Spring 2020

Sunflower

The spring of 2020 was probably the most uncertain time of all of our lives. I felt like I was waiting for something but didn’t know what I was waiting for nor when it was going to get here. It was an eerie feeling.

Kind of like that feeling before a snow storm. Although the spring of 2020 gave us so much to consider, I noticed it was a breathtakingly beautiful spring. The most beautiful spring I can remember. Unfortunately, our springs in this area have been reduced to a couple of weeks at best. This spring the colors were vibrant and vivid. The blooms were heavy, long lasting and big. The pear trees didn’t shed nearly as quickly as they usually do.

The sky was even bluer. We had a LOT of rain and unseasonably cool temperatures. This resulted in a technicolor spring. There are so many lilac bushes in Miss Amy’s neighborhood I could smell them every time we went outside. The tulips, daffodils, dogwood, red-buds all the early bloomers, really showed off. It gave me some comfort.

Getting to know the upstairs children took me out of my comfort zone and kept me on my toes as they are not easily impressed. We turned everything into a project. How many buckets does it take to return the sand to the playground from the dump buckets? The answer was 87.

We documented new birds that came to the feeders we made.

Mr. Peanuts, our squirrel, does indeed like peanuts although it took him 11 days to find them. Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were very social, they made some duck friends and they all slept in the puddles outside.

We learned the Hand Jive – Bob Bop Clap Clap Side to Side. Everyone is very coordinated except for me. I made Bananas Foster French Toast with whipped cream. It was delicious! Now we are all back where we are more accustomed to being. It feels like home. We planted some impatiens but they failed to come up. We planted basil instead. We also turned grass seed, selfies, and plastic cups into a “Chia Pet”. We continued our seasonal tree art collaboration that was inspired by a project from a few years ago.

Seasonal Tree

Until next time,

Ms. Micha

THE BABY CARRIAGE 2000

Yesterday had all appearances of being an unremarkable day. It was a rainy and somewhat chilly day, so we opted to spend our morning indoors. Of course, we would rather be playing in the fresh air but we were determined to not let an indoor day dampen our spirits.

As the morning unfolded, the imaginations of our young friends began to engage in dramatic play. They discovered a couple of babies and proceeded to imitate life and the world around them in the shape of family. Almost immediately they began to collaborate by assessing what these babies needs will be. They shared their thoughts and ideas and they strategized what they would need and how they would go about caring for these babies.

Their problem solving paid off and it was decided that a baby carriage would be a good start. So “C” flexed his excellent engineering muscles and set about designing the perfect baby carriage for their new little ones. As everyone made suggestions, “C” incorporated them into the plan and had me label all the ‘important parts’. Let me tell you this carriage has all the bells and whistles. It is a two-seater with lights, a phone charger, and a drink holder. It also has music capabilities with some pre-recorded songs ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and ‘Rock A Bye Baby’. It will even include assembly instructions. After completing the specifications “C” dubbed his creation “The Baby Carriage 2000” and everyone applauded their approval.

“A” found a telephone and called in the order to ‘Amazon’. After the order was placed, she proclaimed “Maybe it will get here today!!” which made us all very excited and happy. My gears were quickly set into motion as I thought of a way to take this idea a bit further. I quickly sent Miss Jasmine downstairs to retrieve our baby carriage. When she arrived at the door with the carriage in hand our girls were so thrilled, they cheered in excitement and “C” stood with his hands on his hips nodding and smiling.

The remains of our day were spent taking turns with the carriage and taking care of our very happy babies.

Miss Stephanie

A Winter Smorgasbord!

Hopefully, the majority of the bugs, viruses, flu, colds, coughs, and all other ailments have passed. Thank you to our parents for keeping your sick children home until they are all better. Thank you for helping us with handwashing, nose-blowing, sneeze & cough catching.

27500524_1618123128308580_6944700579313968132_o

Pajama Party Day!

Our Winter season birthday party was so cozy. The children piled onto the rug downstairs and watched Daniel Tiger together. We munched on some corn pops while we lounged in our PJs. I don’t know who enjoyed being in PJs more, the staff or the children.

