August is National Immunizations Month

August is recognized as National Immunizations Month (NIAM). This awareness month highlights the need for improving national immunization coverage levels and encourages all people to protect their health by being immunized against infectious diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does support and encourage the efforts of state and local health departments and other immunization partners to celebrate NIAM and use this month to promote back-to-school immunizations, remind college students to catch up immunizations before they move into dorms, and remind everyone that the influenza season is only a few months away. It’s a great reminder to our nation that people of all ages require timely immunization to protect their health.

Why are childhood vaccines so important?

  • It’s true that newborn babies are immune to many diseases because they have antibodies they got from their mothers. However, the duration of the immunity may last only a month to about a year. Further, young children do not have maternal immunity against some vaccine-preventable diseases, such as whooping cough.
  • If a child is vaccinated and is exposed to a disease germ, the child’s body may not be strong enough to fight the disease. Before vaccines, many children died from diseases that vaccines now prevent, such as whooping cough, measles, and polio. Those same germs exist today, but babies are now protected by vaccines, so we do not see these diseases as often.
  • Immunizing individual children also helps to protect the health of our community, especially those people who are not immunized. People who are not immunized include those who are too young to be vaccinated (e.g., children less than a year old cannot receive the measles vaccine but can be infected by the virus), those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons (e.g., children with leukemia), and those who cannot make an adequate response to vaccination. Also protected, therefore, are people who receive a vaccine, but who have not developed an immunity.

Immunization also slows down or stops disease outbreaks.


For more information on vaccinations, please visit

Teaching Children Respect

Respect for one another is an important value in our everyday lives. However, it is a challenge to find ways to teach this value to children. We have all heard that we must give respect to get respect and this is very true. It relates back to the golden rule, treating others as you would like to be treated. As with anything, it is sometimes easier said than done. I am a first-time mother of a very independent and strong willed 4-year-old. Respect is our biggest struggle right now. I find my head racing in those heated moments; how do I stay calm, how do I respect the decision he is making, how can I get him to listen, why doesn’t he respect me, what am I doing wrong? One thing I know for sure and take comfort in is the fact that I am not alone. Most children go through a defiant stage, and many parents find themselves in frustrating situations where there is a struggle for respect. During those trying moments, are the teachable moments.

Define Respect: Take time to communicate with your children what respect means. Help them understand what respect looks like and how they can practice being respectful. Give them plenty of examples and positive affirmations, for example: “It’s so nice and very respectful when you listen quietly when I am talking to you. “You do a great job showing your teacher respect at school when you look her in the eyes when you talk to her.” “I know you love to play with blocks. Doesn’t it feel good when a friend invites you to play blocks, or shares their blocks with you? They’re showing you respect.”

Leading by example: Children model what they see. They take after the relationships that are in front of them every day. The way that you treat those around you; spouse, significant other, children, friends, coworkers, parents, etc. in the moments when you get lost in frustration or anger, bring your awareness back to who is watching, what they are learning, and how you can model expected or desired behavior. How would you like them to react to a similar situation?

Remain Calm: The power of breath is sometimes underestimated. When respect becomes an issue, teach your children to stop and take a deep breath. “Taking a deep breath really does calm you down by triggering neurons in your brain which tell the body it is time to relax, a new study has found there are neurons which link breathing to relaxation, attention, excitement and anxiety located deep in the brainstem” This allows everyone to slow down and calm the body down, which can reroute potentially frustrating situations.

Talk Openly: Talking about who we respect and why we respect those people gives you an opportunity to bring it full circle for your child. Once they understand what respect is, they can truly start to understand how to embody that and who to respect; mom, dad, laws, teachers, friends, themselves. Take the little moments and turn them into teachable moments, “I don’t want to clean my room” can turn into a conversation about respect. Respecting your personal property, the rules, and your parents.

At AppleTree & Gilden Woods, respect is very important to our CORE Values Character Education Program. For the month of July, we bring acute awareness to how we can embody respect and make a point to work it in to our every day lives. Below is an activity that we do in our classrooms, that you can try at home with your children around the dinner table or while sharing your day:

The “Talking Stone”

Activity Materials needed:

  • Medium Rock or Paint Stick (optionally can be decorated)

Often during circle time, many preschoolers want to talk at once. One way to help children learn how to take turns is to use a visual clue. Try using a “talking stick” or “talking stone.” Hold your “stick” or “stone” while you speak and then pass it on when it’s time for another person to talk. Only the person with the talking stone or stick may speak. You can use a colorful rock or decorate your stick in a special way. This technique helps young children learn to respect the speaker and to wait and listen. Continue with this idea and soon the children will be reminding each other.

