Aldersgate Preschool


Leave a comment

Rockin’ our Responsibilities

Did you know preschoolers (and even toddlers) are ready to rock some responsibilities!   Actually studies show children build self-esteem when the adults in their life trust them to do things.  They also learn the processes and the skills involved in doing various chores.

An article on the Psychology Today website stated, “One of your most important goals as a parent is to raise children who become independent and self-reliant people.   It is a fact that it is often easier to do things for children than to get them to do it themselves. We can clean their rooms or get them dressed in a fraction of the time and with much less stress.  It does not allow them to master skills, and it does not allow them to feel the satisfaction of a job well done and develop a sense of value, capability and accomplishment. Therefore, give your children responsibilities and hold them accountable for completing the jobs”

But, really, did they mean this for toddlers and preschoolers?  As with anything, you can start young if the expectations are developmentally appropriate.  For instance, a 12 to 18 month old child can go get the diaper and wipes when asked to while you prepare for a diaper change.  He can also pour food into the dog’s dish (of course this would be from a small cup and might not be the whole amount the dog needs but you get the idea.), throw away his trash, take his dishes to the counter after a meal and more.

Two and three-year olds can match socks from the laundry, wipe the baseboards, pick up their toys, put dirty clothes in the laundry, restock the toilet paper and more.

Four and five year olds can set the table, empty small trash cans, “make” their bed, help load the dishwasher, clean the table, wash windows and much more.

This February we will be focusing on Rockin’ our RESPONSIBILTIES!

We are READY, READY 

READY!


Leave a comment

Social skills – a conversation with a parent

I’ve been communicating with a parent about options for her son, outside resources such as speech therapy and ideas for developing social skills.  As I was writing an email to her this morning I thought it might be a good thing to share here.

We are working with her son on how to approach others that have something he would like and how to handle it if another child wants a toy he has.  He just turned 3 years old but this could be any child and any of the ages we have here at Aldersgate.  Just think about it.  Your child has been alive for such a short time.  He has already learned to eat and feed himself, He has learned to talk, walk, play with toys and so much more.  It takes practice to  understand and handle social interactions.

The parent had explained that they were attending the Parents as Teachers playgroup and another group gathering.  Here is what I wrote;

All the exposure to play groups, etc. are great.  At his age I would try to stay a little more in the background and see if/how he is interacting with others.  This will give you an idea of how to work with him at home or at future gatherings.

For instance, you can actually practice the sharing and turn-taking involved in playing with others while you play with him at home.  I would get involved in some play that has multiple pieces (i.e. blocks) and then ask him for a turn with what he has.  If he says no or just ignores you I would encourage him to use words to say if he doesn’t want to. “I’m still using it.”  Or “When I am done.”  If he would try to take something you have (and I would make yours pretty exciting so it would be something he would want) then you can tell him to use the words, “Can I have that.”  I would give it to him sometimes when he asks but other times I would say those same things to him – explaining that he can wait and you will let him have a turn later.  This will give him the chance to feel what waiting is like and to learn how to manage the disappointment of not getting what he wants right away.

As parents we feel funny depriving our kids of toys (while we are playing with them) since we are the adults – but, when we give things to kids right away, they don’t have a chance to practice the skills they will need when playing with other children.

This can also be true with following directions, etc.  If, as parents, we do things that the child is capable of doing for them (because we love them) we are actually depriving him of a chance to grow independent and to practice listening and then following one or more directions.  I would say at this age he should be able to hang up his own coat (or if this is too high for him I would find a spot for him to put it), throw his trash away and put his dish on the kitchen counter after meals, he could help get himself dressed and put on his own shoes (this might need some help once he tries a little).  In February we are going to have a focus on Responsibility for these little guys.  There are real benefits in having kids do “chores” around the house.  It is hard to believe but at three years old kids should begin being a helpful member of the household.  Watch for more on that coming soon.

I thought I would share a few of our kids working on those social skills while they play.  We practice everyday!

  


Leave a comment

Good News, Christ is Born for you!

We had a full crowd for both of our Christmas worships this past Saturday.  Luckily the snowy weather waited so we could fit this in!  This is truly one of my favorite things (and one of the things I will most miss once I retire.)  The sound of children singing songs that tell the story of Jesus’ birth is precious to me and to all the teachers.  I hope this short, child-centered worship touched your hearts as well.