We began counting in Italian when we returned from Christmas break. Some of the numbers were the same or similar to Spanish so the children caught on quickly. We learned to say Good Morning “Buongiorno” and Goodbye “Arrivederci”. We focused on Italian until Valentine’s Day. On Valentine’s Day, we prepared a huge feast featuring Marcy’s delizioso pasta! Thank you again, Marcy! Marcy sent enough for 40 hungry construction workers. She even sent plenty for our vegetarian friends. The children got straight to work making garlic parmesan cheese bread, salad, and home-made salad dressing. For dessert, Miss Amy shared her Valentine’s gift from Mr. Mike & each child enjoyed one chocolate. Mmmmmmm Gooooood!  Thank you, parents, especially Marcy, for bringing items for our Valentine’s Italian Feast!

86301718_2834014053386142_905171319773986816_n

Be My Valentine!

Our children thoroughly enjoyed Valentine’s Day! This wasn’t traditional, decorate a bag or an old shoebox and drop-in store-bought Valentines nor exchange of artwork which in my experience, usually results in tears. This was fun, different and a good experience. We measured, smelled ingredients like balsamic vinegar, garlic, & oregano. We mixed and stirred and used new words. Fractions and volume were demonstrated. A cooking lesson exposes children to so many opportunities to learn. I’m only highlighting a few. We like to reflect on past events and the comment that struck me the most was from one of our boys; he proclaimed “It’s not Valentine’s day anymore. I was really happy with that spaghetti”! Our students have evolved so much in the past eight months in every way. It looks streamlined with the new storage system. The riddance of the old carpet and the addition of the light-colored floor makes for a lighter, brighter classroom. The new traffic pattern and layout have created a cohesive floor that allows for more meaningful play.

We have decided on Chinese numbers, hello & goodbye. If you would like to follow along at home; a simple YouTube search will be helpful – that’s how I do it. We do two or three numbers at a time and I spend a whole week on each new addition of the two-three numbers. Currently, we are learning ‘Hello’ and numbers one – three. As of now, I’m not sure which direction our Chinese counting will take us. We will be watching play urges and listening to conversations from the children to see where this might lead us.

 

We remind our parents to label every item that their child brings from home. Even if it’s a one of a kind custom item, it is 100% necessary to write their child’s name on every single article. We go outside every day unless the temperature is below 20 degrees. We go outside even if it is raining. We are so very fortunate to have our porch as a play area. So, children MUST have a coat DAILY. We DO get dirty! They’re clothes, shoes will get soiled if not with dirt, mud, and sand. It will be with paint, markers, glue, flour, or some other amazing concoction.

 

Miss Stephanie, Miss Amy, and I are currently working on individual goals for each child. We will be involving our parents with this. This is something I’ve been working toward since I started in June. While it will be casual and informal, my hope is to make each child’s experience personalized in addition to being able to track progress with data and input from teachers, aides, and parents. It’ a work in progress!

Until next time,

Ms. Micha

‘Twas The Month Before Christmas Break

‘Twas the month before Christmas break & all through the center

All the teachers were scurrying & the children a ‘twitter

The artwork was hung on the walls with great care

In hopes that the parents soon would be there

The children were drawing & painting on easels

Dancing, singing using glue and glitter

Then settling down for circle & lunch

Then off to find their cots for a short winter’s rest

While visions of Amazon Wish Lists danced in their heads

Singing about the “Lil one” that rolled out of bed

With Miss Amy in her office & Tilly in her pen

Let the end of the year festivities begin

With Christmas break in all of our sights

The Teachers all elated danced in delight

Because the journals were all dated

The weekly count down was about to start

The days they did pass just like an abacus on an advent calendar

Sometimes slowly & sometimes much faster

With cheers of joy and ruckus laughter

With clay, felt, loose parts, and a few noodles

We finished on our artwork and some very good doodles

With cotton ball snowmen

Pipe cleaner reindeer

One with a red nose

One with a crooked antler

When outside there arose such a clatter

We all sprang from our posts to see what was the matter

Away to the artier windows, we flew

Oh, don’t children forget to put on your shoes

The sun glistening down on the sandbox below

Gave the illusion of a dream-like trance to the objects below

When what to our gazing eyes did appear

What? It’s early! Ate the parents really here!?!

