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?
Last night we had our Fall Festival and it was wonderful to see so many preschool families having fun together! It was a beautiful night to be able to celebrate Fall! Here is a recap of the night:
Our teachers served a hot dog meal and families had a picnic all together.
We had carnival games where kids were able to win prizes!
Our families had fun working on crafts and pumpkin pounding together!
It was fun to see kids being active on our obstacle course and with the parachute.
We even got to enjoy the pumpkin patch!
Thank you to everyone who came to our Fall Festival! A special thanks to our teachers for helping make this a fun evening for everyone. It makes our hearts happy to see so much joy on our preschoolers’ faces!
Aldersgate director, Cyndi Mawhiney, retired at the end of the last school year (May 2021). Cyndi brought many things to our preschool, but one she will always be remembered for is her love for music. During her time at Aldersgate, Cyndi built a music garden on our playground. Last year Aldersgate decided to honor Cyndi’s retirement with new musical instruments in the music garden. With generous donations from our families and church members, we were so excited to be able to add a thunder wall and musical flower to the playground!
We have loved watching children enjoy these new instruments this first week back to school! Whenever we see children playing in the music garden, we will know that Cyndi’s musical influence will continue to grow at Aldersgate.
As you know, my last day at Aldersgate Preschool is rapidly approaching. I have been feeling very nostalgic about it. I have had many people ask me if I am anxious for this next step in my life. I do look forward to having more time with my family (with the addition of our two newest ones we now have 6 grandkids), working in my garden, reading, finding somewhere to volunteer, and taking many trips (I especially love travelling in the spring and fall). Major milestones like this, however, always get me thinking and looking back at my life.
I remember our early years in marriage and raising young kids. I absolutely loved those years! As you can imagine, I loved molding our family and forming our children’s lives. I did home daycare so we often had up to 10 children at a time. I remember music shows we put on, carnivals for the neighborhood kids, 4th of July parades, and so much more. Those are the big moments. I also remember the day to day. Playing and playing for hours, digging in the sandbox, singing together, gathering with the neighborhood kids to play each afternoon, reading books and then more books, so much cuddle time, . . . . I also remember the harder times; the times I wished the kids would finally be in bed. the times I shoved the kids at my husband when he came home. the squabbles and tantrums (usually from the kids but I have to admit I’ve thrown a few in my day.) While I appreciated the chance to be home with my kids I also wished for more. We were very tight financially and I often thought my life would be so much better if/when we had . . . or could do . . .
I remember our kids school years. I was still doing daycare for some of it so we did those extra things like a food fight on the driveway, a neighborhood Olympics, wading kickball games, lots of sleep-overs, themed birthday parties and more. I also remember our kids probably watched way to much TV. I remember wondering if I was doing enough. We still didn’t have much money so I thought our kids were missing out because we couldn’t take big vacations, give our middle child the horse riding lessons she begged for . . . We couldn’t live in the big houses many of their friends lived in. Again, I wished for so much. I was sure those things would make my life better.
As our kids have grown and began their own careers and families, I have truly enjoyed becoming friends with them and not just their mom. I’ll admit I may feel that friendship thing more than they do – you know I’m cool enough to be their friend. (right?) Again, though, I have walked through that time wishing for more; more free time to do whatever I wanted, the ability to do extravagant things for the kids and to just worry less. (You know, are the kids going to find their best place in life?, college, weddings . . .)
I have been at Aldersgate Preschool since April 2002. That’s a long time. Truly my time here has been fabulous! I’ve enjoyed the special projects like building a playground, adapting to technology needs as they arose, building a large store of supplies and equipment for our teachers and so many more. I have especially enjoyed the day to day things; playing with kids, laughing at the things they say (almost daily), watching children grow in skills, building relationships with kids and families, working with people I adore and respect, hearing a child’s first question about God and so much more. I have always had wishes for more too, though. I just new a few things would make this job perfect; a handyman or custodian on site (I wouldn’t have learned to replace a toilet flapper though), rooms with bathrooms connected to them, a human resource department to ask questions about staff issues, etc.
I heard a new song recently that really caught my attention; Getting Good, by Lauren Alaina. I’ll attach it below but here are a few of the lyrics:
Once I fall in love, then I’ll be happy But then you fall in love and there’s still a hole Once I get some money, it’ll all be easy But then you get that money, you still feel broke
Once I get a little older, I won’t worry Then you get older and it don’t feel like it should I’m thinking once I learn to grow right where I’m planted Maybe that’s when life starts getting good
This caused me to pause again: to rethink my life, to look back and truly appreciate the good that I had, to accept the phase I am in and just ENJOY. I encourage each of you to grow right where you are planted! Enjoy the moment and phase of life you are in.
I have often told our preschool parents to enjoy these days because they will go by sooo fast!
