Aldersgate Preschool


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Break is here, now what?

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Holidays are great fun as everyone has the opportunity to slow down and take a break from our normal, busy schedules.  This can be tough for kids who strive on structure and routine.  Adding in some special projects, art, and traditions can help make holidays that much more enjoyable.

*With the beautiful change in leaf colors, how about creating your own with some Q-tip painting?

*Kids love to color (and it gives you a chance to work on your cooking/baking) what if their coloring sheets were  family pictures?

*One of the best things about having young children is beginning new traditions.  I love this family’s  thankful tree.

*And speaking of family traditions, instead of taking a nap after your big dinner, how about family olympics?

*Kids love to cook… and kids love playdough…. combine the two and make some!

*Can’t get the kids to eat?  Then let them play with their food with these funny printable face plates.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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It’s a Done Deal!

It’s a done deal!  Our fall fundraiser projects are finished and ready for distribution! 

I love seeing the children’s artwork transformed into beautiful and meaningful notecards.  THANK YOU to everyone that ordered these.   Please let us know if you have any questions about your order.

I also LOVE seeing everyone’s “rules” for their homes.  How fun that many of you purchased the Family Rules prints as gifts too!   As those of you with the Brown and Cream prints are finding out, we had some issues with the printing.  PLEASE let us know if the two print options we gave you do not work.  We will gladly find a solution and make changes as needed.  

I LOVE and appreciate the dedication of all the members of our Preschool Board!  It is appropriate during this season of Thanksgiving to say THANK YOU to each of them for their thoughtful input and hard work throughout the year.  I also send a big THANK YOU to Office Depot.  They printed and cut the cards at a very discounted price.  We appreciate their support!

We hope you enjoy your personalized items.


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The Furby: Perfect Christmas gift?

Christmas is right around the corner, the most wonderful time of the year and the time that can become extra crazy and stressful for everyone involved.  I don’t know about you but I tend to spend quite a bit of time contemplating gifts for my children.  Two of my daughters want the newest, latest and greatest toy this year: the Furby!  Being the frugal, over analytical parent I am, I have spent time pouring over articles, videos and reviews about it in an attempt to figure out if it really is the “greatest” thing.  I can easily imagine the light in my children’s eyes as they open it on Christmas but I can also imagine it becoming  much like our last year’s  “Go Go Walking Pup,” a new addition to the pile of “never played with toys stashed in the closet.”   So, I have a few questions that I try to ask myself as I consider whether or not to purchase a toy.

* Is the toy open ended?  Are there multiple ways to play with it?

* Do my children already have multiple toys very similar to this toy?

* Is the toy age appropriate for my child?

* Is the toy a reasonable price?  I will spend more money on a toy that: I know my child will play with a lot and I know that my child will not outgrow for a while.

Once, I have considered all of the questions and made my decision, I very carefully steer my children in the direction of my decision.  From a young age, my children came to understand that toys aren’t always as great as they may seem in the commercials.  I spend time with each child, helping them to brainstorm their wishlist and helping them figure out what it is they want and/or need for Christmas.  I ask them several questions:

* What types of things do you most enjoy doing?

* What is your favorite toy that you own?  Why?

* What toys do you play with when you are at a friends’?  What do you play with at preschool?

I can actually help you with that last question!  We have quite a few popular toys here at the preschool but some of the very favorites are:

* blocks          * magnatiles           *art supplies             *puzzles               *play food             *dress up clothes

*cars               *baby dolls              *books                       *musical instruments

These are all items that easily fit the probing questions that I listed above and that you don’t have to stand in long lines to purchase!  U.S. Toy carries many of the types of toys listed above.  Costco and Sam’s also have some good selections this time of year.

Along with everything else I have mentioned, it is also a great idea to have your children write their letters to Santa early.  Once those wishlists are made and sent, there’s no changing their minds!  (You probably can relate if you’ve had a child who wanted to change their Halloween costume choice the day before Halloween! Yep, I’ve been there.)   And, while gifts are a big part of Christmas, there is so much more!  My own children may not always remember what they received as gifts last year but they still haven’t forgotten our tour last year around Kansas City looking at Christmas lights and muching on Krispy Kreme donuts!  We look forward to sharing some ideas about creating Christmas traditions in the coming weeks and would love to hear what your own family enjoys!  Leave a comment and we’ll include it on an upcoming post!

And, in case you’re wondering, I am still trying to decide on the Furby! 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend,

Shelly


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Thank you God!

We have been talking with the children about things they are thankful for.  Today in our Discovery Days 2 class we said (with great enthusiasm) “Thank you God for Gavyn’s house.”  We did this with each child that wanted to contribute an idea.  We even thanked God for monkey cupcakes (from Hayden!)

Are you talking about this idea before the actual day for thanksgiving?  Young children feel much more comfortable sharing and talking about the idea of giving thanks with some practice before the holiday.  While we should focus on things we are thankful for everyday, I encourage you to do this often between now and next Thursday.  You can even think of unusual things to be thankful for such as knees.  My goodness, think about it, how would we walk if we didn’t have knees that bend?  What a great activity for the drive to preschool or the time waiting for an appointment.

I am thankful for the unique miracle of each child.  I will share my thankful heart with our God.  Thank you God for children with their joy, enthusiasm and innocence.  Thank you God for the way they ask deep questions with great seriousness such as “Ms Cyndi, do you have a belly button?”  Thank you God for their energy and the prompt for me to keep moving –  just to keep up.  Thank you God for silly faces (our Purple class is especially good at this – watch for a class picture soon.)  Thank you God for a child’s gentle touch as they mold their sweet little hands into mine while we walk together.  Thank you God for each child and the unique person that they are.  God, you are the master of creation and I greatly admire your handiwork in making each precious, unique child.

