Spring on the Mind

Spring is just around the corner and we are excited and ready at AppleTree & Gilden Woods. As part of our C.O.R.E. curriculum, children in our toddler and preschool classes will learn all about bugs, bees, and butterflies. The lessons throughout Spring are enhanced by raising and releasing butterflies.

Our K-Prep classrooms all receive a butterfly kit and habitat. Children are able to observe the life-cycle and watch as the caterpillars become chrysalis and eventually hatch into butterflies. Each classroom releases their butterflies into nature and the children enjoy the hands on experience and the opportunity to observe the entire life cycle. Visit nature-gifts.com for ideas to supplement this activity at home!

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Throughout the lessons, each classroom incorporates age appropriate activities, songs, games, and books. Each classroom reads Eric Carle’s, “A Very Hungry Caterpillar.” This is the perfect book to read at home with your children as well. It will help you discuss insect and animal life cycles and possibly different natural phenomenon that take place in spring.

Another way to incorporate springtime learning into your children’s lives is to visit Frederik Meijer Gardens. They have a butterfly room that is brimming with butterflies and fun activities all through the month of March! Check out their calendar of scheduled family events.

8 Spring Break “Staycation” Destinations in Michigan

Spring Break is coming up quickly. Here at AppleTree & Gilden Woods, we are gearing up for our Spring Explorers Program. Throughout the break, spring explorers will be keeping busy with educational activities and going on a variety of fun field trips throughout Michigan. Here are a few child-friendly destinations in Michigan to help you plan a day trip the whole family will love.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center: Fun for children, and parents of all ages. Located in Auburn Hills, MI. Enjoy rides, build & play zones, a 4d cinema, and more!

Sea Life Michigan Aquarium: Located in the Great Lakes Crossing Outlet Mall in Auburn Hills. This interactive aquarium will keep you all entertained for hours, with thousands of different types of sea life, touch pools, and an ocean tunnel!

Grand Rapids Children Museum: Settled in downtown Grand Rapids, spend the day exploring with your children. From building a giant fort or making enormous bubbles, there is something for all interests.

Frederik Meijer Gardens: Visit the butterfly house and the sprawling botanical gardens in Grand Rapids, MI

The AirZoo: This indoor ‘zoo’ is filled with rides, planes, and new hands on interactive ways to keep your children engaged all day in Portage, MI.

Binder Park Zoo: Take a safari ride on the African Trolley, feed giraffes, and meet hundreds of animals at this impressive zoo in Battle Creek, MI.

Impression 5 Science Center: Located on the Grand River in down town Lansing, this science center is an interactive space where everyone can playand create.

Michigan State University Museum: Perfect for the dinosaur lover, this Smithsonian associated museum in East Lansing, MI, showcases fossils and much more!

Have a happy and safe spring break!

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5 Books to Help Children Learn Self Control

At AppleTree & Gilden Woods we focus on an important character trait each month as part of our C.O.R.E. Values curriculum. Throughout the month of March, we focus on self-control. Self-control is learned through repetition, patience, and modeling. It can be a challenging character trait to embody and model for your children. One of the most effective ways that children learn is through reading. In honor of National Reading Month, here are a few books you can read with your children to help them better understand what it means to have and exhibit self-control.

Title: Better Than A Princess

Author: Sally Huss

Summary: With a trip to the store for a new dress, a visit to a café for lunch, and a stop at the beauty salon for a new hairdo there were ample opportunities for her to hone her behavior skills. That princess, who had been so helpful in the past, showed up again to guide her into being her best by being polite and in control of herself.



Title: Interrupting Chicken

Author: David Ezra Stein

Summary: It’s time for the little red chicken’s bedtime story —and a reminder from Papa to try not to interrupt, but the chicken can’t help herself! Whether the tale is HANSEL AND GRETEL or LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD or even CHICKEN LITTLE, she jumps into the story to save its hapless characters from doing some dangerous or silly thing. Now it’s the little red chicken’s turn to tell a story, but will her yawning papa make it to the end without his own kind of interrupting?


Title: I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness

Author: Susan Verde

Summary: Perfect for the classroom or for bedtime, Susan Verde’s gentle, concrete narration and Peter H. Reynolds’s expressive watercolor illustrations bring the tenets of mindfulness to a kid-friendly level. Featuring an author’s note about the importance of mindfulness and a guided meditation for children, I Am Peace will help readers of all ages feel grounded, restored and in control.


Title: I Can Handle It!

Author: Ms. Laurie Wright

Summary: Positive self-talk is incredibly important for improving and maintaining mental health and the mindful mantra books are a way to plant that positivity right into a child’s head! Help your child learn to handle difficult emotions along with Sebastien, and provide a tool for lifelong confidence. Depression and anxiety don’t discriminate and our kids need help. I Can Handle It equips children with a necessary skill to alleviate everyday anxieties that arise in their lives.

