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UMA Audio Cast Tip of the Week- Plant a Garden!

Our Tip of the Week is:

Additional Resources:


From our Archives: Geography- Alaska

Once again, here is a lesson/project from our archives from one of our graduates, Laura McIntyre of Lincoln, California.

Thanks again Laura!


Pre-Reading Activities, from Montessori for Everyone

Thank you to Lori Bourne of Montessori for Everyone for this great set of activities for pre-reading:


Interview with Courtney Holland, Director of Harbour Pt. Montessori Early Learning Center,Mukilteo, WA

Listen to my interview with Courtney and learn more about her work with special needs children. Courtney also provided us with some additional resources to address special needs individuals and their families (see below):

Contact Courtney Holland at:

Special Education Resources

-Infant Toddler Early Intervention Program (ITEIP): This is the state lead agency for identifying and serving children under 3 years of age with disabilities.

-The ARC of Snohomish County: This is a national advocacy group for individuals with disabilities. This organization provides a great deal of support and resources for those in the community.

-Circle of Inclusion: This is a website that provides great information about the benefits of inclusive practices for children and families of those with disabilities as well as the benefits for those children and families without disabilities.

-Disability is Natural: This is a website that has wonderful resources including information about “People First Language.” This way of speaking and thinking includes identifying an individual with a disability just that, an individual before their disability. They therefore are a person or child first.


Part Two: "Being Thrifty in these tough Economic Times"

Our mortgage broker recently sent out these helpful hints on tightening our financial belts.

How to Save Money in Any Economy
(Suggestion: print this up or post on your website for Parents to have too.)

Many people these days are worrying more and more about the state of the economy. Here’s a suggestion: instead of worrying about things out of your control begin thinking about doing something about things you can control! This is a great time to focus on bulking up your savings. Maintaining the savings habit will really look smart when our economy turns around. Finding a way to save can be difficult but with a little diligence and creativity you can take some cost cutting measures that you’ll hardly notice.

* Set up your savings goals. Have a clear and determined goal in mind. With a goal in mind you can accomplish what you have set out to do. Create a budget and decide how much you can comfortably spend each month. Stick to it and carry cash. Leave the credit cards at home. Note expenditures in a ledger or small notebook. This way, you can track where your money is going, and you will know where the biggest cuts need to come from. Having the evidence in black and white will help you curb your impulse buying. Add an amount to your budget in which you pay yourself. This amount goes into savings each month. Decide when you will transfer this money each month, or better yet, sign up for an automatic transfer and include it with your monthly bills.

* Have a no-spend weekend. This can be a fun challenge for the entire family. The rewards may even bring your family closer together. Try to go the entire weekend without purchasing anything, eating out or ordering anything on line. Try having a family game night or watching DVDs with some popcorn and a simple homemade dinner. Go ahead, explore other ways for a no-spend weekend!

* Check out the library. If you haven’t been to a library recently you’re in for a surprise. They have movies, video games, books and magazines for free. If there is something particular you are looking for, they may be able to get it for you by calling other libraries in the area. Also, signing up for an online DVD service can be a great way to skip the theatre. There are many low cost plans available.

* Save energy and money. Doing laundry in cold water uses 90% less energy than using hot. It not only reduces hot water usage, but it’s actually better for your clothing. Many new laundry products have been reformulated specifically for cold water washing. Run full loads in your washer and dryer as much as possible. Also, clean the lint filter in the dryer after each load. This will make it run more efficiently. Use a drying rack or line dry heavy clothing if possible. When these heavier clothes are nearly dry, put them into the drying to complete the drying cycle, remove wrinkles and soften up the clothes.

* Compact fluorescent light bulbs cost slightly more at first, but they can save you a lot of money in the long run. Think long term in this area. Replace regular bulbs as they go out and conserve on energy throughout the year. These bulbs reduce electrical use by 75 percent. Compact fluorescent bulbs are available in many stores. They have great energy savings plus they last a lot longer than traditional bulbs. The CFL will save you $30 over the life of the bulb, and they last 10 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs. They use two-thirds less energy than a regular bulb. Recycle CFL bulbs wherever possible, and turn off all lights that are not being used.

* Conserve on your heating bill by cutting the thermostat down about 5 degrees at night. Cooler air makes you sleep more comfortably. Just throw some extra blankets on the bed. Sleep in warmer clothing and close doors to rooms that aren’t being used. Keep the thermostat on 68 degrees or lower during the winter and 78 degrees in the summer. Install a programmable thermostat. Make sure to get one that is compatible with your current heating and cooling system. When you are home during the summer, 78 degrees F is a comfortable, energy-efficient temperature. You may have to adjust according to your comfort level. You will see a savings of seven percent on your cooling costs for every degree you increase the setting on your thermostat above 78 degrees. When you will be away from home during the day, raise the thermostat 5-10 degrees to reduce the amount of energy needed to keep your home cool all day. Your air conditioner will have to work three to four times harder if the shades are open during the day. Keep them closed while it is running.

