Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm The Gingerbread ???

We have had a change of plans.  This week we are finishing up our Gingerbread Man and Three Little Pigs unit. 

Our art center was a happening place this morning.  We have had the gingerbread men stencils out for a few weeks.  Today several children started tracing, coloring and cutting out gingerbread boys and gingerbread girls.  The children were discussing adding sticks to their gingerbread men at home.  Puppets!?!  How fun!!! (they didn't want to do it at school) Other children joined and creative juices were flowing.   I love to watch young children's imaginations at work.  This morning the imaginations were in overdrive!

Each class wrote their own Gingerbread Man story.  We reviewed the stories we had read---The Gingerbread Man, The Gingerbread Cowboy and The Gingerbread Girl.  After our discussion, we wrote our own stories.  The morning class  has a story with a gingerbread princess who will get chased by a knight, a dragon, a unicorn and a king.  The afternoon class has an artist who lives in the city and gets chased by a policeman, a mom with a baby and some people in the park.  How does it end?  You will have to read the story with your child.  Want to do more?  Have your child illustrate their story.  Not like the ending or some of the characters?  Change it. Add more details and descriptions.  Share a story and write a story with your child.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

The thunder has stopped but it is still raining.  It seemed like a good day for this bulletin board idea. We started out the month with this little girl but no rain.  We know  'April showers bring May flowers' so we needed raindrops.

In the art center, we had a basket filled with raindrops.  For the 3's, the raindrops are traced so all they have to do is cut and press the easy button.  The preK children trace, cut the raindrop and press the easy button.

The preK classes also add a tally mark to a piece of paper posted in the art center.   The children love to look at these charts and count the tally marks.  We count the tally marks and use words like greater, most, less than, least and equal.

And now she's singin' in the rain!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Little Pigs, Little Pigs!

If your child is huffing and puffing at home, don't worry!  We have spent the week reading many variations of the Three Little Pigs. Check out  for the book list.  After each book, we asked several questions.  Were there three little pigs?  Was there a big bad wolf?  Was there house of straw, a house of sticks and a house of bricks?  There are many similarities and differences with each book.  Ask your child if they can retell the story to you.  Retelling a story helps your child with reading comprehension.  Which story did they like the best?

We have a house of straw, sticks and bricks for play.  We have been creating this piece for several years.  The children helped add some more straw and sticks.  We added blue for sky and will add more next year!  I am not a great artist but add a young child's imagination and that's all it takes. Nothing fancy--cardboard, glue, construction paper, paint.   I like the cardboard because it folds flat and stores easily (and no cost!) We have a firetruck, a castle, a rocket, Santa's sleigh and a pizza oven.  Check out the Dramatic Play label for ideas.
Today we made our Three Little Pigs snack.  It's yummy and easy.  Add straw (1 can potato sticks), sticks (1 bag pretzels sticks---we broke in half for easy eating) and bricks (1 bag chocolate chunks and probably  could use 2 bags).  Each child took home a bag to share with their family. 

We will be finishing up this unit next week.  We will be writing our own versions of the Gingerbread Man and Three Little Pigs.  This will be a group activity.  After we finish the dictation, I will type up and send home.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

But He Was Still Hungry!

Sounds like a teenage boy after dinner but it's The Very Hungry Caterpillar  by Eric Carle, of course. This book is over forty years old.  Originally published 1969,  it is a classic in children's literature.  This is a great spring unit for our TTh class. On Tuesday, I read the book and each child created their own very hungry caterpillar.  We help the children get their first green oval placed and then they are allowed to glue as many green ovals as they want.  Today (Thursday) the children added eyes, mouth, nose, and lots of legs. They are just super cute!

Today we talked about the life cycle of a butterfly---egg, caterpillar, butterfly.  I also introduced the word  metamorphosis because young children love big words.  We also made a beautiful butterfly to go with our very hungry caterpillar. 

  We also pretended to be very hungry caterpillars.  The children crawled like a caterpillar while we held out  fruit (painted poster board) for them to eat.  After eating, our little caterpillars curled up into a cocoon and turned into beautiful butterflies.  These pieces are out for the children to play with during center time.    You can make easy pieces at home.  Print off some clip art of an apple, pear, orange, strawberry and plum for your very hungry caterpillar to eat.   
There's more........
We put the food the very hungry caterpillar ate into healthy food and junk food.   When we chart things, the chart is blank and as I write the words I ask about letters.  

