Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Hannah at Sussex

The teachers at Momentum Early Learning dedicate much of their time and heart to the children in their classroom. We appreciate all of their hard work and the commitment they make to maintain a higher standard of excellence in everything they do. The culture at Momentum is driven by one unified vision… “Grow as a cohesive and fun team with purpose, engagement, passion, and quality”. Here is a look into the life of one of our many excellent teachers. Find out what they love and what inspires them to be a great educator.

Introducing from Sussex, Ms. Hannah! Image

How long have you worked at Momentum?
I am very excited to be at Momentum! I’ve been here since February 2018.

What classroom do you teach?
I teach in the Cuddly Cuties 3 classroom.

What made you want to become a teacher?
I love teaching because I enjoy watching the children learn and discover. They are also so cute and make me smile! 🙂 who inspires you

What or who inspires you?
My grandma and my mom inspire me because they are two very strong and resilient women with a great capacity to love and support me.

What is your favorite activity to teach?
I love to teach large motor skills because it is important to keep active for a healthy lifestyle, and it’s fun!

One of first school momentsWhat is one of your first memories from school?
Being home-schooled and child number six of seven in my family, I remember I couldn’t wait to “start” school. I also remember school on the road, as my father served in the Air Force and we would travel with him.hidden tallents

What is one of your hidden talents?
I was a three sport collegiate athlete (tennis, basketball, and volleyball) and received the “Female Athlete of the Year” award at UWWC.do you have any pets

Do you have any pets?
I have a one month old Saint Bernard puppy, Copper.

What is your favorite thing to cook?
I love to bake!

What is your favorite way to relax?
I relax by lighting a candle, listening to music, or drawing.

What is your favorite TV show?
I have several favorites: Teen Wolf, Vampire Diaries, and all things Disney!

What makes a “good day” at Momentum?
Every day is a good day, but it’s especially good when everyone is healthy.

What kind of morning routine do you have to get excited for the day?
My alarm goes off playing “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack, I feed Copper and play with him, and I get ready to come to work excited to see those sweet faces greeting me in the morning!

What is the best part about being a teacher?
Being a part of the lives of the children.

If you could take your class on a field trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?
We would visit the penguins in the Antarctic and then a quick trip to Disney World!

Momentum Early Learning, the new standard in education and child care, provides unparalleled excellence of care for children through an open, friendly and nurturing culture. Momentum Early Learning provides care and teaching for children ages six weeks to twelve years old. Momentum Early Learning’s pledge of excellence is based on four core values: safety, education, cleanliness and technology. Families interested in learning more about Momentum Early Learning can call the Sussex Campus at 262.820.2595 or the Germantown Campus at 262.415.8047 or visit Momentum’s website at www.momentumearlylearning.com.

Lauren’s Addison’s Journey

As most of you know, Ms. Lauren at our Germantown Campus has Addison’s Disease. This means that Lauren’s body does not produce cortisol. February 28th, was Rare Disease Day and on that day Lauren shared a bit about what it means to have Addison’s Disease. April in Adrenal Insufficiency Awareness Month and we decided that today, April 13th would be known as Lauren’s Day. Because today is Lauren’s Day,  she wanted to provide you with a more detailed account of her journey with Addison’s.

lauren in the hospital

lauren and johnFor as long as I can remember, I was always sick. Growing up, I would always vomit and doctors weren’t quite sure what was wrong with me. Vomiting became my norm and became a running joke with my friends. For years, vomiting was my main symptom. Then slowly, things started to progressively get worse.

I started becoming faint all the time. I would be at a store and would have to literally sit on the floor in the middle of an isle because my heart would race so fast I thought I was going to collapse. As someone in their late teens and early twenties it was beyond embarrassing. People would stare and I would have absolutely no idea what was going on. I also had no energy at all. I chalked it up to working full time and going to college full time, but deep down I knew something was really off. A normal person wouldn’t close their eyes and literally sleep for hours and hours on end then wake up feeling the same exhaustion they started with.

lauren in blue dress2

After this photo was taken, Lauren lost an additional 12 pounds.

I saw every possible doctor imaginable. I had over 15 different tests to try and determine what was wrong.

I’ve had doctors try to diagnose me with everything from depression to bulimia. I’ve had doctors tell me I just needed to “take a breath and calm down.” I am so thankful for my family who knew that something was still off.

The vomiting continued for years. I became a pro at vomiting in my car, walking out of class to vomit and vomiting at stores. As sad as it sounds, vomiting for me became normal. I would vomit anywhere from 5-40 times a day. On a “good day”, I would vomit at least 5 times. As you can imagine, the weight loss that came with all the vomiting was horrendous. I was slowly withering away to nothing.

One morning, I had to call into work because I was so sick. I was so physically weak at this point I was crawling from room to room. I thought I was going to collapse at any given moment. My grandparents picked me up and took me to the hospital. The ER doctor looked at me and my chart, and said she had a hunch as to what was wrong with me. She said she remembered something from a college lecture and did a test for Addison’s Disease. It came back positive- I had Primary Adrenal Insufficiency.