Our Discovery Days children created a fingerprint tree.  As a little Thanksgiving gift, we used their art to make a downloadable print for you to hang in your homes or send on to grandparents or friends.  Enjoy a little piece of us this Thanksgiving Day!  (Just click on the picture below to link to the pdf file.)

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Sensory Play: food for the brain

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We had a wonderful staff in-service this week on Sensory Processing Disorder.  As I listened to the information I strengthened my belief that sensory play is a valuable and necessary experience for young children.  I will let Shelly Todd share more in-depth information about the Sensory Processing Disorder.  In the meantime, I found an interesting article on Eduguide.org.  It  states the following, “Recent child development research suggests sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, which helps the brain develop. These experiences are basically food for the brain. They lead to more complex learning tasks, so that children are able to do more complex learning.”  You can see the whole article at  http://www.eduguide.org/library/viewarticle/1779/.

Many people hesitate to dive into sensory experiences.  They are often messy.  However, with a little planning, you can minimize or at least contain the mess.  Place a tarp under really messy play.  With a small dust pan and brush children can help sweep up some of the mess.  Use large cookie sheets or cutting boards under the play.  Use a small plastic pool to help contain the messy play.  Limit some play to the deck or garage (during winter months).  All that being said, I encourage you to GO FOR IT!

Some children relish this type of play with great enthusiasm.  Others will be more timid.  Persevere!  It is so important.  Perhaps it is those timid children who would benefit most from repeated exposure.  I believe a young child’s brain craves this kind of input. Children make valuable connections and discoveries while engaged in sensory play.

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At school we have the luxury of sensory tables with lids, etc.  You can modify that kind of experience for your home.  In a low plastic container (like the ones for under the bed storage – by the way, what a great place to store this!) collect various materials for pouring, sifting, measuring, pinching,  . . .  Some ideas of materials are:

  • dry pasta, seeds, beans, rice, popping corn, etc.
  • bird seed
  • pom poms and ribbons
  • leaves, acorns, pin oak sticky balls, pine cones, seed pods
  • beads, sequins, cotton balls, q-tips
  • small rocks, vase filler “gems”
  • sand, oatmeal, corn meal
  • shaving cream – add small blocks or plastic animals, straws for stirring, etc.
  • water beads – you can purchase these in the flower arranging section of a craft store or search water beads online
  • ice cubes (freeze some with a little food coloring added for extra interest)

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So what do we do with all this “stuff?”  Here are some ideas for tools to add to any of the above tubs:

  • toilet paper or paper towel tubes
  • straws, toothpicks, popsicle sticks, sticks
  • measuring cups and spoons, laundry  detergent lids, yogurt or frozen meal containers
  • pipe cleaners, lengths of ribbon
  • small animals, wood houses, plastic people
  • tongs, scoops, gravy ladles, spatulas, silverware
  • cars or other vehicles
  • puzzle or alphabet pieces (for hiding, searching, etc)
  • rocks, shells, tree slices
  • foil or metal pie or cake pans, muffin tins
  • cookie cutters, molds, strainers
  • small mint (i.e. Tic Tac) containers, small plastic bottles with lids, spice containers

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There are also activities that can be played without a sensory tub.  Some of those include:

  • marshmallows and toothpicks
  • straws and pipe cleaners
  • finger paint
  • wiki sticks – you can find these in the kids crafts area in stores

Of course play dough is one of the most versatile sensory experiences.  I’ll reserve space in the future for a full discussion on the benefits of play dough and ways you can extend that play.  Watcht for that in a future post!

If you are interested in more about sensory play, the blog No Time for Flashcards has a couple of interesting posts.  Here is a link to one.  http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2012/09/fall-farm-sensory-tub.html  I encourage you to make time and space for this important play in your child’s days.  Have some tactile fun!


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Climbing, wrestling, twirling: Kids need it!

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This time of year is a lot of fun at the preschool: we have acclimated to the routines and structure of the day, the weather is changing, and several fun holidays are upon us.  It’s especially exciting to have our very own pumpkin patch right outside the door!  We love to walk around the patch and compare the pumpkins, carry some around, and one of our very favorite things to do is pumpkin pounding!

Pumpkin pounding is exactly as it sounds: we are literally pounding pumpkins with golf tees.  Using play hammers, the children have so much fun engaging their muscles to one by one, pound the golf tees into the pumpkin.  I was sharing this activity with a friend and she asked, “What is the purpose of doing this?”  Actually, there really is no end product.  The children pound for the shear enjoyment of it!

But,  pumpkin pounding is extremely beneficial for children of any age.  It is what we would consider “heavy work.”  Heavy work is important because it activates a child’s proprioceptive system.  Our proprioceptive system is one of our hidden senses in our bodies that gives us information from our muscles and joints on our body position and where our arms and legs are in relation to our body.  Children with problems with proprioceptive development are more clumsy, struggle with climbing, or may w sit on the floor rather than “criss cross applesauce.”  They need heavy work activities to build up this sense and pumpkin pounding is an activity that is great practice as it works those upper body muscles.

In a society that leads a much more sedentary lifestyle with technology and television, we are more intentional in implementing heavy work at the preschool.  From our large motor activities, the activities on the playground, and things we do in the classroom like the pumpkin pounding, we know that children are satisfying some very important developmental needs when they are doing these activities.  Children need to climb, run, wrestle, and carry heavy things.  It is through this “heavy work” that they are regulating their internal body functions.  When you see that your child may be more active or have that need to wrestle, it may very well be that he/she’s body is needing that heavy work to complete their developing sensory diet.  As a result, you will find that after these types of activities, children are more focused, calm, and ready to engage in more cognitive activities.