May and June News

With Spring quickly coming to a close and Summer just around the corner we will have many opportunities to explore the outdoors. With this in mind please be sure your child is prepared for outdoor play. We currently have an ample supply of sunscreen but are in need of some mosquito repellant. Any donations would be greatly appreciated.

As some of you are aware Ms Lauren will be out the month of June as she has the opportunity to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain. We wish her safe travels and will anxiously await her return in July. We also have a new staff member joining us and a former one returning to help cover over the summer. Ms Brittany S. is returning from a semester abroad in London and will once again be helping out while out of school for the summer. She is currently working towards her teaching degree at Webster University. Ms Sarah S. is joining us part time and is currently pursuing her Nursing Degree at UMSL.

So far this month we have been concentrating on Transportation. From Bicycles to planes, to trains we have had lots to explore and talk about. We even took a walk to find different types of transportation in our neighborhood. Many of the children shared stories of their person experiences riding on Planes, trains, and even boats.

Next we will be moving onto “Creepy Critters”. First we will focus on Insects and bugs then we will move onto some bigger creepers such as frogs, turtles, lizards, and snakes. One of our projects requires 2liter soda bottles. If you have any empty ones that you can spare it would be greatly appreciated. We are also hoping to hatch our own butterflies.

As the weather warms up we will be having weekly water days. These will consist of a morning full of wet messy play outside. Since they are weather permitting they may be spur of the moment. Please keep your child’s cubbie or bag stocked with a swim suit or clothes and shoes that can get wet and a towel all labeled with their names. Please make sure they have dry shoes to wear indoors after playing.

March 2015 News

Has your child been talking about Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Diplodocus or Spinosaurus. This is just some of the language that is being heard here at school a lot lately. They have also been overheard talking about what it means to be a herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore. Dinosaurs has always been a favorite of preschoolers. It continues to amaze me how children who struggle with remembering the names of letters, numbers, colors and shapes can accurately identify dinosaurs by name. They had so much fun last week that dinosaurs was carried over for an additional week.
Next week, March 9-13, we will be focusing on the many works of Dr Suess. The way he used rhyme to tell his imaginative stories always is not only fun to listen to but also to read. We will have fun as we journey into some of Dr Suess’ favorite stories. We will be also expanding on the storybooks through videos, games, art, science, and cooking activities.
March 16-20 we will be investigating St Patrick’s Day and the “Green around Us”. We will use our imaginations as we read the many fun stories about St Patrick’s Day, Leprechauns, and that illusive “Pot of Gold”. All week long we will be creating some beautiful green art work, and recipes.
March 23-27 our concentration will be Arctic Animals. Foxes, owls, moose, and penguins are just a few of the many animals that live in cold climates. How do animals adapt to colder climates. We know that snowy owls and arctic Foxes are white unlike their warmer climate counterparts. We also know that animals that live in Arctic/Colder climates also have Thick fur coats or thick layers of fat to insulate them from the cold. During the week the children will have some hands on experiences feeling real fur pieces and a real ( discarded) moose antler.

December 2014 News & Notes

Even though it is still officially Fall it sure feels like Winter has arrived. Please be sure to send your child prepared every day for outside play. Warm coats, gloves( attached to coat if possible), hats, and boots when wet or snowy help to make outside time comfortable and fun. Please also be sure your child has a change of clothes that are appropriate to the season and their current size.( please label all items with your child’s name to avoid mix ups) Not only is the fresh air, sunshine and exercise good for overall health but Missouri State Licensing also requires outside play time daily unless there are cold/heat warnings or rain. Also keep in mind an older building like ours is prone to drafts. Please be sure your child has a warm blanket for nap and that it is laundered weekly.

The children have lately been investigating the concepts of nocturnal, migration, and hibernation. It’s always amazing how fast children grasp these concepts. They especially enjoyed listening to the many sounds that different owls make. Thanks to youtube we were able hear that not all owls say “whooo whooo”. They were also amazed at the different things that owls and bats eat.