Had that doctor skipped that college lecture and not run that test, I am confident that I would not be alive today. That is how deathly low my levels were.

I was so excited that I finally found out what was wrong with me. I thought I could finally live a normal life. I saw an endocrinologist who told me “Lauren, you take a steroid pill and you will feel better.” Sadly, that is not the case. According to their textbooks, this was true. However, after joining an online support group for people with Adrenal Insufficiency, I realized how wrong that statement was.

There is currently no way to check your cortisol levels on a daily basis. It is often a guessing game. In a normal person, if they are sick or their body is experiencing physical

lauren and her family

or emotional stress, their body will naturally pump more cortisol through them. Because my body does not produce cortisol, I have to lauren and john at the hospitalliterally guess how much extra steroids to take. Often, I won’t realize right away that my body is internally fighting off an infection and my body will crash into an adrenal crisis. When this happens I have to go to the hospital immediately for a steroid injection through the IV and fluids.

Because of the severity of these Adrenal crisis, my doctor has written me an emergency note to take with me when I go. A portion of my note states, “ Patient has history of recurrent ER visits due to Adrenal crisis. It is very crucial to triage patient promptly, provide IV hydration and give adequate glucocorticoid (IV steroids).

Because Addison’s Disease is so rare, often- even WITH my letter signed by my endocrinologist- I often sit waiting to be seen in the waiting room. In an Addison’s crisis, timing is crucial. People are dying while waiting to be seen. There is no time to be wasted. Once after waiting for about an hour, I had to threaten to go into the parking lot and call 911 to come in by ambulance to get seen immediately. That made them realize how seriously Addison’s Disease was and they immediately took me straight back. This should NEVER, EVER happen!

lauren sick at her weddingAfter being diagnosed with Adrenal Insufficiency in September 2013, my journey can best be described as rocky. Like I said in my previous blog, Addison’s Disease is often referred to as an invisible illness. I could be happy and smiling on the outside, but truly struggling on the inside. A smile can hide so much. People have often asked me if given a choice, if I would rather physically look sick so people knew how much of an impact Addison’s has on me. My answer is and will always be- NO. I would rather have people think of me as a happy smiling person!

lauren and her parents2

I’m currently about halfway through my pregnancy, and even after 5 years with this disease, it still manages to throw me through loops. Because of all the changes in my body right now- and even with extremely close monitoring with my team of doctors- I’ve gone into more Adrenal crises then I ever have. Even so, I continue to stay strong and fight like crazy. This disease will not defeat me. This disease will NOT win.

I hope I was able to share a bit more about my journey with Addison’s disease. If I can leave you with something it would be this: If you feel like something is wrong with you or a family member, keep fighting until you get a diagnosis. It could truly save your life. Thanks Mom and Dad for always believing me and fighting like crazy for a diagnosis! You’ve saved my life.

Megan’s Autism Story

According to AustismSpeaks.org, it is estimated that 1 in 68 children in the United States are on the Autism Spectrum. The term ‘spectrum’ reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with Autism. Today, April 2nd, is marked as World Autism Awareness Day. The purpose of this day is to spread awareness, increase understanding and acceptance of those with Autism. At our Germantown Campus, our friend Max teaches us each day what it is like to teach, know and love a child with Autism. His mom, Megan, shares their story.

megan and max smilingHi, I’m Megan, Max & Cali’s Mom. Our family has been a part of the Momentum Family since 2016. Thanks for taking the time to read this little piece on Max and getting to know Autism in OUR house. I say this because everyone’s experience with Autism can be SO different as Autism runs on what we call a spectrum. The one thing that these amazing kiddos all have in common is that Autism has wired their brain just a tad differently to process the world. For some- it’s too bright, for others- it’s too loud, for some- fabrics feel like they’re wearing brillo pads, and the list goes on…it’s what makes each child so unique, but can make it also very challenging for parents as they try to figure out the puzzle pieces for their kid (this is why Autism is usually represented as puzzle pieces).
ward family photo

We currently reside in Richfield and are part of the Germantown Momentum Family, and I do have to say it’s been the best thing for Max. My husband, Matt, and I have been married for 12 years and also have a 7 year old daughter, Cali. After Cali was born, we were very excited to continue to grow our family, and when Max joined us, we were elated.

From day 1, things were different and extremely hard and challenging. Autism is usually not diagnosed until kids are about 2 or 3, but we are both teachers (my husband teaches Special Education), and we knew something was off. Max was delayed in his crawling, his walking, he was a terrible sleeper, and was very delayed in talking. We kept pressing doctors and asking questions and finally met the company WEAP.  WEAP (Wisconsin Early Autism Project) is an Autism therapy company in Wisconsin (there are actually TONS of them). WEAP does extensive evaluations of kids, and if they are diagnosed with Autism, they will set the family up with a team to provide the child with 40 hours of therapy a week. This therapy is to help them catch up and figure out their puzzle. We struggled so hard for three years but finding WEAP has truly helped us to understand Autism and how to parent Max.  They also really helped us to realize that our life will be different from what we expected, but we can enjoy it.

max reading a book

For Max, our biggest obstacles are his lack of communication and his outbursts. He has come SO far since WEAP, but Max still does not speak like a typical 4 year old. He is slowly getting more words and phrases but they are often out of context or challenging for him to get out, so he just says all the words he knows. There are many autistic kids who are non-verbal and never learn to communicate in the traditional manner, so this is something we are faced with as well.

