We’re dropping in with an update on our newest location– Mars, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh!
The new center, located at 230 Scharberry Lane (just off Route 228), will accommodate 164 children ages 6 weeks to 12 years. The facility is 10,799 square feet and will feature a 20,000 square foot playground!
Currently, construction is focused on the exterior of the building. Inside, the walls are up and the heating and cooling systems are almost complete. Next week, permanent power will go into the building and construction of the playground will begin. The parking lot will be paved in October.
Our Mars location will include all of the Doodle Differences families have boasted about. WatchMeGrow video surveillance system allows enrolled families to securely view their child’s classroom online from any device; Tadpoles, an electronic messaging program, allows us to provide all the details about your child’s day (plus photos and videos!) through email or an app on your phone. Additionally, a healthy menu filled with fresh fruit and meals prepared onsite in our professional-grade kitchen will be available to all.
“Our mission has remained the same since our inception nearly 25 years ago — to build a community of happy children, happy parents and happy teachers,” said Anthony Insinna, CEO of Doodle Bugs!. “We are delighted to be growing our doodle community in Pennsylvania and look forward to bringing the doodle difference to more families.”
The project is on schedule for completion in March 2017. We are looking forward to getting into the building to furnish and make sure it’s ready for a whole new group of Doodle Families!
We are so excited to introduce to you our new management team at our Lake Worth, Florida location!
Please join us in welcoming Center Director, Crystal Elliott (left) and Director Assistant, Melissa Montalbano (right). The dynamic duo began their training program earlier this month with members of our Administrative Team in Buffalo, NY. Training has involved a trip up to Buffalo as well as several members from our team in Western New York traveling down to Florida to conduct a series of coaching sessions, ensuring that these new leaders begin with a great Doodle Bugs! foundation.
Crystal earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Child & Family Development from Stephen F. Austin State University. For the last six years, she owned and directed her own child care center in Texas before recently relocating to Florida.
Melissa earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She comes to Doodle Bugs! with eight years of experience from Waters Edge Elementary School. Additionally, Melissa’s experience includes coordinating and implementing hands on, age appropriate curriculum at the Mailman Segal Institute where she was the lead pre-k teacher.
We are thrilled to have Crystal and Melissa at the helm in Lake Worth and are excited for the future in Florida.
Interested in getting to know more about these women? You’re invited to join us on Wednesday, October 5 from 5:30pm – 7:00pm for a fun, family-friendly Open House. The Lake Worth event will feature a scavenger hunt that encourages children and their families to explore our center and get to know the new management team–plus, you can collect prizes along the way!
Open House is happening at all 13 of our locations. At each center, teachers will welcome families into their beautiful classrooms for a meet and greet. Classrooms will have lots of fall-themed activities for all ages. Plus, stay for dinner and visit with other Doodle Families–we’ll be serving pizza, fruit and refreshments!
For team Tuesday this week, we’d like to invite you all to spend an evening with our fantastic teachers at our annual Fall Open House happening Wednesday, October 5 from 5:30 – 7pm at all Doodle Bugs! locations.
Open House is a perfect opportunity for us to showcase our wonderful teachers! During the event, all of our Lead Teachers will welcome families into their classroom for a meet and greet. It’s also a great time for families to stop in to learn a little more about our innovative and exclusive Bravo! by Doodle Bugs! Curriculum and what to expect in the school year to come.
Open House is a free, family-fun event. Each classroom (with the exception of Infant Rooms) will feature a different fall-themed craft or activity. We will also be serving pizza and fruit for dinner.
We can’t wait to see you! Check out the event on Facebook and let us know you’re coming.
The school year has begun and it has been so much fun getting to know new friends and teachers. Now it’s time to work on your best smile because picture day is right around the corner!
Check out your center’s date below. Need more information? Stop by the front desk!
McCandless, Pa – September 19, 20, 21
Webster, NY – September 22, 23
Penfield, NY – September 26, 27
Victor, NY – September 26, 27
Henrietta, NY – September 28, 29
Lancaster, NY – October 6, 7
Orchard Park, NY – October 11, 12
Cheektowaga, NY – October 13, 14
Lake Worth, FL – October 13, 14
Clarence, NY – October 17, 18
West Amherst – October 18, 19
East Amherst – October 26, 27
Greece, NY – November 2, 3
Last week, Mike Seege’s fast-paced, high-energy magic show, Say No to Bullying, began in area elementary schools. This is the second year that Doodle Bugs! is sponsoring the program that spreads an anti-bullying message to thousands of children.
