Aldersgate Preschool


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I Want to be Thankful

Today we had a Devotion Worship.  As you can imagine, we talked about being Thankful.

I started with couple of videos about turkeys.  This first one is a song about turkeys.  The second one showed real turkeys and how they gobble.  The kids (and teachers) thought this was interesting.

I then asked the kids “Why are we talking about turkeys?”  They quickly replied, “Because it’s Thanksgiving.”  I then asked, “But is Thanksgiving just about turkeys?”

We talked about being thankful.  I read the scripture,

Let us come before God with Thanksgiving and praise him with music and song.  Psalm 95:2

We then talked about what we are thanful for.  Some of the responses included; my house, the world, presents, rabbits, food.

Did you know we use other words sometimes to say we are thankful.  Gratefulness and praise are also part of giving God thanks for all we have.  The Bible verse also mentioned singing as another way to thank and praise God.

We ended by watching and dancing to a wonderful Group VBS song, THANKFUL.  

After class today we had a teacher training.  We also did our weekly joys and concerns with the staff.  We ended by saying the prayers each class is currently using.  We also said the prayer by Dear Abby.

O heavenly Father:

We thank thee for food and remember the hungry.

We thank thee for health and remember the sick.

We thank thee for friends and remember the friendless.

We thank thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.

May these remembrances stir us to service

That thy gifts to us may be used for others. Amen.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and may God bless you and yours.

Wish wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

And may we all be thankful for our many blessings.

 

 


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Make this Christmas Season Meaningful

I usually write a post about toy options we suggest for your kids for Christmas.  I looked back at some of my old ones and to be honest, I think those posts cover the options really well.  You can find those options HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERETHIS ONE is specific to books we like as gift options.

Instead, today I will write a little about traditions that would enrich young children’s (and your family’s) lives as we look forward to Jesus’ birthday.

Advent Calendar

The last couple of years I have prepared an advent calendar of activities for my grandkids.  (This might be a great suggestion to your kid’s grandparents as it does take a little preparation.)  I try to include activities that are very quick, days that give little treats, activities that encourage active play, activities that include art and finally activities that point to the true meaning of Christmas – Jesus birth!

I am including PDFs of the list of ideas I created to print for their calendar.  Feel free to click on them to download them for  your use if you like.  Just an FYI, they are not in date order.

advent activities_        advent activities year 2

I also found this kindness activity list.  Just double click on the image and you can download it.

(Unfortunately I’m not sure of my source for this.  If anyone knows, please contact me so I can add it to this post.)

Light a candle at dinner time each night. 

Have each person take a turn sharing something about them: favorite thing to play, something good they did that day, something they would wish for, say something they love about the other people at the table, sing a favorite song (or sing different Christmas songs – by the way, our songs we are learning at school will soon be on our website for your listening enjoyment.  :), list people you love, a favorite memory, . . .

Read a Christmas book

This is something you could make a special time for each evening.  Some of our favorites that focus on the story of Jesus’ birth include:

Christmas in the Barn  by Margaret Wise Brown

The Donkey’s Christmas Song  by Nancy Tafuri

The First Night  by B.G. Hennessy

The Friendly Beast  an Old English Christmas Carol, illustrated by Anna Vojtech

Mouse’s First Christmas  by Lauren Thompson

The Nativity  illustrated by Julie Vivas

The Pinetree Parable  by Liz Curtis Higgs

The Stable Where Jesus Was Born  by Rhonda Gowler Greene

That Special Starry Night  by Jeff Carnehl

Who is Coming to Our House?  by Joseph Slate, Ashley Wolff

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star  pictures by Lesley Harker

The Giving Manger

This is an advent kit you can purchase.  I’ve seen it advertised many different places this year.  I love the idea of it.  You put the empty wooden manger in a visible spot in your home.  Through Advent you fill the manger with hay (placed with every act of service someone does) and finally you add baby Jesus on Christmas day.  You can read more about it on their blog HERE.   The menu bar will also take you to where you can order the set if you would like.

Celebrate with a pretty table

Your kids can take turns setting the table with whatever they decide makes it feel festive.  Perhaps old birthday napkins, home-made napkin holders (just cut up a paper town tube and let the kids either draw on it or apply stickers), special dishes, . . .

Christmas Blessings to those we love

Each night (or once a week), call someone you love and have the whole family sing them a song.