Minivans, SUV’s, and some compact cars

Thank our lucky stars!

The parents! The Parents! ALL OF THEM ~ They are HERE!

Come along children, come along children

Come one and come all

To the top of the sign out sheets, the names began to disappear

On their way out the door, we collected our gear

Hand in hand they crossed the crowded parking lot

Safely into the car seat was each tiny tot

Inside the center, the eerie silence was broken

With a roar & a cheer

Woo Hoo! Woo Hoo!

Christmas break is finally here!

IMG_2129

The staff all professional knew exactly what to do

Quickly to work we flew

Brainstorming plans for 2020

Jobs for everyone? Oh, yes, there’s plenty

We rotated materials exchanging this for that

Oh, look! New blocks, a ball, & a bat

Dolls galore & even a new hat

We put out new puppets, new paint, new glitter, new train tracks, different puzzles, new markers, & glue

Oh, Look! We found a lost shoe!

We vacuumed & cleaned up a slew

IMG_0039

We sprayed Lysol & bleach & every kind of cleaner

The teachers went to work with the kindest demeanor

As we stood back admiring our good work

Miss Amy so kindly and eloquently spoke

“Next year will be fun & full of surprises.

I can’t wait to see what’s beyond the horizon!

IMG_0068

Then with her head just slightly a’ tilt

Miss Amy said “I’m so proud of this community we’ve built.

I’m thankful for each child, each Mom, & each Dad.

Happy Christmas to all & to all a good night”!

The End

So, I got up early this morning and drank a lot of coffee. The caffeine boost inspired me to spin our version of ‘Twas The Month Before Christmas Break from the eyes of a pre-school teacher. I hope everyone gets a least a small chuckle at my festive attempt to be witty. Looking back, I have to say we have had an amazing Autumn.

IMG_2109

Thank you so much for your interest and enthusiasm concerning the Steampunk Fall Birthday Party. It certainly was not a cookie-cutter theme. I like to think that’s a reflection of our program here at Miss Amy’s. We are not a one size fits all generic program. It certainly is important to me to treat each child as an individual and with love, kindness, and respect.

With Love ~ Miss Micha

Messin’ & Gomin’

September was an action-filled month for sure. Filled with a lot of firsts; we received our first book orders of the year (which was very successful by the way), our first field trip to the Farmer’s Market, IMG_2052 our first ASQ-3 (Ages & Stages) assessments were conducted, and our first parent-teacher conferences took place. Yes, we were busy.IMG_1890

So, as the ‘downstairs’ (aptly named because the 2’s & 3’s classrooms are located downstairs) parents know, Ms. Micha likes to get messy! It’s always been a part of what I think is important in an Early Childhood classroom setting. I was ‘stim’ before ‘stim’ as a thing. I think about what I liked to do as a toddler.

IMG_1837IMG_1835IMG_1838

According to my mother, my two favorite activities were 1) messin’ 2) gomin’ followed up by prowlin’ as a close third. We will save prowlin’ for another day though. Today we are going to talk about messing and goming. If you are not familiar with these Appalachian terms, we will start with the definitions. These words can be used independently or interchangeably.

 

Goming/messing – (verb) To have a full-body experience in a substance. Typically, a common household product that’s usually sticky or equally obtrusive and/or invasive with the potential of being disturbingly messy and used not for the intended purpose, extremely difficult to clean up.

 

Examples of said substances that are prime candidates are shampoo, honey, syrup, cooking oil, lotion, hair gel, flour, sugar, baby powder, Vaseline, etc.  The list goes on and on, you get the picture. Like I said; according to my Mother, messing and goming were my two favorite things to do. My dear Mother went on to tell me a story about a two-year-old Ms. Micha, a four-year-old cousin, who liked to mess and gom as much as I did, and he was really good at it.

