Note From The Executive Director

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Spring has not sprung yet, but we have gotten a nice “springboard” to our campaign from several individuals and foundations, whom I’d like to recognize. The Tracy Family Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, the Qualistar Colorado Capital Fund, and Larry H. Miller Charities have all contributed or made pledges to our campaign to purchase, renovate and expand our building. We also have a lovely group of women, led by Joanne Fisher and Tracy McCarthy, who are volunteering their time to bring us some fun and different events, including our “Party with a View” event on March 10. (Tickets still available!) All of these contributions have created great momentum to carry us into the next phase of our campaign, with a remaining goal of $2 million. Thanks one and all for your support!

- Meghan Klassen, M.Ed.

News From The Caterpillars


The Caterpillars have recently been learning all about Kindness and Friendship! We have also been doing an author study on Ezra Jack Keats this month. One of the Caterpillars favorite Ezra Jack Keats books was “A Letter to Amy”, which is about a little boy who writes a letter all by himself to his friend inviting her to his birthday party, and he mails the letter to her. The Caterpillars learned how to write post cards and stamp them with real stamps. These postcards are currently in the mail right now! The Caterpillars also recently celebrated Valentine’s Day! They each decorated a Valentine’s bag, made individual valentines for each of their friends, and distributed them on Valentine’s Day. For the month of March, the Caterpillars will study a new author, Mo Willems, and learn all about his unique writing style and illustrations!



In addition to our weekly theme and author of the month, the Caterpillars are also learning about letters, phonemic awareness, math, and how to write All About Books. We have a letter of the week, where we study a letter of the alphabet during our morning circle. We also have a Handwriting Without Tears letter once a week, where the class learns how to write uppercase letters by building the letters with wood pieces, practicing the letter on a chalk board, and then writing the letter on paper using crayons. Phonemic awareness accelerates the reading and writing growth of the entire classroom. During phonemic awareness lessons, they learn about rhyming, they play listening games, learn how to build words and sentences, become aware of syllables, learn about initial and final sounds, and are currently learning about phonemes. Math lessons are built into their everyday routines- number of the day, attendance routine, and building the monthly calendar. We have also learned a lot about numeration and will learn about measurement, geometry, operations, patterning, and money activities in the near future!


We’ve had a wonderful school year so far, and are so pleased with the progress that our kids are making everyday! 


Addie Adler, M.Ed. 

Lead Teacher, Caterpillar Class

News From The OT


Every OT group at Rise begins with a sensory activity. A favorite activity in all the classrooms has been using two large bed pillows to provide “squishing” or deep pressure input to the kids. We play “Bumper Pillows” – adult and child each hold a pillow in front of their body and bump each other like bumper cars. Another favorite is “Making a Sandwich” – one pillow is on the floor as a slice of bread, a child lays on top of that pillow and adult applies sandwich contents by squishing pillow onto the child. The kids also enjoy having pillows dropped onto them as they lie on the floor. Another fun game is piling pillows and cushions on top of children and then each child has to push the pillows off to climb out.

 Besides being a lot of fun, these games do have a therapeutic purpose. The deep pressure provided by the pillows is calming and organizing input. It also provides proprioceptive input (the sense that uses receptors in joints and muscles to tell us where the body is and how it is moving in relation to objects and space) to help the children learn body awareness in space for motor planning movements.


These activities are also great to do at home, especially since pillows are the only equipment needed. “Squishing” with pillows (“Making a Sandwich”) is a good activity to add to your bedtime routine as it can be very calming. “Bumper Pillows” is a good activity to play after school or after a long car ride or before going to an event requiring long sitting times as it gives your child a chance to be active without becoming “wound up”.  It is important to structure these sensory activities so your child knows when the game will end. Count the number of turns for Bumper Pillows, determine how many sandwich contents you will apply or how many times you will pile pillows on top of your child. These games also work for the whole family and provide the same benefits to older children as they do for preschoolers. It is also fun to see what games your children invent with the pillows! Just remember that the goal is providing pressure input with the pillows AND having fun!

Helpful Information / March 2018 Newsletter

Find Support With These Groups for Special Needs Families!

