Music Monday at Y.E.S!

July 9th, 2018

Music is a great way to teach counting skills with pre-school aged children for several reasons. First, children (and adults!) learn by auditory, visual or kinesthetic input and some children learn better with one of the three styles. Second, as any parent will tell you, children pick up songs very quickly and memorize the lines. The Ants Go Marching song is a great example of using song to teach counting and math to auditory learners.

What ways can we adapt this song for visual and kinesthetic learners? By printing the lyrics or watching video (visual), using hand signals or having children jump a certain number of times (kinetic), we can teach to each learning style in a fun, interactive and energy-burning way.


Introducing Y.E.S! Owner/Director Therese DiVerde

July 3rd, 2018

therese-diverde-yes-ownerJuly 2, 2018

Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

It is my distinct pleasure to inform you that I am the new Owner/Director of Young Explorers School and my name is Therese DiVerde. Building meaningful relationships and getting to know each other is my top priority. I am honored that Dr. Fil has entrusted me with serving all of you and while I know it will be tough to fill her shoes, I look forward to this important chapter in my life.

Change is often scary and it raises many emotions and questions. I would like to try and put your mind at ease by saying that any changes made will be slow, steady and purposeful and I welcome any and all input from the staff and parents (and the kids too!). In the very near future, I will be sending a survey home so that I can collect some data that will help guide me as we move forward.

A little bit about me….

  • I was born and raised outside of Chicago and moved to Tucson in 1981 (that makes me a native right?)
  • I am the 8th child of 12 so being around noise and kids is what I thrive on. We lost both of our amazing parents within the last 2 years after 72 years of marriage.
  • I have 28 nieces and nephews (not counting their spouses) and over 30 great nieces and nephews. I have been surrounded by kids my entire life.
  • I am the mother of 3 kids… one of each. (One of each you say?) I raised my stepson from the age of 4. I have a birth son and my youngest is my adopted daughter who was one of my students when I taught 7th
  • All three of my kids are married and each has 2 of their own children, so that makes me a “granny” of 6. One of my grandsons will soon be enrolling at Young Explorers.
  • I have a degree in Elementary Education which I earned in my 30’s. I taught 7th and 8th grade math in TUSD. I also worked as an Instructional Coach as well and have trained and developed many teachers and I love and respect the hard work and dedication of teachers.
  • I have a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and worked for Ombudsman Charter Schools as an administrator in Tucson, Phoenix and Las Vegas.
  • I once was a partner in a real estate development company so I have valuable experience operating a business. My passion however is and always will be working with children and their families.
  • I love to travel, I love to cook, I love to read, I love 70’s and 80’s rock, I love musicals and live theater, I love boating and I especially love to laugh.

I appreciate your patience, understanding and I promise to work relentlessly to make this transition as seamless as possible. I look forward to meeting each and every one of you.


Therese DiVerde

Pieces of the puzzle

June 28th, 2018

puzzles are a great learning tool for young childrenPuzzles provide educational value for children of all ages

A baby learns to recognize objects by their shape and not necessarily what position the object is in. A chair is a chair whether it is upright, lying down, or upside down-it doesn’t matter. The simple puzzles produced for younger children develop more refined and defined skills and recognition.

One of the first things a young child will learn is that it does matter which way up the pieces to fit in the hole. A typical early childhood puzzle is wooden with a picture and has spaces where the pieces fit to complete the picture. With a street scene, for example, there might be a separate car shape, bus shape, and a truck shape that complete a puzzle. These puzzles are typically robust as the first response of a child is to try to force the piece into place taking no notice of its shape. With adult guidance the young child learns to manipulate the piece until it does fit exactly.

There are several learning experiences that can be drawn from these very basic puzzles. Firstly it’s the hand eye coordination to manipulate the puzzle piece into position. To get the piece in also involves observation of the shape of the hole and the shape of the puzzle piece. At first the child deals with the problem by trial and error. The example and guidance of an adult begins to solidify the thinking process. The child starts to apply spatial awareness and mental manipulation as well as physical. This comes however, after the child has learned to put the piece in correctly through trial and error and memory.

