Virginia Gateway offers a FREE family series all summer long! See our previous review here.
Join us for fun and lively family entertainment every other Wednesday at 10:30 am all summer long on the Plaza at Atlas Walk (located across from Starbucks, between Famous Dave's BBQ and Grafton Street Restaurant). Be sure to check back for more updates!
May 6: Rocknoceros
May 20: Wildlife Ambassadors
June 3: Eric Energy
June 17: Shazam Magic
July 1: Kidsinger Jim
July 15: Reptiles Alive!
July 29: Peter McCory
August 12: Beowulf T. Wonderbunny
August 26: Under The Sea
Bring your Little Tot's swimsuit for fun in the interactive splash fountain after the event (splash fountain located at Promenade at Virginia Gateway, just across Wellington Road).
Our Junior Ranger program is back for another exciting year!! Each day we cover new topics, and introduce fun educational activities that help keep things fun and interesting. It is a great way for you and your child to learn about the rich history and nature that is in your own backyard. There is a $60.00 enrollment fee per session for each participant. This covers all supplies, graduation certificate, t-shirt, and patch.
Pushcart Players: Alice in Wonderland
February 28, 2015 at 11 am and 2 pm
Lewis Carroll’s zany and fantastical tale comes to life when this Emmy-nominated troupe returns to the Hylton Center with Alice in Wonderland. Filled with pure nonsense and madcap characters that everyone knows and loves – from the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter to the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts – this intriguing tale about a curious and imaginative young girl has enchanted readers for many generations. Pushcart Players now brings young Alice’s adventure to the stage in this delightful adaptation, complemented by whimsical music, vibrant costumes, and spectacular scenic elements. “A polished and knowing theater company and a felicitous event for children.” (The New York Times)
Tickets: $15 Adults, $5 Children
Want to win tickets? Use the Rafflecopter Below! Winner will be announced on SUNDAY!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Reminder/Disclaimers: PwcMoms giveaways are sponsored and provided by the institution named. PwcMoms facilitates the giveaways, but is not responsible for prizes or facilities. Please refer to our giveaway rules for full details. If you enter, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.
Thanks to Katrina for sharing about BumbleABC with us! If you'd like to guest post, just shoot me an email!
BumbleABC is a wonderful little place inside of Engineering for Kids located in Lake Ridge, Virginia. Bumble ABC offers workshops, classes, and programs for infants – 6 year olds. They also offer field trips and birthday parties.
BumbleABC was founded and created by two local moms, Lisa Dillard and Dori Roberts. How cool is that?!
We went and checked out their Open Play for the first time the other day. I’m not sure what I was expecting going in, I mean I knew it would be good, but this place is so awesome. My kids are still talking about it days later!
When you first walk into the building there is a waiting area and a customer service desk! Off to the side is a little spot for coffee, tea, and water.
So once you get your kiddos name tags and get all squared away with the awesome people at the desk, you can go into the play area.
OHHHHhhhhh the play area! There are HUGE foam blocks for building, a Lego wall, an area with magnaforms, potato heads, etc., a wind tunnel, a car track, a room for infants (a ROOM for INFANTS y’all!), and oh so much more.
The kids had so much fun. They painted, they ran, they jumped, they used their little noggins, and got all that built up energy out!
The things that stuck out to me the most were how KIND and ACCEPTING the employees were of all the children, and the layout. I love that I can see my children pretty much wherever they went.
Quote from the 2 year old “I loved crawling through the tunnel!”
Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
Katrina is a Stay At Home Mom to three, one girl and two boys, and wife to her high school sweetheart. She is passionate about her faith, family, natural living, the outdoors, and all things creative. If you liked this post you can find more at Sunflowers On The Hill, where she blogs about life as a SAHM, her faith, and as well as everything in between. You can also follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.
Open Play Workshops in Lake Ridge
Bumble Art - Build-a-Bug
Bumble Science - Fascinated about FlightBumble Music - Circles, Spots & Dots
Mondays- January 5th, 12th, 19th, & 26th
5:00 PM - 5:45 PM
In this four week class, little scientists learn about various methods and means of flight by using the scientific method to experiment with a wind tunnel, a straw rocket launcher, balloons, pinwheels, helicopters, airplanes and more!
Mondays- January 5th, 12th, 19th, & 26th
6:15 PM - 7:00 PM
In this four week class, little bugs enhance hand-eye coordination, rhythm skills, music awareness and gross motor skills as they learn about circle shapes through fun, interactive music and movement games, they are engaged by parachute-play and they play instruments while moving, rocking, marching, tapping, clapping, singing, and dancing to the beat!
Wednesdays- January 7th, 14th, 21st, & 28th
5:00 PM - 5:45 PM
In this four week class, little artists pretend to be construction workers and enhance fine motor skills and creativity by using various building methods such as cutting, painting, gluing and more to construct a different bug each week!
Bumble Sports - Taking Aim
Wednesdays- January 7th, 14th, 21st, & 28th
6:15 PM - 7:00 PM
In this four week class, little athletes explore team-building concepts, enhance fine and gross motor skills, and practice hand-eye coordination by engaging in fun, interactive games and activities centered on basketball, golf, bowling and ping pong!
Mondays and Wednesdays
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Infants to age 6
This open discovery workshop encourages creativity and cognitive development as children advance in association and problem-solving abilities, while constructing with various large building blocks and other materials. Friendships and social skills will also form as children work and grow together!
Lisa Dillard is a local mom and founder of Bumble ABC.
“Bumble ABC was born out of the idea that it would be great if there were something else in the Woodbridge area for little ones. I found myself driving further and further out to find things to do with my two year old son. The idea was originally born out of that,” said Dillard.
Bumble ABC enjoys a partnership with Engineering for Kids, utilizing their space during EFK’s down time. They use existing classrooms and add more “little kid” options including playmats, tunnels, and tents, and swap the regular Legos out for Duplos.
With the learning center that Engineering for Kids just opened, there was some open calendar space during the day, so we’re using the down time in their space until we can open our own space.