Connect through KindCraft

This local group has ongoing project of service for others.  They have a facebook group that you can find HERE.  This is how they describe themselves on the group page:  We have a heart for serving our community with our families. Our goal is to provide families with opportunities to serve once a month. We believe it is so important to teach our kids about compassion, empathy, & the importance of making a difference for someone else.

Hide Baby Jesus

Yes, I really suggested you hide Baby Jesus.  I started this one day (a long time ago), just as a joke with my kids.  I took the baby Jesus from our Nativity set and hid it in a little artificial tree that was nearby.  This then lead to a pretty consistent thing we did for the following years.  I liked to compare the kids to the Wisemen as they were searching for the Messiah – baby Jesus.

Blessing Jar

Thirty Handmade Days, a blog written by Mique, focuses on craft projects.  Don’t worry though, you don’t have to be too crafty for the blessing jar.  Mique suggest putting toungue depressors with things we are blessed with into a jar.  Each day you pull out a stick and then count how many of those things you have in your house.  You can read more about it HERE.

Here is a beautiful video about all the blessings we have in our everyday lives.

Okay, so that is a lot of ideas.  Some are very simple and others are more complex.  Honestly, you can do none of these and still take moments to remember to true reason for the season.   I don’t write this to put more pressure on you in this already busy time.  It’s just about taking time to pause amidst the hub bub of the holiday and be mindful of the gift of Jesus and our many blessings.

I wish each of you a joy-filled Advent season and a beautiful Christmas.


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10 Things I wish every Early Childhood Educator Knew

Your preschool staff had a wonderful continuing education training yesterday.  Cari Ebert, MS, CC-SLP (a nationally known speaker) shared her thoughts (backed up with research) of the the most important things for early childhood educators to understand.  I am so proud to say we already embrace the ideas she presented!  However, she gave us some wonderful research to back our thinking as well as tips and tricks of the trade.

She first addressed what teachers of young children should be – RESPONSIVE

– Responsive teachers are engaged  (they get down on the child’s level, talk with children (not at them), follow children’s lead, play with children)

– Responsive teachers are intentional (they embed learning into everyday activities and routines, teach in context, create child appropriate environments)

– Responsive teachers are playful (they are lighthearted, they are animated, they laugh with children, they build relationships)

     – Responsive teachers are sensitive (they respond to a child’s pace, limit the number of test-like questions, keep interactions natural, keep expectations realistic)

She then talked about how young children learn best:

In context (this is one of the reasons we do not do a letter of the week), exploration using all their senses, through social interactions (we often say social interactions are often the most important thing about Aldersgate Preschool), and finally through play-based movement.

Cari talked quite a bit about her worry about high-tech (screen) type play/activities.  

Here is a list of all the things high-tech play is displacing.  When children spend time with a screen they miss out on:

face to face interactions with other people

play-based movement (rolling, crawling, walking, climbing, running, jumping, skipping, hopping, hanging, digging, dancing – all of this movement supports the child’s natural development of muscles, coordination and even brain development)  You can see a previous post about the importance of movement HERE.

exploration of the environment

manipulating and playing with toys (and here she highly suggested battery-less toys)

the ability to wait (delayed gratification – those screens are pretty immediate in their actions)

outdoor play

parent-child verbal interations

Anna Sosa, Ph.D of Northern Arizona University conducted research that determined that parent-child verbal interactions were reduced when they had electronic toys, rather than traditional toys such as puzzles, shape sorter, blocks and books

Screen time also affects vision, sleep, language and motor skills. (This tags right onto my soap-box discussion during our orientation meetings this year)

With more time looking at objects close up (screens) more children have less time to develop their long distance vision muscles.  Therefore, we are seeing more children needing glasses for near-sightedness.

Sleep is affected by the use of screens.  This blue light affects the development of melatonin.  Screen time also takes away time for that heavy, deep play movement we mentioned before.  The children’s muscles haven’t been used an therefore the body does not feel tired for sleep

A recent study found that toddlers who were exposed to handled screen time were more likely to have expressive language delays.

Screen time limits the use of hands and development of those muscles and coordination.  We are seeing more issues with children being able to cut, hold utensils, etc.

Screen time displaces movement which contributes to strength issues – beginning with the large muscles (such as core strength) which then affects the small muscle development.

Cari explained the difference between speech and language.   Language referes to a whole system of words, symbols and gestures used to intearact and communicate with other people.  Speech refers to the actual words we speak.

Cari also talked about the importance of phonological awareness skills and a language rich environment.  This is something I will share in a later post.

