Aldersgate Preschool


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Kindness Campaign

Therefore, as “children of God,” holy and beloved,

put on mercy, kindness, humility, meekness.

Colossians 3:12

This was the focus of our Devotion Worship this week.  

Kindness will be our focus through February.  Young children are naturally self focused.  This is a developmental thing.  It’s normal.  However, we can help children learn how to notice others, think about others needs and even care for others.  Jesus was a wonderful example of showing kindness to others.  I told the children the story of Jesus finding the lame man at the pool of Bethesda.  The man could not get into the healing waters since he couldn’t walk and people kept going before him.  Jesus asked him about it and then said, “Stand up, pick up your mat and walk.”  Jesus showed kindness.

 

We then read the book A World of Kindness, from the Pajama Press.  This adorable book showed us a various ways that we can be kind to others such as

Helping people young and old,

Comforting someone who is sad,

Being a friend to someone new, 

We are sending home a kindness buddy with each preschool family.  (If you are reading this but aren’t a part of our preschool I would encourage you to use a stuffed animal as a kindness reminder.)  Children can show kindness to their buddy by making it a bed, a house, etc.  But mostly the buddy can help children think about a special way to be kind each day.

We also sent home strips of paper.  We hope our families will write on it the kind actions they see their kids doing.  You can send these in and we will celebrate with the child as we connect them to our Kindness Chain.  I started the chain with a link for each of our staff.  It was so easy to come up with a kind action for each person.  They exhibit kindness everyday!

We also added kind actions witnessed after our Worship yesterday.  

Our Kindness Chain is already growing!


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Christmas gift list 2018

CHRISTMAS GIFT LIST 2018

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Now everyone’s focus tends to turn toward Christmas.  Each year I try to make a post with some ideas for Christmas gifts for the kids.  I’ll put a link to our previous year’s lists at the end of this post.  All of the except a few are from Lakeshore Learning.  I’ve also done a post specifically about a few items we love from this store (located at Johnson Drive and I35.)

I remember as a parent of young children I wanted to find toys that could be used in a variety of ways and that would hold my kids’ interest for quite a while.  We have found the following toys to be just that!  Hopefully this will give you a few ideas you hadn’t thought of before.  Happy Shopping!

TODDLERS

My First Sorting Bears

This is a fun one with easy to handle pieces.  It’s a great way to introduce color and size to young kids.  The sorting cards are heavy and sort of “laminated.”  They hold up well to young kids’ play.

All About Me Personalized Photo Book

Children LOVE books about themselves.  If you don’t have a book like this that you can personalize for your toddler I would put this one high on your list.

 

What’s inside Soft Feely Box

Young children LOVE to put things into and out of a box.  These soft toys are easy to manipulate (and clean.)  As kids age you could even use these to play the what’s missing game.  For that you line up three toys and have them close their eyes while you take one away.  They try to guess what is missing.

PRESCHOOLERS

Around Town Play Carpet

You find these kind of play mats at various places.  Some children love them.  It’s sometimes hard to predict which ones will be drawn to them.  Typically those that love to play in structured ways enjoy it.  If your child like to be more creative and design his or her own play I think this might be too confining to their play.

Float and Play Alphabet Bubbles

We don’t have these at preschool.  In fact, I have never seen these before but they are on my “to purchase list.”  At home these would be fun in the bathtub but I can also see them used often in a tub of water or even sand.

 

Size and Color Teddy Bear Sorters

These are similar to the large counters above but older kids like playing with the smaller items.  These can be used in a variety of ways.  We have even made wood block houses for them to live in.  They have other small counters as well but I do like the size variation in these.

The Ultimate Fort Builder

We don’t have this specific set but we have something very similar.  As children grow developmentally you will see them begin to make plans and enjoy playing with this more independently.

Mold and Play Sensory Sand Set

We LOVE Kinetic sand.  It is very moldable and it feels so good.  Often play with this type of material with have a natural calming effect.  Don’t worry, it sweeps up easily.  Hint: my daughter sweeps the floor well before the kids begin this play and then anything she sweeps up after play is generally clean enough to toss back into the kit.