“Each week open play has a theme,” explained Dillard. “We change the dress up clothes, craft, and toys to engage the children. It’s not necessarily structured, but directed play.”
Bumble ABC holds open plays on Monday and Wednesday from 10am-12pm. Open play is $10 per child, infants are $5 or free with a paid sibling. Bumble ABC also offers discounts to mommy groups and private groups, with a maximum of 20 kids. They also offer mobile classes for preschools as well as birthday parties. Classes are currently available in Science, Music & Movement, Sports and Art (ages 3-6). They plan to offer Baby & Me Classes and Music & Movement classes (ages 0-3) soon.
Disclosure: Bumble ABC is an advertiser with PwcMoms, but all opinions are our own.
Ruth Johnsen, fabulous owner of Edgemoor Art Studio is hosting our September Reader Meetup! We'll be giving away spots to 20 children whose moms are fans of Edgemoor on Facebook (you'll enter using the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post)
In addition to being my favorite art studio, Edgemoor was the winner of the 2013 Kathleen K Seedfeldt Award for Arts Excellence. The studio offers classes for preschoolers (phonics and art) through high school as well as hosting special events, amazing birthday parties, and group events for scouts etc.
For our September Reader Meetup, Mrs. Johnsen will host ages 3-6 on Thursday, September 25th from 10:30am-Noon. Children will participate in a fall-themed art morning including stories, apples, pumpkins and more!! This is NOT a drop-off event, so parents will need to plan to stay.
Hope to see you there! Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This reader meet up is sponsored by Edgemoor Art Studio. Winners assume all risk and liability and are responsible for their children while at the event.
Ah, Kids N Motion. We have spent some serious birthday party time there!! My oldest son used to have the "if you want to invite one person you must invite the class" mandate, which meant everyone was not going to fit into our townhouse- but they'd definitely fit (and need a nap) after Kids N Motion. My daughter actually decided to have her birthday party there this year, which was fantastic because it was the week before Silver Sparkles and I didn't have to do a thing except send an evite and pick up the cake.
In addition to birthday parties that will fit your entire class, Kids N Motion also offers open play, parents night out, a preschool program, and a drop-in Summer Fitness Program, which is fantastic if you need a morning off-duty but don't want to pay for a week of camp, or if you have an appointment to get to.
As a bonus for those of you with allergies, Kids N Motion is a peanut-free facility. I know that is a concern for many of you on the page! They also do school fundraisers.
For today's giveaway, Kids N Motion is offering a $50 gift card good for Parents Night, Open Plays, Parties, Preschool and Camps (anything they offer). Enter using the Rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: By entering you are agreeing to all of our giveaway rules. Gift Card is provided by KNM and any issues/liability/play-related difficulties should be directed to them upon claiming your prize. PwcMoms is further not responsible if your kids fall asleep in the car after open play and then wake up when you get to your house and won't go back to sleep and do the "I'm so cranky" thing all afternoon. We've all been there, but it's not my bad. Good luck, have fun.
Guest posters are my favorite favorite favorite. Especially in the summer. Especially all the time, actually! My kids aren't going to be interested in all the same things as yours, or be in the same age group as yours (I've been sad to realize how many things we've aged out of already!). Plus, it's always nice to have someone else's opinion. So, without further ado, here's a guest post from PwcMom Jennifer Conway, who's sharing with us about the CMoR Fredericksburg location!
I really love taking my daughter to the Children's Museum of Richmond, but I was happily surprised when I pulled up their website to find that they have a new museum in Fredericksburg, way closer than Richmond or the National Harbor!
So Victoria (my 7 year old princess) and I went to check out the new 2-month old museum and we loved it. It has a small town for kids including a grocery store, a bank, restaurant, a dentist office, a craft area, and a reading area. There is a tire-challenge climb which is fun, and a play area for toddlers.
They even have cool stuff on the walls relating to physics and Sir Isaac Newton. There is informational writing on the walls explaining how the exhibits help the children learn. It appears to have a large open space with potential to add some more exhibits or play areas.
We spent at least 3 hours there. I would highly recommend the Children's Museum of Richmond in Fredericksburg, especially for children under 10. -Jennifer Conway
Note: Local Mom Debbi attended the same high school as me, and was kind enough to attend the Playskool Playdate at Top of the Town in Arlington for me since my kids are a little too old! She has three children, ages 4, 2.5, and 6 months. Here she shares a little about the toys and experience. You can find more of Debbi's writing on her blog or follow her on Instagram.
Instead of lounging around the house on this rainy morning, we got to test out new toys at the Playskool Playdate in Arlington, VA. I knew the girls would enjoy themselves but baby Matthew (6m) seemed to have the most fun.
There was tons to do for the infant / toddler age group. A variety of Elmo toys were available and they were all approved by Matthew – the big eyes and squishy hands and feet were a hit. Cailin (age 2) also enjoyed the Sesame Street Talking ABC Elmo. Elmo’s guitar was a fun prop for the girls and Matthew was happy to use it as a teether. The Shapes ‘n Colors Turtle was bright and loud and Matthew could operate it on his own (always a plus). His favorite toy seemed to be the Stack n Spin Monkey Gears.
The toys were all available on a foam ABC mat which was inviting but as soon as kids began to pull apart the letters, choking hazards were everywhere. This was a smaller version of the ABC foam mat often seen in play areas.
Many older toys were re-presented in new ways:
- Glow worms (Matthew snuggled one in the stroller as I reminisced about my old green glow worm …from times of yore)
- Mr Potato Heads- with super hero capes and transformer pieces (Mixable Mashable Heroes)
- Ele-fun ball poppers – looked similar to the original, minus the flimsy trunk that always collapsed
Charlotte (4) and Cailin (2.5) were enthralled with the balloon maker, the face painter, and the fried macaroni and cheese balls. Many of the preschool aged toys were targeted towards boys: Transformers, Spiderman (figurines and cars), and Marvel Super Heroes. My girls stopped to give these toys a quick look but moved on quickly. They were hoping for something representing Elsa and Anna (what preschool girl isn’t?).