The song ends with these words.
I’m thinking once I learn to soak up every moment I’ll realize my life’s already good
I’ll realize my life’s already good Thank God that my life’s already good
And truly, it is good!
My years at Aldersgate have flown by. I have been blessed to play a small part in so many children’s lives. Many people have said I gave so much to Aldersgate Preschool but I definitely feel like this place, these kids, our staff (so many over the years) and our families (again, so many) have blessed me!
Yes, retirement will be good but all my years before have been exceptional. Each of you played a part in making them great!
For my own benefit I am including a few of my favorite pictures from my years here. Thank you for all the wonderful memories.
It is hard to believe that summer is almost here! Here are some ideas to keep you busy while school is out.
Things to do Outside
Ice Blocks– Freeze water with plastic toys in a clean milk carton (add food coloring optional) Allow child to use plastic hammer to chip ice to get the “goodies” out
Wash the Dishes– Fill a plastic tub with water and have child wash plastic dishes outside. Provide soap, sponges, and towels to dry.
Mining for Gold– Spray some small rocks with gold or silver paint and bury in your child’s sandbox or dirt in the yard. Using shovels, your child can dig for treasure.
Transparent Painting– Hang a clear, plastic tablecloth to your fence and using washable tempera paints, your child can use the sheet as a canvas.
Car Wash– Set up a car wash area for your child to wash their riding cars and tricycles using sponges and shallow dishes of soapy water
Sheet Painting– With an old sheet and spray bottles full of colored water (liquid tempera paint works great), allow your child to spray paint their creations.
Rock Collecting– Give your child empty egg cartons to hunt for rocks. Provide newspaper, small containers of water, washable tempera paint, and brushes for them to paint their rocks. (Parents can use clear nail polish as a top coat to make them shine)
to improve the quality of something by adding something else
We currently offer Enrichment options to our MW 3’s, Blue and Red classes. Next year our Preschool Lite class will also have this option. So what exactly is it?
This additional day gives teachers a chance to offer more activities that enhance the learning that is already happening in the children’s regular classes. While the curriculum is definitely age appropriate, it isn’t tied to the curriculum topics that are planned in their other class days. Our teacher’s cover things that are important to them and to their kids. This opens up a wide variety of subjects and ideas to delve into. The lessons focus on science, literacy, drama, cooking or art with each lesson. Our typical classes offer opportunities in these areas as well, however these additional classes give us a chance to do so even more. Our Enrichment classes offer that “something else” that improves or enriches the learning that is already happening.
Let’s take a glimpse into their days through pictures.
Although many things are different this school year at Aldersgate Preschool, we have learned that not all change is bad. We are happy that our preschool has been able to remain open this school year and our kids are loving being able to play and learn with their friends!
Our children have been resilient to all of the changes, and we hope to be a place full of love and consistency for our kids and families during uncertain times.
We are so thankful for our wonderful teachers who have handled this year with such grace! The joy our teachers have while being with children is seen even under their masks.
We want to thank all of our families for being so supportive during this school year!
Each year the Ice Cream Social promises fun, yummy treats, great auction items and a wonderful time with our Aldersgate Family. This year met all those expectations fabulously!
Of course this event cannot happen without a lot of people! Our staff helped set up things and worked different areas – I hope your children enjoy them all. Some of our previous staff came back to help work our bake sale – thanks also to everyone that donated those YUMMY treats! Kendra, as always, helped tremendously as we prepared for things and is now currently counting and organizing our proceeds. Our preschool board, headed up by Julia Willhite, did a fabulous job collecting awesome bid items, scooping ice cream, gathering supplies and setting things up!
Here is the event captured in small moments! The weather cooperated and many enjoyed the playground in between all the other fun. I love seeing our families enjoying themselves!
We are so grateful to anyone that donated items, sponsored items or even made items for us! Our fundraising helps us maintain the quality program we are so proud of! Below is a list of all the people that donated
I haven’t really written about Love and Logic on this blog before. It is an approach to parenting that has been around since 1977. But, I don’t disregard it as “old school.” I think there are a lot of valuable ideas within their process. As with anything, I encourage you to read it and embrace the ideas that feel right to you.
This is how kellybear.com describes it: The Love and Logic process includes sharing control and decision-making, using empathy with consequences, and enhancing the self-concept of children. They assert that their methods lead to improved student behavior and achievement. Their methods help children learn to be responsible and gain self-confidence.
I get regular emails from them at my preschool email. It is something they call the Insider’s Club. Their emails often cause me to pause and reflect – which is always a good thing. Just click on the photo below to find the site where you can sign up.
