Aldersgate Preschool


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We’re writing now!

love letters

JUST CHECKING IN!

Our kids are still writing what they love:

(from left to right)

Chuckie Cheese, Mommy and Daddy, the castle at Disney World, Mommy!

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— My family, and playing Super Mario.

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  I hope you enjoy a few more photos of the kids doing some writing in the classes.

Brayden art stormie art

Painting is a form of writing.  Learning to control an instrument to move it where you want are important steps in being able to form letters.

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Different mediums to write on will speak to different children.  A chalkboard and Magna-doodles are fun alternatives to paper.

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Writing together and having sample words often promotes more interest and a longer attention to the task.

Is your family writing together?  Are you joining your children in writing the things you love.  They might want to know what you love to eat, where you love to go, how you show love . . .


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Letters in the Blue and Purple Classroom

Having and using letters in the environment is an important way to encourage emergent literacy in young children.  Everyday exposure gives children a chance to see letters in a meaningful context and offers opportunities to begin forming understandings that letters make words, words have spaces between them and words work together to make a thought or sentence.  I took a photo walk through the Blue and Purple classroom and found so many fun ways letters are used in the classroom and incorporated into the children’s daily routines.  I’ll share a little about how they are used and how children can learn from these different exposures to the printed word.

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Often a child’s first meaningful connection to letters is through their name.  We use children’s written name often throughout the day.  This letter/friend board and the family book used in the safe place are just two examples.  Knowing the first letter of their name is a pretty big deal.  Once they know their own they will quickly move on to recognizing their friends names too.  Where could you post the names of all your family members?  Place mats (as easy as writing everyone’s name on a piece of paper) at the table, names on the fridge for jobs of the day, names posted on each persons bedroom door are just a few ideas for taking this idea into your home.

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Using words frequently will give children a chance to begin to recognize words other than their name.  On the weather chart above there is a photo prompt but you can be sure the children are noticing that Sunny and Snowy both begin with the letter S.  The sentence on the safe place that encourages children to name their feelings is another sentence they will become very familiar with.  Perhaps an emotion board would be a great idea on the fridge (or use an old cookie sheet.)  This will have the added benefit of offering your child a chance to verbalize more about his or her feelings.

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Posting the words of a song or poem that your child enjoys will give you opportunity to practice moving your finger or an unsharpened pencil or spatula along as you say the words.  This would offer the extra benefit of encouraging singing in your home.  You know I like that idea!

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Having toys with letters on them is another way to encourage children to use letters and recognize words in a meaningful context.  If you don’t have these kinds of things on hand (I know I didn’t when my kids were little) simply make some using toilet paper tubes and cardboard signs or taping letters onto blocks.  My kids always LOVED when I would help them make a paper sign to name their block creation.  I was always amazed they would remember the name they had given as they used the block creation over the next few days. (I’ll have to do a post on leaving toy scenarios up for multiple days some other time!)

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Books!  That seems obvious doesn’t it.  Having books in the home and being read to has often been linked as one of the most influential things parents can do to ensure a child’s success in school.  I loved looking at this class’s book shelf and seeing not only fiction story books but also books that focus on rhyming words, definitions and even an atlas.  Reference books offer a whole different kind of reading experience.

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Finally, I pulled out one of the class books the children helped make as a class Mascot (a stuffed animal) got to visit the different homes.  This is one of those meaningful writing opportunities similar to those we are focusing on through the month with our “Love Letters” challenge.   By the way, what’s your plan for writing today?

I’ll finish today with a photo one of our parents sent me.  Each child got to write on 5 hearts for their LOVE tree.  She told me it made her smile to see what they blurted out first.  One yelled PICKLES!  The youngest said his blankie and the oldest said mom.  That pretty much sums them up.  🙂

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Give it Away!

Today we had a love-filled worship time.  The kids were excited and curious as they came in and saw pitchers of pink water, a tall glass vase and a red tub.  What could we be doing?  Talking about L-O-V-E!

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We began by singing (you know that’s a favorite time for me!)  Ask your kids “WHERE” they have the love of Jesus.  Hopefully they will respond – “Down in my heart!”

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“But, where does our love come from?”  Children at both services shouted out, “Jesus!”  (I know that’s the go-to answer during a children’s message but I’m hopeful our kids truly understood this concept.)  I read a scripture from the Bible.

May the Lord make your love to grow and overflow to each other and to everyone.  

1 Thessalonians 3:12 (adapted)

I filled a vase with visual love (rocks.)  We talked  about things we do that shows our love to others (God’s love that’s overflowing) and saw how it fills up a heart (our glass vase.)  Some of the things mentioned were: sharing toys, saying “I love you,” asking a friend to play, helping someone, drawing a picture or giving a Valentine, telling someone you like playing with them and so much more.  Eventually the vase was full.  But, everyone always has room for more love, right?

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This time I used the pink water to fill in around the rocks.  The children loved watching it fill to the brim!  Then we remembered that God fills our hearts so full it overflows so we can share it.  It was great to watch the pink water flow over the top of the vase!