Max’s other major struggle is his frustration with people not understanding him or being in his space. Max’s frustration often manifests in physical outbursts. For many years we dealt with Max scratching us, pulling our hair, hitting, kicking, etc. This is the part that many people do not see with Autism, but it’s very common. Children with Autism get violent when they are frustrated or anxious. Not only is it extremely mentally hard on a family but, physically as well. Through therapy and learning Max’s triggers we have come a long way, but it is still a challenge for us and for him at school at times. Finding a daycare that is understanding of this and willing to work with you actually proved to be quite a challenge for us, which is why we are so happy we are where we are now. Often because a child can look “fine” on the outside, people fail to see what Autism does.

So what does Autism mean in our house?

Max is one of the goofiest kids I know…he LOVES to laugh. He wants to be part of the joke; he wants to be part of what is happening in our house. His favorite phrase is “Alexa fart.”  Unfortunately she can’t quite understand him, but it never fails that he bursts into laughter after she does it. When Max gets excited he often squeals or yells and flaps his arms. He LOVES a good time. If there are people cheering, he’ll join in.  If they are clapping, he gets so excited and joins right in. He loves to be part of this world.

max and matt at swimming lessonsmax playing a keyboard

It also means he’s full of anomalies that we cannot understand. He HATES shower/baths – screams bloody murder, but LOVES swimming. He is not a big TV watcher, but will sit on the floor and read for hours. He gets startled and hates loud noise but LOVES to have the music on as loud as he can and so much more. He loves being in the car, but hates to actually travel overnight. He loves to be cuddled and tickled and touched and WANTS to make eye contact and interact with you, which is very unlike most autistic kids, but struggles because he can’t. If you ever see him, ask him for a high five – you’ll make his day!

It also means change is hard for Max…new routine, new people, new places are very stressful for him. Traveling is very hard on him. Whenever we do, he will often just say “HOME” for most of our time there. We continue to try to help Max experience new things and each time we do it, it does get better. Despite his slight disdain for overnight travel, Max loves big events. The loud noises do scare him, but he loves sporting events and outdoor event. He loves anything with a lot of stimuli. Max also loves music.  He loves to have music on, play his keyboard or bang on his drum– Mom and Dad, not so much. Max loves routine. Saturdays and Sundays are tough for him because we are home. We often take mini trips out to see buses or trains, as he likes to see the world.

max with cali

Autism in our house also means a very different life for Cali and us as parents. A lot of time and attention is devoted to helping Max, redirecting Max, and with his therapists, so we have had to really work on consciously being present for Cali too.  She went through a period where she started acting out as well because so much time and energy was devoted to Max. In addition as parents, it means our home life is VERY different. We have therapists in our house six days a week. They follow us home after work, they stay through dinner, and they are there on Saturday morning. Our time alone in our house is very limited which is very challenging. While we are FOREVER grateful, it does take a toll on our family dynamic as well. As a parent, all of your thoughts and beliefs on what life will be like changes, and that has been a great struggle for us. Through therapy myself, I am learning to redirect those thoughts and process to life now with Autism.

So that is Autism- it’s amazing, it’s horrible, it’s wonderful, and it the hardest, greatest thing we’ve ever done. Max has opened our eyes to a whole new world. A world that is fascinating. I could sit and watch him process and learn the world all day long. To watch him come from a kid who couldn’t talk, wouldn’t sleep and cries all the time to a kid who is babbling, smiling, sleeps like a champ and enjoys life is amazing. We have no idea where he will end up or what life will look for him, but right now we know that we are giving him every, and all, of the tools we can, and he amazes us every day. Everyone needs a Max in their world to remind them there’s more than one way to do it all.

ward family with silly glasses

For more information on Autism, visit Autism Speaks
For more information on WEAP, visit Wisconsin Early Autism Project

Teacher Spotlight: Beth at Germantown

The teachers at Momentum Early Learning dedicate much of their time and heart to the children in their classroom. We appreciate all of their hard work and the commitment they make to maintain a higher standard of excellence in everything they do. The culture at Momentum is driven by one unified vision… “Grow as a cohesive and fun team with purpose, engagement, passion, and quality”. Here is a look into the life of one of our many excellent teachers. Find out what they love and what inspires them to be a great educator.

beth and husband at game

Introducing, Ms. Beth at Germantown…beth playing dress up

How long have you worked at Momentum?
I came to Momentum in August of 2017.

What classroom do you teach?
I am the Director of Momentum’s Germantown Campus.

What made you want to become a teacher?
I have wanted to be a teacher since as long as I can remember.  I was very good at teaching all my stuffed animals and assigning them homework which I loved to correct and give back to them.

beths childrenWhat or who inspires you?
I am inspired my daughter, Abigail.  She is the strongest most resilient person I know. She is intelligent and loving and super determined!

