I got to thinking today about how things have changed over the years, how many things have stayed the same and how in some areas we just GREW! I thought some of our newbies might be interested in knowing a little more about that journey!
How we have grown, changed and stayed the same over the last 25 years...
In the fall of 1997, I began teaching my almost 5 year old how to read and doing Kindergarten work with him. I absolutely loved all the fun things I found to make learning fun and exciting for him. Before he finished kindergarten he was reading at a second grade reading level. (I still teach children to read using that very same program!) I decided to bring my daughter home from public school that November. She was in fifth grade. We had our challenges, like everyone does, but it was wonderful!
Fast forward two years, to the fall of 1999. I decided to open my home up to other children to help out some friends from church who worked. I had my third child earlier that year and I knew I wanted to keep teaching while bringing in an income. In Texas at that time, you had to be under the "child care" heading even if you were MORE than just child care. When naming our school, I knew I wanted to make sure people knew we were a faith-focused school. We went by the name Ms. Terri's Christian Kid Care & Preschool, (MTCKC Preschool) for almost 10 years. I started attending college to get my credits in childhood education. I also did an enormous amount of training during that time and the years to follow. I have a passion for learning. as well as teaching.
We took a year and a half off to pursue missionary work, ending up on a three week mission trip to Kenya! That was exciting. Our two youngest children went with us. When we returned in 2011, we renamed the school because we thought we couldn't use the same name. Turns out we could have, but that's neither here nor there.
Our new name was Ms. Terri's Kid Care Preschool, (MTKCP). I kept it as close to what it was as possible. We were still a faith-focused preschool, just didn't have it in the name. Even though we were teaching a preschool curriculum and sending a dozen children off to kindergarten reading at a second grade reading level, we still had the child care name. I really didn't want to have that connection anymore so in the fall of 2019, after some training on becoming a preschool only, we started using our homeschool name, Bradford Christian Academy of Arlington. I graduated my oldest and youngest children with that name on their diplomas. My second child got his GED early and my third child went to public school for 11th and 12th grade and graduated from that high school.
During the 2020 "mess", we found out we could get a private school exemption and get away from the child care agency all together. We were thrilled! We would finally be able to say our paperwork stated we were a private school! At first, we kept the homeschool name and that worked fine. It was the easiest option. It just didn't really FEEL the way we wanted it to.
In the spring of 2022 while going through even MORE training, I decided to totally rebrand our school and create a school name, logo and social media presence that was different than anything we had. We not only rebranded ourselves, we slowly started transforming the inside of our school. We changed things so it matched what we wanted our school to become and work with the activities we wanted to add and enhance the ones we already did. We purchased new resources for phonics and music, to name just two. We began working on the outside in 2023.
Our new name, as you already know, became Adventure Corner Private School. I came up with that name because I wanted our school to be named after what it always had been, an adventure. "Corner" came from the books we use for everything. The tag line "There's Adventure Around Every Corner" came from what we discover every single day as we teach the children and use books to enhance that learning.
While all of those changes happened, some things stayed the same and grew.
Our well-rounded, award winning, highly accredited curriculum choices and supplemental resources were, are and always will be faith-focused because that is just a part of who we are. We prefer curriculum to have a Christian world-view because those are the values we live by and want to teach any students that go through our school, for however long they are here. Over the years, we have found new curriculum and resources to add to our program with an even better foundation in learning AND our much desired faith-based quality. As new independent, small businesses create new resources, we will continue to add things into our program. That is one way we continue to grow.
We have always used books as a foundation to any topic we are talking about, that is why our library has grown to the size it is PLUS all the reference books not in the kids part of the library. It started out so small all those years ago.
We believe that having fun is a part of learning and we strive to make sure we create the fun when studying topics that COULD be a little less interesting.
We teach most things in groups and allow the children to learn at their own level and pace. We challenge them but don't push them if we see they aren't quite ready for something. YET, we never tell them they can't do more if there is time to do it. We encourage their creativity and desire to learn new things.
We encourage children to treat each other with kindness and respect each other's boundaries. We teach children that responding with physical violence even if someone else has is not the answer. We encourage children to use their words to communicate instead of hitting or throwing things. We do not allow anyone in the school to pick on or "bully" others.
We hope you enjoyed this glimpse of our journey to becoming Adventure Corner Private School. We are still striving to bring even MORE quality and value to our program every chance we get. Just like our students, we never stop learning new things and bringing that into our program.
