School News

For the latest updates, please visit our Ann Arbor Hills Child Development Center Facebook page!


Feb 28, 2017

Literacy learning is a large part of early childhood education. Children are learning to express themselves through language. First, it is through verbalization of their thoughts and ideas. The students also connect those ideas to their representations of them, whether a painting, a building, or a star book page. Then, children begin to recognize that ideas can also be represented in writing. They start to recognize their names and other familiar letters (think block M for Michigan). They will also begin to recognize symbols (think of all the icons they know on your phone). They love to "read" by retelling a favorite story, turning the pages of the book to align with the words spoken, or filling in a predictable word when hearing a story aloud. Supporting children's efforts at self expression are important foundations for their learning about printed words.

Additionally, surrounding children with printed material and immersing them in great literature builds necessary early experiences. Research has shown that children need to hear 2,000+ books aloud before learning to read. When reading to your child, they are learning: book language, concepts of print, new vocabulary, predicting, listening, noticing, focus, and to imagine and build pictures in their minds. Research also indicates that typically it is about 8th grade before children's independent reading comprehension matches that of books read aloud to them. Reading together is one of the best things a parent can do to support a child's growth at school.

We love books at AAHCDC. We use them as springboards for our curriculum, avenues for expanding the children's world, and as ways to tell our own stories. Look for hallway displays this month in response to a favorite book shared in the classroom. AAHCDC has a large library and we change the books in the classroom frequently. For the month of March, we will be placing some books on the large table in the entrance for you to borrow. To "check out" a book, please write your name and the name of the book on the paper on a clipboard. After enjoying it for a few days, please place it in the "book return" and cross your name off the list. We look forward to fun book conversations in the hallway.

Feb 1, 2017

February is a time of many things at AAHCDC. We have conferences, Valentine's Day, applications for the following school year, 100th Day for the older children, and the winter continues. There can be a mixture of feelings in the hallway as some of you may experience a longer than usual drive or excitement for a special day at school. We hope you are feeling the fondness we have for each of you and your children. Know that we welcome and embrace all of these feelings that are part of the journey of living, and are grateful for the trust, warmth, and supportive nature of this community. Helping every student learn to express their thoughts, ideas and feelings through multiple media and in a wide array of interest areas is ultimately what education is about.

But it is not hard work which is dreary; it is superficial work. That is always boring in the long run, and it has always seemed strange to me that in our endless discussions about education so little stress is ever laid on the pleasure in becoming an educated person, the enormous interest it adds to life. To be able to be caught up into the world of thought- that is to be educated. -Edith Hamilton

Jan 31, 2017

Please visit the new Ann Arbor Hills Child Development Center Facebook page!


Jan 19, 2017

Please join us for THE NEXT BEST STEP

When: Tuesday, January 24, 9:15 - 10:15 a.m.

Who: Anyone interested in hearing more details about AAHCDC and viewing our programs.

What: An informational meeting, and an opportunity to view our classrooms, gather information, and have questions answered about Ann Arbor Hills Child Development Center.

How: Please sign up in the office or give us a call.

More information: Visit The Next Best Step for some more thoughts on the topic that we will discuss.

We are looking forward to seeing you!

Nov 2, 2016

Lunch and Learn Classes

Our Lunch and Learn classes are a terrific way to extend your child's day until 1:30. The children are excited to eat lunch at school and then enjoy a stimulating hour of class with a group time and activities. There are five sessions throughout the school year with each session running five to six weeks long. Forms are available in the office. These classes are filled on a first come first serve basis. Some titles of upcoming classes are: Spanish Immersion, Needles and Nails, Keeping the Beat, Block Brigade, Bodies Big and Strong, Wander and Wonder, Join a Band, Grow a Garden, and Out We Go.

Afternoon Enrichment Classes

Afternoon Enrichment classes are offered for our morning Zebra, Giraffe, Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten students. The children eat lunch, have a second recess time and then enjoy a stimulating afternoon with stories, activities, and opportunities to extend their morning learning. You may sign up in the office for one or more afternoons a week.

