Everyday Science

What is a science? Science is the process of learning about the natural world through observation and experimentation.

Can children be scientists? Absolutely!!

Much of a child’s day is spent trying to make sense of the world around them.  It’s always best to help them find the answer vs. telling them the answer. As they work through the process of finding the answer they are using early scientific skills.

Everyday children are filled with questions. As teachers we try to set up their environment in a way that it encourages their natural curiosity. Whether it’s playing with water in the sensory tub, observing what floats and sinks, using magnets to see what they will pick up, or observing ice on the playground and identifying the items frozen inside, children are using scientific skills of observing, communicating, classifying, measuring, inferring, and predicting.

With these things in mind, we will be using this next week to focus on encouraging the little scientist in the children. Since Ground Hog Day is Tuesday, we will be starting our week talking about light and shadows. Shadows outside, shadows inside, what makes a shadow?

Colors are a natural part of our world. What happens when colors mix? Through some hands on experiences we will find out how secondary colors are made.

As adults we know what happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar. For a child this is an amazing experience. They will have the opportunity to try this out first hand.

We all love eating bread and butter. But where does it come from and how is it made? The children will have a chance to make their own “bread in a bag” and butter from whipping cream to enjoy for snack.

What makes popcorn pop? We have a great book explaining this in a way that children will understand as well as we will use our 5 senses to experience fresh popped popcorn. We will also see a little magic as we make popcorn dance in a jar of liquid.

Cooking & baking utilize scientific and math skills that many of us don’t think about. From measuring and mixing to the changes that happen when the ingredients are heated, it is pretty amazing. Children always love having the opportunity to eat something they had a hand in creating. To emphasize the changes that happen when something bakes we will be making magical cinnamon rolls. The recipe will come home for you to try as a family.

Covid and Kids-HAFH update

Hello families,As we continue to try and navigate the current conditions we are in, due to COVID19, I wanted to touch base and let you know that I am continuing to stay informed on the latest information. HAFH has been very fortunate so far and in spite of a few small scares we have not had any direct exposure on the premises. As all of our families continue to be diligent in their efforts to reduce the risk of exposure I want to express my gratitude. It takes everyone of us to make sure we protect each other. With the children in such close proximity to each other and staff daily we know the chance for transmission is very real. We will continue to work hard to mitigate that risk as best we can by cleaning and sanitizing our environment as well as minimizing our own exposure outside these doors. I have also ordered some clear face masks and face shields for staff to try. I am hoping these will be more usable as a large part of communication between adults and child is in facial expressions and regular masks hinder this. Our babies and toddlers also don’t understand and naturally just want to touch them or pull them off our faces, thereby encouraging them to touch our faces more. With all this going on we are also working diligently to insure that we don’t neglect the social /emotional needs of the children. We recently spent sometime talking about how we stay safe everyday and now are talking about the people that help us stay safe. When we associate masks and washing hands with doctors, and stop lights and seat belts with police officers and fire safety and smoke detectors with fire fighters it gives the children a sense of security. They know that not only are there things they can do to stay safe but there are lots of people to help them including those listed and parents, families, and teachers. Life is full of uncertainties for everyone right now. As adults we are all feeling some level of stress with this. Please reach out to myself or staff if there is any way we can support your family or child during these times. Attached is the link to an interesting article I felt was worth sharing.
Ann Bouwhuis

How to recognize COVID-19 symptoms in children, based on pediatricians’ advice

How to recognize COVID-19 symptoms in children, based on pediatricians’ …Sandee LaMotte, Katia Hetter, Kristen Rogers and Ryan Prior, CNNNo worry is too small to reach out to your pediatrician, experts say.


Dear Families,

                We hope that you are all staying well during this time. We are eager to see your children again. However, this means that some things will be changing at Home Away From Home.

Starting this coming week (May 18th) the St Louis County and Missouri State “Stay at Home Orders” have been lifted. There are still restrictions in place that directly affect how Childcare is expected to operate at this time. This is going to require us to implement some new policies and procedures at Home Away From Home CCC.  We appreciate everyone’s understanding as we try to make plans moving forward to protect everyone.

