Aldersgate Preschool

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What’s In Your Backpack?

A friend and I were laughing the other day as she remembered her oldest (who is now 20) being in preschool. She shared that after picking him up from preschool each day, she would check his backpack only to find it empty. It was her first experience having a child in preschool, she felt that she paid good money for him to be there, and she wanted to see that he was learning!  What she didn’t realize was that he was probably doing lots and lots of valuable things and that was why his backpack was empty.



The following is a poem by Dr. Jean that, I think, does a great job of explaining the empty backpack.

What’s in your backpack?
It’s empty.
Where’s your work?
Did you just play?

When I built with blocks
I learned about shapes.
I balanced and shared-
Our skyscraper was great.

I played in the windy house
And talked with my friends.
I rocked a baby
And played pretend

In science I observed,
Guessed, and experimented, too.
The same things grown up
Scientists do.

Art was messy.
I created and explored.
I solved my own problem
When I spilled glue on the floor.

My fingers got a work out
With puzzles and clay.
Those same muscles
Will help me write one day.

Out on the playground
I ran like the wind.
I learned to take turns
And helped a hurt friend.

Story time is what
I always like best.
I can use my imagination
And give my body a rest.

I sang and danced-
Learned a finger play, too.
I answered questions
And said, “Please” and “Thank you.”

There will be time
For worksheets and tests,
But talking and playing
Is how I learn best.

I love to go to school.
I’m glad I’m me.
An empty backpack
Means I’m learning, you see!

There are so many amazing, wonderful things going on each day that your child is here!  We will do our best to share some of them with you through this blog, in our e-mails, and newsletters.   We hope that you do understand that while they might come home quite often with an empty backpack, their day is quite full with valuable learning!

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A little bit about me…

Hello my name is Shelly Todd, I am the Assistant Director here at Aldersgate Preschool, and I need to begin by telling you: I am not perfect. But, I think that not being perfect makes me better at my job.  The best part of my job is building relationships with the kids and families at the preschool.  What makes it so fun is that I can totally relate.  I can relate to the parent of the strong-willed child who refuses to wear anything but her purple velour pants, the 3 year old who won’t poop on the potty, and the 5 year old who cares nothing about learning her ABC’s (is she ready for kindergarten or should I wait?).  I can relate because I’ve been there with my own children.

There’s something else you should know about me:  I am a total geek when it comes to reading books, blogs, journal articles, etc. about children.  I am passionate about education, child development, and parenting.  And (while sometimes it may be a little annoying) I love to share what I know.  After having officially been a momma for 11 years now and in education for 15, I feel like I have a little bit of insight to share.  I also realize that I am always learning and improving in both my parenting and my work.

I was a parent here for five years and loved Aldersgate Preschool.  This is officially my third year as an employee and I have to tell you: I love it even more.  I love that we have some of the very best teachers I have ever worked with, that our director is always looking for ways to improve upon what we do, and that we as a preschool can continue to do what is best for your child.  I say it over and over all the time: everything that we do here at Aldersgate Preschool is intentional.  There is an intent and reason behind it.  And so I will continue to write blog posts, send you picture e-mails, type up hand-outs, and talk one on one with you on the phone or in the hallyway about your child.  I want you to understand our philosophy: why your son came home with paint on his clothes (because he discovered that yellow and red create orange: cause and effect), why your daughter only played with blocks today (her visual memory is working right now and she’s been creating a town), and why your child can’t stop singing “Wide Mouthed Bullfrog” (this is such great early literacy as they are beginning to sequence and learn about rhyming).

I love my job, I feel very strongly about what we do here at Aldersgate, and I am very excited to continue to share my thoughts here on this blog.

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Let’s travel this road together.


We are excited to begin this new journey through words and pictures that is a blog. Shelly Todd (assistant director) and I (Cyndi Mawhiney, director) will be posting our thoughts, ideas, stories, insights, resources, and more. We are by no means experts. We have a passion for young children and their families. We also strongly value the importance of early childhood. This has been my life’s work and I strive to continually learn about why we do the things we choose to do, what approaches work best and if there are new ideas that are important to embrace. With that said, I firmly believe in some long-held beliefs: A family is a child’s most important influence. Each child craves love and acceptance. Each child tests that love and acceptance at times. Consistency is like food for children – they thrive with it. Children are truly a gift from God.

At Aldersgate Preschool we are intentional about what we do.  Hopefully we will have an opportunity to explain those ideas and intents. We also embrace creativity and growth. We hope to pass on ideas that will spark and inspire you. We want to open a dialogue with all of you, our families!  Please feel free to share your comments or questions. We learn so much from you as well.

As we begin this blog, we want to be as safe and secure as possible. Due to privacy issues we will not show any identifiable pictures of children here at our preschool. We are looking into the issues surrounding this and working on an alternative option.  Shelly and I are very visual people and we believe pictures say a thousand words. In the meantime, we may at times use portions of photos or other photos as examples.

I hope you will join us often. Let’s travel this road together.

Cyndi Mawhiney