benefits.


Physical literacy does not take special skills; kids simply have to get outside and play. Climbing the monkey bars, kicking a soccer ball, or playing tag are all activities that contribute to a child's physical literacy. At Sanford School, we offer opportunites for free play every day, and when students come to Physical Education class teachers encourage growth by focusing on the four essential parts of physical literacy highlighted by Dr. Dean Kriellaars, a professor at the University of Manitoba. Kriellaars states that to fully develop physical literacy students should be encouraged to think about:

  • Awareness: Where is my body in relation to other people or things around me?
  • Selection: What movement is best for this situation?
  • Sequencing: How can I put multiple movements together to achieve a goal?
  • Modification: What should I do differently as my environment changes?
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Topics: Health & Wellness, Athletics, Education, Parenting Tips

Transitioning to First Grade: How Teachers Pave the Way

Posted by Kathy Dabkowski, Kristy Patton and Katherine Stafford on September 7, 2018 at 1:04 PM

The transition from kindergarten to first grade can make parents and students feel excited and a little nervous about leaving “early childhood” and becoming a “big kid.”  At Sanford School, teachers think about helping students do three things to ensure that students all transition smoothly: seeing a familiar face, feeling comfortable in the space, and getting used to the pace.

Seeing a Familiar Face

Students often feel less anxious about going to a new classroom when they know a little bit about the new teacher that they’ll have. To help with this, kindergartners have recess along with the first and second grades so that teachers can start to connect with the students they’ll have in a year or two. In addition, faculty members who teach “specials” like art, music, and technology constantly remind students that even though the homeroom teachers change, the specials teachers will remain the same, so they can plan to see many familiar faces the following year. To help drive home this point, the specials teachers always participate in greeting during morning drop off the first week of school so that students going into a new grade can see teachers that they had the previous year .

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Topics: Academics, Parenting Tips, Education

5 Ways to Help Your Child Have a Smooth Transition into School

Posted by Liz Christopher, Tara Giordano, and Patti Reynolds on August 24, 2018 at 10:43 AM


Children entering PreK and kindergarten may be spending the day away from home for the very first time, and that make kids feel both excited and anxious. Even children who have attended an early childhood program need to prepare for the differences that come with going to school rather than daycare. As a parent, having a clear morning routine is one thing you can do to help start your child’s academic journey on the right foot. Use the five tips below to create a streamlined, stress-free process that will help your child begin every morning with confidence!

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Topics: Parenting Tips

5 Healthy Eating Habits for Kids

Posted by Olivia Civiletti on August 10, 2018 at 10:31 AM


As children get older, it’s important to help them healthy eating habits. Whether packing lunch, grabbing a snack after school, or ordering dinner in a restaurant, there are many opportunities for kids to control what goes into their bodies. Here are five tips to help you teach your child how to make nutritious choices.

Eat the rainbow

  • Encourage your child to build a plate that has an abundance of color from a variety of fruits and vegetables. A fun way to do this is to make edible art with your child! For example, create a forest scene using broccoli for the trees, an orange slice for the sun, sliced blueberries for a lake, and cauliflower florets for clouds .
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Topics: Health & Wellness, Parenting Tips

Why We Love Thematic Learning (and You Should, too!)

Posted by Christine Diubaldo and Candyce Pizzala on June 29, 2018 at 2:00 PM


The Four C’s

For years the world of school was focused on the Three R’s: reading, writing, and arithmetic. But in today’s world it’s not enough to read a book, write a story, and do a few math problems; we need to prepare our students for an ever-evolving global society. Now, education organizations around the country, including the National Education Association (NEA) are talking about the Four C’s:

  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Communication
  3. Collaboration
  4. Creativity


The Fifth C: Chocolate!

In the Third Grade we tackle the Four C’s and more through thematic learning. Thematic learning is when students focus on one theme that connects multiple subject areas. For example, in our Chocolate Economics unit we use the overarching theme of chocolate to bridge several content areas. Some highlights of the unit include:

  • Science: Investigation of the cacao bean and its rainforest habitat, including the layers of the forest, the geography and weather conditions needed to sustain a tropical rainforest, and the importance of sustainability and conservation of these areas;
  • Social Studies: Discussion of the history of chocolate, from the Aztecs and Mayans to the explorers who brought chocolate to various countries and continents;
  • Reading and Performing Arts: Reader’s Theater performances—complete with costumes and music—of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Great Kaypok Tree;
  • Economics (including research, writing, and math): Participation in the full scope of activities related to the business of chocolate-making, such as conducting market research, production of actual chocolate creations, branding & advertising via print and television, and, eventually, a Market Day where students sell their chocolate and calculate their profits, which are donated to charity organizations selected by the students.


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Topics: Education, Academics

7 Places for Summertime Family Fun in Delaware

Posted by Olivia Civiletti on June 15, 2018 at 2:13 PM

Every year, students excitedly wait for the arrival of summer, a time when they get to escape the routine of school and try something new. Though the anticipation of summertime freedom can be exciting, often, when summer arrives, kids get tired of having nothing to do and bored with the lack of routine. A great way to get out of a summertime rut is to plan day outings for the whole family. Here are seven fun things for you and your family to do this summer in Delaware.

Rehoboth Beach

What better place is there to bring a child on a sweltering summer day than the beach? Rehoboth Beach, Delaware offers public sandy beaches with access to a boardwalk with food, shops, and an amusement park, “Funland.” This is a wonderful place to get away with the family, enjoy a swim in the ocean, sunbathe, and have some fun on a ride or play a carnival game.

Delaware Art Museum

Bring out your child’s inner artist with a trip to the Delaware Art Museum. In addition to being a non-profit art museum with permanent exhibits and changing temporary exhibits, the Delaware Art Museum is very welcoming of families and children. They have a reduced admissions fee for families of up to 2 adults and 4 children and children 6 years old and under get in free. Museum admission is free on Thursdays from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM and on Sundays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and the museum holds public tours every Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM. They also offer stroller tours, youth and adult art classes, and storytelling performances for kids. For families this summer, they will also be holding special yoga in the garden events, studio Sundays, and a summer solstice labyrinth walk.

Brandywine Zoo

Any animal enthusiasts in the family? A trip to the zoo can amaze and delight! Spread across 12 acres of historical land in above the Brandywine River, the Brandywine Zoo is one of over 200 accredited zoos and aquariums in North America. It is open year-round and is committed to taking exceptional care of animals and making family visits enjoyable. This idyllic zoo houses 120 different species and is a great place to escape for the day with the whole family. They hold special events every week, such as “Story Time,” held every Thursday, in which the children are read animal stories, “Reptile Shows,” Fridays through Sundays, where kids can find out about the unique abilities of reptiles, and many more fun events focused on the education of children and their families .

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Topics: Community, Summer, Parenting Tips