What is your favorite kind of activity to teach? (sensory, gross motor, etc.)
I haven’t taught Early Childhood in a long time!  I have been teaching elementary and middle school the past ten years.  My favorite subject to teach was math.

What is one of your first memories from school?
Struggling in Math!!!  Ironically, it was my worst subject but that is why I love to teach it.  Breaking it down so kids understand it clearly warms my heart!  I love seeing the “light bulb” go on!

What is one of your hidden talents?
I can still do the splits!

beths animalsDo you have any pets?
I have a Lab named Kelso (That 70’s Show), a Yorkie mutt named Maisy (Yes, after the mouse) and a very illusive cat named Bailey (Yes, Irish cream).

What is your favorite thing to cook? (if you don’t like to cook, what is your favorite food?)
I do a lot of cooking, but I love to make soups!  One of my favorite creations is my mushroom, wild-rice soup.

What is your favorite way to relax?
I love to spend time in my yard, attempting to garden!  My husband and I enjoy golfing whenever we get a chance!  I also tried tennis last year for the first time, I don’t know if they’ll have me back!!

What is your favorite TV show/guilty pleasure?
I only watch two shows on a regular basis.  This Is Us and Grey’s Anatomy complete my week!

What makes a “good day” at Momentum?
Everyday is a good day! I really love when I can get away from the office and spend time with the kids!

What kind of morning routine do you have to get excited for the day?
I enjoy a cup of coffee and some good 80’s music on my way to work!

beths husband and childrenbeths family on vacation

What is the best thing about being a teacher?
For any age it’s the “Aha moments”!

If you could take your class on a field trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Outside!  I love to see children explore the outdoors.  Last year we took a field trip to a lake and had the kids use magnifying glasses, microscopes and their own eyes to explore the water.  It was amazing to see their reactions when they discovered there were things living in the water.

Momentum Early Learning, the new standard in education and child care, provides unparalleled excellence of care for children through an open, friendly and nurturing culture. Momentum Early Learning provides care and teaching for children ages six weeks to twelve years old. Momentum Early Learning’s pledge of excellence is based on four core values: safety, education, cleanliness and technology. Families interested in learning more about Momentum Early Learning can call the Sussex Campus at 262.820.2595 or the Germantown Campus at 262.415.8047 or visit Momentum’s website at www.momentumearlylearning.com.

Literacy in Early Childhood Education

At Momentum Early Learning we hold four very important Core Values: Safety, Education, Cleanliness, and Technology. To maintain our higher standard of child care, we focus on education and curriculum. Literacy is a key component of our curriculum. We asked Ms. Jenna at our Sussex Campus to explain the value of early literacy in a child’s life.We hope that Jenna’s tips will help other teachers, and inspire parents to get creative with their story time at home!

Meet Ms. Jennajenna

My name is Ms Jenna, and I am a teacher in the Little Scholars classroom at Momentum’s Sussex Campus. I have been working in the field of early childhood education for the past 4 years. I love to plan engaging and interacting activities to help my students learn and grow through play. One of my favorite types of lessons to plan is literacy activities.

Literacy and the Importance

Literacy typically refers to reading and writing skills. Early literacy skills can start developing in the primary childhood years. Some early literacy skills include letter knowledge, print awareness, phonological awareness, and emergent writing skills. Early literacy skills that are developed during the early years of a child’s life can help them become successful later on in school.

Ways to Incorporate Literacy in the Classroom

  • Add books into different centers of the classroom:
    • Nonfiction books about animals, insects, plants or weather in the science area
    • Picture or nonfiction books about food, families, or different careers in the dramatic play area
    • Picture or nonfiction books about construction, cars, or transportation in block area
    • Picture or nonfiction books about painting, drawing or artists in art area
    • Picture or nonfiction books from different genres/themes in literacy area
      lit
      (Here is a sample of nonfiction books that are found in the science area of my classroom.)
  • Labeling objects/toys in the classroom in large printlit2
  • Add word cards into writing area (change as needed with weekly themes)
  • Use retelling pieces or flannel board pieces that go along with bookslit3
    (I like to organize my flannel board pieces in labeled pouches along with the corresponding book. Here is a sample of some of my flannel board pieces and books.)
    lit4
    (Here is a sample of retelling pieces and the corresponding book.)

Ways to Incorporate Literacy at Home

  • Read books at bedtime (simple board books for babies and toddlers, age appropriate picture books for preschoolers and school-age children)
  • Expose children to different kinds of print (magazines, newspaper, books, and environmental prints)
  • Sing nursery rhymes, finger plays or your child’s favorite songs with them or to them

lit5
(Here are puppets that I made to go along with popular nursery rhymes and finger plays.)

  • Make up your own stories or encourage children to make up their own
  • Label objects in your home in large print

While felt board stories and literacy games can be fun and engaging for children, sitting down and reading a book is just as important. One of the easiest things you can do is to pick up a book and read to your child! Perhaps set aside a few minutes a day to sit with your child and read, bedtime can be a great time to do this.  Also don’t forget about your local public libraries- not only can you check out a variety of fun books to bring home, many offer free story times throughout the week. Literacy is all around us; expose your children to as much as you can during the early childhood years!