Juice boxes and hot dogs proved to be a success at lunch but the toddler chairs and tables were shaky at best. I think they’re made to disassemble for storage which has its perks… but it wouldn’t be long before one of my squirmy kids would be crying on the floor.
We had a very fun morning and are very excited about the swag we got to bring home! Thanks for sharing the opportunity with us Kristina!
Hey friends! The Little Gym of Gainesville has kindly offered to host us for our next Reader Meetup! We'll be making a simple spring craft (it's going to be bunnies/eggs, so if that is going to bug you feel free to bring your own craft), and then we'll have some play time in the gym space!
Plan on playing from 1pm-2pm.
This family-friendly meetup will be geared towards ages 3-6, although younger siblings are welcome. Older siblings will want to schedule a playdate elsewhere so no little ones are getting trampled. Thanks!
If you'd like to get involved in our meetups to showcase your business, shoot me an email! If you'd like to bring snack for this meetup (a great way to show off your business!) or you'd like to drop off some swag for our participants, also email me :)
I can take 25 children, not counting non-mobile infants. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE SPOTS if you're not going to come.
I'll pull winners one at a time on Friday afternoon, so you'll need to email me back by Friday at 10pm to save your space so I can fill all the spots.
Good luck :)
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Can't come on the 16th? Check out The Little Gym's Summer Camps!
Our old "Readers Recommend: Preschools" was getting old. Some of the reviews were five years old, and places can certainly change quite a bit in that time!! If you'd like to submit a review for your preschool, email it to me!
The reviews we've received are from individual parents. We don't recommend any particular preschool although now that all of my children have left, I will tell you that we were happy with Cloverdale School for all three of our children. However, preschool should make you comfortable and fit your family and the experience type you want for your children.
In Alphabetical Order by School:
(**And, as always with our "Readers Recommend" posts, these do not necessarily reflect the views of PWC Moms. They are voluntarily submitted by our readers and we do not edit them. Please always visit a school. None of the listed recommendations serve as an endorsement by PWC Moms.)
4R's Preschool (Haymarket)
I thought I would let you know about 4 Rs Preschool in Haymarket. My son is 4 yrs old and is in the 3 days a week program there. We LOVE 4 Rs so much. There are 3 teachers total and they are so nice, experienced, and easy to communicate with. They are a smaller preschool and that’s what we like about it. They do field trips and holiday programs too. My son always comes home having learned so much and having had so much fun. They have various programs/ times to accommodate ages 3-5. I highly recommend them and have nothing but good to say about them.
All Saints Catholic (Manassas)
We have nothing but wonderful things to say about All Saints Catholic School and their Pre-K program. The programs is lead by Mrs. Caroline Kardaras, a veteran of the school for several years. Mrs. Kardaras and her staff are exceptional teachers and care givers of our young children. There are (3) classes. Two classes in the morning and one class in the afternoon. The morning session runs from 8am until 11am and the afternoon program runs from 12 noon until 3pm. There are (18) children in a class with one teacher and one teaching assistant. All Saints is accredited through the Virginia Catholic Education Association in coordination with the Virginia Council for Private Education. Additionally, the Pre-Kindergarten Program is licensed through the Virginia Department of Social Services and complies with all state and diocesan policies regarding early childhood education. In 2009, All Saints Catholic School was selected by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. The school accepts all families, including non-Catholics. We currently have a son going through the program and an older son who already went through the program and is currently enrolled in first grade at All Saints. We have been very impressed with their spiritual, educational, and emotional developments throughout the year.
Alpha-Bet Cooperative Preschool (Manassas)
I am writing to let you know about Alpha-Bet Cooperative Preschool in Manassas, VA. "A Cooperative preschool is owned and/or operated by a group of parents and staffed by professional teachers. Parents help the teachers in the classroom and contribute some of the daily work necessary to operate a successful school. We have highly dedicated and impeccably trained teaching staff to ensure your child's success" It is a really unique experience in that they are the only co-op preschool in PWC, which I love because it allows me a chance to be involved in my son's preschool experiences. Everyone there is so great with the kids and have made my family feel so welcome. My son comes hoe every day telling me about what he did, and wakes up every morning asking if it's time to go to school. I would recommend this school to anyone that is interested in a co-op. It doesn't take much time at all. There are a few "clean-up" days and parents volunteer a few times each month and bring in snacks. There are also fun field trips, activities, etc. It is really a great preschool to look into.
Chesterbrook Academy (Multiple Locations)
Our oldest daughter is attending The Chesterbrook Academy on Troupe St. She absolutely loves it. She is learning so much. She comes home speaking/singing in Spanish. The teachers are so nice. However, I don't think we will send our youngest there next year. Our oldest is so naturally smart that I believe the Chesterbrook curriculum is perfect for her. Our youngest not so much. The tuition is high but we were willing to pay it (we pay $196 a week for 3 days, I think it's $220 or $260 for five days). Our youngest will probably be doing a part time school with a much lower tuition. So I look forward to the other reviews.
Christ Chapel Preschool (Woodbridge)
Where do I begin, from the beginning we made the right choice by making an investment in Christian Education when we spoke with the Pre-K Director Mrs. Sheila Nelson. The partnership begin. From early learning to us planting a Godly seed at home and the teachers and staff cultivating it while our daughter is in school is priceless. We have commented to attend again in the fall for her kindergarten year. As a father to see your daughter read, write and spell as she articulates her thoughts and express herself is amazing. The moral and values of Godly principles are taught not only at home but here at CCA. I work in the evenings so I spend a lot of time at school observing and listing and they truly are commented to our children academically but for me more importantly stressing biblical principles of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Their Reaching, Teaching and Unleashing our Future which is our children. I recommend any parent who is willing to comment, invest and make a sacrifice in your child’s future you have to see what CCA can do for you.
