December 2016 News and Notes

December is here already and with it colder temperatures. As we think about all the ways we prepare for the colder temperatures we also discuss what animals do in colder climates to stay warm. Some animals will migrate to warmer places while others hibernate. Some grow thicker coats while we wear warmer clothes. Please be sure your child has a weather and size appropriate change of clothes in their cubbies. Outside playtime is not only required by Missouri State Child Care Licensing but it is also a proven component of healthy living habits. Please be sure your child comes to school prepared for outside play every day. If there is snow on the ground, boots and a change of dry shoes or slippers for inside play are strongly encouraged. Warm hats and gloves also help to keep the children comfortable while playing outdoors in chilly weather. Please label them with your child’s name so we know who to return lost items to.
Some animals live in cold climates year around, such as Polar bears, Penguins and Moose. These are just a few of the animals that we will be focusing on through December 9th. We will be talking about how each of the animals live, what they eat and what they do to stay warm. We also have some real fur scraps from Alaska as well as a real moose antler that the children will have the opportunity to touch, talk about, and compare the textures of .
On Monday December 12th we will begin our preparations for the holidays. Some of us celebrate Christmas while some of our families celebrate Hanukkah. This year Hanukkah begins on December 24th and goes through January 1st. On Thursday December 29th and Friday 30th we will be reading some Hanukkah books and making Latkes (potato pancakes) for lunch. Tuesday and Wednesday Dec 27 & 28 will be “Show & Share”/ Pajama party days. Please encourage your child to bring a new toy, book or movie that they received for Christmas that they can tell us about and are willing to share with their friends. The children also love having Pajama party days. Staff and kids are encouraged to wear their comfy Pjs on these days.
When school resumes after the New Year Holiday on Tuesday January 3rd we will be focusing on Favorite Fairy Tales. If your child has any movies or books related to this theme feel free to bring them in.
One of our favorite fairy tales is always the Gingerbread man. we will be using all of our senses to explore this story through Gingerbread playdo, Gingerbread puffy paint and creating our own Gingerbread man that will magically escape from the oven during nap time leaving us on a fun game of hide and seek so we can gobble him up for afternoon snack.
HAFH will be closed Monday 12/26 & Monday 1/2

October 2016 News and Notes

Fall is officially here and with it comes cooler temperatures, leaves changing colors, and wardrobe changes. There are many ways that the children can observe the seasonal changes. They will have many opportunities to compare and contrast leaves as they begin to change. Some of our friends have already been apple picking with their families and have enjoyed telling their friends about their experience. If your family goes apple picking or to a pumpkin patch please let them bring a picture to show their friends and talk about their experience. This past week we’ve spent our days discussing the changes around us and how we prepare for them.
Next we will be moving on to one of our favorite fruit, the apple. We will be comparing the ways that apples look and taste, helping us to decide what we like best about apples and which is our favorite. We will talk about how they grow and talk about our own personal experiences recently at apple orchards. We will also be trying our hands at a recipe for Apple Pizzas. This has proven to be a favorite with the children in the past. A copy of the recipe will come home.
Another favorite fall crop is Pumpkins. Many of us look forward to fall just to be able to taste many of the great pumpkin recipes that we associate with fall. Here at school we will be making pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin pies and pumpkin cookies. We will also be studying pumpkins through books, art and science activities. We are asking for your assistance – Please send a small pumpkin to school with your child to decorate for Halloween.
HALLOWEEN will be our focus the week of October 24-28. we will be reading lots of fun Halloween books and learning some fun Halloween songs. We have also accumulated a great variety of costumes to try out in our dramatic play area for the week. On Friday October 28th we have been invited to bring the children Trick or Treating to some of the businesses in the adjacent Sunnen Business Park. If your time allows and you would like to join us you are more than welcome!! We will need to leave promptly by 9:15 in order to make our rounds and be back in time for lunch by 11:30.

A few reminders for Parents
*Scholastic orders are attached please return them or place your orders online by next Wednesday October 19th.
*Please check your child’s cubbie and make sure they have a change of clothes that is appropriate size and season.
*Please remember that State Licensing requires every child to have a blanket for nap that get laundered weekly.
*Your budding artists often accumulate a lot of work in their cubbies for you to admire. Please check their cubbies daily for priceless works of art and important notes.