 

Easter eggs, grape juice, and a powder blue bedroom with wall to wall, pale blue carpet. Forty-nine years later, she could recall every detail. I think most children really enjoy the sensation of how these amazing substances feel.

 

My own love of mud mixing, sand building, silly putty, play dough, and the taboo substances like glue, oil, soap, and so on is where my inspiration to do the things that I do in your child’s classroom originated.

 

October is here and yes; it will be busy too! Classroom pictures, the Fall Birthday Party (Steampunk style), a Halloween Party, and Trick-or-Treating! Yes, you better believe we will be cutting open a pumpkin and scraping out the inside! We started our Fall Fairy Garden just this week.

 

The children are doing remarkably well of taking care of their belongings, recognizing their own names as well as classmates’ names. We finished up Japanese and we are already counting 1-10 in German plus a few phrases.

 

That’s all for now, we will update again in a few weeks.

Auf Wiedersehen,

Ms. Micha

Picture This!

Before I get into this week’s blog post, I wanted to take a moment to express my deep appreciation and gratitude for the job that I have here at Miss Amy’s. I’ve had the pleasure of working here for just over a year and I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without the community here, without the children, and without all of you. I, for one, feel very blessed to be a part of each child’s life. Thank you for that opportunity. Your children are amazing and I learn so much from them, day in and day out. May we never stop listening to their small voices, wrapping them up in our arms, and making sure they know we love them and always will. No. Matter. What.

And, on that happy note, let’s flash back to some of the fun and crazy things we’ve been doing the last few weeks. Of course, we celebrated Easter with an Easter egg hunt and we dyed eggs, but we also decorated some paper Easter eggs and made chocolate chickens.

image1

Since the kids were obsessed with things popping out of eggs, I made a little chick peeking out of an egg as an example of what they could choose to do with their own paper Easter eggs.

IMG_2251

What they did with their eggs was totally up to them though!

IMG_2243

And boy, did we have some funny looking Easter eggs…

IMG_2327

A few days later, we melted down a bunch of chocolate and poured it into candy molds, making chocolate chicken popsicles for snack!

This past Friday we had our annual Trike-A-Thon, where we raise money for St. Jude’s, so that they can continue fighting childhood cancer and finding ways to improve the lives of those children and their families. Here is a link to more information about these events held nationwide! As for our particular event, we took tons of pictures and have been updating along the way and all of that information can be found on our Facebook page. We had a wonderful time!

In other news, we have been quite into making masks lately. All sorts of fun masks. Beards, sharks, and maybe my face…? I’m really not sure on that one. Sometimes, I just have to sit back and laugh at some of the silly things that happen here.

IMG_2413IMG_2415IMG_2412IMG_2407

Speaking of funny things, when one of the kids learned about my upcoming birthday and they found out how old I’d be turning, they looked at me for a moment and pondered my answer, before announcing, “You’re going to die sooner than I thought you were.” Good gracious, I about fell over I was laughing so hard. Only a child. It made my day.

Another incident that made my day was the dancing down on the porch. We recently put a speaker down on the porch, so children could listen to music in the afternoons. We plugged in our iPod and have been playing Music Together songs and some of the children have really been getting into it. They grab scarves and just rock out to the songs. It’s hard not to smile when you see a two year old getting down to “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”

Here’s just a smattering of beautiful paintings courtesy of the kids.

IMG_2212IMG_2473

And last, but definitely not least, we have officially begun working on our fall art exhibit. I’m going to keep the theme a surprise for now, but here’s a sneak peak at some of the work we’re doing. And, as always, here’s the link to more photos from the past few weeks.

It’s going to be great! Right now, we’re gearing up for the summer and are getting ready for the long sunny days ahead. Here’s to hoping the clouds clear up and the rain, rain goes away and comes again another day.

~ Miss Kt, Clubhouse Kids Teacher & Atelierista (Art Teacher)

 

Happy Easter

It’s that time of year! We enjoyed coloring eggs yesterday morning (4/12/17). We had many that only colored one egg and I had a few that colored I believe a half a dozen each 😆. Some enjoyed it more than others!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

They took their dyed eggs home with them in a “nest” (rolled down paper bag) I didn’t get a picture of them, but they were adorable.