1. The Mighty – While this isn’t exactly a “group” it’s an incredible supportive and encouraging page. I find so many posts I can relate to on here and have even wrote some for their site myself!

2. Mommies of Miracles 

3. A Very Special Needs Christmas – A group to provide AMAZING Christmas ideas for your special needs children.

4. Tips for Special Needs at Disney 

5. The Wolfpack  – The Wolfpack is a closed group for families who have 2 or more children with special needs and/or super powers.

6. Special Needs Swap Meet – This is a place to list any items you may have around for your special needs kids. Do you have items you want to sell, give away, or swap that has to do with special needs? List it on here.

7. Special Needs Swap 

8. Special Needs Equipment for Sale 

9. Special Needs Parenting Bloggers – This group is for bloggers who post about special needs parenting or disability issues. Share, discuss, and ask questions about blogging and specific issues about special needs parenting and disabilities.

10. IEP Assistance and Special Needs Parenting Advice – A place for special needs parents to connect for IEP advice, special needs parenting tips and more.

11. Special Needs and Disabilities Ministry Leaders Forum – A discussion forum for special needs and disability church ministries leaders and volunteers! This is a site where we would love to have you post your questions, offer your insights and encourage one another in our day to day effort to help meet the needs of all God’s people.

12. Special Needs Moms Organizing and Cleaning Support – The life of a special needs mom is very demanding mentally, emotionally and physically. Our home often falls apart around us whether it’s the messy kitchen or the hoarded closet or basement or mountain of laundry. We often go unappreciated and sometimes all we need is the motivation and to be cheered on!

13. SWAN USA (Syndromes Without a Name) – This is a Closed group for families with children who remain undiagnosed. The children are often refereed to have one of the following; Undiagnosed Syndrome, Mystery Disease, Unique Condition, Unknown Diagnosis, Mystery Illness or a Syndrome Without A Name. This group allows families to connect with one another across the country.

14. Loving a Miracle – Special Parents Supporting Each Other – This is a group designed for parents of micro preemies, & special needs children. It is intended to be a place to connect with other parents who “get it,” whose experiences go beyond typical. It allows us to give, and receive support, as we face the unique challenges we share, because we happen to love a miracle.

15. Make It Tips for Special Needs – This is all about ways to MAKE IT work for our kids, homemade, re-purposed, new, used in a new way. The focus is physically challenged and developmentally delayed, and all special needs are welcome if you think you can benefit.

16. Pediatric Medical Supply Exchange 

Special Needs Military Families

17. American Military Families Autism Support (AMFAS) – Find your local chapter by typing in AMFAS and the city you are stationed at. A great support!

18. EFMP Support Group – For military families who are in the EFMP.

19. Military Families With Complex Kids 

20. Military Special Needs Network


21. Autism Discussion Page – Helping children feel safe, accepted, and competent.

22. Parents of Autistic Children

23. Autistics Worldwide 

24. Autism Living on the Spectrum – This groups purpose is to create greater Autism Acceptance through providing support and guidance for parents and/or carers of children living with Autism through inspiration, experience, training and knowledge along with providing information for professionals and community members.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

25. Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Support

26. SPD Parent Support with Positive/Gentle Parenting

27. Sensory Processing Disorder Parents – A group for parents and families of children with sensory processing disorders. A safe place to vent, ask questions, and offer support.

28. Sensory Wonderland – A group to share ideas on sensory play, fun sensory play space ideas, and sensory diets to address behavior.

29. SPD Connect – Solutions to the daily challenges of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) also known as Sensory Integration.

30. Raising a Sensory Smart Child – Inspired by Raising a Sensory Smart Child, the award-winning book and resource for parents, this community is about helping kids with SPD.

31. Learning the Sensory Way – Discovering DIY ways to create a sensory learning experience.

32. The Sensory Spectrum

33. Voices of Sensory Processing Disorder Discussion Group – This group is an extension of The Sensory Spectrum website. ( This community is a place for parents to ask questions of other parents and share their own insight/experience to help other sensory parents in our group.

Cerebral Palsy

34. CP Mommies, Daddies, Grandparents, and Caregivers – This page is for all to vent, brag, tell all our amazing stories about your munchkins living with CP.

