Preschool P.A.L.S.

A Snapshot of our Preschools this Year

A Snapshot of our Preschools this Year 2560 1707 Ken Story

From a pajama- piñata party to food bazaars, from balloon parties to buildings, our preschoolers have expanded their minds and horizons all while exploring their imaginations. While these moments are now memories, and some of these children are graduates, we wanted to take a trip down memory lane and share with you a few wonderful moments from our two preschools this past school year.


Music with Ms. Nora from MacPhail (North Preschool)

Making up a session that was missed because of weather, Ms. Nora came in with a purpose. Our teachers had informed her that the class was going to the zoo later in the week, so she came prepared with songs about animals and going to the zoo. The children played with different animal toys that she brought, sang different animal songs, and moved around the classroom pretending to be animals. To round out their last session with her for the school year, they played with sand blocks, drums, and maracas.

Music is an important and wonderful part of education and we are so grateful for Ms. Nora and our friends at MacPhail Center for Music!


Advocacy Day at the Minnesota State Capitol

Turning momentum into action, our preschool children accompanied their parents and Way to Grow staff to the Minnesota State Capitol to rally for early education. After boarding the bus and singing songs, a flood of yellow Way to Grow t-shirts entered the rotunda, where parents heard from education professionals and advocates while the children got to sing songs and were read to by legislators. Way to Grow Parent Champion Mina Thao even took the stage to share her story on how access to early education programs like Way to Grow have positively impacted her and her children’s lives.

“Witnessing their parents being active on any front leaves a positive impression on a child,” said Way to Grow Program Director Megan McLaughlin. “It was a great opportunity for the families to learn and experience the State Capitol in very different ways.”

Our families were then taken downstairs, where they were able to enjoy a snack, do some activities, and experience one-on-one time with legislators. We knew it was a long day because on the bus ride back to the preschools, a few of the children fell asleep. Who knew advocacy could be so tiring!


“Building” a Foundation of Learning (South Preschool)

It is always amazing to see the learning epiphany in children when they discover that just about everything they learn can be a career. For example, something as simple as building blocks can lead into a conversation about buildings and structures.

The South Preschool classroom was transformed into a cardboard workshop with boxes and supplies, and our children went from curious to becoming hands-on engineers! They were able to focus their skills individually and also cooperatively working with others to create some incredible structures.

This is a great reminder to always look for opportunities to learn in places you wouldn’t expect them and take action on them!


THE Trip to the Como Zoo

Even though the first zoo in the world was established in 1500 B.C. in Egypt, zoos remain wildly popular in the world and a driving force behind that are children’s interest, curiosity, and love for animals. Our Way to Grow children are no different, and after weeks of learning, singing, and pretending to be animals, there was no better way to finish the school year than a trip to the Como Zoo. We also invited their parents because you are never too old to go to the zoo!

Even though some parts of the zoo were under construction, the children were able to see all the animals they wanted to see on a list they made prior to their visit. From reptiles to mammals, the children got to experience and learn about the animal kingdom first hand. They also got to snack on animal crackers, which was intentionally planned by the teachers.

A huge thank you to our friends at the Como Zoo for hosting our families – and for everything they do for the Twin Cities community!


Sharing and reflecting on all these wonderful memories already has us looking forward to the next school year, we cannot wait to share with you what is to come!

Emril’s “E”

Emril’s “E” 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

Emril is a very energetic three-year-old who came to Way to Grow just seven months ago. Marie, Emril’s Way to Grow Family Educator, noticed he was having trouble sitting still and focusing on tasks.  He wasn’t responding to questions and wasn’t sure how to hold a pencil. In an effort to get Emril ready for preschool this fall, Marie got straight to work on teaching Emril to write his name.

In September, Emril began attending Way to Grow Preschool P.A.L.S. The talented teachers there build on the skills Emril learns at home. The preschool experience has been beneficial for Emril’s Mom as well.  While Emril is at school, she attends ESL classes to continue her education in hopes of earning her GED. During the preschool’s parent-child days, Emril’s mom enjoys the opportunity to play and learn with her son. “I am learning so much new stuff [from the home visits and preschool lessons],” Mom says, “Things I never knew before!”

Thanks to parent, classroom and home visiting support, Emril is now able to sit for longer periods of time and concentrate more on his learning. He also comes home cheerfully singing the songs he learns at school and enjoys telling Mom and Marie all about what he did that day. Between home visits, Mom practices writing lessons with Emril. In fact, when Marie returned two weeks later, Emril was eagerly writing the letter E!

“Preschool P.A.L.S. has definitely had a tremendous impact on Emril’s social-emotional skills,” Marie says. “Emril is already more engaged at visits and is responding to questions more readily.  When I would ask who his friends were at school, it was initially very difficult to get a response. Now he’ll happily tell me, ‘Sanja..  Josephina.. Mohammed..’ His progress over such a short amount of time has just been a lot of fun to watch. I am excited to see both Mom and Emril continue to grow.”

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 MinnesotaReadingCorps.org. Questions? Contact recruitment@servemnaction.org or 866-859-2825.

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