Aldersgate Preschool

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Teaching children values – money talks

He saw a need and found a way to help.  Isn’t that what we all hope to do?

Recently a little guy noticed that our bird feeders were empty.  He worried about the birds being hungry.  His mom reminded him that he has some share money that he could use.  His face lit up and he did just that.  He bought some birdseed and filled the feeders.  Look at that big smile!

Don’t you just love the idea of “share money?”  I asked about this and found out they have a little bank they found on Amazon.  This concrete tool helps teach about giving, spending and saving.

          (click on photo for link)

I would love to post other ideas or routines our families have that help teach values.  Do you have a special prayer routine?  Is there a way you encourage kindness?  Are their regular times you emphasis the importance of family?  Let me know and I will pass on the information.


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Getting Ready to Write!

This is an article from a December 2010 newsletter (the old fashioned paper format) written by our former assistant director, Shellie Todd.  It is still very relevant today.

Our staff recently participated in an in-service taught by a former Aldersgate parent and current Occupational Therapist for Olathe School District, Heather Rogers.  While our staff has always been aware of the importance of good fine motor skills in early childhood, the in-service helped to enhance and deepen our awareness of such skills.  Did you know that there are many prerequisites that must occur before a child is able to sit at a desk and effectively write with a pencil?


From infancy, a child is working on this progression as he/she begins to gain stability with their head and neck.  From there, an infant will work on their trunk stability (being able to effectively sit).  Even as preschoolers, we practice this as the children sit for circle time activities.  We encourage them to sit up, lie on their sides, or even their stomachs because all of these support their ability to have good trunk control.

Children also need to develop shoulder stability, forearm and elbow stability and wrist stability.  If you’ve ever walked through class during preschool time, you may have seen your children manipulating playdoh, writing on an easel, crawling across the floor, or moving on scooters.   We’re always working to build those muscles to prepare them to become writers.

Being able to strengthen fingers and develop finger control comes next.  REalizing that they have ten fingers is very important in fine motor development.  They are learning that they can isolate some of those fingers to do certain jobs like stringing beads, grabbing things with tweezers, and using a Lite Brite.  These activities all require the use of three fingers together (the tripod grasp) and it is this tripod grasp that will lead to the ability to hold a pencil effectively and write.



“There” are some ways that you can practice fine motor skills in your own home.  many of these things are simple and inexpensive.

  • turning pages in a book
  • picking up buttons one at a time
  • opening and closing lids on a jar
  • doing push-ups (and crawling on the floor too)
  • doing the crab walk
  • wind-up toys
  • spin tops
  • spray bottles
  • hanging things with clothespins
  • playing with silly putty or playdoh (try hiding small things in it for them to dig with their fingers and find)
  • squeezing eye droppers
  • charlotte-22
  • mini slinky
  • Chinese yo-yos
  • Squeezing out sponges or wash cloths

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It’s Glorious!

It’s so amazing, what we are all creating.  It’s like a symphony.  

This year’s staff meeting had a music theme.  Did you know the research has found that music uses both sides of the brain, a fact that makes it valuable in all areas of development.

I love the thought that we are like a symphony with each of us playing our part to create the beautiful music that is Aldersgate Preschool.  Our teachers and office staff play wonderful “music!”

Aside from the task of “taking care of business” we also:

spent some time getting to know each other better

enjoying some food themed snacks,

honoring Ms. Hillary with the Jennie Nichols Dancing in the Rain award.  Her kind heart, even in the face of personal loss, is a wonderful example to us all.

and playing some music.

These are boomwackers.  We’ve had them for a while but never knew how best to use them with the kids.  This year we developed some lesson plans for activities using these toned rhythm instruments.  We are sure the kids will love these.  Hopefully you will hear about them once they’ve had a chance to use them during their large motor time.

We continued developing lessons for movement along with music by dividing into groups and presenting ideas for different equipment to the rest of the staff.  I just love that these photos show the fun our staff have while thinking about new and age appropriate activities for your kids.  (They kind of act like kids themselves!)

We closed our meeting with prayer.  We prayed for our families.  We prayed for your kids.  We prayed that our staff use all their God given skills to best serve the kids and you.  We have several families that are dealing with things that need extra prayers.  We prayed for them.  Please let us know if you have any family concerns that prayers may support.

Oh, I almost forgot.  We LOVE to have fun.  With that in mind we also had a group develop their own little “girl band” presentation to the song Hey Mickey.  We all had a good time with this and we look forward to having a good time all year long.

Everyone plays a piece and there are melodies in each one of us.

It’s glorious.

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And just like that, another year flies by

We played, learned, laughed, cried, explored, tried new things, made friends . . . .  This year was packed with so much for our little ones and for us, their teachers.

At the end of the year I always gather the staff for a final prayer.  Each person shares things they are grateful for from the past school year.  There are always tears:

 Joyful tears for happy moments shared

Heartfelt prayers for people need healing and comfort

Tears of laughter as we remember so many funny moments

Grateful tears as we think about so many families trusting us with their children

Sad tears as we think about saying goodbye to some of those families

Tears full of emotions – so many emotions.

We end the year with our families with a picnic.  This year it was a beautiful, gorgeous – couldn’t ask for a better – day!  We had so many people here!  Everyone had fun.  I especially enjoyed watching friends running around together, teachers and parents visiting, parents and grandparents watching their child enjoy one more day on our playground, siblings taking a break from school to join their little brother’s picnic, excitement as children launched paper rockets, hugs for teachers, and families connecting.

