‘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!

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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)

 

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!

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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!

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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!

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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?!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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We love chalk!

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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!

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

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Especially when they remind us of cookie monster!

We know we’re always on the run…

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And we know that things can get crazy.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!”

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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)

Picture This!

Valentine’s Day is nearby upon us! And, here at Miss Amy’s we like to make Valentine’s Day special by making our  very own special paper for our valentines. It starts with ripping up a ton of normal paper.img_1325img_1322

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Then we let the paper soak overnight and strain the water from the bin.

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We blend it all up…

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Strain it again and press until we’ve got paper! In order to get all the water out, we had the kids jump on the paper while it was pressed between two towels. By far the best part!

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Our paper as it was drying

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The now completely dry paper, cut into “squares” for Valentines decorating

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Commence decorating!

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Painting, Glitter, Glue, Pencils, Markers, Paper, the works!

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The glitter was our favorite part!

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Now that all of our valentines are finished, they have been put in our Valentine’s Day box. On the 14th, each child will get to reach in and pick out a valentine. Each valentine only has the maker’s name on it and who it goes to is random, but everyone gets a valentine from a classmate.

Of course, after we did our generalized valentines, the children wanted to make valentines for their parents, siblings, and one another, so we set about doing that.

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Over the past two weeks, we’ve also had fun with Play-Doh (an old favorite), paints, and pencils/markers!

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We made scratch art, little clay figurines, and crowns too!

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In case you were wondering, it’s a teddy bear!

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Each week, in addition to our normal art activities, we have a sensory table. We had a mixing table two weeks ago and an ice table last week. We tried painting with ice as well. It didn’t turn out so great, but we had fun eating our “paint.”

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And, last, but not least, I just wanted to share a picture of what art might look like on any given day.

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Children all over the place, cutting, gluing, painting, using punches, and coloring.  It is a wonderful thing to see, children exercising their creative muscles, showing us how they see the world. It is my goal to help them in this expression and to see the world through their eyes. To know as they do, the miraculous nature of everything. They are the future and this is their vision and I love being a part of it. It is my great honor. Until next time, my friends.

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

A Blast From the (Recent) Past

Hey y’all, it’s been a while since we last posted, but – oh buddy, let me tell you – this holiday season has been crazy! From Trick-or-Treating with all the kids at Halloween, to Thanksgiving, to our annual Christmas party, to New Years, it has been a very busy time. Just add fifty odd children, some snow, sand, freezing pipes, and general chaos and that about sums us up! But, in the best way possible. We’re getting ready and raring for a fantastic next year, but first I think we should do one final recap of some of the fun things we did last year. I’ll warn you now, it’s going to be a long one!

Reminiscence #1: Pumpkin Slime!

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Between Halloween and Thanksgiving, at the height of fall wonder, we decided it would be fun to make some pumpkin slime. All we needed was some hot water, glue, borax, and orange food coloring and we were in business. Our end result was gooey and slimy, slick, but sticky. Sometimes it stretched out and sometimes it snapped right in half. We could mold it into different shapes and watch as it melted back into a gelatinous mess. It was a great opportunity to explore a new material and tons of fun too!

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Making the “Great Wall of Slime-uh” (Hehe, get it? Great Wall of China, Slime-uh?)

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We also really enjoyed writing our names in slime before it became one giant puddle!

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And, last but not least, where would we be without a slime highway to get us from place to place!

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Reminiscence #2: Preserving Fall Leaves

If you’ve never tried to preserve some fall flora between two sheets of wax paper, I’d highly recommend it! All you have to do is find some leaves, grass, or flowers, and gently iron them between wax paper. Depending on what you choose to preserve and what you want it to look like, you could create a great little picture like the one below. Alistair was very careful in his placement of his leaves and grass so that he could create a wonderful scene of two leaf people. I personally think they are Mom and Dad leaves and are walking hand in hand with their leaf baby. He even gave them smiling faces! Too cute!

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Reminiscence #3: Magnifying Glass Fun

Remember when you were a kid and you first discovered the strange and mystifying magnifying glass? Of course you spent the next hour running around your house or school, magnifying everything humanly possible. But, no matter what you found and made big, nothing ever compared to making your own face strange and distorted. Gigantic eyes – all the better to see you with, and a huge mouth – all the better to eat… er, smile at you with!