35. Cerebral Palsy Parents Information Group

36. Spastic Quadriplegic CP

Mitochondrial Disease

37. Mito Families – This is a group for ALL people affected by mitochondrial disease. Whether that is your child, you, a grandchild, niece etc. We are a non-medical group designed to share our experiences, encouragement, and HOPE for a brighter, healthier future.

38. MitoAction – MitoAction is a nonprofit organization that exists to improve quality of life for all who are affected by mitochondrial disease. We provide support, education and advocacy tools for adults, children and their families. Our mission is to help patients LIVE with mitochondrial disease.

Cystic Fibrosis


40. Cystic Fibrosis – This is an open group for people with CF, people with family members who have CF, or doctors who treat it.

41. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

42. CF Parents Group – This is a support group for parents/grandparents/carers who have a child/children/grandchild with Cystic Fibrosis or look after a child with this condition. Please note this group is not suitable for people with CF due to some of the subjects discussed


43. Dyslexia Support for Parents of Dyslexic Children – Dyslexia Support, is an international group for parents of Dyslexics.


44. Hypotonia Parents Connection – A discussion and support group for parents of children with hypotonia.

Reflux / GERD

45. Infant Reflux: Support for Gerdlings

46. Reflux Rebels – The Reflux Rebels are volunteers who share the common thread of infant reflux and are here to provide emotional support as other families advocate for the most effective treatments for children.

47. Pediatric Feeding Disorders /FTT/ GERD/ and Kiddos With Feeding Tubes – A place for parents of infants/children with feeding disorders, Failure to Thrive and GERD to offer each other support and advice. Many of us mom’s also have kiddos with feeding tubes or are in the process of weaning.

Feeding Disorders and Feeding Tubes

48. Pediatric Feeding Disorders /FTT/ GERD/ and Kiddos With Feeding Tubes – A place for parents of infants/children with feeding disorders, Failure to Thrive and GERD to offer each other support and advice. Many of us mom’s also have kiddos with feeding tubes or are in the process of weaning.

49. Tubie Friends – For parents of kids with feeding tubes.

50. Feeding Tube Awareness

51. Home-Based Feeding Tube Weaning – This group offers support for weaning children from feeding tubes once those tubes are no longer medically needed. We focus on methods that respect the child, use appetite, and support *parents* in our own “tube weans.” We invite you to share your stories and experiences with home-based weaning!

52. G-Tube Babies (G/J),(J),(N/G), and (N/J)

53. Feeding Matters 

54. Real Food for Tube-Fed Kids – This group is to support parents and caregivers in their quest to feed their tube-fed children the very best real food! We are here to share information and ask questions in a positive and helpful way about food, supplements, nutrition, getting started with a BD, challenges, successes, new products, personal experiences and more.

55. Blenderized RN – This page is run by a registered nurse that does real blended food consulting for children and adults with a g-tube. Discussions are only about real food and blending topics.

Global Developmental Delay

56. Global Developmental Delay

57. My Child has Global Developmental Delay – There isn’t much help or support for parents of child with global developmental delay. It is such a wide spectrum disability with various other health problems and disabilities thrown into it.

Genetic Abnormalities

58. The Unknown: Chromosome 22: Duplication – This is a place for those navigating the world of the chromosome 22:micro duplications to come, meet, share experiences, ideas, and suggestions.

59. Chromosome 22 Central – For members of, families who are dealing with all chromosome 22 disorders, such as trisomies, translocations, deletions, rings, infant loss, miscarriage, etc.

60. Mass General Hospital 22q11.2 Clinic – The 22q11 Deletion Syndrome Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital provides expert and evidence-based health care for patients with 22q of all ages!

61. Unique – Understanding Chromosome Disorders

Apraxia of Speech

62. Apraxia Kids: Every Child Deserves a Voice – This is the Facebook group for CASANA and Apraxia -KIDS – helping children and families affected by apraxia of speech (childhood apraxia of speech, verbal apraxia, verbal dyspraxia). Information on speech-language therapy, diagnosis, and events related to apraxia.

63. Apraxia Kids Learning Activities and Support – Parent Led Group – A parent led support group. A positive place for families to network, connect, and share resources.



