Aldersgate Preschool

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Friendship, Feelings and hopefully lots of fun!


As we approach the beginning of another school year many parents are wondering how to best prepare their child.  Here are some links to some previous posts about that:

    Getting Ready for the School Year

    Helping Your Child get Ready for School

We hope you find those helpful.

This year I want to focus on children in a different way; how they learn about their feelings, how they manage those feelings, and how they learn about being a friend.  These skills are especially important once they join a group situation such as their preschool class.

As adults we kind of take all of this for granted but young children are right in the thick of it as they try to figure it out.  Children are born egocentric, meaning IT”S ALL ABOUT ME!  Children have this innate need to meet their needs.  It’s a survival thing.  This learning is something we can provide.

As children grow it’s our interactions that give them clues about how to respond appropriately in emotional and social situations.  We also have several previous posts on this blog that deal with these skills.  You can use the search box to find several.  (I guess you can tell we think this is important.)

As we prepared for school this year our staff and preschool board had a lunch together.  Our theme this year was “Our Story.”   Molly Stucky decorated our tables with a stack of children’s books and other decor.  They looked beautiful AND we found some new books we love!


Many of you are probably already familiar with the Elephant and Piggie books that are written by Mo Willems.  If not, you are in for a treat!

These books are great as early readers but they also have fabulous themes, short humorous text, and simple yet expressive drawings that work well for young children.  I especially love that many of the themes focus on friendship and emotions.


My Friend Is Sad shares the story of Piggie trying all kinds of ways to cheer up his friend Gerald the Elephant.  In the end you realize that Gerald is most happy when he spends time with his best friend, Piggie.  Reading this story is a wonderful way to begin a discussion about noticing other people’s feelings, feeling empathy for them and then thinking of ways to try to help them feel better.


I’m sure you know how hard it is for children to waaaiiiiittttt for things.  (Could you hear the whine as you read that?)  In the book Waiting Is Not Easy! Piggie tells Gerald the Elephant he has a great surprise for him,but . . . . . Gerald will have to wait for it.  As the book progresses you watch Gerald become more and more distressed about waiting.

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This is a wonderful chance to talk about how frustrating it is to have to wait, about things you can do while waiting, and about other ways to handle our frustration.  The picture with the big written word “groan” even visually shows how our actions and words affect others around us.  The book ends with both friends enjoying Piggie’s surprise, the beautiful star-filled night sky.



While many of these books deal with social themes, this one focuses the reader’s attention on books and words.  The two characters, Gerald and Piggie, realize they are in a book and that someone is reading it.  I love how this makes us, as readers, see their actions differently.  It’s like we are interacting directly with the characters.  Later in the book the characters realize they can control what we, the readers, say.  They have us say the funny word, “Banana!”  Ha Ha.  While it may not be the funniest word in the world they way the characters respond makes us laugh.  This is a GREAT book for children just becoming interested in letters, words, and reading.

I think you get the idea.  These books are cute, fun and might just become your child’s favorites.  They are also very reasonably priced.  We ordered a few from Amazon with the cost just a little more than $6.00 each.  We hope you’ll enjoy some time with Gerald and Piggie soon.  We know our classes with throughout the year!



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Board Games…. Not Boring at all!

With this heat I thought you might all enjoy reading this post our previous Assistant Director, Shelly, posted back in 2012.  Have fun playing some board games!!!

Earlier this week, I spent some time watching our Blue a.m. class kids as they played some simple games: Zingo, Memory, and Avalanche.  It was fun to watch them and see how much fun they were having!  It caused me to wonder, how often do we enjoy board games with our own children at home?

There are so many benefits to playing games:

* social emotional: Children need to learn about winning and losing.  Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose and that’s okay.  Losing can be tough but it’s a great lesson!

Games also allow us the opportunity to learn about taking turns.  We practice patience and qualities involved in sharing when we do this.  We also learn about cooperative play… so important in life!

* fine motor: Strengthening our hand muscles, eye/hand coordination, and isolating our fingers are all important in getting us ready to properly hold and use writing utensils and scissors.