Momentum Early Learning, the new standard in education and child care, provides unparalleled excellence of care for children through an open, friendly and nurturing culture. Momentum Early Learning provides care and teaching for children ages six weeks to twelve years old. Momentum Early Learning’s pledge of excellence is based on four core values: safety, education, cleanliness and technology. Families interested in learning more about Momentum Early Learning can call the Sussex Campus at 262.820.2595 or the Germantown Campus at 262.415.8047 or visit Momentum’s website at www.momentumearlylearning.com.

Resources to Use

I use a variety of different resources to help me create literacy activities for the classroom. Here is a list of some of my favorites:

Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/)

Teachers Pay Teachers (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com) *some items are free while others you have to pay for

Printable felt board pieces/activities for books  (http://www.makinglearningfun.com/themepages/BookPrintables.htm)

Printable activities for Jan Brett Books (http://www.janbrett.com/index.html)

Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Mindee at Sussex

The teachers at Momentum Early Learning dedicate much of their time and heart to the children in their classroom. We appreciate all of their hard work and the commitment they make to maintain a higher standard of excellence in everything they do. The culture at Momentum is driven by one unified vision… “Grow as a cohesive and fun team with purpose, engagement, passion, and quality”. Here is a look into the life of one of our many excellent teachers. Find out what they love and what inspires them to be a great educator.

Introducing from Sussex, Ms. Mindee!

How long have you worked at Momentum?
1 year and 1 month

What classroom do you teach?
I recently moved from CC1 to Little Scholarsmindee

What made you want to become a teacher?
At age 2, I started going to an in-home daycare center run by an amazing woman named Sue. She taught us everything we needed to know to be prepared for school, as well as teaching us to value education. Growing up I looked up to her and was always grateful for all that she taught us!

What or who inspires you?
My Grandpa has always been my biggest inspiration, he was the hardest working and smartest man I’ve ever known. He inspired me to do what I love and never20180314_001850 give up.

What is your favorite kind of activity to teach?
Art activities! I’ve always loved art, and watching kids make art and be creative is so fun! It puts their imaginations to work.

What is one of your first memories from school?Raising and releasing monarch butterflies every summer while I was in daycare. It was such a cool experience!

What is one of your hidden talents?20180314_001741
I play several instruments. In middle school and high school I played oboe and bassoon. I am also currently teaching myself how to play the ukulele.

Do you have any pets?20180314_001804
Yes! I have three cats, Cosmo, Angel, and Misty, and a20180314_001827 chocolate lab named Sable.

What is your favorite thing to cook?
Chicken gnocchi soup

What is your favorite way to relax?
I relax with a comfy blanket and a good book or movie, or by drawing!20180314_001907

What is your favorite TV show/guilty pleasure?
My all-time favorite show is Gilmore Girls. I love their witty humor!

halloweenbeckyWhat makes a “good day” at Momentum?
Every day at Momentum is a good day! Coming in and seeing all of the kids smiling and excited for their day is so rewarding!

What kind of morning routine do you have to get excited for the day?
Breakfast and coffee. Followed by getting ready and thinking about all of the activities we have planned for the day.

What is the best thing about being a teacher?
The best thing about being a teacher is knowing that because of you and your coworkers, you are giving your students one of the most amazing and important gifts they will every receive, the gift of education!

If you could take your class on a field trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would take my class to my favorite place, the Shalom Wildlife Zoo in West Bend. They have a lot of cool animals to see, and some you can even pet and feed!

Momentum Early Learning, the new standard in education and child care, provides unparalleled excellence of care for children through an open, friendly and nurturing culture. Momentum Early Learning provides care and teaching for children ages six weeks to twelve years old. Momentum Early Learning’s pledge of excellence is based on four core values: safety, education, cleanliness and technology. Families interested in learning more about Momentum Early Learning can call the Sussex Campus at 262.820.2595 or the Germantown Campus at 262.415.8047 or visit Momentum’s website at www.momentumearlylearning.com.

STE(A)M Learning in Early Childhood Education

STE(A)M may seem boring to some, but in reality it is both exciting, educational and fun for students young and old. Here at Momentum, we strive to create a learning environment that promotes learning, so incorporating STE(A)M is not as hard as it may seem to have in an early childhood classroom.