Note From The Executive Director

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I hope 2018 is off to a great start for you! 2017 ended with mixed emotions at Rise, as we lost one of our former beloved employees, Peter Naffah, to an unexpected and brief battle with meningitis. Peter was a Teachers’ Helper for more than five years at Rise. His unbridled joy for sports and socializing will not be forgotten. He was an outstanding role model for our students, and an inspiration to all of us, as a responsible, compassionate, happy man. I know I speak on behalf of countless families and students when I say he is, and will continue to be, deeply missed. A scholarship fund has been established in Peter's name. Any funds collected will be used to award a scholarship to the family of a child with Down syndrome. Your gifts can be sent directly to the school, or online here. Please designate any gifts "In Honor of Peter Naffah" or for the "Peter Naffah Scholarship Fund."

In the joyful, social spirit of Peter, please join us for an event we’re hosting on March 10. More information is shared below! There will be good views, good food, and good company, all in the name of continuing and expanding the inclusive environment that is Rise.

Meghan Klassen, M.Ed

Executive Director


News From The Ladybugs


The Ladybugs had a very busy fall - learning and adapting to new classroom rules, expectations, and that (much) longer walk down the hallway to the back of the building! I am so pleased with how well our school year is going. In the late Fall, we read the book Stone Soup and talked about the different ways we can be good neighbors and friends to each other -- by opening our hearts to one another and sharing what others might not have. Our Tuesday kiddos each brought in a different ingredient and together we made our very own Stone Soup! The kiddos worked hard to prepare their special ingredient brought from home, then added it to the big black pot. We waited, watched, and smelled our soup all the way up until lunchtime. Only a few of our kiddos actually ENJOYED the soup, but plenty were willing to try it!

In addition to our weekly theme, the Ladybugs are learning a lot about letters. Each week is dedicated to a certain letter of the alphabet. During that week we work on naming the letter, what sound the letter makes, how to build the letter with wood pieces, and then how to write the uppercase letter. We’ve applied this knowledge to our daily sign-ins, where each kiddo is working on identifying their name, drawing pre-writing strokes or simple shapes, and/or writing specific letters.

We had a wonderful first half of the school year, and are very proud of the progress each of our kiddos has made. We're looking forward to what the new year holds for our Ladybugs!

- Mrs. Megan, Lead Teacher

News From The Kangaroos


The Kangaroos have hopped right into their new classroom and adjusted very nicely to the new routine! We have been very busy the past few weeks learning all about fall, pumpkins and Halloween. We took a class field trip to the local pumpkin patch were the kids were able to pick out their own pumpkins. For a fun sensory activity, the kids helped carve and explore the inside of a pumpkin. Then they were able to see how a pumpkin can turn into a Jack O’Lantern by putting a candle inside and turning the lights out! And finally, for a science experiment, we turned the pumpkin into a volcano! It has been so fun to learn all about how pumpkins grow, harvesting pumpkins, Halloween and what happens in the season of fall.

The Kangaroos have already been reaching huge milestones such as walking independently, learning sharing strategies for play and huge bursts in language development! We are so excited to see all that the Kangaroos continue to accomplish as the year progresses!


- Ms. Claudia, Ms. Megan and Ms. Kristin


Note From The Executive Director

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October and November have been abuzz with trips to the Pumpkin Patch, Halloween fun, and parent-teacher conferences. These Fall parent-teacher conferences are always full of progress and promise — we set and review goals for all of our kiddos in each domain of development, and even just since August, many of our students have already accomplished the goals we set out for them. They are working hard, and becoming more independent each day!

We are scheduled to close on the purchase of our building next month — I have been busy meeting with individuals and foundations, working toward our $3 million goal. It’s definitely going to be comprehensive campaign and we welcome your support at any level that is meaningful. Please mark your calendars for Dec. 5 (Colorado Gives Day) to contribute toward making our dream of renovation and ownership a reality!

News From The PT

“Pigeon Toes”and Tripping in your Preschooler

What could be the cause of my new walker toddler’s feet turning in?