Today was our Easter Egg Hunt.  It was a great success, the 2’s and 3’s had their hunt first, then the 4’s and 5’s did their hunt. We had a golden egg for both classes, inside was a dollar!  We enjoyed a special Easter snack afterwards on the porch.

image

Here are the 2’s and 3’s heading out to hunt!

image

image

image

image

image

Here is our winner of the Golden Egg.

image

image

Here are a few pictures of the 4’s and 5’s hunting eggs. They were quicker and I didn’t get a picture of the Golden Egg winner from that class! They mean business!

image

image

image

image

image

It was a beautiful day for an Egg Hunt.  I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend!

Miss Susie

Picture This!

Happy April 6th! Y’all, we made it. It’s finally spring! The weather has warmed up nicely and, of course, the rain has begun. But, spring is that wonderful time of the year when flowers start blooming and we begin planting our garden!

image1

As with last year, we are partnering with Grow Appalachia to plant and maintain a community garden and it’s such a valuable experience for the children. They love getting to spread compost around the plants, starting seedlings, helping choose what we plant and where we plant it, and harvesting when things are all said and done. It’s such a magical thing to watch a tiny seed poke out of the ground and grow into a grand plant that then produces cherry red tomatoes you can eat straight off the vine. And, because it’s a community garden, our produce will be available to the community!

IMG_2005

A corn cupcake for Tillie’s first birthday, courtesy of Miss Amber’s class!

Another fun event that occurred recently was the birthday of our chicken here at Miss Amy’s. Her name is Tillie and she recently turned 1 year old. To celebrate this event, all of the kids wanted Tillie to have a birthday cake, like they would have on one of their own birthdays. That said, we knew that it wouldn’t be a great idea to give her actual cake, so we made our own little corn cupcakes. We then frosted them with plain yogurt and topped them off with some leftover strawberries. And boy did she love it!

IMG_2013

Just like any other 1 year old, she got cake all over her face!

Lately, we have been doing a lot of experimentation with painting and the use of different brushes. Sometimes, we need to use a certain type of brush to produce a certain type of artwork, to get across the picture inside our brains. And I must say, it’s been working pretty well. With the choice of which brush would be best, the children are producing some amazing paintings.

We have also been having great success with melty beads too. For the first time since this group has been at Miss Amy’s, they are finishing whole melty bead designs and I’m having to melt 5 to 8 different creations each day. They are blowing it out of the water! I’m so proud! Even Miss Amber got in on it and made a lizard out of melty beads!

And to wrap up this posting’s brief overview of art at Miss Amy’s the past few weeks, we also had a station where children could make little chicks from toilet paper rolls. Using tissue paper, they could put “feathers” on their chick, and a little orange beak and feet, but I knew long before I ever put the supplies out that I was going to get some really strange looking chicks. Aren’t you glad this isn’t what actual chickens look like?!

IMG_2103

Oh! And before I forget, we also “tasted the rainbow” a few weeks ago! We did this really cool science experiment where you “melt” skittles and they create these rainbows and then you can eat what is left of the skittles and drink the juice. It was such a big hit at school, that a few of the kids actually went home and did the experiment again!

IMG_2019

I promise it’s not science fiction, but I’m not sure I would believe it if I hadn’t seen it happen!

All in all, it’s been a great beginning to spring here and we are looking forward to a fun and very busy April. If you’d like to see more pictures from the past two weeks, you can find them here. With that, farewell! Until next time!

~ Miss Kt, Clubhouse Kids Teacher & Atelierista (Art Teacher)

Picture This!

IMG_1833

Spring is almost here! (I think…)

Is anyone else having trouble figuring out what to wear day to day or is it just me? One second it’s 70 degrees outside and the next it feels like 6 degrees with wind chill! What is happening?! Luckily, despite the crazy weather, we have been plugging along just fine here at Miss Amy’s and we’ve even braved the frigid weather so we don’t lose out on the fun the outdoors has to offer.

IMG_1601

We love chalk!

