Category Archives: Blog


Reflections on a Brookridge Education


I’ve always been well aware that I experienced a happy childhood, and without question, Brookridge Day School is critical to why this is true!! My happy memories are very specific, which indicates Brookridge made quite an impression on me! I remember playing with blocks in the Happy Room.  Another favorite was playing “Red Rover” and […]

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Get to know us: Meet First Grade Teacher Keir Mercer!


If you’ve been following our blog or social media, then you know that we’re introducing you to each one of the talented and dedicated professionals that make up Overland Park’s Brookridge Day School. We recently had BDS First Grade Teacher Keir Mercer take time to tell us a little more about herself. Meet Keir!

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Get to know us: Pre-K teacher Heather Vassmer!


Over the course of the next few months we’re going to introduce you to each one of the talented and dedicated professionals that make up Overland Park’s Brookridge Day School. We recently had BDS Pre-K teacher Heather Vassmer take time to tell us a little more about herself. Meet Heather! How long have you been at […]

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Kansas City museums- a family treasure!


Museums are a great resource for families during the winter, especially in Kansas City. Activities abound for young children!

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Get to know us: Meet Music Teacher Donya Booth!


Over the course of the next few months we’re going to introduce you to each one of the talented and dedicated professionals that make up Overland Park’s Brookridge Day School. We recently had our wonderful music teacher, DONYA BOOTH,  take time to tell us a little more about herself. Meet Donya! How long have you been […]

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Data notebooks- A Brookridge advantage!


Kindergartners at Brookridge Day School are given their own notebooks. Through these, they track their progress on milestones identifying letters, color words, number words and more. This is yet another example of the Brookridge Advantage!

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Pre-K students visit BDS Kindergarten


Today our class got to visit Mrs. Moore’s Kindergarten classroom (Room 1) together with Mrs. Stone’s class. The children were SO EXCITED to be big kids– if only for a while! Mrs. Moore introduced herself to each child one-by-one and had each Happy Room student introduce themselves to the classroom. She then paired her class with the […]

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Genius hour for 3rd graders


What is genius hour? Genius hour is one-hour-a-week that I let my Brookridge Day School 3rd graders research whatever topic they choose to research! YES! THEY CHOOSE! Every week there is an hour dedicated to just that topic. They research and prepare a project. It can be a “how-to” topic, a famous person, a state, […]

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Conflict resolution for first graders


  Our Brookridge Day School first grade class spent the month of October learning about conflict resolution.  Each week we focused on a different aspect of conflicts and resolutions and how to handle them.  We learned about feelings and why friends might disagree.  Each week, we discussed and practiced our new skills.  Our hope is […]

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Get to know us:  Brookridge Day School Principal Barbara Brown


Over the course of the next few months we’re going to introduce you to each one of the talented and dedicated professionals that make up Overland Park’s Brookridge Day School.  We recently had Principal Barbara Brown take time to tell us a little more about herself. Meet Barb! How long have you been at Brookridge […]

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Get to know us: 3rd Grade Teacher Katie Shonkwiler


Over the course of the next few months we’re going to introduce you to each one of the talented and dedicated professionals that make up Overland Park’s Brookridge Day School. We recently had 3rd grade teacher Katie Shonkwiler take time to tell us a little more about herself. Meet Katie! How long have you been […]

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Accomplishing tasks- it’s as Easy as 1-2-3


Are you looking for tips to help your child accomplish tasks at home? The Easy as 1-2-3 formula is one that the teachers at Brookridge Day School use to help students accomplish tasks at school. The good news is that this formula will work for any task, in any setting, from completing homework to brushing […]

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Brookridge Alumni


“Hey, I remember you!” I said to one of my former students, a student I had what seems a lifetime ago. Because I do remember my students. Of course I do. Who could forget? I remember the way she used to walk on her tiptoes and always had something to say. For me, she is frozen in […]

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Fall faves in Kansas City: Renaissance Festival and Louisburg Cider Mill!


Fall is my favorite time of year.  The colors of the falling leaves, the crispness in the air and the cool nights remind all of us to enjoy this beautiful season as winter will be setting in soon. Fall is a great time to experience one of my favorite places, Louisburg Cider Mill. Your kids […]

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Teaching through Transition Tricks


What is a transition, you might ask? A transition is a way to move a child or group of children from one task to another. The trick to a successful transition is what you make of it in the classroom. The more fun you have with the children, the more they find it fun. If […]

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Talking to Children about Tragedy


These days, the world feels more unsafe than ever. While the events of Las Vegas inspired me to write this post, there have been so many incidents that also warrant this information. It is important to remember that these tragedies are rare. It hardly feels that way, between our catastrophic hurricane season and several violent […]

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How to make landforms (and reinforce a lesson) out of kid-friendly snacks!


