Aldersgate Preschool


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We are still working hard!

I’m so impressed with our little people and the work they are doing!  We’ve heard from our parents that children are excited about helping at home – and even asking to do more!

This is just what we were hoping would happen when we chose to focus on responsibility for our February focus!

I love seeing all the photos of children working at home.

 

Rocky, our dog that celebrates a job well done, has been busy visiting all the classes.  The kids are so excited when he does a flip just for them.  Kids in our youngest classes are doing work too.  They got so excited to see Rudy visit and perform for them!

If you are still wanting more information about helping your child with responsibilities, one of our preschool Board members sent me links to some great sites.

Life Over C’s even has a free downloadable interactive book and memory game. This connects responsibility with pre-reading skills.  You can find it HERE

The Happy Housewife posts about age appropriate chores.  You can find it HERE

I also found some notes I made earlier and wanted to share a fun chore that one of our teachers has her kids do – tightening the screws on the light switches and door knobs.  You can just imagine some kids thinking this is right up their alley!

Keep Rockin’ those Responsibilities!.

 


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My dog Rudy helps with the Chore Chart

As we head into our Rockin’ our Responsibilities focus for February I wanted to give you a few resources.  Recently our staff had an in-service about giving kids responsibilities and how to encourage them.  We watched a video that explains the benefits of jobs and duties for young children  You can watch that by clicking on the words below.

Research on the effect chores have in developing concern and respect for others

I also created a list of videos and books that would be great to share with children as you focus on this aspect with kids.

Books:

Being Responsible by Cassie Mayer

How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms? By Jane Yolen & Mark Teague

Good Think You’re Not an Octopus by Julie Markes

Just a Mess by Mercer Mayer

All by Myself by Mercer Mayer

Cami Kangaroo Has Too Much Stuff by Stacy C. Bauer

Videos:

Joey Runs away  (click for the link) Watch a kangaroo that runs away to avoid cleaning his room.  There are some pretty comical pictures as you see his room inside his mom’s pouch.

The Little Red Hen (click for the link)  Enjoy the traditional story of a hen and all her friends that don’t want to help her with the work of making bread.

A German Shepherd helps with chores around the house (click for link)  I’d watch this with the sound off and just enjoy how clever this dog is doing some pretty amazing jobs around the house.

When giving chores it is important to think ahead about what YOU will be able to follow through with.  As with everything with kids, consistency will help this go much more smoothly.  Children will not complete chores to your quality level but that doesn’t lessen the importance of giving them.  Once you carefully explain how a job is done you can let your child give it a try.  I would offer support as children work – but not too much.  Think about having a boss that oversees every aspect of the job you are doing.  You wouldn’t feel like they think you are capable and that would not build your confidence or motivate you to work hard.  Kids actually can feel that same way.  So I would encourage them, hold them to a developmentally appropriate standard, but let them have some autonomy.

How to encourage:

As with all areas, encouraging the actual work the child is doing is the most effective.  Rather than “Great job”, you could say, “It really helps the family when you  . . .”  “You are working hard at . . .”  “I think you are learning more about doing . . ., you didn’t need my help with any of it.”   When we focus on what the child is doing rather than generalizing about the child’s character it is most effective.  This way the child more easily internalizes the idea of hard work, doing his or her best, etc.  On the other hand, when a child is struggling with a task they don’t see their whole value placed on the job they are doing.  I would say something like, “I know you don’t want to take time out to do . . .  but we all have jobs when we are part of the family.”  “Bummer, I know you don’t want to do this right now but it’s your job and I know you can do it.” “I am cleaning up after dinner. It’s time for you to do your job of cleaning the table.”

The Blog post title mentions something about my dog:

Once I decided to use the flipping puppy as a “hurrah” in our classrooms for a job well-done, I also decided to use a dog theme to bring this focus together.

Many of you may remember my dog, Rudy, has visited school a few times.  He is a sweetheart that loves people.  I was trying to think of a way to make doing job “more exciting.”  While Rudy’s primary jobs are to:

Make everyone in the family feel loved

 

Play with the grandkids

   

Play and snuggle

And make us laugh

 

And he is good at all of those things.

He is also good at posing for photos.

And we have fun having Rudy hide in photos – can you find him?

So, I decided he could be a model for the photos for our chore chart.  You can click on the links below the photos to access the file if you would like to print these for use at home.

chore chart

chore chart pictures

My thought was you could cut out the photos of jobs you will have your children do and then paste them into the day you would want that done.  We are sending home a paw print stamper that you can then have your child stamp onto the photo once they have completed the task.  Hopefully doing this is another motivator for getting a job done.

In another blog post I will share many other links to sites that have chore charts and other good resources for helping children learn to be responsible.

Let’s see those kids Rockin’ Their Responsibilities!


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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!


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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!

  


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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!


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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!


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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.