Having just finished the Thanksgiving Holiday and with Christmas right around the corner most of us are preparing for everything from large family gatherings to travel and gift giving. We have had some great conversations in the past weeks  about the many things we are thankful for, from family and friends to ladybugs and school buses. As Christmas approaches please keep in mind that we will be closing at 1:00 on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve as well as we will be closed all day on Christmas Day and New Years Day. If your child will be missing any of their scheduled days and please let us know. This will make it possible to schedule staff accordingly and attempt to allow some time off to spend with their families over the holidays. Every child has one week vacation credit per year of enrollment. Please give Ms Ann notice if you will be using their vacation credit.

Home Away From Home has kept tuition rates steady and not had to increase them since January of 2013. Unfortunately even we are feeling the pinch of inflation and must increase our tuition rates effective the week of Monday January 6, 2015. Our new rates will be as follows:
Infants ( 6 weeks till 2 years of age)
weekly- $285.00
daily- $62.00
Children 2-6 years of age
daily- $40

August News


It is hard to believe that we are in the final stretch of summer. It has been a busy one. The children and hopefully families seem to have enjoyed the time we spent on the Alphabet. It was so much fun for me to hear the stories from the children and parents each morning about the items they chose for Show & Share. It was also pretty impressive how many of the children recognized the beginning sounds of words and could easily name other words that began with the same sound as well as the letter the word started with. This skill can be practiced everyday with your child in everyday conversation simply by emphasizing the beginning sound of a word and asking them what letter makes that sound.

Some other activities that can be done at home to encourage letter recognition and Phonemic Awareness are: 1) search through old magazines for letters let the children cut them out then talk about words that start with the letter. Allow the children to glue it on a piece of paper then continue looking for pictures of items that start with the letter and cut them out and add them to the paper.2) take a walk through your neighborhood and talk about what you see. Ask your child what certain names of things start with, Tree? Clouds? House? Car? etc. 3) encourage your child to make birthday and thank you cards for family and friends. Have them help to write the words as much as they are capable.

Several of our friends have recently moved on to other programs, out of town, and even out of the country. Like always as some old friends move on, new friends join us. Please help me in welcoming our new friends.

As we finish up the last 2 weeks of August we will be focusing on some of our favorite books. Starting with “If You Give a Pig a Pancake” we had a great time making our own pancakes for breakfast and making a pancake picture on a paper plate. Some other stories that we will explore and expand on through cooking and other activities are “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, “Caps for Sale”, “Pete’s a Pizza” , and “Dragons Love Tacos”.

Child Car Seat Recall

There has recently been a recall of some models of Graco child car seats. Please follow the link below for more information

February 2014


2014 has been a busy year so far here at school. We have explored many animals over the past several weeks including Arctic animals, Dinosaurs, and Pets. We talked about how animals in cold climates stay warm. Some hibernate while others Migrate to warmer climates and how many of them grow thick winter coats of fur.

It is always amazing how quickly the children learn and can recall the names of Dinosaurs. We also discussed the difference between herbivorous, omnivorous, and carnivorous. The children easily noticed that even though they were all dinosaurs they were not all the same. This opened up many discussions about likenesses and differences.

As we moved on to pets the children loved feeding, brushing, and taking the stuffed animals for walks. We read quite a variety of books about the many different kinds of animals that people have for pets. We also spent several group times talking about our family pets and how we take care of them.

We have started off this week with many books and discussions about Groundhog Day, shadows and light. The children have had a lot of fun using flashlights and the light box to discover “what does light shine through?” The rest of the week we will be observing other science concepts such as magnets and what happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar, always a favorite of kids. Thanks to the snow last night, we were able to paint the snow with spray bottles and watch the colors mix to make new colors.