Sep 24, 2016

There is a lot to be gained in playing with puzzles. They are a self-correcting activity, providing children with direct feedback. Ann Arbor Hills Child Development Center has a large assortment of puzzles at every level. Here are some of the educational benefits of puzzles:

  • Gross motor skills – moving puzzle boxes to the floor as well as some tray puzzles
  • Fine motor skills – manipulating the puzzle pieces
  • Hand/eye coordination – aligning the pieces so they will fit into place
  • Persistence & problem solving – keep trying to find the right fit/color/shape
  • Memory – may set aside a piece, remember it
  • Language skills – may use descriptive words to ask for a puzzle piece
  • Mastery – “I did this puzzle myself!”
  • Social skills – may work cooperatively with other classmates
  • Adaptable thinking – puzzles are a mental transformation task
  • Abstract thinking – see a negative space, see parts of a whole

Specific math skills include:

  • Sum of parts make a whole
  • Sort and categorize pieces, characteristics and attributes
  • Spatial skills
  • Shape and color recognition

Jun 16, 2016

"The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success is reading aloud to children."

— From Becoming a Nation of Readers

There are some well-researched benefits to a child whose parents read aloud to them.

The child:

  • develops background knowledge about a variety of topics
  • builds his vocabulary
  • becomes familiar with rich language patterns
  • develops familiarity with story structure
  • acquires familiarity with the reading process
  • identifies reading as a pleasurable activity

Jun 16, 2016

Over the summer we will be missing you and we will think of you often. We have enjoyed our year together and the memories will bring us smiles.  It will be 11 weeks until we see each other again.  Adults are able to keep a picture of school in their minds over this time period, but children can benefit from structures to support their connection between home and school.  Here is a list of 11 fun activities to do together helping them keep a picture in their minds while we are apart; one for each week until we are together again.

  1. Read together every day!
  2. Go for a walk and count all the yellow flowers you see.
  3. Build a structure, talk about balance and support.
  4. Collect interesting items, count and sort them.
  5. Make up a silly story. You could start with “Once upon a time, there was a lonely lion…”
  6. Draw together – tell each other about your picture.
  7. Cook something – be sure to measure the ingredients carefully.
  8. Sit quietly outside, make a list of all the things you notice.
  9. Look at your house number, can you play with the number?
  10. Sing a song about animals.
  11. Write a note to someone to let them know you are thinking of them.

May 27, 2016
Kids are Authors

In the early fall of this year, five kindergarten boys began a writing project called Jungle Book. At its inception, we never dreamed that the completed project would turn out to be a great pop-up book or that we would later enter it into the Scholastic’s 30th annual Kids are Authors contest!

The entire class helped to complete the contest entry, which also included an art project by Mrs. Faylor. Our entry stated that we think KIDS should be writing the beginning pattern books that help KIDS learn to read! Our entry won HONORABLE MENTION and we are listed among other such winners on Scholastic’s website. We also won $500 in Scholastic money to buy new books for AAHCDC.

Congratulations to a whole class of amazing writers in Mrs. G.'s and Mrs. Jordan's 2015-1016 kindergarten-primary classroom!

Jungle Book

May 27, 2016
Summer Camp

Summer camp is a fun annual event at AAHCDC. Summer camp preparations are under way and we are excited for the learning, fun, discoveries, and camaraderie that we will share.

There are four weeks, and your child can attend any one, or all four. The weeks are May 31 to June 3, June 6-9, June 13-16, and June 20-23. Contact us if you want to learn more!

Jan 30, 2016
As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth,
so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind.
To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again.
To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over
the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.
- Henry David Thoreau

At AAHCDC we are passionate about the important growth and work of the early childhood years, so much it is part of our name Child Development Center. We think and talk about these first school experiences as the prototypes for many more experiences to come: learning to manage separation feelings for the many times we experience them throughout our lives, building relationships with teachers which will become the model for future teacher relationships, approaching school with calmness and anticipation sets the expectation for school to be safe and stimulating. The kind of thoughts we wish to dominate the experiences of children at AAHCDC are:

Learning is fun, I can do it, my ideas are valued, I can contribute and experience kindness, it feels good to be part of a group, I can seek what I need, mistakes are okay, there is more than one way to think, the world is fascinating, I will learn my whole life long.

