Sunday, May 29, 2011

Farmer's Market 2011

I love to garden but am a flower gardener.  On Saturday mornings during the summer, you will find me at a farmer's market checking out local produce, local art and local talent.  The farmer's market is a fun and educational family field trip for the summer months.  Some of the markets are already open but most open on Saturday, June 4th.

Here are some ideas for a fun filled trip to the market-
*Timing is everything.  Do you want the produce or the experience?  Early in the morning is when you will find the best produce.  Later in the morning, the market will be buzzing with people and often entertainment.  Also, later in the summer it gets pretty toasty late in the morning.
*Walk around the market before you make your first purchase.  Make mental or written notes on which stands you will return to for purchases. Crowed stall?  Be patient.  Crowds usually mean good produce and return customers.
*Use your senses.  Look carefully and talk about the colors and textures with your child.  Are there samples?  Taste!   It is an opportunity  for discovery!
*Talk and ask questions about the produce. 

*Check out the 2010 post for more ideas!

*Check out these local markets.
Peoria Riverfront Market
Saturday morning

Peoria Metro Centre
Monday-Saturday morning

Peoria Heights at Heritage Square
Wednesday nights from 4-7 p.m.

Metamora on the square
Saturday mornings
Bloomington Farmers Market and Artist Alley

Saturday morning

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Preschool Development

Children develop physically, emotionally and socially at different rates. Here are some behaviors that you can expect in your preschooler-

*Will begin to have a longer attention span.
*Will act silly, goofy and loud.
*Will use and experiment with language that isn't nice.
*Will  show an interest in numbers and letters
*Talk  A LOT!  Will ask lots and lots and lots of questions.  The average four year old will ask up to four hundred questions a day.
*Desire real adult things.  This is why we incorporate real cell phones, keyboards, keys and other items into our dramatic play.
*Will want to keep their artwork.
*Begin to test their physical skills but with caution.
*Will reveal feelings through dramatic play.
*Enjoy playing with friends but will not like to lose.
*Understand and know how to take turns, sharing,  etc.

Based on a list from the National Association for the Education of Young Children/NAEYC

Friday, May 20, 2011

Raising Good Readers

Want your child to be a good reader?  Read to them!  Here are some ideas and thoughts to help-

*Read every day. Read anytime but most children enjoy hearing stories at bedtime. Make this a part of your child's bedtime routine. 
*Have your child choose a book.  Let your child hold the book as you read.
*Look at the illustrations and talk about the illustrations.
*Stop and discuss new vocabulary.
*Stop and talk about the story...discuss feelings, situations, predict what might happen next.
*Talk about the story.  Did you like/not like the story? Why? What was your favorite part?
*Have books accessible.  We have had books all over our house since my boys were little.  The kitchen, the bathroom-don't just 'assign' books to one area.  Does your child have a train set?  Put train books by the train set. Put dinosaur books by the dinosaur toys. Fill a basket with books and take outdoors.  You get the idea.
*Don't just read in one voice-use different voices for different characters. Use a loud or soft voice. Using different voices makes the story far more fun and entertaining for your child. 
*Ask your child to retell the story (this helps with sequencing and recalling details)
*Use your local library.
*Show your child how to care for and put away books.
*Visit the bookstore or thrift stores to buy new/used books. 
*Set a good example and read books or magazines.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Arts in Education

Preschool is out and the sun is shining (finally).  What to do with your preschooler all day?  Today the MGS chorus is singing at the Arts in Education Spring Celebration in downtown Peoria.  They will be performing at 11 a.m.  This is a FREE event held weekdays at the Peoria County Courthouse Plaza. Can't make it today?
Local high schools and grade schools will be performing through Friday, May 27th. Gather some friends, pack a lunch and head down any weekday. There are also lots of yummy food vendors!  I plan on a visit or two to meet my husband for lunch.  For more information-  See you at the courthouse!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Teachers Bye Bye Bye

To love what you do and feel that it matters-now could anything be more fun?
Katherine Graham

Congratulations to all of our MCP graduates!  Have a great summer!