7 Natural Remedies for Sun Burns

July is National UV Protection Month. The sun is warm and wonderful but can be very dangerous if we do not take precautions to protect ourselves from it’s rays. While sunscreen, hats, and UV protective clothing are an effective way to enjoy the sun and prevent sunburn, it is important to understand that sometimes sunburn does happen regardless of the measures we have taken. Below are a few natural remedies to help ease the pain of a dreaded sunburn.

  1. Aloe Vera- Aloe helps ease the itching and burning when applied to a sunburn. For added relief, put aloe into ice cube trays and freeze for a bonus cooling effect.
  1. Coconut Oil- Gently rub coconut oil into the sunburn. The oil takes out the burn and tightens the skin to help reduce wrinkles that may result from sun damage.
  2. Witch Hazel- Apply a compress of witch hazel to the affected area. This will help with pain and swelling as well as help eliminate peeling.
  3. Baking Soda Bath- Mix 1 cup of baking soda into a cool bath and soak for no more than 15-20 minutes.
  4. Black Tea- Allow tea bags to soak and then apply them to the affected area. There are components in black tea that can help remove heat from sunburn and other components, called catechins that help prevent and repair skin damage.
  5. Apple Cider Vinegar- There are countless benefits and uses for apple cider vinegar. It comes as no surprise that it can also help soothe and heal a sunburn. You can add it to a spray bottle and use it as a mist or you can add it to a cool compress and apply it by gently pressing it on to the affected areas.
  6. Cucumber- Make a paste by blending chilled cucumbers. Apply the paste to sunburned areas to help ease pain and inflammation.

Stay safe, be smart out there, and enjoy Summer while it lasts.

Tips for Camping With Children

The sun is up, the skies are blue, the birds are chirping, the pavement is sizzling. Summer is here! It’s the perfect time to pack up the car and head to the woods for an unplugged weekend with nature. Some of my most cherished childhood memories are from our family camping trips on the Manistee River. Nothing will ever compare to the magic the river brought to us. However, I’m now a mother of a rambunctious toddler, and I cannot even begin to imagine how my parents handled camping with 6 of us, ranging in age from 1-15. I have a whole new perspective and respect for them! Hats off to the brave and bold parents ready to embark on that family camping trip. Here are a few camping hacks to make the trip a little less stressful and a lot more enjoyable for the whole family.

Camping allows the family to disconnect and enjoy what the world has to offer. Encouraging a love for nature in young children allows them to explore and get in touch with their creative side and it also makes for amazing family memories!

What to look for in a Preschool

Selecting a preschool program for your child is an exciting milestone however, it may feel overwhelming. As a parent, you want to find the right program for your child. A program that excites them, provides a safe and secure environment and prioritizes kindergarten readiness.

To help relieve some of the pressure of selecting a preschool program here are some key components to look for:

At AppleTree & Gilden Woods we provide all three components and more in our K-Prep Preschool Program!

Our C.O.R.E. Curriculum System is a combination of industry-respected curriculum and proprietary learning tools:  

  • The Creative Curriculum®
  • Get Set for School®
  • C.O.R.E. Language & Literacy Acquisition Program

The combination of these curriculums ensures that all domains of development necessary for a quality, educational early childhood experience.

Learning centers in a preschool program help to organize the environment and curriculum. At AppleTree & Gilden Woods each K-Prep classroom provides learning centers that help children learn fundamental skills while they explore new concepts through hands-on activities.

To ensure all children’s interests are being recognized AppleTree & Gilden Woods also provide several enrichment programs. The following enrichment programs are available:

  • C.O.R.E. Values Character Education
  • Fitness Program- “Pedal’s Fun ‘N’ Fit”
  • Music & Movement Program- “Lyric’s Melody Makers”
  • Foreign Language Program- “Adabelle’s Spanish Club”
  • Technology Program- “Tech Time with Terance”
  • S.T.E.M.- Science, Technology, Engineering & Math

Learn more about our K-Prep Preschool Program and schedule your personal tour by contacting your local AppleTree or Gilden Woods Early Care and Preschool. Click here to find a school near you!

5 Tips on Bike Safety

One of the topics our K-Prep preschoolers are exploring in the month of July is bike safety! Here are five tips to keep you and your family safe while enjoying a bike ride:

Riding bikes with your family is a great way to exercise and spend time together. Use these tips to stay safe and have fun this summer!

How Art Can Influence Children’s Learning

The most common way that young children learn is through interacting with the world around them. By creating open-ended art children are given the opportunity to explore their senses; they can see what happens when colors combine, hear the sound of crinkling tissue paper, smell the saltiness of play dough and touch the stickiness of glue.

