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From the Director

August 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

I hope you are all finding moments to enjoy the summer with your families.   It’s hard to believe that summer will soon be coming to a close.

I would like to extend a thank you to Stephanie Lingo for organizing our annual St. Jude Trike-A-Thon event that took place on April 29, 2014.  I would also like to thank the children, teachers and families who supported this event.  I just received word that we raised $3,010.00 that will help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in their quest to find cures and save children battling cancer and other deadly diseases.  This event has been held for over a decade at Oak Valley, and would not be successful without everyone’s hard work and support.

Looking forward, we will host our annual Flu Clinic at Oak Valley on Wednesday, October 1.  The event will take place from 4-6:30 pm.  Watch for the sign up sheet that will be posted in September.


Fall Housekeeping Reminders

September 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

This post was written by Laura Griswold, Director of GH-Dhu-Varren. Her reminders are applicable to all the centers so we thought we’d share!


Fall brings a lot of exciting changes to our centers. We have returning families and new families joining our classrooms. Here are a few things we need you to know or be reminded of regarding health and safety at Gretchen’s House.


Recently we noticed that many children are finishing their breakfast from home as they arrive at the center. It is important that all food from home be eaten before your child comes in the door. This matters not only because of the many children attending with food allergies, but also it shows respect to the other children who may find what your child is eating desirable.

Snacks at pick up time can also be a problem. Please be sure to offer your child their afternoon snack after you are out of the building. Finally, please do not store the snacks intended for pick up in your child’s back pack or cubby. We have found some ‘sneaky cubby munchers’ that just couldn’t wait!

Parking Lot

It is dangerous:

– To leave your car running unattended in the parking lot

– To leave children in the car unattended (car running or not)

– To allow your child to ride in the car without a properly installed cars seat or booster in the back seat of the vehicle

The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office has stated that if they are patrolling parking lots and see any of the above scenarios, they will ticket the driver.

Local authorities have also reported incidents of thieves targeting child care centers. They break into cars to steal purses, lap tops, etc. when parents are dropping off their children. There have been instances where children were in the car when the robbery happened. In some cases, where older children were involved, the police asked the child to describe the thief! That is scary. We want everyone to be safe.

Contracted Times

Upon enrollment, families choose their contracted times to have their child(ren) at the center. This 9 ½ hour time frame aids us in determining the teachers’ schedules. We need to maintain safe ratios that allows us to provide the quality care you should expect from Gretchen’s House. If there is an occasional situation that requires you to deviate from that schedule, please let the teacher know so we can make adjustments as necessary for that day.

Emergency Cards and Health Insurance info

Many of you have already filled out the new Emergency Cards required by the state of Michigan. Thank you. One of the things that they omitted on the new card that is still required for us to have is the Health Insurance Number. We are asking parents to bring a copy of their card to the front desk so we can make a quick copy. If you haven’t filled out the new Emergency Card or provided us the insurance card, please do so by the end of the month.

Thank you for partnering with us in our mission to keep children healthy and safe.

Welcome to 2013!

January 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Another year has come to a close, and a new one begun.  We are happy that you and your family will be with us this year.

Just a reminder that our center will be closed on Monday, January 21st.  While the centers are closed, teachers will be in training. As director, I would like to thank you for your understanding and support of teacher training.  Our joint commitment to the importance of teacher training is what makes our program strong and high quality.  The topic this year is Sensory Integration and the training will be age-specific.  The focus will be the proprioceptive and vestibular senses. If you are interested on either of these topics, short videos are available at

Also, the Lions Club is offering free vision screening at our center on Thursday, February 7th.  More information about this screening, as well as permission forms will be sent out soon. Please let me know if you have any questions!


Visitors from High Scope and China

July 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The High Scope Foundation will be bringing a group from China to our center on Thursday, July 19th and Friday, July 20th.  Most of the visitors will be experiencing Michigan and the U.S. for the first time.  This group of educators will be visiting Oak Valley as well as Perry Nursery School in Ypsilanti.  They are here to learn about the High Scope curriculum model and see it demonstrated in the early childhood setting.  They will be accompanied by a High Scope representative and a translator.  In common areas throughout the center, you may see a group of 25, as I explain how our center operates and how High Scope is implemented in our classrooms.   When they observe in the actual classrooms, they will be entering in smaller groups. Their visits will last approximately 2 hours each day.

We are proud to share our center with the international early childhood community.


Gardening at Oak Valley

June 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

We have been very busy with our gardens.  For those of you who might not know, we currently have 10 raised garden beds and 3 barrels that the children are responsible for.  New this year,  the tires closest to the sand area on the preschool playground are planted with flowers and myrtle and the group of tires behind the caboose have been planted with various pumpkins.

