Category Archives: Educational

Enjoy the Views from the Observation Deck at CEB Tower

A monumental view of DC

Washington, DC, is a pretty cool city to view from high up. Unfortunately, due to building height regulations that limit structures to about 13 stories high, there are very few places in the District that offer a good bird’s eye perspective of the area.

But, now, just across the river in Northern Virginia you can enjoy incredible, sweeping vistas of DC and VA — and then some. The Observation Deck at CEB Tower in Rosslyn was designed just for this purpose. The 12,000-square-foot space on the 31st and 32nd floors of the building offers 360掳 panoramas of the capital region.

The Observation Deck opened last June, but without very much buzz (that I’d heard, anyway). So, it wasn’t until this past weekend that I finally checked it out with Sasha after seeing a great Certifikid deal on admission. It wasn’t just the discount that reeled me in, though. It sounded like a really neat experience, kind of like flying into or out of DCA when the wind is in your favor, you’ve got a window seat on the right side of the plane, and you can gaze upon the memorials, the green stretch of National Mall, and the flowing rivers below. But even better here, we could take it all in for as long as we wanted, not just the fleeting seconds it takes soar over it.

Getting started on the glass elevator

Our adventure at CEB Tower actually began in the elevator. With glass on two sides, we watched the bustling streets of Rosslyn retreat below us and got a glimpse of Georgetown and Northern Virginia in the distance as we zipped up 30-plus floors. I have to admit it gave me a bit of jelly knees, but it also made us excited for what was to come — which was awesome.

A first look at the space

Walking out of the elevator, the spacious room with floor-to-ceiling windows, sunlight spilling through them, and long shadows streaking across the floor was a sight in itself. We were greeted by friendly staff who got us oriented by pointing out a water tower in the distance near the CIA Headquarters in Langley, explained how the interactive displays worked, and generally gave us the lay of the land, both in the tower and the landscape around it.

A guide along the rail helps you locate landmarks

Sasha and I first approached the windows carefully — it’s very high up! — but once we were comfortable, we started making our way around the circular space. The views really are incredible. We could see for miles, and it was fun to pick out major landmarks, try to find our house (or the general area), and see some of the places we frequent regularly from that vantage point. I loved seeing how the Potomac meandered through the scene and the shape of Roosevelt Island. And the Washington Monument with the Kennedy Center in the foreground and U.S. Capitol beyond it was a sight we lingered on for awhile.

Potomac, Roosevelt Island, Kennedy Center, Monument, Capitol — all in one scene

Interactive digital kiosks placed next to the windows offer an in depth look at what you see beyond them. We scrolled through timelines depicting the development of places, learned about people connected to them, and pondered various issues of historic times and now. A fun and interesting element of the displays was the chance to cast votes on different issues that were later tallied for a “Collective Perspectives” display.

Learning about the scenes beyond the window

A group gets the HoverDC experience

Another interactive element is HoverDC, an immersive adventure that “flies” you through restricted airspace over the nation鈥檚 capital, offering 10,000-foot high views of iconic landmarks like the Jefferson Memorial, breathtaking nature like Great Falls, and concealed places like the courtyard within the Pentagon. Essentially, you’re standing on the edge of a large screen as video plays at your feet, “wind” blows in your face, and you listen to the captain talk about the sights below through headphones.

“Flying” over Great Falls

Head upstairs — and outside

If you want to literally take your experience to another level, a stairway leads to the 32nd floor, where there is an outdoor terrace. Loungy seating is available if you want to hang out, relax, and take in the views from a comfortable distance, or you can walk to the edge where the only thing separating you and a 380-foot drop are tall panels of thick glass. (Of course, they are securely in place, but I wasn’t about to go anywhere near them. Sasha, however, was much braver.)

Just watching her near the edge made my knees weak

I’ll enjoy the view from back here, thank you 馃檪

There is also a champagne bar on the upper level, as well as small cafe/bar on the main concourse below. It would be great to take advantage of them on an evening out — and enjoy what are surely stunning views of the skyline at night.

The Observation Deck at CEB Tower is located 1201 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn (the official address is Arlington, VA). The box office is located at Central Place Plaza, on the 1700 block of North Moore Street, across from the Rosslyn Metro Station.

Tickets purchased online are $21/adult, $11/age 5-13, $16/seniors & military, free for children under 5 (they are $1 more at the box office). Be sure to check CertifiKid for a discount. And if you live in Arlington, put away your wallet — residents get in FREE! Hours are 10am – 8pm Monday – Friday, and 9am – 8pm Saturday – Sunday.


Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Bright Horizons at Courthouse Station Opening Soon in Arlington!

[Note: This is a Sponsored Guest Post contributed by the staff at Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool庐.]

Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool is excited to announce that Bright Horizons at Courthouse Station is opening next month in Arlington, VA. The center is conveniently located across from the Courthouse and just two blocks from the Courthouse Metro Station and Arlington Blvd. We are still accepting registrations for enrollment and are pleased to offer admissions throughout the year.

Bright Horizons knows working parents and is ready to be your partner in parenting with amenities and features designed to make life easier for busy modern families.

路 Care and education for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years
路 Convenient hours and year-round care
路 Snacks and a catered lunch included in your tuition
路 Dedicated drop off and pick up parking
路 Parent workshops, resources, and support
路 Movement, art, and curriculum-enhancing activities offered right at the center
路 Our own secure app, which delivers real time updates about your child’s day straight to your mobile device

The center team, including Center Director Megan, Regional Manager MaryEllen, and their dedicated faculty, is busy putting the last minute finishing touches on the classrooms. At Bright Horizons we believe that the environment is the key to creating a joyful place for childhood and we put a great deal of thought and care into creating those spaces. In keeping with Reggio Emilia and Montessori philosophies, our designs consider not only what children need in a space, but how they will use it. Our classrooms will form an integral part of a child’s earliest learning so we carefully choose high-quality materials to create beautiful environments with rich, open-ended experiences that nurture development and inspire learning.