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We danced to a great song about sharing God’s love:  Give it Away.  I am sure your child will dance  and enjoy this song at home as well.  Be sure to spin, turn around and turn upside down when it says to and then we gave it away by giving out High Five!

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Carrie Laymeyer, the church Director of Children’s Ministries, closed our worship with a prayer to God!  We really do thank you God for all the love you give us – so much that it overflows and we can share it to everyone!

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Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

It is rare that it snows while the grandkids are here.  So, the kids and I took full advantage of my day off from preschool to explore some fun snow play before they had to leave for home.  I loved watching and supporting how the play changed as we went.  I thought I would share a little about it.

My snow boots are under my desk at preschool and Wyatt probably couldn’t handle the cold very long so we opted to bring some snow inside.  We started with some exploring, scooping, and “cooking” to begin the play.

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And a little tasting.

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Then we decided to make our inside snowman.  He had to be a little guy though.

(My apologies for the blurry photo.  It’s hard to play and focus at the same time.  Also, Anna happened to have the tiny little carrot that came with her little rabbit hutch set she got for Valentine’s Day.  Wasn’t it perfect!)

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We couldn’t find anything small enough for the eyes and the mouth so we tried washable skinny markers.  I bet you can imagine what happened next.

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Goodbye snowman……. but hello color investigation.  Also, it was surprising to Anna that the snow in the snowman’s body was much harder to poke into than the other unpacked snow.  We decided we liked the color so much we wondered what would happen with fat markers.  Oooh, lot’s more color!

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Hmmm, what could we do with that?  We had little lids out (notice the snowman hat above) so those became soup bowls.  Now we are having some fine motor practice.  It is surprising how hard you have to press to get the snow to pack into a milk lid. (Great fine motor experience.)

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Oh no, the colored snow was getting kind of yucky looking.  And brownish colored.  (Sorry, no visual image available but I bet you can imagine it.)  We talked a little about the science of colors and how they change.  It was okay though.  There was still lots of  new fresh snow available.  This time we got out the small animals.

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At first it was fun to just play with them and push them into the snow.  Soon, though, we decided to play hide and seek so Anna closed her eyes while I buried a few animals.

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She found them but had a harder time finding the polar bear.  Hmmm, a nice opportunity to talk about habitats and animal camouflage.  Of course she got to have a turn hiding animals.  We followed that with a little more in-depth play with the polar bears.

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“My hands are cold.”  To be honest I was surprised we had played this long without hearing this but, no worries.  We just moved the animals to a drier and warmer place to play.  We used our magnatiles, rocks and some pretend tree we had made during another playtime to make rooms at the zoo for all the animals.

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Anna soon had a new idea.  The giraffes had a party and ate cake (pieces of a fake flower in a small match box.)  EVERYONE needed to attend the party.  This girl lives by the motto “go big or go home.”

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You may also notice we added a playdough cake right in the middle of the party.  This way everyone could have some.

This is when our play ended.  You might be glad to know that at this point Grandpa Mo was available (he had his boots) to take Anna out for some sledding and snowball making.  (Hint, using a rounded measuring cup as a form for the powdery snow made some pretty great balls.)

I’ll end with just a couple of observations.

1. Notice our zoo is  being built on a table.  Sometimes kids like to play more at eye level than always on the floor.  It also makes life happier (read easier and quieter with no screaming “No Wyatt.”) since it is a lot safer from little brother up here.

2. You’ll notice Wyatt was only included in the first couple of pictures of snow play.  As is typical with one year olds, he was quickly off doing other things.  I snuck a peek at his play and took this “too cute not to share” photo.

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Sadly, the kids are on their way home as I write this.  I would, however, love to hear how you enjoyed this snow day.  I am always filing away ideas for next time!

 

 

 

 


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Love Letters – More about what we love

love letters

JUST CHECKING IN!

I’ve got a few more samples showing things our kids love:

— the color pink

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— to visit Carrie’s

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— to wear:

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We have more pictures of children writing while at school.

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Doesn’t she look so proud of her writing!

Dylan (8)

A writing center offers a chance for children to write when the mood strikes.

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Writing with different tools (this time they are using chalk) brings new interest.

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Using routines, like arrival time, to practice writing is an easy way to encourage more practice.

Are you writing at home?  What do your children love?  Are your kids “loving letters?”

We’d love to hear from you.

 

 


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Love Letters – playing with letters

love letters

Playing with letters and print in a variety of forms (even those Christmas toy catalogs) gives children of all ages an opportunity to begin to experience the shapes that later begin to represent letters, sounds and words.

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Don’t discredit those stand-by “oldies but goodies” such as the square letter blocks and magnet letters.

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Hang on to those old computer keyboards or even old cell phones.

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Did you know you have a light “table” at home?  Well, actually, it’s called a window.  Tape and colored paper look different with the light coming through.  You can also use a dry erase marker to write on windows and mirrors.

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Even a bucket on the head (notice the label on the front) introduces a young child to the world of literacy.