Tag Archives: Amy Peters

SG preschool owner records, releases children’s album

Photo: Amy Peters plays a game with the kids at Brightest Stars Preschool in Sugar Grove which is owned by her and her husband, Bill. Besides owning and working the preschool, Amy has just had her first CD of songs produced.
Photo by John DiDonna

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Brightest Stars Preschool owner Amy Peters, an accomplished vocalist and instrumentalist, decided some time ago that she wanted to mix her favorite hobby—music—with her business life. As a result, Peters finished recording her CD “Come and Swim with Me” last December, and made it available for purchase at the preschool and www.cdbaby.com.

“When I am singing with groups of children, I make the songs as interactional as I can. It’s fine to have concert-style songs, but little ones really want to get into the songs and be a part of them,” she said.

According to Peters’ website, www.brighteststarsmusic.com, “Come and Swim with Me” is “full of fun and exciting new music for children ages 2 to 10, and will have your child singing, interacting and learning.”

Peters said she is especially fond of the album’s title track, but enjoys the other tunes on the recording.

“Each song has special meaning to me, but another that stands out is called ‘Sammy the Zebra.’ My son Devin, who was 9 years old at the time, asked if he could help me write a song. His idea was about a zebra named Sammy who is sad,” Peters said. “Wondering how to fit a sad song into my mix, I asked Devin why the zebra was sad, and he said that Sammy loses his stripes every time it rains, and since Sammy lives in the rainforest, he was sad a lot. Well, who knew that ‘Sammy the Zebra’ would be many, many children’s favorite song?”

Peters said the album took about a year to record, mix and master.

“Wanting to make sure that my CD had a professional sound, I met up with Patrick Dugan from Musical Expressions in Naperville, who is a professional musician, and he became my one-man band,” she said. “Patrick did all the music tracks and recording along with the mixing of all my songs. He made sure each song had its own special sound.”

Amy Peter's first CD is called "Come And Swim With Me." These songs mix learning with catchy tunes that are easy to sing along with. Photo Courtesy of Bill Peters

Album No. 2 should be on the way shortly. In the meantime, Peters is having a blast hearing what people are saying about “Come and Swim with Me.”

“This has been so much fun for me to hear what other people have said about my CD. I love hearing what are the favorites, whether it’s ‘Chocolate Chip Cookies,’ ‘Come and Swim With Me,’ ‘Any Other Car Like That’ or ‘Mommy, I Want Salami,’” she said. “But one of the biggest compliments came from a guy in his 20s who said he loved that my songs were so ‘adult friendly.’ Another friend said she has ‘I Like Me’ set on her phone alarm clock, and she wakes up every day with me singing to her. Many other family and friends have purchased my CD to give as birthday gifts and baby gifts.”

Peters has taught for 22 years, and has been singing “for as long as she can remember.” She said teaching and singing are her two passions, and she further developed a love for music after she learned to play the guitar.

“I realized that I had my own melodies. I started writing music for my classes. My first song, called ‘Come and Swim with Me,’ got the songwriting started … and it hasn’t stopped since,” she said.

Peters said that when she can’t find a song to use while teaching, she’ll simply write the song herself. In fact, she challenged herself last year to pen a new song each week and, in her own words, “rose to the task” and had a blast sharing her songs with Brightest Stars Preschool students.

Peters began her career teaching in a developmental preschool. She developed a love of working with preschool-aged children and made the decision to operate a preschool out of her own house. In 2008, Peters and her husband, Bill, decided to purchase a building and open a preschool in Sugar Grove.

“I have a great support system that allows me to keep doing what I love—teaching and singing. My husband Bill has believed in me from the beginning of wanting to grow a preschool center and a music venture,” Amy said. “He is always there to help when I need my sound system set up for singing events, or for taking the kids to their activities when I have a show. And, of course, I would have never had my love of music without the influence of my number one fan: my mom. Thanks, mom.”

Preschool students give Brightest Stars an A+

by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove resident Linda Ray may be only 3 years old, but she knows what she likes. Linda started classes at the Brightest Stars Preschool in March.

“There isn’t a day that my daughter doesn’t come home raving about Miss Amy,” Jan Ray said.

