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What can I do at home to help my Pre-K child?

Every year at back to school night I hear this question from parents. Every year my answer is the same.

Read aloud to your child every day.

There are many benefits for you and your child. And you only need 15 minutes. Really.

Why is it so important? How does reading aloud to my child help them with learning? Here are just a few reasons:C:\Users\awood\Downloads\0C278C3A-CE37-43B8-872A-FE27A17334FC.jpeg

  • Develop language and literacy skills from an early age

  • Brain development!

  • Create a positive impression of reading and books

  • Develop and improve vocabulary (more reading = more words I know!)

  • Foster a love for reading and books

  • Strengthen parent-child bonds (quality time together)

  • Learn new things (both parent & child!)

  • Phonemic awareness: hear, identify and understand letter and word sounds.

  • Reading comprehension

  • Modeling reading fluency

  • Promote visual imagery, imagination and creativity

We all know reading is important. How do busy parents fit this time into their day? Make reading to your child a priority. Try to build it into your child’s routine. Some parents include story reading in their getting-ready-for-bed routine. For some early risers, reading together can be a comfortable, enjoyable start to the day. Find time during tedious, necessary life activities: waiting in the doctor/dentist office, in line at the grocery store, at a restaurant waiting for food to arrive, etc. Make books accessible at home. Set up a shelf or basket at your child’s level so that they can take a book and either look at it themselves or ask you to read to them. Don’t be discouraged if they ask for the same book over and over. Most children develop favorites. Have fun while reading! Change your voice for different characters, whisper or speak boldly depending on the story. Don’t worry about whether you are doing it right, the time spent together reading a book is…priceless.

In our Pre-K classroom, we encourage reading at home through several programs. Our classroom mascot is a literature character who visits each student’s home with a filled book bag to share. Students can also record their own at-home reading time on a tally card and receive a book charm for each card returned to school. They also share the titles of books they’ve read and give a review to their classmates. For birthdays, children take home a birthday book bag to share with their families.  During school, we read together as a class and in small groups, students can listen to a story on CD with headphones during our daily center activities, and D.E.A.R (drop everything and read) with a stuffed animal “reading buddy”. Parents are invited to bring a book to read for each child’s star student week or on their birthday. We welcome parents as guest readers throughout the year and have often enjoyed hearing a story read by other OHA teachers, students and our headmaster! What’s most important? Make the time and READ together!

P:\Pictures\2018-2019 Pictures\Pre-K\IMG_8838.JPGC:\Users\awood\Downloads\790AB47F-F704-47BA-A220-14C47578C095.jpeg

Mrs. Annmarie Wood

Pre-Kindergarten Lead Teacher at Oak Hill Academy

Follow us on instagram @oha_prek

Posted by pbruckmann  On Jun 04, 2019 at 2:59 PM


   Although most of us know the benefits of reading to toddlers and young children, many parents and educators are now touting the benefits of reading to older children as well. Most elementary school teachers in the lower grades include ‘story hour’ as part of their curriculum, but here at Oak Hill Academy, one of the best private schools in New Jersey, the teachers in the upper grades incorporate reading aloud to middle school students too...Below are three strong reasons to keep up this proven beneficial habit.

  1. Reading aloud to middle schoolers strengthens our connection to them... A parent reading to an older child is giving their child precious one-on-one time...something that’s very hard to come by in our crazy activity-driven lives. When a parent and child sit down together to read, there’s no pressure to read closely for tests, quizzes, or book reports...You’re sharing this activity strictly for pleasure...no pressure to recall, infer, or analyze. Not only is this one-on-one attention,

but it also may be the last hurrah of being physically close to your preteen..a time when he or she is still willing to sit close and lean in. Reading side-by-side may also lead to discussions on topics

that your middle schooler may have previously been reluctant to discuss.