The children and teachers together plan what they wish to grow.  Most areas are a combination of vegetables and flowers.  Vegetables planted this spring include peas, lettuce, cabbage, beans, cucumber, broccoli, tomato and peppers. They get the beds ready for planting early spring with lots of weed pulling and raking.  Once they have prepared the soil,  they enjoy planting their gardens.   They continue to care for them by weeding and watering.  As produce comes in, they are able to pick it and use it for various snacks.  In past years, we have had vegetable dips, breads, salsas, marinara, and soups-all fresh from our gardens.  As you can imagine, they are very excited as things start to come in.

Gardening is an enjoyable activity that encompasses many areas of development.  For example, you might find children drawing pictures of their garden observations,  measuring the growth of a certain plant, or exploring similarities and differences between types of produce.  During gardening activities, they are using their bodies in both locomotor and nonlocomotor ways.  It is a fun way to foster development!

I hope that all of you get a chance to take a look at the gardens throughout the summer, and take a moment each time to talk with your child about their gardening experiences.


“If we want children to flourish, allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it.” -David Sobel

Drummunity is Coming to Preschool

February 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Drum circle facilitator and workshop leader Lori Fithian will bring her collection of hand drums and percussion toys to Oak Valley on Thursday, March 15th. We are excited to have our preschool classrooms come together as a “drummunity”. Thank you to Paige Sienko for organizing this event and Champions For Children for supporting this “adventure!”

You can read more about Drummunity at


Gretchen’s House Food Donations

December 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

With all your food donations in the last two weeks we were able to donate a total of 173 pounds of food for families in the Washtenaw county!! Mary Schlitt of Food Gatherers (and a parent of a preschooler) visited all of our preschool students to read, “Carl the Super Carrot” and talk about donating food to those who are in need. The preschoolers really enjoyed the story and learned about helping others. Thank you Mary for volunteering your time and thank you to all the families who helped by making a donation.

From the Director: December Already?

December 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s hard to believe that 2011 is coming to a close.  To celebrate our GH families, we will be having our annual “Winter Wonderland” on Tuesday, December 13th, from 4:30-5:45.  We will have cookies and punch, facepainting, gingerbread house decorating, and necklace making.  In our gym, we will feature folk musician, Hilo Greg.  He will perform music from his CD,  “Little Songs for Big Kids”.   I hope you are able to join us for this fun celebration.

You may have noticed our Mitten Tree in our lobby.  We are collecting new hats, mittens and gloves for children in need.  We are also collecting non-perishable food items for Food Gatherers.  Thank you to GH parent, Mary Schlitt, who came and read Carl, the Super Carrot to the preschool children.  The book informs children what the organization does within our community.

Just a reminder that as we go through winter, please monitor the weather to allow additional driving time at pick-up, when needed.  Many staff have long distances to drive as well.  Also, we will be closed on December 23rd and reopen on Jaunuary 3rd.


From the Director: A Note for Preschool Parents

October 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By now, many of you have given your permission for your preschool child(ren) to participate in the HighScope Numbers Plus study.  This study will examine the best way to teach math to preschool children and is being funded by the U.S. Department of Education.  We are honored to be part of this current study, as well as other HighScope projects.   Several Gretchen’s House centers were previously part of a study in regards to the Infant/Toddler Program Quality Assessment.  We gain a lot of information through our participation in their projects and studies and appreciate your willingness to have your child be a part of it.

For parents of preschool children, the current Numbers Plus study will have many components.  The one I am most excited about is that our teachers will receive 3 full days of training with the HighScope staff on their new math curriculum, Numbers Plus.  The study will also include the videotaping of teachers and students during a Small Group Time math activity, individual child assessments and data collectors compiling a PQA (Program Quality Assessment).

In your mailboxes, you will find the latest permission slip that gives consent for your child to be videotaped.  Since we do not wish to alter the daily routine for our children, all children may be filmed during small group time.  We are asking that you sign this form giving permission.  You will see that the other option is for your child’s face to be blurred once the recordings are collected.  Either way, we need the permission slip with one of the boxes selected, and your signature and date. HighScope advises that, “video recordings will only be seen by researchers at HighScope involved in this study for analysis purposes, and will not be shown to any other individual or be used for any other purpose.  Only limited research staff will have access to the recordings”.

Thank you for your consideration and prompt response.


Gretchen’s House Staff is Walking for Breast Cancer

August 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Hello Gretchen’s House families!

Once again Some of the Gretchen’s House staff is walking on October 22, 2011 for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. The walk will take place at the Eagle Crest Golf Club in Ypsilanti. Each year we have been able to surpass our $2,000 fundraising goal and I look forward to seeing how much we can help raise this year for such a great cause. If you are interested in donating to an individual teacher or to Gretchen’s House as a whole you can do so by clicking on this breast cancer link. If you are planning on donating to an individual teacher please click on the link and then you can click on an individual teacher’s name to make a donation in their behalf. If you and your family would also like to join the walk we welcome you to join our team and walk with us.  Thank you in advance for your support this year as well as all the previous years.


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