Going forward –

Pick up and drop off procedures will change: Staff will be greeting parents on the front porch, wearing a mask and scrub jacket, at this time a daily health assessment must be completed before a child can stay for the day. NO one except children and HAFH staff will be allowed in the building. Please wait at a distance if there is another person on the porch. Allow them to leave before coming to the door. Pick up will be similar. Please wait on the porch for a staff member to bring your child out to you. If at all possible it is recommended that the same person drop off and pick up each day.

The daily health assessment will include

 1) Temperature checks for child/ren and adult dropping off. If anyone in the family is running a fever or having any other symptoms of illness the child/ren will not be allowed to stay.

2) A list of questions and answers will be recorded to determine any risk of exposure.  If a child or family member should become ill, they will need to be fever and symptom free for 72 hours. They will also need to have a note from a doctor stating, clearly, the date it is safe for the child to return to childcare. (fever free means without the use of fever reducers such as ibuprofen or Tylenol).

3) If any family member that the child has been exposed to has traveled to a “Hot Zone”. The child cannot attend for 14 days.

Hours of Operation

To allow HAFH staff to do required cleaning and sanitation recommended by the CDC our hours will be temporarily shortened. Our new temporary hours will be 6:30-5. This will be re-evaluated as needed.

Limiting risk of exposure

 Children will no longer be allowed to bring items from home. When they return please bring a blanket and 2 changes of clothes, marked with their name, that can be left at school. If your child needs a comfort item for nap please limit it to a small one that can be machine washable.  Please don’t forget socks or slippers. We will take care of laundering these items as needed.  The only exception to this is medications, baby bottles, breast milk, and formula.

Diapers and Wipes

As always, we will notify you when your child needs diapers or wipes Please send only unopened packages. Another option would be to have them shipped direct to school. (7523 Flora Ave, Maplewood Mo 63143) if you choose this option let me know so we can watch for the delivery.  If your family is having a hard time getting any essential needs for your child, please let us know we would be happy to help link you with resources in the area.

Classroom items and activities

 Any items that are hard or impossible to sanitize will be temporarily removed from use. Playdough and other art supplies will be divided and labeled for individual use and not shared. Children’s individual supplies will be stored in a manner to avoid contact with others. All bedding will be cleaned and sanitized every 3 days or more often if needed. Children will not be allowed to handle food or eating utensils used by other children. Infants and toddlers will be restricted to their own play area. This will help us ensure proper cleaning and sanitizing of toys since this age group is exploring and learning by using all their senses. 

I have attended many webinars, trainings and zoom calls from United 4 Children, Kids Win Missouri, Child Care Aware, on best practices for childcare in this time. All the new things that we are putting in place are from direct guidance from the CDC, Caring for Our Children Standards, American Academy of Pediatrics and State and Local Health Departments.  We will continue to monitor information as it becomes available and may have to make changes. We appreciate everyone’s understanding as we all work together to be healthy, happy and safe.

May update

Greetings to all our families who I and the rest of the staff dearly miss. I hope this finds everyone healthy and finding some joy in spite of our current circumstances. We are all faced with very unique challenges right now and please don’t hesitate to reach out if there is any thing that you need. I will do my best to help in anyway,  personally or by linking you with other resources.Since the beginning of the COVID19 spread in Missouri, Child Care licensing has given minimal direction or assistance to child care providers except to remind us to abide by CDC recommendations and State and local stay at home orders. http://http//mura.stlouisco.com/dr-pages-messages/public-health-orders/director-of-public-health-extension-and-amendment-of-stay-at-home-order/

While over 40% of Missouri licensed childcare programs have closed, either temporarily or permanently, HAFH has chosen to remain open to serve our families employed by “essential businesses”. If you are employed in this capacity and have kept your child home but would like to return either on their previous schedule or even a modified schedule PLEASE contact me directly to make arrangements so I can schedule staff appropriately. The stay at home order currently limits us to 12 children per day. Until it is lifted we cannot care for more than 12 children,and parents/families must be  essential workers. Once the stay at home orders are lifted HAFH will need to collect originally agreed tuition from families in order to reserve your child’s spot.