Open-ended art means that the outcome of the art project is not predetermined. It gives children the control and freedom to create what they want, how they want.

Children love open art because it’s fun and it provides them opportunities to express themselves. Children must learn how to identify and communicate their emotions. Creating open-ended art gives the child control to do that.

Art also provides children important skills for living. Open art encourages children to learn about planning and problem solving. Crayons are among the many materials that encourage open-ended art. Children can plan what materials they would like to use and how they would like to use them.

Lastly, creating art allows children to develop their fine motor skills. These are the same skills necessary for buttoning a shirt, holding a pencil to write, turning a page while reading and using utensils to eat.

Here is a list of materials that encourage open-ended art:

Happy creating 🙂

Fight the Bite

Pure Michigan summer weather may come with a lot of time spent outdoors at the beach during the day and around the campfire at night.  Regardless of where your family spends its time in the fresh air, it is important to take precautions against mosquito and tick bites to keep your family safe and healthy.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) urges all residents, especially those with children and those that are active outdoors, to protect themselves.  Mosquitoes in Michigan can carry illnesses such as West Nile virus and ticks can carry Lyme disease.  Mosquito and tick-borne diseases can cause mild symptoms or severe infections.

Here are a few reminders to fight the bite when it comes to mosquitoes and ticks:

DIY Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day (Sunday, June 16th, 2019) is a day to appreciate those men in our lives that are important to us. Fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, foster fathers, uncles, and/or any special person that we want to honor on this day.

Finding the perfect Father’s Day gift can be difficult, if not impossible, at times.  Really, most fathers just want to feel loved and appreciated.  Anything “homemade” from their little ones can definitely top the list.

Here are a few easy DIY ideas for you and your little one to make for the Dad in your lives this Father’s Day!

  • Father’s Day Handprints and Footprints – These can be done on a piece of canvas (can be found at your local craft store, such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby), a mug, t-shirt, or cardstock placed into a nice picture frame.
  • “Why I Love My Dad” – Have your emergent writer pen their own list or scribe for them all of the reasons why Dad is so awesome.
  • Photo Keepsake – Create a framed photo collage of pictures from throughout the past year or of a special event.  Be sure to grab the tissues though, this gift may cause happy tears.
  • A hand-painted apron- Pick up a white apron from any craft store and have your budding artists create a master piece any Dad would love to wear!
  • A Father’s Day Acrostic Poem– Write Dad, Father, or their Name vertically and have your little one come up with words that remind them of Dad.



Good luck finding the “perfect” gift for this Father’s Day!  The simplest, heartfelt gifts can be the most appreciated.

June is National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month

June is National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month. A growing body of research shows that fruits and vegetables are critical to promoting good health and possibly positive behavioral and mental health. To get the amount that’s recommended, most people need to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables they currently eat every day.  Most parents understand the importance of fruits and vegetables and desperately want their children to eat more of them.  However, this often becomes a struggle at meal times.  Here are a few important tips:


  1. Introduce fruits and veggies at a very young age —When a breastfeeding mother eats a varied diet, countless components of the foods she eats seasons her milk subtly. In this way, a breastfed baby is exposed to a wide variety of flavors before a single vegetable touches his or her lips.  If you are a breastfeeding mother, make sure to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables yourself.
  2. Offer them often and consistently—Once you begin to introduce solid foods to your baby, continue to offer a variety of fruits and vegetables and a variety of tastes and textures. Your baby may reject green beans, spinach, or other foods, but repeatedly offering a variety of foods usually leads to acceptance and eventually a preference for those foods. Try, try again.
  3. Don’t hide them in other foods—If you’re looking to increase your child’s long-term intake of fruits and vegetables, don’t hide them. This will do nothing to foster a long-term appreciation. Hiding a 1/4 cup of pureed cauliflower in your child’s macaroni and cheese won’t teach your child to appreciate cauliflower, instead it will foster an appreciation for macaroni and cheese.  However, hiding fruits or vegetables in certain foods is not always wrong as long as you are aware that it’s only for the nutritional value and not for the purpose of instilling the valuable lesson of healthy food choices. For this lesson to sink in offering the actual fruit or vegetable and increasing your child’s exposure to it is the only way to go.
  4. Lead by example! —Take care to remember how deeply your choices as a parent affect those of your children. Profoundly impressionable, they’re looking to you to guide them into making the right choices for themselves.  By actively choosing and savoring vegetables yourself, you mold the way your child views fruits and vegetables.  Eat well, and your children will learn to eat well, too.


Visit a local farmer’s market and let your child experience the bright and vibrant colors of the fruits and vegetables. Celebrate National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month, but remember to enjoy these necessary foods all year long.

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