Sunday, November 30, 2014

More Lacing Activitiies at MCP

We will have many opportunities for students to lace in our centers.  Why are lacing activities important?

Milk caps and marker lids are great lacing 'beads'.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Winter Wheat

 During our bread unit, we learned about wheat. We planted wheat and it is really starting to get tall.  Our MWF students each received a small bag of seeds to plant at home. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Be Thankful

“Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.”  Oprah Winfrey
Thanksgiving Bulletin Board
Today we are gathering with friends and family to give thanks.  At MCP, we are extremely grateful we are able to  provide a quality early childhood program for our community.  Our program has grown in so many ways and we look forward to providing the best start to the youngest students in our community for many, many years.

We are also very thankful for the support of our MCP families (past & present) and local businesses. We are a small not for profit community preschool but are doing BIG things with our little ones.  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stuff the Santa

I have been 'pinning' ideas for a long time.  Before Pinterest, I had several three ring notebooks filled with home and holiday ideas (most of which were never created or fulfilled).  Many of  the ideas came from Family Fun magazine which was a new magazine when my boys were little.  This holiday game was pulled from the November 1994 holiday issue!!!  We often played this game at our family Christmas party.
Instead of a union suit, I bought the largest red long underwear shirt and bottom I could find and stitched the two pieces together in six spots. This left openings between the shirt and the bottom so players had more places to stuff the balloons.

To play, have lots and lots of balloons inflated and ready to go (some will pop). Divide your group into two teams.  Have each team select a Santa.  'Santa' will put on the union-suit/long under wear over clothes.  Determine a time limit (1-2 minutes depending on the age and number of children).  Stuff the Santa until time is up and count the balloons.   Repeat for each team.  The team that stuffs the most balloons wins.

Helpful hints---
*Can't find a union suit or red long underwear---use Christmas pajamas.
*Do not over inflate balloons.  Usually players are enthusiastic and moving quickly so we found smaller balloons were safer and less likely to pop.
*We learned the hard way not to stuff balloons into the costume near 'Santa's' face.  Have players stuff balloons in and around the waist or back of neck.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Pizza Party 2014

Our TTh 3 y/o class enjoyed many activities with pizza this week.  We learned about the parts of a pizza. The crust begins as a dough.  The sauce is made of tomatoes and most 3 y/o do not like a wide variety of pizza toppings.

The children made a paper pizza.  We see such an improvement in listening and following teacher directions after just a few months and now using glue is easy!

Student Work
Student Work
Student Work

Our dramatic play is a pizza parlor where 'the staff' makes really fabulous pizza!  More info---

Yesterday our special snack was pizza.  Yummy and super easy---
 Pizza gives us an opportunity to work on some math vocabulary like greater, least, more and less.

 Next time you and your child have pizza talk about it!  It's a delicious way to learn!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mash That Monster!

One thing I always used to keep learning fun and active at home was games.  A few years ago, I found a game called "Mash That Monster" on the website A Teaching Mommy.   "Mash That Monster" is an alphabet game that I actually used at my daughter's kindergarten Halloween party, but it's really fun to use any time of the year.

You simply print off the monster alphabet cards found here.  Again, I use cardstock for durability.  Laminate if you can.

Using a clean flyswatter or two, depending on how many children are playing, call out a letter.  The children use the flyswatter (gently) to mash the monster with that letter.

Whoever had the first flyswatter to swat the card keeps it.  Play continues until all letters are used.  Whoever has the most letters at the end is the winner!   

For more games to try at home, check out these previous posts:

Happy learning!  --MJ

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Miss Manners 2014

What we need in the world is manners...
I think that if instead of preaching brotherly love, we preached good manners, we might a get a little further.  
Eleanor Roosevelt  
"My Day"  
February 17, 1938

Imagine fifteen hungry preschoolers.   Now, get their hands washed, seat them at a table, feed them a snack and keep everyone happy.  Snack time is a busy time at school but it is also a teaching opportunity.  We focus on good table manners at our snack time and that is an important life-long lesson.
The children must wait until everyone is served and we say a short prayer before they can eat.  This is really hard at first but now the children understand they must wait for their friends.  We thank our friend who brought the snack. We ask the children to keep seated in their chair with their knees under the table.  The children say 'Please' and 'Thank you' when their snack and drink is served.  They are learning patience.  They now know there are fifteen hungry children and only two teachers getting everyone snack.

