Back to School

     During the back to school season, I always get a feeling of melancholy. Going back to school after a summer break was a big deal! My favorite part was getting new “tennis” shoes. Some people may call them athletic shoes, or sneakers. I believe it depends on where you are from as to what you call them. It’s kind of like, do you say soda, cola, or pop. Most of us born and raised in Southwest Virginia call our athletic shoe tennis shoes and it doesn’t matter that some of us have never played tennis in our lives.
So, with new white Nikes or Reeboks and my new Levi’s that were so stiff, they could walk to the bus stop by themselves. I would make my way through the halls, stopping to catch up with my friends, finding out your schedule, your teachers, your homeroom, where your friend would be and of course your crush.
My teachers left such impressions on me there are things that I do in my classroom today that is a direct result of my teachers. My wish is to impact children in ways that hopefully stimulate lots of thinking and challenges them to step outside of the box.
We have completely conquered counting aloud in Spanish and are now learning to count in Japanese! It is great fun and the children enjoy it so much. This is an activity we do during transition times throughout the day. Transitions are the toughest part of a toddler and/or preschooler’s day. Adding signals or cues make transitions so much easier for all of us, plus it is a fun thing to do.
Our fairy garden is another huge success for us!

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Miss Amy found some nice galvanized trays. We then added some aquarium gravel. Then we put in some potting soil. Next, we spread the grass seed/mulch mixture and watered it. The children found some really great decorations and ornaments to go inside.

 

They chose objects that they felt may attract friendly fairy’s and then they waited….and waited….and waited some more. At last, we saw the first signs of bright green grass. That is when Miss Amy thought a ‘grow light’ may come in handy and how right she was. WOW! What a difference a day made. We now have a beautiful lush grass so thick and long that Miss Stephanie had to give it a ‘hair-cut’.

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We have been busy, busy, busy…We even made, and ate, Purple Stew!

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If you have been following our blog then you know that this is our most favorite song and dance. You can find it on YouTube GoNoodle Purple Stew. The recipe is rather simple; It contains purple potatoes, purple carrots, purple onions, purple cabbage, a couple of beets, corned beef hash, some V-8 juice, and little bit of blue food coloring. Viola! Purple Stew! We all liked making it and most everyone enjoyed eating it.
Back to school season is a time of renewal and reflection. I’m excited to begin the process and build new relationships. I am very proud to watch a few students graduate to the older classrooms upstairs and spread their wings a little. I fondly remember a teacher that let us go for a walk and brought in exotic fruits and vegetables for us to taste. The teacher that encouraged u to make a big mess and sing a little louder. So maybe this is why I always “need” a new pair of “tennis” shoes every August and why I now like “soft distressed” jeans rather than those 505’s that could stand alone.

Until next time ~ Miss Micha

The Rain Finally Came!

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After having watched the clouds in the sky for many weeks now and only dreaming of rain, it finally did rain! We have had two big rains this week and our vegetable garden sends its thanks!

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Look at how well our vegetables are growing in our garden!
We have carrots, which very reluctantly showed themselves at first but they have steadily kept growing and they really perked up after the rains.
The Swiss chard, the beets and the broccoli are all looking well as are our sugar snap peas. Our cauliflower is being eaten by caterpillars! Something will have to be done about this. We will probably have to resort to some kind of non toxic homemade bug spray. We are 100% organic in our garden!

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Our garden is flowering! Tomato, potato and pepper flowers!

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What to do on a rainy day? Go outside and make rainy-day-art! It was barely sprinkling so we decided to make art outside this morning. We used clothespins to attach large pieces of paper to our fence. The children used spray bottles filled with paint to make their art. At first the pictures looked a lot like clouds with rain falling from them. The children enjoyed watching the paint mix with other colors and drip off the paper.

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A lot of caring is going on here at Miss Amy’s Child Care. The teachers care for the children and the children care for there teachers. The children care for eachother, for our hen Minerva Louise and for our two remaining goldfish. We care for our vegetables and for our school, for our toys and for ourselves. There is an aweful lot of caring going on here, and that is how it should be.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

– Miss Maria

The Last Week of May.

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We have had an other death in the preschool family. This time it was our catfish that died. We dug a hole, picked flowers and said our farewells. The children wanted to know why the fish had died and I explained that it was probably because it was very old. We talked about life and death for a while and some of the children concluded that it wasn’t just fish that died when they were very old, people did too.

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We had our second harvest from our vegetable garden. This time we harvested radishes and lettuce. I had excellent help picking the produce.

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We love blowing bubbles! It is very interesting to watch the children as they develop their bubble-blowing-technique, from sucking on the bubble wand when the children are very young, to skillfully blowing several bubbles at one time as they grow older and more skilled. Sometimes, two bubbles stick together and fly off hand-in-hand! Other times, the children manage to catch bubbles with their wand, study them for a while before re-launching it. Some children have even figured out how to insert a finger into the bubble without breaking it. Science is at work here, every day!