BCAA has been around for over two decades. We were originally named MTKCP Preschool, Where You Know Your Kids Are Having Fun! We branched out and became an early elementary private school. We blended it with our family’s homeschool, Bradford Christian Academy.
We have continued to provide the very best curriculum for each age group. We partner with Experience Curriculum and use it for each age/grade level. We use The Good and The Beautiful for math, LA, and handwriting.
At Bradford Christian Academy of Arlington we Never Underestimate The Joy of Learning. Each activity is filled with fun and exploration. We strive to put a smile on children’s faces. We capture those smiles in many photographs.
We are enrolling for the second semester, January 3 - May 27
(20 weeks excluding Spring Break March 14-18)
We off morning and full day classes.
Book your school tour and hold your child’s spot today!!!
Where You Know Your Kids Are Having Fun!
We gave our library a facelift, again. We opened it up so we could see in the library area from the big brown work table and from the den.
It also allowed us to have easier access to the baskets under the bench that contain our handwriting, language arts and math books. We get them out each morning and put them away as we complete one. We like to keep things looking uncluttered.
We pulled the table out to make it bigger for our school days. Now the kids have more room to work and I still have room for the extras that they need on the table.
Communicating with others is done in many ways. Experience Curriculum did a fantastic job of giving us so many super fun Make & Play crafts.
One of the most popular is with a phone. We made cell phones. They decorated the back of them just like a fancy phone cover. We glued on the number pad and they made a phone book. It was so fun watching them use their phones. They were all taking pictures of each other. And they posed for the pictures.
A child’s imagination is a grand thing!
Another Make & Play for communication with others was a computer. They loved making laptops. They decorated the outside and one boy decided he wanted to draw his own picture on the inside instead of using the picture provided.
They played with them the rest of the day. They emailed each other and shopped online. It was really funny to hear the roll play. They would tell someone “I sent you a message!” One girl told her friend “Stop sending me so many messages!”
The children took their computers home but it was so fun that I want to have it as a play option daily. We have some extra supplies that I’m going to make a few more for them to use, along with some extra cell phones. I am contemplating laminating them to make them hold up longer.
Sometimes pretend play is a whole lot more fun AND beneficial than technology. I encourage you to give it a try.
While learning about how we communicate with each other, we talked about sending and receiving mail! That is somewhat of a lost art but we should bring it back.
The children decorated the front of a postcard, we get one each month in our curriculum. The older children write a small note to someone special on the other side and chose someone to mail it to. Each day we have a coloring picture that has our daily topic in English and Spanish.
Those were the highlights of the week. Next week we will be wrapping up our Friends & Feeling unit and preparing for our October theme!
We spent the week talking about different feelings. The main ones that our Experience Curriculum focused on were Happy, Sad, Mad, Surprised and Scared.
We made mirrors for our Make & Play activity. We talked about how our face changes when we feel different emotions. We practiced making those faces. They were each given a large wavy craft stick, a blue card stock rectangle and a small mirror board. They decorated the craft stick and the blue card stock before gluing everything together. We added some small pieces of tape to hold the mirror board down because it wasn't sticking around the corners as well as we needed it to.
They used markers because, well, they LOVE markers! You can use anything you want. You can use sequence or glitter if you want. These kids pick markers over just about anything, except paint.
In our Creative Corner we made Picasso Portraits. They really got a kick out of the inspiration photo with the face all mixed up. The children used a mirror to look at their own faces. We talked about the features they saw and about the shapes our faces are made up of.
They were each given a background paper and we divided up our different shape pieces on two cookie sheets so each child could pick the ones they wanted to use. They were encouraged to make a face or whatever they wanted with the shapes. One of the first graders made something that looked like a face at the end of the project. The others wanted to add more shapes and they didn't look as much like a face when they were done. But with this activity, like all of our Invitation to Create projects, we don't stop them from doing their own thing.
Each month we learn three new letters and Experience Curriculum includes a Little Letter Book for each one. Each book has four simple pages to color. The cover has the upper and lower case letter and a place for the child's name. We staple the booklets together. You can choose to let the children get some cutting practice in or you can cut it and staple them before the children arrive. This is just one of the literacy tools included in our curriculum each month. At the end of the school year, the children will have booklets for the entire alphabet.
This month, the kids didn't just get the monthly journal. They also got a Feelings Book. They were encouraged to draw a picture on each page of the different emotions. We like to keep our journals ready to work on throughout the month, so we had those out at the same time. We enjoy giving the children the freedom to work as much or as little in them during our table time. This book will also be used throughout the month. Both will be sent home at the end of week four.
