Monthly Archives: August 2013

Best Books For Big Kids

We’ve put together a small collection of children’s books that we think your kids will love! Each book has not only a great story and pictures, but a valuable take-away as well. We hope to add to this list as school progresses throughout the year. For now, check out some of our favorite books for kindergartners and school-age kids that we’ve listed below!

What are some of your favorite books from childhood or favorite books you enjoy reading with your children?


Building a healthy parent-teacher relationship

It’s the first week of school for most students now and besides buying all the school supplies, packing lunches and chauffeuring the kids around to each of their practices, there is something that parents might be missing. A strong parent-teacher relationship is important when it comes to your child’s success in school.

The best way to support your child’s needs is to build and maintain a strong, positive relationship with all the people at school who play a role in educating your child. And, make sure your child knows that this is a team effort — you’re all working together to help him or her succeed!

Here are a few tips on how to build a better relationship between you and your child’s teacher:

Introduce yourself to the teacher early.
Start the year off right. Don’t wait for a problem before making contact. Find a way to say hello and to help the teacher attach your face to your name. Exchange emails and keep in contact at least monthly, even if your child is doing well. This is time to simply let the teacher know who you are and that you are a parent who is interested in your child’s education.

Maintain a connection during the school year.

  • Stay involved! Make a point to show up and participate in events such as the annual science fair, back-to-school night and open house.
  • Be on time, positive, and prepared for school activities and meetings.
  • Offer to volunteer your time in the classroom or as a chaperone on class trips, which your kids will probably love as well!
  • Consider donating classroom supplies or a gift certificate to a store where teachers can purchase materials for the classroom. (You’d be surprised how many supplies teachers buy with their own money!)
  • Contribute fun extras to the classroom like prizes, disposable cameras, extra snacks and look for ways to help the teacher maintain a fun learning environment.

Communicate regularly.
Email is a great way to maintain a connection. Every few weeks, send a comment on what your child has brought home from school. Be sure to compliment the teacher on interesting lessons and to share moments when your child repeats something positive that happened at school. Let the teacher know early if a particular skill or subject is giving your child trouble. In addition, keep the teacher informed if there are issues at home that should be kept in mind if your child is struggling. Children don’t leave family crises (like a parent’s or sibling’s illness,  divorce, parental stress) at home; they don’t leave the excitement about an anticipated event (like a new baby, visiting favorite relatives, a special birthday) at home either. Kids who are unhappy and kids who are excited are often distracted from school work.

If there’s a problem.
This is where the good relationship you’ve worked so hard to establish pays off. You know that you and the teacher both want the best for your child. If your child carries home a tale of teacher meanness or unfairness, maintain a neutral stance until you have more information. Don’t talk negatively about a teacher in front of your kids. Instead, email or call the teacher and ask politely for the teacher’s point of view. You’re on the same team. When both parent and teacher stay focused on the problem at hand, be it a child’s need for practice with a skill or a bit of an attitude adjustment, things can usually be worked out.

  • Send handwritten notes of thanks to all your child’s teachers telling them once more how much you appreciated the special attention they gave your child.
  • Keep in touch — send a card every now and then to let your child’s teacher know the lasting impact they had on your child’s future.
  • Remember that with any partnership, communication is the key to success — get involved and stay involved!

If you want to read more tips on how to build a better parent-teacher relationship, check out these links from PsychCentral and the NCLD website!


Today CMAC had a Superhero Cookie Party and the guests certainly did not disappoint! We ate cookies, drank juice, played a little superhero trivia and even got a visit from Graham Police Department’s Safety Pup! Who could forget the best part though? Our guests transformed into a superhero themselves! Check out these pictures from our party!


CMAC presents!

We are so excited to announce our first annual Pooch Parade & Pet Show! Come out and join us with your pooch for great fun and great prizes!

Field Trip Forecast

Here’s the Field Trip Forecast for the next 2 weeks!  Plan your next visit ahead of time based on other groups that are visiting! Days that are currently posted as tentative will be updated on our blog as soon as we are notified of visiting field trips.