As first grade teachers, we are always trying to create a learning environment that is engaging, interactive, and inspiring.  Room 4 students recently studied the earth’s landforms, and as a culminating activity, we provided the kids with blue Cool Whip, green food coloring, vanilla wafers, chocolate chips, Hershey kisses, green coconut, candy corn, goldfish crackers […]

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Nurturing the whole child through solid relationships


At Brookridge Day School, our purpose is to provide an environment where the whole child is nurtured. An aspect of this whole child approach is creating strong and positive relationships with each child. Behavior management strategies, used to improve these relationships, is something that has been on my mind lately. The number one component in […]

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STEAM Books for Younger Kids


It is not a secret that I love books. I love reading them (to myself and others). I love making things with them (My Christmas tree was made of books last year). I love books!  But I also love what books can inspire others to do. There are books that promote critical and creative thinking […]

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Brookridge Day School enjoys Percussion Magic!


Last week our friends Johnny and Adam, from Percussion Magic came back to Brookridge Day School and our preschoolers loved every minute of it! They played the guitar and sang songs as we danced along. They showed us different instruments like the maracas, tambourine, claves and drums. Johnny and Adam made sure to explain and show us how each […]

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First Day of School


Welcome to Brookridge! It’s the first day of school in the 2017-2018 school year!

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“Summer Smarts” theme weeks are a hit!


The Room 5 teachers are having a blast incorporating “Summer Smarts” into our daily summer classroom schedules. They do their best to incorporate math, science or literacy into whatever the theme is for that week. During Crazy Sock Week, the kids used socks to play a pattern matching game. During Hat Week, Preschool Room 5 […]

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Tasty Tuesdays are taking summer by storm!


Room 5 is taking full advantage of “Tasty Tuesdays!” Each week the teachers try to come up with a fun treat for the classroom to make matching whatever the theme is that particular week. So far, the kiddos have enjoyed making pigs in a blanket during our party pig bounce house week, and trail mix, […]

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Indoor (Recess) Ideas for Preschoolers


In Room 5 the dreaded indoor recess is no longer dreaded! We keep two cabinets in our classroom specifically dedicated to indoor recess only. That way, we know our kiddos haven’t played with it over and over again and they will be excited to get it out when the weather is questionable! In our cabinet, […]

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Recycling for Preschoolers


The 3 and 4 year old children are really enjoying their Recycling Unit in Room 5! They worked hard with Mrs. McCarthy on a science project to make recycled paper out of paper that came from a shredding machine. They used water, shredded paper, a blender, and a screen to make the shredded pieces whole […]

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Reflections on Appreciation


When teaching is your calling, your life’s work and mission, the children truly fill the need of being appreciated. That said, as a principal of a school filled with talented educators, I am always looking for ways to show our teachers how much we appreciate their dedication to the children that they work with every […]

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Kindergarten Readiness


As your child’s preschool years come to an end you are undoubtedly thinking about kindergarten. It is important to choose the right school environment for your child, as well as understanding the skills a child needs to be successful as they move into kindergarten. A survey of kindergarten teachers revealed the top readiness skills that […]

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The Brookridge Testing Advantage


Here at Brookridge Day School, we pride ourselves on high state assessment scores year after year. You might wonder what the magic is behind this.  Easy…state assessments are not our focus! We focus on confidence and effort and showing what you know. At Brookridge we have never and will never “teach to the test.” We […]

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Teachable Moments


Learning does not end once your child leaves the classroom. It is important to always get your child thinking about school-related things even once they are out of the classroom or out of school. This does not necessarily mean assigning numerous worksheets, or even practicing writing or math skills. It can be something as simple […]

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How to protect your children from the winter weather elements


Keeping young children safe and warm during the winter is a team effort. Young children are unaware of the dangers of extreme cold weather and more likely to lose body heat more quickly than adults. It is our duty as parents and/or teachers to keep children protected at all times while they are under our […]

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The Buddy Bench


The buddy bench is a simple idea that started in Germany to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on school playgrounds.  After reading about the buddy bench concept, a first grader in Pennsylvania wanted a buddy bench for his school. Now buddy benches are in schools across the country.   Earlier this year, one of our […]

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Winter wear self-help skills for the kindergartner


With the changing temperatures these last few weeks, the kiddos in my classroom have been chomping at the bit for that first snow storm.  They discuss all of the fun things that accompany the cooler weather: the first snowflake, snowmen they will build, hot cocoa, holiday traditions, and so on. Now as a teacher, I […]

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How to set goals in Kindergarten


It’s never too early to start setting goals. In Kindergarten at BDS, we are learning how to set goals for ourselves. Some goals are academic while others are more personal (tying shoes). Kindergartners need to be taught how to choose and set goals that are appropriate for them. A lot of my students want to […]

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Why Building Teamwork in a Classroom is Important