The role of the adult at this stage is very important. The conversation about the picture, talking and demonstrating the correct method to complete it, accelerates the child’s learning process. Puzzles can create a great opportunity for increase in vocabulary, and recognition of objects and situations outside the child’s immediate world. The fact that the child learns that the piece only fits one way is in fact a pre reading skill. A letter needs to be the right way up and not backwards or upside down in a word.

These early childhood puzzles can be purchased in varying degrees of difficulty as the child’s spatial and reasoning skills become more developed. The child also learns through puzzles the recognition of color and shape with, of course, adult conversation increasing the potential of the child’s understanding and development. The green shape only fits in the green hole. This type of matching activity develops early reading skills.

At this stage it is good to introduce a new puzzle and do it with the child at first. Make this a happy social time and lots of fun. Do the puzzles with the child long enough to maintain the child’s interest and attention, but be ready to move on to another activity. Eventually when the child’s dexterity and confidence has increased, he will want to do it by himself. With praise and encouragement the child will practice until the skills become familiar. Then is the time to introduce puzzles with greater challenge.

Puzzles help develop the reasoning and deduction process of thinking. As well as skills such as spatial awareness, matching and sorting. Above all, puzzles present a great opportunity for language development and a happy social interaction with your child.

Why music education?

June 18th, 2018

music education for the whole child developmentMusic helps develop the whole child

At Young Explorers, we’ve been offering music education for more than 40 years. We believe that music is just as important as math, reading and play when developing the whole child.

Take a look at the benefits of raising a music lover, and find out how to share your love of music with your child.

Benefits of Music Education: 

  1. Enhance academic performance. Some studies have shown that kids who can play instruments receive higher SAT scores. Engaging with music involves math, science, and memory skills, as well as motor coordination.

  2. Explore other cultures. Even if your knowledge of French is limited to Frere Jacques, you realize how rhymes make it easier to speak other languages. Music also provides a window into how others live around the world.

  3. Promote teamwork. Bands and orchestras collaborate and resolve challenges. Each member waits their turn and respects the others’ contributions.
  4. Teach delayed gratification. Video games like Guitar Hero may be fun, but they don’t really teach you to play guitar. Kids who practice with a real instrument experience the rewards of perseverance.

  5. Build confidence. Racking up tangible accomplishments boosts self-esteem. Performing before a live audience can also be an early lesson in leadership and presentation abilities.

Encouraging Your Child’s Music Appreciation:

  1. Start early. Many experts think that the capacity for musical sensibility peaks between birth and age, nine so use age-appropriate methods. Your baby loves the sound of your voice, so chant while you rock them. Encourage your toddler to make noise with homemade shakers and drums.
  2. Sing together. Babies will often mimic any sound you make, while slightly older kids will enjoy silly songs. By the time they’re ready for elementary school, you can start introducing simple concepts like tempo and beat.
  3. Share activities. Keep it interesting with crafts and outings. Draw pictures of instruments to color, and check neighborhood calendars for children’s performances.

  4. Broaden their exposure. Drench your home in pleasant sounds. Play classical music and jazz on the radio. Offer sheet music and books. 

Supporting Your Child’s Music Studies:

  1. Talk with the teacher. Choose a music instructor with a warm personality who can describe their lesson plan in convincing detail. Ask them how you can assist your child, especially if you don’t know much about music yourself.

  2. Attend classes. Your child might feel more comfortable if you go with them to classes at first. Try to observe closely without distracting them from listening to the teacher.

  3. Praise effort. Let your child know you recognize their progress. Be specific about what they’re doing well, whether it’s practicing on a daily basis or playing an entire piece without hitting a single wrong note.

  4. Show enthusiasm. Show up for each performance that you possibly can. Give a big round of applause and take pictures for posterity. Help your child stay on track by engaging them in setting daily goals and figuring out activities of their own for holiday breaks and summer vacation.

  5. Make it fun. Remember that the main purpose is to help your child enjoy music, so let them decide how far they want to go. Let them know you love them just as much if they want to trade in their piano lessons for horseback riding.

