What is included in screen time? It doesn’t have to be hooked up to the internet to be included in this category. There is an abundance of tech toys with a screen that label themselves as educational. There are smart phones, tablets, computers, lap tops, televisions, etc. Screen devices are all around us. In our homes, schools, restaurants, vehicles, and in our hands but most importantly in our children’s hands.

Technology executives would like us all to believe that the sooner we introduce our children to the latest technology the more they will benefit. But wait, did you see the recent news articles informing the public that the Silicon Valley techs limit or do not allow their young children to have screen time, phones, etc. Maybe they know something we do not or they are listening to the ever mounting science articles and observations of educators on the impact this technology is having on the young mind and body. Current research connects screen time with the lack of social interactions, cognitive learning issues, concentration, sleep disturbances, hyperactivity, behavioral issues, muscles weakness, obesity, and most recently, the results of studies on the premature thinning of the gray matter in the brain in children as young as ten years old. 

With these issues related to the effects of screen time, let us look at some of what educators are observing in the classroom. The noticeable lack of fine and gross motor skills. Screens are accessed with a swipe or a touch. In order for a child to hold a writing instrument, they need to have muscle control of the wrist, the 3 finger pincer grip, and elbow and shoulder fluidity to move the writing instrument. With an increase of screen time, this leaves little time for the child to naturally develop these skills through free play, drawing, even regular household chores.

Another observation is the decrease or lack of social interactions and social cues that children do not get from screen time. During this critical time, children need to visualize emotions, make connections through facial expressions, hear the tone and inflection of loved one’s and friends around them. Screen time is a one-sided engagement. The young child needs to learn social cues, problem solving with other children, and social etiquette through unstructured playtime and mixed age interactions.

Children’s brains are much more sensitive to electronics use than we may realize. Research has linked excessive screen time to school problems, aggression and other behavioral issues. The “sensory overload” causes kids to have poor focus and depletes their mental energy, which often leads to anger and explosive behavior. Kids become overstimulated and “revved up,” and they may have a difficult time managing stress and regulating their mood.
— Janice Kowalski, M.D.  

The fast pace screen images leave little time for the brain to process what is happening, to concentrate on the subject matter, gives instant gratification, and a need to be “entertained.” If a young person is unable to focus on a task in the classroom, looking towards others for entertainment, and the inability to show patience, this may come across as misbehavior. Young children may also model the aggressive behavior seen on the screens.

Sleep disturbances can also occur due to long hours of screen time especially if watched before bedtime. The mind takes time to wind down and may delay the ability to fall a sleep. This lack of sleep shows itself in the child’s emotional state, ability to focus, and interact with others. It is hard enough for an adult to function on very little sleep, it is even harder for the young child. 

The quality and amount of screen time should be closely monitored and modeled by the parent. Engaging at the dinner table, in the vehicle, and during down time will always benefit the bonds between the child and the parent. Our children are worth it.


Peek Inside our Children’s House Classrooms

Cactus Wren

Dear Cactus Wren Families,

It has been a quick month. All the children are excited and often speak about their holiday break plans. Even with all the excitement, everyone is busy with their many activities, baking, watering the plants and harvesting the bell peppers, eggplant, and herbs. Next month, the daily snack includes fresh basil. We plan on using our own basil grown in the garden.

A big Thank You to Ms. Marina and Ms. Lynnsie and all the parent volunteers for the hard work and support they have given us on auction art project. It looks so beautiful!!!!

As the calendar year comes to an end, Ms. Eugenia, Ms. Marali, and myself would like to thank you all for giving us the opportunity to spend precious time with your children. They bring smiles to our faces and joy to our hearts watching them grow and develop into incredible individuals. They share important aspects of their lives, their likes and dislikes, favorite foods, shows, and games with us daily. We are truly blessed.

We look forward to seeing everyone in the new year.

Have a peaceful winter break.

Ms. Johna, Ms. Eugenia, and Ms. Marali



Thank you to all the parents who attended observation and conference time. What a great opportunity to connect with you and share your child’s progress as well as visiting our environment and get a glimpse of what goes on every day.

Each day the children become more comfortable and independent in the environment and it’s amazing to see the connections they make with each other as well as discovering the many extensions of the materials in the classroom.

We are starting to see signs of growth in our garden. The children love to water it and take care of it. A couple of weeks ago we were able to harvest some ocra and a couple of children took the job to prepare it and roast it to share with the entire group. It was delicious! With the holiday season soon approaching we would love to thank you for your constant support and trust. May you have a wonderful time to celebrate with loved ones. Happy Holidays!


Ms. Marcela and Ms. Claudia 



It was wonderful welcoming all the parents into our classroom for observations. The children loved greeting and serving each one of you. I am so glad you were able to visit our classroom and see a glimpse of what the children have been working on through out the year. It was a pleasure meeting with each of you individually to discuss your child’s progress!

The children have been hard at work this month. They have been writing stories about family traditions over the holidays, trips they are going on during our winter break, and lists for Santa. It has been great hearing about all the different traditions, songs, and recipes from the children.

We ended our year celebrating the Winter Solstice with the entire school. It was a wonderful program that brought us all together before the winter break. The children had a great time practicing the song Here Comes the Sun and performing it.  

Thank you for your constant support, kindness, and trust this year.

Ms. Haley and Ms. Leydi


Gray Fox

Dear Gray Fox Families,

During the month of December, it is common for us to find our spirits focusing on family, togetherness, warmth, cheer, and memories with and of our loved ones. It has been a delight to listen to the children share interpretations of their family’s traditions. We saw the season’s reflection of all this goodness appear in the children’s work as they created gifts for their loved ones, wrote stories, sang songs, recited poems, and embellished their work with little snowflake illustrations. The children also spent time learning about different cultural celebrations around the world that evidently all have one common theme: PEACE.

It was a pleasure to meet with all families individually and the children loved welcoming you into the classroom. Together, we have created such a special community for the children. I am constantly humbled by the love, kindness, and support you share.

Many families have requested our Cream Drop Biscuit recipe….Enjoy!


·      1 3/4 Cup Flour

·      1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

·      1/2 Teaspoon Salt

·      1 1/3 cup heavy cream


1.     Oil the baking sheet

2.     In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt

3.     Stir in heavy cream and mix until dough forms

4.     Create drops of dough onto baking sheet

5.     Bake 10-12 minutes at 425 degrees

6.     Remove immediately from baking sheet


Wishing you peace that lasts throughout the new year,  

Ms. Lauren and Ms. Yadira

AuthorJohna Martinez