This year the message and the children’s story focused on the animals,  During the message the animals each brought something for baby Jesus.  The donkey carried them to Bethlehem.  The cow shared her manger and the hay to make a soft bed.   The sheep shared a blanket made from her wool.  And the dove shared her sweet song to sooth Jesus to sleep.

With snow on the ground this week we continue to have our morning music time (I get to kind-of be the indoor recess option.)  I love that children continue to ask for songs from our Wriggly Nativity story.  This story has definitely made a mark on their hearts as well.  If you were unable to attend, or you want to have your children share the songs with your extended family, you can find the song recordings on our website WHAT’S HAPPENING page.  Just simply click on those words and the link will take you there.

We are all so grateful for your generous donations to our mission; Mission Southside’s BackSnack program.  I know your kindness will be felt far into the new year!

We captured a little of the morning in pictures.

 

Good news, Christ is born for you!


Leave a comment

Save those boxes

It may be too late for many, but I encourage you to save any boxes you have during the Christmas holidays – especially Amazon boxes.  Boxes sometimes make the best toys – as I’m sure any parent of a 1 year old soon figured out.  I remember my grandson climbing up on one of the boxes from a gift (we had closed the tabs so it was secure again) and then climbing down.  He has a January birthday so he must have been 11 months.  (Wow, look at those high math skills  – ha!)  Anyway, he did this over and over, and then over again.

Climbing on boxes is only one way kids play with boxes.  Older kids love to build spaceships, houses, cars or trains and so much more.  I used to do Home Daycare.  I remember using multiple boxes in a row as a train.  The children worked so well assigning roles, and deciding where the train was going.  The school age kids got involved making signs for the destination and for the boarding area.  We made pretend tickets.  This all developed naturally as they played.  This train play lasted almost the whole Christmas break – imagine keeping up to 10 children busy during those long winter days while all of them were out of school!

 

 

One of my favorite books is Christina Katerina & THE BOX by Patricia Lee Gauch.  Kids enjoy this but I have used it most with parent groups.  In the story Christina’s is so excited with her new delivery, a refrigerator.  She beams, “Oh, how grand and new.”  Christina replies excitedly, “It is!  Oh, it really is!”  She was, however, looking at the box.  The box became a castle, a clubhouse, a racing car, a floor of a mansion (after the box collapsed) – she was going to have a ball.  Eventually the kids scrubbed the floor with water and it disintegrated.  But, don’t worry, Christina and her friend soon had two new boxes from his mom’s washer and dryer.

Throughout the story the mother is ready to get rid of the box.  Isn’t that often the way?  We want to clean up the “mess” when kids often see it as an opportunity.

A newer book (published in this century – and boy that makes me feel old!) is Not a Box by Antoinette Portis.  Our copy happens to have been donated by the Inglehart family – thanks so much!  In this book the author asks a rabbit “Why are you sitting in that box.” The following page shows the rabbit sitting in a racecar along with the words “It’s not a box.”  We follow this format throughout the book with the box becoming a volcano, a robot, a boat, a pirate ship, a hot air baloon  . . . .

This book spurs a child’s imagination for all the different things a box could become.  I love it!

Image result for imagination is more important than knowledge

To see the source of the photo just click on the image.

Just imagine what your children could create with all those boxes that accumulate over the holidays.  Just add tape, paper, plastic lids (for wheels, well, actually for whatever the kids imagine), markers or paint (just put a tarp underneath).  You could even add shapes cut from the wrapping paper that covered the boxes.

Just imagine!


Leave a comment

I Want to be Thankful

Today we had a Devotion Worship.  As you can imagine, we talked about being Thankful.

I started with couple of videos about turkeys.  This first one is a song about turkeys.  The second one showed real turkeys and how they gobble.  The kids (and teachers) thought this was interesting.

I then asked the kids “Why are we talking about turkeys?”  They quickly replied, “Because it’s Thanksgiving.”  I then asked, “But is Thanksgiving just about turkeys?”

We talked about being thankful.  I read the scripture,

Let us come before God with Thanksgiving and praise him with music and song.  Psalm 95:2

We then talked about what we are thanful for.  Some of the responses included; my house, the world, presents, rabbits, food.