Make symphonies and pop songs part of your family activities. Increasing your child’s understanding of music will enhance their performance in many arenas, and give them a source of joy and relaxation they can count on throughout their lives.

 Young Explorers May Parents Newsletter

May 16th, 2018

Dear Parents:

May is always an exciting month at Young Explorers School. Please note some of the special events we will have planned.

Friday, May 11, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. is our annual Mother’s Day Tea

This means moms (and dads who are also being both parents), grandmothers, aunts and guests are invited to join us. We will have special treats and surprises. Please let us know by May 9 if you plan on attending.

Memorial Day – May 28 YES! will be closed

Summer School

Summer Program reservations are being taken for our school age program. We will limit our class to 12 children. The rates for summer will include our swimming program and field trips.

June 9 is our Showers Point Campout 

We reserve Group Site 1 at Showers Point on Mt. Lemmon. Take the Organization Ridge road past the Boy Scout Camp.  YES! families are  invited to join us. The camp site can accommodate 25 guests. We will have a sign up sheet available with more information shortly. Since we are already feeling the heat of summer I know you will want to join us. You may come up for the day as well as plan to stay the night. More information is available for those planning on spending the night.

Sunscreen Permission Needed

Please put sunscreen on before coming to school. If you want your child to be reapplied we must have a written permission. Permission forms are ready for you to sign when you bring in your sunscreen. Please be sure to have your child’s name on the sunscreen.

Swimming Season is Coming Soon

swimming at young explorers schoolsLooking ahead to swimming, children who are potty trained I mean really potty trained will be eligible to go swimming with their class group. Each child will need a swim suit, small tee shirt and a small towel. (No Beach Towels) Everything must have their name on it. Every Friday we will send the suit, tee shirt, and towel home to be laundered. Due to health reasons, we will not have any extra suits available. If you forget to bring the suit in your child will not be able to swim until they have their own suit. As they say—No suit, no swim.

Please pass the word regarding our search for a swim instructor. They must have a current Life Guard Certificate or Water Safety Certificate. If we have a WSI instructor we will be offering swim lessons. We will keep you posted about the lessons.

Our staff is working on the themes and activities for our summer program. A Summer newsletter is getting produced as we speak.  Lots of fun times ahead.

Quality First Update

Quality First LogoOur coach Josi Terrell has helped us with our new order of educational equipment and materials for our classrooms. It will be fun receiving all of our new equipment. Our classrooms will be getting a new look.  In addition to the educational materials and supplies we are getting exciting coaching. This will help us get ready for our next visit from Quality First Observers. Our goal is to get at least a 3 star or higher rating. When this happens we will be able to qualify for scholarships to assist some of our families. Unfortunately this will be a year or two away before we can have any new benefits.  It is always a very challenging procedure and our staff will be devoting many hours in learning and growing their professional skills.

Time to Say Good Bye

Some of our students will be leaving this month due to their parents having time off for the summer. Let’s hope they have a terrific summer and will be joining us back in the Fall. Reservations for Fall need to be made to insure your child’s spot.

Preschool Hour Reminder

Just a reminder every child attending YES! will have Preschool times daily. Our preschool hours are between 9:00-11:30 a.m. Our preschool includes language activities, music and art, physical and fine motor play to name a few. One important benefit of our preschool is that our children are learning many of the skills expected in “Big School” class programs. It is only when we have lunch and nap time that our extended care time is considered “child care”.  When children are here at our school for many hours of the day, we need to provide care for the child’s total development. This includes meals and rest times which are just as important for a healthy child development.

One of the most rewarding times I have experienced is when I meet former families and children several years later. I always ask how their children are doing in school.  Our reward is that they report their children love school and are excelling. Lifelong learning is truly one of our goals for children. Learning and loving learning always assist children in discovering, problem solving and achieving. Each day is very special for children and their growth. What a joy it is to be a part of their “total” child development.