 

Easy Clean Craft Trays

You may have noticed we use trays under all of our kids art activities.  It’s a great way to keep small pieces contained and the mess easily cleaned.

Motorized Spin Art Center

This one does need adult assistance but it’s worth it!  I got my grand kids one of these and every time we get it out even the adults want a turn to create.  I purchased a small set of washable tempera paint that we use to refill the squirters (I water it down just a tiny bit.)  Be sure to mark one of each of the different shaped papers as “template.”  I just cut other paper to the size for additional spin fun.

Learning Resources Jumbo Dinosaurs

These are from Amazon.  We have large dinosaurs on the playground and they are used a lot!  For those that love dinosaurs, the big ones are very appealing.

As I was putting all these in the post I remembered that a school or office kit were some of my kids’ favorite gifts.  I guess I know what my next blog post will be about.

Here are links to some of our previous posts with toy gift suggestions.

Christmas Gift Ideas 2016

Gift Ideas – Christmas 2015

My Christmas List – Batteries not Included

Furby, the Perfect Christmas Gift?

Board Games . . .Not Boring at all

There’s One in Kansas City

The above post is specifically about Lakeshore Learning.

Happy Shopping!

 

 

 


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Thankful for every Beautiful Child

We marvel everyday at the unique qualities of every child in our care.  God truly blesses this world with children and the many different characteristics; laughter, love, questions, spirit, wiggles, sincerity, songs, discoveries, friendship, struggles and overcoming those struggles.  

We know we are blessed to play a small part in each child’s life.  We created a video that celebrates our kids.  We wrote new words to the tune “For the Beauty of the Earth.”  We hope this represents the love we have for God’s precious children.

Unfortunately we are unable to have every child’s picture in the video. Please know we treasure your child even if they are not included. 

(Click on the words below for the video.)

THANKSGIVING VIDEO

Lord, today we share our joy for the beauty of each child.

All embraced for who they are; active bold and meek and mild.

Lord of all to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

A child so busy, hard at work, focused and engaged in play.

It’s our gift to watch them grow, trying something new each day.

Lord of all to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

Happy greetings, hugs so warm. Daily feel their love surround.

Stories, thoughts, discoveries, laughter fun and joy abound.

Lord of all to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.


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What did you do at school today?

It was nice today to be able to walk around and check on the activities of all the classes.  While we had just a few tears as children arrived, they quickly subsided and the kids were BUSY!  Here’s a little snapshot of the activities I saw in a short 15 minutes.

These girls were intently drawing self portraits for their journals.  What a wonderful way to gauge their growth in drawing and writing by doing this at the beginning of the year and then again at the end of the school year.

 

Our Brown class kids were busy cleaning up.  This is using sorting and classifying skills.  It also promotes emergent literacy as they see the photo and the written word for the item to go in each tub.  Of course self esteem develops as they realize they have an important job in the class.

 

Next it was time for circle.  Ms. Kim held up a symbol as the children watched for their corresponding symbol.  It was a great time to reinforce the school readiness skill of sitting in a spot during circle and also the names of each child in the class.

 

Our youngest ones today, the Discovery Days 2 class, were also sitting on their symbols – a specific animal on the rug.  This helps the children know an area to be which also helps them understand appropriate social cues such as how much distance we should have between people.  Ms. MaryBeth was reading the book God Made Me.  What a wonderful message as the children talk about the different body parts – how each is similar and yet unique.

The Yellow class was in the middle of their “Work Time.”  During this time children are busy playing – the work of childhood.  I loved the social interaction I had with the little guy with a camera.  He was dressed up and busy taking lots of pictures – what a wonderful way to try on different roles he may have seen or to use his imagination.  The car ramp (in the photo on the right) is a hot item in this class.  Just imagine the social coordination the children learn as they take turns, remember a certain person is using the “red” car, and engage each other in conversation.  As the year progresses we often see more experimentation with the items on the ramp – do the bigger cars go faster, etc.