Title: My Mouth is a Volcano

Author: Julia Cook

Summary: My Mouth Is A Volcano takes an empathetic approach to the habit of interrupting and teaches children a witty technique to capture their rambunctious thoughts and words for expression at an appropriate time. Told from Louis? perspective, this story provides parents, teachers, and counselors with an entertaining way to teach children the value of respecting others by listening and waiting for their turn to speak.

AppleTree & Gilden Woods Named Best of GR Childcare Provider

For the third consecutive year, AppleTree and Gilden Woods Early Care and Preschool has been named “Best of GR Child Care Provider” by Grand Rapids Magazine.

“Thank you AppleTree and Gilden Woods families! We are honored to receive the ‘Best Child Care Provider of Grand Rapids Award.’ We are proud to know we have earned Grand Rapids parents’ trust. It’s truly a privilege to have cared for over 20,000 children the last 20 years,” said Bridgett Tubbs-Carlon, Founder/CEO.

Celebrating our 20th year, AppleTree and Gilden Woods Early Care and Preschool continues to provide child care and early education in a safe, nurturing environment. Children are encouraged to learn, play, and develop at their own pace, and their unique abilities are discovered and nurtured by qualified teachers using developmentally appropriate curriculum.

The 13 Grand Rapids area schools are specifically designed to enhance learning. Each school features a keyless entry system and a secure internet camera system, called the AppleCam, which allows enrolled parents to “visit” their child via their mobile device or computer while they are at work easing separation anxiety and resulting in peace of mind.

Age-specific programming fosters engaging and interactive learning and promotes Kindergarten readiness and future school success. Fun, educational spring, summer, and winter break day camps are offered for school aged children, as well as transportation to and from several local elementary schools during before- and after-school care.

Quality care for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children is provided from 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. Visit our website today to find a location nearest you.

It is truly an honor to be recognized by our community through GRMag for the the Best of Grand Rapids award!

Winter’s End Family Bucket List

Winter is slowly winding down. It has been a long and cold few months, but we have almost made it through. There is hope for a bright, flowery spring, just on the horizon.  Commemorate the changing of the seasons by making a winter’s end bucket list with your children. Revisit some wintertime favorites and add a few new that are sure to be great memories. Here are a few ideas:


Whatever you decide to do, enjoy the last bit of winter with your family and make memories that they will remember forever.

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Tips and Tricks for Promoting Good Oral Health Care with Children

February is Children’s Dental Health Month. Oral health care is an important aspect of your child’s health, and is often overlooked. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits help children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.  Here are some quick tips for a good start to proper oral health care:

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  • Brush your teeth twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months or sooner if bristles are frayed.
  • Always start brushing with the rear teeth—the ones your child bites with, which have crevices that can trap food particles. Also, make sure they understand that brushing the inside surface of the teeth is just as important as brushing the outside teeth.
  • Don’t forget to tell them to brush right from the gum line—healthy gums are just as important as healthy teeth!
  • Help children with flossing until they are about 10 or 11. Supervision may still be necessary to help ensure proper flossing.
  • If they don’t like brushing, try cleaning your teeth at the same time—doing things together will get them inspired.
  • The first trip to the dentist should happen as soon as that first tooth appears or by the first birthday. You child’s dental visits (around 6 months) should really just be to make sure teeth are growing and developing the way they should.

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Keeping your children healthy is a full time job. At AppleTree and Gilden Woods, we want to assist in educating on total body wellness, which includes Dental health. We focus on oral hygiene while keeping it fun with our Pedal’s Polishers Program. Check out our teeth-brushing contest throughout the month of February, including fabulous prizes and certificates along the way. To find an AppleTree or Gilden Woods near you click here.

10 Non-Candy Valentine’s Your Children Will Love

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Which means, classroom parties and the great Valentine Exchange of 2018! This year keep it healthy and fresh with these 10 creative Valentine Ideas that you and your children can enjoy creating together. The best part about exchanging Valentines are the catchy phrases on all the cards. Along with each creative Valentine idea are a few “pun” suggestions to keep it fun and silly for your children and their friends. Whether they are helping pick out supplies at the dollar store, coloring the cards, or stuffing bags, they will love to help create something special to hand out to all of their friends. Before handing out a toy or a gift always be sure to check the product for the manufacturer’s appropriate age rating.