* Lower the temperature on your hot water heater to 120 degrees. Try never to run the dishwasher or washing machine unless they have a full load. Air dry dishes if possible rather than turning on the heated drying feature on the dishwasher. Also, look for the Energy Star label when selecting appliances. They meet strict guidelines set by the US Department of Energy.

* Carpool whenever possible. Do you have a co-worker near where you live? Try to share the ride a couple times per week. Also, consolidate errands when setting out for the day. Try to save single trips and group them with other errands you need done another day. This will avoid driving back and forth from home to store.

* Save on groceries. Take a calculator with you as you shop. Comparison shopping will help you save each time you shop. Is that 24 ounce bottle a better price than the 32 ounce? Use your coupons. Take the coupons that come in the paper and match them up to your grocery store circular. Buy only what makes sense for your family. Don’t use a coupon for something your family simply won’t use. Eat a snack before you shop so that you don’t impulse buy. Look for items above and below your eye level. Some of your best savings can be found on the lower shelves.

* Shop at a Farmer’s Market for in-season produce. You support local growers when visiting a farmer’s market. The produce is grown locally and may even be fresher than that at the grocers. The cost savings will be substantial.

* Eat and drink healthy. Cut back on buying soda and bottled water. Drinking tap water is better for your body, and if you just can’t stand the taste, purchase a filter for your tap. Get a refillable bottle to refill and carry it with you.

This article is courtesy of Steve Jaffe- Certified Mortgage Planner
Caroline Jaffe - Loan Coordinator
Steve Office: (425) 945-8092
Caroline Office: (425) 818-1823
150 120th Ave NE Ste 200
Bellevue, WA 98005


Sensorial Exercise, Material Composition Board

Here's another presentation from our archives presented by Tracy Charlesworth-John – Port Orford, OR

Material Composition Board

The idea for the "Materials Composition Blocks" was inspired by my daughter and her friend.

We were all sitting around the table, drinking and eating. My daughter's friend says, "I know what that is," (pointing to a glass), "That's glass.”

And my daughter replied, "That's plastic," (pointing to another cup). And her friend continued, "That's ceramic.”

So I held up a lid to a mason jar, and my daughter replies, "metal.” And we continued with the different materials that we see in our everyday settings. They were both really proud of their ability to identify and feel the varying textures and weights and seemed excited to express their knowledge!

The sensorial exercise is in the style of the "rough and smooth" boards and the "material match". There are 6 pairs of wooden blocks- each pair mounted with one of the following compositions: Metal, plastic, wood, cork, rubber, glass or ceramic. (Blocks are sorted into baskets, one of each pair (6 total) per basket.

Thank you Tracy!


Being Thrifty in these Tough Economical Times

These are tough economic times for many. So for the next few blog entries, let's take a look at how we can become better with our money.

For this first entry, we'll hear from Carolyn Jabs of in an article she wrote in the April, 2009 edition of Parent Map.

Here's the link:


Pandemic Flu Preparedness Resources

I am sure by now that many of you have already made preparations in your school and with parents for the possible flu pandemic. The information below is courtesy of the James Lee Witt Associates.
(Disclaimer: These materials have been prepared by James Lee Witt Associates for informational purposes only. In no way are they to be considered medical advice, or advice regarding diagnosis or treatment and are not intended to take the place of advice or treatment from licensed healthcare professionals.)

There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy.
• Take common-sense steps to limit the spread of germs – Make good hygiene a habit.
• Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water or anti-bacterial wash.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
• Put used tissues in a waste basket.
• Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve if you don’t have a tissue.
• Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing. Use soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
• If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Keep on hand a hygiene kit that includes the following items.
• Anti-Microbial Alcohol Wipes (in addition to antiseptic wipes in First Aid Kit)
• Non-Latex Gloves, in addition to those in First Aid Kit (readily available at paint supply and hardware stores)
• Soap less/Waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer
• Face masks. (available at drug or hardware stores)