Daytime Playtime (Gainesville)
Just wanted to let you know about Daytime Playtime in Gainesville/ haymarket area. It is a preschool for 2,3 and 4 year olds with mornings and afternoon preschool, a Jr kindergarten and mommy morning out program. The class sizes are small and staff are all great and helpful. They do family field trips, extra curricular activities for the whole family and summer camps.
My 2 year old loves it and is always bringing home art projects and doing many activities during her time there. They use a playground, nature classroom which is outside, music and movement room and a science and math room. A lot to offer and very affordable!!
Greenwich Presbyterian Preschool (Nokesville)
I just saw your post and wanted to add that Greenwich Presbyterian Preschool is awesome. It is small, cozy and the teachers are wonderful. Mrs. Rood is the director and also the 3 year old teacher and has been there for about 23 or 24 years. The kids love her. Both my sons went there and now my daughter. Mrs. Arbus, the 4 year old teacher is equally awesome!
Just wanted to give them some props! It is in Nokesville. I am not sure if it is in PWC or not or right on the border. We live in Bristow and it is just a few minutes away - on Vint Hill by Patriot High School (Sort of)
Holy Family Preschool (Dale City)
Holy Family Preschool is attached to Holy Family Catholic School. We are military and while looking for schools for my then 4 year old, they were recommended. He finished his preschool there last year(half day Tuesdays through Friday) and we could not have been happier. It is a play based curriculum. They also learned the alphabet and numbers and performed weekly science experiments.
The preschool has an outside playground for daily play. When the weather is bad, the preschool plays in the gym. This was another important part of our decision because we did not want our children stuck in a small classroom.
The preschool director, Mrs Judi Peacott, is wonderful. The minute that my husband and I met her, we knew that this was the place for our sons. Now my 3 year old is attending the Tuesday and Thursday class and he loves it. We are so lucky to have found this wonderful, caring school for our boys!
Little Sprouts Preschool (Bristow)
This school has a wonderful, caring group of teachers and staff who are some of the warmest people we've met. The directors were formerly with Little Graces Preschool in The Plains and they have moved over to expand the preschool program at Linton Hall School. My children adore their teachers and we've been thrilled with the incredible nurturing environment and the family atmosphere within this school. The teachers recognize the fact that every child has their own set of talents and they appreciate each of these and are committed to helping to cultivate them. The school offers a wonderful, well-rounded preschool education that also incorporates important (and fun) elements such as Music & Movement, Art, Hands-on-Science, Spanish and Technology. I highly recommend this school to everyone in the area and hope that you will consider joining this wonderful "family" within Linton Hall School's Little Sprouts Preschool.
Manassas Presbyterian Early Learning Center (Manassas)
We LOVE Manassas Presbyterian Church Early Learning Center. My daughter went for 3 years and my son is in his second year. They have a Parent's Morning Out program for 2 year olds that doesn't have any sort of potty training requirements. Then they have classes for 3 year olds, 4 year olds, and a Pre-K program, all of which require bathroom independence. They have options for 1, 2, 3, and 5 day programs, depending on the age of the child. All of their programs are morning only.
While they are a church-based preschool and they do celebrate and discuss traditional Christian holidays, they are open, inviting, and accepting of children and families of all faiths. Older classes do have Chapel Time once a month.
Why do we love them so much? Where to even start? The teachers of course! The teachers truly care about your children! The teachers remember children from previous years and ask how they are doing when they move on to elementary school and beyond! They create a positive, happy place for learning. Most of the teachers have been there for several years. They work in teams - each room has a lead teacher and an assistant. They are creative and energetic, patient and nurturing, mature and professional.
The classrooms are bright and filled with great toys and materials. They are organized and not cluttered. They have child sized tables for seat work, a rug for circle time, bookshelves filled with appropriate books, and centers for playing and learning. The hallway is lined with creative art projects.
The children go outside to play on the playground (swings, wooden train, slides, etc.) every day unless it's actively raining. If the playground is too wet to play, they go for a walk.
This is their 50th year - as a school they have developed traditions (like an annual art show) and have learned and grown wiser in their ways over the years. They have a board and Director and are supported by a PTO. They are a peanut free school.
One of their greatest strengths is the diversity of the students. Since they are located on Ashton Ave. in Manassas, they have students from Manassas, Bristow, Gainesville, and Woodbridge. The children are like different pieces of a patchwork quilt, representing different economic backgrounds, speaking different languages at home, coming from a variety of faiths, all working together to create an amazing little preschool.
Old Bridge Preschool (Lake Ridge side of Woodbridge)
I have to recommend Old Bridge Preschool in Woodbridge. My daughter who had only been home with me, was very against going to school, but after the first day she was asking to go. The teachers and staff are very friendly. The class sizes are perfect and have more than one teacher per class. My daughter is never bored, which for 4 and 5 year olds is important. The tuition is reasonable, but I do believe that they also offer tuition assistance for those who may need it. I would recommend this school to anyone who asked.
St. Francis Preschool (Triangle)
The teachers, Mrs. Land and Mrs. Peitler, have been teaching together for quite some time and are passionate about it. Their goal is to help the children feel safe and have fun while learning social skills as they prepare academically for kindergarten. The teachers are grounded in the Christian faith, and it shines in all they do. Both teachers work closely with the parents to share joys, successes, and concerns about every student. Parents are invited to stay and watch and participate so you can be a part of this precious time of your children's lives.
Class starts with prayer, praise, and saying the pledge. The regular routine provides such comfort for the children. Children take turns having special jobs each day, including holding the flag and being line leader. They learn responsibility for self and to others as they learn the proper way to share and play kindly.
I was astounded that, although the focus isn't primarily academic, how very well prepared both my children were for kindergarten. Each child in preschool is at a different level, so the teachers spend a lot of individual time with them.
A young neighbor (4th grade) heard that my children were attending St. Francis and he said, "My all-time favorite teacher was my preschool teacher there. Her name is Mrs. Land." He had learning disabilities, and he remembered her patience and kindness towards him. I told Mrs. Land about this conversation, so she came and surprised him with a visit one afternoon. She just cares that much!
