Aldersgate Preschool

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Slow Down, Be Patient

We have a guest blogger today!   Holly Bradley is a parent whose children attend Aldersgate Preschool.  In her own words, Holly “swept the cobwebs off (her) journalism background and put pen to paper…er….fingers to iPad.”  I’m so glad she did.


“Slow Down, Be Patient”

These are phrases commonly uttered by parents, myself included, as we watch our children moving through their little worlds. But we often don’t take our own advice.

Today, we parents rush our kids around from sports practices to clubs to appointments to play dates, trying to make sure our kids have the fullest lives possible. When sometimes, slowing down is really what they need….what we all need.

This all came into focus for me this morning as I rushed my oldest son out the door and impatiently hurried my middle son through breakfast and dressing to get him to preschool on time. All the while, my 2-year-old just went along with the fast-paced chaos…until he had enough.

We had just said our goodbyes to his brother, and already I was rushing him down the sidewalk to the car with a list of 20 things to get done while I only had one kiddo in tow rattling around in my head. That list became endangered as he planted himself on a bench in front of the school and said, “sit down wif me, Mommy.” Then he pointed out how blue the sky was and sniffed the crisp fall air and declared that he could smell French fries (from nearby Sonic or McDonald’s). “Listen Mommy, airplane.” Suddenly, my 20 “important” things didn’t seem so important.

We spent the next 15 minutes balancing along the curb in the parking lot (a great large motor activity) and picking rocks out of cracks in the sidewalk to add to our ever-growing collection. (Great fine motor exercise as his chubby fingers pushed and scraped at the sand.) What may have seemed like wasting time to me before, was a great learning opportunity in the fresh morning air. And it was probably just as or more beneficial than toddler gym time or mommy-and-me or some other activity I’ve been known to schedule so my kids are “well rounded.”

If he hadn’t stopped me, I probably would have hurried him through the lot into the car and buckled in a screaming-mad child to get home and rush around to tick “my” things off “my” list. But this morning, he figured out how to throw a wrench into my plans and SLOW me down. And I was ever so grateful after watching him just enjoy being two and discovering the world around him.

This also gave me a chance to reflect upon one of the main reasons I am so thankful that all three of my children have gone to or are currently at Aldersgate: the philosophy that play is the universal language of children drives the way the curriculum is taught. The wonderful staff all recognize that young children learn best while playing, moving and exploring the world around them — not while sitting and memorizing flashcards or writing letters repeatedly.

We won’t have this luxury every morning (I’ll be realistic.) But every once in awhile it is a good reminder to slow yourself down and let your kids be kids without structured activities and lists of things to get done. Kids need and crave down time especially at this age when play is so important.

As they get older and into elementary school, I’m finding out that downtime becomes more challenging…and the structured activities more plentiful. It is a tricky balancing act. But it is still important with older children who have less time at home to find ways to slow them down like taking the long way home or enjoying a nature walk together or just playing outside with them. It is so worth it.

I am so grateful that I have three little ones to remind me to take time to smell the roses….or in this morning’s case….the French fries.

— Holly Bradley=

Holly Bradley Family Portraits Sept. 22, 2013

Holly’s photos “are both at our neighborhood park…where we spend countless hours frog-watching.”   Thank you, Holly, for such an important reminder.

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Out and About in Johnson County

I remember often looking for some simple things to do with my young children.  It seemed that enjoying a short, child appropriate activity, would make the next few days flow even better.  I think both the kids and I needed just a little outside stimulation and a little change of pace.

Hopefully this short list of activities might give you some ideeas:

**September 21 – 23:  US Toy Sidewalk Sale. Up to 90% off toys and educational supplies.

**September 24:  Pop’n Play @ 10:00am.  Johnson County Museum.  A drop in program with age appropriate activities for children 9 months too 3 years old.   913-715-2550

**September 25:  Pay for Play @ 10:00am.  Backyard Specialists.  Play on the equipment for a couple of hours.  $2.00.  913-307-6023

**September 25 @ 6:30pm:  Music in the Gardens.  Overland Park Arboretum.  Enjoy live entertainment as you walk the beautiful trails.  They also have a children’s area with a vine tunnel, etc.

**September 27 & 28:  Wild West Days:  Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm offers hand–on activities and fun for the whole family.

