Aldersgate Preschool

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Social Skills: the things we learn as children

I should tell you upfront that this is Cyndi writing today, because it’s confession time.

I often interrupt others’ conversations.  I forget to use my turn signal while driving.  I talk too loudly, especially when I get excited or feel the need to have my opinion heard.  I sometimes hide my favorite things so others won’t use them  (read, I don’t share well sometimes.)

Social skills: the things we learn as children.  They are important and they are skills we use every day for the rest of our lives!

The other day I was wondering if a woman at Office Depot was absent the day(s) they worked on waiting your turn in preschool.  I was waiting for a few minutes at the counter to talk to the worker.  He had acknowledged me and said he’d be with me in just a minute.  A woman then walked around me, approached the counter, got the man’s attention and began asking for what she needed.  Hmmmm.

I got to thinking about several incidents I experienced lately in which people were not doing a good job using social skills we learn about every day at school.

Lining up:  The traffic was merging into a single lane and a few cars went right around the place were the cars were merging driving much farther ahead and cutting into the line.  Hmmm.  We just talked with our Blue class friends about going to the end of the line rather than pushing your way into the front of the line.

Waiting your turn:  You’ve already read about this situation.  We help children understand this every day in circle time as they want to share their ideas or with a toy that they are wanting to use.

Standing up for yourself and asking for what you need:  Recently a friend was being a little manipulative and somewhat hurtful with things she was saying.  I felt like she was being a little passive aggressive instead of just saying what she needed.  At preschool we often have this conversation:  “Teacher, he took my block.”  “Did you like that?” “No” “Then say, I was using that.  Please don’t take my block.  I don’t like that. Can I have my block back please.”  It is amazing how often this communication moves unhappy children to more cooperative play.

Dealing with frustration (or any upsetting emotion):  I am sure this will come to no surprise to the preschool staff but I have little to no patience for technology when it doesn’t work as it should.  I often growl and complain. Hmmmm.  I sometimes remember to Stop, Take a deep Breath And Relax.  We teach this as a self calming strategy and guess what, it works.  (When I remember to use it.)

Taking responsibility for your own actions:  I recently had a family member forget to give me something that I needed by a certain time.  This inconvenienced me and the project was a little scrambled due to the delay.  She acted as though she wasn’t clearly informed of what we needed.  Wow.  This surely isn’t something we teach at preschool, is it?  Yes, we do.  If a child hits or pushes another child, for whatever reason, we will have the hurt child explain his feelings (standing up for himself) about the incident.  The teacher may prompt this child that hit with, “Pushing hurts.”  “What can you do to help him feel better?  You can apologize, tell him you will try to not push him in the future or give a hug or a soft pat on the back to show him you care.  Next time you can ask for what you need.  You can say, ‘I want that toy.'”  (Notice I did not say we would tell him to say “Sorry.”  It is my personal belief that by giving options you encourage the child to stop and do some reflection about what he did.  This way if he chooses to apologize I hope it is sincere.)

I could go on and on with examples of social situations that happen at preschool AND that translate into adult social situations.  We use our social skills EVERYDAY!  I believe this is some of the most important learning that happens in preschool.


Time Fillers- Part 1

Children are active… we all know that very well.  So, it completely makes sense that they learn better when they are active.  Which gives us a little perspective for those times when they are being their inquisitive, active learning selves as you’re… say… standing in line at the grocery store (do they have to touch every single candy bar?).  Extra waiting happens sometimes here at the preschool as we may have to wait for everyone to get their coats on to go outside, wait for everyone to go potty before lining up, etc.  So, we try to fill that time with some fun little activities.  Perhaps a couple might work for you too!


*Do the motions to “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” without singing and see if the kids can guess the song and then sing it with you.  Sing it fast, sing it slow, and do the motions. Try taking out words as you go and just hum them: “Hmmm, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes, etc.”  As you sing over and over, continually take out more and more words until you’re humming all of the body parts.

*Play the “I Spy” game by saying you spy something that begins with a particular sound. For example, “I spy something that starts with the /p/ sound.  What is it? __________ (purse)”

*Play “The Quiet Touch.” The first person touches something and then sits down.  The second person touches what the first child touched, touches a second object and then sits down.  The game continues until someone misses.  A similar game can be played by making various noises… imagine how silly that could become!

*Hold up various fingers on one or both hands and have your child guess how many.  For younger children, just use one hand.  For older children, try two hands.  For example, two fingers on one hand and two on another.  Then try one on one hand and three on another.  This is such great math practice!  See if your child can mirror you by holding up the same fingers.

(I kind of like this one.)

*When trying to get the preschoolers to do something (like clean up), sing (to the “If you’re happy and you know it”):  “If you’re helping to clean up, say ‘I am.  If you’re helping to clean up, say ‘I am.’  If you’re helping to clean up, if you’re helping to clean up.  If you’re helping to clean up, say ‘I am.”  Nothing is sweeter than the sound of their little (confident) voices answering “I AM!”  You can change this to suit your needs.

Hope this helps and gives you some ideas to help make those “wait” and “extra minute” times valuable.  It’s a valuable thing to know how to be patient and to fill unstructured time.

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There is one in Kansas City!

Many times we have parents telling us that their children LOVE certain toys we have at preschool.  We often direct people to our favorite school supply websites such as DISCOUNT SCHOOL SUPPLY (we get 99% of our art supplies here) and of course we would mention US TOY/CONSTRUCTIVE PLAYTHINGS that is located about 103rd and State Line Road.  Here are links to their websites.



The buzz around here, though, is the new warehouse that has opened in Kansas City:



This company carries unique educational toys and games.  In the past we have even used fund-raising money to purchase  games and toys from this company.  This would be a great place to check out for Christmas gifts for your kids too.  A couple of items we recommend are:

Magna tiles


 and Geo boards


As I was looking through their website a few other items caught my eye.

Can’t you see this one on the front of your refrigerator – great play while you are cooking!


Kids love games with 3-d pieces.  This one encourages language and categorizing skills.


This Bingo game has a fun popper – what child wouldn’t like that?  It seems like a fun way to practice recognizing letter sounds.


Here is a link to information about their new location.


We can’t wait to go check this out in person.  Maybe we will see you there?