*cognitive skills: Recognizing the amount of dots on a die, one to one counting as they move a game piece across the board, learning to recognize numbers, colors, shapes, are all great practice.  It’s pretty neat, too, to see how children learn to “strategize” from a very young age.  Games also teach about the scientific concept of cause and effect: if you do this, then this will happen.

Some of our favorite games up here at the preschool are:

*Zingo                         *Avalanch Fruit Stand                   *Hi-Ho Cherry-O

*Operation                 *Candy Land                                    *Chutes and Ladders

*Bingo                         *Memory

There are lots and lots of other great games out there.  While places like Toys R Us and Target are good places to find games, I encourage you to also check out these great sites and stores:

As we hear so often, “the best thing you can do for your children is read to them,” I feel just as strongly about playing games.  When you are reading to them, you are connecting with them and spending quality time together.  The same is so true about playing games.  Games are a great way to bring families together!


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Find Rudy (Inspired by the Find Momo books)

{I wrote this during the last couple of weeks of school but never posted it. I hope you enjoy it t

This past Christmas my husband and I got a new puppy.  His name is Rudy.


He is a king Charles cavalier spaniel and poodle mix, a cavapoo.  While he can be ornery as all get-out, he is smart.  He learned very quickly to sit and stay.

I promise this will relate to preschool soon.

Also, at our house we love the Find Momo books by Andrew Knapp.


Since our grandchildren call my husband Momo, these books caught my eye at Half Price Book Store. Andrew and his border collie dog Momo travel all over and take amazing photos with Momo “hiding” somewhere in the photo.  Here are a couple samples of his work.


Do you see him hiding in the bottom right corner?


Did you find Momo in this one?  Look under the guardrail.

As you can see, he takes beautiful photos.  (Sorry, the quality here isn’t as good as his originals.)

Here is a link to his website.

Anyway, with Rudy’s ability to sit and stay, my grand kids and I decided to use Andrew’s photos as inspiration and make some of our own “Find Rudy” photos.  Here is one of our first efforts.


Some days I surprise my grand kids by texting a new “Find Rudy” photo to them.  This was one they liked.


As you can see, my photos don’t rival Andrew’s but we are having fun.  My friends on Facebook also seem to be enjoying them.

Here comes the preschool tie-in.

These past two weeks Rudy has joined us at preschool.  The Blue and Purple classes have pet visits.  These pet visits provide a great chance for us to connect even more as a school family as we meet animal family members, to learn about some pets, to practice speaking in front of others and probably most importantly, and to practice asking questions for new information.  I was happy to have Rudy visit with each of these classes.


On the days he was here, he joined me in greeting the children.  He gave them high-fives as they arrived.  Rudy would have loved to jump all over the children and lick their faces but even Rudy has to learn about personal space and school appropriate behaviors.


Giving high-fives was still a lot of fun.  While he was here I took some time for a couple of “Find Rudy” photos at preschool.

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We even took a “Find Rudy” picture with one of the classes.


With technology, these kinds of things become even easier.  Is there something you could start taking photos of using your phone?   Perhaps you can do a Letter Hunt – (i.e. capture the M for McDonalds.)  Do you have collections of things you could take photos of and then create an I Spy book?  You could go to an area like downtown and take photos of interesting architecture you see.  (perhaps you could even find shapes or letters in the spaces.)

A friend mentioned Chatbooks as a fun app for quickly organizing and ordering phone photos as small books.  I haven’t tried it yet but plan to do that with my Rudy pictures.


What a fun way to be creative with our kids (or grand kids!)  We would love to see what you come up with!


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Summer is coming!

With summer quickly approaching many of us (grandparents included) are racking our brains for ideas of things to do.

Do you remember the simple things you did as a child?  I certainly do.  It was always great to have some easy go-to activities that didn’t require much set up.  Here is a list of some of those with a few more in-depth fun ideas as well.