Sharing Hands-On Activities with Your Children

April 26th, 2018

A Parent’s Guide to Sharing Hands-On Activities with Your ChildrenA Parent’s Guide to Sharing Hands-On Activities with Your Children

To engage your child’s mind, occupy their hands. Most children learn more effectively when they participate in activities, rather than just listening to lectures.

While this has been true for years, it may be even more important today, given the hours children spend sitting passively in front of computers and television screens. Take a look at what you can do as a parent to activate your child’s brain with hands-on activities.

Adapting to Your Child’s Learning Style

Tactile and kinetic learning styles involve touching and movement. These approaches are often ideal for small children because visual and spatial skills start developing earlier than language skills.

  1. Schedule breaks. Small children usually have fairly short attention spans. Rotating between different projects or taking frequent, 5-minute breaks every half hour will make your interactions more pleasant.
  2. Take turns teaching. Let your child teach you occasionally. They’ll benefit from practicing their leadership skills and clarifying their own thinking as they try to give instructions.
  3. Ask questions. Similarly, ask your child to explain what they’re doing and the reasoning behind their choices. As they talk about their actions, they’ll make more mental connections and strengthen their powers of communication.
  4. Introduce props. Mundane tasks become more fun when you use flashcards, graphs, puzzles, and posters. Stack blocks or count clothespins.
  5. Go on a field trip. Travel adds an extra dimension. Give your child personal assignments when you go grocery shopping or take family vacations.
  6. Stand up. Even when you’re staying at home, you can spend more time on your feet. Children may feel more alert standing up or balancing on an exercise ball instead of a regular chair. Walk around while you talk about multiplication tables or verbs.
  7. Observe closely. Pay attention to your child’s interests and strengths. That information will help you to design activities they enjoy.
  8. Cool down. Participatory learning can be very stimulating. Leave time to settle down before dinner or bed.

Examples of Hands-On Activities for Children

There are many ways to encourage your child to move around and use all their senses. Creative play is an opportunity to learn by doing.

  1. Play music. Maybe your child starts dancing and singing as soon as they hear their favorite songs. Background music can also help concentration, while having instruments around the house may inspire your child to start making their own soundtrack.
  2. Stage a performance. Dress up in costumes or put on a play to act out history lessons or social dilemmas. Build a puppet theater out of a cardboard box.
  3. Do arts and crafts. Crafts allow children to express their creativity while they develop their motor skills. Assemble collages out of magazine pictures and art books. Glue popsicle sticks together to make a wagon or jewelry box.
  4. Conduct science experiments. You can play scientist in your kitchen or any room of your house. Amaze your kids by dropping an egg without breaking it. Look up instructions for how to do this classic “trick” online, and then share the secret so your kids can impress their friends.
  5. Take notes. Taking good notes is a valuable habit your kids can continue to use at school or in the workplace. For now, it will help them to focus their attention and remember what they’ve learned. Encourage them to carry around a notebook and pencil, or store their notes on their computer.

Your child will remember the things they do more vividly than the things they just hear or see. Help your sons and daughters to become excited about learning by engaging their hands and minds.

Earth Day ideas for the whole family

April 18th, 2018

earth day ideas for a greener family and home

8 Ways to Include Kids in Green Living

In between play dates, making dinner, driving to/from work, last minute kids parties going “green” can feel like a daunting task. We hear you. At Young Explorers Schools we’ve been upcycling and reusing for more than 40 years. Just in time for Earth Day we offer our tips to help your family get started on a greener lifestyle and a few waysto have your young explorers help.