Tibial torsion is an inward twisting of the shin bones, causing the child’s feet to turn inward. This positioning is also sometimes called “pigeon toed” and it is actually commonly seen in toddlers. When children are first learning to walk, tibial torsion can create an in-toeing and bowed leg appearance. Pigeon-toed walking is a normal part of learning to walk, both due to bony alignment of the tibias and also to allow a child to feel more stable in standing. Development of stronger hip muscles (specifically the hip extensors/buttocks muscles) helps to create more stability and better alignment of the feet and leg through standing and weight bearing. This also effects proper bony development in hips and legs.

Is this something we need to address?

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Tibial torsion often improves with time. As the child grows, walking often becomes more and more normal, and tibial torsion is many times no longer significant by 5-6 years of age. 

In addition, tibial torsion does not lead to arthritis or any other health problems later in life. Tibial torsion can be associated with tripping over toes during walking and running due to foot positioning. When this becomes a safety concern or when it doesn’t improve with time and practice walking, it can be important to address. 

What should we do? 

Specific treatment is determined by your child’s health care providers based on child’s age, overall health, medical history, severity of condition, and other factors. A pediatric physical therapist, orthopedist or rehabilitation doctor may take a closer look at your child’s feet, legs and hips and perhaps even take an x ray of their hips. A child’s foot musculature continues to develop for up to age 4-5 years and bony formation continues up to age 7-8. In very young children with lower tone or ligamentous laxity, there might be significant “collapse” of the foot to the inside edge, most easily seen from looking at back view of the heel in standing. One can also see from the top view of the foot in standing, that the toes might tend to drift towards the little toe side. In this situation, the muscles of the foot could apply forces to the many bones of the foot creating atypical bony alignment. If this persists past the age of bony maturation in the foot, this flattened position of the foot will occur into adulthood. If this flatfoot position is significant, then orthotics might be prescribed to allow the foot to work through a dynamic pattern of walking and running in correct alignment. This creates optimal muscle activation, efficiency and bone growth. To address the pediatric flexible flatfoot, there are many types of orthotics from simple shoe inserts with arch supports or SMOS (supra malleolar orthotics). One can check with your child’s pediatrician or pediatric specialist to see what might be best for your child.

- Lisa Swenson, PT, C/NDT and Anne Ziegltrum, PT, DPT

1.    Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Website:
2.    Boston Children’s Hospital Website:

Note From The Executive Director

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Cheers to the Future, indeed! On behalf of the students and families of The Rise School, thank you for your support of our most successful Fall Gala to date, raising nearly $50,000! As I looked out upon on the crowd that evening, I saw a spectrum of people affected by The Rise School-- founding families and alumni students, staff, relatives, friends, and brand new Rise parents. How special that this school is so meaningful that all would gather to celebrate its impact and give so generously to help us achieve our dream. My sincere thanks to each one of you!

- Meghan Klassen

News From The OT

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The Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) program is part of the Rise School curriculum. All of the classrooms use parts of the curriculum depending on the developmental level of the students. This program was developed by an occupational therapist and uses developmentally appropriate lessons that break difficult concepts into simple tasks. When you think of a “handwriting program,” you may automatically think of learning how to write letters and numbers and names. This, of course, is part of HWT; however, there are many very important developmental skills that this program addresses BEFORE a child begins to write his name. The HWT program that is mainly used at Rise is “Get Set For School.” This program uses music, movement, and multisensory manipulatives to teach all the core readiness skills including pencil grasp, letter and number recognition, number and capital letter formation, and body awareness.

Principles of the HWT program that may be different than other early education handwriting programs:

·        HWT teaches how to write all the uppercase letters first because uppercase letters are the easiest letters to write, developmentally speaking; uppercase letters are easy to recognize; uppercase letters are the same height; uppercase letters all start at the top.

·        HWT emphasizes correct pencil grasp and use of the helper hand.

·        HWT teaches starting at the top and progressing left to right for all writing tasks.

·        HWT uses visual cues for all pre- writing and writing activities.

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·        HWT includes manipulatives, such as the wood pieces, to help early learners develop body awareness and learn letter formation.

If you have questions about what HWT activities are happening in your child’s classroom, please feel free to ask the teacher or Lynn. HWT materials are easily accessible on their website ( for parents and teachers.