In essence, early childhood education is about developing an identity of oneself as a learner, full of skills and positive feelings.

Jan 30, 2016

Registration forms for the 2016-2017 school year are available in the office. We process applications on a first come, first serve basis. Please turn your form in promptly to assure your preferred schedule. Please contact us for more information.

Jan 20, 2016
Observer Ad

Nov 3, 2015

Fred Rogers was known as "America's favorite neighbor" and many of you who have been part of our "AAHCDC NEIGHBORHOOD" know how fond we are of his work.

After 28 years, our own "AAHCDC NEIGHBORHOOD" has spread to various parts of the world and some of our former students have begun families of their own.

Many of our returning families this year are here with a second, third or fourth child. We have had a lengthy relationship together based upon trust, support, empathy, compassion, and hard work in the "growing" of healthy children. For others, new to us, we are just beginning to know one another. We look forward to this process.

We admired "Mister Roger's Neighborhood" because it was rooted in deep empathy for children and for the family and in solid principles of child development as well. Fred Rogers was asked often about the negative influences that violence in the media and in video games has on children. When asked that question, he always responded with the emphasis on the value of teaching goodness to children and to the importance of making goodness attractive. He once said, "We can become advocates--appreciators of those who happen to be with us at the moment." They're the people he called "our neighbors." By being appreciators we help to make goodness attractive to children.

At school, in every classroom, making goodness attractive to children is supported within a safe environment and with safe interactions. Use of materials feels safe and there is kindness to others--the way we talk to each other. There is no teasing. Learning to be an "appreciator" actually begins with toddlers whose major task in addition to self care is learning to tame one's anger and coming to "appreciate" that others have feelings too. This is a tall task for a young child as their strong drive for independence sometimes bumps up against the reasonableness of family/school routines. And it can be a challenge for the grown ups to model calm compassion in the mist of difficult and negative behaviors. In the end, however, the young child's love of parents and family members, and their relationship with their teachers, along with their desire to be like them wins out and the emergence of young "appreciators" becomes apparent.

We want you to know how much we appreciate you and your presence in "our neighborhood." Your goodness is evident in your inclusiveness; your compassion; your trust in others; and your love of your children. Let's not forget to let each other know, often, how much we "appreciate" each other. Tonight at our dinner tables is a good place to start.

We're proud to be in your "neighborhood."

Did you know that Mr. Rogers was a Navy Seal, a Presbyterian Minister, a student of child development, and that he wore his famous sweaters to cover the tattoos on both his arms? We miss him.

Sep 4, 2015

In light of the change in the arrival and dismissal times this year for AAPS, we thought it might be helpful to remind you that we offer an early drop off and late pick up for those of you having to negotiate multiple school schedules. Early drop off is 8:30 am and extended pick up is 3:30 pm. We ask for a one day notice that you will be needing this extended time or you may also set a regular schedule.

Please inquire at the office for details. We hope this service will be helpful in planning your timing.

Mar 31, 2015

The children and teachers are happy to once again play outside in the sunshine. At AAHCDC we go outside whenever possible, as we believe in the many benefits of children's connections with the natural world. Current research demonstrates the benefits of outdoor play on development. People who spend more time outdoors tend to be in better physical and mental health. There are also strong benefits from the open-ended aspects of outdoor playtime. The opportunity for free play in nature helps shape the connections and structures of the neurons at the front end of the brain which has a critical role in regulating emotions, making plans and solving problems. We value recess time and often extend our open-ended outdoor play with further outdoor activities.

Richard Louv coined the term "nature deficit disorder" and is the author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle. He has said, "The future will belong to the nature-smart—these individuals, families, businesses and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need."

During our recess times at AAHCDC:

Children explore and observe the natural world

  • "Look! the flowers are coming up."
  • "I hear birds now."
  • "It smells different out here today."
  • "The mud is squishy."

