Aldersgate Preschool

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A Day at Preschool

My favorite parts of my day are when I get to walk around the classrooms and see what everyone is doing. I wanted to give you all a glimpse into what a day at our preschool looks like!

Discovery Days

When I walked into our Discovery Days class this morning, they were having their work time. This is a time where kids can play and explore everything that is set up in the room. The teachers regularly switch out the toys, so there is always something new! This is a perfect time for our kids to practice their social skills as well as develop language skills. Our teachers had also set out an activity that the kids could practice stringing objects. This is a perfect activity to enhance fine motor skills and strengthen their hand muscles!

After work time, our Discovery Days class had circle time. Each child has a spot with a symbol that they know is their own to sit on during story time. Our class read a fun story about a tractor and they even got to help act out the story!

Preschool Lite was learning about magnets today. Each child had an object and had to guess whether it was magnetic or not. Then they got to test their object to see if their prediction was correct. It was fun for them all to try a magnetic object so they could test out what a magnetic pull feels like!

After their magnet activity, Preschool Lite transitioned into snack time. They first said the “Superman Prayer” to thank God for their food. They all had to watch for their name to see when it was their time to wash their hands. Our two and three year olds are doing a great job with name recognition! When it was their turn, each child washed their hands and found a seat to have their snack. This helps to foster independence in our young kids. Ms. Michelle made delicious and healthy chocolate chip cookies that our kids all enjoyed!


Our Yellow class has started their cooking unit. Last week they made chef hats, and this week our kids were able to make their own pizzas! Through this activity, our three and four year olds are able to practice following a recipe and following directions. It is also a lot of fun! Our kids loved getting to eat their own pizzas as a snack today!

Later in the morning, our Yellow class broke up into two small groups. While one group enjoyed eating their pizzas, the other group went to large motor. They used scooters to have a pizza relay!


When I first walked into the Blue class, they were in the middle of their morning circle time. This is the perfect time for our classes to build a strong community and empathy for each other. They also reinforce skills they have been working on during this time. Our four year olds graphed which art supplies they like to use.

After morning circle, they transitioned into two small groups. One group read the story for the day, while the other group worked on their journals. Both our Red and Blue class have writing journals that they work on throughout the whole school year. Today’s journal page went along with the book Coat of Many Colors by Dolly Parton. Our kids got to make a coat of many colors and decide who to give it to. We love to see what our kids come up with on their journal pages!


Our Red class has just started their 5 senses unit. This unit is full of science experiments, so I was excited to witness one today! Our Red class was experimenting with dry ice today. They learned about how dry ice gives off carbon dioxide and they saw how dry ice reacts to different elements.

After their science experiment, our Red class broke into small groups. One group was reading a story about our five senses. The other two were playing different games to help them learn early reading and early math skills. The first game involved matching objects to the letter sound it starts with. The second game involved estimating how many beans were in an egg and then counting and writing the correct number of beans on a white board. Both of these games involved learning while playing and having fun!

Here are some more fun things that were happening at preschool today!

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Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins!

We have been having so much fun with pumpkins this fall. Our preschoolers have been enjoying being able to explore pumpkins in many different ways.

There are many great experiments to do with pumpkins. We enjoyed making a chemical reaction inside of a pumpkin and predicting if a pumpkin will sink or float.

Exploring the inside of a pumpkin is very exciting for our young scientists.

Our preschoolers have loved doing sensory activities with our pumpkins. Pumpkin pounding has been very popular at Aldersgate Preschool for many years. We love putting pumpkin items in our sensory tables too.

Of course, we have to do pumpkin art!

We love pumpkins in preschool! What are some fun things you have done with pumpkins this fall?

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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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It’s one of the simplest forms of nature around. It’s colorless, tasteless, inexpensive, and MAGICAL for little ones! WATER!
harrison (7)

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?


savannah (5)

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.


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!


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!


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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A Science Lesson on Wind

We recently had a science lesson in our 3 year old classes. We talked about wind!What is wind? That’s a tough thing to explain. We blew into our hands. We can’t seen wind but can we feel it? Yes! We looked at pictures of wind… waves, a tree blowing, a windmill. Wind is air that blows.


Then we looked at some different items. A balloon, cupcake wrapper, scarf, napkin, cotton ball, pom pom, wadded up newspaper, and a rock. What things will move with wind? Each child picked an item and made a prediction.

The cupcake wrapper moved with the wind (fan)!


The feather moved with the wind!


But, the rock? It didn’t move with the wind! I asked why. And, I had several children tell me because the rock is strong! Hmmmm… we talked about the words light and heavy. For most of the children, this was a new concept for them to understand but something you could talk about at home.


The lighter items moved with the wind but the heavier ones didn’t as much. The rock didn’t at all!

Science doesn’t have to be complicated to be fun and beneficial!  You could easily do this at home or even outside!  Watch how things move in the wind, make predictions,  and then observe what happens!


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Empty backpacks sometimes mean better learning

I remember talking to a friend once about when her oldest went to preschool.  She questioned his teachers because he never seemed to bring anything home.  “If he isn’t bringing anything home, then what is he doing all day and what am I paying for?”  She became so angry about it, she pulled him from that preschool.  Years (and 6 more children) later, she laughs at the memory because she now realizes why his backpack was empty.


