Aldersgate Preschool


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Nature walk – a perfect fall activity

I love fall.  I love the cooler weather (although we’ve had a little extra cool than typical), the beautiful colors, the pumpkins and other fall fruit.  It’s the time of year I most enjoy being outside.  Perhaps your family does as well.

Children are naturally inquisitive about nature and often will use it in their play.  On our playground the children use small stick, stones, sticky balls, leaves, and acorns in a variety of different types of play.  It’s an environment rich with possibilities. I’ve seen many of our families out for a walk together.  That’s fabulous.  Next time your family heads out for a walk, you may want to try making it a Nature Walk.  This has two benefits; expending energy and the awareness of nature.  Simply print out the picture below and check off the items you see on the way.  You could take time to compare two of a similar item you see – i.e. a robin and a crow.  This encourages your child’s observation skills, attention span, fine motor development and literacy awareness.

In the spring our Red classes will be learning about the 5 senses.  In past years they have taken a listening walk.

I love watching them walk around with their clipboards intently listening so they could mark off the different items.  Feel free to copy and past the two checklists for your own nature walk.

 

 


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Christmas Gift Ideas 2016

It is definitely that time of year again.  Time for shopping.  Each year I’ve put together a list of ideas for Christmas gifts that we recommend for little ones.  This year I am going to reference back to those (we still love them!) and link to a blog that I follow.

Our toy recommendations are:

From Christmas 2015

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From 2014

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We love Lakeshore Learning.  This post includes some of our favorites from there.

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Books make great gifts too.  Here are a couple of posts about books we like.

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Not Just Cute is one of our favorite blogs.  You’ve probably noticed many of my quotes in the weekly emails are by Amanda Morgan, the writer of this blog.  She has a great post about books for children of all ages here.

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Here is her list of best toys for encouraging imagination:

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Of course we offer all this with the full realization that toys and gifts are not what make Christmas.  We are starting to learn our Christmas songs for the Christmas Worship on the 10th and I love hearing from the children about Jesus and all that he has done for us.  It is so wonderful to recognize Jesus’ birth every year with our Christmas celebrations.  This book is a great one for talking about the real reason for Christmas.

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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.

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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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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.

Hayden (14)

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 – what we love

love letters

JUST CHECKING IN

We’ve been busy doing writing at school too.  Are you writing each day?

Here are some of the things we now know that kids love…

— to wear my red shirt and my shirt with … (this guy had lots to say!)

— the colors pink and red

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— to smell chocolate brownies (who doesn’t?)

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Here are a few pictures of children doing other writing during their school days.

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Drawing and early scribbles are the beginning steps toward writing.

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Numbers are important to know how to write as well.

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Writing your own name feels pretty good!

What are you writing?  Are you having fun writing “love letters?”