Meet Ms. Jill
My name is Ms. Jill, and I am a teacher in the Lively Learners classroom at Momentum’s Germantown Campus. I have been working in education for the past 7 years, spending a majority of that time focusing on science education. This means that I love working on science based activities in my classroom, especially ones that are hands on that allow the kids to get messy! I like to try and incorporate STEM into as many activities as I can. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. This can also become part of STEAM (A-Art). There is always a lack of STEM jobs, especially in terms of female STEM jobs. It is important to start the love for these fields early, so there is no better time to start then in early childhood.

prek children looking through goggles
S-Science
Science itself is a broad title to cover many areas of study that can be covered in an early childhood classroom. Examples include: veterinary, environmental, chemistry, biology, scientific method, astronomy, weather, and physics.
T-Technology
An important thing to note is that technology doesn’t always have to be things with an on/off switch. Technology can be as simple as introducing a new tool for children to experience and use. Examples of technology to include in science centers: hand lenses, tweezers, pipettes, rulers, tape measures, balance, scale, cameras, tablet, computer.
E-Engineering
An important thing to note about engineering is that it doesn’t just have to be about buildings and bridges. Engineering can be designing any type of structure, even toy design! These can be 3D or 2D: Play-doh, craft stick, pipe cleaners, crayons and paper
M-Mathematics
Mathematics can be more than teaching kids about numbers in early childhood. It can include recognizing and identifying money, sorting, patterns, shapes, etc.
STEAM-A-Art
Art can be tied into STEM very easily! Drawing ideas/designs, building with 3D art materials, displaying photographs of process/items of STEM (photos of flowers, clouds, etc)
two year old looking into microscope

Why do STEM?
STEM is a great way to teach children about different aspects of life beyond the early childhood basics. STEM covers so many topics that can benefit all areas of learning and growth. STEM also helps children to explore their world in new ways. It can easy to be add it into play without the children even knowing!

Cross-Curriculum learning using STEM
Using stem you can create many lessons that cover several curriculum field requirements.
toddlers looking through magnifying glassExample for Preschool/Pre-K classrooms (Toddlers/Twos modifications are in parentheses):
You are tasked to build a wind proof building 2 feet tall. (Build a tower)

Materials:
Blocks (crackers)
Duplos (marshmallows)
Pipe Cleaners (frosting)
Leaf Blower (blow air using hand/mouth)

S-Wind Test (leaf blower) (Wind Test-Blowing)
T-Tape measure/ruler (Ruler-model use)
E-design a building (building)
M-cost of materials-assign a cost, measuring, how many materials (counting number of objects used)
Art-Sketch design (draw building)
Language-Present design (share building with class)

baby exploring dinosaur

Incorporating STE(A)M into a classroom is easier than you think. Often times we are teaching these concepts without even realizing it, especially when it comes to play. Having a well stocked science and math area and encouraging children to play and explore will help them develop not only a love for learning, but for STE(A)M fields as well. In Lively Learners, I encourage my children to explore our science center during free choice play. Additionally, I am sure to incorporate these concepts into my lesson plans as it pertains to the theme each week. My children love doing science experiments/activities large and small. They may not realize that they are learning science because they are just two and a half and having fun, but seeing the looks on their faces when they see a successful experiment lets me know, I am teaching them those important science concepts while they are having fun.

Momentum Early Learning, the new standard in education and child care, provides unparalleled excellence of care for children through an open, friendly and nurturing culture. Momentum Early Learning provides care and teaching for children ages six weeks to twelve years old. Momentum Early Learning’s pledge of excellence is based on four core values: safety, education, cleanliness and technology. Families interested in learning more about Momentum Early Learning can call the Sussex Campus at 262.820.2595 or the Germantown Campus at 262.415.8047 or visit Momentum’s website at www.momentumearlylearning.com.

Additional Resources
https://www.rand.org/blog/2016/06/integrating-stem-learning-in-early-childhood-education.html
https://edsolutionsllc.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/stem-content-package.pdf

A Spotlight on Smith-Magenis Syndrome

Parenting comes with endless amounts of questions no matter how much you prepare for it. For some Drew4families, finding out your child was born with a rare disease only adds more questions to the list. The main objective of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness among the general public and decision makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives. At our Sussex Campus, our friend Drew has taught us on a daily basis, what it means to love and care for a child born with a rare disease. We asked his mother, Sarah, to share his story with you.


Drew hospital 2015

Hi, I’m Sarah Kemper.  Mother of Drew (3) and Emma (2) who have been part of the Momentum – Sussex family since 2014.  I am honored to write this post about a very rare genetic disorder that has been part of our family, also since 2014.  I write this from a mothers perspective and I thank you in advance for taking the time to read on and help spread awareness for Smith-Magenis Syndrome.Family July 2017

Drew was diagnosed with Smith-Magenis Syndrome when he was 10 days old.  At that time, we were in shock and had no idea what that meant for us and for the life of our son, except that it would be on a different trajectory than what we had planned.  The initial few months post-diagnosis, we engulfed ourselves in researching what SMS was in the hopes of understanding what was to come.  We realized quickly that there was such a wide spectrum of the disease, and although it was good to gain some background knowledge, we did not want it to define Drew and what he was capable of before he could show us.

Smith-Magenis Syndrome (SMS) is a rare genetic disorder, occurring in approximately 1 in 25,000 births.  Itdrew8 is a non-familial chromosomal disorder characterized by a recognizable pattern of physical, behavioral and developmental features and is the result of a missing piece of genetic material in chromosome 17, referred to as deletion 17p11.2.