    2.  Reading aloud to older children may kindle or rekindle their love of reading..If your middle

          schooler enjoys spending time with you, then sitting down together to read will make reading

          seem enjoyable, too.  But maybe your middle school student no longer enjoys reading? Most

          children have fond memories of being read to when younger and fond memories of favorite books

          or pictures or phrases from special books.  Somewhere along the path, many middle schoolers

          become disenchanted with reading...maybe because school assigns reading, there’s lack of choice,

          and tests and quizzes on reading make it a chore... or maybe tweens are overburdened with school

          work and can’t find the time to read...or maybe other activities have taken center stage in their

          lives. Whatever the roadblocks, it’s not too late to discover or rediscover books and reading…


    3. Reading aloud to older students may help them with their school work and strengthen them as

          readers. Just as studies have shown that reading out loud to younger children makes them stronger

          readers, the same holds true when reading to older students.  Studies also show that children can

          comprehend on higher levels when read to... than when reading on their own. If an older student is

          a reluctant reader, listening to his/her work may make it easier to comprehend.  Although being

          read to may seem like a childhood or even childish activity, adults reading to one another was

         a popular form of entertainment before television or radio.  In the Great Gatsby, when Nick first visits

         the Buchanan house, one of the characters is reading a story from the New Yorker to everyone else

         in the room. This was not uncommon among people of all economic spheres.  

No matter what their age, children benefit from being read to...As they enter their preteen years, reading

may take a back seat to other activities, but the irony is that, at this time in their lives, it’s never been a more important skill as school work increases and the ability to critically read becomes even more necessary to take them through the challenging reading of high school and college...Aside from being a necessary life skill, reading can be enjoyable and fulfilling, and there’s no better time to rediscover that than during the middle school years.                      Mary Duffy, sixth grade English teacher

Posted by pbruckmann  On May 20, 2019 at 8:19 AM

The 17 Big Advantages of Blended Learning

            Blended Learning is the learning strategy that presents student learning via a mixture of instructional modes.  The power of technology joins with the experience of the teacher as a facilitator and expert planner.  The staff at Oak Hill Academy, one of the outstanding private schools in Monmouth County, New Jersey has studied a blended learning program for their Prekindergarten to eighth grade students and have identified 17 of the ways that this approach can benefit our children during this instructional process.  The following is a small sampling of how this strategy brings excitement and deep understanding into the classroom.

            Best Monmouth County Private SchoolThe advantages are:

1. Greater application of 21st century skills.Students are given the opportunity to explore and collaborate topics while feeling a sense of ownership.

2. Learner independence is enhanced while the student sets goals and traces their own progress.

3. Students quickly satisfy their desire to learn meaningful material and develop a joy of learning.

4. Student commitment is stimulated and they are eager to engage in challenging topics.

5. Areas of interest are exposed and special talents are utilized.

6. The learner develops a high level of engagement.A sense of excitement is inherent in the process of wanting to know.

7. The student is pushed to use higher order thinking skills.Learning disjointed facts are no longer the focal point of instruction; rather deeper understanding is the goal.

8. Instruction becomes more personalized allowing individual learning paths to be established.

9. A broader depth of individual learning is possible utilizing the power of technology and constant feedback.

10. Using technology is a big time saver permitting the students to access information quickly and then act on their findings.

11. Higher student achievement is attained in a more relaxed and inspiring format.

12. Provides the structure to help meet individual student goals.More focus on student likes and strengths can be utilized.

13. The blended structure allows more time to be spent on discussion and writing.Online forums create the opportunity for debate development of thought.

14. Curriculum is no longer dictated by a timeline; rather students are given the ability to master topics before moving on.

15. Real learning can now occur as students research topics building curiosity and creativity.

16. Students have an increased interest in school and they develop a greater attention span because of the high level of engagement.

17. Our children live in a high tech savvy environment and the use of media helps them quickly access material to enhance or clarify information.

