Aldersgate Preschool


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Christmas gift list 2018

CHRISTMAS GIFT LIST 2018

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Now everyone’s focus tends to turn toward Christmas.  Each year I try to make a post with some ideas for Christmas gifts for the kids.  I’ll put a link to our previous year’s lists at the end of this post.  All of the except a few are from Lakeshore Learning.  I’ve also done a post specifically about a few items we love from this store (located at Johnson Drive and I35.)

I remember as a parent of young children I wanted to find toys that could be used in a variety of ways and that would hold my kids’ interest for quite a while.  We have found the following toys to be just that!  Hopefully this will give you a few ideas you hadn’t thought of before.  Happy Shopping!

TODDLERS

My First Sorting Bears

This is a fun one with easy to handle pieces.  It’s a great way to introduce color and size to young kids.  The sorting cards are heavy and sort of “laminated.”  They hold up well to young kids’ play.

All About Me Personalized Photo Book

Children LOVE books about themselves.  If you don’t have a book like this that you can personalize for your toddler I would put this one high on your list.

 

What’s inside Soft Feely Box

Young children LOVE to put things into and out of a box.  These soft toys are easy to manipulate (and clean.)  As kids age you could even use these to play the what’s missing game.  For that you line up three toys and have them close their eyes while you take one away.  They try to guess what is missing.

PRESCHOOLERS

Around Town Play Carpet

You find these kind of play mats at various places.  Some children love them.  It’s sometimes hard to predict which ones will be drawn to them.  Typically those that love to play in structured ways enjoy it.  If your child like to be more creative and design his or her own play I think this might be too confining to their play.

Float and Play Alphabet Bubbles

We don’t have these at preschool.  In fact, I have never seen these before but they are on my “to purchase list.”  At home these would be fun in the bathtub but I can also see them used often in a tub of water or even sand.

 

Size and Color Teddy Bear Sorters

These are similar to the large counters above but older kids like playing with the smaller items.  These can be used in a variety of ways.  We have even made wood block houses for them to live in.  They have other small counters as well but I do like the size variation in these.

The Ultimate Fort Builder

We don’t have this specific set but we have something very similar.  As children grow developmentally you will see them begin to make plans and enjoy playing with this more independently.

Mold and Play Sensory Sand Set

We LOVE Kinetic sand.  It is very moldable and it feels so good.  Often play with this type of material with have a natural calming effect.  Don’t worry, it sweeps up easily.  Hint: my daughter sweeps the floor well before the kids begin this play and then anything she sweeps up after play is generally clean enough to toss back into the kit.

 

Easy Clean Craft Trays

You may have noticed we use trays under all of our kids art activities.  It’s a great way to keep small pieces contained and the mess easily cleaned.

Motorized Spin Art Center

This one does need adult assistance but it’s worth it!  I got my grand kids one of these and every time we get it out even the adults want a turn to create.  I purchased a small set of washable tempera paint that we use to refill the squirters (I water it down just a tiny bit.)  Be sure to mark one of each of the different shaped papers as “template.”  I just cut other paper to the size for additional spin fun.

Learning Resources Jumbo Dinosaurs

These are from Amazon.  We have large dinosaurs on the playground and they are used a lot!  For those that love dinosaurs, the big ones are very appealing.

As I was putting all these in the post I remembered that a school or office kit were some of my kids’ favorite gifts.  I guess I know what my next blog post will be about.

Here are links to some of our previous posts with toy gift suggestions.

Christmas Gift Ideas 2016

Gift Ideas – Christmas 2015

My Christmas List – Batteries not Included

Furby, the Perfect Christmas Gift?

Board Games . . .Not Boring at all

There’s One in Kansas City

The above post is specifically about Lakeshore Learning.

Happy Shopping!

 

 

 


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Thankful for every Beautiful Child

We marvel everyday at the unique qualities of every child in our care.  God truly blesses this world with children and the many different characteristics; laughter, love, questions, spirit, wiggles, sincerity, songs, discoveries, friendship, struggles and overcoming those struggles.  

We know we are blessed to play a small part in each child’s life.  We created a video that celebrates our kids.  We wrote new words to the tune “For the Beauty of the Earth.”  We hope this represents the love we have for God’s precious children.

Unfortunately we are unable to have every child’s picture in the video. Please know we treasure your child even if they are not included. 

(Click on the words below for the video.)

THANKSGIVING VIDEO

Lord, today we share our joy for the beauty of each child.

All embraced for who they are; active bold and meek and mild.

Lord of all to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

A child so busy, hard at work, focused and engaged in play.

It’s our gift to watch them grow, trying something new each day.

Lord of all to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

Happy greetings, hugs so warm. Daily feel their love surround.

Stories, thoughts, discoveries, laughter fun and joy abound.

Lord of all to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.


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We actually have 7 senses – did you know?

We are all familiar with the 5 common senses: sight, listening, touch, taste and smell.  Did you know there are two others that are just as essential to everyday life?  Let’s take a look at those with a few excepts from Balanced and Barefoot by Angela J. Hanscom.