Next week we will be taking about Valentines Day and Love. What do we do every day to show people we care about them? We will be making and mailing Valentines to our families as well as exchanging Valentines at school. Please send 16 valentines with your child’s name on the back on Friday. PLEASE do not address them to make the job of passing them out easier for the children. If you have any small boxes ( shoe box size or similar) please bring them in. the children will decorate them for their valentines.

Outside play and fresh air is important for health and development. Please be sure to send your child to school, daily, prepared for outside play with a heavy coat, gloves, hats, and boots.

Fall 2013 News and Notes



Fall is officially here! With the change in season comes cooler temperatures, and many changes in the world around us. Please be sure your child’s extra clothes supply are the correct size and weight for the current temperatures as well as labeled with their name.


We have been extremely busy lately. We have explored “Color in our World”, ‘Our Five Senses”, “Feelings and Emotions”, “Me and My Family”, and “Shapes all Around Us”. the children are still working on their own “All About Me “ books which will be coming home soon. Each book will have additional blank pages that can be completed as a family for a wonderful keepsake. We have also investigated the many jobs in our community as well as what our parents do at work. The children had some great ideas of what mom and dad do at work. You’ll be happy to know some of you play on your computer, some play with your friends, and others help people.


As we get closer to Halloween we will be learning about the animals that are awake while we sleep, “nocturnal animals”. We have some great stories about Owls, Raccoons and bats to guide us in our journey.


We will also begin our preparations for Halloween by practicing our Halloween songs, making Halloween decorations, and making some Halloween snacks. We have also once again been invited to Trick or Treat to some of the businesses in the adjacent Sunnen Business Park. Parents, grandparents or other family members are welcome to join us. See Ann for more details.


Inclement Weather: In preparation of winter weather, we have reviewed our snow watch information and policy. It has always been the policy of the Center to close only in extreme weather conditions, in order to assure the safety of families and staff.



In the event that it would be necessary to close the Center, we will do so in a timely manner so that you may make other necessary arrangements. Announcements will be made on KSDK-Channel 5. Should morning conditions prove hazardous, an announcement of SNOW SCHEDULE means the Center will open at 9:30 am rather than 6:30 am.


We will watch closely the decision of the Maplewood/Richmond Heights School District. If the District, and other local districts, feel the streets in the area are hazardous for children and staff, then we generally follow their decision.


If a storm occurs during the day, the Center will not close unless necessary, but we encourage parents to listen to weather updates and come early if at all possible to insure everyone gets home safely.


We appreciate your support in our effort to do our best for children and families!



April 2013 , News and Notes

We, kids and teachers alike, are so excited for the warmer weather and sunshine. Last week we were able to enjoy the outdoors everyday for the first time in months. With the warmer weather comes mosquitoes and sun exposure. Please complete the attached permission slips for Mosquito repellent, sunscreen and to go for neighborhood walks so we have an updated copy in everyone’s file. Any donations of spray on sunscreen and mosquito repellent would be greatly appreciated.

Last week we started investigating our alphabet. On Monday we made alligator “A”s. Tuesday we glued Blue, Black, and Brown Buttons on Blue “B”s. Wednesday we read a book about “Copy Cats” and glued cotton on “C”s. Thursday was “D” day so we read “ If You Give a Dog a Donut” and made donuts for breakfast followed by decorating “D”s as Dogs. Friday we finished off the week by painting “E”s at the easel and gluing eyes, ears and eggs to “E”s. The kids have been very excited every day to learn about the letter of the day. This week we move on to F through J. Each day our activities and stories revolve around the special letter. So be sure to check your child take home notes and ask them about their day. We will continue our journey through the Alphabet till May 10th.

We have lately seen some changes at Home Away From Home.

Ms Kathy has left us to have more time with her family. We certainly wish her the best. And Ms Molly after over 2 years at HAFH is moving on to a position with LaPetite. We wish her the best as she explores other options in education.

Ms Lauren Egbert has recently joined our staff working part time afternoons. She is currently enrolled in her second semester at St Louis Community College. Ms. Lauren is working towards a degree in education.

