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Monday, March 29, 2010

Give and Grow Together' Promotes Earth-Friendly Service Action in April


VolunteerSpot and the Arbor Day Foundation partner to plant a tree in your honor

Austin, TX - March 19, 2010 - VolunteerSpot (www.VolunteerSpot.com), a free online volunteer coordination tool, has teamed up with Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees in honor of those who participate in earth-friendly action.  The program, Give and Grow Together, rewards good deeds in giving back to the earth with the gift of trees to be grown in our fire-damaged national forests. 


Whether it's organizing a neighborhood celebration for Earth Day (April 22, 2010), cleaning up the local park, planning a community garden, or planting trees on Arbor Day (April 30, 2010), VolunteerSpot's free online calendar sign up tool makes it easy for any group, no matter the size, to ask for help and coordinate volunteers. 

"Our school garden is a huge success all year round thanks to a dedicated team of parent volunteers. VolunteerSpot makes it super easy to schedule the help we need and parents love the reminder emails when it's their turn to pitch in," said Marguerite Kennedy, Principal of Gavilan Hills Academy in Gilroy, CA. Its volunteers are among the more than 180,000 people using VolunteerSpot across the country.

About the Give and Grow Together Promotion

As part of this effort to promote earth-friendly service activities, Arbor Day Foundation and VolunteerSpot are teaming up.  Plan any local earth-friendly service activity on VolunteerSpot through the end of April, and invite at least four volunteers, and the Arbor Day Foundation will plant a tree in your honor.  Sharing the promotion via social media (facebook or Twitter) or trying a sample sign up on VolunteerSpot will also earn a tree.  "The trees we plant will be lasting symbol of service to generations to come," said Kevin Sander, director of corporate partnerships for the Arbor Day Foundation.

Save time while Saving the Planet

Give and Grow together not only inspires earth-friendly action, but also highlights VolunteerSpot's free (paperless), web-based online sign up sheets and volunteer coordination tool.  Volunteer leaders and teachers who use VolunteerSpot find more people step up to get involved and that they cut their administrative time by 85% and eliminate volunteer drop-out due to poor communication practices like reply-all email and phone tag. 

In honor of our Mother Earth, here are some service activities to consider this April and beyond:
            Participating in a community garden project
Picking up trash at your neighborhood park
Planting a tree or flowers in your yard or an elderly neighbor's
Teaching children about the importance of recycling
Planning a trash-free Earth Day picnic

Please visit http://www.volunteerspot.com/ebooks/Grow  for details on Give and Grow Together and more earth-friendly service ideas that are fun for the whole family! 

About VolunteerSpot
Based in Austin, Texas, privately held VolunteerSpot (www.VolunteerSpot.com) is a free Web-based organization tool that powers grassroots volunteering at school and in the community. VolunteerSpot's easy online calendar sign-up sheets saves time, streamlines communication and makes it simple for more people to get involved.  VolunteerSpot is perfect for coordinating groups for anything school activities, carnivals and festivals, mentoring programs, community gardens, tournaments, walk-a-thons, food drives, building projects and more.… VolunteerSpot, DOING GOOD Just Got Easier! 

Please contact Diana Schlott for more information: press {at} VolunteerSpot.com

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kids Room Makeover: Peel & Stick Wall Decals Make it Easy Peasy!

Painting is hard work. You have to clean, sand, add primer, paint, maybe add another coat, and clean up. Yikes!!! The truth is we like to change our surroundings and painting is the number one choice when making changes. But.... what if you found an easy way to decorate that wasn't permanent but changed the look of your child's room? And your child actually was part of the change decision. 

We recently added Peel & Stick kids wall decor.  These inexpensive wall designs are easy to put on take off and change over and over again. All you need is a clean wall and some imagination and you can completely change the look and feel of your child's room in minutes. Whether its for a baby, toddler, school age child or teen there are plenty of designs to choose from. Some of our favorites are the:

For kids who want their walls to be interactive, we've also added Chalkals. You can actually draw or write on these wall stickers and then wipe clean and start again.  Make reminder notes for the kids, put them in your kitchen for a shopping or phone call list. So many choices and such cool products. 