Some of the common features of SMS include:

  • Sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness due to a reverse circadian rhythm of melatonin production
    • At about 18-24 months, we began seeing many more night time awakenings and Drew fighting sleepiness all throughout the day.  Even now, we might find him asleep when we thought he was playing or he dozes off eating lunch because he is too tired to make it to nap time.
      Drew sleeping
  • Low muscle tone
  • Feeding issues in infants
    • At 6 months old, Drew was hospitalized for 17 days due to numerous respiratory viruses along with pneumonia.  A couple months later he was still on oxygen when he slept and we found out his lungs weren’t healing likely due to aspiration.  So at about 10 months old, we were back at Children’s getting his G-tube placed
  • Developmental delays
  • Varying degrees of cognitive impairment
  • Speech delays
    • There is so much going on in that head of his that he can’t often communicate to us.  We can say that Drew knows his colors, numbers and letters of the alphabet though.  He also memorizes spelling from activities, books or interactive toys
  • Decreased sensitivity to paindrew2

Some of the common neurobehavioral features include:

  • Endearing and loving personalities
  • Hyperactivity/ADD
  • Sudden mood changes and/or explosive outbursts
  • Prolonged tantrums
  • Self-injurious behaviorsDrew thinking

DrewWhat does Smith-Magenis mean to us? It means learning how to use, clean and change out a G-tube. It means learning sign-language and other methods of communication. It means waiting until your child is two before seeing him walk, and even at three and a half he is still wearing braces around his feet and ankles to help with support. It means navigating day to day activities while constantly re-directing the best we can when we are at the cusp or in the middle of a major melt-down.  It means being awakened a lot at night and usually for good at around 4:30a.  It means walking on egg-shells every day as you never know what random toy, comment or directional turn in a store will set him off.  It also means endless hugs, the best smiles and giggles possible and such a sweet soul of a boy who we get to call our son.

SMS is a tough disease.  Tough on Drew.  Tough on us as his parents, Maddie as his half-sister and Emma as drew10his sister.  Tough on his wonderful caregivers, teachers, therapists and doctors.  We have been very fortunate to have landed with a team of great doctors at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and a great team of teachers and caregivers at Momentum.  They all love seeing him learn andDrew2 grow just as much as we do.  We are truly blessed with the support of so many around us. We are constantly encouraged by the special bonds and relationships formed by everyone who works with Drew. We enjoy seeing that they truly want him to succeed. With that being said, however, there have only been 2 of the 40+ doctors, therapists and teachers who have helped and come in contact with Drew, who have ever even heard of Smith-Magenis. So, thank you for helping us spread awareness.

To learn more go to prisms.org or smsresearchfoundation.com

A closer look at an invisible illness

Most people wouldn’t even know from looking at her. You would never know her struggle because she is so positive and happy. Rare Disease-Addison’s Disease. Today we celebrate her and countless others whose story needs to be told. The main objective of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness amongst the general public and decision makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives. At our Germantown Campus, our Little Scholars teacher, Ms. Lauren has taught us what it means to thrive with and sometimes suffer from a rare disease. We want to share her story with you.

lauren at the hospitalI was diagnosed in September of 2013 with Primary Adrenal Insufficiency, also known as Addison’s Disease. Addison’s Disease is a disorder that occurs when your body produces insufficient amounts of certain hormones produced by your adrenal glands. In my case, my adrenal glands have shut down completely. One of the treatments for this is to take a replacement dose of steroids to try and help mimic what my body doesn’t create.

The symptoms of Addison’s Disease can come on slowly and develop over years. Some of the symptoms of Addison’s Disease are:

  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Sudden weight-loss and loss of appetite
  • Severe nausea and vomiting- leading to dehydration
  • Increased heart-rate
  • Salt craving
  • Joint and muscle pains

In my case, I was severely sick for 8 years before finally being diagnosed.

Sometimes, the symptoms of Addison’s Disease can come on suddenly- causing what’s called an Adrenal Crisis. In this case, I take an emergency steroid injection in my thigh and immediately head to the hospital for IV fluids and steroids.

laurens injection

Signs of an Addison’s Crisis are:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe pain in lower back
  • Vomiting so much you cannot keep your steroids down
  • Low blood pressure

Something as simple as a cold or ear infection can (and has) thrown my body into an Adrenal Crisis.

In the nearly 5 years that I have been diagnosed with Addison’s Disease, it has taken a lot from me. Addison’s Disease has made me spend more time admitted in hospitals and emergency rooms then the average person in their teens and early 20’s ever should. It has made me miss out on countless activities because I was too sick to attend. It made me miss out on 3 hours of my own wedding reception because my body went into one of the worst adrenal crisis I’ve ever been in-it almost killed me.

addisons diseaseadrenal insufficiency

What Addison’s disease hasn’t taken from me:

  • The feeling of empowerment I get when sharing my story
  • Being able to train and successfully complete many races
  • Being the best teacher I can be to six amazing early childhood classes over the years
  • The desire to live each day to the fullest
  • It has made me a more compassionate person
  • It has never fully taken away my smile
  • It has made me a better wife and soon to be mommy!