St. Matthew's Lutheran Day School (Lake Ridge)
I absolutely love St. Matthew's Lutheran Day School. Both of my children went to the three day program and really enjoyed it. St. Matthew's is a play based preschool which means there is a lot of free choice center time. Some of the centers include housekeeping, library, blocks, science, math, writing, and art. During this time, teachers pull students aside to work with them individually and in small groups. Some days they are working on forming letters with blocks and other days they are baking. The kids go outside every day except in instances of severe weather. The teachers take photos of the kids at work and email them to parents weekly. I loved this because my son is the type of kid that will say he didn't do anything at school. I was able to use the photos as conversation starters. The preschool is also very family friendly. They host a Mother's tea, Dad's night, and Grandparents sing along. Parents are welcome to volunteer in the class in a variety of ways. I can't say enough good things about St. Matthew's.
St. Thomas Aquinas Regional School (Woodbridge)
I have a four year old daughter. She is an only child and in hopes of exposing her to other children we placed her in part-time daycare at the age of 2. We took her to Kindercare on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge. We shopped a few options around town and chose this school because the director of the school genuinely seemed to care and there seemed to be structure in the curriculum even though it was just a daycare. Within a month of enrollment, my daughter came home with a black eye and a scratched up face. No one even bothered to call us to report the incident. Needless to say we were very disappointed and after numerous mishaps and 3 months later we pulled her out of there.
We then shopped again, this time looking at big daycare/preschools and small non-chain ones as well. We narrowed our list down to Minnieland Academy on Prince William Parkway and Prince William Academy in Lake Ridge. We chose the latter simply because they offered foreign language classes. Prince William Academy was okay. We enjoyed the projects, communication from the teachers and shows/events. I had gotten to know some of the parents. I would hear mixed reviews about the teachers which I didn't really encounter. The owner/director got sick during the school year and all of sudden everything just went into a downward spiral. They kept switching teachers to the point where you didn't know who the person was at the head of the classroom. It got to the point where my daughter would sometimes wake up and ask if she could just stay home. She didn't enjoy school anymore. For the money we were paying (about $7500 for 3 full days a week), we didn't have enough faith in the school that the $9000 for full time preschool would not be money well spent. So, this lead us into another search...
Do we home-school for preschool or find a preschool program? We discussed long a hard and decided to search again.
The search didn't take long. I am an alumni of St. Thomas Aquinas Regional school in Woodbridge. I attended school there in the 80s. I made life long friendships, memories and learned valuable lessons that I still carry with me today. My husband of years, remembers my happy stories of my childhood. The elementary and middle school years were spent there. So, we applied for our daughter to enter Pre-K for the 2013/2014 school year. She is currently enrolled and loves it. Her teacher, Mrs. Leckey actually taught both of my brothers in the late 80s/early 90s. There are many teachers like her that have spent most of their careers in that school (like the librarian Mrs. Beda...she was there when I was there). I even have a classmate from Aquinas now teaching there! Mrs. Metzler is the assistant teacher and she is just as wonderful. My daughter always raves about school. She comes home with her completed worksheets and art projects. There are also children in my daughter's class that were previously with her at Prince William Academy. The parents of those students say that "this experience is so much better- in so many ways." It is a half day, 5 day a week program in a Catholic school (being Catholic is NOT a requirement). We love the fact that there is daily communication with the teachers, lots of fun activities for the kids which leads to volunteering for me and it's just a wonderful parent/student community to be part of. I could go on and on about this wonderful school, but instead I'm happy to report that our search for the best school for our child is over....well, until 9th grade!
The preschool at Christ Chapel started as Joyful Generation Preschool in September of 1984, under the direction of Debbie Wolf. Joyful Generation was a part-day preschool that offered a 2 or 3 day program for 3 and 4 year old children. The first full time childcare program, ranging in ages of 6 weeks through five years of age, in 1990 was contracted by Little Lambs Childcare. Upon the end of their contact in 1993, Debbie Wolf was tasked to develop a fulltime program, thus Christ Chapel Children’s Center was born, which consisted of Joyful Generation Part-day Preschool and Kingdom Kids Full-time childcare. Our name changed once again in 2010 as we moved forward to become known as one program, Christ Chapel Academy Preschool.
Christ Chapel Academy’s Preschool Program, Est. September 1984.
At Christ Chapel Academy’s Preschool program, you will find a fun and exciting approach to early child education and care. We recognize the individuality of each child, and strong emphasis is placed on positively reinforcing the child’s own unique cognitive, physical, social and spiritual development. We recognize that each child is a gift from God and that they deserve the finest in care and education. Full-time and Part-time options are available for children ages 2-5 years.
3 Great Reasons to Take a Look at Our Program:
1. Security Patrolled & Monitored Classrooms
2. Qualified Teachers with Longevity (3-12 years)
3. Accredited Program
Open House Dates:
January 10th, 9:00am-11:00am (Pre-K Only| Enrollment Information and Tour)
January 25th, 1pm-3pm (Pre-K-12th Grade| Enrollment Information and Tour)
13909 Smoketown Road, Woodbridge, Va 22192 | 703-670-3822
This is a sponsored post brought to you by Christ Chapel Academy Preschool
When I was first able to actually sit down with Alejandra Hall, owner of The Animated Child, and chat face to face for the first time, I was so impressed with her vision. I'd read the website and tried to understand everything that was going on over there- a preschoool, indoor play area with drop-in hours, language classes, art classes, social skills coaching (they're an inclusive center), memberships with special members-only benefits, parents night out, annnnd....I think I'm skipping something, too.
Minecraft- they have Minecraft camps and classes- how could I forget that? My boys have talked about NOTHING but doing Minecraft camp since we walked in the doors.
They've got a TON of things going on over there, and understanding it just by reading the website is almost impossible, you really do have to drop in.