  • Bug hunt – check under rocks and logs
  • Look for pictures in the clouds
  • Play with shaving cream
  • Play on the preschool playground
  • catapults-to-make-with-kids Make catapults
  • Make a wish on a dandelion
  • Necklace of clover  – just tie stem around the head of the next one and continue on until you have the length you want
  • Car trails and tracks in the dirt
  • Chalk on the sidewalk or on the wood fence
  • 0233153f46ad73ee4d1d9e17110af105 Make a bubble station
  • I spy
  • Follow the leader
  • Write letters in the dirt
  • Squirt guns
  • Blanket fort – inside or out
  • Watercolor painting outside
  • Collect rocks
  • rocket  Make paper and straw rockets
  • Animal hunt – hide plastic or stuffed animals around the yard
  • Sun bleach prints – lay objects on a colored paper and check it later to see if the sun has faded the parts not covered
  • Water play in tubs – paint brushes, dish soap bubbles in tubs, bike or trike wash, baby bath, wash plastic toys, plastic tarp and water for a slip and slide, turkey baster and other kitchen gadget play, wood or Styrofoam pieces for boats, lego boats, spray bottles and/or sponges (yes, this means the players will also most likely get wet), add some ice cubes (colored ones are even better)
  • Make sand or mud pies
  • a2e9c00e2fe7858ec38299624eaa2a15 Make wood roads and ramps
  • Make paper airplanes
  • Play hide and seek
  • Make up “knock knock” jokes
  • Sand tunnels for matchbox cars
  • Read books in the shade of a tree
  • Create an obstacle course
  • Water-Painting-Writing-Practice-for-Kids Chalk and water painting letters
  • Play tic tac toe with nature items
  • Catch fire flies
  • Sprinkler fun – try dancing through it, jumping, crawling under the spray . . .
  • Visit all the parks within 5 miles of your home
  • Paint rocks or sticks
  • Play in the rain – it’s a GREAT time to let the kids enjoy some puddle jumping!
  • Have some fun!!!!



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The world comes alive . . . Outside!

As I was going through the photos and watching our class DVDs I was so appreciative of all the fun outdoor play your children have experienced while here at Aldersgate.  Experience in nature and outdoor play are vitally important for young children.  Exercising our muscles and enjoying the sensory experiences of the outdoors promotes healthy growth in children.

Here is a video that reinforces this idea.


Enjoy a photo collage of some of our outdoor and nature play.

group playground (7)

Caterpillar (1)

Butterfly (1)





Reese and Riley and Finley looking for the rabbit

molly (6)Squirrel (1)

group playground (6)tate and henry (4)

Connor V (3)Valerie (4) Hudson & Connor C (3) Kenlee (11)Jordan (1)         group playground (6) group playground (23) miles (9)

group playground (8)

Be sure to take time to stop and smell the roses.

jill (6)


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Parenting – It’s the tough stuff that sticks!

I realize it’s been a while since my last post.  Let’s just say it’s a super busy time in the preschool office.  I’ve decided to recycle a newsletter article I wrote in March 2007.  I hope you benefit from my “using it again.”


I recently watched a mother drop her four-year-old son off to school.  He was crying and she was visibly affected.  The mother explained to his teacher that he was upset because he had forgotten his backpack.  She went on to explain that she didn’t have time to go home to get it for him due to an appointment, but that she was also trying to help him learn responsibility for his own items.  Later that morning I heard this boy and his teacher talking about the fact this it is good to remember to bring a backpack and that it is his responsibility, but, we all forget things at times and this was a chance for him to learn and grow.

I talked to this mom at dismissal and reassured her that her son had only a few moments of sadness before beginning a great day at school.  She was still struggling with her decision.  I actually applauded her for making the tough call.  It would have been so much easier to get the backpack BUT what would this young boy have learned in that decision?

One of my favorite poems about parenting, written by Erma Bombeck, is titled, “I Loved You Enough.” You can find it here.  This poem talks about some of the hard aspects of parenting; the ones that are not popular with your child.  The poem ends with “But most of all, I loved you enough to say NO when I knew you would hate me for it.  Those were the most difficult battles of all.  I’m glad I won them, because in the end you won, too.”