We're not sure if we're saving the best for last. But the XL murals are super cool but a lot more work... and they are not peel & stick. The XL murals come in two sizes. 6' x 9' and 9' x 15'. 

 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring is Here: Time to Consider a Sand and Water Table for Kids

Trying to keep children active while at preschool or daycare can be a daunting chore. You would like the playthings and play areas risk-free from sharp edges, weather resistant, and be long lasting. Activity tables and art easels by ChildBrite might be the answer. This U.S. based company is a leader in children's art easels and sand & water activity tables.

These fun, high quality products are made in America and are perfect for schools, child care facilities, and wonderful for family backyard fun. Children from ages three and up will love these products because they can be used both outdoors and indoors and are extremely versatile. With each activity center, kids can use their senses, boost their fine motor skills, and discover their creative side.

Many special needs kids suffer from an aversion to tactile input. This aversion is known as tactile defensiveness.They literally can't stand the experience of numerous textures. By designing activities with a range of textures in a enjoyable and non-threatening way therapists can aid these kids overcome this debilitating problem. Activities like drawing in shaving cream or finding treasures in the beans are great motivators to each particular child. The basic game of hiding objects in the bins also helps children with tactile discrimination - the ability to tell the difference between items by feel. When faced with a tub filled with rice, for example, they will needs to reach into the tub and try to find items that feel different such as toys, jacks, or balls using their hands thus helping them learn to make a distinction by touch. These games are great for kids with special needs but typical kids really enjoy them too. Kids love to explore their environment and providing them with different ways to experience their senses creates an enriched and fun way to spend their day.

Sand & water tables are sometimes used by teachers and therapists as part of their all round curriculum. As a rule sensory tables are great for both typical and special needs kids. In a regular preschool setting many teachers fill the tubs with water on a hot summer day for lots of outdoor water fun. Occupational therapists (and some teachers) take this fun activity one step further by incorporating various substances to the tubs so kids can explore a variety of mediums and textures. Some examples are shaving cream, popcorn, sand, rice, or beans. Activities can be created to help kids learn to put up with different textures. 

Just like their sand and water activity tables, ChildBrite's kids art easels are produced of high impact resins and are moisture resistant. This makes them uniquely suited for outdoor as well as indoor use. These functional kids' art easels come in many styles so you are sure to find the one that best meets your needs. We especially love the room saving easels that stay on fences and walls. A product like this excels in performance and eye appeal. ChildBrite's distinctive and cutting edge designs mix fun and functionality that will bring your kids play area to the next level. For example, the art easels / sand and water table combination makes it possible for kids to enjoy both a sand table and art center all in one great product. Another great feature is their multi-user easels that offer multiple stations so that 2 - 4 kids can create works of art at one time. On the whole items by ChildBrite are great for schools, day cares, homes, indoor playgrounds, therapy clinics, or any location kids come to have fun and use their creativeness.

Whether it's outdoor water play or distinguishing different textures, children will enjoy all the wonderful elements of Sand & Water Tables and easels. These items are designed for children's enjoyment and parent's satisfaction with high quality craftsmanship for years of fun. ChildBrite sand and water activity tables are manufactured with care. The built-in drain makes them easy to empty and clean. Every table is made of high impact resins, which allows them to be moisture resistant and they are also specially coated in order to protect against peeling. Some tables have optional casters for effortless mobility and many of them offer a color option of Blue, Green, Red, or Sandstone. Some have corresponding tops that are grooved to create a fun play table top for trains and cars.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Classroom Furniture Choices: The Right Stuff

Your current classroom furniture should be anatomically appropriate. In other words, school furniture must be student friendly. When furniture is comfortable for a student, their productivity is far better. Older student desks were the paddle shape, however, it never really allowed much space for a student's books and notebooks. Most of the student desk designs of yesteryear where very not comfortable which made it difficult for some students to study and learn. Another problem with traditional student desks is that that they only contain one compartment underneath the seat. If a student was given an open book test, it was hard to have an open book and the entire test paper on the desk at the same time. There wasn't much room for anything else. It is true that student desks have made changes throughout the years. The more advanced rectangular desks are much better than the traditional school desks.