            We are living in a rapidly changing academic world and this move to a blended educational model will change our schools and will benefit all of our children’s futures. 
Private School NJ

Posted by pbruckmann  On May 17, 2019 at 10:50 AM

5 Essentials to Wow the Crowd at Your Next Science Fair

Many independent schools in NJ offer opportunities for students to display their creativity and knowledge of the world of science.  Here are some tips to come up with a truly impressive project.

  1. A problem people can relate to.  All great experiments start with a problem (this is rule #1 of the scientific method!), but is your problem something experienced by people in their everyday lives? It will be clear if you are not stoked about the topic you have chosen to study for your project and chances are people will be more enthused about your creation or discovery if you are also super excited about it.  Pick something you deal with in your day to day life- think you can find a better way to lug your books from class to class or have you come up with an innovative way to organize school work? We have all seen the classic acid + base volcano and soda + mint geyser tricks. Let’s tackle an actual problem and make our lives easier!

  1. Your hypothesis! Making a prediction of what you believe will work best will allow you to design an experiment specifically geared to solve your problem.  On the flip side, once the experiment is complete you can reflect back to the hypothesis and determine if your prediction was correct or incorrect. If time allows, you can regroup, replan and retest! If not, at least you can comment on the process and explain why your prototype failed.  Even students from the best private schools in NJ have set backs. What sets them aside from others is the ability to advance and grow from them. We often learn more from our errors than our successes!

  1. A tangible model of your idea, creation or discovery.  Engage as many senses as possible! Allow the crowd to experience your scientific breakthrough as opposed to just hearing about it.  Can you bring in a few samples for people to test out for themselves? Can you show a video of your research and testing process? Let your audience be a part of your process and heighten their intrigue.  

  1. Know your stuff.  Do the work! Conduct your own research, planning and development.  Do not try to fake this because it will become obvious if you were not the chief investigator of your own project.  If you used internet sources, cite them and be sure they are reputable by using multiple sources. Part of scientific advancement relies on scientists expanding on discoveries and inventions already completed but not stealing them.  Make sure you can answer how your design or idea is different than anything that already exists.

  1. Look the part.  On the big day look professional and make sure all of your visuals are neat and organized.  If you are including a trifold of information or a presentation to play on a laptop as people cycle through, make sure it is eye catching and not cluttered.  Taking the time to ensure you and your presentation materials look good will allow you to avoid them from becoming distractions from your amazing achievement in science!

Posted by pbruckmann  On May 13, 2019 at 8:49 AM


Many believe that El Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day.  Well, let’s clarify that! Mexico’s Independence Day is September 16th and not May 5th.  So, what is El Cinco de Mayo? It’s actually Battle of Puebla Day, acknowledging a victory in 1862 over the French forces of Napoleon III.

Best Monmouth County Private SchoolA year earlier, Mexico president Benito Juarez stopped paying his financial obligation to powerful European countries. England and Spain debts were settled; instead France decided to retaliate by attacking the Mexicans assuming that they were weak.  The French also believed that by easily winning this battle, they could establish a French colony in Mexico. As you know, the Mexicans poorly armed and in the minority triumphed by winning. The victory of this battle brought pride among the Mexican citizens and showed the country’s unity.

Every year, students from one of the best Monmouth County private school celebrate this holiday.  At Oak Hill we start by learning that El Cinco de Mayo is not a major national holiday in Mexico. What happened in Puebla on May 5, 1862, is what this day really presents for Mexico and the Mexican people and how it’s celebrated in Mexico.


The 8th grade students at Oak Hill Academy, a New Jersey independent school, celebrates El Cinco de Mayo by incorporating many cultural features of the Spanish Speaking Countries. How do we do that?  Each year we choose a cultural topic like literature, arts, poetry, historical sites, landmarks, lost civilizations, dances, music and students form groups to research their topic(s). They write essays with their findings, make informative posters to support their essays, make power point presentations of photos related to their project, reproduce historical sites like La Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona, dress up like the famous poets Federico García Lorca or Octavio Paz, dress up resembling the artists Salvador Dalí and Diego Rivera or characters of Don Quijote de la Mancha to celebrate figures in Spanish literature.