“Miss Amy” is Amy Peters, educator and owner of the Brightest Stars Preschool, located in Sugar Grove. The preschool opened in September 2008 with morning and afternoon classes.

While some other preschools and day care centers are seeing a recent drop in their enrollment, Peters said that if anything, she is gaining students. She said she thinks it is because her classes are educational.

“Parents will give up other things to continue with their child’s education,” she said.

Peters’ goals for the children are to help them gain the skills, confidence and independence that will prepare them for kindergarten, and supplement the learning experience of half-day kindergartners.

Although the parents like Brightest Stars because the children are learning, the children like it because they are having fun.

Peters sings and plays the guitar and other instruments, and incorporates music and movement, as well as puppets and sign language, into many of the activities she does with the children.

“I love seeing them light up and they don’t even realize they’re going to learn,” she said.

Interspersed with the music, the children have opportunities to explore the computer, learn basic math skills, create art projects and practice writing.

Parents may choose the combination of days their child attends the school, as well as how many days per week, based on availability.

Linda recently attended a session Peters offered free of charge at the Sugar Grove Public Library. The theme was spring, and focused on birds and flowers and rain.

Youth services manager Sarah Barbel said Peters added two sessions so everyone could participate.

“There’s always a big waiting list (for her programs),” Barbel said.

Peters said she will offer monthly programs once the new library is open, and has scheduled two summer sessions through the Sugar Grove Park District as part of her community outreach.

“I always say after each session, ‘I don’t know who had more fun—me or the kids,’” Peters said.

Brightest Stars Preschool
474 Division Drive
Sugar Grove
Sessions are Monday – Friday
9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. or 12:30 – 3 p.m.
For more information, call 466-8668 or visit
www.brightest-stars.com.

PHOTO:
Miss Amy combines music and movement for preschoolers at Brightest Stars Preschool in Sugar Grove. Photo by Susan O’Neill

Chamber honors its own

by Susan O’Neill
The Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry honors several of its members each year with awards in one of five categories. This year the chamber also recognized several organizations with special awards for their contributions to the community.

Press release award
The village of Sugar Grove won this category for its speed and thoroughness in keeping the community informed. Village Clerk Cindy Welsch regularly provides information to the community through press releases, the village website and announcements with utility bill mailings about the normal flow of events and services. In addition, village staff were quick to provide vital information to residents during the village’s recent floods.
In the Groove award

Castle Bank received this recognition for employee Lisa Lund’s role in promoting chamber membership and making sure that new members feel welcome. Chair of the membership committee, Lund helped increase membership through several membership drives in the area. She also implemented an orientation process for new members that combines a formal introduction to the community and the organization with informal follow-up and contacts.

Looking So Good Award
Waubonsee Community College won in this category for the new construction on the Sugar Grove campus as the college moves forward with its 2020 Master Plan. Attractive and functional, the Science Building completed in 2006, the Academic and Professional Center in 2007, and the Student Center in 2008 feature state-of-the-art technology to enhance the learning and social experiences of its students.
Chamber Spirit award

Engineering Enterprises, Inc. is recognized with this award for its consistent support of the business and residential community. A sponsor of the Farmer’s Market, Corn Boil and other chamber community events, EEI provides office support and equipment, funding and employee volunteers to ensure their success.
Newcomer award

Brightest Stars Preschool owner Amy Peters has only been in town a short time, but she has jumped in with both feet to participate in community events. In addition to her morning and afternoon pre-school classes, Peters has provided musical and educational programs for children through the library, the Farmer’s Market and the Sugar Grove Corn Boil.

In recognition for stepping up
Special recognition goes to the Village Bible Church and Conley Outreach for providing a place and comfort to students following the fatal accident that claimed high school students Blake Denton and Jeff Malewig.

The Village Bible Church immediately made its building available for students to congregate, and Conley Outreach provided counseling and support as students and teachers attempted to deal with the tragedy.

In recognition for keeping your cool under pressure
Special recognition goes to Oak Trust Credit Union employees for their courage and assistance in apprehending the man who attempted to rob their Sugar Grove branch. Thanks to their quick thinking and observational skills, the Sugar Grove Police, together with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, were able to quickly locate the man and bring him into custody.