Check back often for things to do with your kids this summer or check out last summer's postings.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Three Little Pigs

The classic story of the Three Little Pigs has provided a lot of fun and a yummy snack for our MWF classes.  We read lots of stories the last two weeks-The Three Little Pigs, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Piggie Pie,  The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark,  Big Bad Wolf Is Good and one of my all time favorite books, The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig.

After each story, we asked:  Were there three pigs? A big bad wolf? A house of bricks, a house of sticks and a house of straw? A happy ending?  We put our answers on big chart paper and the children took turns writing YES or NO. Reading is more than just reading aloud and sounding out words.  We want the children to be able to recall details of the story, tell how these stories are the same and different and retell the story.

We have a cardboard house of bricks, sticks and straw that we take outside.  The children are able to act out the story.  There is lots of huffing and puffing.

So that was all fun.  Today we told the children we were going to eat a snack of straw, sticks and bricks.  Ewww....yuck!   That was the reaction until they found out the straw is shoestring potato sticks (found at IGA).  The sticks are pretzel sticks (the kids broke in half) and then we added bricks which are the chocolate chunks found in the bakery aisle.  YUM-O!!! Salty and sweet-they loved it.  Each child had a small bag to take home, too.  

This year we added a dictation activity.  The children picked out a 'nice' animal, three rhyming names, a big, bad animal, a location, what the three houses were made out of and how they fell down.  These stories were super creative and will be in your child's backpack on Monday. Want to do more?  Have your child add illustrations to their story.  Create another Three Little ????? and the Big Bad ????  Get the books we read in class from the library and discuss the stories with your child.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mother's Day

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.  Abraham Lincoln

A week from today is Mother's Day.  This week we will be finishing up our special gifts for Mom and Dad, practicing songs for our performances, talking about all the things Mommy and Daddy do for us and reading lots of stories on Mom and Dad.

My sister-in-law sent this to my Mom on May 3, 2007.  A quick Google search shows it was written by Temple Bailey in 1933. So this week, when you are shopping for cards, gifts and flowers, enjoy the gift and blessings of your mother.

Parable of Motherhood---
The young Mother set her foot on the path of life.  "Is this the long way?" she asked.  And the guide said, "Yes, and the way is hard and you will be old before you reach the end of it.  But the end will be better than the beginning."

But the young Mother was happy and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams; and the sun shone on them and the young Mother cried, "Nothing will ever be lovelier than this."

Then the night came, and the storm, and the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the Mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle, and the children said, "Mother, we are not afraid for you are near and no harm can come."

And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary and the Mother was weary.  But at all times she said to the children, "A little patience and we are there." So the children climbed and when they reached the top they said,"Mother, we would not have done it without you."

And the Mother, when she lay down at night looked up at the stars and said, "This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today, I've given them strength."

And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth, clouds of war and hate and evil and the children groped and stumbled, and the Mother said, "Look up.  Lift your eyes to the light."  And the children looked and saw above the clouds an everlasting glory, and it guided them beyond the darkness.  And that night the Mother said, "This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God."

And the days went on and the weeks and the months and the years, and the Mother grew old and she was little and bent.  But her children were tall and strong and walked with courage.  And when the way was rough, they lifted her, for she was light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill, and beyond they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide.  And Mother said, "I have reached the end of my journey. And I know the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone and their children after them."

And the children said, "You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates." And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her. And they said, "We cannot see her but she is with us still. A Mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a living presence..."

Your Mother is always with you...She's the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street; she's the smell of bleach in your freshly laundered socks; she's the cool hand on your brow when you're not well.  Your Mother lives inside your laughter.  And she's crystallized in every tear drop.  She's the place you came from, your first home; and she's the map you follow with every step you take.  She's your first love and your first heartbreak, and nothing on earth can separate you.

Happy Mother's Day!

Mommy and Me.......May 1960