To learn more about Bright Horizons at Courthouse Station please visit the center’s website or call 571-305-5104. You can also follow the center on Facebook to stay up to date on center events like complimentary parent workshops, open houses, and other activities.

And if this convenient location doesn’t work for you, don’t worry! Visit our center locator to find another Bright Horizons center near you.

This post is sponsored by Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool庐, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2019, Babies, Class, Daycare, Educational, Guest Post, Preschoolers, Schools, Sponsored Post, Toddlers, Virginia, Weekdays

Guest Post: What Does a Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum Look Like?

[Note: This is a Sponsored Guest Post contributed by Alia Goodyear of the Washington Waldorf School in Bethesda, MD.]

My 4 year old amazes me — what she knows and is capable of doing. I am also amazed at how often she is insistent about something and is 100% wrong, a great reminder of how young she is in her development as a human being.

We鈥檝e seen the push and pull around when to introduce academics to children. While the trend was younger and younger, there has been significant research showing that play-based education is best for social/emotional development, building executive functions, and developing the imagination. One recent study warns about the likelihood of an early ADHD diagnosis when the child is probably just developmentally unprepared for the curriculum.

A similar debate swirls around the use of technology in schools. Some fear that without the most advanced technology at a young age, their child might lag behind. However, not knowing what the future will bring, it is essential that we give our children the inner tools to master whatever is to come. Notable Silicon Valley leaders send their children to Waldorf schools where technology is restricted until later grades.

The Waldorf teaching philosophy is almost 100 years old and is grounded in the careful observation of each child, providing pedagogical tools for teaching the child according to their developmental stage. Waldorf educates the whole child – head, heart, and hands.

The Washington Waldorf School has served DC Metro area families for almost 50 years, providing:

    – Early Childhood education grounded in imaginative play and outdoor time – including an outdoor Kindergarten option.
    – A rich Lower School (1-8) curriculum with deep roots in the humanities, arts, and sciences.
    – The introduction of technology in the classroom in 6th grade with a focus on creating responsible digital citizens.
    – A High School where graduates matriculate at distinguished colleges and go on to a wide range of professions.
Visit a WWS open house in January to see our approach in action!

This post is sponsored by the Washington Waldorf School, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2019, DC, Educational, Gradeschoolers, Maryland, School Event, Schools, Sponsored Post, Teens, Tweens

Take the Kids to Explore Congressional Cemetery (Yes, the Cemetery!)

A cemetery might not be the most obvious place for an outing with kids. But when one is full of history, graves of notable people, lovely grounds, and even geocaching opportunities, it鈥檚 a pretty cool place to go.

Congressional Cemetery in southeast Capitol Hill has all of that and then some. Deemed a National Historic Landmark in 2011, burials first started at the 35-acre location over 200 years ago, and more than 67,000 have taken place there since, including some for famous DC residents. John Phillip Sousa, J. Edgar Hoover, Choctaw Chief Push-ma-ta-ha, Mathew Brady, Marion Barry, many members of Congress, and Civil War heroes are among those for whom the cemetery is their final resting place. There are also cenotaphs, which are memorials — the word actually means “empty tomb” — for even more remarkable people who are buried elsewhere.

The grave site of U.S. Marine Band leader John Phillip Sousa, aka March King

Information panels provide background on the Cemetery

It’s a beautiful place, and not too far from where we live, so we occasionally go there to roam around and, every now and then, attend an event. The Cemetery hosts a lot of community gatherings throughout the year, from Day of the Dog in the spring to movie nights in the summer to Soul Strolls and the Dead Man’s Run 5k leading up to Halloween to an annual birthday celebration for John Phillip Sousa to Yoga Mortis sessions to live entertainment to book clubs.

Ready for the Dead Man’s Run held every October

From April through October, free docent-led walking tours are available to visitors on Saturdays at 11am. Free tours focusing on the Civil War are also available on the third Saturday of the month at 1pm from April through October. You can also take a self-guided tour using brochures that you can pick up near the entrance — they suggest significant graves to visit and provide background on the people buried there. You can also find the brochures online if you want to print them out in advance.

Tour brochures help you explore on your own

Dogs sightings abound — the Cemetery is well known for its K9 Corps dogwalking program

Meeting goats in the graveyard

The Cemetery was also known for its Goats in the Graveyard, when they would bring in a herd of goats in August to help with maintenance. They ate vines, poison ivy, ground cover, and even fallen debris, while also 鈥渄epositing鈥 fertilizer. It was fun (and funny) to see them in such an unexpected place.

Our first attempt at geocaching in the Cemetery nearly two years ago

Back again recently to complete it (her color choices haven’t changed much!)

Sasha and I visited most recently at the beginning of Winter Break. We’d started a geocaching adventure there a couple of years ago, but never found the cache, because my phone, ironically, died mid-quest. This time, I made sure my battery was well charged, and we used GPS via the app to navigate to the hidden treasure, stopping to look at some of the tombstones on the way. It’s interesting and often moving to read the epitaphs, note the birth and death dates, and see the design and artistry of the graves — some of them simple, others very ornate.

When we discovered the cache, I realized I forgot to bring along a pen to log our find (but I made a note on the app) — just mentioning that, so you don’t forget one if you go. There are actually a couple more geocaches in the Cemetery, but we decided to save those for another time — and a new stroll through the grounds.

Mission accomplished!

Congressional Cemetery is located at 1801 E Street SE on Capitol Hill. It’s open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission is free, though some special events require fees. For more information about geocaching, see this KFDC post.

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Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Free, Outdoor, Weekdays, Weekend