  1. Save water by washing full loads. We know that with young ones around that there’s never a shortage on laundry or dirty dishes, so this one is easy. This handy green tip works for both washing clothes and dishes. Save dirty clothes in a laundry bag or hamper and use that super large setting on your washing machine. The same savings applies to washing dishes. Make sure the dishwasher is full before turning that start dial.
  2. Air-dry your laundry. Consider installing a clothesline in your backyard or basement, or use a freestanding clothes rack that folds up when not in use. Drying your clothes will be 100% green with the air-dry method!
  3. Use glass food storage containers. Plastic is the least “green” food storage container. But, if you look in most kitchens, plastic is the most often used food container. By switching to glass food storage containers, you take a big step toward living a greener lifestyle.
    • Not only does the manufacturing of plastic harm the natural environment, but certain types of plastic are harmful to your families’ health as well.
  4. Install a new shower head. Like tweens with their long showers, older shower heads are notorious water-wasters. Switch your old one for a newer model so you can worry a little less about water usage. A new “green” shower head uses 1 to 3 gallons less water per minute than older models. That’s quite a savings on your wallet, too!
  5. Turn off lights when you leave a room. We know this is a toughy. Turn this into a game with the family, create a song or a mnemonic device to remember to turn off lights. You’d be surprised how many people forget to do this simple action. If no one is in the room, there can’t be a good reason to waste energy to brighten it up! With a simple flip of the light switch, a greener lifestyle is yours.
  6. Think before buying paper products. Sometimes paper plates, cups, or napkins are a necessity. Most of the time, they’re not. Even recycled paper products use energy during the recycling process. Look in your kitchen cabinets and you’ll probably find an assortment of little used china and ceramic plates, mugs, and glasses that could be put to good use.
    • Also, turn every family meal into a special occasion with cloth napkins! Ohh, fancy!
  7. Recycle old tee shirts. Everyone has old tee shirts that are not worthy of donating to Goodwill. Don’t throw them out. Replace your paper towel rack with a stack of tee shirt squares. They’re soft and absorbent and best of all, reusable. Just throw them in the washer and you have an unending supply of cloths for every kind of clean-up chore.
  8. Use an old-fashioned broom and mop. You might think that there’s no way to turn cleaning into something fun yet… One of our friends has their 11 year old ride a hover board while pushing a broom. He loves it! Turn hover board time into clean time and get an eager helper out of the deal.

What kind of ways do you incorporate green living into your home?

Getting your child ready for preschool

April 6th, 2018

how to prepare your child for preschoolHow do you know if your child is ready for preschool?

At Young Explorers, we encourage families to come in for a tour and take advantage of our free day before enrolling. We can answer any questions parents might have about the process for getting children ready for preschool.

Here are a few ways to prepare your child for preschool:

Encourage your Child to Spend time with Others

Before you can expect your child to play with other children, you must first expose him or her to other playmates. This is the best training to introduce your child to concepts such as sharing and taking turns. Many preschoolers are isolated from other children and this can make integration into the preschool more traumatic. By simply arranging for your child to have play dates with friends, or by enrolling him or her in a social gathering, you can ensure that your child will have the exposure needed to feel confident in a social setting.

Acknowledge Your Child’s Fears

If your child tells you that he or she is fearful about starting preschool be sure to acknowledge their fears and don’t dismiss them. Many times, well-meaning parents shrug off their children’s fears and in turn reply with upbeat and positive replies. However, it is crucial to your child’s emotional development that they express their fears and insecurities and feel that they are acknowledged. To help them overcome their nervousness, try watching a video together that pertains to starting school, or even read a book together that discusses it. Try I am Absolutely Too Small for School by Lauren Child. Browse for more titles at your local library or check out the Scholastic recommended reads.

By taking the time to prepare your child, instilling routines or rituals, and planning on more activities for your child that involve other children, you can ensure that your little one will be well prepared when it is time for him or her to start preschool.

More than a melody: how music contributes to early childhood learning

March 26th, 2018

music education is key to early childhood learningMusic education is key for early childhood education

We have all had the experience of listening to the radio when a song comes on that you haven’t heard in 10, 15, or 20 years. But right away you start to sing along like you heard it yesterday, you don’t miss a single word.

Kids are no different. Those songs like Wheels on the Bus and The Itsy Bitsy Spider help your child learn simple concepts through repetition. Singing along to these simple songs helps them to become familiar with new words and concepts. The Old McDonald song helps young children learn the sounds that animals make and there are songs that help with numbers and colors.