I also had a conversation recently with a friend of mine who had grounded his son from the car for a week.  He said, “I don’t know why I did that.  It was so hard on me to have to pick him up all week.”  It made me think again about how often the most effective and positively shaping consequences for children, the ones they learn the most from, are not the most convenient for the parents.

It is a lot easier to give in to a strong-willed child, especially over the small stuff, than to hold your ground and then deal with a long tantrum.  It is a lot easier to ignore inappropriate behaviors while you are shopping than to park the shopping cart, take the child home for some cool down time, and then return to your shopping at a later time.  It is a lot easier to . . .


As I write this I hope I don’t sound harsh.  Every aspect of parenting should be wrapped in love and compassion!  I also certainly understand that each situation is different.  the child’s age, maturity level, previous behavior, emotional temperament, etc. all play into every parenting decision.  THAT’S why it is so hard!  Every parent I have even known wants to do the best for his or her child.  I know you do too.  I applaud each of you for your efforts.  We have a wonderful group of children at Aldersgate.  I write this to encourage those of you who are in the midst of those tough decisions.  Keep it up!  Often the toughest, most gut-wrenching decisions as a parent are the ones that will most positively shape your child.  In Proverbs 221:6 we read “Train a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”  My blessings to every parent who is in the midst of the often challenging task of “training.”

group (7) noah Ramsey group (10)

Way to go Aldersgate Parents!

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Trust Your Instincts

This past weekend I hosted a surprise anniversary party for my sister and brother-in-law.  I was happy to do so and honored that her kids, who were doing the planning and paying the bills, thought of our home for this event.  I love to decorate and even have a little side business making decor, etc. However, as the event date came closer and closer, I found myself second guessing my decorating decisions.  Not the big ones like wall color, etc. but my pictures, the way I filled my shelves, the artwork.

I like my home.  It makes me happy.  I have lots of color, lots of antiques, lots of nature items, lots of whimsical things like these.


It makes me smile.  But . . . . . . . . . . . .

I was having a lot of people over that had never been there before.

There were people coming that I didn’t know.

It was a lot of couples so I knew I’d have more men in the mix.

Would they think my things were “classy” enough?  Would it feel juvenile?  I fixed and fussed and re-arranged several different areas.  My daughters reassured me that people love my home. I stilled felt the angst. Eventually, partly because I ran out of time, I had to just go with what it was.  And, of course it was fine.  I even had people give compliments on my home.

Why?  Why?  Why?

Why do we second guess ourselves?  As I stewed over this I thought of all the young moms (and some of the dads) that have shared with me their angst over raising their children.  They don’t know enough about early childhood.  They don’t know the latest discipline strategies.  They sometimes lose their temper and fear those are the moments that their children will remember.  In other words, they “fuss with and re-arrange” their parenting decisions.  Why?

Trudie Perkins has been having fun recently watching a couple of foxes in her yard.   The foxes have a few babies under her porch.  She’s enjoying watching the little ones begin exploring the outside.  Let’s face it, they are adorable.


But, she’s also talked a lot about how impressive the adult foxes are in how they do things.  They have a natural instinct for keeping their little ones safe.  One will venture out for food while the other stays on “duty” with the little ones.  They check for danger before re-entering the area so as not to bring a predators’ attention to the babies.  They do other things too but this is enough to make my point.

They trust their instincts!  

In this day and age of blogs, information sites, facebook posts, etc. I believe young parents have a hard time recognizing their own instincts, let alone following them.  Many parenting decisions can be a matter of figuring out what works for YOU!  Try to listen to your inner most self.  Your gut.  What works for your family, your situation, your kids and your values is what works for you.  It’s okay if you do things differently than your best friend or your neighbor.  It’s okay if you take cues from how you were raised. It’s okay.  Stop the “fussing and rearranging” and trust yourself.

Alida, a young mother and blogger (the realistic moma) wrote about this from a young parents’ perspective.


(click on the image for a link to the article)

Let’s vow to do this in all areas of our life.  Let’s trust our instincts.


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