These two often play in the dramatic play area.  In this instance the little guy is serving some pizza.  What a wonderful chance to practice nurturing another person.  The little girl was patiently waiting for her food and even said “Thanks.”  You just can’t practice those social graces enough.

During work time the Yellow (and Orange) class teachers are taking children a couple at a time to use the restroom.  This builds familiarity and comfort with those basic needs.  I love listening to the stories the children tell as they walk.  Children are also learning independence and self sufficiency.

Our morning Blue class was enjoying some playtime on the playground.  As I walked up to the boys on the gator-totter I heard the little one in the middle ask if he could play too.  The others quickly rearranged their positions to make room for him.  There was some trial and error as they figured out how they could all sit and still easily make the gator rock.  That’s physics folks!

The sandbox is another area of great interest.  Today I saw lots of math as the children worked with filling buckets (or dinosaurs) with sand.  “I wonder how many scoops of sand the dinosaur holds.” That’s the kind of support adults can add to their play which encourages more contemplative play.

  

The Red class Large Motor activity today happened to also be on the playground today.  Ms. Janel was busy having the children hop, run, balance and more.  The whole time she was recorded her observations.  This is called baseline information to compare with future attempts.

I couldn’t help but engage with the kids.  I love how quickly they comply with my request for a quick wave hello – for the camera of course!!


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Our playground is music to our ears – literally

You’ll want to be sure to stop by and see the new sound and sensory area on the preschool age playground.  Thank YOU for your support of our fundraisers throughout the last few years.  We used fundraising money to make this update!

I wish I had a picture of how the front “vine tunnel” area looked before we started the renovation.  Let’s just say it was overgrown and wasn’t enticing any longer.  The ditch that is a water drain system was always clogged and also full of weeds.  Therefore we decided to make some changes.

Epic Landscape removed all the overgrown weeds, rocks and cleaned out the drainage ditch.  It was amazing to see how quickly the area opened up.

They added the large boulders, our concrete and rock “river” and laid the large pavers for a walking path.  Already the space had a sense of order and peace.  I will give them a “shout out” for the great work they did!

We also had to replace our shed so you can see the new concrete pad in place ready for a new shed. This is a great time for me to give a huge thank you to my family.  My husband, daughter and sister all helped with various parts of this playground.  I appreciate my family’s support in all my projects!

Our butterfly chairs make a great first impression of the space.  I plan to add a tic-tac-toe game onto the “stump” table.

  

Probably the highlight of the area is our music instruments.  The church bell chimes, “croaking” frog wood strikers and our hand drums (the green boxes that children can sit on and then tap the front panel with their hands) all offer some wonderful interest to the kids.

Another goal of this space was to bring natural elements into the playground.  The rocks, stone pavers and wood elements do that wonderfully.  I’ve already heard children calling the wood bridge a “drawbridge” as they play.  Our wind spinner is also an attraction.

The large turtle statue is also a wonderful addition.  His name is Tucker (in remembrance of many small red-eared slider turtles we used to have in tanks inside – all of which were named Tucker.)  As the sign says, we hope to teach the children about gentleness as they play with him in the hopes that his head won’t crack off.  That won’t be a pleasant event for any child.

We also hid several concrete animals in the river bed.  Hopefully the kids will enjoy going on a hunt for the items  such as the large Megalodon tooth (a mold of a prehistoric shark tooth that is huge!), small animals such as this bumpy toad (my favorite!) and a couple of fossils molds.

The mulch, log, rock and wood area beside the shed seems to make a great dinosaur habitat.

And finally the swing bench offers a great spot for reflection and conversation.  I already got to spend some time out there getting to re-connect with some of our blue class friends.

Watch for even more to be added.  Once this heat finally reduces a little we plan to add a couple of small trees and a few more plants.

I would be remiss in talking about the playground without thanking our staff for their work in cleaning things up.  As part of our set up days everyone helped trim trees, pull weeds, wash structures and do some repairs.   I love our playground AND I love our staff and their dedication to this place!!


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Celebrating the old – Embracing the new

I goofed.  I accidentally deleted all of our photos from the end of the year picnic and the celebration of our retiring staff.  I’ll try to make up for that here.