IMG_1800

And buckets! We love buckets too, even when they’re stuck to our bottoms.

And lately, we have really enjoyed building ramps and jumping balls all over the porch and yard. We’re getting pretty good at it!

IMG_1700

The crazy creatures we build have been getting stranger and stranger by the day, but we love them anyway.

IMG_1631IMG_1687

IMG_1633

Especially when they remind us of cookie monster!

We know we’re always on the run…

IMG_1876

And we know that things can get crazy.

IMG_1689

We’ve all made this face before!

But, in all seriousness, we do it in the name of creating the best experience possible for each and every child that steps through the door and into our lives. We know that children are challenging and that it can be hard to listen to every story and have patience with every little potty problem or dinner disaster, but this time in a child’s life is so important. It’s so important to put aside the craziness and that face we’d all like to make at times and get down on their level and really listen, really talk, really be there for them. It’s hard; I know it! But, I will never stop striving to build a caring relationship with every single child. Because relationships shape the way children see the world, how they develop, the types of adults they grow into, and more than that, they make my life so much easier! With a relationship, I can sit down and ask a child questions about their behavior and we can reach a conclusion together by thinking about what we know and what we did and both come out the other side better for it. Without a relationship, I’m as significant as an ant about to be squashed beneath a boot. Relationships just make everything better. I want what is best for each child and this is one way that I can accomplish that goal. It’s important to me, so I wanted to share it with you. Thank you for taking the time to read my spiel and please follow this link to find more pictures of the past few weeks!

~ Miss Kt, Clubhouse Kids Teacher & Atelierista (Art Teacher)

 

Picture This!

img_1552

It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood, a wonderful day for a neighbor. Oh, would you be mine? Could you be mine?

Holidays are magical times for children. What lasts a mere twenty-four hours for us adults goes on for days and days in a child’s life. There is no Valentine’s Day, but Valentine’s week! I’m actually still not sure it’s over… But, it was fun!

On Monday, in preparation for Valentine’s Day, Miss Amy made some amazing homemade angel food cake with a ton of eggs that we got from our lovely chicken Tilley and I worked on making little heart shaped pizzas with the kids.

img_1512

They were incredibly tasty little treats and a great way to start off our Valentine’s week. Oh, and before I get too carried away, here’s a picture of our chicken, Tilley. She is very sweet and the children love to feed her leaves and grass and she happily gobbles them up.

On Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, we had fun eating the angel food cake Amy made and picking our handmade valentines out of the box. We also had some brownies and fruit salad and all in all, it was a day of much sugar and much love. I apologize now that I don’t have more pictures of the events I speak of, but it can be difficult to step back and photograph when you are in the moment, enjoying it, helping the kids.

img_1554

Wednesday and Thursday, we continued making valentines for each other, coloring hearts, and we retained our focus on compassion and love. On Friday, we made adorable heart shaped cookies for snack and everyone ate far too many of them. I may have made more than necessary though, like 30 more than necessary. Oops!

Throughout the week, we also had a “Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf” provocation which encouraged the children to try building with different materials, such as straw, sticks, and “bricks” or Legos in our case. It also gave them the opportunity to play and re-enact the story while simultaneously crafting their own new stories with the same familiar characters.

img_1516

I so desperately wanted to call them the three little bears and the big bad mouse, because my ability to make spoons look like pigs and a wolf was laughable. Thank goodness for the powerful imagination of a child!

img_1531img_1573

Over the past few weeks, we’ve also has a grand ole’ time with feats of engineering, from building ramps – jumps included- to digging tunnels, to intricate games of “Don’t fall in the lava!”

img_1303img_1308img_1449img_1451img_1561

It was quite a good week! And with that, I bid you adieu. I promised myself I wouldn’t write a crazy long blog post this time and I’m sticking to it! That said, I still want to be able to share photos and stories of some of the fun things happening at Miss Amy’s, so I created a photo album where you can explore more photos from the past weeks and all the weeks to come! Just click here: More Pictures! Happy Sunday y’all!

~ Miss Kt, Clubhouse Kids Teacher & Atelierista (Art Teacher)