Today’s topic touched a chord with me. As much as I have patience with your children here at school, I struggle with managing my emotions when I am frustrated with things that don’t make sense, when I feel like I’ve made a mistake, and when things that are supposed to work – just don’t. To be even more honest, I could list many other times that my lack of patience shines obviously for anyone around me. (Dealing with services such as our satellite subscriber. . . .) Perhaps you will see why this newsletter email especially spoke to me:
If I’m being honest, I have to admit that I often struggle to control my own emotions. This is especially true when I am driving on city streets or highways. There seem to be more distracted and aggressive drivers to dodge than ever before. Which means I must be more alert, more aware, and more self-aware than ever before. It’s often a great struggle, of course, to remain calm and refrain from overreacting.
Kids today are in a similar fix. Are there more people out there who are hurting these days? More people who dump their emotional garbage onto others? More temptations and pitfalls for young people? Kids today must be equipped with better social and emotional skills than at any previous time in our society so that they can avoid the very prevalent threats to their emotional well-being.
Just as I often feel tempted to declare that I’m never going to get behind the wheel again and brave the dangers and frustrations on the highway, I often feel the urge to keep my beloved children off life’s highways and protect them from all the bad social and emotional traffic. It’s really rough out there and I don’t want one of my kids becoming a “statistic.”
The wisdom of Love and Logic has taught me that instead of overly protecting or overly warning my kids, I must teach them life skills. Life skills are more effective and more lasting than warnings or coddling can ever be.
There is sobering news about these life skills: they must begin with me. Teaching by example is a huge part of raising kids with Love and Logic. On the road, I might take a few slow, controlled breaths and tell myself something positive (and true) such as, “This too, shall pass.” I might repeat some other phrases such as, “Today, I will avoid appearing on an episode of ‘COPS’” (or a reality show, news program, or YouTube video).
While I am driving, I might be very honest in front of my kids by saying, “It sure is hard to have patience in traffic like this.” Does it help kids when we are honest about our own struggles while modeling skills to guard our own hearts and attitudes?
My best hope is that when my kids hit tough situations, they will guard their own hearts and attitudes, just like their dad does in traffic—most of the time!
Thanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible.
I would check out their website HERE. There are also two books that might be of interest to you.
As we head into our Rockin’ our Responsibilities focus for February I wanted to give you a few resources. Recently our staff had an in-service about giving kids responsibilities and how to encourage them. We watched a video that explains the benefits of jobs and duties for young children You can watch that by clicking on the words below.
When giving chores it is important to think ahead about what YOU will be able to follow through with. As with everything with kids, consistency will help this go much more smoothly. Children will not complete chores to your quality level but that doesn’t lessen the importance of giving them. Once you carefully explain how a job is done you can let your child give it a try. I would offer support as children work – but not too much. Think about having a boss that oversees every aspect of the job you are doing. You wouldn’t feel like they think you are capable and that would not build your confidence or motivate you to work hard. Kids actually can feel that same way. So I would encourage them, hold them to a developmentally appropriate standard, but let them have some autonomy.
How to encourage:
As with all areas, encouraging the actual work the child is doing is the most effective. Rather than “Great job”, you could say, “It really helps the family when you . . .” “You are working hard at . . .” “I think you are learning more about doing . . ., you didn’t need my help with any of it.” When we focus on what the child is doing rather than generalizing about the child’s character it is most effective. This way the child more easily internalizes the idea of hard work, doing his or her best, etc. On the other hand, when a child is struggling with a task they don’t see their whole value placed on the job they are doing. I would say something like, “I know you don’t want to take time out to do . . . but we all have jobs when we are part of the family.” “Bummer, I know you don’t want to do this right now but it’s your job and I know you can do it.” “I am cleaning up after dinner. It’s time for you to do your job of cleaning the table.”
The Blog post title mentions something about my dog:
Once I decided to use the flipping puppy as a “hurrah” in our classrooms for a job well-done, I also decided to use a dog theme to bring this focus together.
Many of you may remember my dog, Rudy, has visited school a few times. He is a sweetheart that loves people. I was trying to think of a way to make doing job “more exciting.” While Rudy’s primary jobs are to:
Make everyone in the family feel loved
Play with the grandkids
Play and snuggle
And make us laugh
And he is good at all of those things.
He is also good at posing for photos.
And we have fun having Rudy hide in photos – can you find him?
So, I decided he could be a model for the photos for our chore chart. You can click on the links below the photos to access the file if you would like to print these for use at home.
My thought was you could cut out the photos of jobs you will have your children do and then paste them into the day you would want that done. We are sending home a paw print stamper that you can then have your child stamp onto the photo once they have completed the task. Hopefully doing this is another motivator for getting a job done.
In another blog post I will share many other links to sites that have chore charts and other good resources for helping children learn to be responsible.
Let’s see those kids Rockin’ Their Responsibilities!