Best of all, Handwriting Without Tears is a FUN way for your child to enter the exciting world of handwriting!

- Lynn Vosbeek, OTR

News From The Bears

The Bears classroom is off to a “roaring” start this year with a wonderful, silly group of kiddos. These past few weeks, they have been hard at work learning routines, meeting new friends, and exploring everything around their new classroom and school. As each days goes by, we’re so proud to see how comfortable the kids have become with their teachers, therapists, and a brand-new schedule. This is a tough transition for little ones, and they’ve all joined right in, filling the classroom with laughter, smiles, and lots of playing and learning.

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We started the school year with a “get-to-know-the classroom” mentality with simple themes such as Welcome to School, and My Family and Me. Now that the kids have become more accustomed to the classroom, we’re finishing up an Apple Theme that allowed kids to explore an item that was already familiar to them. Such a simple, everyday item taught them about colors, sizes, and textures and allowed them to move their bodies to reach for apple picking, and roll apples like balls. The kiddos also got to explore paint with their feet and have sensory experiences with apple pie-scented play dough and a cinnamon oats table. We could tell that the kids have been really enjoying the variety of projects, sensory activities, and fun that came along with exploring apples, so we will be continuing to bring activities into the classroom that excite their senses and get them moving!

We’ve already seen some amazing accomplishments and milestones from the Bears from new words and sounds, to standing independently, and taking some first steps. We feel so privileged to continue to watch their growth throughout the school year, and are excited to see what other exciting successes we can celebrate with our little ones!

- Ms. Therese and Ms. Tristen

Note From The Executive Director

September 5, 2017-  It was a pleasure to welcome new and returning students last month-- We are serving 52 students this year, the most in school history. And as we look toward the promise of serving even more students with our renovation/expansion project, we invite you to come “Cheers to the Future” with us at our Fall Gala on Sept. 23. We have some incredible items to bid on (see link below for a sneak peek!), and will have music entertainment to close out the evening in true celebratory fashion! Please join us—I’m looking forward to seeing new, current, and alumni families, and toasting to our future with you!

Note From The Executive Director

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Happy summer! As we swing into our last full month of school, the Pre-K class is busy preparing for another marvelous graduation ceremony. This year, we are graduating 12 students, who will be moving on to elementary schools in Denver, Cherry Creek, Littleton and Douglas County school districts. Whether they have been with us for four years or one year, this class (like the many before it) has forged meaningful relationships across ability levels. Everyone is a friend, and everyone belongs. Never is our mission more evident than when we look back on a class’s time together and celebrate how far they have come, and their unlimited potential to go out into the world and make their mark. Congratulations to the Class of 2017! 

- Meghan Klassen, M.Ed.

News From The Music Therapist

Music, Neoroplasticity and Auditory Processing

Something I have always found fascinating is that music has shown to actually change the brains physical structure and connectivity between the right and left hemispheres. Though research doesn't fully understand all the therapeutic benefits of music, it does theorize that simply listening and singing and engaging in music in childhood lays down a framework for which memory, language and executive functioning skills can thrive.  Young brains are ever changing which is a huge benefit for children who may have auditory processing challenges. Why? Because the brain can be taught to process sounds and language correctly by providing repetitive, relevant stimuli.  Music also challenges the brain to listening for patterns and differentiate sound and tones. Music also provides deep-seated interactions between which may support language delays. So when your music maker is creating music at Rise those brains are receiving optimal musical exercises in music therapy!

- Laura Ganguli, Board Certified Music Therapist

News From The Caterpillars

Summer at Rise is officially here :) You can smell the sunscreen down the halls, hear the kids carefree laughter on the playground, and see some tearful parents as they think about moving on to Kindergarten. 


The Caterpillars have been working so hard all year for their transition. Not only have they learned classroom routines, letters, patterns, and days of the week; but they have also mastered The Rise way by learning together with all of their friends and making friendships, regardless of differences. Although our Caterpillar's will be going to different schools next year, the friendships and what they've taught us will last a lifetime. Whether you've been at Rise since the Bear's classroom or were new this year, the transition to Kindergarten can be tough for our kiddos and our parents. 


