Thursday, January 31, 2013

After you say Goodbye

Writing their Name!

 The first thing we do at school after your child is dropped off and you have said Goodbye is what we call an "Opening" usually it has something to do with the letter or theme for the week.  It is a small activity that can involve coloring, using scissors and glue or something similar.  (Normally the parents read the directions (if there are any) to the child and then this is when they say goodbye and transition out of the classroom.)  

We encourage the kids to write their name on it, and this is the first step in being able to do this skill.  The most important part of being able to write their name is encouragement even if they can only make a "mark" on the paper.  We start with them being able to recognize how to write the first letter of their name.   We are not looking for perfection at this point we just want to be able to recognize what letter it is that they are writing.  

Some need help with how to shape a letter and some need help with how to hold a crayon.  We use a couple different types of crayons.  We have regular round ones for our kids who hold them correctly to start with and then we have bigger triangle ones for our kids who need help with getting their fingers into the right position or their finger muscles have just not developed enough yet.  

We make the rounds of the classroom checking with and encouraging each child.  Helping them learn the proper positioning if we need to.  

Our goal is that by the end of the year you could look at the name they wrote on the paper and know who wrote it.  Why do we care about this? 

It is because their Kindergarten teacher needs to know who's paper it is that they are looking at and this is a necessary ability to know by the end of preschool.

This entire activity doesn't take longer than 10 minutes and usually only just a few minutes for most.  Who wants to sit and color perfectly when there are books to look at? You see after they finish their opening they get to go to the book center until we call them to line up for our morning activities.

They are learning knew things every day and I cannot even tell you the fun of watching it happen.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pet Store Field Trip

Field Trip
Pet Store and Udderly Sweet

At Sunshine Preschool we take a field trip every month, (except for December as it is already busy enough without us adding to it.) Since this is January it is time for our trip to the Grocery Store, the kids absolutely LOVE to see behind the scenes of somewhere they go to all the time.  The are amazed at the size (and the chill) of the HUGE walk in freezers and they get a "treat" from each department.  

BUT this year our "Go to" Grocery Store is remodeling so we put out the word that we needed an idea for a new place to go.  We hit upon an idea to go to a local pet store, now this is more than just a pet store it is AMAZING, one person described it has a free zoo and really I couldn't agree more.  

The kids got to learn about Bunnies and pet one too.

Then they learned about the birds.

I have to say I was glad they didn't take the birds out to be petted.  

Then they went into the reptile area, what a great spot they kids got to sit down on this wonderful carpet and learn about a lot of the reptiles.  They even got to pet a baby Bearded Dragon.

This is Jeremiah and he walked us through the field trip and helped us learn about all the different animals.  

Here is the baby Bearded Dragon, isn't he cute.

Then they saw snakes and frogs, toads and skinks too.  

All this was on the way to the Fish Zone, where they have these HUGE tanks of fish that live at the pet store.  

This is a Catfish and while we were there they feed him, it was lots of fun to watch.  

They had lots of other animals for us to look at too.  

All this took about an hour, and since we knew that before we started we decided to do an add on.  In the same shopping center as the pet store there is a great shop called Udderly Sweet.  They are a locally owned frozen yogurt store.  They have lots of flavors and so many yummy toppings it is crazy.  

Ms. April the owner welcomed us and showed the preschoolers how they make the Yogurt and also talked about how to properly get your treat and toppings.   

After that they went to town and if you ask me I think they had a blast. 


When they were all done they went on their way back home, but I think that they will remember this day for long time to come.  Thanks for all the help from the parents today you guys ROCK!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Leaving your Child

Saying Goodbye to Mom or Dad

One thing that is consistent with every single preschool across the land is at some point Mom or Dad are going to have to say GOODBYE!!

This one thing alone causes more angst than any other aspect of sending their child to school.  I wanted to blog about this because it really is important and in some ways it is really misunderstood.  

First let me start by telling you that preschool teachers have seen it all.  And by that I mean it would take something earth shattering to surprise us.  

Now what might be new is for you to see your child do one of the many "things" you have been having nightmares for weeks that they might try in front of all those other parents and the teachers.  

I am here to tell you it is no big deal, really I promise, scouts honor. The teachers know how to handle anything that comes up and they will do the best they can to minimize any angst you or your child might be feeling.  

So what should you do if you get to school and your nightmare begins to become a reality?  Great question I am so glad you asked!

First off let me tell you my NUMBER ONE RULE, this is really important and will help you and your child out for many years to come.  Are you ready for it?

Always say Goodbye!!!

Did you get that? What a I trying to say is please, I am begging you be honest with your child and say goodbye, do NOT just sneak out.  The terror in their eyes when they realize you have disappeared breaks my heart every single time.  And not only that it also sets me up to not be trusted.  