Below are 2 additional links to articles that I feel as a child care professional of over 40 years need to be shared. Throughout my years of working with children and families it is continually frustrating that our society and government, in general, don’t value and respect the people responsible for the growth and development of our most vulnerable members of society. Once again, during this time when admiration and respect is justly being poured on our frontline essential workers, including grocery workers, nothing is being said about child care professionals who are making it possible for many of the frontline workers to be at work.




CDC has launched Life is Better with Clean Hands, a national campaign encouraging parents to make clean hands a healthy habit for the whole family.

Handwashing is an easy, inexpensive, and effective way to help your family stay healthy. Studies have shown that handwashing can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related sicknesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu. When your family is healthy, you don’t have to worry about missing school, work, or other activities.

Help your children make handwashing a healthy habit at home, school, and play by:

  • Teaching kids the five easy steps for handwashing—wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry—and the key times to wash hands, such as after using the bathroom or before eating.
  • Giving frequent reminders so that handwashing becomes a habit and a regular part of your child’s day.
  • Leading by example by washing your hands.

For more information on Life is Better with Clean Hands, a campaign promotion toolkit, free posters, and other resources for promoting handwashing, visit www.cdc.gov/handwashing.

Are you employed in an “Essential Position” as defined in the recent “STAY AT HOME” order from the St Louis County Department of Public Health?

Are you struggling to find child care so you can go to work?

If your child is between the ages of 6 weeks and 6 years, we have temporary spaces available NOW.

Check out our parent handbook and call for more information.

Ann Bouwhuis

Owner/ director


As all of us face the stress of the COVID19 outbreak and the new “stay at home” order for all non-essential workers and their families, I am doing my best to make sure we continue to have quality child care available for the families that need it. Our goal is to be here for the children and families as long as we can all stay healthy and are not shut down by a higher authority. Please help us all to stay healthy by keeping your child home if they show signs of any illness or run even a slight fever. Also, please reinforce frequent proper handwashing at home as well as covering when children cough or sneeze.  If you, a parent, are ill or have a known exposure to someone with a positive COVID19 test PLEASE DO NOT come to HAFH for any reason. We at HAFH vow to continue to do everything in our power to keep our environment clean and sanitary.

Under St Louis County Department of Health’s “Stay at Home Order” we will not be allowed to have more than 12 children in care each day. The order also restricts our services to “providing services to people who are necessary employees of essential Businesses.” Please refer to the link below to read the order in its entirety.


Please contact me ASAP either by email, phone or text with your needs for care during this time. Under the current order, we will be allowed to resume normal operations on April 23, 2020. For those families that will be keeping their children home during this time, tuition will be waived starting this Monday 3/23/20 through Wednesday 4/22/2020. At which time if you choose to keep your child’s spot, tuition will need to be paid. (This is of course assuming the stay home order has not been extended beyond 4/22/2020.)

The link below gives some information that may be helpful as well.


As I attempt to do what’s best for all our families and staff, thank you for your support and understanding as we do our best to navigate the uncertainty of the days and weeks to come


                                                                                                                                                Ann Bouwhuis



October 2019 News

Even though Fall officially started 2 weeks ago it sure hasn’t felt like it. Thank goodness that seems to have changed. Cooler days certainly make outdoor time much more enjoyable. Please be sure your child comes to school each day dressed appropriately for outdoor play. Layers that can be added or removed as needed work best.

Lately outdoor time has offered many opportunities for practicing gross motor skills and coordination. The children have been excitedly practicing balancing, jumping, catching and throwing, kicking, crawling, climbing, and hanging upside down by their knees.  The look of pride on their face when they master a new skill is priceless.

So far, we have been spending or time focused on learning about ourselves and others in our lives. We’ve talked about what it means to be a friend and how we can show kindness every day. We’ve compared how we are the same and how we have many differences to cherish. We’ve investigated all the things we can do to stay healthy from good food choices, exercise and proper sleep.

This week we will be move on to Feelings and Emotions. As adults we have learned to manage our emotions. Children are still learning to recognize and manage their feelings in an acceptable way. One way we help them do this is to acknowledge the way the feel in words. By telling a child, ”Your face is telling me you are feeling sad, what can I do to help you?” They start to learn what it means to be sad and what they can do about it. It’s important for children to know that emotions are not a thing to be ashamed of and we all have them.