Note that on August 20th we begin our Members Only Mornings (no field trips) from 10-12pm

This Day in History

On this day in 1990, fossil hunter Susan Hendrickson discovers three huge bones sticking out of a cliff near Faith, South Dakota. The bones turned out to be part of the largest Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever discovered, a 65 million-year-old specimen dubbed Sue, after its discoverer.

Amazingly, Sue’s skeleton was over 90 percent complete, and the bones were extremely well-preserved.  Sue’s skeleton went on display at the Field Museum in May 2000. The giant T-Rex skeleton, which is 13 feet high at the hips and 42 feet long from head to toe, is displayed at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois.  Another exhibit gives viewers a close-up view of Sue’s five foot-long, 2,000-pound skull with its 58 teeth, some as long as a human forearm.

Sue’s extraordinarily well-preserved bones have allowed scientists to determine many things about the life of T-Rex. They have determined that the carnivorous dinosaur had an incredible sense of smell and since Sue was the first T.rex skeleton to be discovered with a wishbone, scientists have support for their theory that birds are a type of living dinosaur.

Check out these pictures of Sue!

Want to read more information about Sue? Visit this History Channel link!

Tips: Back to School!

Getting a new school year off to a good start can influence your child’s attitude, confidence and performance. After a long summer with the kids at home, the transition from August to September can be difficult for both children and parents.  Even children who are eager and excited to return to school must adjust to the greater levels of classwork, structure and pressures associated with school life. The most important thing to remember throughout the process is organization and balance!

We’ve gathered a few tips that we hope will help keep your family on track as the kids head back to school!

Make a list.
Make a list for each child of everything they will need for their first day of school such as lunch boxes, gym clothes and school supplies. Supplies needed vary with each grade level – a kindergartener won’t need the same supplies as a fifth grader so it helps to plan ahead!

Be a savvy shopper.
An informed shopper is a savvy shopper, so prepare before you shop. It can become overwhelming but take an afternoon and access each child’s clothing needs before school starts. Empty drawers and closets of outgrown or worn-out clothing, and either donate unwanted or needed clothing or store it for hand-me-downs. Check with your child’s school for dress codes and shop early – August is the second-biggest sales month for clothing retailers!

Get a calendar.
Get a good sized monthly  calendar and put it up in a place where your family doesn’t have to go out of their way to look, like in your kitchen. Write down any important dates such as teacher parent meetings, deadlines, plays, practice, etc. During the first week or two of school especially you’ll be getting lots of notes and reminders so it’s good to have a system in place before school starts.  Having a smaller scale weekly calendar that can be changed out to display each week is great as well. Follow this link to print a free weekly calendar for your family! Frame the printable calendars and then use dry-erase markers to change important dates each week!

Schedule tasks.
Family life doesn’t always go like planned so try to set a flexible schedule for certain tasks such as homework times. Plan ahead so that you can fit in homework and dinner times around the kid’s extracurricular activities without having to rush too much. Kids get tired and if they’re rushing from one place to the other, they will be less likely to want to sit down and do their homework. By setting a flexible schedule and even meal planning you can avoid a lot of unnecessary disagreements.

Plan ahead.
Preparing as many things the night before as possible will alleviate a lot of stress the next morning. Lay your kids clothes out so they’re ready for the next day or give them the responsibility to do it themselves. Pack their lunches, make sure their book bags are packed the night before as well. Come morning, everyone will be a lot more relaxed if you don’t have to rush. Try creating a dinner menu plan for the week so you’ll know exactly what groceries to shop for.

Check out these websites for cool lunch ideas for kids!
10 Coolest Kid School (Sandwich-Free) Lunches
Operation Awesome School Lunch Ideas for Kids
“Recipes We Love” Blog

Establish a bedtime routine.
Begin to start establishing a school-year bed time routine again. If your kids already have one that’s great, but if you’ve been a little relaxed over the summer break it’s probably best to slowly get them back into the routine. Talk about the importance of getting enough sleep that they can feel good at school and try to stick to a schedule.

For more back-to-school tips for the family, check out this website!