That's why I was so excited that The Animated Child invited us to bring a few readers over for a free open-exploration so they could experience it for themselves. It was a great way to spend New Years Eve Day!
top intelligence and gifted everyone a shirt with "Music Smart", "Body Smart", "Math Smart", whatever their top match was.
To learn more about The Animated Child, visit their website, or better yet, visit them in person. Open Exploration times are listed on their website, but are currently:
Open Exploration Scheduled Times:
Open Exploration Scheduled Times: (Saturday)
You can also find Open Explorations listed on our calendar. Open Explorations are $9 for non-members. Thanks again to everyone who came out to play with us!!
Disclosure: The Animated Child is one of our advertisers, but all opinions are our own. You can find out more about advertising with PwcMoms, or about hosting an event for our readers at your venue under the "advertise" tab, or by emailing us.
We are so thankful for all the businesses that support what we're doing at PwcMoms!! Animated Child is one of our fantastic sponsors, and we want to share with you more about a few of the programs they offer.
1. Before/After School Care:
Animated Child is the alternative to typical Before and After School Care. Our program allows children to explore and learn while they spend time in our Open Exploration area. Many parents have compared it to a children's museum! We ditch the traditional teaching model and learn science, technology, engineering and math in a completely hands-on environment. Children can feed our animals in the Nature Smarts area and construct buildings in our Spatial Smarts area. Homework help is always at the ready and our S.T.E.M. room houses multiple computers for online learning. Join our program and receive 2-FREE Weeks of tuition!
Call 703-763-0003 for enrollment information.
2. Classes in Language, Art, Social Skills, and STEM Topics
Animated Child is full service enrichment center offering classes in Spanish, French, Art, 2-D Gaming Design and P.E.E.R.S. social skills. Language classes are $200 for 1 class per week. $340 for 2 classes per week. Classes are in 8 week sessions. Enrollment is ongoing. Register any time! Membership guarantees enrollment and great discounts.
3. Open Play and Parents Nights Out
4. Birthday Parties
Various theme options available, including Minecraft!! Visit the website for details and options, as well as pricing.
Take your little one to Prince William Ice Center for snow and story! This fun program lets them play on the ice (no skates required) and includes hot cocoa and a story at the end! Can't make the times listed? Your group can schedule a private "Snow and Story", too! Just call Maureen Brennan at 703-730-8423. This is a great field trip for preschools or playgroups! Space for drop-in days is limited, so to reserve your spot, be sure to call ahead!
Note: PW Ice Center is a sponsor of PwcMoms.com
Inside Planet Snoopy- Super Cute Fall Decor!
We were so excited to visit Kings Dominion in Doswell this past weekend. It's roughly an hour's drive, which I consider to be more than do-able for a day of fun! Kings Dominion is obviously open all summer as a great way to spend some of your vacation days, but they are also open fall weekends with a Halloween theme. Planet Spooky activities and Trick-or-Treat with the Dinosaurs in Dinosaurs Alive! are open Saturdays and Sundays Sept. 28 - Oct. 27 from 12pm - 5pm.
On Saturdays, the park actually opens at 10:30, and we arrived around that time. While we waited for Planet Snoopy to open, we took our kids to some of the larger sections and enjoyed absolutely no lines. Once the park got a little more crowded, there were still barely any wait times. I think the longest line we were in was 20 minutes. Most rides the kids got right on or waited one cycle for their turn. It was incredibly quick.
Top of the Eiffel Tower
We spent much of the day in the newly reopened, larger children's section called "Planet Snoopy", or, as it's known for fall "Planet Spooky". With 18 rides designed with kids in mind, as well as a host of family-friendly rides throughout the park, most of your kiddos will be able to have a great day on the rides. What I discovered when we went, though, is that they've got numerous family-friendly accommodations, including a "Snoopy Family Care Center" and even a "parent switcher" option you can find out more about in guest services so that families with one child who can ride and one who can't, such as an elementary schooler and an infant, don't have to have one parent miss out on all the fun!
Inside the "People Washer"
You should know that the park also features a "Halloween Haunt" which is for ages 13 and up. If you stay at the park past 7pm, you will likely have a zombie pop out at you. If you're cool with that, then enjoy but since I am a giant fraidy cat, we left by 6:30. There are some decorations that remain out during the daytime at the front entrance and in some of the other sections of the park. They are fairly tame, and similar to things that you would see out at your local craft or Halloween store during this season, but I know that some children are very sensitive to that.
She's actually commenting that she wants to climb that...she's not scared of anything. Ever.
Once you're inside the park and into the Planet Snoopy section, you won't see anything but pumpkins and scarecrows- or Lucy dressed up as a witch...but she's pretty cute :) Snoopy is on hand, of course, too!
Snoopy!Several of the attractions in Planet Snoopy are designated as trick or treat stops, and when the children complete an activity, they're given a non-candy treat. In addition to the regular rides, there were attractions such as a petting zoo, "people washer", pumpkin decorating, and hay maze. Peanuts characters also come out both to meet with kids for photo ops, and to perform at regularly scheduled intervals.
Linus and the Gang host a Sing-a-Long
Also open, for a small additional fee, is Trick or Treat at Dinosaurs Alive! which features a six acre animatronic tour of 36 life-sized dinosaurs from various eras. There's also a sand pit where children can dig for fossils (our day there was a "paleontologist" in costume). During Trick or Treat, there are several stations with candy that visitors can stop at, and non-candy treats are available, as well as an allergy list. I believe we stopped at eight stations along the route. The dinosaurs make noise, and move, and some are even Redskins fans.
We had a great time enjoying a fall day at Kings Dominion's Planet Spooky. It's especially nice for our family now, because the rest of the park is open, affording my 5 year old the chance to enjoy all the great Planet Snoopy rides, and my almost 10 year old the option of some awesome roller coasters. Everyone was able to ride something they loved, and the weather is so pleasant right now that it was an awesome day outside.
To purchase tickets, visit the Kings Dominion Website or purchase at the gate.