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Reminiscence #4: Construction Zone Ahead

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Here at Miss Amy’s, we really really like to build things. In the above picture, Astrid decided to craft Santa’s sleigh and if she’d had the time to build eight reindeer and hook them up to the sleigh, she’d have done that too. And, by golly, if she could have put in an “electronic chip,” she’d have been well on her way to making it fly “like a drone.” Isn’t imagination wonderful?!

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A few other things that have been built lately include Astrid’s skyscraper (above), two lovely “tornado” proof shelters for when Hurricane Kt hit, and sand castles, just for the joy of experiencing what packed wet sand can be sculpted into.

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Speaking of packed wet sand, some of the children decided to test their engineering skills and wanted to build sand bridges. They started out trying to use the wet stand to build bridges above ground, above a river they’d dug out, but it wasn’t working. The sand kept falling off and breaking. It just wasn’t sturdy enough. That’s when they got the idea to try building bridges by digging tunnels. When the sand is dry, tunneling never works, but this time, they were able to make a complex system of tunnels or bridges. They even tried digging a tunnel so big that they could crawl through it!

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Reminiscence #5: Wearable Creations

When I was a kid, I remember spending endless hours pretending to be different animals. Sometimes I was a bird sitting on a nest of pine needles I’d scraped together around myself and sometimes I was a big cat, stalking through grass and hunting my prey. But, no matter what I was doing, I imagined myself transformed into that creature. At the time, it was the best I had. I didn’t have access to tons of paper and glue, scissors, tape, and string. I only had my own imagination. The children here though, have far more. Instead of just imagining they are a shark swimming through the water, they can make it real.

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I don’t know about you, but that’s one terrifying shark to me!

Some of the older kids like to make other things they can wear too. The other day Astrid made a wonderful paper and string headband that I wore almost the entire day, as well as a funny mesh hat. And not long after that, Raleigh decided he’d lost on eye in battle and needed to make a spectacle so he could see.

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Reminiscence #6: “Shadows”

Oh my goodness, since the kids discovered this, it has been one of the most exciting and fun things to do on a bright sunny morning. When the sunlight shines in through the windows, the children with grab anything that reflects light and cast “shadows,” as they call them, around the room. Then the other children will chase the shadows and try to catch them as the shadow-throwers move them erratically. Sometimes I feel like a disco ball has just dropped from the ceiling with the number of little light balls that are flying around the room!

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Reminiscence #7: Miscellaneous Moments

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We also decorated gingerbread cookies. Tasty!

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And saw the creation of this amazing little frog!

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We were the best of friends…

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And we were thankful for every minute!

Thank you all for such a great year! I had a blast and I’m looking forward to making this coming year even better. There is truly, never a dull moment here, even when all we are doing is playing in the sandbox. We are always learning and growing, learning about physics, chemistry, biology, language, love, the works! And always growing into our best selves. This is the place to be. We love it here and we hope you do to. Happy New Year everyone!

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

Holy Rollies and the Wilderness

It’s Monday and at Miss Amy’s that means “Outdoor Classroom”.  We take a short journey to a nearby park and explore what mother nature has to offer. The children look forward to it and it’s the perfect cure for the Monday blues. We let them guide themselves and try not to intervene too much. Today we brought clay for impression making, their sketch books, pastel chalks, charcoal, pencils, and a bug net.

The park we visit is beautiful but it is far from a jungle or even a forest, but the kids always equate our visits to being in the wilderness. They seem to go into foraging mode almost instantly.

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A feather collection is started

The bug net spiked their interests immediately. They caught and observed a firefly, dragonfly, and an earwig.

 

Then one little boy noticed some decaying wood under a tree. He lifted up the wood and exclaimed, “Look Holy Rollies!”. One of the older kids said, “Do you mean Roly Poly’s ? They like to live under wood!”. The younger boy agreed that that’s what he meant, but for the rest of the day almost everyone referred to them as holy rollies.

-Miss Amber

Trike-A-Thon

Recently we held our annual Trike-A-Thon. We have done this for 22 years. We use this as an opportunity to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and to teach the children about bicycle safety. We have raised over $31,000 over the past years. The children look forward to this every year. They are always very excited to show off their bikes and helmets. Every year I am astonished at how determined they are to help the children and families at St. Jude’s. Even our smallest friends seem to know they are riding for a purpose. The children did a total of 874 laps between all three classes and would have probably doubled that if it hadn’t started raining!

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Thanks to all the parents, family and friends that made and have made donations!