These days, students have desks with the lift up tops and desks with an open end to put books on other subjects (it's amazing how many books early learners carry around these day!). This is so that students can conveniently store their books and other school supplies. Many school class rooms have desks, storage units, and cubbies with wheels so that students can easily maneuver around into groups during study and art time. Students shouldn't have to waste time picking up traditional desks to form into groups. Today's furniture is designed in long rectangular tables, kidney shaped and even trapezoids. These unique shapes are fun plus they entice kids to easily get into their own mastermind groups. Some of these innovative desks are capable of holding equipment including PC's, laptops, and other new fangled technology. Why let kids struggle on their own when they can pow wow with peers and learn via discussion?

As a school teacher, you know and understand how to choose school furniture that will be appropriate for you and your students. Besides desks, teachers love cubby units, waist high room dividers, and book cases. Obviously budget constraints will almost always keep you from getting every item you really want, but there are certain types of furniture that ensures classroom productivity is heightened and remains a positive learning atmosphere. Without the right tools, the classroom is likely to become unproductive. Furniture that is designed to organize materials in the classroom is considered to be ideal. An organized area is typically a smoothly run and efficient class; where teachers are able to concentrate on lesson plans and not the chaos that comes with messy surroundings. There are many different types of furniture that are productive when it comes to this aspect of the educational progress in the classroom. Supply cabinets, cubby shelves, and art storage can incorporate the use of storage containers for supplies such as crayons, markers, pencils, clay, and more. If you're a teacher in an area where resources are almost non-existent, did you know that you can petition for classroom supplies at http://www.donorschoose.org/? Check it out, you might find help from friends across the country.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Personalized Kids Furniture




Children love seeing their own names displayed proudly on their favorite possessions, but there are also lots of fun and practical uses for kids furniture. Not only will your child feel special and more in control of his own belongings, but you may also use personalization to prevent conflict involving kids and to enforce non-confrontational discipline strategies.
A smart way of making use of personalized products is to help youngsters with the concept of sharing. It is normal for kids to stake their claim on valued property during play dates. Nevertheless, as we all know, children who don't learn to share are not much fun to play with and you may have a difficult time getting parents to bring their kids back to your home if their small one departs in tears after each visit. The remedy? Get your child his own personalized toy box.


You can also add your youngster's name to these products to help infuse a sense of belonging. Seeing his or her name prominently placed on chairs, benches, and some other items gives them a reminder that their place in the family is long lasting and significant.


Personalized furniture helps avoid misunderstandings when multiple young children have the same product. This is true both for classes where there are dozens of kids sharing the same classroom and for home for settling conflicts over which thing belongs to whom. Let kids pick out their own toys and personalize any of them that may become a source of distress for kids (and yourself…). That way, the next time there is an discussion, you can point to the name on each toy and say "See, this one belongs to you, and this one is your brother's." Trouble solved.


You can employ this same strategy when correcting children by having a "naughty" box, bench, or stool. For boxes, you can personalize it by adding the word "naughty" or your child’s name. Use them for putting toys, games, and other revoked privileges. Viewing the visual reminder of having his toys taken away is frequently more successful than putting them away somewhere sight unseen (out of sight, out of mind…just get a lock for the box if there is not one already).


Just before any play date, have him put his favorite toys inside the box and then close the lid. Tell him that all toys inside don't have to be shared simply because they are in his own special box, with his name right on front. (If you want to get REALLY fancy, you might also have a box labeled "Sharing Toys" or something similar.) Let him know that any toys NOT inside his special box have to be shared with his friends. Most children will comply knowing that their feelings have been respected and that their favorite things are safely tucked away.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Kids Easels in School. Is one of your Students the Next Picasso?

