Sunday, June 27, 2010

And the Winner is...

Congratulations to Eric Van Raepenbusch of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. He is the winner of TIKKI TIKKI TEMBO and THE EMPTY POT!

Thanks to all for participating. Little Nippers next GIVEAWAY will be announced next Friday. Stay tuned...

"There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book"
Marcel Proust

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Needle in the Haystack: Choosing the Right Pre-School

Sending a child to pre-school is an emotional milestone for both child and parent! It’s very hard to leave your child in the hands of someone else. You want them to be safe, protected and treated with respect.

When it was time for my first child to attend school I didn’t know what to look for. All I wanted was a warm environment for her. It wasn’t until I became a Pre-school teacher myself that I began to see things differently. For one thing, all schools are NOT created equal! There are many philosophies out there and the trick is to find one that matches your own. The following is a list of tips on finding the best pre-school for your child.

TIP #1 Start early!
To make an informed decision, start early and interview as many schools as you can. Also, if possible, take your child with you. It’s an excellent opportunity to see if he/she is a good fit.

TIP #2 Does the school have a daily routine?
Regular schedules are important and not all schools have one. Children like to know what to expect next. In fact, they thrive on routines. In my experience, when there isn’t a plan; there is chaos in the room. And if the classroom is chaotic, your pre-schooler is not having positive social interaction with their peers. The school you’re interviewing should have an established daily schedule and a monthly planned curriculum. Ideal routines offer time for free play (with stations around the room pertaining to the unit); meeting time (to discuss the days of the week, the weather and story time); snack time and outdoor/physical activity time. The monthly curriculum should include a variety of topics that introduce language skills, math, science, history and social studies in an age appropriate way.

TIP #3 What kind of crafts do the students work on?
Ask to see specific examples of artwork done by children in the classroom. The projects should appear like a pre-schooler created it by themselves rather than a teacher guided cookie-cutter project. Children must be allowed to create independently. If they are only allowed to produce work a certain way, it suppresses their imagination.

TIP #4 The Health and Safety of the Facility
In addition to having safe toys and an overall cleanliness; it’s a good idea to ask about their policy on food allergies. This is particularly important if you have a child with a life threatening allergy. NOT ALL SCHOOLS WILL CATER TO YOUR CHILDS NEEDS. A pre-school can and absolutely should be diligent regarding what types of foods they allow in the classroom. It is as simple as sending a memo to all the parents with a list of acceptable food. Also, ask about their pick-up policy. There should be restrictions in place with regard to whom they will dismiss your child.

TIP #5 Meet the Teachers!
It all boils down to the teachers! A school could have a healthy environment with a great curriculum, however, if you do not have teachers who are warm, friendly and capable of interacting with children of all personality types it’s not going to work. My suggestion is to meet the teachers. Set up an interview with them during classroom hours so you can get a feel for their teaching style. Watch how they interact with different children in different scenarios and trust your instincts; if you get a bad feeling about one of them…keep looking!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Path to Wisdom...

“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

A few weeks ago my path led me to the Peabody Essex Museum. It was a rainy day, drizzly and cold. My two children, ages 5 and 7, were bored stiff! My husband and I were looking for an activity that would be fun for the whole family. What we found was both entertaining and tremendously enriching. While the Peabody Essex Museum has a variety of exhibits geared to adults, they also offer the Play Zone; an area, chock full of interactive activities for kids!

Here we enjoyed the Trash Menagerie exhibit, where artist from around the world transformed recycled materials (plastic bottles, newspapers and trash) into amazingly beautiful works of art. Slideshows and videos were on hand for families who desired to discover more about global recycling and the route of inspiration for these gifted artists.

Additionally, we entered the drop-in Art Activity Center available to families and constructed spiders out of paper-mache. The activities offered in this room vary from week to week. A year ago, my daughter and her kindergarten class explored with paints.

As a final treat, we enjoyed a tour of the Yin Yu Tang; a 200 year old Chinese house. It was a great opportunity to learn about traditional Chinese architecture and gain an understanding of the Chinese culture.

My family and I spent the entire day at the Peabody Essex Museum thus turning a dreary day into an enjoyable one. What was most satisfying about this trip was that it gave my kids a chance to discover what was interesting to them. While my son was very interested in learning about recycling and the history of China, my daughter spent about an hour in the Art Center constructing various objects with paper-mache. These are things that they can build on; interests that may lead them to a path all their own.

