The EC3 Connection - April 20, 2021

Published: 2021-04-20

Ladybug Class

Christina Young and Casey Fowler 


The Ladybugs have been exploring lots and lots of bubbles, inside and out! Bubbles are a great way for infants to increase visual development as they track the bubbles with their eyes. But watching the bubbles is only one way infants explore and enjoy bubble fun. Infants also learn eye/hand coordination when they reach to touch and pop the bubble. Bubbles are wet and slimy and sticky, so when they pop those bubbles, they are tapping into those sensory processing skills. Our mobile infants and young toddlers chase, stomp, and kick the bubbles to make them pop, which increases gross motor skills. Bubbles can also help with social and communication skills as young toddlers might sign for “more;” or some can even say “more,” because who doesn’t want more bubbles?

Structures can give children a way to exercise and work muscles to improve gross motor
development. Crawling or scooting through a tunnel or an open low shelf helps them control the moving of their arms or legs. It is also the beginning of fine motor skills as well as helping them to develop strong core and bilateral coordination skills for gross motor play.

Bumblebee Class

Buffy Clements and Carley O’Byrne

The Bees room has been focusing on trying new foods! As the children get older, they start trying new foods and mealtime is one of the highlights of our day. Some of the younger infants are trying rice cereal, oatmeal cereal, and puree foods. A lot of the older infants who are trying new foods are doing “baby-led weaning.”

Baby-led weaning means skipping spoon feeding and letting them try finger foods themselves. It helps fine tune their motor development, support the development of hand-eye coordination and chewing skills, and discover healthy eating habits. The children have also been practicing using bowls, spoons, and cups/sippy cups.



Teacher Feature: Ms. Casey Fowler


Casey Fowler is an infant teacher in the Ladybug room. She has been a part of the EC3 family since 2012 and has been teaching in early childhood for twelve years.

Although she teaches infants now, she has had a variety of experience with ages 0-5 throughout her career. Casey earned her associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Lansing Community College.

As a teacher, she enjoys doing a variety of activities with the kids. Her favorite thing about teaching are those “Ah ha!” moments when kids experience a first step, standing, rolling over, etc. She loves watching the babies develop, explore, and learn new things. Casey likes to engage the older babies in painting activities – it’s so fun to watch how they explore the paint! She also really enjoys putting together sensory bags (plastic, zippered bags filled with a variety of items to explore) for the infants.

Once, shortly after Casey started at EC3, she showed the children that an apple will roll down a ramp. Soon, the kids were mimicking her and trying it themselves. This memory is special to Casey as it was an early connection she had with the infants and they were all having a great time watching the apples roll down.

When Casey isn’t immersed in caring for babies, you might find her out on the town, shopping! She also enjoys her time with her two boys, reading mystery books, and listening to music.



Penguin/Dolphin/Seal Class

Claudia “Burger” Conley, Ada Scott, Jennifer Enterline, Amanda Brock, and Claudine Wilson

So far this spring, the children have been noticing changes in nature during our time outside and on walks. We have often paused on our walks to feel the buds on the trees and bushes. Now, the children are seeing and smelling the open flowers. Children have been digging in dirt, jumping in small puddles, and spreading dirt with tractors.

They have been singing songs about the baby animals and trying on puppets. The teachers have been reading about where ducks and chicks come from. This has led to the children exploring eggs by breaking them, opening confetti eggs, cooking, and dying them.



Frog Class

Catherine Carroll and Mercedes Steward

The Frogs have been doing many different activities to support their fine motor skills lately. They have been doing lots of beading, practicing cutting with scissors, coloring, and using tweezers to sort pom poms or counters. This helps to build the fine motor skills that they will eventually need for writing and zipping zippers, among many other things. Their progress with being able to complete these tasks also boosts their self-esteem and confidence. They then become excited to repeat these tasks over and over again until they have progressed enough to do things like write with a pencil and use their self help skills.

We look forward to continuing to help the Frogs build on these skills!


Gecko Class

Julie Douglas, Tammy Epling, and Ehricka Masalkoski

The Gecko’s had a great March! National Reading Month is always interesting and fun. To start out the month, we talked about Dr. Seuss and had spirit-week fun. The children wore silly hats, silly socks, red and white, and even their PJs. Then we talked about and read books by Eric Carle, allowing the children to do many fun and creative art projects. The class practiced drawing lines from the “Hungry Caterpillar” to his fruit, and did flannel board stories to “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” and “The Hungry Caterpillar.”

We continued with a week about fairy tales and nursery rhymes. The sandbox was the big hit during this week, as we included a castle and a forest with horses, dragons, kings, and queens for the children to use their imagination and play with.

We finished the month with every child bringing in their favorite story for us to read to the class. Also each day each child brought in a fish telling us what book they read at home. We ended with a whole school of fish!



Lion Class

Dani Douglas

In the Lion room the kiddos have been busy exploring and using science. Science is used every day in the classroom. The children are learning how to ask questions and figuring out the answers with experiments and problem solving. They use reasoning every morning during group time as they figure out what day of the week it is. They do this using prior knowledge, asking questions, and using the clues given to them. They have been doing a great job and they get so excited when they figure it out.

Another way they use science everyday is problem solving. If they are playing or working with something and they don’t know what to do, they are encouraged to try and figure out the answer on their own. A teacher will give them the tools they need and are around if they have more questions. They are encouraged to try things differently to find an answer. It is always wonderful to see their little minds thinking, and it is amazing when they find a different use or result than what they were looking for.

In the Lion Room, there are also days that the kiddos and teachers do big science experiments. Recently they did an experiment where they figured out which toys can sink or float. They all found a toy in the classroom and brought it over to a big bucket of water and guessed whether it would sink or swim. They took turns putting it in the water bucket after they told the teacher what their guess was. They had a lot of fun figuring things out.


Tiger Class
Angie Mendenhall and Lindsay Simpson

The Tiger classroom is abuzz with springtime this April. They spent the first week exploring their home state of Michigan. The Tigers worked on honing their artistic skills with projects like rock painting and cooking. They learned about the main attractions of the cities they "visited" and the history behind Michigan's best treasures. Not only was it fun, exploratory, and educational, but it was also yummy as the Tigers were able to explore Michigan-made food projects.

Spring week followed that little ‘vacation’ and it is a time to learn about change and growth. The Tigers are also diving into social-emotional based learning. They will learn the basis of manners and why they are important, as well as ways to express their feelings through different projects.



Bear Class

Wanda Bancroft and Sofia Stathoulia

The Bears had a really good time in March. They explored many stories and books such as “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” “I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More,” “One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish,” “If you give a Mouse a Cookie,” “Go Away Big Green Monster,” “Brown Bear, Brown Bear,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” and many others. They learned about many authors such as Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, Ed Emberley, and others. They have explored some of the twelve labors of Hercules and Aesop’s fables too.
Every year, on the 2nd of April people all around the world celebrate the international child’s book day which is dedicated to the famous Danish author for child’s books, Hans Christian Andersen. The process of reading contributes to the development and maturity of the child. Children develop their language, cognitive, and emotional skills when we read to them. Children expand their curiosity for the world around them and they try to understand it better. By reading, children practice their memory skills, enrich their imagination and creativity; they develop critical thinking skills, concentration capabilities, strong bonds with parents, and academic skills. They also demonstrate willingness to learn. It is important to read to them, talk about the cover of the book, ask questions about the picture of the cover and the title. Asking open ended questions (with “why and how”) will help them grow healthy skepticism and draw conclusions. It is never too early to start reading to your child!

I see the custodian picking up litter and working very hard to keep EC3 tidy. He is an incredibly hard worker.

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