May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. Most children hear and listen to sounds from birth and learn to talk by imitating voices of their parents and caregivers. This is not true for all children, as some are born deaf or hard-of hearing. Some children lose their hearing later during childhood and will need to learn speech and language differently. It is important to detect deafness or hearing loss as early as possible.

This month provides opportunities to raise awareness about communication disorders and to promote treatment that can improve the quality of life for those who experience problems with speaking, understanding, or hearing.

Here are a few tips from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to help protect your children’s ears:


How to Make the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent-Teacher Conferences are typically held twice a year, which may look a bit differently this year. At AppleTree & Gilden Woods we will be conducting 10-minute conferences by phone to ensure that each family gets a chance to touch base with their child’s teacher. Whatever your conferences may look like this is a chance to get one-on-one time with your child’s teacher to give and to get insight into your child’s progress socially and developmentally. Here are a few tips to make the most of your Parent-Teacher Conference.

How to Make the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences

  • Tell your child’s teacher about your child. You are the person that knows your child best. Be sure that your child’s teacher knows everything that they need to be able to best care for and educate your child.
  • Share things that are happening at home. If you have recently had a family member move in to live with you, had an illness in the family, or other life change (i.e. divorce or new baby), let your child’s teacher know. This will help your child’s teacher be prepared to support your child cognitively or emotionally as needed.
  • Be sure to ask questions both about cognitive skills and social skills. Attending AppleTree & Gilden Woods isn’t just about education, it’s also about the forming of early friendships and learning to play and learn cooperatively in a group.
  • Discover personal strengths to encourage and develop in your child. Personal strengths will be skills and interests that your child will take beyond school.
  • Request areas that your child needs to improve in. Be open to this constructive feedback and don’t be defensive. These meetings are opportunities where teachers can note something that your child needs support to master before it becomes anything more. After the conference, consider ways that you can help to support your child to improve. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your child’s teacher or the Program Director for ideas of resources to extend learning from school to home.
  • Make notes & be prepared. If there are things that you want to be sure to touch base with your child’s teacher about, write them down as you think of them before your conference so that you can be sure to make the most of your time with your child’s teacher.
  • Don’t be afraid to make a follow-up meeting if necessary. If the conference isn’t long enough to discuss your items, be sure to talk to your child’s teacher or the Program Director to schedule another focused appointment. Drop-off times in the morning can often be rushed and won’t allow both of you to be fully focused on the conversation.

Easy Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 8th, 2022) is a day to appreciate mothers and mother figures that are important in our lives including mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers, foster mothers, and more.

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

Here are a few ideas to help those who haven’t found the perfect gift or want to do something extra special for the Mom in their life.

  • Mother’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 flower pot, a mug, t-shirt, or cardstock placed into a nice picture frame.
  • “Why I Love My Mom” – Have your emergent writer pen their own list or scribe for them all of the reasons why Mom is so magnificent.
  • 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-picked bouquet – Fresh or wild flowers picked by their children is a favorite of almost every Mom.
  • Breakfast in bed– Let mom sleep in this year and bring her a special breakfast made just for her with a fresh flower or hand drawn card to top it off!
  • A Picture Frame– Have your child paint and decorate a picture frame that holds their favorite picture with mom.


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

Teacher Appreciation Week!

Teacher appreciation is May 2nd through May 6th and we’d like to share some cute and simple ways to shower your child’s teacher with love!

At AppleTree & Gilden Woods, our caregivers and teachers bond with your child and family to establish a partnership that fosters security and a sense of belonging for your child.  They have the experience, expertise, and education necessary to support the age group of children they are working with. Our open lines of communication between parents and teachers builds a strong partnership that enhances your child’s care and education.

Here are a few ways you can show your appreciation

To learn more about our educators, our approach or our programs & curriculum, click here. To contact a director and schedule your personal tour, click here.

What is Colic and How Do You Deal?!

Sometimes referred to as colic, sometimes referred to as purple crying. Most frequently experienced by parents and caregivers as baffling and frustrating. The baby is fed, burped, bounced, rocked, and dry, yet, they just won’t stop crying. No matter what you do. The feeling of being helpless can be all consuming. But from one parent who has been through it to another who may be experiencing it, it does get better… when though!? When? I wish there were a concrete answer and I wish there was a cure-all. However, there are some things that can help. All babies are different and unique in their own right. Keep in mind that what works for one, may not work for another.