We started out our month of Friends & Feelings talking about Making Friends! Even our youngest students understand just how important having and being a good friend is. One day we made Friend Puppets. Some kids made clothes for their puppets and some just used markers to color on it. and some only put eyes on them. We just let them do it however they chose.
An Invitation to Create activity was the I Am Special Tree. They each started out with their hand/arm as the trunk and branches. Then they had to decided what kind of tree to make. We were given large red circles so once they were finished with the trees they all wanted to add the red circles to them.
There were several students out this week. I am going to give the other students an opportunity to complete this activity because it is one I want to have in everyone's portfolio. I will be putting together a special combination of activities for each child to have at the end off the school year. Each week I will pick one or two things to add to it.
Experience Curriculum offers several resources that we can download each month. It is only available to those who have purchase that month's curriculum. One off them is 20 coloring pictures that go along with each day's theme. We change up what we use to color them with. Sometimes it is crayons, colored pencils, markers and sometimes water colors. We use this as a transition activity so teachers can get the next big project ready while they color. We talk about the days topic while they are coloring the picture.
We have so many different learning activities that the children work with while we are helping other students in the upper grades. Our kinder and first grade classes sit at the big table and we take turns instructing and guiding each student where they are. We don't make them rush to be caught up or ahead of other students.
We had our first graders use the Word Building Blocks to spell their spellings words or any word they wanted. When they needed help, we would assist them. I think they enjoy this was because it is similar to actual lego blocks. It is great because the red are vowels and the blue are consonants. I think it is great when they want to know why Y isn't red since "sometimes y" is part off what they learned. I have to remind them it says "sometimes" not always.
Next week we will be talking about Feelings. We will also be talking about how the children can help others understand what they are feelings and healthy ways to deal with it.
Getting ready for a new month is always fun. It is especially fun when September rolls around because that is when our foundational curriculum starts their new year. This is year four with Experience Early Learning Curriculum and we couldn't be happier with it. They have curriculum for babies and toddlers but we use their preschool curriculum. We have found that is works perfectly for all ages in our school. We can simplify an activity for a younger student or we can make it more challenging for an older one.
Every month we get a new calendar. There are little pieces with the numbers on them that we add to the calendar each day. I decided I wanted the children to be able to see all of the numbers and match the one needed, for the younger students. I love the fact that Spanish words are added throughout the curriculum. We will be adding even more on our own as the year progresses.
Last year, Experience Curriculum gave us this wonderful weather board set and we are going to continue to use it. The kids love to choose what sticks to put each day. Sometimes they use more than one. Sometimes they change it out if it stops or starts raining. Under it we put our monthly poster. This month its all about feelings! The kids get to tell us how they are feeling each day.
As you can see, our I Can Read book, magnets, monthly book and puzzle all go along with the feelings theme. I love how we get new ones each month. We may put away our other material each month so we can put up a new theme but we always keep these resources available for the children to use over and over any time off the year. The monthly puzzle is the perfect size for a three year old to learn with. We have 37 of them! We keep our magnets in ziplock bags and use them on small trays when we need something quiet to do in between activities.
If you have seen our school library, you know we have a huge amount of books for all subject and levels. Experience Curriculum gives us two books a month to add to our library. We always put it on this special book rack and add the other books that go with our different daily topics. We have our two Spanish words books, our Sign Language book, books about friends and about the different feelings we are talking about. We try to read two or three books throughout the day.
We hung our Sign Language ABC chart above our book rack and put the word cards that came in September's box around it. As we go through the school year, we will add new word into our daily routine in a natural way. Just like explaining any word we teach the children to speak, we will add how to sign it. So fun!
I hope you will check back in September to see the fun things we are doing.
A new school year always brings such excitement for me. One thing I love most about being a teacher is getting to find and provide the very best curriculum and resources for my students. I made some upgrades this year. One of them was to create a new parent handbook. I wanted to put everything a parent needed all in one place. It has dates for each semester, closed dates, parties, PNO dates, field trips, birthdays, student list, a calendar to write in all the dates needed for school and personal to each family. It has our daily schedule, monthly themes, our book order information, some fundraising information and a copy of our policies and procedures. These will ONLY be handed out to currently enrolled parents. Each school year, parents will get an updated copy of this booklet. I've gotten great responses from our parents about it.
I got a new teacher planner for this year and if I like it as much as I think I will, I will be getting a new one every year. Not Consumed is such an amazing company. She has provided a Planning Boot Camp to help use the planner to it's full potential and to help you get your thought and goals straight. I am so excited to get started, since our full blown school schedule doesn't start until September. We are taking it a bit at a time to introduce one or two new things each day.