Proprioception

Proprioception comprises sensory receptors in the joints, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues that tell you where your body are without you having to look at them.  The receptors sense when muscles and other connective tissues are stretched or at rest (Biel and Peske 2009).  Our brain analyzes the information from the receptors and gives us a sense of body position and motion.  Proprioception regulates how much force you need to use when completing tasks, such as peeling a boiled egg without crushing it, holding a baby chick without squeezing too hard, and writing with a pen without ripping the paper.

Children develop proprioception through a series of pushes and pulls that happens when they interact with their environment, such as by picking up heavy sticks and putting them back down again to build a fort, raking leaves, and shoveling snow.  This push and pull creates new gravitational loads and adaptations that strengthen the bones and muscular tissue over time, offering increased awareness of the different muscles’ capabilities and positioning for better body awareness.

Children with poor proprioceptive sense are generally more susceptible to fractures, falls, dislocations, and injuries.  They tend to be clumsy and have been know to walk in a robot-like fashion.  . . . Without proper proprioceptive feedback, children may fall out of seats, fall frequently, and trip while walking up stairs.

To maintain or strengthen the proprioceptive system, encourage your child to have play experiences that offer resistance to the joints, muscles and connective tissues.  This can also be referred to as doing “heavy work,” which basically consists of activities that require pushing, pulling, and carrying heavy objects.

 

We have a previous post that talks further about “heavy work” which we sometimes call Calming Work.  You can find it HERE

Vestibular Sense

Of all the senses, the vestibular sense is often the most over-looked.  Yet it is the most pwerful and arguably one of the most essential of our senses.  It is also known as our balance sense.  There are little hairs  inside our inner ear.  When we move our body and head in all different directions, the fluid in the inner ear moves back and forth, stimulating these little hairs.   This stimulation provides us with awareness of where our body is in space and helps us effectively navigate and move around our environment with ease and control.  

The late A. Jean Ayres, PhD . . . stated “The vestibular system (network of senses) is the unifying system.  All other types of sensations are processed in reference to this basic vestibular information . . . When the vestibular system does not function in a consistent and accurate way, the interpretation of other sensations will be inconsistent and inaccurate, and the nervous system will have trouble ‘getting started'” (Ayres 2000, 37).

Due to the lack of efficient movement opportunities today, many children walk around with an underdeveloped vestibular sense.  The results; fidgeting, tears of frustration, more falls, aggression, and trouble with attention.

  

Children develop a strong vestibular sense by having frequent opportunities to move – especially activities that go against gravity.  Walking and running offer some vestibular input, but activities that encourage children out of an upright position provide rapid input to the inner ear.  In other words, children will benefit immensely by going upside down on the monkey bars, rolling down hills, and dancing until their little hearts are content.

 


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Fall Festival Fun!

We had another great Fall Festival last night! 

It was fun to see everyone playing, eating, singing and pumpkin shopping together.  I appreciate all of our teachers, office staff and board members for their help making the night run smoothly – with the exception of not enough seating for dinner.  For those of you that couldn’t find a place to sit to eat I am making a note to set up more tables next year.  We appreciate  your patience.

Let’s focus on the successes though.  Here are some pictures that capture just a little of the fun!

               


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Overland Park Arboretum – a great place for kids

A couple of weeks ago my son invited me to go to the Arboretum with him.  I hadn’t been there in quite a while but I was looking forward to seeing the beautiful flowers and walking the trails.

Well, I quickly realized I needed to write a blog post about this space.  I am grateful I brought my phone along so I could take pictures.

I did not get photos of the large pond that has flowers, bridges, large Koi fish, turtles and more.  So I am borrowing this one from the internet. Click on the picture to see additional photos of the gardens.

As adults we stood and watched the fish and turtles for a while so I can only imagine the appeal they would have for young children.

HERE is a link to their website so you can look around at what they have to offer.

As we headed west we quickly came upon the children’s area of the garden.  I first noticed the train garden.  What fun!

The tracks go overhead on a bridge, through a replica of old Overland Park downtown, through a country scene and even under the sidewalk with plexi-glass over it so you can see the train.  Evidently volunteers run the track and they weren’t there yet when we were so we didn’t get to see the trains moving.  I’d suggest you call the center to see when volunteers were planning to arrive on they day you are visiting.  I know this past Sunday they said the volunteers typically get there around 9:30.

The large caboose is one the children can peek into the windows to see what that looks like.

Nearby we saw the vine tunnel.  It wasn’t completely covered this year as I have seen it some previous years I’ve visited.  It still looks like fun!

A little further down the trail there was a natural play area.  While there weren’t any children playing I could visualize the fun a young one would have navigating the different structures.

We walked the concrete paths and then the trails through the woods.  All the trails are easy walks about a mile long so children should be able to navigate them watching for wildlife and water features.  It was hot and humid on the day we visited and I still enjoyed it.  I can imagine how delightful it would be on a beautiful upcoming fall day.

At the front entrance if you head straight onto a paved trail, there are lots of different international statues.  I can see the kids enjoying the hunt for the next statue.

