Aldersgate Preschool

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Here We Go!

Officially, we have completed our first week here at Aldersgate Preschool.  Anyone else feel like they’ve run a marathon?

But seriously, change is tough!  For many who are new to us: we are unfamiliar, the building is different, our routine and structure of the day is new to many.  So it’s absolutely normal for children to come in a little unsure of things.  We expect tears.  Please know that we are working hard to build up trust and a relationship with your child.

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And there are some things that we’re pretty confident about here at Aldersgate: it’s going to be a great year!  We have a lot of fun here at the preschool!  We laugh a lot, sing a lot, and build relationships!

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It’s pretty awesome to watch the children as they make new friendships.  They learn what it is to be friend: holding hands, sharing, taking care of one another, all such great skills for life.

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And children also learn about being independent.  They set up their own area for snack, the preschoolers pour their own drinks, make decisions about how to spend their time at work time or on the playground.

So, while it’s tough to watch your child grow up, to trust us to care for them, please know that you’re doing a great thing for them: you’re giving them the opportunity to be independent, build friendships, and prepare for life.  We love that we get to be part of that!

Thank you for sharing your children with us!


Build Your House Upon the Rock


If you build it, they will come.  Many of us know the movie about a farmer who tears down his cornfield in order to build a baseball field.  In the movie, many people scoffed and were confused about what he was doing.

I hope there is no confusion about what we are building here at Aldersgate Preschool.  We are building a community of love and acceptance based on the strong foundation of Christ.  We are building a place full of discovery, play, fun and learning fro young children. We are building strength of unity among our staff.  We are building trust among young families.

We are building a family.

As the staff returned to work this year we had a wonderful staff meeting based on the theme of building.  We talked about many different aspects of building with strength and how those apply to what we do here at Aldersgate.

Building on a strong foundation!  Our staff broke up into groups and discussed the values that we build on.  We built post-it note towers (by the way, if  your kids are bored one day they would love this activity) and wrote our foundation words on the bottom ones.  Here is what the different groups came up with:






It said a lot to me that the groups came up with the same ideas and sometimes even the same words.  I added my own word in addition to theirs: grace.

Each staff member endorses a set of creeds we hold true.  Every year we re-affirm our commitment to those beliefs.  Our teacher’s creed is a foundation for what we do.

Building a team.  Many people are often amazed that we can have 27 women working together with little (if any) drama.  We are a team.  We did an activity that had teams building the tallest tower they could with the supplies available.  I love the collaboration each team incorporated within their group.

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After the activity, I mentioned that I had not said the groups could not collaborate together.  We talked about the importance of taking care of our own areas but most importantly taking care of each other and EVERYONE who enters.  I love that our teachers greet every child and attempt to get to know their names and families.  We are a team.

Building connection.  THANK YOU to everyone who filled out the survey I sent home this summer.  It was a fun surprise for our staff when we played a modified version of the TV game show Family Feud.  “STAFF FEUD” was a great way for us to connect through knowledge about our families.  We surveyed 106 of our Aldersgate families and the top 6 answers to a question are on the board.

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The staff did very well at guessing the most popular answers to our questions.  They already know you pretty well.   We were surprised at how many families responded that they know no other or only one other family currently attending Aldersgate.  Our board members were also surprised by this information. (By the way, the board also played a shortened version of the game.)  We take that information and know that we need to provide opportunities to help you connect with each other.  You are the best support group each other can have.

I also know you are all busy, busy, busy  and this post is getting very lengthy.   I evidently have MUCH to share about our staff meeting.  Watch for PART TWO coming soon.


Prepping the Playground

I love our playground!

I stopped in today to do a little tree trimming and other preparations for the year.

But first I had to stop and admire the garden on the preschool side.

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Please give Ms. Virginia and Ms. Sara huge thanks for caring for our garden spaces this summer.

I believe that children notice and appreciate beauty around them.

And, nature offers such amazing beauty.

