Appreciating Teacher Amber Riess

May 9, 2018 10:12 by Kelly

“I love teaching, I love my job, I’m excited to come to work every single day,” said Amber Riess, O2B Kids Hunters Crossing VPK teacher.

Riess has been teaching 4 and 5 year olds at O2B Kids for almost three years. She says she has wanted to be a teacher as long as she could remember. “When I was younger, I was always the mothering type and wanted to work with kids,” said Riess, “My teacher at the time told me I should become a teacher when I grow up, ever since then I decided that’s what I wanted to pursue.

She says her favorite part about teaching at O2B Kids is their “edutainment” system. “The resources we are given is incredible,” said Riess, “Kids are free to do what they want creative wise and have unlimited options. They are so proud of their work when they are done, it’s an awesome feeling to see.”

She says she loves teaching this age group, but it’s bittersweet to see them leave for kindergarten. “These children aren’t even mine and I am so sad to see them graduate,” said Riess, “I’ve grown so attached to them since they have started.”

When asked what her favorite memory has been this school year, Riess light up and said, “The Leprechaun!” A couple weeks leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, one child per day would wake up with a single yellow band around their wrist and they had no idea where it came from. “Every day they would freak out, and I would say maybe it’s the Leprechaun, so the day before St. Patrick’s Day we set up a trap with chocolates inside, and the very next day the trap moved and there was a single yellow band inside,” said Riess, “Then, I said lets go to sleep and see what happens. When they woke up, every single child woke up with a yellow band around their wrist and lost their minds! They talked about that for a month.”

Riess says it’s those special moments and seeing the progress her students make over one year that make her job so rewarding. “I know it sounds cheesy, and it is cheesy, but to see my students who have never written their names then learn to write their full name is absolutely incredible,” said Riess, “I’m like I taught you that! I taught you this huge life skill that you will use the rest of your life.”


Appreciating Teacher Pauline Wilkes-Smith

May 9, 2018 08:35 by Kelly

“When I walked through these doors… it was love at first sight,” said Pauline Wilkes-Smith, O2B Kids VPK teacher.

Wilkes-Smith first walked through the O2B Kids Supercenter’s doors almost 14 years ago. She has been teaching children ages 4 and 5 ever since. “I love that age group because of the milestones and the progress they make before Kindergarten, it’s really impressive,” said Wilkes-Smith.

She says her students started in August not even knowing they had letters in their name, and now they are writing their first and last name. “They are prepared and ready for kindergarten,” said Wilkes-Smith.

With it being Teacher Appreciation Week, Wilkes-Smith says weeks like this is important because there’s a lot of small things that go unnoticed and gets wrapped up into everyday normal expectations. She says an example of this is her daughter Payton, who has been a student at O2B since she was only 6 weeks old. “When Payton was in the infant room I told her teacher that she would not eat off of a spoon, and a week later her teacher had her eating off of a spoon,” said Wilkes-Smith.

Wilkes-Smith says she has wanted to be a teacher ever since she was in the 5th grade. “My teacher was such a mentor, I wanted to be just like her,” said Wilkes-Smith, “That’s why I love teaching at O2B so much, because they teach us how to teach kids how to love school.”

Eggstravaganza 2018!

March 30, 2018 10:34 by Kelly

Around 600 people came out to O2B Kid’s Supercenter for the biggest hunt of the year!

This year, the festivities included a bounce house, dunk tank, snow cones, and even a princess! Roshelle Twymon, also known as Princess Tiana, is part of the University of Florida’s student organization, Royal for a Reason. She says her favorite part about coming to Eggstravaganza is meeting all of the kids and making them excited for the egg hunt.

Not only were the kids excited for the hunt, but they were excited for the chance to be the one person in their age group to find the golden egg! Play leaders searched high and low for the perfect spot to hide the three special eggs. Supercenter member Alyssa Billis, found the golden egg for her age group up high in the jungle gym. “I can’t believe I’m the one that found it!” said Billis.

O2B Kids Supercenter Operations Manager, Nick Weston, has been part of Eggstravaganza for the past five years.  He says his favorite part about helping put together special events like this is what the community as a whole gains from it. “Our special events gives us a chance to share what we do here with the rest of the community,” says Weston, “We have people that have never been here before, so seeing our walk wall, big toy, and everything else makes it a little more magical for them”.

Science Fair Week!

March 30, 2018 10:28 by Kelly

Here at O2B Kids, “We believe in discovery”. Chances are you’ve probably heard a play leader say this, or even seen it written on our walls. That’s because this saying can be found in our manifesto… and it’s one we try to live by. This theme especially comes into play during our annual Science Fair Week!

Michah Holley is in the sophomore class at Archer Road. Not only did he do a science fair experiment on ‘How Plants Absorb Water’, but he also conducted a hypothesis, data, and a conclusion… not bad for a preschooler! Michah’s parents wanted to get in on the action by being his “lab assistants” and helped him present his project to the class.                                                                                       

“We believe in learning by doing” and “We believe in trying new things” are two more sayings that can be found in our manifesto. Not only do we live by these statements on the everyday here at O2B, but they also go perfectly hand in hand when it comes to our Science Fair Week!

Our preschoolers broke out the beakers and cylinders to conduct their very own science experiments in the classroom. While using gloves (our preschoolers practice cautionary safety measures of course), kids we asked to make a solution using food coloring dye. Declan is a senior at our preschool and with the help of his dad, Luke, his classmates got the chance to do another hands on experiment.

Pirate & Princess Fun Run 2018

March 30, 2018 10:04 by Kelly

Pirates and Princesses came together for the annual Fun Run! This is the second year O2B Kids partnered with Joey’s Wings 5k at Westside Park to raise awareness and funds for their cause.

Joey’s Wings is a non-profit charity that supports childhood cancer research, while providing support, advocacy, and education for parents. The charity was created in memory of Joey Xu, who passed away on Nov. 26, 2014 from childhood cancer.

Throughout the run, pirates and princesses had to endure various obstacle courses. The obstacles represent the many challenges that children with cancer have to overcome during treatment, like chemo and radiation. 

With the help of runners (and walkers), $11,000 was raised and will go directly towards pediatric cancer research. 

First, second, and third place winners of their age group. 

Click the link below to see the race results!

O2B Kids Fleming Island Member = State Chess CHAMP!

March 30, 2018 09:32 by Kelly

“Checkmate”, a chess phrase that O2B Kids Fleming Island member, Eyal Farber, would say as he earns the title of State Chess Champ.

Just a year and a half before his state title championship, Eyal played his very first game of chess during an O2B Fleming Island class.

Coach Al, who teaches chess class at O2B, is Eyal’s coach and the one who taught him how to play. He says the progress Eyal has made in just only a year and a half of playing is truly remarkable.

Eyal says his favorite thing about playing chess is that it’s fun! He won five out of the five games at the competition and says, “It feels really good to be the State Champ, because I didn’t think I would win.”

Eyal says his favorite part about coming to O2B Kids is going to chess class, and he will continue to go until his dream of becoming a grandmaster at chess comes true.