I hope you all take some time to enjoy the arboretum.  It typically costs just $3.00 a person however on Tuesdays there is no charge.

I’d love to see any pictures of your kids having fun playing in this beautiful place.

 

UPDATE:

10-3-18  We received these pictures of some of our Aldersgate Preschool kids enjoying the Arboretum.  I love it!


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Just a tub of pom poms

Who knew?  Fill a tub with an assortment of pom poms and watch the opportunities for play (read learning) develop.

The Yellow and Orange classes have their tub table filled with various sizes and colors of pom poms.  Also included are cups, bowls and the special “window” tongs.  (These are actually bug catcher/viewers but we use them for lots of things.)

Of course during play it’s a great time to label the colors and sizes.  I enjoyed listening to Ms. Katka’s interactions with the kids about their play.

Soon, this sweet girl showed me her tongs with A LOT of pom poms in it.  “Look what I have!”

“Wow,” I said, “You have a lot of pom poms in there.  I wonder how many are in there.   Can you guess?”  (That’s estimating!)  She guessed there to be four.  We counted them (one to one counting) and she actually had 10 in there.  You should have seen the surprise on her face.  (This shows she already has an understanding of quantity and numerals.)  She filled the tongs again and I asked her to guess again.  This time she guessed that there were 8 and after counting we found there were 9 inside.  This 3 year old girl was already adjusting her estimating skills due to experience and knowledge.  Amazing!

The fun thing about 3 year olds – what you do with one others will also want you to do with them.  So we counted a lot!  It was interesting to watch their concentration as we carefully counted each one.

Soon, the play extended to wondering how many pom poms you can hold in your hands.  We discovered some could hold quite a few.  I think the most anyone held was 17!

Another day, in another class, the children explored the pom poms with a different focus.  Today we talked about the colors.  Did you know that there are light and dark options of the same color?  We found lots of those today.

We also took some time to describe the pom poms.  We found big ones, little ones and even medium sized.  We also noticed that some were sparkly.  That’s a fun word.

 

“Hmmm, you have a couple of really big ones in your mix.  Do you think that makes a difference to how many you can hold?”

I just love this “playing!”


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What did you do at school today?

It was nice today to be able to walk around and check on the activities of all the classes.  While we had just a few tears as children arrived, they quickly subsided and the kids were BUSY!  Here’s a little snapshot of the activities I saw in a short 15 minutes.

These girls were intently drawing self portraits for their journals.  What a wonderful way to gauge their growth in drawing and writing by doing this at the beginning of the year and then again at the end of the school year.

 

Our Brown class kids were busy cleaning up.  This is using sorting and classifying skills.  It also promotes emergent literacy as they see the photo and the written word for the item to go in each tub.  Of course self esteem develops as they realize they have an important job in the class.

 

Next it was time for circle.  Ms. Kim held up a symbol as the children watched for their corresponding symbol.  It was a great time to reinforce the school readiness skill of sitting in a spot during circle and also the names of each child in the class.

 

Our youngest ones today, the Discovery Days 2 class, were also sitting on their symbols – a specific animal on the rug.  This helps the children know an area to be which also helps them understand appropriate social cues such as how much distance we should have between people.  Ms. MaryBeth was reading the book God Made Me.  What a wonderful message as the children talk about the different body parts – how each is similar and yet unique.

The Yellow class was in the middle of their “Work Time.”  During this time children are busy playing – the work of childhood.  I loved the social interaction I had with the little guy with a camera.  He was dressed up and busy taking lots of pictures – what a wonderful way to try on different roles he may have seen or to use his imagination.  The car ramp (in the photo on the right) is a hot item in this class.  Just imagine the social coordination the children learn as they take turns, remember a certain person is using the “red” car, and engage each other in conversation.  As the year progresses we often see more experimentation with the items on the ramp – do the bigger cars go faster, etc.

These two often play in the dramatic play area.  In this instance the little guy is serving some pizza.  What a wonderful chance to practice nurturing another person.  The little girl was patiently waiting for her food and even said “Thanks.”  You just can’t practice those social graces enough.

During work time the Yellow (and Orange) class teachers are taking children a couple at a time to use the restroom.  This builds familiarity and comfort with those basic needs.  I love listening to the stories the children tell as they walk.  Children are also learning independence and self sufficiency.

Our morning Blue class was enjoying some playtime on the playground.  As I walked up to the boys on the gator-totter I heard the little one in the middle ask if he could play too.  The others quickly rearranged their positions to make room for him.  There was some trial and error as they figured out how they could all sit and still easily make the gator rock.  That’s physics folks!

The sandbox is another area of great interest.  Today I saw lots of math as the children worked with filling buckets (or dinosaurs) with sand.  “I wonder how many scoops of sand the dinosaur holds.” That’s the kind of support adults can add to their play which encourages more contemplative play.

  

The Red class Large Motor activity today happened to also be on the playground today.  Ms. Janel was busy having the children hop, run, balance and more.  The whole time she was recorded her observations.  This is called baseline information to compare with future attempts.

I couldn’t help but engage with the kids.  I love how quickly they comply with my request for a quick wave hello – for the camera of course!!