Want to do more? 
*Get out your Eric Carle books or head to the library.  Eric Carle has many great bug books--The Grouchy Ladybug, The Very Busy Spider, The Very Quiet Cricket,  and The Very Lonely Firefly.

*Order a butterfly kit!  These kits are so fun and are fairly inexpensive.  I did a quick search and saw prices from $14-$30.    

*Get some tissue paper and begin to create.  We reuse gift tissue paper from Chirstmas and birthdays for many crafts.  Get some paper and glue and have some fun crafting with your child!

Monday, April 23, 2012

I'll Huff and I'll Puff

This week our MWF classes will focus on The Three Little Pigs.  Here are the books we will be reading---

We will have some fun dramatic play and a special snack to take home on Friday.  More info later this week!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day 2012

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago...the second best time is right now.  Proverb

April 22, 1970---the first Earth Day.  I was a little girl.  You and your children were not even born.  Here we are over forty years later still working on our planet.  We must keep working.

I have always recycled and reused at home and at school.  I have been fortunate to live in areas where we could recycle even twenty years ago before anyone even thought of curbside recycling.  

Could we be greener at MCP?  Sure.  Like most organizations there are still things we could do better. However, we do a lot of things at MCP that make us 'green'.

***For the first time since I started at MCP,  all monthly newsletters have been sent via email starting in the fall of 2011.

***We do not use 'printables' or worksheets with our preschoolers.  Many programs use 'printables' and worksheets in their programs  using large amounts of copy paper.  At MCP, we strongly believe early childhood education is in experience and activity.

***We reuse like crazy.  Anyone familiar with our program knows we are continually requesting 'treasures' and 'valuable junk' to use in our program.   Jars, bottles, egg cartons, toilet paper and paper towel tubes are just a few things we use for activities in our classroom.  We do not purchase any 'party supplier' type pre-cut crafts for our room.

***We have started to recycle plastic bottles and cardboard.

We can all do more.  Pick one thing. 

My husband had wanted to start composting many years ago and I resisted.  A few years ago, after lots of research and education, I started composting at home.  I love it (but I have the yard space to compost and not see it).   My point---pick your one thing and incorporate it into your lifestyle.

It is said that you can't change the world but you can change your corner of it.  Starting working on your corner today!  Happy Earth Day! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Flower Power 2

 Yesterday our TTh reviewed the basic parts of the flower.  I used the same chart and colored in parts as we named each flower part.
 Our flower craft on Tuesday had easy pieces.  A circle for cutting----we are getting really good at cutting basic shapes----and lots of pretty pre-cut petals.  The children were instructed to cut the circle.  They were to glue the circle in middle of the square.  We placed petals on the table and they were allowed to add as many petals as they wanted around the circle---directions with spatial relationships.

 A smaller brown teacher cut circle in the middle makes a pretty picture.  We are so grateful the beautiful scrapbook paper that was donated to our program.  It really makes our preschool crafts pretty!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

You Can't Catch Me!

This week in the MWF classes, it's The Gingerbread Man.  On Monday, we read the traditional tale.  Today (Wednesday), we read The Gingerbread Cowboy and The Gingerbread Girl.  On a large chart, I had three questions.  Was there a gingerbread man?  Who chased the gingerbread man?  Who ate the gingerbread man?  The children are recalling details of the story. An important reading comprehension skill.
Ask your child about the books and what they remember.  See if they can retell you the story.

We have many special projects going on in our room so we are not creating any crafts this week but on Friday we will roll out some gingerbread dough  and make some cookies.  YUM-O!   Make a batch at home!  Gingerbread is not just for Christmas anymore!!!

We will also be writing our own version of  The Gingerbread ???   You will have to wait and find out what the children write.  It will be typed up and in their mailboxes on Monday. 

This is a good week to dig out the traditional stories in your home library or head to your local library and check out some traditional tales.  There are also some really fun books that are a traditional story with a fun twist. Here a few---

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Flower Power

Here we 'grow' again.  Today we talked about the basic parts of a flower. We also created a flower craft together.  Our carrots and sunflowers have not sprouted yet but we must be patient!

I believe preschool is all about experience. We have lots of seeds for exploring in our science center.  The children are having fun looking at the seeds.  Ask your child if they looked at the seeds.

Carrot Printing

Carrot Prints

We are not finished with carrots.  We have carrot printing in our art center.  This is easy breezy---you can do this at home, too!  I trimmed some carrots into square and triangle shapes.