I will deal with the tears as you say goodbye every single day, because as  I talk you and your child through this step I will have you show your child on my clock when you will come back to them.  And then reassure them that you will keep your promise.  As you leave and they cry (and some will that first few days) I will keep talking and walking them through their day and why you brought them to school.  

Then the miracles start to happen, and these are some of my favorite things. 

First one is that they stop crying, really they do.  Let me tell you a secret, almost every child I have ever had do this has stopped crying in the first minute of your departure.     

And at my school if they don't I am giving you a call, that is my promise, my guarantee to you.  I am a Mom too and I would not want my child to cry for hours on end and not find out about it until much later that is inexcusable to me.  I won't let it go much past 4-5 min and I am dialing that phone and seeing what you want to do.  


Sorry I just had to remind you of that last thing one more time.  

The second miracle that happens is that they stop crying all together when they come to school.  Do you know why?  Let me tell you, it is because they have learned that they can trust you to come back and get them.  

They have been taught that you will not disappear on them without them knowing AND that after you do leave you will most definitely come back and get them again.  

Trust is easily gained, but not so easily repaired and preschoolers are pretty smart.  Please help your preschool teacher and start saying goodbye the best way possible today.

Eventually you will get to know the other preschool parents and as you do you will learn that all preschoolers have their off days, days when they cry for no reason or behave in ways you have never seen before.  

You and your fellow parents will commiserate over these silly things and they will no loner be embarrassing they will be a memory to look back on, a badge that says that you are doing the parenting thing the best way you can and it will all be okay.  

I say this will all the tenderness I can, but really I think it is sometimes harder on the parents to leave their child then for the child to have their parents leave.  

I have seen children cry only when Mom drops them off, but wave goodbye with enthusiasm when Dad or Grandma does, all in the same week.  They pick up on your feelings so put on a brave face, kiss their sweet little cheeks and wave goodbye.  It will be all turn out just fine.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

Punxsutawney Phil


Since Groundhog's day is just days away, this week we are focusing on that cute little Woodchuck.  We start by reading a story about good ole Punxsutawney Phil, explaining about the tradition, what a shadow is and why we really want him to NOT see his shadow.  

To start the activity for today you need two colors of construction paper.  A 9x12 piece of Black and then a Groundhog cutout on Brown (really could be any color). After you get the Groundhog cutout you need to stick it on the center of the black paper.  

We have tried many ways to make this happen, the best way seems to be spraying it down on the back (the Groundhog) with spray glue, giving it a minute or two and then pressing it down onto the black paper.  It will then be repositionable which is what you need.  

That is all you need to do for prep work.  Next is what you need for your activity.  White Paint, little containers (to put the paint in) and some kind of sponge to paint with.  

We use clothespins and small cut up pieces of sponges, they work great and give you a really nice texture to your projects and it is a perfect fine motor skill.  

After you have the kids write their names on the back of their black papers (with white crayon) you give them their container of paint, their painting utensil, and off they go.  Instruct them to sponge (hop) their painting tool all around the edges of the Groundhog where the black and brown paper meet.  

When they are done it will look like this.

Or this.

Or some like this.

We collect them and set them aside to dry, usually it doesn't take very long as not very much paint is used to complete this project.  

The teacher then removes the brown Groundhog, it should just peel off.  When it is removed this is what you get.

And just like that you have a Groundhog with a shadow! 

Happy almost Groundhog's Day!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Marshmallows with Cocoa!

Some fun with a lot of YUM!!

Today was all about our Imagination and boy did we have fun with it.  The kids made a cup of Hot Cocoa all by themselves and afterwards they got to have a real cup of Hot Cocoa and add some yummy real Marshmallows to it.  

I do want to say that this is probably the easiest activity we have ever done and I liked it.  It gave the kids some extra free time today and once in a while that is a great thing to have happen.

Here is the cast of Character that you will need.   

See super easy, you need one clear cup.  We went with a big 16 oz one, because we wanted them to have more to put in the cup. 
Then you need shredded brown paper, the craft store carries this.  
And last, but not least white pom pom's.   

Give the kiddos their supplies and watch their imagination go.  It is really simple they just add the shredded paper (Hot Cocoa) and then their white Pom Pom's (Marshmallows) and they are done.  They can dump it out and do it all again as many times as they want.  It was really fun to watch them pretend to drink their Hot Cocoa.

I just love that this little guy put all his Marshmallows on the bottom.  

So there you go a cup of Hot Cocoa guaranteed not to burn any tongues.

We topped our day by serving a real cup of Hot (warm) Cocoa with Marshmallows that they got to enjoy during snack time.