You can find more information from Cari Ebert on her group page on facebook or instagram.  She posts information and fun ideas for both parents and teachers.

We will definitely ask Cari Ebert to present again.  She has a few other presentations about speech & language, sensory input and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Happy Halloween – let your light shine

This week we had a devotion worship.  This is a short worship experience that includes songs, prayer, scripture and a short message.  This week we focused on shining the light of God’s love.

We began by singing the song

A Pumpkin Orange and Round

tune: Farmer in the dell

A pumpkin orange and round, a pumpkin orange and round,

Happy, Happy Halloween, A pumpkin orange and round.

Two circle eyes . . .

One triangle nose . . .

One happy mouth . . .

Now he’s a jack-o-lantern . . .

And we sand “If You’re Happy Cause God Loves You”

Recently we have add the verse “If you’re happy cause God loves you, wave to a friend.”  I always mention that God wants us to share the love he gives us.

 

When the children arrived they saw a pumpkin sitting at the front of the worship center.  This represented our hearts before we know God.  Our hearts are good and we feel love even before we know God.

But then the pumpkin changed just like our hearts change once we know God.  Our hearts are extra happy!  Just like the face on this jack-o-lantern

In fact our hearts shine the light of love that God gives us.  Just like this flashlight shines love into my heart and it reflects to everyone around me.  We shine the light of love when we are kind to others, when we are helpful, when we care about others.

We read about this in the Bible in 2 Corinthians 4:6 (paraphrased)

“It started when God said, ‘Light up the darkness!  and our lives filled up with the light of knowing God did.”

Just like a jack-o-lantern.  So as children see those on Halloween perhaps they will remember the light is like God’s light of love shining to the world.


We ended with a prayer.

“God, we love you.   We are so happy that you love us.  Help us to always share your love so people see me light a shining light.”

Happy Halloween everyone! 

Have fun and be safe!

 


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Fall Festival 2019

The weather decided to usher in fall just in time for this year’s festival.  I personally enjoyed that.  I also loved that it didn’t rain.  It is so much more fun when we can be outside for games and play instead of in the basement.  And we had a LOT of fun!  Here is the evening captured in photos.

 

 

I love it that our staff have fun while working!  I sure hope our families and kids had just as much fun as we did!

 

 


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Upcoming Fun in the Community

Fall is a wonderful time to get out and enjoy activities throughout the community.  There is a blog, MacaroniKid that gives information about events for specific towns.  . Here are a few that would be great for families of young children.

Fall Festival (of course!)

We are preparing for a lot of fun THIS THURSDAY from 5-7pm – right here at your preschool.  We hope you will join us for the fun.

Hot dog meal (with chips, banana, carrots, and cookie), carnival type games, crafts, pumpkin patch, preschool friendly campfire and so much more!  You don’t need to pre-register or anything.  We will collect money at the door to cover the cost of dinner.  Adults, $3.00, children 2 yr and older, $2.00

Touch a Truck

No photo description available.  October 5, 11am – 1pm   (click on the photo to take you to the post online)

Come see fire trucks, police cars, cool cars, construction equipment and other awesome trucks!! PLUS: Food, Games, Prizes and More Fun!

Visit a pumpkin patch

Aldersgate patch is open from 10am – dark.  The proceeds from the patch support youth mission projects.  Your child will have chances during the day to check out the patch with their class.  It would be a fun time to stop and pick a pumpkin and then play on the playground.  Just a quick reminder – we ask you to close the sandboxes and keep toys on the playground you find them.

Here is a place to find out more about the area pumpkin patches. (click on the picture to take you to the online post)

Milldale Farm Fest

Mildale Farm Fall Fest logo Woman helping 2 little kids decorate a pumpkinOctober 26, 9am-2pm  (click on the photo to link to the full online post)

Explore the acres of this well-known farm.  Among other things enjoy a petting farm, crafts, fishing and more.

Trunk or Treat

  Aldersgate UMC annually hosts a trunk or treat.  This year’s event is Sunday, October 27th, 4-6pm.  Children wear costumes and visit the various decorated trunks (sponsored by members and groups at Aldersgate UMC).  Be sure to visit the Toy Story themed trunk sponsored by the Preschool Board.  There are also games and other activities for families to enjoy.

You can always check out MacaroniKid blog for other activities in the local area.  HERE is the link.


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What did you do at school today?

Every now and then I love taking my camera around and catching about 20 minutes of the activity in all the classes.  Let me show you what I captured today.