Disclosure: Our PwcMoms team (aka, "my family") was provided with free admission in order to do a park review. We were also provided admission to Trick or Treat at Dinosaurs alive. People who have had extensive brain and neck surgery shouldn't really ride much, but that was okay with me, because my kiddos had a blast! All opinions are my own, including those about Zombies being scary and me being a pansy when it comes to grown-up Halloween.
Most of the "fun farms" in Northern Virginia are in Loudon County and they take some time for me to get to from my side of Prince William. However, while Ticonderoga Farms' address may be Chantilly, and while my friend from Aldie told me it was "just a few minutes from her" (I consider Aldie to be the dark side of the moon from where we live!) it's actually just about 5 minutes from Manassas Battlefield, which is awesome! Here's how that works:
Where A= Manassas Battlefield Park, B= Ticonderoga Farms and C=Aldie, VA
That's about the extent of the math you're gonna find here on PwcMoms. It's not even that math-y, but I used equals signs, so we're gonna count it.
I found Ticonderoga Farms to be really enjoyable. I liked that it's shaded, I liked that it's not as crowded as some of the more well-known farms, and I think that it had a lot of good options for playing, especially for younger kids in the age Preschool-Grade 1 age range. Let's take a photo tour, shall we?
There's a pond with a wiggly bridge over the top, which my boys loved. If you stop in the middle and look hard into the water, there are little teeny tiny sunfish! This was, apparently, a HUGE deal. We looked at the tiny fish for a good five minutes.
There are a few antique firetrucks for kids to climb all over, and my daughter thought this was probably the most fun she'd ever had. Watch for any nuts or bolts, but older kids will enjoy climbing up on top and younger kids will like "driving" the truck for a minute.
One of the play structures- note that there's shade involved. We also ate lunch on one of the picnic tables in the shade. For my kids, this doesn't matter as much, but for me, who gets a sunburn on a cloudy day wearing SPF 80, it's a big deal :) It looked like there was a snack bar that's probably open during festival weekends, but we packed our lunch and enjoyed a picnic.
We had a fun time and spent over three hours playing outside. This is much more "farmy" than some of the farms you might think of, but we liked that, because it wasn't as crowded. I think my oldest son might be getting slightly too old for places like this to be "cool" for him, but he did play nicely with his siblings, and he had fun looking at the fish and jumping on the pillow.
One note- there is a bamboo maze that is a serious maze. I think my boys would've spent hours in there, but if you're going with young children, note that this isn't like a corn maze where you wander in one direction and come out, it's a real maze with multiple twists and turns. I can see that being an issue if you've got a child who's potty training ;)
Here's what some of my readers had to say about Ticonderoga Farms:
we LOVE going there! so much fun!
Go there for Easter egg hunts during spring. I like that its not as crazy as Cox Farms and family owned.
Also been to cut our own Christmas tree couple years ago. Plan on taking baby soon at the end of
August & we always bring smore's fixings to make smores there.
We love it there!!! Love!!!! We can spend a whole day there.
We go every week because its where i pick up my CSA my daughter loves it there!!
Ticonderoga Farms offers:
* Summer Harvest Festival, Spring Easter Festival, Fall Pumpkin Festival, and a Winter Festival
* A community garden for those who'd like to grow their own produce but don't have space
* A Farm Market including organic eggs, local honey, produce, figs, and bamboo
* Fig groves and a fig festival
And more. The farm is also working on a botanic garden, which, from what we could see from the road, looks amazing!
Admission depends on the time of year, but for summer is $8.95/person, and hours are 10am-5pm, all week long. Field trips, group rates, and corporate/family parties are available.
Disclaimer: PwcMoms was provided with free admission in return for providing a review. All opinions are our own. All information is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the date of publishing, but events/dates/times/offerings may change over time. Please see Ticonderoga Farms website for updated information and offerings.
We have been pleasantly surprised with the Toddler Thyme program at the Manassas Museum this summer. The title is a bit misleading as the classes are for children ages 3-5 years old (they said they are looking to change it for next time), but Love Bug (who is a little over 2 years old) was allowed to join since Sweet Girl was signed up for the classes. The classes cost $10 per child.
The classes are being held every Monday during the summer and there's something for everyone! Themes range from railroads to life on the farm to pirates to police. Classes are offered at two different times and last one hour. One class is at 10:00 am and the other begins at 11:15 am.
The class is run by two young ladies who work for the museum. Each class usually starts off with a book about the week's theme. Then, we sing songs and/or do fingerplays. Next, the children are invited to a table set up with supplies to do a craft. Sometimes, we have done two crafts in one sitting if they are "small" crafts. Other times, we have taken a break to play games or do something more active. The class typically ends with one more story and then children are given a special take-home surprise before the class ends.
The children are throughly engaged for the entire hour. They are learning new things about the theme of the week, practicing their good listening skills, taking turns, standing in line and using both fine and gross motor skills with the art projects and games.
I have to admit that I wasn't too sure about paying $10 per class for each child, but it is well worth it in my opinion. The young ladies that run the class remember my girls' names and they are so friendly. They work very well together and do a good job of keeping the children engaged for the full hour. I like how parts (or all) of the classes are held outside--if the weather permits it. The girls have loved the activities and proudly display their crafts at home. The girls also look forward to the special take-home surprise at the end of each class. We always leave class happy and excited about the theme of the week.
There is still time to try out this wonderful program, but there are only four more classes left this summer. If you are interested in joining a class, check out the Manassas Museumwebsite. They do recommend that you register in advance.
Side note: There is a wonderful playground and picnic area that is open to the public behind the museum. It's a great place to run around if you get to class a bit early or to have a picnic after class.
We're so excited to bring you ANOTHER camp giveaway- this time for the little ones!! The Little Gym of Gainesville, located at 7364 Atlas Walk Way in Gainesville (That's the Virginia Gateway Shopping Plaza- 7364 Atlas Walk Way, Gainesville VA) is giving away a day of their fun camps to THREE lucky winners!! The Little Gym is a ton of fun- we've been for birthday parties, and, Virginia Gateway has not one, but two salons, so you can go get a mani/pedi while your child enjoys camp.
