Community in the Classroom

Community in the Classroom 2560 1707 Ivy Marsnik

The goal of our programming is simple: to help every child succeed in school and life by providing a high-quality educational experience for the entire family.

At Way to Grow, feeling welcomed and supported doesn’t stop with our family educators who build deep and trusted relationships with families through home visits. We also work to provide space for positive human interactions, forming a community of Way to Grow families.

In addition to our hallmark home visits and fun family events, we also strengthen families through our parent-child classes. In recent years, our successful parent-child classes have invited parents into the classroom to learn alongside their children at our south preschool.

This past September, we were excited to expand these classes to our north side preschool. The activities are a great way to increase parent engagement, bridge the home-to-school connection, and provide parents with activities they can do at home to further support their child’s development. Not only do children do better in school when their parents are more actively involved, but parents develop a deeper understanding of early childhood education and the importance of being a teacher and advocate for their child.

Parent-child classes serve as not only a wonderful learning opportunity for parents and children, but also build a greater sense of community among our families. “A natural support system develops among parents of varying backgrounds throughout the year,” Ashley Saupp, lead teacher at Preschool P.A.L.S. says. “We see them carpooling, giving one another a hand in the classroom, tending to one another’s children, sharing resources, and providing one another with helpful advice.”

Belonging to an inclusive community inspires parents to be more engaged in their child’s education and supports them as they navigate the K-12 school system.

Preschool Reading Book Wish List

Preschool Reading Book Wish List 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

Way to Grow Preschool teachers compiled this list of preschool reading books essential to any little one’s library. You will recognize many of these preschool reading books as early childhood favorites. Unfortunately, we know many of the children in our program lack access to these books and many like them. We also know that a pathway to success begins by ensuring every young person has access to books from the moment they are born. In response to this need, insurance professionals attending the 2016 SITE conference will be collecting these titles to benefit Way to Grow families. These books will supplement our home visiting curriculum and to help encourage parents to read to their preschoolers daily by fostering an early love for reading.

  1. Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
  2. Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
  3. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Eric Carle
  4. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
  5. Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
  6. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  7. Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant
  8. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
  9. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
  10. The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
  11. Swimmy by Leo Lionni
  12. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
  13. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
  14. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  15. It’s Mine by Leo Lionni
  16. Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus

Print this list of preschool reading books!

Now Recruiting Minnesota Reading Corps Literacy Tutors

Now Recruiting Minnesota Reading Corps Literacy Tutors 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

Would you love to help children grow their reading skills, succeed in school and get extra support? If your answer is yes, you can be trained to serve as a tutor with Minnesota Reading Corps at Way to Grow. Whether you want to explore an educational career, reenter the workforce, or give back to your community, you can succeed as a tutor. Last year, Minnesota Reading Corps provided direct services to over 30,000 children in more than 700 schools across the state.

As a Literacy Tutor, you’ll use strategies that help students believe in themselves and succeed. Positions available include preschool tutors at Way to Grow Preschool Pals and P.A.L.S. Offered four days per week, Preschool Pals is our NAEYC accredited and MN Parent Aware 4-star rated center-based preschool program designed to complement home visits for Way to Grow families. Preschool P.A.L.S. invites the parent into the preschool classroom for parent-child learning time. Both locations offer part time options, and tutors typically serve most of their hours during the regular school day.

In addition to extensive training, tutors will receive on-site support from specially trained school mentors. Tutors come from many backgrounds and include recent high school and college grads, career changers, stay-at-home parents, and retirees. Tutors may earn a living allowance, educational award, federal student loan forbearance, and other benefits, and have the chance to make a real difference in the life of a child.

To apply or learn more about the research based programs, position qualifications, and benefits, visit Questions? Contact or 866-859-2825.

Invest in Us

Invest in Us 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

Building a Strong Community

Building a Strong Community 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

This month, our Preschool Pals focused on building a strong community.  Each area of the classroom was transformed to represent a place in the community.  The snack area served as a restaurant, the manipulative center was a construction site,  the science center became a hospital, the group area was the city hall, and the writing center was the local post office.  As students visited different pillars in their community, they participated in a variety of activities enhancing our curriculum.  “We did two cooking activities the kids really enjoyed,” Lead Teacher, Mr. Eka tells us. “After the children practiced identifying the different fruits and vegetables at our grocery store, we read The Ugly Vegetables and made a vegetable stew. Following suit, after reading The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza, we made personal pizzas.”  I’m sure you can guess which recipe was the classroom favorite!

20141212_150332The preschoolers also took part in a science experiment, dissecting eggs!  Going along with Humpty Dumpty, some of the preschool friends suggested gluing the eggs back together. “For art this week, in addition to our letter of the week, we made community signs such as stop signs and traffic lights that we posted around the room. We also drew fire fighters in action, extinguishing realistic fire paintings.” 20141217_142838

Each student played in the sensory table which was filled with packing peanuts. After searching for community helpers, the children played a matching game, pairing them with where they work. At our writing center, children traced words for our community helpers and completed a tricky maze connecting their community workers with their vehicles. Wrapping up this week’s activity, the class made posters of what they want to be when they grow up.  To Mr. Eka’s delight, “teacher” was the most popular career choice!




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