Here are some additional resources you may be interested in: Federal government. Planning & preparedness outreach and awareness information, government alert phases and stages, control and management advice and traveler alerts and advice. Centers for Disease Control. Federal government. Planning & preparedness outreach and awareness information, government alert phases and stages, control and management advice and traveler alerts and advice Federal Emergency Management Agency. Federal government. Emergency planning, preparedness, response and recovery information. Health and Human Services. Federal government. Human health information. World Health Organization. Information of pandemic for the world United Nations. Information related to Pandemic for countries throughout the world World Bank. Financial information related to pandemic


Audio Interview with Jim Fay of Love and Logic

Last week I interviewed the co-founder of Love and Logic, Jim Fay. Love and Logic is a philosophy founded by Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline, M.D., and is based on the experience of a combined total of over 75 years working with and raising kids. It provides simple and practical techniques to help teachers and parents have less stress and more fun while raising responsible kids. Love and Logic offers many useful techniques that teachers and parents can begin experimenting with immediately.

Every Wednesday Love and Logic has a Free Weekly Tip. Signup for it on their website at:


Eight Sleep Tips for Every Child

It's a privilege for UMA to find great writers on subjects you and your parents can use. One childhood specialist that we are featuring is Elizabeth Pantley. Here is a great article by her on healthy habits for a child's sleep:

Up to 70% of children under age five have sleep problems. Sleep issues are complicated and have many causes. They’re hard to deal with because when children aren’t sleeping, parents aren’t sleeping, and that lack of sleep affects every minute of every day for every person in the family because lack of sleep isn’t just about being tired. Sleep has a role in everything -- dawdling, temper tantrums, hyperactivity, growth, health, and even learning to tie his shoes and recite the ABCs. Sleep affects everything.

The following ideas are of value to almost any sleeper, of any age. These tips can bring improvement not only in your child’s sleep, but also in her daytime mood and last, but not least – improvements in your own sleep and outlook as well.

# 1 Maintain a consistent bedtime and awaking time.

Your child’s biological clock has a strong influence on her wakefulness and sleepiness. When you establish a set time for bedtime and wake up time you “set” your child’s clock so that it functions smoothly.

Aim for an early bedtime. Young children respond best with a bedtime between 6:30 and 7:30 P.M. Most children will sleep better and longer when they go to bed early.

# 2 Encourage regular daily naps.

Daily naps are important. An energetic child can find it difficult to go through the day without a rest break. A nap-less child will often wake up cheerful and become progressively fussier or hyper-alert as the day goes on. Also, the length and quality of naps affects night sleep – good naps equal better night sleep.

# 3 Set your child’s biological clock.

Take advantage of your child’s biology so that he’s actually tired when bedtime arrives. Darkness causes an increase in the release of the body’s sleep hormone -- the biological “stop” button. You can align your child’s sleepiness with bedtime by dimming the lights during the hour before bedtime.

Exposing your child to morning light is pushing the “go” button in her brain — one that says, “Time to wake up and be active.” So keep your mornings bright!

# 4 Develop a consistent bedtime routine.

Routines create security. A consistent, peaceful bedtime routine allows your child to transition from the motion of the day to the tranquil state of sleep.

An organized routine helps you coordinate the specifics: bath, pajamas, tooth-brushing. It helps you to function on auto-pilot at the time when you are most tired and least creative.

# 5 Create a cozy sleep environment.

Where your child sleeps can be a key to quality sleep. Make certain the mattress is comfortable, the blankets are warm, the room temperature is right, pajamas are comfy, and the bedroom is welcoming.

# 6 Provide the right nutrition.

Foods can affect energy level and sleepiness. Carbohydrates can have a calming effect on the body, while foods high in protein or sugar generate alertness, particularly when eaten alone. A few ideas for pre-bed snacks are: whole wheat toast and cheese, bagel and peanut butter, oatmeal with bananas, or yogurt and low-sugar granola.

Vitamin deficiencies due to unhealthy food choices can affect a child’s sleep. Provide your child with a daily assortment of healthy foods.

# 7 Help your child to be healthy and fit.

Many children don’t get enough daily physical activity. Too much TV watching and a lack of activity prevents good sleep. Children who get ample daily exercise fall asleep more quickly, sleep better, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling refreshed.

Avoid activity in the hour before bedtime though, since exercise is stimulating – they’ll be jumping on the bed instead of sleeping in it!

# 8 Teach your child how to relax.

Many children get in bed but aren’t sure what to do when they get there! It can help to follow a soothing pre-bed routine that creates sleepiness. A good pre-bed ritual is story time. A child who is listening to a parent read a book or tell a tale will tend to lie still and listen. This quiet stillness allows him to become sleepy.

Work with these eight ideas and you’ll see improvements in your child’s sleep, and yours too.

Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers & Preschoolers (McGraw-Hill 2005)