The school year has only just begun, but Mike has already put on several shows in Western New York elementary schools. Students have responded wonderfully! His shows are incredibly engaging and spread a positive message to be a buddy, not a bully. This year, Mike Seege and Doodle Bugs! are thrilled to be able to expand the program beyond Western New York and into schools in the Pittsburgh, PA and South Florida area!
According to studies, 160,000 children skip school each day because of bullying. Bullying can threaten a student’s physical and emotional safety at school and negatively impact their ability to learn.
Doodle Bugs! President and CEO, Anthony Insinna, believes strongly in initiatives that support Doodle Bugs’ Kindness Curriculum. “We know that the best way to address bullying is to stop it before it starts, so we are thrilled to bring such an engaging, kid-friendly, anti-bullying program to local schools”. Insinna goes on to say “We hope that our renewed sponsorship of the program helps to cultivate an environment that promotes respect and ensures all individuals are treated with fairness and dignity”.
Presented in schools all over the country, Mike Seege’s program uses magic, comedy and audience participation to help children understand what bullying is and what we can do to stop it. Mike is still booking shows– If you’re interested in bringing the Say No to Bullying Magic Show to your organization, you can get more information at sayno2bullyingmagicshow.com or by calling 716-698-2787.
A new month means another employee recognition! In September, we’d like to shine our spotlight on a Lead Teacher from our Cheektowaga, NY location, Karen Colquhoun! Way to go, Karen!
Miss Karen has been a part of our Doodle Bugs! team for 11 years! We continue to marvel at her ability to always be adaptable to changes in the workplace. She seamlessly transitions from teaching pre-kindergarten during the school year to working with school-age children during the summer’s Doodle Day Camp. Her transition not only involves new children, parents, and curriculum, but literally involves moving to an entirely new classroom. Her transformation of the gym into an age-appropriate, inviting, engaging“home base” for school-age campers is inspiring.
Karen is also a wonderful example of a teacher who is responsive to the needs of children and families. Families with pre-kindergarteners love their time with Miss Karen. Her thoughtful curriculum implementation differentiates learning experiences to align with children’s interests and abilities. Not only are Miss Karen’s children well-prepared for kindergarten, they love coming to school – a precursor for success in elementary school and beyond.
Happy September! For most (children and adults!), the month of September and the Labor Day holiday comes with a lot of mixed emotions. Excitement for a new chapter, anxiety about change, sadness that “he’s not a baby anymore”, relief for the routine that fall brings, disappointed that summer is coming to an end– the list goes on.
For many families, the shift in routine includes a long list of to-dos; from adjusting bedtimes to mastering the art of lunch packing. Despite good intentions, families can still struggle with these new transitions weeks after the start of school.
According to Christina Fecio, Director of Education here at Doodle Bugs!, it’s not too late to help make the new routines and schedules easier for young children
“Transitions to back to school or into new routines can be stressful and takes time to adjust even after they go into effect. It’s perfectly normal for the adjustment to take weeks. The best advice for families is to stay patient and positive while you try these tips” Fecio said.
- For toddlers, comfort items, such as blankets, loveys, stuffed animals are all developmentally appropriate and help children feel secure and develop confidence. There is no need to force young children to give these items up, even after weeks of a new routine. Their need for the comfort items often remain all year long. When a child is ready to put them aside, they will. Taking them away can often cause trauma and disruption.
- Reading books about going to school and saying goodbye to parents, such as Audrey Penn’s The Kissing Hand or David Shannon’s David Goes to School can help children understand these actions and identify with them in a positive way. If your child seems anxious or nervous about school, don’t read these books at bedtime. Read after dinner or at an earlier time of day, when you have time to talk through any questions or insecurities.
- Be realistic with bed time. Continue to adjust bedtime slightly, with some “quiet time” (stories and snuggles, ideally not screens because they can be stimulating) in advance of lights out. It might take a few weeks to move back to your preferred school schedule, but it will get there eventually.
- Bring a family photo to school. Infant and toddler caregivers will display them at baby’s eye level or use them to create a book, while preschool and pre-K teachers will also use them to create matching games and add a familiar element to literacy centers.
- Say goodbye, ideally with a smile on your face. As tempting as it might be to sneak out of the classroom while your child is distracted, you’re teaching invaluable lessons about reliability, trust, and routines when you say, “I’m leaving now and will see you after work.” Your child learns that you’re true to your word and that you always come back.
- Be gentle with yourself. If cereal and fruit for dinner means a calmer, less frazzled parent and a more relaxed evening routine, go with it!