Music is a magical gift that should be shared at an early age, especially now that scientific evidence proves that children who have been exposed to music at an early age do better at math and science.
The evidence is compelling that music and singing have a positive impact on all aspects of child learning and development.

Research indicates the brain of a musician, even a young one, works differently than that of a nonmusician. “There’s some good neuroscience research that children involved in music have larger growth of neural activity than people not in music training. When you’re a musician and you’re playing an instrument, you have to be using more of your brain,” says Dr. Eric Rasmussen, chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches a specialized music curriculum for children aged two months to nine years.

Singing also helps young children feel confident and less shy around the other children. And when you add fun hand motions and wiggles to the song the kids really come to life. And if you really want to add some spice, give children some simple musical instruments. Tamboreens, bells and bongos and kazoos are very easy for children to use and they absolutely love to play them. Exposing them to music at an early age is will encourage their love for music as they grow.

At Y.E.S! we have our favorites like Going on a Bear Hunt, which we sing at our annual camping trip at Mt. Lemmon. What are some your favorite songs for pre-schoolers?

February 2018 Family Newsletter

February 8th, 2018

Valentines Day PartyDear Y.E.S! Families,

February is a very short month but it is definitely action packed. Check these exciting events and be sure to join us if possible.

Valentine’s Day Party: Wednesday, Feb. 14

Our party will begin at 9:45 a.m. and continue to 11 a.m. We will have story time, music, games and Valentines!

If you would like your child to bring in Valentines for the party, please bring them in on or before Feb. 13. This will give the children a chance to deliver them to the Valentine Bags. Have your child sign them “To my Friend: from their name. This is a real wonderful opportunity to encourage your child to notice letters and recognition skills too.

Visual Screening with Lions Club, Thursday Feb. 15 at 9 a.m.

This is a great opportunity for your child to have their eyes screened. The process is very simple and quick. You may get more information about the process by checking the Lions website. There is a video and explanation.  If you do not want your child’s eyes screened, please let us know. We can have a signup sheet for you to let us know. Check out the video at https//

Also, if you have pairs of old glasses that you have been wondering what to do with them, this is your chance to donate them to the Lions Club. They are able to recycle them for people who are in need of glasses. We will have a box for your donations.

Friday, Annual Rodeo Party, Friday, Feb. 23

We will have special cowboy beans and cornbread for lunch. The Rocking Star Ranch Ponies will be here to give the children pony rides. The festivities will begin after breakfast. Parents and friends are invited to join us for lunch. We will post a reservation sign up list.

Quality First LogoQuality First Update

Our staff enjoyed the training session last Saturday with our coach Josi Terrell. Our goal is to learn more about the standards for the program. It is always exciting to learn.  We are looking forward to our next visit. We will keep you posted. There have been many changes in the program so it will be interesting to see the new process.

Curriculum Corner

Valentine’s Day is an excellent way to encourage your child’s literacy skills. Take time when the children bring home their Valentines to read them and discuss the words and letters. Have your child dictate their greetings to grandparents and special friends. If you would like your child to know what happens with “snail mail,” you might even mail your child a card so that they can have the experience of going to the mail box. If you would like to mail a Valentine to your child at school, address it to your child care of Young Explorers School, P.O. Box 14614, 85732.

Take advantage of your time during your drive to and from school to encourage your child to look for letters. Children know a lot of words because they have experienced them. Most children recognize M for McDonalds and other restaurants too. Every day each of us have the opportunity to encourage children to become aware of the “reading environments”! By encouraging your child to share their recognition skills you can begin to see an emerging eager reader! Enjoying reading is the goal!

I hope you picked up the YES! Valentine Song Flyer. We will be singing our songs daily and at our Valentine’s Day Party too. This might help you understand some of the words your child may be singing.

Happy Valentine’s Day for all!

Dr. Fil.

Celebrating 47 YearsYoung Explorers SchoolP.S. Thank you for attending our 47th Birthday Party last week. It was quite a turn out. Many friends and family made the event very rewarding. Taking time to remember our past encourages us to continue to provide nurturing and educational learning opportunities daily for our children.