The children are encouraged to talk with their friends at the table.  When they are finished, they must remain seated until everyone is finished and we clean up.  They wait for our 'garbage' helper and throw away their trash before leaving the table. Good manners are taught, encouraged and praised.

The holidays are great time to encourage and reinforce your child's good manners. For more information--- and thank you!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Feed the Birds 2014

Winter months mean we are indoors at MCP but the birds are busy on our playground.  Our preK students colored half gallon milk jugs with Sharpie markers. On one of the jugs I placed circular office stickers and another masking tape.  The students colored over the stickers/tape and I peeled off for a cute look!

A neighbor gave me some sunflower heads at the beginning of the school year and we harvested all the seeds for the birds.
Need an activity for visiting nieces and nephews?  Grab some half gallon jugs from the parent cart.  Email us or send a note in your child's notebook if you would like us to send some home. 

How to---

Enjoy making some bird-feeders and watching the birds this winter with your child.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bread Winner

In November, our preK classes enjoy lessons on food (their teachers enjoy these lessons, too).  We begin with a discussion on healthy and junk foods.  Each student is given a  grocery ad and a scissors, they are spread out on the classroom floor and cut out healthy foods and junk foods. Large pieces of paper are on the tables and the children glue the foods on the appropriate chart.
We also learned about liquids and solids.  The basic concept we are introducing to our students is that liquids do not have a shape.  We also learn that temperature can change liquids and solids.
We made ice cream for a special snack.   No cranking, no salt and just three ingredients---

Who loved the ice cream?  (we are also learning to spell Yes and No).
Morning Class
Afternoon Class

What is our favorite flavor?  We are learning math concepts---greater, most, fewer, least, equal and zero.

Morning Class
Afternoon Class
Wait! There's more!  We are learning about bread. The children have looked at all types of bread. We were sandwich artists and created a huge sandwich.  We also tasted ham and turkey.  You can't have a sandwich without cheese.  We tasted Swiss, cheddar and American cheese, too,

This was a fun and simple project. Swiss cheese and black olives were hole punched.  Pickles were cut with a pinking shears. We instructed the children to put on 1, 2 or 3 pieces of meat, the same for the cheese and then as many toppings as they wanted but leave room for the bread!
Not done yet...there's more!  On Friday (and next week, too) we made bread.  Dee---lish!
Morning Class
Afternoon Class
We also looked at wheat seeds and planted the seeds (a big thank you to our buddy KS's family) and Village Florist donated some wheat.

Want to do more???
At the grocery store, spend some time in the bakery looking at all the different breads.  Ask your child how they are the same and how they are different.

Make ice cream.

Take out ice cubes and put them in a bowl.  Have your child observe.  Record how long the ice takes to melt.  Refreeze.  How long does it take the water to freeze? 

Don't want to make homemade bread?  Buy some frozen dough and have your child observe how the bread rises and falls.  Try different temperatures and observe what happens.

Next week---J is for jam.  Bread and jam...oh yea!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Birds of a Feather

Our November bulletin board needs some help!  Our turkey needs some feathers.  This activity is available in our art center to encourage scissor use.  The MWF preK classes have to trace and cut a feather.  Our preK classes also make a tally mark to record the number of feathers the class has cut.  We will often see them counting the tally marks.

The TTh classes cut pre-traced feathers.  After cutting out a feather, children share what they are thankful for and get to press the 'easy button'.
More info and past boards---

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Last week our MWF preK students studied Vincent Van Gogh.  Our goal is to introduce some basic concepts to our students.  I found this book at a church sale for two dollars.  A large coffee table book filled with Van Gogh's work.  I cut all the pages out and had them laminated for classroom use.

We also have a small gallery of Van Gogh's work in our art center.

The children looked at Van Gogh's early work and compared to his later works.  We saw his many self-portraits, drew sunflowers and sorted his work.
These are 5 x 8 card we had placed on the tables at each end.  The children were giving a picture and had to place the picture in the correct category.  We introduced the words portrait, still life, landscape and seascape several weeks ago.

The children also drew a sunflower.  Using basic shapes, our preschoolers are able to draw many amazing things by just listening and following teacher directions (a great skill!)
Student Work
Student Work

Here are some questions you can ask your child---
What are the primary colors?
What are the secondary colors?
What are cool colors?
What are warm colors?
Van Gogh is a famous artist.  What does it mean when someone is famous?
What colors did Van Gogh use in his early works?

Draw sunflowers. 

More info---

YouTube 'Starry Starry Night' sung by Don McLean with Van Gogh's works---