Want to do more???

Visit a greenhouse.  There are a lot of really nice greenhouses in our area and it's free.   It will give you and your child an opportunity to look at and talk about  flowers.

Buy a flower for your child.  Plant together and have your child care for the flower this spring and summer.  As the flower grows, you can measure and record measurements.

Get growing!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dem Bones, Dem Bones

What is holding you up?  Your bones! This week our MWF classes learned about their bones.  We learned how many bones we have, the smallest and largest bones in our bodies,  healthy foods and exercise keep our bones healthy and we learned the names of some of our bones.  Ask your child about bones. Head to the library for children's books on  bones.  I did a quick search to see if there were any appropriate skeleton websites for preschoolers.  I didn't find anything but I also didn't look very hard.  Please let me know if you find anything age appropriate. The children were extremely fascinated with this unit.

We have two science activities set up for the children.  These activities are used during center time.  When we set up new centers, I explain the center during our group and then we assist the children as needed. The first is a puzzle.   Press the easy button!

Skeleton Science Center

Skeleton Science Center
Student Work

The second center is a little more difficult.  It requires the students to look at the skeleton and match the bones to the appropriate word.  I pre-cut the skeletons and added dashes where the students are to cut. Press the easy button when you are finished!

Skeleton Science Center
Student Work

Skeleton Science Center

Friday, April 13, 2012

April Showers

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012


What a busy week with our TTh class.  On Tuesday, we read  "The Carrot Seed"  and planted carrot seeds.  We used a very 'green' pot for our seeds.   I saw this idea online on several different websites and thought I would try it out.  
Toilet paper tube seed pots! We have lots of toilet paper tubes at MCP.  This was cheap and easy...just the way I like our school projects.  Here's how---Cut the tube about an inch up in four places and fold into a pot.  I also slit a second tube and to place inside because I thought the tubes might get too damp and start to fall apart.  We will see how they work. 

We have lots of white folder labels (donated, of course).  I thought the labels would work for the children's names and the plant name.  No good.  The labels are getting damp and coming off.  Use a sharpie marker to label the tube.

The tubes don't stand up alone very well.  They might do better as the dirt settles.  We will have to wait and see.  If you do this at home, I would set the tube inside something so it stands up.  I put all of our seed pots in a large plastic storage box. It's really easy for me to bring in and out of the sunshine. 

We also made a craft.  The children had to cut the carrot and then they glued  pre-cut green leaves.  Very simple and easy but good practice with the scissors.   There is a LOT of improvement in scissor use and cutting skills.
Today (Thursday) we looked at lots and lots of seeds.  Ask your child about the seeds.  We looked at peach, plum, cantaloupe, orange,  pepper seeds and more.  The seeds will be out next week for the children to explore.   We  planted sunflower seeds,too.

We charted if we liked or did not like carrots.  Ask your child about this chart---Read YES and NO.  Which word is 'carrot'?  Have them tell you the numbers.  Which number is greater?  Which number is the least?  What did you choose?
What a fun week! Want to do more? 

****Make some carrot cake.  Search for recipes with carrots.  Preschoolers love to cook and a lot of learning takes place when you cook with your child.

****An experiment with carrots----

****A craft with carrots (older siblings might enjoy)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Planting the Seed

Sunflower #1  2008

If you think in terms of year, plant a seed;  if in terms of ten years, plant trees;  if in terms of one hundred years, teach the people.   Confucius    
We plant seeds every spring at MCP.  Several years ago,  the twins were in our class.  We planted sunflower seeds that spring.  They transplanted the seeds at home, weeded and watered and SUNFLOWERS!!!  The twins are home schooled so they measured the plants and mom had loads of fun activities.  What really makes me proud is each year they have harvested the seeds from their first preschool sunflower. After all these years, it makes me feel they are still connected to preschool.

Last spring, our TTh class read  'The Carrot Seed'  and of course we planted carrot seeds.  This little gardener was one of our TTh 3 y/o students. He harvested all these carrots.  Yummy!!!  This activity has sparked his interest in gardening this year.  He is helping get seeds started at home and has an interest in gardening.  Our MWF classes will have a seed science center in the classroom soon.  That should make this future farmer pretty happy!

Let your preschooler help you garden.  No garden?  Get a pot and some dirt. Plant herbs, a vegetable, some flowers.  Measure the plants growth. Watch and water the seeds and watch your child's excitement grow!