Thank you for listening to my story and allowing me to spread awareness. If I can leave you with one final piece of advice it is this- never judge what you don’t understand. Many rare diseases are also called “invisible illnesses.” You can’t often tell what someone is going through just by looking at them.

I may have Addison’s Disease, but it surely does not have me.

For more information go to www.nadf.us

Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Carrianne at Germantown

The teachers at Momentum Early Learning dedicate much of their time and heart to the children in their classroom. We appreciate all of their hard work and the commitment they make to maintain a higher standard of excellence in everything they do. The culture at Momentum is driven by one unified vision… “Grow as a cohesive and fun team with purpose, engagement, passion, and quality”. Here is a look into the life of one of our many excellent teachers. Find out what they love and what inspires them to be a great educator.

Introducing from Germantown, Ms. Carrianne!

How long have you worked at Momentum?
I started at Momentum in March of 2017, and I just returned from a medical/surgery leave on February 5th!

carrianne with the babies at child carefeeding a baby at daycareWhat classroom do you teach?
I stared as the lead teacher in CC3, and now I am assisting Ms. Tonya as in CC2!

What made you want to become a teacher?
I have this charisma with children everywhere I go, and I enjoy making them smile and laugh! For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to make a difference, and when I decided that being a police officer was not satisfying, I decided to stay in early childhood and teach- working with children is a blessing!

What or who inspires you?carrianne with her husband
God inspires me to be the best me I can be! I am also inspired by my Big Sister and my Little Sisters from Big Brothers Big Sisters, my husband-Kevin, and my family! My teaching is inspired by Dr. Seuss, and my teachers (most of whom I still keep in contact with), taught me with pride and passion, so I get my dedication from my teachers!

What is your favorite kind of activity to teach? (sensory, gross motor, etc.)
I enjoy circle time. Reading the story of the day, singing educational routine songs, teaching the basics, hands on activities, and introducing new material/concepts that go with the themes! This is my favorite part of the day, because you’re in a group setting and you can be personal and have fun learning.

 What is one of your first memories from school?
I have a few…

  1. I was in head start and we were reading One Fish Two, Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and I wanted to write a book, so I wrote One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish and copied it (the best I could, not knowing what plagiarism was) and to this day I am still obsessed with Dr. Seuss.
  2. I was learning to read in Head Start and I saw a speed limit sign and it said 5 MPH. I told my Mom that I could read that sign and I know what it said, 5 minute parking here.
  3. In kindergarten we had a community helpers/bring your parent to school day, and we did an art activity project, where we had to pick three things that we wanted to be when we grew up. I picked a police officer, a teacher, and a farmer. I went to college for Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement (to be a Police Officer), I am a teacher, and I enjoy the country!
  4. Also in Kindergarten, we were making bunnies for Easter, my teacher was not happy with me because I made my ears rounded and the cutting exercise was to have them pointed. I was ready to color the ears and I wanted the hot pick crayon and a boy had it and would not give it to me so I tried to take it from him and bit his hand!

carrianne with a child carrianne with another child

 What is one of your hidden talents?
I can sort of wiggle my ears, and I can make a clover with my tongue!

Do you have any pets?
We want a dog, but where we rent we can’t have large pets, so we have 3 beta fish (2 boys and a girl) Storm, Midnight, and Sunset!

What is your favorite thing to cook? (if you don’t like to cook, what is your favorite food?)
I like to make Swiss chicken! It’s boneless skinless chicken breast, cream of mushroom soup, fresh mushrooms, swiss cheese, and fresh bacon bits.

What is your favorite way to relax?carrianne with family
I love playing cards, games (board and video), and puzzles to relax!

What is your favorite TV show/guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is Netflix. I enjoy a lot of shoes/movies and books, right now my favorite show is This Is Us!

What makes a “good day” at Momentum?
For me a good day at Momentum is smiles, laughs, and hugs!

What kind of morning routine do you have to get excited for the day?
Well I start by picking out what outfit I’m in the mood for, then I eat a nice breakfast, brush my teeth, and my husband and I always do our goodbye routine. I always listen to KLOVE on my way to work (anytime in the car). Just thinking about the kiddos in my class puts a smile on my face and I’m all ready for the day!

What is the best thing about being a teacher?
For me the best thing is making a difference. My oldest child from my first center is a Freshman this year and still gives me hugs when he sees me. Also, I just reconnected with my 2nd grade teacher from 20 years ago over the weekend and she still remembered me!!!carrieanne with a friend If you could take your class on a field trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would take them Up North to Eagle River. I am from Eagle River and to me it is God’s country and the most peaceful and beautiful place I have been. It keeps me going back, so I would like to share a part of something special to me with them!

eagle river

Momentum Early Learning, the new standard in education and child care, provides unparalleled excellence of care for children through an open, friendly and nurturing culture. Momentum Early Learning provides care and teaching for children ages six weeks to twelve years old. Momentum Early Learning’s pledge of excellence is based on four core values: safety, education, cleanliness and technology. Families interested in learning more about Momentum Early Learning can call the Sussex Campus at 262.820.2595 or the Germantown Campus at 262.415.8047 or visit Momentum’s website at www.momentumearlylearning.com.