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Some children turned a puppet theater into a library! They selected several books from our outdoor library to offer to their prospective patrons. I saw money changing hands a time or two. Late fees perhaps?

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I laminated several pieces of construction paper of different colors. The children started off by comparing the different colors to different objects around our classroom. Before long though, the game had changed and now two girls had lined up the sheets of paper on the floor, like a hopscotch game of sorts. I watched the girls as they kept re arranging the pieces, putting some colors next to a certain other color, carefully planning every step. I watched the girls stepping back from the game to get a better view, changing things around until they were completely satisfied.
We got some puppets out to play with, and most children happily tried them out. Some of the youngest children were a little wary of the puppets at first: they somehow came alive once you had your hand inside them! I noticed that the puppets soon were hugging other puppets!💟 The two puppets pictured, a baby elephant and a baby koala, quickly became good friends. They soon befriended a xylophone alligator, (a child who was not all that into puppets). The xylophone alligator played the ABC song and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. The baby elephant and the baby koala both sang!

The end of May is here and June is just around the corner…

Until next time!

– Miss Maria

Math is everywhere!

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Some of the most obvious math games at any preschool or daycare have numbers on them. Pegboards is are good examples. The pieces match depending on how many holes the piece has or how long the peg is and if the colors match. The number of pieces also match the corresponding number printed on the pegboard.

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Here we have five cards depicting ducks in pleasant settings,  from one duck to five ducks. Each card has a rhyming verse on it.

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On the back of each card I wrote the corresponding numeral, for number recognition. I added dots for counting as a way for the child to double check that they were right about the numeral, or simply for counting, for the child who does not yet know his or her numerals.

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Number lines are also interesting, even for quite young children. Who doesn’t want to know if they grew a little taller since yesterday? Rulers are also good tools to measure how tall or how long something is. We let our children measure away! Blocks are also great for counting, and building with. How tall can we make it before it topples over? Let’s ask Miss Jess for some help. Look, the tower is taller than Miss Jess!

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Refrigerator magnets are good for sequencing. Toy animals work well for grouping as do pretend fruit and vegetables, that you can also sort according to color.

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Stacking cups are great for sequencing; small to large or vice versa. They also work very well for comparing different volumes.  Stacking cups are also great for serving pretend food in!

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Memory games are of course great tools for improving memory skills and concentration. If two cards are the same, you have a match. Memory games match in different other ways too. The back of all of the cards of a memory game are all the same. They match. This is especially useful when several memory games have been mixed up and it is time to sort them out.

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A shape sorting bucket is a great way for children to match a block to a hole of the same shape. It is also good for practicing patience and perseverance. When all else fails, the child can open the top of the bucket to deposit the blocks this way, and try again an other day.

You can count the petals on a flower too!

The children help to collect the eggs that our clever hen Minerva Louise lays. After the eggs are washed, we write the date the egg was collected on the egg, and then the children count the eggs.

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Today we harvested some of our vegetable crop, for the very first time this season, that we have been caring for in our vegetable garden. We picked lettuce, kale and radishes. All the children who have helped to tend our garden get to take some of our vegetables home with them, to share with their families.  Of course we counted all of our vegetables!

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This owl is both a color matching game and an engineering toy of sorts. The toothed wheels detach, revealing a matching color underneath. When all the wheels are connected you can make them turn all at once, just by turning any of the wheels in either direction.

Math really is everywhere!

You do not need any fancy toys; your fingers will do just fine when counting! You can count friends, ants on the sidewalk or clouds in the sky!

You can practice volume by measuring how much water will fit in the watering can before it overflows, or while filling up a bucket with sand to make a pie!

We can compare who has the biggest hands or feet when using finger (toe) paints and making hand prints or foot prints.Who has the longest hair, Rapunzel  or Sleeping Beauty

Children learn by doing, by hearing and by seeing, over and over again .

Wishing you all a great weekend!

– Miss Maria

Growing

Here at Miss Amy’s we have been enjoying the warm weather. We’ve all got Spring Fever!  The children (and teachers) are more than excited to start getting their hands dirty on the playground.  

We have signed up for the Grow Your Own project which is a food access program.  The program was created by Appalachian Sustainable Development . Their goal is to grow food, communities and opportunities to build a thriving Appalachia. They have been successful with this too, last year they grew 14,000 pounds of food to feed families in our region!  We are thrilled to be a part of the program and the children are eager to map out our garden spots! 

We are still waiting  for our new grass to take root ( 8 more days) ,  but we just couldn’t wait to get our hands on it.  So we brought in a roll of sod a.k.a “the grass burrito” and we inspected the roots with our magnifying glasses. 

  Then we rolled out our grass and enjoyed! It’s been a year since the kids touched new, growing grass. It was WONDERFUL!  

-Miss Amber