I began in the Red classroom.  They were in their small group and large motor portion of the day.  These activities are more structured with teacher planned activities.  In one group they were patterning tiny little animals.  Each child had a tray of animals.  You can find more about patterning here.  The other small group was “reading” from a set of guided reading books.  This activity gives children a chance to handle a book, notice the print, follow along with their finger as they “read” the repetitive sentences.  All of these are important parts of the emergent literacy skills.  As children finished their activity they could choose books to read.  I loved hearing the Noah’s Ark story told with much enthusiasm – although it must have been a different version than I’ve heard before – even with ninja’s joining the story.  Our class made number book was intriguing to several of the kids.

 

The Red class large motor involved finding shapes on the floor.  In the picture they are hopping to find an oval (or an ellipse – we use both words).  You will notice the hoops of different colors where the shapes are then classified by color.  What a fun way to build movement skills while recognizing shapes and colors – all while recognizing that items can be classified by different characteristics.

The Blue class was also in their small group and large motor groups.  In their small groups they were learning about ten frames.  This is something they will use often in elementary school.  It is a good visual for understanding the quantity of 10 and the different quantities it takes to add up to that amount.  The other group was was finding similar items and talking about the way they are the same and how they are different.  It is always easy for the kids to identify the differences but thinking about how they are the same is always a little trickier.  I also caught a picture of a sweet one waiting for her turn.  I love the little peek of a smile.  And waiting quietly is a skill to learn as well.

During their large motor they were moving and grooving to a song title Bean Bag Boogie.  This encourages the kids to identify body parts and then to balance the bean bag while moving.  It is good to see the variety of ways children use their bodies to carry the bags.

Our youngest group (Discovery Days) were having snack.  WOW!  Look at this group.  Sitting at a table and eating their own snack.  This group is learning routines that are so different from what they do at home.  They are also able to take their trash (napkin and cup) to the trash.  They feel important when they complete a “job.”  After snack the kids head over to play again.  I love watching the eye-hand coordination develop as young children investigate these large rubber blocks.  Eventually they will also discover balance when they place a larger block on the smaller square blocks.

I found our Green Class (Preschool Lite) ending circle time and transitioning to snack.  The first picture shows the group saying their prayer.  We do a song/chant “Open Shut Them” to gather attention as well as giving a routine which helps children focus on the prayer.  Following that, the teacher shows the children the name card.  The picture of their symbol gives them a visual while the written name (covered for this post) allows the child a chance to see their name in print.  Once the child sees his name he takes his symbol spot that he is sitting on to the basket and then heads over to wash hands.  If there is a child already washing hands, there are colored spots to help the children learn about waiting in a line.  There are a lot of steps to this routine.  Think about how much learning is happening in the simple act of going to snack.

Our 3/4 enrichment group were gathered at the back of the room while another teacher set up for circle time.  They were imagining waking up in the morning.  “What do we need to do next?”  This is wonderful recall for the children as they pretend together.  Once in the circle the children were excited to see which apple “won!”  As they arrived to class they put their symbol in a bowl to vote for either red, yellow or green apples as their favorite.  This is a wonderful chance then to talk about more, less, same, etc.  It is so much more meaningful when it is with something they have had some input.  I even heard a little one say, “There’s my  symbol.  That’s mine!”

As I was heading back to the office I noticed the Blue and Red classes heading to the playground.  I couldn’t resist taking a few picture there as well.  First, look at that nice line!!!  I congratulated them on how nicely they were standing behind each other.  It is interesting that a teacher reminded them before they started walking about staying just a little behind the person in front of you – not too close.  These are the kinds of things that take practice to learn.

The first thing I noticed once I got outside were a teacher and child talking together.  We have quiet places on the playground for just this reason.  Sometimes we don’t need to big large movement but a more quiet conversation.

I absolutely LOVE watching kids play on the playground.  From the impromptu Ice Cream Shop, to the social dilemma of 4 kids and three spots on the teeter-totter, the joyful singing on the tire swing and the concentration and perserverance of learning to move through the monkey bars.

A few children showed me a “bug” on the cement.  On closer inspection it was the shell of a cicada.  This was a wonderful learning opportunity as children discovered that there was no live bug inside.  Oh, the questions they came up with!  “Why is he not moving?”  “Where did he go?”  “Why is there a hole in it?”  And finally that shell dropped to the ground.  Here was a perfect chance to talk about cammoflage.  We never did find that shell again – it was hidden too well in his surroundings.