Now, on to the tree trimming.

First – dead limbs in the trees

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Second – limbs on the ground

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Finally – limbs cut up into pieces


I wonder what these will become.

Food for animals?  Spaghetti?  Flags in a sand structure?

What stories will they inspire?

I can’t wait to see what the children do with a few short sticks.

(By the way, if you happen to be cutting any trees this year we would love, love, love some 6 to 12inch  diameter tree slices about two inches thick.  Unfortunately our limbs weren’t that big.)


Back to school . . . .

Jen Anderson is guest writing this post.  Jen is a long-time parent at Aldersgate and is beginning her second year on our Preschool Board.  Jen will also be our personnel chair on the board.  Her words touch my heart.


“Mommy, I’m a little frightened about school.” My four-year old son stops in the middle of drawing. Although he has been going to Aldersgate since he was one, his statement doesn’t surprise me. He is my cautious, strong-willed child. I give him a hug and tell him that I understand new things can be a bit scary, but I know he will like school for two big reasons. One, the Red class will have new “bigger boy” toys and two, I know his teachers will be very, very nice. We talk briefly about some of his favorite things in Yellow class and how much he liked his teachers, then he went back to drawing. I know we will have similar conversations several times between now and the start of school.

While it is tough to see my child scared or struggle, I know that Aldersgate is the right place for him. My family has had at least one child at Aldersgate for the past six years. Not only was my first child prepared for Kindergarten academically, more important to me, it met my two primary goals: 1) Feel safe and secure away from me, and 2) Develop a love of learning. These goals were achieved by the hard work of the teachers!!

It is no secret that teachers do not make big bucks; unfortunately, early childhood education is on the bottom of that scale. Over the years, I’ve not had a teacher where I thought she considered it “just a job”.  I’ve seen teachers that have a true passion for engaging and interacting with kids. It is not the big paychecks or the amazing benefits that attracted them to the profession. No fancy perks. No 401K. No healthcare. They get a few vacation hours and a few sick days. And while changing diapers and cleaning up after art projects is essential, few would consider it glamorous!

Last year as we were dropping off my younger two children, I had my (then) kindergartener with me as it was one of those few days that Olathe public school was off and Aldersgate was in. As we walked through the halls, several of the teachers stopped to say hi to my son. He acted shy and a bit embarrassed and did not talk to them except a small hello. When we returned to the car, I saw he had a funny smile on his face. “What are you thinking about, bud?” I ask him. “Oh, I just really love that place.” Safe. Secure. Learn through play. SUCCESS.

While I anxiously wait to have a shopping trip to Target and the grocery store ALONE, I am thankful for the ease-in schedule Aldersgate uses at the beginning of school. While my third child would probably be happy staying there an entire day, my “frightened” strong-willed child needed those slower transitions.

I’m sure my son will have a small photocopied family picture in his pocket to “remember” us while at school for the first few weeks. I’m sure there will be tears. But, I’m also sure the teachers and staff will be there with love, hugs, and teaching the entire time!

Have you had any similar experiences with the teachers? How do you prepare your kids for the start of school?

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Making Memories

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I am just back from visiting my dad at the nursing home.  It is always hard to see him becoming less and less the man he once was.  These days I greatly rely on my memories of him as a vibrant, fun-loving, overly boisterous, K-state cheering, creative project doing, landscaping, candy eating, song singing, God fearing man.  I am thankful that my children have these same kind of memories of their Pop Pop as well.

I am collecting the responses from our preschool family survey and one of the questions is about how often our preschool kids see their grandparents.  I am pleased to see most families are able to get together often.  This heritage, this connection to our family , to our past, is important as we grow into the person we are meant to be.