**October 2:  Fall Festival at Aldersgate Preschool from 5-7pm.  Join the worship from 5-5:30pm, hot dog dinner, carnival type games with prizes and other fun activities.  Shop at the Aldersgate Pumpkin Patch.   Watch for more information about this soon!

I also encourage you to check out the Macaroni Kid website.  They offer a comprehensive list of ideas and activities throughout the Kansas City area.

Enjoy some pictures from a previous Fall Festival!

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Independence – It Feels so Good

One of our biggest goals is to promote independence with routines and skills.  The joy on a child’s face as he practices and then masters a new skill is heart warming.  You can feel the pride the child feels and watch that translate into confidence in how he approaches other areas as well.  As teachers these are the moments we sit back and watch, enjoying the concentration and thought processes as they work.

The beginning of the school year is a time for many of these “Wow!  Look at Me!” moments.

A girl in our Blue PM class learned about pouring her own drink during snack time.  She seemed enthralled with this and went to work.  She poured herself some water again and again.  She even got a second cup so she could pour even more.  The wise teacher saw what was happening and simply let her continue even though we typically only use one cup per person.  I’m sure she had to go potty soon as she consumed about a whole small pitcher full of water as she reveled in her new skill of independence. (By the way, we recently purchased more of the little green Tupperware pitchers from Ebay.  I am sure the kids would love using these at home as well.)

A boy, also in a Pre-K class, was attempting to use scissors.  After a teacher demonstrated the proper way to hold scissors a couple of times (“thumbs up!”) he finally “GOT IT!”  He then proceeded to cut up an entire piece of blue construction paper into tiny little pieces.  (By the way, sometimes those end up coming home in an envelope – now you know the significance of those little scraps.)  He spent almost the whole Work Time on this project.

While building in a three year old class, a boy tried to drive his car on the road a couple of other friends had built.  They informed him that only their cars were driving on that road.  Rather than melting down, he simply began building his own very elaborate road layout.  “Look how my cars can drive,” he exclaimed proudly!

Independence builds confidence and yes, it feels so good!

Here is a sampling of photos of children enjoying their independence.

group routines (2) IMG_9939 - Copy IMG_9941 IMG_9942 kit (7) Mason (5)

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A Fun Fall Weekend Getaway

Are you looking for a great fall weekend little getaway?  When our children were younger we rarely managed a big full blown vacation so we settled for smaller “get-away” trips.  We would have loved this trip as an option.

Mary Rigdon recently took her family on a weekend trip to the Omaha Zoo.


Henry Doorly Zoo – Omaha Nebraska

If you haven’t been before you have probably heard it is a fabulous zoo.  For young children a Zoo is a perfect outing.  Just three short hours away you can begin a great family experience.

Mary also found a gem in Nebraska City, Nebraska.  It is the Arbor Day Farm.  It is about mid-way between Omaha and Olathe.


Arbor Day Farm – Nebraska City, NE

A few unique feature that you might enjoy include:

A 50 foot tree house


An outdoor block area complete with a variety of unique types of blocks for building amazing structures

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Several walking trails


An outdoor learning classroom


An orchard


Outdoor musical instruments

26402 Arbor Day Foundation

and more!

There is also a lodge that you can stay in on the grounds.  They have special events as well such as the Apple Jack Festival on September 21st.  I checked and there are still a few rooms available for this fall!


Arbor Day Farm Lied Lodge Information

Let us know if you venture out to one of these fun locations.  We’d love to hear about it!


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Table Time

Many of our preschool classes have a period of the day that is called “Table Time.”  Often this is during a period of transition such as children arriving or changing activities.  Children have choices of trays with activities.  Most of these activities can be managed on a single tray and all of them are independent play options.

As with all of our activities there are goals and objectives with each play option.  Here are some examples:

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These would be great options for those “I need to be doing something” times for a parent such as cooking, talking on the phone, etc.  If you get into a routine using these the kids will know what is expected and tune into an activity for a good length of time.

We are in the process of building an Aldersgate Preschool Pinterest Page.  One of our boards will be Fine Motor.  It will have a variety of options for possible Table Time activities – many using everyday household items.  You may want to begin following our Pinterest Page or using it as a resource for ideas.  More ideas will fill our boards soon!  Click on the photo below to go to our Fine Motor board.


Fine Motor Pinterest Board