My son came in like a lion. Pregnancy was rough for me, so I was sure that I would have an easy delivery. Well, I was quickly proven wrong. Delivery was rough, so I just knew that my son would be an easy baby and we would adjust seamlessly. Again, I was very, very wrong. The first night we brought our beautiful baby boy home from the hospital, he cried for twelve hours straight, wouldn’t sleep, and wouldn’t eat. The crying continued for a good nine months. I have never felt fear or confusion like that before. I didn’t know what to do. On top of trying to balance life with a new baby, I was now trying to balance life with a seemingly unhappy baby.

Through the months, there were things we did that helped ease some of the crying and helped us catch a bit of a break. Mind you, these are just what worked for us.

A good carrier: We started with a wrap and moved up to a Tula© carrier. This worked so well for us and allowed us a little freedom around the house. I was able to tidy up a bit, wash the dishes, and walk the dog. The feeling of closeness helped comfort my son and block out some of the outside sensory stimulus that could have been overwhelming to him.

An exercise ball: While wearing the carrier, I wasn’t really permitted to sit down. After weeks of trotting up and down the hallways, a friend suggested an exercise ball. This saved my back. My son loved to be held while I bounced, and I loved that I actually got to sit down for a while.

Gripe Water or Gas Drops: We were hesitant to use any medication, so we opted for a natural option. Colic Calm is a safe FDA listed, 100% natural gripe water to help calm colic, gas, and reflux. If you do look into this product, be warned its color is a little alarming, it is very dark black and may affect the color of your child’s stool.

Baltic Amber Jewelry: Amber jewelry is commonly used for teething but is a natural anti-inflammatory and can be helpful for babies who are unidentifiably fussy. Many companies make child friendly amber bracelets, necklaces, or anklets.

Switching Bottles: If you are bottle feeding, consider doing some research to see if trying a different bottle, one that is specifically made to help calm colic, would work for you and your family.

Elimination Diet: If you are breastfeeding, you can again do some research and see if an elimination diet might be something you would like to try. Some children do not respond well to some major allergens. Although allergies are not detected at infancy, milk or gluten in your diet may be too hard on their little bellies.

Whatever you do, just remember that it does get better. As with everything, this too shall pass. You will quickly be on to the next phase. Throughout these trying times, breathe deeply, try your best to stay positive, vent often, and lean on your support system! Hang in there, you’re doing great!

Time-Outs and Other Discipline Alternatives

Time-outs can often be the go-to method for disciplining children, but are they really as effective as we think they are? Children who are sent to a time-out are not likely using the time to think about their actions, they are usually more focused on how upset they are for being sent to time-out in the first place. If used correctly, time-outs can be an effective approach when a child needs help solving a problem, calming down or dealing with strong emotions. Here are some additional strategies for discipline:

  • Practice Positive Guidance– when setting an expectation for children it’s important to emphasize what the child CAN do vs. what the child cannot do. Instead of saying, “Don’t run inside” try saying, “You may walk inside and run outside.”
  • Offer Choices– giving children a choice on how they want to accomplish a task doesn’t necessarily alter the end result. If you want a child to help pick up their toys, give them the option of how they want to go about it. Do they want to pick up all of the toys with the color blue first? Or start with the cars and then move to the blocks? When children feel they have some control they are less likely to demonstrate challenging behaviors.
  • Use Logical Consequences– help children make the connection between their behavior and how that will impact themselves and others. For example, if a child is playing at the table and knocks over their plate of food or cup of milk, they would be responsible for cleaning up the spilled food or milk.
  • Learn to Ignore– often children exhibit behaviors (whether good or bad) because they are looking for attention from adults. If a child is acting out, assuming they are not doing something that would potentially harm themselves or others, try ignoring the behavior. This will communicate that undesirable behavior will not earn attention.

No matter what method of discipline you decide to use, it’s important to validate and empathize with the child’s feelings. Doing this will help children develop the skills to recognize and regulate their emotions. Adults should also remember to model the behavior you want your child to follow!

