Aldersgate Preschool


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New Year’s Resolution – taking a cue from our toddlers

My niece posted on Facebook about her New Year’s resolution.  She was taking a cue from her toddler.  I loved the idea.  There are so many things we can learn from our little ones.  Here are her ideas.

This year, perhaps we should all strive to . . .

LIVE IN THE MOMENT

SAY Hi AND BYE TO EVERYONE

READ FICTION EVERYDAY

 

PLAY, PLAY, PLAY

BE CURIOUS

BE ASSERTIVE

(I love how honest and up-front children are with what they need or want. Couldn’t we all learn something from that. For this post, though, I am going to interpret this as a child being intent on what he is doing. I love watching a child “struggle” to figure something out.)

TAKE A NAP WHEN YOU NEED ONE

 

LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERYDAY

THROW A GOOD FIT EVERY NOW AND THEN

(While we see the need for this it’s not a part of our day we take pictures of.  Somehow I am sure you can visualize this without a photo.) 

HAVE FUN and BE SILLY

(I added this one.  We do this a lot around here.)


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We’ve received so much!

At this season of gifts concludes, I am reminded of so many ways our preschool is blessed.  This school year is no exception.  We have truly received some wonderful gifts.

Early this fall Marcus Nameth (Ms. Robyn’s son) gifted us with two amazing magnet ball walls.  He made this for his final Eagle Scout project.  I know he spent hours researching the best balls, glue, etc. to make the project most successful.  And it is!  The kids on both playgrounds enjoy discovering how the balls will move through the pipe tracks, dependent on the way the tracks are positioned.  What a wonderfully thought provoking play experience.  Plus, they have fun too!  We are so grateful that Marcus chose us as his Eagle Scout recipient.  Thank you Marcus!

 

Yesterday our teachers got to have some great fun.  We visited Lakeshore Learning, an educational children’s toy store that you can find out about HERE, for a teacher training.  Then they “worked” hard playing “Santa” for our school.  Actually, they had a blast choosing just the right things that will fill a need we have.   It was also interesting to find out which of our staff members are good at math and could figure out how to make the most of our money with the coupon discount they were offering that day.  I just stood back and watched them getting so excited about it all.

All this is possible because of YOU!  We used fund raising money to make these purchases.  So, thank you!

And finally as we prepare to leave for our Christmas break I cannot help but think about the greatest gift we’ve ever received.  God chose to become human.  He chose to humble himself to our limitations so that he could give us the gift of salvation.  That sweet baby in a manger is truly our King.  I pray each of you feel surrounded by the love of Christ as you celebrate this Christmas!


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Find Rudy (Inspired by the Find Momo books)

{I wrote this during the last couple of weeks of school but never posted it. I hope you enjoy it t

This past Christmas my husband and I got a new puppy.  His name is Rudy.

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He is a king Charles cavalier spaniel and poodle mix, a cavapoo.  While he can be ornery as all get-out, he is smart.  He learned very quickly to sit and stay.

I promise this will relate to preschool soon.

Also, at our house we love the Find Momo books by Andrew Knapp.

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Since our grandchildren call my husband Momo, these books caught my eye at Half Price Book Store. Andrew and his border collie dog Momo travel all over and take amazing photos with Momo “hiding” somewhere in the photo.  Here are a couple samples of his work.

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Do you see him hiding in the bottom right corner?

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Did you find Momo in this one?  Look under the guardrail.

As you can see, he takes beautiful photos.  (Sorry, the quality here isn’t as good as his originals.)

Here is a link to his website.

Anyway, with Rudy’s ability to sit and stay, my grand kids and I decided to use Andrew’s photos as inspiration and make some of our own “Find Rudy” photos.  Here is one of our first efforts.

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Some days I surprise my grand kids by texting a new “Find Rudy” photo to them.  This was one they liked.

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As you can see, my photos don’t rival Andrew’s but we are having fun.  My friends on Facebook also seem to be enjoying them.

Here comes the preschool tie-in.

These past two weeks Rudy has joined us at preschool.  The Blue and Purple classes have pet visits.  These pet visits provide a great chance for us to connect even more as a school family as we meet animal family members, to learn about some pets, to practice speaking in front of others and probably most importantly, and to practice asking questions for new information.  I was happy to have Rudy visit with each of these classes.

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On the days he was here, he joined me in greeting the children.  He gave them high-fives as they arrived.  Rudy would have loved to jump all over the children and lick their faces but even Rudy has to learn about personal space and school appropriate behaviors.

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Giving high-fives was still a lot of fun.  While he was here I took some time for a couple of “Find Rudy” photos at preschool.

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We even took a “Find Rudy” picture with one of the classes.

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With technology, these kinds of things become even easier.  Is there something you could start taking photos of using your phone?   Perhaps you can do a Letter Hunt – (i.e. capture the M for McDonalds.)  Do you have collections of things you could take photos of and then create an I Spy book?  You could go to an area like downtown and take photos of interesting architecture you see.  (perhaps you could even find shapes or letters in the spaces.)

A friend mentioned Chatbooks as a fun app for quickly organizing and ordering phone photos as small books.  I haven’t tried it yet but plan to do that with my Rudy pictures.

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What a fun way to be creative with our kids (or grand kids!)  We would love to see what you come up with!

 


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Thankful for families, Thankful for play

Think back to your favorite times with your extended family as a child.  I’m sure you remember food.  Somehow that is always an important part of our gatherings.  My guess, though, is that you remember playing next.  Playing with your cousins and hopefully playing with grandparents, aunts, uncles, mom and dad.