Teaching art work is a excellent move in classrooms, no matter the age of the children. Creativity appears to come naturally for many children, and allowing them to express it in a balanced way is a excellent thing. For this reason, kids easels are valuable things to have in a schoolroom, as they can make it easy for kids to paint or draw. Of course, like any other type of schoolroom furnishings, there are a lot of options when it comes to easels.


If you have children of different heights and ages in your classroom, such as in a preschool, you might find easels with adjustable heights to be invaluable. In fact, such easels usually have two sides, and each one can be set at different heights. Some easels even feature up to four sides of different heights. This makes it easy to allow four children of different ages or heights to draw or paint simultaneously. This type of easel has hinges that easily lock into place when you find the right height.


Many easels feature not only a blank paper canvas, but additionally a big chalkboard. In fact, some include a whiteboard, too, as well as space to store erasers, markers, and chalk. Of course, you can also attach plain white paper to this type of easel so that little ones can use it to sketch or paint. This kind of easels allow youngsters various ways to express their creativity. If they like playing with chalk or child-friendly dry erase markers, they have the ability to do so, but can also quickly switch to paint or regular markers when you add paper to the easel.


A few specialty easels include certain extras that you might find appealing. For example, several include much more storage space than most, with many shelves underneath that are big enough to accommodate small bins or buckets of products. Keeping all the art supplies in one place makes this type of easel a great piece of classroom furniture. Other easels attempt to encourage more creativity than ever in kids by including a certain theme. Some look like fire engines, police cars, or ambulances, which are especially appealing to toddlers who enjoy bright, recognizable themes.


Before you select an easel for your schoolroom, think about the age range, heights, and interests of kids in your class. If you have a specific art time, it makes sense to get several easels that have adjustable heights so that many children can paint or draw at once. However, you may simply have one easel available for play time. In either case, this type of schoolroom furniture can encourage kids to get resourceful.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Easels: Expressing Their Creativity in School

Encouraging art is a good move in classrooms, no matter the age of the students. Creativity seems to come naturally for children, and allowing them to express it in a healthy way is a good thing. easels are helpful items to have in a classroom, as they can make it easy for children to paint or draw. Of course, like any other type of classroom furniture, there are plenty of options when it comes to easels.


If you have children of different heights and ages in your classroom, such as in a preschool, you might find easels with adjustable heights to be invaluable. In fact, such easels usually have two sides, and each one can be set at different heights. Some easels even feature up to four sides of different heights. This makes it easy to allow four children of different ages or heights to draw or paint simultaneously. This type of easel has hinges that easily lock into place when you find the right height.

Many easels feature not only a blank paper canvas, but also a large chalkboard. In fact, some include a whiteboard, too, as well as space to store erasers, markers, and chalk. Of course, you can also attach plain white paper to this type of easel so that kids can use it to draw or paint. Such easels allow children several ways to express their imagination. If they enjoy playing with chalk or child-friendly dry erase markers, they have the opportunity to do so, but can also quickly switch to paint or regular markers when you add paper to the easel.

Some specialty easels include certain extras that you might find appealing. For example, some include much more storage space than most, with several shelves underneath that are big enough to fit small bins or buckets of supplies. Keeping all the art supplies in one place makes this type of easel a great piece of classroom furniture. Other easels attempt to encourage more creativity than ever in kids by including a certain theme. Some look like fire engines, police cars, or ambulances, which are especially appealing to toddlers who enjoy bright, recognizable themes.

Before you choose an easel for your classroom, think about the ages, heights, and interests of kids in your class. If you have a specific art time, it makes sense to get several easels that have adjustable heights so that many kids can paint or draw at once. However, you may simply have one easel available for play time. Either way, this type of classroom furniture can encourage kids to get creative.