Pro Potty Training Tips

The time has come to start potty-training, and I am a little terrified. I know the benefits, I understand the importance, but I’ve gotten accustom to the ease and routine of diapers. My son is going on the potty pretty regularly at home, but still struggling a bit at school. There are many different methods and tips out there to help make potty training quick and easy for you and your children. One thing I have found that is most valuable is that my husband and I are on the same page as the teachers in my sons’ classroom.

AppleTree & Gilden Woods offer a great potty-training program featuring one of our Woodland friends, Pedal. We also offer tips for parents to ensure that we are all on the same page and that they feel encouraged and supported. Below are a few tips that our teachers use and that we give to parents to help the process.

  1. 1. Assign easy names to bladder and bowel movements. Common ones include “pee pee” and “poo poo” but feel free to use your own. Remain consistent with the names that you do assign. Ask your child questions such as “Do you have a poo poo in your diaper?” and “Is it time to go pee pee in the potty?” These are the words they will learn to signal you when it is time to go.
  2. Have a potty walk through lesson. Talk through what you do when you use the bathroom. Don’t let the small details escape your train of thought. Remember, this is all new to your child. Invite questions.
  3. Change your child’s diaper as soon as it gets dirty. This lets your child feel the difference between wet and dry. When this happens, it helps teach your child what a dry diaper feels like and make the connection to when it is time to go potty.
  4. Create a signal for a dirty diaper. This lets you know that your child knows the difference between a wet and dry diaper and will be able to tell you when it is time to go potty. Also, praise your child when they tell you about a dirty diaper. This will associate going to the potty with a positive feeling, which is crucial to successful potty training.
  5. Choosing the Potty. During this time you also need to decide whether you want a potty that sits on the floor or on the actual “big potty.” Pay attention to your child’s desires in this decision making process. A lot of your child’s success will depend on their initial comfort level with the potty. Some children are initially afraid of the larger toilet and will be more comfortable on the floor. If this is the case you can start there and graduate to the big toilet at a time when your child is more comfortable.
  6. Keep encouraging your child when they use the potty, and with time it will happen more consistently

Stay strong, stay consistent, and encouraging. This a big change for both you and your child and you will both feel accomplished and proud once mastered. Best of luck!

Teaching Children Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a characteristic that shapes who we are as people. It is the groundwork for a well-balanced, happy life. Those that tend to hold grudges and have a hard time forgiving, hold on to negative energy and are molded by that. Those that are more likely to forgive are creating more space for positivity in their life and in the world.  “Let us forgive each other – only then will we live in peace.” -Tolstoy. Below are a few ways that you can model and promote forgiveness in your life and in turn help your children learn what it means to forgive and be forgiven.

Reinforce forgiveness—We often encourage children to apologize when they have upset someone or have done something wrong. It is just as important to encourage them to forgive when they are apologized to. Enforce phrases such as, “I accept your apology”, “I forgive you”,” I’m not ready”, “thank you”, etc.

Don’t force it – We want children to be open to forgiveness, but we do not want it to become a force of habit. It is important that children are able to process their emotions and rationalize for themselves. Forcing them to accept an apology, or give one for that matter, could just be a way of giving them an out and not fully allowing them to work through it and learn the lesson it holds.

Show your children forgiveness – Children’s behavior can be trying. As they are learning boundaries, they are finding ways to test them. These explorations can quickly turn into rule breaking, aggressive behavior, or acting out. If we are gentle, understanding, and forgiving with them, then they are more likely to be understanding and gentle when needing to forgive others.

Practice sincere apologies – When you are apologizing, or asking for an apology, encourage your children to structure their apology; acknowledge the wrong doing, admit the action without excuses, and commit to learning from this mistake and letting it go to move forward.

Use a visual aid – Using a tangible learning aid helps children process the lesson more easily. Try making a forgiveness tree with your children. Draw a tree with no leaves. Each time they forgive someone, together write who they forgave and why. With time the leaves will fill the tree and make it robust and beautiful. Reflect together about how big and beautiful the tree has grown with each act of forgiveness and liken it to everyday life.

Forgiveness is not always easy, but it is an important aspect of life. Start encouraging and modeling forgiveness to your children and to all of those around you.

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.

Spring Family Bucket List

It is finally safe to say that Spring is here! The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, flowers are starting to bloom, and the birds are greeting us each morning. These sure fire signs of Spring are welcomed with open arms after a long winter. It is time to get outside and explore! Here is a family bucket list to help you embrace Spring and explore nature together!


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