Romy Uelk who some of you know as “Lena’s mom” or “Ms. Ann’s oldest daughter” is helping out on Monday afternoons and Friday mornings. Romy worked at HAFH during her high school and college years and the children are familiar with her so her transition to staff has been easy for all.

I am currently seeking a part time assistant. If you know of someone that you would recommend please have them contact me ASAP for details.

January 2013 News


With winter upon us I have a few important reminders for parents.

Please remember one of our most important goals is keeping the children safe and healthy. In order for us to do this we need your help. Children need fresh air and sunshine. Missouri state licensing requires outside play time daily for the children unless there are heat or cold warnings, or rain. Please send your child prepared this time of year with warm coats, hats, scarves, gloves, and boots( if it is wet or snowy). Also please be sure they have an extra change of clothes ,that are appropriate size and season, and labeled with their name. Even children who have been potty trained for some time may need a change of clothes because of spills, illness or a surprise “accident”.


It is normal for children this age to get sick as they build their own immune systems. We do what we can here at school by sanitizing toys and equipment and by teaching the children proper hand washing skills. We remind the children often to cover when they cough and sneeze and to wipe and dispose of tissues properly. Please watch your children closely for signs of illness and keep them home until they are fever and symptom free for 24 hours without fever reducing medications ,such as tylenol and motrin. If their doctor feels they are well enough to participate at school but still need medication please be sure to fill out the appropriate authorization form so we can give it to them. If it is a prescription it needs to be in the original container from the pharmacy, with the label attached showing the child’s name and doctor recommended dosage schedule.


In the event of dangerous weather conditions that would cause HAFH to close it will be broadcast on News Channel 5 Storm watch in the morning starting at 4am. This information is also listed on their website


 Scholastic Book Club orders can be returned to school with a check made payable to scholastic or placed online with a credit card.


Last but not least Thanks for all the Christmas gifts, from candles to wine to home made goodies it is all deeply appreciated.



October 2012

It’s hard to believe September is already passed and we are moving full speed ahead into October. We have been reminded lately that fall is here as temperatures and leaves begin to fall. Please remember to dress your child in layers as the mornings have been quite chilly and yet afternoons can still get very warm. Outside play time is a very important part of our day. It provides needed fresh air and sunshine as well as it is great exercise. It also offers many opportunities to observe and discuss the changes in the weather and the world around us.


Lately we have been focusing on farm life including farm animals, fall harvest, and farm jobs. Many “Thanks” to Meg’s Mom, Brooke, for bringing one of their familie’s chickens for a visit. The children enjoyed following it around the playground, watching it eat, seeing some of her eggs and feeling her feathers. We then followed the visit with “Feather Painting” at the easel. Our paintings and pictures of the visit are posted by the back door. In the coming days we will be comparing, tasting and cooking with a variety of apples. We will even be trying our hands at some recipes using another fall favorite, Pumpkins.


The children have showed a growing interest in each others names. Many of them not only recognize their own written name but also some of the other children’s names as well. They have been singing a variety of “name songs” , created some beautiful “name art”, and searched for matching names in the sensory tub full of rice.


Halloween is always a favorite holiday for children. We have once again been invited to trick or treat to some of the neighboring businesses in the Sunnen business park. This event will be happening on Friday October 26 from 9am -11:30 am. And all family members are welcome to join us. The children will eagerly be practicing their songs to perform for everyone. (hopefully Ms Ann will still have a voice by the end of the day) If your child does not normally attend on Fridays but you would still like to join us please let us know so we can plan accordingly.


Home Away From Home is proud to say that we have not seen a tuition increase since February of 2009. Unfortunately due to rising expenses across the board we will need to increase tuition starting January 7, 2013 . The new rates will be as follows:

Under 2 years of age- $60 per day, $275 per week

Over 2 years of age- $38 per day, $170 per week