Aldersgate Preschool


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Before Summer ends…

August begins this week and the preschool is beginning to get in gear for a brand new year.  Though it’s still a month away, it takes a lot of prep to get ready for our preschoolers!  Until then, savor your time with your kids and try out some of these fun activities!

1. Shaving cream fun.

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Visit the Dollar Tree for $1 cans of shaving cream and let the kids get creative.  Mine love covering themselves in it… head to toe.  It’s one of their favorite things to do.  And, it’s a quick clean up with water! So fun and smells good too.

2. Try some science.

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Here are a couple favorites: https://aldersgatepreschool.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/scientific-art/

Or, try microwaving Ivory soap!  It’s so fun to see what happens!  Pinterest is full of great science ideas for preschoolers too! http://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=science%20for%20preschoolers

3. Did you know that the Johnson County Fair is this week?  It’s just down the road in Gardner, Kansas and kids love to walk around and see the animals!

Plus, there’s a carnival every evening and a parade on Saturday.

http://www.jocokansasfair.com/schedule.htm 

4. Try out a new park.

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A couple weeks ago, my children and I enjoyed a quick jaunt to Shawnee Mission Park where we went on a quick hike through the woods and then picnicked by the lake.  I couldn’t believe we had never done that before!  There are tons of great parks in the Kansas City area!

5. Choose one of these fun activities to check out:

http://www.kcparent.com/KC-Parent-Blogs/All-About-Kansas-City/Web-Exclusives-2014/Best-of-August-in-Kansas-City-2014/

There’s so much going on in and around the Kansas City area!  

Have a wonderful time with your children and remember that quite often, it’s the simpler activities like the park or science at home that are their favorite memories! 

 


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School Supplies: Stock up now!

It’s getting to be “back to school” time and there are some great deals out there on arts and crafts supplies! Now is the time to stock up on all of it for personal use and for donations too!

Preschoolers love to be creative! Think about how you feel after you complete a project… accomplished and proud! That’s how children feel when they get the chance to color or paint or cut. It’s all new and exciting to them.
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It’s both new to them… and beneficial. Some of the best arts and crafts supplies to buy for preschoolers include:

  • crayons
  • paper
  • paint
  • paper
  • scissors
  • tape
  • rulers
  • markers
  • paint daubers
  • stickers

It’s all such great practice for fine motor (building those hand and finger muscles) too.  Many don’t think to buy scissors for their little ones.  But, there are scissors that have blunt ends and (as long as you’re close by), it’s such great practice for them to learn to manipulate and use!  And, preschoolers love to cut things like play dough, pasta, and paper.

We also have a list of supplies that we suggest for use at the preschool:

http://www.aldersgatepreschool.com/families/2014-2015%20School%20supplies.pdf

We use these supplies all year long and ones that may be left over, we donate to schools in need.

Speaking of donating, have you ever heard of Shoeboxes for Children?  It’s an amazing project put together for children across the world  They are filled with craft supplies and small toys that people put together and send off to children who, otherwise, would not have a Christmas.

So many ideas and reasons to take advantage of the low priced school supplies!

 

 


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Emotions

Emotions.  We all have them, right?  But preschoolers?  Theirs quite often seem much more… obvious, don’t you think?  There are definite reasons for why two years olds throw temper tantrums and why four year olds may scream about the pink crayon that their friend has and they want… NOW!  It’s developmental.  Brain research would tell us that there are parts of the brain (the ones that help us regulate emotions) that aren’t as developed as others.  Knowing about children’s brains is helpful in understanding why they scream or kick or cry or hit but not always so easy on us parents, right?

And then, there’s this part of our brain called the amygdala.

See that?  It’s super, duper tiny but oh so very important!  It’s very important because that little almond-sized piece is what tells us when we’re in danger or if we need to be afraid.  But, it’s also that piece of the brain that causes us to be reactionary when we are angry or sad… which is why children will hit or scream or whine. Yep, blame it on the amygdala!

But, research tells us that we can learn to calm that part of the brain through a simple activity that is involved in emotional learning: naming our emotions.

“Oh, you feel sad today.  I can tell because your mouth is in a frown.”

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OR

“Your face looks like this… you must be angry because you wanted the pink crayon.”

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Just taking the time to name the emotion is enough to begin to calm the amygdala!  And when we talk about the emotion, we also show empathy.  Social/emotional learning is so very important in early childhood.  When we help children to learn to self regulate, they learn to get along with others, to wait their turn, to handle the tough things that happen in life.