In addition, on El Cinco de Mayo, the students present all their work to their peers and entertain their audience by performing Spanish dances, singing Spanish songs, etc.

Furthermore, we have a salsa contest which everyone enjoys tasting and has a challenging time choosing the winner.

Monmouth County Private SchoolAt Oak Hill Academy one of the best private schools in New Jersey, students are exposed to a very diversified cultural curriculum where they can appreciate the Spanish language, its culture and enrich their knowledge.

Posted by pbruckmann  On May 07, 2019 at 10:23 AM



The AATF, French Association of Teachers of French declares November first to November 8th as “National French Week”

In one the best school of Monmouth county NJ, Oak Hill Academy (K-8th) celebrated French National Week. As a part of the curriculum of our French classes, a lot of components include the cultural parts of the French speaking countries.

Our students enjoyed to partake in various activities which were fun and very informative in several aspects.

Here is a summary of the activities:

  • Poem: a student memorized a poem in French about the Statue of Liberty.

  • Video conference with Marie-Gabrielle in France. Students were able to converse with her in English and French and were able to ask questions about their daily life

  • The life of our pen pals : their activities and school life ( Antoine in 7th grade and Lucas in the fourth grade in France)

  • The 100 years of Armistice Day

  • Dialogs

  • Dancing on French music

  • Crêpes : lessons on how to make Crêpes  with Chef Bernard from Brittany. Crêpes tasting and how to make Crêpes

  • Lunch in school cafeteria in France

  • Cultural research on French speaking countries

  • Cultural Kahoot game

  • “Milles Bornes” card game

  • Kindergarten: getting to know “Babar” the French elephant and dancing on French songs

Posted by pbruckmann  On Apr 30, 2019 at 12:12 PM

What’s the BUZZ about BizTown!Monmouth County Private School

By, Linda Vacca

Financial Literacy- Oak Hill Academy has got that covered! Students

in grades 5th and 6th attended a hands-on workshop at Junior

Achievement BizTown in Edison, NJ. This was a culminating activity

after many months of preparation learning all about Finance. From

balancing checkbooks, to applying for jobs at their facility, to writing

ads for the newspaper and radio station, to pricing items, tracking

inventory, and acquiring loans for their businesses. Students at Oak

Hill Academy, the best of New Jersey independent schools puts “real

life” skills to work. Students learn all about the important role a CEO

and a CFO have in operating a business and assume these roles while

at BizTown. All students receive a direct deposit paycheck and then

another one later, and spend their hard earned money.

Students have learned the importance of saving and also making

monetary donations to a worthy organization, along with keeping

track of their expenses. The Best Monmouth county private school,

Oak Hill Academy provides opportunities like BizTown for our

students to be able to assume roles in a simulated environment in the

business world. Some students worked at a fast food restaurant,

others created digital designs, or operated banks, while others helped

in the medical field. We even had a City Hall and a mayor who

oversaw all the businesses. Working together while learning together

is why Oak Hill Academy is the Best Monmouth county private school!

Posted by pbruckmann  On Apr 08, 2019 at 8:37 AM

An Army of Skeletons found at Oak Hill Academy!

By: Ryan Clapp

      Ok, Ok, you got me, there isn’t a REAL band of skeletons in the halls of one of the best private schools in New Jersey….but it certainly looks that way!

The whole reason for doing this is not to scare away children, it’s not even for Halloween! Believe it or not, it’s actually done to learn!

Every teacher you ask nowadays will tell you the best way to understand and retain information is to do, create or experience something in a different way than it’s been done before. For that reason, I decided to do this activity when teaching my 8th grade science class the Skeletal System.