Did you know we use other words sometimes to say we are thankful.  Gratefulness and praise are also part of giving God thanks for all we have.  The Bible verse also mentioned singing as another way to thank and praise God.

We ended by watching and dancing to a wonderful Group VBS song, THANKFUL.  

After class today we had a teacher training.  We also did our weekly joys and concerns with the staff.  We ended by saying the prayers each class is currently using.  We also said the prayer by Dear Abby.

O heavenly Father:

We thank thee for food and remember the hungry.

We thank thee for health and remember the sick.

We thank thee for friends and remember the friendless.

We thank thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.

May these remembrances stir us to service

That thy gifts to us may be used for others. Amen.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and may God bless you and yours.

Wish wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

And may we all be thankful for our many blessings.

 

 


Leave a comment

Make this Christmas Season Meaningful

I usually write a post about toy options we suggest for your kids for Christmas.  I looked back at some of my old ones and to be honest, I think those posts cover the options really well.  You can find those options HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERETHIS ONE is specific to books we like as gift options.

Instead, today I will write a little about traditions that would enrich young children’s (and your family’s) lives as we look forward to Jesus’ birthday.

Advent Calendar

The last couple of years I have prepared an advent calendar of activities for my grandkids.  (This might be a great suggestion to your kid’s grandparents as it does take a little preparation.)  I try to include activities that are very quick, days that give little treats, activities that encourage active play, activities that include art and finally activities that point to the true meaning of Christmas – Jesus birth!

I am including PDFs of the list of ideas I created to print for their calendar.  Feel free to click on them to download them for  your use if you like.  Just an FYI, they are not in date order.

advent activities_        advent activities year 2

I also found this kindness activity list.  Just double click on the image and you can download it.

(Unfortunately I’m not sure of my source for this.  If anyone knows, please contact me so I can add it to this post.)

Light a candle at dinner time each night. 

Have each person take a turn sharing something about them: favorite thing to play, something good they did that day, something they would wish for, say something they love about the other people at the table, sing a favorite song (or sing different Christmas songs – by the way, our songs we are learning at school will soon be on our website for your listening enjoyment.  :), list people you love, a favorite memory, . . .

Read a Christmas book

This is something you could make a special time for each evening.  Some of our favorites that focus on the story of Jesus’ birth include:

Christmas in the Barn  by Margaret Wise Brown

The Donkey’s Christmas Song  by Nancy Tafuri

The First Night  by B.G. Hennessy

The Friendly Beast  an Old English Christmas Carol, illustrated by Anna Vojtech

Mouse’s First Christmas  by Lauren Thompson

The Nativity  illustrated by Julie Vivas

The Pinetree Parable  by Liz Curtis Higgs

The Stable Where Jesus Was Born  by Rhonda Gowler Greene

That Special Starry Night  by Jeff Carnehl

Who is Coming to Our House?  by Joseph Slate, Ashley Wolff

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star  pictures by Lesley Harker

The Giving Manger

This is an advent kit you can purchase.  I’ve seen it advertised many different places this year.  I love the idea of it.  You put the empty wooden manger in a visible spot in your home.  Through Advent you fill the manger with hay (placed with every act of service someone does) and finally you add baby Jesus on Christmas day.  You can read more about it on their blog HERE.   The menu bar will also take you to where you can order the set if you would like.

Celebrate with a pretty table

Your kids can take turns setting the table with whatever they decide makes it feel festive.  Perhaps old birthday napkins, home-made napkin holders (just cut up a paper town tube and let the kids either draw on it or apply stickers), special dishes, . . .

Christmas Blessings to those we love

Each night (or once a week), call someone you love and have the whole family sing them a song.

Connect through KindCraft

This local group has ongoing project of service for others.  They have a facebook group that you can find HERE.  This is how they describe themselves on the group page:  We have a heart for serving our community with our families. Our goal is to provide families with opportunities to serve once a month. We believe it is so important to teach our kids about compassion, empathy, & the importance of making a difference for someone else.

Hide Baby Jesus

Yes, I really suggested you hide Baby Jesus.  I started this one day (a long time ago), just as a joke with my kids.  I took the baby Jesus from our Nativity set and hid it in a little artificial tree that was nearby.  This then lead to a pretty consistent thing we did for the following years.  I liked to compare the kids to the Wisemen as they were searching for the Messiah – baby Jesus.