Or, take a nap in your mini van. I understand :) You could also go home and catch up on housework...but why would anyone waste 3 precious hours doing that?
From The Little Gym:
The Little Gym camps combine physical activity and gym games with arts, crafts and special events and guests -- from a furry friend to our local heroes such as fire fighters and policemen! Each week offers a different interactive learning theme and each day brings a unique lesson plan! Our flexible scheduling allows you to book just one day, a week or multiple weeks at a time -- whatever will fit your families summer schedule!
Check out some of these fantastic themes!
The Little Gym Crazy Carnival!!
Cars, Planes, Trucks and Trains
X-treme Sports of All Sorts
Legends, Fables and Folklore
Lights, Camera, Action!
My Animal Planet
The Little Gym Olympics
Hip Hop Karate Chop!
Camps begin this week (July 10th) and run through August 23rd, and there are both afternoon and morning half day options. I personally love that The Little Gym has made the effort to offer both "girl", "boy" and gender-neutral themes. Having both boys and girls in my family, I'm always on the lookout for a camp that will interest all of my kids so that I can spend my free time as actual free time, not running from one camp to another dropping off children with varying interests!a Rafflecopter giveaway
I just had a baby and now my older child won’t sleep – Help!!
You knew you would lose sleep with a newborn, but you may not have been expecting your older child to suddenly need your attention in the middle of the night. This is however a problem I see quite often, especially if at one time your older child did have some sleep difficulties.
What is going on?
If your child previously slept with you or in your room, they may not understand why the brand new baby is now getting to sleep in your room. After all, you may have told them that your room is just for Mommy and Daddy if you were transitioning them out of it. They may start waking in the middle of the night trying to get in bed with you, or may start giving you a hard time about going to sleep at bedtime. Even if your child did not sleep with you, just the change of having a new brother or sister may cause them a slight amount of stress, which could affect their sleep. All the changes going on could also be causing their bedtime to be later. If children are overtired at bedtime, they are more likely to wake during the night and earlier in the morning.
The first step in solving your child’s behavior is to first have (or try to have!) patience and realize where they are coming from. If your older child was an only child before the baby came, they were used to getting all the attention. Now, not only is the baby getting some of their attention, the baby probably gets to stay up later with Mom and Dad and gets to spend all night in their room. How fair is that?! It is a good idea to spend some extra one on one time with your older child during the day. You should be totally focused on them (no cell phones or television) and this should last for at least 20 minutes. Each parent should try to do this every day.
You may need to factor in a little extra relaxing time before sleep time at night. Your child may need a couple of extra books or some extra songs. Decide before hand what you will add, and do not let your child dictate what you do. If you tell them you will read an extra book, stop at that extra book. If they beg and cry for another one and you give in, you will have taught them to keep begging and crying even if you say no.
If your child is really upset at bedtime, you may think about sitting in their room with them while they fall asleep, then every several days moving further and further away from them or come check on them every 5 or 7 minutes for extra reassurance.
Middle of the Night Wake-Ups
If your child is waking in the middle of the night, discuss with your partner during the day how you want to handle it. Being consistent is essential in changing a behavior. So if you do not want your older child coming into bed with you, do not let them do that, even once. This is especially important if your newborn is sleeping in bed with you – your older child may not be as aware of the baby and could roll on them or crawl over them.
If you are okay with your older child coming into your room at night if they do not wake you or your baby, you could make a bed for them on the floor. You could put a crib mattress or sleeping bag on your floor. You will need to give your child rules – if they sleep in this bed, they need to come into the room quietly and not wake anyone. This is probably a better idea for a child at least three years old and one that has not shown any jealousy issues toward the newborn.
It Will Get Better
Remember that it will get better, especially if you handle the behavior consistently and with as much patience as you can have being a sleep deprived parent! Your child may need a little extra reassurance now, but will once again start sleeping well. And by that time, your newborn may be sleeping better too!
About the Author:
Michelle Winters, of SleepWell Sleep Solutions is a certified Gentle Sleep Coach and Greenproofer based in Northern Virginia. Michelle provides sleep consultations for children up to 6 years old in which she assists parents in creating a gentle, respectful plan to get their children sleeping. She can also assist parents who are trying to conceive, who are pregnant, and who already have children identify and remove toxins in their environment. Michelle conducts in person consultations in the Washington DC Metro area and can also conduct consultations over Skype or phone for clients outside the area. She is also available to conduct workshops and group talks to businesses, parents’ groups and preschools.
For more information, check Michelle out at www.sleepwellsleepsolutions.com, www.facebook.com/sleepwellsleepsolutionsand www.twitter.com/VASleepCoach.
This post is provided by SleepWell Sleep Solutions.
One of our most popular posts is always the Readers Recommend: Preschools list for Preschools in Prince William County, so I know that there are lots of you getting your child ready for preschool! Here's a fun giveaway for the little one in your life!
For parents who want to help their toddlers become ready and excited for preschool, children’s publisher I See Me! introduces a new personalized storybook, The Very Important Preschooler (V.I.P.).
Celebrate your favorite little preschooler with this adorable new personalized storybook, The Very Important Preschooler (V.I.P.)! Your child will learn that being a “V.I.P.” means making new friends at preschool, sharing, helping out, cleaning up, learning new things and more. The Very Important Preschooler is filled with lots of great messages for your little preschooler and is personalized throughout the story and on the cover with his or her name! Written by Jennifer Dewing, Illustrated by Jill McDonald.
I See Me! personalized children's books provides the highest quality, most personalized children's books available. We offer personalized books and gifts for all celebrations from Birth to 12 years old. Our mission is to increase self esteem in children through personalized books that celebrate the uniqueness of each child. The goal of our books is to show each child how absolutely unique and special he or she is, to teach the child how to spell his or her name, and to build vocabulary skills.
We'll be giving away two Very Important Preschooler books! Enter using the Rafflecopter below!a Rafflecopter giveaway
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