During the last month of school, each Caterpillar kiddo will have a whole day dedicated to them; where we spend the whole day talking about all the things that we love about each other and all the special memories we have with them. The kiddo's posters with all this love with be displayed at Graduation. Please come celebrate our amazing graduates on July 13th at 10:00 am, followed by a fun potluck at the park. 

Note From The Executive Director

As a teacher and director, I have always enjoyed getting to watch families grow. Just in the last year, 10 of our Rise families had babies! It has me thinking in this month of May about mothers.  As all of us can probably attest from our own experiences, there is no profession or vocation quite like motherhood. My own mother had seven children in nine-and-a-half years, a feat I have only come to understand and truly appreciate in my adult years. It brings such joy when our families announce pregnancies, grow maternal bellies, and then tote little ones through the door in carseats and add them to our growing waitlist. So today, I want to give a shout-out to all our Rise mommies— for your strength and grace in feeding, laundering, appointment-scheduling, advocating, chauffeuring, nurturing, encouraging, and loving your little ones. It is a privilege to share in the care and education of your children. Happy Mothers’ Day to all of you!

-Meghan Klassen, M. Ed

News From The Speech Therapist


Ditching The Sippy!

Sippy cups seem great- they are convenient and there are no spills to clean up, but there are several reasons to consider ditching the sippy cup. First, hard sippy cup spouts may get in the way of feeding and swallowing development. When your child was a baby he used an anterior-posterior tongue movement to move liquid from the front to the back of the mouth for swallowing. After a year old, kids learn to put their tongue up behind their teeth when swallowing. Hard spouted sippy cups, may get in the way of the necessary tongue placement, preventing tongue tip elevation and interfering with feeding and swallowing development. A tongue that does not elevate tends to rest in a forward position and then may not be able to produce speech sounds accurately. In addition, tongues that rest too far forward can lead to an open mouth resting posture, mouth breathing, and changes in facial structure.

What to use instead?

Straw cups or open cups!  There are lots of good cup options on the market, but here are a few:

Straw cups that pop up to prevent leaking such as the Playtex Sipster Straw Cup







Aluminum cups with built-in straws such as the Kid Basix Safe Sippy Cup (it is a straw cup)










Munchkin 360 Miracle Cup- can be used to teach open cup drinking with less spilling

News From The Ladybugs

The Ladybugs have been very busy this past month! We dove into our spring unit where the kiddos enjoyed talking about different springtime activities, learning about the lifecycle of flowers, and we finished with planting some of our very own flowers! With some sunlight, water, and a lot of waiting time, some of our flowers have finally begun to sprout. Some of our kiddos have been diligently checking in on their flowers and their tender loving care has finally paid off!

This past week we began our unit on Community Helpers, which has always been one of my favorites. This unit allows for the kiddos to engage in dramatic play scenarios with intentionality, which is always fun to watch. Last week, we started talking about different kinds of community helpers. I asked if anyone knew what a doctor who takes care of animals is called, and one of our sweet kiddos said, “Yeah! A vegetarian!” We also talked about what we might want to be when we grow up. Our kiddos chose professions such as doctors, chefs, police officers, moms, dads, and even a princess. We’re looking forward to a visit from a couple of volunteer firefighters come mid-May!  

I’m so proud of all of our kiddos. Each has made such wonderful progress since August. We’re looking forward to finishing the year strong!

Megan Gallager, M. Ed

Lead Teacher, Ladybug Class

Note From The Executive Director

We are back fresh from Spring Break, ready to tackle our last quarter of the year! As always, we have new walkers, new talkers, new readers. The kiddos have come so far this year, and we plan to enjoy our spring months playing and learning inside and outside. I will also be outside—taking on my fourth Elephant Rock bike ride, raising funds for Rise. This year, I decided not to drag my mountain biking team down anymore, and am registered for the 27-mile course. Believe me when I say that if you are even slightly inclined to participate, there is a course for you! The 8-mile “Family Ride” is full of riders of all abilities, and is easy and fun. If you’re up for more of a challenge, try the 27, 40, 62, or 100-mile course. No matter what course you choose, there will be Rise friends, cold beverages and good cheer waiting for you at the finish!