I have always started my year out establishing a sense of “team” in my classroom. We begin with our classroom having a name of “Team Shonkwiler.”  That is how we refer to our class, the students, parents, and myself. We are all a team! The first day of school we work in groups to make […]

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Using pumpkins as a sensory experience too


Preschoolers thrive off of sensory experiences and our Room 5 kiddos crave them like crazy! Each week the teachers in Room 5 try to put something new and different inside of a bucket (or on the classroom sensory table) for their students to smell, touch and see. One of the most popular sensory items that […]

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9 benefits of playing childrens’ board & card games


What your child most wants – and needs – is to be with you with no goal in mind beyond the joy of spending time together. She wants you to take pleasure in her, play with her, and listen to her. Nothing bolsters her self-esteem more! So why not pull out a board game or […]

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Thanksgiving means turkey projects at BDS!


We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family and friends!  Room 5 has been having a lot of fun incorporating turkey-themed projects and activities into their daily lessons. Ms. Tope has had a great time getting the kids interested in counting by using feathers to catch their attention! Using feathers in the sensory […]

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Teaching your preschooler to be thankful – all year long


During November, many of us will gather with family and we’ll feel thankful for our turkey dinners and our many blessings. Teachers will talk about the Pilgrims and the Native Americans and how they thanked each other for their kindness. It’s also a good time to think about how we teach our children to feel […]

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How to engage reluctant readers: in the classroom and at home (Part 2 of 2)


Welcome back!  Hopefully, you were able to read Part 1 of this two-parter on how to engage reluctant readers.  If you missed it, please click here to read it!   Role Model:   Finally, let kids see you read! Role model reading by actual reading, not talking about reading or only encouraging it. Many youth […]

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How to engage reluctant readers: in the classroom and at home (Part 1 of 2)


As the holiday season looms closer and I am making my gift lists for families and friends, I think about books. Yet, let’s be honest…I am always thinking about books. I am an avid reader and I love to encourage literacy, so guess what my friends and families might be getting for the holidays? Yep, […]

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StoryBots- an awesome learning program for kids ages 3-8


Pull up any ‘StoryBots’ video on YouTube and a yellow StoryBot will show up and cheer at the video’s start. That is how I feel about StoryBots- like I could cheer! So what is a StoryBot? This interactive website is one of the best in education. StoryBots is a multi-platform learning program for children ages […]

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Colors and counting- easy activities for the beginning preschooler


Room C’s classroom theme this year has been COLORS. A few weeks ago, the Fun Friday theme for summer also happened to be COLORS! The kiddos in Room C really enjoyed spending the week reviewing their colors, working on new and fun art projects, and showing Ms. Tope what they’ve retained throughout their year. Not […]

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Fostering self-help skills in the preschooler


The main focus in Room C is for the students to learn social and emotional skills. One of the most important things we can foster is “self-help” skills. These skills are very important for the beginning preschooler and really help a child to become more independent and get in the mindset of “I can do […]

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Keep academic skills sharp by playing board games this summer


Want to keep your child’s academic skills sharp this summer? Play a board game. We recently had game day at our school and I realized how many skills are involved in playing a game. Children enhance their small motor skills when they roll a dice, spin a spinner or move a board piece. Valuable lessons […]

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Fridays are fun at Brookridge Day School Summer Camp


Every Friday is FUN at Brookridge Day School’s summer camp, and the Room C kiddos are loving it! On Fun Fridays, the children get to visit Room D with Mrs. Stewart, where she has set up different games and activities for the kids to do; each week brings a different theme and activity. This week […]

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Picnic on the Playground & Scholastic Book Fair


The Brookridge Day School event of the summer will be Friday, June 3rd.  The Book Fair will be open from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm while the picnic event will be from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm.  The children must be accompanied by an adult for this event.

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Optional Summer Activities


Our optional summer activities are offered throughout the summer and help customize your child’s summer experience here at Brookridge.  With each month’s newsletter, we will include the details for that month’s field trips and optional activities. How does it work? Simply check the activities you wish for your child to participate that month, total the […]

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Summer


We like to stay busy- very busy- and summer begins next week!  Our Summer at BDS program runs from May 31 through August 3, 2016.  Families can choose between full-time or part-time attendance to best meet their needs for the ten weeks of summer!  We offer a summer program brimming with activities and fun, with […]

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Time to Talk about Potty Time


Let me begin by stating that I am by no means an expert on potty training. Yes, I have been assisting parents and children with potty training for the majority of the time I’ve spent in education, but I am not a parent nor do I have a Ph.D. in potty training. But let’s be […]

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Kindergarten Science Update: All Hands on Deck!


Over the last year, I have had such a great time learning how my kindergarten kiddos absorb different information.  As a kindergarten team, we try to teach to the whole child and incorporate lessons that do just that.  I have found the most success during our science block (which lends itself nicely to using all […]

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