September 2016 News

As summer comes to a close we are reminded that “one constant in life is CHANGE”. Some of our friends have moved on, new friends have joined us and a new staff member as joined our “family”.  Change can be hard and unsettling and yet exciting at the same time for children. Even though we understand that consistency is important for children it can be hard to maintain it sometimes. It’s important that as adults we recognize the stress that change can cause for children and give them the additional support they need.

As our group changes the children are working to figure out where they fit in to the new group. As we get to know our new friends we also learn more about ourselves and our old friends. This week we will be talking about what it means to be a friend. Kindness is something that children learn by watching people around them. It’s important that the important people in a child’s life model kindness and respect for others every day. Through stories, songs, discussions, games, and cooperative art projects we will be learning about the many ways we can be good friends to others.


*MO state Licensing requires that all children have a blanket for nap and that it be laundered weekly.

*Tuition is due on Friday for the following week. If received after closing on Tuesday a $25 late fee will be charged to your account.

*In order for staff to participate in college courses , attend continuing education workshops, and spend time with their own families we close promptly at 6:00 pm daily. Please arrive to pick up your child early enough to gather their belongings, talk with staff, etc and still be on your way before 6:00pm. Late pick ups will be charged $1 a minute late pick up fee. Thanks for your cooperation.

Winter weather

As usual St Louis has some crazy and unpredictable winter weather conditions. So far this winter we have seen everything from cold wind chills and snow to warm weather and excessive amounts of rain. with the potential of inclement weather  looming over us it is important that everyone is aware of our policies that are meant to insure the safety of everyone, families and staff alike.

Inclement Weather: In preparation of winter weather, we have reviewed our snow watch information and policy. It has always been the policy of  HAFH 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, there may be an announcement of SNOW SCHEDULE means the Center will open at 9:30 amrather 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!



With the holiday season and winter in full swing there are a few important reminders for families.
Please be sure that your child is prepared for outside play daily. Missouri state licensing requires outside play daily unless it is raining or there are heat or cold warnings. This means if there is snow on the ground the children will need boots and either water resistant pants , snow suit or a change of clothes to insure their comfort. With the temperatures getting colder also be sure they are prepared with a warm coat, gloves and a hat. Please label every item with their name so if items get misplaced we know who they belong to. Also please be sure your child has a change of clothes in their cubbie that is appropriate to the season and the correct size. Even our most skilled and independent children can be caught in a flood of spilled milk or paint and they are much more comfortable in clothes that belong to them and fit well. Please check your extra clothes supply at home and launder& return any clothes that have been borrowed from HAFH. Our extra clothes stash is dwindling due to unreturned borrowed clothes.
Lately the children have had a good time preparing for Thanksgiving by talking about the way that the pilgrims lived and how it was so different from us. They found it fascinating that they had to farm their own fruits and vegetables and they cut down trees to make their homes. How lucky we are to have grocery stores and hardware stores!
This week by popular demand we will be delving into “Outer Space”. This is a very abstract concept for children. Today we focused on stars. We also pretended we were Astronauts and took our own adventure in space as we pretended to put on our space suits, float in space and dodge meteors. We continued our week cutting and gluing shapes to create a rocket, and gluing shiny materials to moon and star shapes. The children have also enjoyed playing with plastic astronauts and rockets in sawdust and in “Moon Mud” ( a cornstarch and shaving cream mixture). Please take a minute this week sometime to check out the stars with your child. Hopefully the clouds will clear enough to see them. Some new words that may have been added to your child’s vocabulary this week are: universe, planets, constellations and astronaut.
Please mark your calendars for the upcoming holidays. As stated in the parent handbook we will closing at 1:00 on Christmas Eve, 12/24, and New Years Eve, 12/31. We will also be closed all day on Christmas Day, 12/25, and New Years Day.
Starting Monday February 1st a tuition increase will be going into effect. The new rates will be as follows: Under 2 years of age- $64 per day (for less than 5 days)
$295 per week
Over 2 years thru 6 years of age- $43 per day(for less than 5 days)
$190 per week

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