Self-Regulation: the #1 skill for success in school and life!

You could have the most intelligent child in the world but he/she will not be successful in life if they are unable to handle the stresses of life.  If you click on the picture above, there’s a great article about self-regulation and other great links.

And, it may sound silly, but children need to be taught about emotions.  Here’s a great link for some activities you can do with your child:

http://www.thinkport.org/ECE/learning/activities/act_socialemotional.tp

And, to read more about the importance of emotional learning, you can begin by reading this article:

http://www.6seconds.org/2013/05/29/healthy-classrooms-emotional-intelligence-and-brain-research/


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Water

It’s one of the simplest forms of nature around. It’s colorless, tasteless, inexpensive, and MAGICAL for little ones! WATER!
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And, there are so many things you can do with it: freeze it, melt it, shoot it, pour it… the possibilities are endless.  Sometimes at the preschool, we freeze water in different containers and let the children experiment with it.  What does salt do to ice? How about if we spray water on?

 

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Sometimes we add some liquid water color or food coloring and allow the children to drop colors onto a coffee filter.  It’s fun to watch what the colors do as they absorb.

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For “Water Day” at summer camp, we left buckets of soapy water and sponges by the tricycles.  The children needed no instruction, they knew exactly what to do!

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Water shooters aimed at pie pans?  Yes, please!  And it was such great exercise for their arms and coordination as they filled the shooters with water, aimed and then shot the water toward the pan!

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And, I loved watching the children experiment with the water wall!  There are lots of great tutorials and adaptations of a water wall if you do a quick search on pinterest.

Or try these ideas:

  • For little ones, simply putting a bunch of water in a plastic tub is enough to keep them busy.  Add some toys or sponges.  Squeezing sponges is excellent exercise for the hand muscles!
  • Try freezing small toys in containers and then let your children figure out ways to break the ice or melt it and get to the toys!
  • Slip and slides are fun and inexpensive.  Last year, we added a little shaving cream fun while slipping and sliding.  My girls love covering themselves with the shaving cream and it added a little bit of slip too!  Plus , they smelled great after!
  • Have you seen the water blob?  So fun!  I have yet to make one but have friends who have and said it was a blast!
  • A bucket of water and a simple paint brush… let the kids paint the driveway!
  • Also great for fine motor and hand strengthening is spray bottles!  They cost $1 at the store and kids love them.

Other ideas?  Please share!


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Everyone needs a village…

philosophy: motherhood is lifelong joy.

We all know it but perhaps don’t talk about it enough… motherhood… it’s tough!  My first memories of being a mother were definitely not all the “rainbows” and “love” that I had imagined.  My motherhood journey began 13 years ago with a carefully packed hospital bag and detailed birthing plan but turned into  an emergency C-section and me feeling devastated and defeated.  Little did I know that this was just the beginning.

Photo: Happy Mother's Day Shelly Hiatt Todd! You've been one of my greatest supports in my motherhood journey and a true blessing. You are one AMAZING Mom! I love you!

Thank God for my best friend, Jenny,  who lived just a few doors down the street from me. We both began motherhood within a year of one another and spent a lot of time discussing things like breastfeeding, lack of sleep, if our toddler’s long-term memories would include that tantrum that we ourselves just threw, and why no one ever talked about how hard this “gig” was…?  While we loved being mamas, it was definitely the toughest job we had ever had and the “rainbows” and “love” that the books made it out to seem, kind of made us feel a bit like losers.

And we realized something extremely important…

Next Life NO Kids I Need A Village STAT Post

We could not do it alone.  And that was okay.  Because motherhood… it can be excruciating at times.  And, it can also be beautiful.  But at those times when it’s tough, we need help- a “village.”  And by village, I mean that it’s really okay (actually, it’s necessary) to ask for help from friends: to trade off babysitting, to do lots of play dates together in order to make some of those long days more tolerable, to have each other over for dinner, and to vent every now and then to each other on the phone because we’re all pretty much in the same “boat.”

When I remember the days of having babies and preschoolers, I fondly remember sweet cuddles from my littles, lots of unstructured days of time that became filled with play dates, and really good girlfriends to help make those tougher times tolerable.

Enjoy your summer, ya’ll and always remember to build your own village of girlfriends.