We are so grateful for the MANY years our retirees, Donna Massey, Laura Lauridsen and Leslie Wurtz, embraced young families, connected with children, laughed and loved here at Aldersgate Preschool.

 

Ms. Donna Massey worked here for 25 years!  She shared her laughter with the children every day.  I loved hearing her joking with the kids.  I will miss hearing her laugh.  Donna also served many years as our snack planner and “cook.”   The addition of healthy and a variety of snacks served to make us an even better school.  Donna also has a passion for mission work and that lead us to giving often to various groups in our community.  Don’t be surprised if you see Donna around this year though, as she may be working as a sub at times.

 

Ms. Laura Lauridsen also worked here for 25 years!  Laura worked with all ages throughout the years with her patience and loving smile.  Laura has a gift for actually playing with the kids in a way that guides them to the next level of thinking and especially to more developed social skills.  Laura’s positive spirit lifted us all through the years.

Ms Leslie Wurtz worked here for 24 years!  Leslie’s natural drive for learning often led her to research the newest ideas and theories in Early Childhood.  She worked tirelessly to provide children the most developmentally appropriate activities and environment.  I loved to hear Leslie engage in conversations with the kids.  She truly cared about the whole child.  We are glad that Leslie has agreed to sub for us some this year!

We also honor the rest of our staff members that left us this year for various other reasons; Hillary White, Janette Parker, Robyn Nameth and Kari Guinn.  We wish them well in their future ventures.

All that change has brought us renewed enthusiasm as we welcome Aisha Vyhanek, Andrea Niermeier, Becky Melton, Beth Houseworth, Julie Crabb Katka Johnson, Natalie Woods to our staff!

This year’s staff meeting had a bee theme.

Each year we recognize a staff member or two that served us well the year before, even in the midst of challenges in their own lives.  Lori Thomas and Virginia Watson were chosen to receive the Jennie Nichols’ “Dancing in the Rain Award.”  We celebrate their commitment to Aldersgate Preschool.

As usual, we had a variety of activities that drew us together in various groups, built connections, guided new thinking and built a strong team.  We even learned that bees communicate with a technique called a “waggle dance.”  Of course we had to do our own “waggle dance” as we communicate how much fun we like to have here at Aldersgate Preschool.

 

Don’t you just love our fearless “waggle dance” leaders!!

 

We ended the meeting with everyone choosing a word for what they will focus on this school year. Just a few of those include: lively, enlightened, kindhearted, purposeful, prepared, gentle, positive and kind.  Sounds like a good place to live – right?

We ended our morning with sharing a wonderful lunch that the board provided.  It was a great time to connect to those wonderful volunteers and church staff members that work to make Aldersgate Preschool great.

  


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Fruit of the Spirit

Yesterday we had our last Devotion Worship of the year.  We learned about this verse:

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Galatians 5:22-23

   

  

 

We started with a few of our favorite songs that praise God.

Then we talked about some items of food deciding if they were food that helped our bodies feel better, healthier and stronger.  Did you know candy is something we can have sometimes but shouldn’t eat a lot.  The healthy foods were all fruits.

God tells us about the fruit of His spirit.  While they are not actual fruit, these are all things that help us feel better, be better, and do better.

  

To reinforce the scripture some children brought forward pieces of a puzzle – each piece having one of the fruits on it.

I learned a few things from them:

*Gentleness means not wanting to knock down your friend or your little sister.

*Peace means wanting peace and quiet or being alone.  (Perhaps they have heard a parent use this phrase before?)  🙂

*The children all felt like they are already very good at having patience.  They thought differently when I mentioned the possibility of having a birthday and needing to wait till the end of the day to have cake and presents.  Aaaahhh, they understood – being patient and waiting is hard.

 

We prayed to God asking him to help us grow His “fruit” us.

We ended the worship with a fun song called The Fruit of the Spirit.  We used our bodies to make some fruits as we sang; banana, watermelon and pineapple.  It was a lot of fun. 

 

You can see a youtube version of the song here.  (Fast forward through the instructions to 2:36)