Blessing Jar

Thirty Handmade Days, a blog written by Mique, focuses on craft projects.  Don’t worry though, you don’t have to be too crafty for the blessing jar.  Mique suggest putting toungue depressors with things we are blessed with into a jar.  Each day you pull out a stick and then count how many of those things you have in your house.  You can read more about it HERE.

Here is a beautiful video about all the blessings we have in our everyday lives.

Okay, so that is a lot of ideas.  Some are very simple and others are more complex.  Honestly, you can do none of these and still take moments to remember to true reason for the season.   I don’t write this to put more pressure on you in this already busy time.  It’s just about taking time to pause amidst the hub bub of the holiday and be mindful of the gift of Jesus and our many blessings.

I wish each of you a joy-filled Advent season and a beautiful Christmas.


Leave a comment

10 Things I wish every Early Childhood Educator Knew

Your preschool staff had a wonderful continuing education training yesterday.  Cari Ebert, MS, CC-SLP (a nationally known speaker) shared her thoughts (backed up with research) of the the most important things for early childhood educators to understand.  I am so proud to say we already embrace the ideas she presented!  However, she gave us some wonderful research to back our thinking as well as tips and tricks of the trade.

She first addressed what teachers of young children should be – RESPONSIVE

– Responsive teachers are engaged  (they get down on the child’s level, talk with children (not at them), follow children’s lead, play with children)

– Responsive teachers are intentional (they embed learning into everyday activities and routines, teach in context, create child appropriate environments)

– Responsive teachers are playful (they are lighthearted, they are animated, they laugh with children, they build relationships)

     – Responsive teachers are sensitive (they respond to a child’s pace, limit the number of test-like questions, keep interactions natural, keep expectations realistic)

She then talked about how young children learn best:

In context (this is one of the reasons we do not do a letter of the week), exploration using all their senses, through social interactions (we often say social interactions are often the most important thing about Aldersgate Preschool), and finally through play-based movement.

Cari talked quite a bit about her worry about high-tech (screen) type play/activities.  

Here is a list of all the things high-tech play is displacing.  When children spend time with a screen they miss out on:

face to face interactions with other people

play-based movement (rolling, crawling, walking, climbing, running, jumping, skipping, hopping, hanging, digging, dancing – all of this movement supports the child’s natural development of muscles, coordination and even brain development)  You can see a previous post about the importance of movement HERE.

exploration of the environment

manipulating and playing with toys (and here she highly suggested battery-less toys)

the ability to wait (delayed gratification – those screens are pretty immediate in their actions)

outdoor play

parent-child verbal interations

Anna Sosa, Ph.D of Northern Arizona University conducted research that determined that parent-child verbal interactions were reduced when they had electronic toys, rather than traditional toys such as puzzles, shape sorter, blocks and books

Screen time also affects vision, sleep, language and motor skills. (This tags right onto my soap-box discussion during our orientation meetings this year)

With more time looking at objects close up (screens) more children have less time to develop their long distance vision muscles.  Therefore, we are seeing more children needing glasses for near-sightedness.

Sleep is affected by the use of screens.  This blue light affects the development of melatonin.  Screen time also takes away time for that heavy, deep play movement we mentioned before.  The children’s muscles haven’t been used an therefore the body does not feel tired for sleep

A recent study found that toddlers who were exposed to handled screen time were more likely to have expressive language delays.

Screen time limits the use of hands and development of those muscles and coordination.  We are seeing more issues with children being able to cut, hold utensils, etc.

Screen time displaces movement which contributes to strength issues – beginning with the large muscles (such as core strength) which then affects the small muscle development.

Cari explained the difference between speech and language.   Language referes to a whole system of words, symbols and gestures used to intearact and communicate with other people.  Speech refers to the actual words we speak.

Cari also talked about the importance of phonological awareness skills and a language rich environment.  This is something I will share in a later post.

You can find more information from Cari Ebert on her group page on facebook or instagram.  She posts information and fun ideas for both parents and teachers.

We will definitely ask Cari Ebert to present again.  She has a few other presentations about speech & language, sensory input and more.