Keep Fit Friday!

IMG_1424Being raised in a family that made time to enjoy physical activities such as swimming, riding bikes, and playing sports influenced me to pursue a career as a personal trainer. On top of that the love of Christ was also introduced early on to my siblings and me by my parents. Combining my faith with a passion for fitness, I’ve grown to understand that our health and capabilities are all gifts from God. To this day it is my strong belief that when we honor our health we honor Christ. We express our gratitude to the gift-giver when we take care of the gift. 

Fitness Friday’s at A House on Beekman is meant to encourage health as a whole – body, mind, and spirit. I strive to make fitness fun, especially in this group setting. But I also strive to make the classes educational, teaching proper form, techniques, and programming that help reduce or prevent pain in the body and show how to use our exercise time efficiently. I also have the hope to encourage family engagement through movement, like I was brought up. It’s not only beneficial for the body and mind but also uplifting to the spirit and to our relationships with others, be it family, friends, or neighbors. Mindful, quality time spent with our loved ones balances out this virtuous cycle which also includes overall health conditioning, more energy to care for our everyday needs and very importantly, a foundation for setting good and active examples for our children.

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We not only honor God when we take care of our health but we also honor our lives presently to help establish a strong and secure future. With good health we are able to accomplish the tasks given us with more strength, energy, and optimism. And when we take care of our health to the best of our ability and allow God to do the rest and the impossible, we have more opportunity to live the lives He designed for us to live. IMG_0957

**Our Fitness Friday class is every Friday from 9:15am – join us!**


Letters, Language, and Literacy!

At A House on Beekman Preschool, our days are filled with words! Talking, reading, writing, labeling, telling stories, using mediums like shaving cream, salt and play dough to form letters and shapes, looking at print of all kinds, and reciting poems and rhymes are all part of our daily routine. Early literacy plays a key role in creating a learning environment that research shows is linked with academic achievement, reduced grade retention, higher graduation rates and enhanced productivity in adult life.

Skyla practices writing her name in shaving cream!

Skyla practices writing her name in shaving cream!

All the areas of a child’s development, including literacy, are interrelated and interdependent. The more limited a child’s experiences with language and literacy, the more likely he or she will have difficulty learning to read.

Students take turn labeling parts of Jalice's body during large group time

Students take turn labeling parts of Jalice’s body during large group time

We want our kids to reach the following literacy milestones for their specific age-group:

• Enjoy listening to and talking about storybooks

• Understand that print carries a message

• Make attempts to read and write

• Identify familiar signs and labels

• Participate in rhyming games

• Identify some letters and make some letter-sound matches

• Use known letters (or their best attempt to write the letters) to represent written language especially for meaningful words like their names or phrases such as “I love you”

Mahogany draws and writes after dictating a special Valentine message.

Mahogany draws and writes after dictating a special Valentine message.

Through engaging, hands-on experiences we believe our kids will learn

to love reading, writing and communicating as they prepare to enter

the world of elementary school. We are proud of their effort and

progress and can’t wait to see them turn into avid book-lovers!

Mistah loves using markers to practice writing letters!

Mistah loves using markers to practice writing letters!

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of words!

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”

Psalm 19:14


Don’t Give Up!

We’re about half way through our school-year.  With Christmas behind us, but winter far from over, it’s a time of year that can sometimes get us down.  For the kids in the after-school program, the state tests are looming in March and April—which somehow manages to feel both far away and near.  It’s a time of year when the kids need help remembering what they are working toward.  There are times of celebration and reward but there are also calmer, slower times of putting one foot in front of the other and sticking with what you started.  It is for this reason that we decided to study perseverance with the kids during “Family Time” at after-school this past month.

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The after-school leaders have explored perseverance in all sorts of creative ways.  The older kids (the after-school “seniors”) held onto ice cubes—persevering through the cold—to get to the quarter hidden within.

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Another favorite was the classic “human knot” activity.  The seniors had to communicate and persevere through frustration as they tried to untangle themselves without letting go.  The harder earned their success, the more satisfying they found it to be. 

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And sometimes the learning has come through conversation; about Martin Luther King’s perseverance to fight back against racism, inequality and injustice and his commitment to fight back in the way he believed—peacefully.

The younger ones worked to remove layer after layer of rubber bands to get to a lollipop buried inside. Also, inspired by Bruno Mars’ song on Sesame Street “Don’t Give Up,” they made up their own perseverance songs.  “If you’re riding your scooter and you fall down, just keep practicing!” rapped junior boys D’Sean and Emill while their buddy Kenyen made a beat.

We hope that these small lessons will stick with them.  In his book How Children Succeed, Paul Tough talks about the importance of resilience.  Children who can bounce back from disappointments and “don’t give up when life gets hard” (as our after-school perseverance definition puts it) tend to thrive, doing better both academically and in their adult lives.  But even more importantly, we hope that exercising their perseverance muscle now will help each of them in their walks with God.  Life certainly does “get hard.”  But we pray that the kids will remember that they have a hope and a strength who is far greater than the obstacles life will bring.


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My Story: Babies to Three!

**This post is written by Anabel, one of the participants in our Babies to Three Program!**

Taking the 7 week STEP Program to benefit my parenting skills was a no brainer. I understand more about my 2 year old son now. In fact understanding that a two year old can have self-esteem problems was a new thing for me. The book and some of the terms seemed a little out dated, but the basic information given was timeless.

Discipline not punishment. There is a difference; this is one of the topics we went though. Helping my son learn to cooperate. Yes I cooperate with a two year old now. Trust me when I say I feel less and less crazy now because I know more about his behavior cues.  Knowing who owns the problem, another topic we went through. Small things like a wet diaper or teaching my son not to touch the stove is my problem, not his.

Anabel, upon completing the program, with her Certificate of Participation!

Anabel, upon completing the program, with her Certificate of Participation!

The book talks about how when you need help, don’t be afraid to ask. Call your doctor or a friend, sometimes all we need is someone to talk to. I’m not a one woman show, even If I like to think I am. I know that now, and the ladies at Babies to Three are always willing to lend a helping ear. Sitting in the class with other first time moms and moms on their 2nd or 3rd child (women with more experience to share) helped me greatly.

I want to thank The House on Beekman for giving me the opportunity to take this parenting course. Also thanks to Deb and Francis for translating the 70’s for us, if you see the cover of the book you would know what I mean. Hopefully more people from the neighborhood takes advantage of this course.

**And just in case you’re curious, here’s a picture of the book cover :)**51HvSFL8kPL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_