As you can see, there is a lot happening here all morning.  From structured times, to open play time, it is all learning time!

 


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CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, This Year is LOOKING GOOD!

It is always so good to have all the staff back for our back-to-school meeting.  This year we had a photography theme so it was the perfect way to use our HURRAH as the title.

For those of you new to us, we have little “hurrahs” we do at the end of music that just celebrate us and help indicate this is over and we are moving on to a new activity.  You can look forward to learning about those this year.

It is important for our staff to connect so we did that first.  With our photography theme we shared our first and last photos that are saved on our phones.  It really brought about some good conversation.

Next we covered the important items that we all need to know to keep children safe, help things run smoothly, etc.  I like to have fun, even in meetings, so we did this as a game show.

We spent some time talking about why we take so many photos of the kids.  We reinforced our belief that a . . .

a picture is worth a thousand words!

We have heard from families over the years how much they appreciate seeing their child’s day in action.  Having the DVD’s or printed pictures are also wonderful memory keepsakes.

So we spent some time talking about makes a good photo.  One of those aspects is light.  We talked about how we can bring the best “light” into our classrooms.  Through our connections with God we carry the light of his love to reach out to everyone; each other, our kids, our families and the community around us!

Another way to bring the best out of a child in a photo – well in EVERYTHING – is to really get to know them.  I shared this quote from one of my trainings this summer.

You have to reach a child before you teach a child.

Temperament is an important part of each child.  This is a topic we spent quite a bit of time learning about.

I used a lot of information from these two books for this in-service training.  I wish I had some of this information when I was raising my own kids.  We have these two books in our parent library if you are interested.

Temperament Tools; Working with Your Child’s Inborn traits, by Helen F. Neville, B.S., R.N. with Diane Clark Johnson

Raising Your Spirited Child, by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, Ed.D

We followed our meeting with a wonderful lunch provided by our Preschool Board.  These ladies worked hard for us!


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Back to school – there is a lot to get ready!

Its an exciting time of year!  I’m sure your are busy getting things ready for school. I remember that feeling even as I readied for High School.  Some children worry about things as the year approaches.  It is important to allow those nerves but also reassure children that our teachers are here to keep them safe and to help them enjoy school.

It is also a fun time for school supply shopping.  Every child will need a regular size back pack and we have sent out a suggested school supply list.  You can find that HERE.

Previously I posted information about other ways to prepare your child.  You can find it HERE and HERE.

We are busy too – only our busy is probably quite a bit different than yours.  Our office staff are busy with files, forms, lists and so much more.  I’m busy preparing for our Back-to-School staff meeting.  Our teachers return this week!  Last week we had our tile floors stripped and waxed and tomorrow the carpets are getting cleaned.

We have also done  a little renovating in our bathrooms this summer.  Ms. Virginia is helping out by painting those rooms.  Thanks so much Virginia

It’s a busy time but also a time filled with excitement as we look forward to another great year here at Aldersgate Preschool.  See you soon.


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For mom’s with strong-willed, over-emotional, or otherwise challenging kids

Isn’t that all of us at some time in our parenting?  I’ve talked with so many mom’s over the years.  Mom’s that are questioning their parenting.  Mom’s that are second guessing their hard decisions.  Mom’s that are weary of the day to day “work” of parenting their “spirited” or challenging (in some way) children.

To all those moms I say. . . .

You’re a good mom too!

You are a mom in the trenches of tantrums.  You are a mom dealing with sensory issues and finding socks that “feel right” each morning.  You are the mom encouraging the very reserved child to try something new.  You are the mom that leaves in tears after dropping your child off because he is crying AGAIN.  You are the mom that faces endless decisions for what is best for your child.

Today is a busy day – another special parent day in one of our classes.  I’m stopping though, to write this, because it is so important.  Diana Markel, one of our previous staff, posted this on her facebook wall.  It spoke to me deeply.  You see I, too, was one of those moms.  One of those moms that wondered what people thought, as my child threw herself on the floor in the middle of Target.  One of those moms that had to leave a full cart of groceries to take home a child that was just out of control.  One of those moms that wondered if her middle child was drawing on the walls (mulitple times) because she wasn’t getting enough attention.  I was one of those moms that wondered what people thought of me as a, well, . .  a mom.

I’m sure that is why this article spoke to me so profoundly.  I hope this speaks to many of you as well.