Children move their bodies through space

  • Dig and build in the sand
  • Swing
  • Run, skip, jump
  • Climb and slide
  • Ball play

Children exercise their imagination

  • Create roads and other construction sites in the sand box
  • Role play such as hopping like a rabbit
  • Are chased by imaginary animals/bad guys
  • Develop stories to act out (dinosaurs have roamed our playground)

Children play many social games

  • Selling ice cream at the ice cream shop is a favorite
  • Dig holes together and say, "Let's see how deep we can go."
  • Get stuck and unstuck on the slide
  • Set rules for known games such as Duck Duck Goose and Tag
  • Join each other as they balance on wood around the play area

We hope you all have many opportunities to enjoy our wonderful natural world this Spring and in all seasons.

Mar 3, 2015

March is reading month! Reading is one or our favorite activities to do with young children. It is a wonderful together time, sharing a common experience. Reading aloud is one of the most important and joyful responsibilities you have as a parent. It is a great opportunity to connect with your child, help regulate the activity level and pace of the day, and help them learn more about their world. Reading ignites imagination and leads to the discovery of new ideas, concepts, and connections. It supports understanding of language and words. A child's listening vocabulary develops before either spoken or reading vocabulary. Research indicates that typically it is about 8th grade before children's independent reading comprehension matches that of books read aloud to them. Reading together is one of the best things a parent can do to support a child's growth at school.

We love books at AAHCDC. We use them as springboards for our curriculum, avenues for expanding the children's world, and as ways to tell our own stories. Throughout this school year each classroom has, and will continue to produce, many books. There are Star books, Friendship books, letter books, concept books, retelling of familiar stories, and factual books. Many of the books have gone home, but some are kept here at school. During the month of March, we will have some of our school-produced books in the hallway for your reading pleasure. We hope you enjoy seeing them as much as the children have enjoyed producing them.

Mar 3, 2015

Summer camp applications are available at the school office. It is a great extension of your child's school experience. We are offering 4 one-week sessions. We anticipate they will fill up quickly so please turn in your form promptly to ensure your ideal schedule. Payment is not due until May 12, 2015.

Jan 5, 2015

Please keep these important dates in mind:

January 13: Primary School Informational Meeting 9:15-10:30 a.m.

January 15: Preschool applications will be available

January 27: Registration is open to all families

Dec 18, 2014

Parent orientation for new Parent/Toddler and All-By-Myself families will be:

Friday, January 9 from 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Winter classes begin Friday, January 16. Please contact us or come to the office to pick up a form if you would like to enroll.

Dec 18, 2014

Please come see our Primary School in action! Parents interested in learning more about our Kindergarten, First, and Second grade programs are invited to attend a school information session on:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 from 9:15 - 10:30 a.m.

The informational session includes an introduction to our Primary school by the directors, observation time in the classroom, discussion with families who have been through the program, and question and answer session with the teachers. If interested, please contact us or sign-up in the school office.

Junior Kindergarten Program

For those of you whose children's birthdays fall between June 1, 2010 and February 28, 2011, you may also be interested in coming to the informational meeting Tuesday, January 13, 2015 to gather more information about this program. Please contact us or sign up in the office.

Dec 18, 2014

Please call or email to arrange to get an application for our Special Enrichment Classes for next semester. (See here for contact info) These classes are open to Bear, Zebra, and Giraffe children, or those who want to test-drive the school. There are three separate six week sessions in the Winter semester with classes such as:

  • Children's Theater
  • Spanish Immersion
  • Join a Band
  • Dinosaur Dig
  • Keeping the Beat
  • Mr. Sun
  • Wake Up With Spring

These specials are a fun way for children to enjoy lunch at school and stretch their day just a little longer. Or some families come just for the hour and a half because the classes are so much fun!

The session are:

  • Session 4: weeks of January 5 - February 9
  • Session 5: weeks of February 23 - March 30
  • Session 6: weeks of April 13 - May 18