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  1. Crazy Straws: A cheap and cute option. Attach a crazy straw to a card, hand written, printed, or custom colored by your child. Helpful Pun: “Crazy for you Valentine”
  2. Bubbles: Bubbles are fun for all ages. Helpful pun: “You blow me away, Valentine”
  3. Art Supplies: Purchase a small box of crayons, markers, or watercolors. You can even make your own heart shaped crayons by baking broken crayons in a mold. Helpful pun: “Have a colorful day.” “You brighten my day.”
  4. Plastic Animals: You could do different animals, like zoo animals, dinosaurs, or bugs and attach them with string to an index card with a note, or place in a cellophane bag. Helpful puns: “Will ZOO be mine?” “You’re DINO-mite, Valentine!” “Bugs and Kisses!”
  5. Book Marks: Reading is an important part of childhood development. What better than a bookmark to help promote learning? You can purchase some cardstock so they are a little sturdier and have your children help color them. There is always the option to find a printable template online as well. Helpful pun: “You’re #1 in my book”
  6. Hot Wheels: You can find a pack of hot wheel cars and attach a cute saying. Boys and girls alike will enjoy racing them around the room. Helpful pun: “I wheelie like you”
  7. Socks: Purchase a pack of socks and pair them together with a clothespin or in a small bag. If you really want to get creative, you and your children could tie-dye the socks for a fun activity that will add extra personality to the socks. Helpful puns: “You rock my socks off.” “We’re the perfect pair.”
  8. Slime: Slime is such a hit with preschool and school aged children. They love making it and playing with it for hours. For this one, you can purchase small containers with lids to make one of a kind Valentines that the children are sure to love. You can make it valentine slime by adding pink and red glitter or small confetti hearts. Helpful pun: “Happy Valen-SLIME Day.”
  9. Fake Mustaches: This is sure to be a hit. Fake mustaches typically come in packs of five or six and they are on cardboard. Cut them out and attach a fun saying. Helpful pun: “I MUSTACHE you to be mine.”
  10. Gold Fish Crackers: You can find individual packs of goldfish crackers at most local grocers. Make a small fishing pole out of toothpicks and yarn for an extra touch. Helpful puns: “Fishing you a happy Valentine’s Day!”

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Valentine’s Day is about spreading kindness and joy. Including your children in the gift giving process gives them ownership and pride when doing something kind for someone else. Have a great Valentine’s Day!


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Children’s Books about Friendship

Not too long ago we shared some tips for helping your child develop friendships (click here to read that article). During the month of September, AppleTree & Gilden Woods is also focusing on the trait of friendliness through our proprietary CORE Values Character Education Program.

The program encourages children to model positive character traits and develop social skills that will carry over into their adult years. To continue promoting friendliness at home, here are some book recommendations that will help your child learn more about how to show friendship to others. Click here to learn more about our CORE Values Character Education Program and other curriculum offered at AppleTree & Gilden Woods!

The Berenstain Bears Lose a Friend – Stan & Jan Berenstain


Clifford the Big Red Dog – Norman Bridwell


Do You Want to Be My Friend? – Eric Carle


Where Are You Going?  To See My Friend! – Eric Carle


The Very Lonely Firefly – Eric Carle


Corduroy – Don Freeman


The Rainbow Fish – Marcus Pfister

Computer Readiness for the Preschool Child

Now more than ever, we know that screen time and the use of technology is applicable to young children in both their entertainment and education. We also know that it is best to strike a balance between screen time, physical activity and social interactions. Parents and educators can work together to ensure that the technology and screens that young children are exposed to is beneficial to their growth and development.

To foster the growth of computer readiness and early digital citizenship skills, AppleTree & Gilden Woods is proud to offer Keyboarding Without Tears™. This program is a part of the award winning Learning Without Tears™ Curriculum and will be utilized during our weekly Tech Time with Terance enrichment program. Our 4 year old and Young 5’s classrooms will participate in Keyboarding Without Tears™ which aligns with the hands-on learning materials they are currently utilizing from the Get Set For School™ curriculum.

The curriculum and enrichment programs offered at AppleTree & Gilden Woods is designed to encourage a journey of life long success!

Eating Together as a Family

As the days and weeks fill up with soccer practice, swim lessons, library visits and more it has become increasingly difficult for families to find the time to sit around a table and eat dinner together. Eating on the go has become a norm in our society and while that practice is necessary on occasion, when it becomes the daily routine children may be missing out on some important opportunities to develop a variety of skills.

Nemours Children’s Health System provides a great article that outlines how family style dining may foster children’s:

  • Social/Emotional Development: Children learn how to be responsible for themselves as well as others by following rules and routines such as passing food items.  They are also developing independence and self-direction.
  • Physical Development: Fine motor skills are developed as they use utensils to serve and eat. Their eye-hand coordination benefits from these simple tasks as they learn to control the small muscles in their hands.
  • Language Development: Language and literacy skills are developed as they engage in conversations with adults and other children. Adults can use this time to talk with children about activities and important events going on in their lives, about the healthy foods being introduced, and classroom happenings or plans.
  • Cognitive Development: Children’s problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making and understanding are developed by learning amounts, sizes, textures, numbers, counting, position of food items and tableware.”

When you stop to consider how children benefit from eating a meal together as a family it becomes easier to prioritize during the week. Take some time this week to eat dinner together as a family, you won’t regret it!

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