I went around the classrooms today to snap photos of their Thanksgiving activities.  The first two classes I visited (Blue and Red) were busy playing group games.  At first I thought, hmmm, I’m surprised they aren’t doing something more “theme” oriented to Thanksgiving. Then, I got to thinking that this game play is often times at the core of our Thanksgiving experiences.  We play together.

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Our younger classes were busy playing as well with blocks, play dough, dolls, balls made from scarves . . . . and more!  What I loved most was that many times I saw adults playing with the children.

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By the books we read today were about giving thanks.   My heart fills with gratitude and thanks for each of you, our families.  I pray you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you get a chance to play!

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Honoring Jennie Nichols with a new award for our staff

Many of you generously donated toward our end of the year DVDs last year knowing that the funds we raised were going to the Nichols family to help with Jennie’s medical expenses.  I am sad to say that Jennie died on June 20th.  Jennie was 14 years old.

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Jennie Nichols attended Aldersgate during her toddler and preschool years (as did her brother Graham.) Her mom, Kelly Nichols, was on our preschool board.  The family also attended Aldersgate United Methodist Church.  Jennie battled osteosarcoma for two years.  For those of us that knew Jennie we were sure she would win the fight against one of the most deadly childhood cancers.  She was that tough. She was that strong.  Physical and emotional strength, however, was not enough to beat bone cancer this time.

Many of us followed Jennie’s journey through her facebook page.  One of the most poignant moments was when Jennie stated that she now understood a quote that hadn’t made sense to her before.

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(link to site by clicking photo)

And Jennie danced!  She let us all join in her hard journey while making us laugh with her wit.  She even named her IV pole and gave it a personality.  Jennie is a true inspiration for me as I face different hardships.  I wish I had her wit.  I wish I had her determination.

After Jennie’s death, Kelly received a gift of several yellow umbrellas with Jennie’s name surrounded by a heart printed on it.  She gave some to us at preschool.  We are putting them to good use.

We have established the Jennie Nichols “Dancing in the Rain” award.  Each year we will be honoring a staff member that most embodies this spirit.  Here is the certificate they will receive.

Jennie Nichols dancing in the rain award

I was happy to present this award to Michelle Loe at our last staff meeting.  As many of you know Michelle gives of herself so easily.  She loves and welcomes everyone she meets.  Michelle loves every child (and adult) unconditionally.  Michelle is always the first person to reach out in support when one of our staff members has a burden in their own lives. A few years ago I personally received her loving care and attention as she cooked meals that would fit a specific diet I needed to follow in preparation for my thyroid cancer treatment.  This is just one example of how Michelle reaches out.  Michelle is also affectionately known as the “mom” of our staff.  She does many of the drudgery jobs (shopping, dishes, laundry, etc.) that help our preschool run without a hitch.  She does all this with a smile!  Michelle is a shining example of what this award represents.  I know she doesn’t like the limelight but be sure to say something to Ms. Michelle next time you see her.  She deserves this recognition along with the small gift of thanks that accompanied it.

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One final note about Jennie’s story.  The Nichols were blessed to be able to pay all their medical bills and still have some additional funds left in their medical account.  Recently they used the funds to make a payment toward the Zach Sobiech cancer research fund that supports research specifically for osteosarcoma.  Their gift helped the fund reach their $1,000,000 goal.  How cool is that!  Here is a wonderful article about the payment reaching the goal and more about this effort.

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It is especially fitting that all this is happening this month.  In case you didn’t already know, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month.


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Love Letters – What I love

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I hope you have enjoyed our focus on literacy throughout the month of February.  Tonight I am going to cheat a little and not actually hand write this – and I’m going to write one more Love Letters even though February is technically over.   As I have prepared our different “Love Letters” posts I have pondered how I might respond to the question “What do you love?”  Here’s just a sampling of my list:

I love

to hear children happily engaged in play

to watch a teacher bend low bringing two children together to talk about how they feel and how to share those emotions in a positive way

to taste our yummy snacks (please don’t tell Ms. Donna that I sneak one now and then)

to tell silly stories about things that happen at preschool like the little girl describing the block area this way, “Well, there’s 100 pounds of messy back there.”

I love

to reminisce about when my own children were preschool age (believe it or not these days will pass much quicker than you can imagine)

to delve into discussions with the staff about how or why we do things the way we do and possibly should we be thinking about a new idea someone read about

to be spontaneous and silly with the kids (amazingly they even think I am funny)

to watch a child work hard at a task – often with the tongue held just so

to tell a story with children that you know has 100% of the time captivated children in the past – stories like Pete the Cat -I love my White Shoes, Three Little Kittens, Caps for Sale, Wide Mouth Bullfrog . . .

I love

to hear from families about their children “playing” their guitars (or “bittars” as one little guy always called his) and singing at home

to watch 3, 4 or 5 year-old children wait for a friend at curbside arrival and then walk in together chatting just like they will when they are in high school

to hear the giggles

to listen to large motor in the hallway as the children say things like “Wow, he is a good lava walker.”

to take those much needed breaks – I hope everyone finds their own way to take a breather when you need one

to know after a conversation with a teacher that we truly are always looking out for what will best serve each child

I love

to talk to my grown children and know I took time to play and talk and listen and realize they know I now value their input and relationship

to know that our staff have things covered when I’m not quite up to par and need to come in to work a little late – and they cover my curbside duties whenever I ask

to laugh and play with my co-workers – I was so bummed to have to miss our staff “Christmas” party we just had in February – I know there were lots of laughs

to see a “lightbulb” moment when a child has a new understanding of an idea or concept

to connect with parents and families in a way that builds a loving, fun community and to watch families build lasting friendships

to have deep conversations about God and Jesus with an ever inquisitive young child, “Do you think God has eyeballs?”

I love

to listen, to  laugh and to sing

to play, to learn and to grow

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