I loved the idea of the Student Planner from Not Consumed but I wanted a way to add or subtract pages to make it fit our students. I chose the digital copy. I love the fact that I get a free update every year! I created a student planner for our kindergarten and first grade students. It helps teach them responsibility for getting their work done and teaches them accountability. This will be the only place for lesson planning for each student. My planner will not contain those elements. Since I printed and bound ours, I added some other pages for the students, including a birthday list, and I put the weekly plan pages in between each month's calendar. This is a work in progress but it is something we are all excited about. Every school year the children will gain more and more independence with that student planner and their work.
We have been happily using Experience Early Learning Curriculum for years! We start year four in September. I started partnering with them during our second year by sharing MORE about our wonderful materials in exchange for curriculum.
Last year I found this wonderful 2-tier metal rolling file cart to sort my curriculum in a way that I could use it with ease. This cart is on wheels so I can drag it from room to room, and I have many times. I have several different color folders. I have a few for the basic things like teacher books, circle time props and extras. There are 20 folders that are numbered 1-20. I have four different colors, one color per week. I just open my box and start sorting. I take a look at each and every element so I get a small glimpse of each day. I will separate the readers, journals, books, puzzle and magnets, along with the bulky supplies. The extra supplies go in the small basket on the bottom. The readers and journals go in a basket next to the lamp. I have extra files below to hold holiday themes and extras.
Since we became a full private school with Kindergarten and Early Elementary, I have expounded on our learning resources. Last year we found The Good and The Beautiful Curriculum. They have been doing updates on certain books but they also did a completely new MATH program that was released just in time for this school year.
We use their Language Arts for all ages. They are updating their preschool LA and that will be ready at the end of August. They are updating the LA Primer early next year so our 4 year old class will be able to do the updated version starting in August of 2022. We always have our students complete the Primer before starting the level K so they are grounded. The Kinder students this year are doing the old version before going on to the level K. It is advanced curriculum so they aren't behind. We are just building a strong foundation for them to build upon.
We are adding their Science to our line up this year. We just got our first two Science units. We will start with Energy, followed by Water and Our World! There are so many topics that we will do over the course of the years and will repeat some as the children enter higher grades. There are some off these courses that are being redone so we are trying to wait until some of them have been updated before choosing them.
Their Handwriting curriculum is something we do for all ages. The 3 and 4 year old's have books that they just learn how to draw lines and loops so that keeps it fun. I purchased a comb binder to make all of these great planners and workbooks. It was a great investment. I like the coil better but that is much most costly and this suited my purposes.
I wasn't sure how I was going to store all of these workbooks during times they weren't being used. BUT then I remembered I had these cloth baskets under the reading bench in the library. It is perfect! I have one more basket that I am probably going to get them to put their science journals and planners in.
Each afternoon the children gather in the den for rest time. We read out of a chapter book. We started the school year off with Misty of Chincoteague. We have already watched some videos of the actual island that the horses live on and the "pony penning day". After we finish this book, we will watch the movie, Misty. We will continue reading the books in this series before going on to another series. We have several picked out for the school year. Books are a HUGE part of our school.
We acquired a beautiful, large table this past year. It has been perfect for our older students to work at. It leaves our smaller table for the younger kids and gives the big kids lot of room to work. After we did our handwriting books, the kids got small chalk boards and colored chalk to work with.
We will be adding things into our schedule a little at a time over the next few weeks. This will give the kids time to adjust to doing school in a workbook but also sitting and concentrating for longer periods of time.
We got out the clay one day and they just enjoyed cutting it and mixing the colors. It is simple things like this that break up the day and give them something different to do while also working their fine motor skills and getting their focus on creating. At this age, they very rarely actually end up with something to keep other than a ball of clay. And that is okay!
Our Math Boxes finally got here. Check out the video because it tells about the math program but also shows the math boxes. The kids had such a ball doing math with them. The brand new math is advanced so we are going through at least some, if not all of the Level K Math with our first graders, too. We don't want them to miss any of the concepts in it. It is a spiral math concept. Watch the video to find out more about it. If it is too easy on some pages, we will skip them. As long as they are having fun and learning we will not worry about the letter or number on the cover.
We had several of our students out this week. So our class was small. We are hoping our other students will be back soon. We do still have several spots for new students, if you know of someone who needs a private school with a homeschool approach.
You can always follow us on IG and FB for daily updates on our activities. Have a great weekend!