Next week we will focus on” Manners”. Good manners start with learning to say “Please and Thank You” but there is so much more. It is important that adults model good manners for children. As we all know with any skill,  practice makes perfect and manners are a skill that children need to practice in order for them to become a natural habit.

Next we will move onto a week of “Fun with Monsters”. There are some great children’s books that take the scary out of monsters for children. We will have fun enjoying “Where the Wild Things are.” ,” There’s a Monster at the End of the Book” and more. The kids will even have opportunities to create Monster masks and Monster toast for snack. We will wrap up the week on 10/25 with our annual Trick Or Treating in the adjacent Sunnen business park. We welcome all parents to join us for all or part of the morning. Please let us know if you will be attending. We will need to leave school no later than 9:00 am so please have your child here and ready to go, in costume, by 8:45. They will each need a container or bag for the goodies that they will collect. The next week we will move on to other Halloween fun. Pumpkins, Ghosts and Witches oh my! The kids will have a blast making Halloween decorations and snacks as well as decorating their own pumpkin.

Fall 2019 News

With a new school year upon us many of us, adults and children alike, are facing many changes. From schedule changes, to new schools, new friends, new babies, and new jobs all of these and more can cause stress for everyone. Here at HAFH we understand the importance of consistency for children and the security that it gives them. With that in mind we plan our days to be as predictable as possible while still being flexible to the ever-changing moods and needs of the children. Transitions can be hard for some children and switching gears when asked to clean up to move on to a different activity can be a stressful time for some. To ease the stress related to transitions we always give the children a 2-5 minute “warning” which gives them time to process what is being expected. For example, “at about 8:30 every morning the children are told, in 5 minutes we will need to clean up for breakfast.” Once it is time to clean up, positive reinforcement is used by encouraging the children to clean up by recognizing verbally who is doing a good job. It’s always amazing how praising one child for working hard gets the attention of even the most resistant.

As we plan ahead for this Fall, we have some themes laid out as well as a special Letter, shape and color to focus on each week. We know that children learn best when topics are of interest to them and are presented through play. Flexibility in planning will be observed if the children show an interest in a topic not planned. All areas of development from science to math and language can be reinforced no matter what the theme. Please see the attached calendar for the September themes.

MO State child care licensing requires that all licensed programs have an emergency plan in place in case of an emergency situation where we would need to lock down in place, evacuate the building or children would be separated from their families for an extended period of time due to a catastrophic event. With this in mind, they recommend that every child have an emergency pack at school consisting of a change of clothes, a comfort item, and a family picture in a large zip lock bag. This should be checked in fall and spring to insure it is up to date for the seasons and size of the child. We always have an ample supply of water, food, blankets and first aid supplies if needed. If interested parents can access the emergency plan for review next to the sign in book. It is also of utmost importance that your child’s file be kept up to date with emergency contact information as well as family information.

June 2019 News

This week and next we are exploring the world of Bugs and spiders. Butterflies are always a favorite and offer lots to talk about from the many different varieties to their amazing life cycle. The kids love singing songs about bugs including “the Itsy Bitsy Spider”, The Ants Go Marching” and I’m Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee”.

With June upon us we look forward to week-long celebration of Dads and all the great things we love about our dad’s. If your child has any special pictures of them doing something special with dad or grandpa please send them in to show and share at group time.

We will then be finishing off the month of June with a focus of “At The Beach and Under the Sea”. There is so many wonderful sea creatures to talk about from anemones to Sharks and Whales. No doubt, we will be singing “Baby Shark”. We will also be sorting sea shells and practicing our fishing skills with magnets.

With warmer weather comes WATER DAYS!!! The kids love the chance to play in the sprinkler, play with bubbles, have a car wash (with our little tykes riding toys), and whatever other messy activities we can think of. Our aim is to have a ”water day” once a week on rotating days so even our part time friends get the chance. Of course, it is weather permitting which can sometimes make it hard to schedule in advance. Please be sure your child has a swimsuit or change of clothes and shoes that can get wet and a towel, as well as an ample supply of extra summer clothes. Please label all items with your child’s name to help avoid confusion. One of the children’s favorite hot weather treats is Ice Pops. Any donations would be greatly appreciated!!!