Now, instead of having my kids simply just label a picture of a skeleton, they must make the skeleton based off a trace of their own bodies! Looking at the skeleton this way helps the students in many ways:

·    They get a better idea of where certain bones are found in their       own body.

·    The positioning of all of the bones makes more sense.

·    Its extra practice for labeling all of the major bones of the skeletal system.

·    This way is much more fun!

At Oak Hill Academy, Science is an experience, not just another class. Teachers here pride themselves on being different and trying to make every lesson as gripping and interesting as possible. Isn’t that the kind of class you’d like to be in?


Posted by pbruckmann  On Apr 02, 2019 at 2:18 PM

Did you hear that William Shakespeare and Betsy Ross are in First Grade?

Joyce Colson, First Grade Teacher

They sure are, along with their friends George Washington, Cleopatra, and Malala. Many more of their famous friends will join them at First Grade’s World Citizen Day this spring.

In preparation for World Citizen Day, each First Grader is assigned a famous person. The first thing that the children do is research their person online and through reading books. The teachers help the children pick out important information about their person. Then, they write a report on their person based on their research. Once the reports are written, the teachers meet with each child to edit their report. Next, the children rewrite their reports for their final good copy.

While the children are busy at school preparing their reports, they are also busy at home, with the help of their parents, making a poster of their famous person. They draw the body of their person on the poster board, and then decorate around the board with things that symbolize that person. They bring their poster to school a week before presentation day.

Once the final copies of the reports are written, the children spend a few weeks reading their reports aloud in class. This not only helps them become familiar with their written work, but it also helps them build confidence in speaking in front of a group of people. Once they bring their posters to school, they then start to practice reading with the posters.

Finally, presentation day arrives! Parents are invited to attend World Citizen Day. Each child takes their turn reading their report and showing off their wonderful poster. Everyone learns some interesting facts about these famous people.

The children work very hard on this project both at home and at school. They love to get up and tell the audience all about their famous people. We are always very proud of them and all of their hard work. We hope you can join us for another exciting World Citizen Day this spring.

#bestprivateschoolmonmouthcounty #njtopschool #njprivateschool

Monmouth County Private School        

Posted by pbruckmann  On Mar 26, 2019 at 12:05 PM

Celebrating Pi Day in English class?

That’s right! One of our favorite things to do in English class is make connections; and one of our favorite things to say in English class is, “Everything connects!” Even Math and English. In mathematical terms, Pi is an infinite number of digits, and Pi Day is celebrated annually on March 14, 3/14, which are the three first digits of Pi. Here at Oak Hill Academy, a New Jersey independent school, celebrating Pi Day has become a tradition. How can we celebrate Pi Day in English class? Here’s how…

  • We can celebrate by writing Pi-ku poems! Haiku is a traditional Japanese form of poetry, consisting of 3 lines that follow a syllabic pattern:

5 syllables

7 syllables

5 syllables

Pi-ku poems are a creative spin on haikus, following a pattern of syllables mapped after the digits of Pi. Each line of a “Pi-ku” poem corresponds to a digit of Pi:

3 syllables

1 syllable

4 syllables

1 syllable

5 syllables

...and the Pi-ku could really go on forever! Talk about an epic poem!

  • Another fun Pi Day activity is dissecting pie recipes. Students bring in their favorite pie recipes to share. In class, there’s a variety of English-related activities we can do with these recipes…

  • One activity is sorting out the different parts of speech, starting with verbs and nouns. If you’re feeling really ambitious, extend the search to include adjectives, adverbs, even prepositions.

  • To delve deeply into a study and exploration of verbs, students can rewrite the recipes in past and future tenses.

  • To work on sequencing and order of events, students can mix up the steps and rearrange them in the proper order.

There are plenty more language related activities, but these are a few favorites!

3/14, Pi Day, is just one of many opportunities for interdisciplinary, cross-curricular studies!

Posted by pbruckmann  On Mar 11, 2019 at 11:19 AM
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