Check out PEM’s upcoming events:

Move It! Art and Nature Story Time
For children ages 3-6 with an accompanying adult
(Deadline for reservations is TODAY)

Get into action with Swing, by Rufus Butler Seder, featured artists in the new interactive exhibition. Then create your own simple optical illusion toy.

PEM Pals

This fun, interactive program with books, movement, music, art and hands-on activities is designed specifically for preschoolers and their caregivers.

Dinosaurs at the Museum!
For ages 3 and up

Watch the kids’ classic dinosaur film “Land before Time” (70 minutes) in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere. Kids can create their dinosaur feet to wear as they explore the museum and the special exhibitions Imprints: Photographs by Mark Ruwedel featuring spectacular color and black and white images of dinosaur tracks and ancient human footpaths.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pippo the Fool Inspires Little Nippers Top 10

Pippo the Fool
Written by Tracey E. Fern
Illustrated by Pau Estrada

Recommended for ages 4-8. This book takes place in Florence, Italy and is based on the true story of Renaissance architect and engineer Filippo Brunelleschi. Filippo is an odd duck. He spends his time designing “peculiar machines no one needed and sketching outlandish structures no one wanted to build.” The townspeople did not take him seriously. In fact he was known throughout Florence as Pippo the Fool. Until one day there was a contest. The powers that be wanted to build a dome over the great Cathedral; the Santa Maria del Fiore. No one knew how to build this dome, not even the greatest of architects. However, after weeks of preparation, hard work and determination, Pippo the Fool entered the contest and won respect from all of Italy! A truly inspirational story! I highly recommend this book. When my children discovered that the story was true, they were amazed and began sketching structures that they could one day build themselves!

After recently discovering this delightful story, I embarked on a mission to find equally engaging stories that represent other cultures. What I found was so many wonderful stories that it was hard to choose a favorite! Check out my complete list on Winning Readings. Each of the books on my top 10 list are equally wonderful and they are perfect for story time or at school! To view, just click on the link in the sidebar under:
Top 10 Cultural Books.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Double Book Giveaway!!!

This month, Little Nipper Books is giving away 2 Classic stories; TIKKI TIKKI TEMBO and THE EMPTY POT. One lucky winner will win BOTH! Together they make two magnificent stories, each beautifully illustrating the Chinese culture. Perfect for story time or classroom settings.

Tikki Tikki Tembo (Hardcover)
Retold by Arlene Mosel. Illustrated by Blair Lent. Ages 4-8. This is an old Chinese folktale that continues to be loved by children and adults everywhere. It is a story about a little boy who lived in China. As a first born son he was given the long, honored name, Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, which meant “the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world”. As time went by, however, his family (and all of China) discovered that there was danger in having such a long name.

The Empty Pot (Hardcover)
Written and Illustrated by Demi. Ages 4-8. When it is time for a Chinese Emperor to name his successor, he decides that the best way to choose his heir is by a simple test. One day he gave all the children in the land a special flower and proclaimed “Whoever can show me their best in a year’s time will succeed me to the throne.” This is a great story where honesty and courage is rewarded.

In order to win all you need to do is be a follower of this blog or become one! Then leave a comment to this post to add your name to the drawing.

Extra Bonus Entries:
* Mention this giveaway on your blog or facebook and leave a link to your site. (Good for 1 bonus entry)

* Mention Little Nipper Books on your blog or facebook page and leave a link to your site. More information about our company is available at (Good for 1 bonus entry)

* Mention Miss Mandy Manners on your blog or facebook page and leave a link to your site. See sidebar for more information about Miss Mandy Manners.(Good for 2 bonus entries)

This giveaway will end on June 25th, 2010
The winner will be chosen by Random drawing from all valid entries submitted. The winner will be notified via email and will have up to 48 hours to contact me with their mailing address before another winner is chosen. No P.O Boxes please.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Congratulations to Mystee Blackwood of Arizona. She is the winner of THE SLEEPY LITTLE ALPHABET!

Thanks to all for participating. It seems Dr. Seuss is still popular among our followers. Cat in the Hat; Hop on Pop and Green Eggs and Ham were all mentioned as favorites! For those of you who haven't seen my post on the Dr. Seuss exhibit at the Springfield Museums, scroll down. I highly recommend this day trip. My family and I enjoyed it tremendously!

On Friday, Little Nippers will announce our next GIVEAWAY. This month we are offering two classic books! Stay tuned...