A perfect example: Our Blue and Purple classes learned about some animals last week.  The teachers could have talked about the animals, read a book about them, and perhaps given a coloring sheet or worksheet to the children.  But, how meaningful is that?


Instead, someone from Ernie Miller Nature Center visited and brought some real, live animals (and some animal skins, too)!  We’ve talked about it before: when children are able to see, touch, smell (use their senses) to learn, they learn it that much more effectively!


And, brain research has also found that when our emotions are attached to learning, we are a lot more likely to learn too!  While we didn’t touch the snake, we loved watching it!

We may not get to have visits with animals everyday, but we do try to keep the children’s experiences as authentic and hands-on as possible.  Lisa Murphy (early childhood educator and presenter) says it well when she tells us, “Children need experiences to attach words to.”

So, their backpacks may not always show you what your child is doing, but we hope that you know that we are filling their minds with wonderfully rich experiences!

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Scientific Art

Is summer getting long? Does the heat outside cause grouchiness? How about trying some magic inside? Earlier this year, I conducted a really cool science experiment with our Blue class. It’s super easy and super cool which are two really important factors in how I choose activities with my kids.
The things that you need are things that you probably already have around your house:
*2% or higher milk
*food coloring
*dish soap
Pour some milk into the bottom of plate until you have a nice, shallow puddle. Put a drop of each color of food coloring onto the milk. Then, place your Q-Tip into the dish soap and touch it into the milk. Sit back and watch the magic happen!

You can experiment with where you put the color drops: in the middle together or spread out in different corners. See how it affects the color. Give your child toothpicks and let them experiment with the food color before you add the dish soap.

Another activity that I did with my children every summer was crayon rocks. This is another super easy and super fun (notice a trend here?) activity.
All you need:
*nice, smooth river rocks (cleaned)
Gather your rocks onto a foil lined cookie sheet and heat in the oven until they are nice and warm. Pull your rocks out and, using your crayons, begin coloring. (The only hazard involved here is making sure that your child does not touch the hot rock and honestly, my children never did.) The crayons will melt as the children color and it’s a pretty cool thing to experiment with.

Melted Crayon Rocks

Click on the picture above for more pictures and  instructions.

Hope this helps you survive the soaring hot temps outside!

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Building is learning (Block Play)

I say it quite often but truly believe: “there is intent to all that we do here at Aldersgate.”  From our schedules, to the way we serve snack, to the way that our rooms are set up.  We do it all for a reason.

Each of our classrooms at the preschool are set up with four distinct areas: block play, dramatic play, art, and quiet area.  We’ll be talking about each in future posts but for today, I’d like to tell you about our block play.

Did you know that there are lots of different kinds of blocks? We have bamboo blocks, wood blocks, lego blocks, letter blocks, sign blocks, number blocks, transparant color blocks, foam blocks, brick blocks, hollow blocks, natural tree blocks, rainbow blocks… you get the idea, right?  I’m not sure that we could ever have too many blocks.  Kids love them!  And, we enjoy seeing the things that they create with them…



Block play is often a social time for children.  They work together to build and create things, they compromise, they take turns, they take pride in their accomplishments, they practice trial and error, and they learn!

There is a plethora of information that you can find if you google “benefits of block play in early childhood.”  But, the best thing that I have seen that, really, says it all is a poster that diagrams wonderful benefits that children experience just by playing with blocks.

image found via Designs for Childhood

Interested in enriching your home with some blocks? We order most of ours from here. But, really, they can be found anywhere; from Target to Wal-Mart to U.S. Toy.  And, as always, let us know if you have questions!

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Pumpkin Science Update

Many of you will remember our previous blog post from December 5th.  We put a rather large pumpkin on some potting soil in a pot on the playground.  Here’s a picture from that post.

pumpkin sicience

We hypothesized (made guesses) about what would happen to the pumpkin. 

Today, I asked some children what they thought had happened to the pumpkin.  I said that I was pretty sure it had changed.  They had some ideas about what might have happened.

“It turned pink.”  “No, silver.”  “I think it would be great if it had sparkles.” 

Can you tell I was talking to a group of girls?  I am confident the ideas would have been very different if I had asked a group of boys. 

We went outside to check our predictions.


It really had changed.  Sadly it was not now pink, silver or sparkly.


While outside, we had several boys join the investigation.  The children described this pumpkin as “smooshy,”  “like squishy cake,” “flat and bumpy.”  We again made predictions of what would now happen to the pumpkin.  Someone thought “it might turn into a frog.”  Another child said, “no, maybe a stick.”  Hmmmm, I am afraid they may be disappointed in the outcome but I suppose scientist through the years have faced some disappointments. 


I love watching children investigate things.  If we allow them the necessary time, they will ponder things for quite a while.  I can almost see those brain neurons firing and making connections.  I love that the children wanted to touch it.  They even took off their gloves so they could really feel it.  We often talk about how important hands on experience is for children.  Today it really was! 

Keep watching.  We will do more important pumpkin investigating this spring!