So this really got me thinking.  I want to talk to the grandparents for a minute (so please forward this on to the grandparents in your family.)  We are lucky, in this day and age, to have the ability through technology to stay connected even if we live far apart.  I am lucky I am able to see my granddaughter every month or so, and still we Skype often.  As early as 18 months, she began asking to see Grammy in the “puter.”  Talk about melting your heart!  How, though, through a computer screen, can I help Anna know the real me and visa-versa.  I realized she and I need to do some of the things we would do if we were together.  Anna loves to sing and dance.  We sing often via the computer but now I think we need to dance some too.  Anna has a high interest in large motor activities right now.  She loves pulling the couch cushions onto the floor and jumping on them.   We’ll be doing that “together” too.

Some other options for Skype activities include:   Cooking!  For those who love to cook, while Skyping decorate a special cookie that you then send to her.  If you love books, read to your grandchildren.  As your grandchild grows older you can play games via the computer.  Draw pictures of each other.  Color.  Build with Legos.  Play with playdough.  Use toy people to make up a story.  Send a special treat via the mail and have him or her open it while you have the same treat at your location. Take the computer around with you on a letter, color or shape hunt throughout you house.  With an infant grandchild you could play peek-a-boo.  Blow bubbles.  Find the nose, eyes, . . . on a doll or stuffed animal.  Make animal noises.

You get the idea.  I think we need to just be ourselves, even through the computer.  It’s YOU your grandchild wants to spend time with – let him or her see the real you.  It’s those everyday moments that give your grandchildren a glimpse into your personality.  It’s those kind of moments that will truly make a strong memory.  I invite you to comment on this post with ideas for how your families (all generations) are building important memories, strong connections!


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Life is beauty full

I have a bit of a confession to admit to you… when you come into the preschool each day pushing your strollers, carrying your toddlers, dropping off those little preschoolers… I feel a tinge of jealousy.  With all of my littles in elementary and middle school, I have entered a new phase of motherhood.  Do you know when it really hit me?  As we were making the trek back from  the lake this past week, I looked to the back of the van and realized that it was… quiet.  Seriously.  There was no crying or whining or anyone needing their binky or a diaper change.  It was nice.  But, it also hit me like a ton of bricks: I no longer have little ones.  They need me as much as they ever did but, in a different way.  Gone are these days:

No, I’m not bragging.  And, those were some tough times that I remember well.  I remember when I took this picture.  I was close to tears out of frustration and exhaustion.  We had pulled the van over because the girls really wanted to sit together.

So, Aaron carefully pulled out the car seats and re-installed them so that they could be in the back together.  We loved the idea of our three little girls wanting to be together.

It was all fine and dandy until he got back on the road and all heck broke loose!

Do I remember why they were screaming and crying? No.

But I do remember mentally thinking in my head that I had a choice: I could choose to get mad and upset and yell (which would ruin my day and everyone else’s) or I could choose to view the situation with a different perspective: a perspective from a mom who brought three precious little, strong-headed girls into the world and knows that they are going to get tired and fight at times and that those moments rarely last long, a mom who knew that this was a phase of life that would be gone quickly.

So, I chose that perspective.  I smiled to myself, grabbed my camera, and captured the moment.

Perspective.  It is everything.

I teach a couple teacher education courses at Avila and at the end of each class, I like to share this.  Have you seen it?  Click on the link to read it.

PERCEPTION  It’s funny how sometimes we miss the beauty that is all around us.

Remember this guy?

Yep, Ferris Buehler.  He said (and I quote) : “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and take a look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

As a society, we are often in a hurry: rushing to make it to appointments, rushing to be on time, stressing about getting our littles potty trained, ready to get through the terrible twos, and on and on.

I’m not going to say it… you know, that thing you hear all the time… “someday you will miss this.”  I loved every moment (well, maybe not every) of my girls being little but I also love watching them grow and change and the things that come with it. (Kids who can do their own laundry, who ask deep questions about life, who run 5k’s with you, etc)

So, while this time of year tends to get hectic and stressful as we begin feeling a bit ready to send the kids back to school, I challenge you to slow down and look for the beauty that is all around you.

Embrace every moment, slow down, and look for the beauty in your life.