God was truly with us throughout the year and at our picnic.

These photos capture just a few of those special moments.


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Time flies by – enjoy it now!

This is a post I wrote for the Jan/Feb 2007 newsletter.  It’s an oldie but still worth the read – I think.

Believe it or not, these years with your young children will be over before you know it.


As many of you know, I am busy with preparations for my oldest daughter’s wedding (and I hear rumors of a possible engagement soon for my other daughter!)  This is a hectic time with lots of planning that can be both exhilarating and overwheleming at the same time.  Perhaps some of the emotional rollercoaster I’ve been on comes from the underlying realization that we have truly moved out of the “child” phase of our family life.  Where did the time go?

(This photo is from this past Christmas, not 2007, but it is one I will always enjoy.)


I am proud of the young adults my children have become, but I do constantly wonder if I spent enough time truly enjoying them while they were young.  Did I:

  • take time to listen to the imaginative stories?
  • stop to take time to read a good book with them?
  • spend enough time cuddling at bedtime, or anytime?
  • take time to teach a new skill rather than rushing ahead and doing it myself?
  • go to the park enough?
  • make enough snowmen with them?
  • really listen to those sad feelings when a friend said something hurtful?
  • stop to read another good book?
  • allow helpful hands while baking when I knew I could do it so much faster by myself?
  • play enough games with them?
  • really listen when they were singing me the new song they just made up?
  • help my child investigate things like “Where is the end of the earth?” (This was an actual question my son asked at age four.)
  • paint, color, and do play dough enough?
  • stop to read ANOTHER great book?  There are so many fun ones available!

I mention all this because you are in the middle of these important years.  You still have time!  Be sure to catch some of that time for these things that seem so much more important when you are looking back.  Enjoy it now. . . while you can!


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Ice Cream, Music, Auction, Bubbles, Wind Tunnel and so much more!

Saturday afternoon we had another wonderful Ice Cream Social.  While this is our biggest fundraiser for the year, I call it a success even before we know any numbers!

Children played.  Families mingled.  People connected.

We saw smiles and wonder.  We ate ice cream and baked goodies.  We sang with Dino O’Dell.  We bid on auction items.  We won raffle items (well a few of us did ;o)  We played on the playground.  We navigated an obstacle course.  We braved a box maze.  I could go on and on and on!  It was a good afternoon!


I forgot to make a sign listing the two donors that sponsored the ice cream, toppings and supplies.  So, today I send a huge Thank You to HyVee for the ice cream and to the Bradley family for a donation to cover the toppings and all the paper goods!

Erin Thull organized an Usborne book sale.  I hope everyone had a chance to stop by and pick out one of their neat books.  She is holding the sale open through the week.  You can still order here.

We couldn’t do any of it without ALL of our wonderful donors!  We appreciate your support more than we can say!!

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Calming Work

Calming work?  That sounds like an oxymoron.  I bet you can relate though if you think of some instances that you’ve actually experienced the calm that follows hard work; after a day in the yard bending, pulling and digging, after doing a heavy exercise and weight lifting work-out, after a long day of swimming and pool play.


We’ve been learning a lot about “heavy work” as it is called in the world of special needs.  Therapists have used strategies that include heavy work (we like to call it calming work) while working with kids that have sensory issues, hyperactivity, problems with focus and attention to name just a few.  We, at Aldersgate Preschool, feel all children benefit from some of these calming work activities.

With winter weather and the increased activity level of children cooped up inside we could all use the benefits of calming work.  These articles explain it much better than I can.  They also have wonderful lists of activity ideas.  I encourage you to take a couple of minutes to read them.

(Click on the photos to link to the articles.)

heavy-work-activities-683x1024  40-heavy-work-activities-for-kids autism-sensory-processing-heavy-work-chores-activities-for-kids-to-calm-focus

I’ve been trying to think of additional activities that would use items you might have in the home and would adapt to inside play.  Here are just a few of those ideas:

  • Allow your child to lift any hand weights you might have in the home.  For safety be sure they use two hands on each weight.  Can they lift it up to their chest?  How many times?
  • Play moving man.  Fill a laundry basket full of heavy things – perhaps some heavy books?  Have your child load the basket with the books, push them to the end of the hallway and then unload them.  To encourage this play, pretend you are filling a library or bookstore and you need a delivery.
  • Create an exercise track through your home.  Use some of the ideas listed in the articles above.  A quick look at google images will provide some visual for things like push-ups against a wall, etc.
  • Try some yoga.  Cosmic kids yoga has a variety of different yoga videos.  Check out this Star Wars episode version here.  There is a Frozen yoga video as well.
  • Tug of War is a fun game.  Try this sitting down with a neck scarf.
  • Drag a friend (or a parent.)  Have someone sit on the end of a blanket.  Next, have your child try to pull the person around by holding the other end of the blanket.
  • Push chairs – perhaps they could all be put into a line to form a train or bus.
  • Crab walk with a stuffed animal sitting on your belly.
  • With your child laying face down on the floor, lay a bean bag (or something with a little bit of weight to it) on their back.  Now have them lift up onto their knees and crawl around without letting it fall.
  • Push a dad over.  (ha, ha) Have an adult stand with his (or her) legs apart.  The child then tries to push them over – or at least move their legs.