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)

 

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)

Have Water, Will Play

Yesterday a summer shower came. It lasted only a few minutes, but it left the children a glorious gift…

  
… A giant puddle! 

Their imaginations went into overdrive and fun was had by all. 

  
A chair on a stump became a life guard stand.  

 
Pieces of drift wood became surf boards.

  

And before long everyone joined the “beach party”! 

-Miss Amber

 

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

Cry Wolf!

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Barter Stage II

At Miss Amy’s we are so lucky to operate in a town that has so many interesting things to do and see. One of our favorite experiences is the Barter Theatre. The Barter is  one of the longest running professional theatres in the nation. We are very blessed that they offer a troupe of actors (The Barter Players) that specialize in performances for young audiences.

Every year the children look forward to watching the plays. It’s a big deal to them! They get a little “dressed up” and they work on using their best manners. We walk through our wonderful town exploring the sights.

We couldn’t have a trip to Stage II without stopping at the “wishing fountain”.

Then we were off to the show. We saw “Cry Wolf“. It’s a fantastic play written by the wonderful Catherine Bush. It was a mash-up of many classic stories. The kids absolutely loved it! They were on the edge of their seats for the entire show. It’s my absolute favorite thing to watch first timers when the lights dim. They have no idea what’s about to happen, but are immediately captivated  every time.  It is so rewarding for them to witness kind of art!

This quote from a Huffington Post article, entitled How Theater for Young People Could Save the World  really illustrates the benefits the children get from the experience.

” Theater is like a gym for empathy. It’s where we can go to build up the muscles of compassion, to practice listening and understanding and engaging with people that are not just like ourselves. We practice sitting down, paying attention and learning from other people’s actions. We practice caring.”

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We had a fantastic time at the theatre. You might have heard us howling all the way home…

-Miss Amber

 

Snowy day fun.

We have been watching the snow come down from inside Miss Amy’s Child Care and we have tried to catch snowflakes on our tounges outside in our playground. We have made tracks in the snow with our feet and played with snow and ice in our outdoor kitchen. We made snow angels and looked for our sandbox (hidden under all that snow). Where was it? We made snow balls and contemplated why our mittens became wet after having played outside in the snow for a while. Where did the water go and where did the ice come from? We discussed the difference between snow on the ground and falling snow. We designed snowmen and looked hard for snowmen parts – sieves with long handles for the arms and tin buckets for hats as well as sticks and anything else that may look good on a snowman. What does a snowman taste like? Today some of the children decided to find out for themselves by licking one of them! Miss Susie started a game of snow soccer on our snow clad lawn, the children had not lost their touch!

– Miss Maria, teacher for the 2’s class.

 

A day in the life of a preschool teacher.

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Today I fought imaginary fires next to the Fire Chief and I was trusted to carry the fire hose in the back of my school bus.

I was given a lesson in the art of fighting monsters, and afterwards I was presented with half of a magical sword!

I built LEGO airplanes that in the real world would never even have taken off, but which in the imaginary world flew like eagles!

I had exotic pretend sandwiches made with cucumber and cow hide, followed by ‘savage’ cupcakes!

I was told numerous jokes by a little girl on her porcelain throne, because she was so excited about having stayed dry all day long!

I have holes in the knees of my pants, and now you know why.♡

Have a wonderful weekend. Always remember to use your imagination!

– Miss Maria

An unbirthday.

“An unbirthday (originally written un-birthday) is an event that is typically celebrated on any or all of the 364 or 365 days in which it is not the person’s birthday.
It is a neologism  coined by Lewis Carroll in his Through the Looking Glass, giving rise to “The Unbirthday Song” in the 1951 Disney animated feature film Alice in Wonderland.” [Wikipedia]

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Today I celebrated my unbirthday, not my real birthday, but a bonus one that one of the children in my class presented me with. She made me a cake. It smelled so good! She put candles on it and asked me to blow them out, but then she suddenly remembered that when you have a birthday, someone is supposed to sing to you! She looked around for someone who could sing with her and spotted a little girl who did not turn two years old  all that long ago. My cake making friend tried to make her two-year-old friend sing, but the two-year-old just gave her a sort of blank look, before she took off to play somewhere else…
The birthday planner was by now very frustrated. She told me that she couldn’t remember how the Happy Birthday song went! I suggested that I sing it with her but she quickly told me that I couldn’t sing it because it was my birthday!
I tried to defuse the situation by suggesting that we cut the cake and eat some. As I was attempting to pass a slice of cake to her, she suddenly exclaimed; “No, it’s hot!”
She took the plate with my pretend cake on it and stomped away with it towards the play kitchen. When she was half way there, she stopped, turned around and came back to me. Looking very serious, she said; “And that’s the end of your birthday!”

Working at a preschool/day care center, there are many unbirthdays in a week and hundreds in a year!! Summertime is an especially popular time for unbirthdays, when it is easy to whip up an unbirthday cake in the sandbox.
With the arrival of warmer weather I am looking forward to many more unbirthdays!

Happy Unbirthday to you all!

– Miss Maria

Play – A Serious Business.

Children play hard, testing their limits and finding new ones. They practice strength and balance, both physical and mental. They practice critical thinking. They try to figure out where they fit into society by role play. They can only fully realize their full potential by being allowed to freely explore, and in play, practice what they learn and try out different scenarios.

– Miss Maria

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“People tend to forget that play is serious.”
– David Hockney, contemporary British painter.

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“A child loves his play not because it’s easy but because it’s hard.”
– Benjamin Spock, American pediatrician.

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“Play fosters belonging and encourages cooperation.”
– Stuart Brown, M.D., American pediatrician.

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“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.”
– Kay Redfield Jamison, contemporary American professor of psychiatry.

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“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.”
– Fred Rogers, American television personality.

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“Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.”
– Diane Ackerman, contemporary American author.

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“Children have always learned and created places for themselves through play.”
– Donna R. Barnes, contemporary American psychologist.

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“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.”
– O. Fred Donaldson, contemporary American martial arts master.

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“We all need empty hours in our lives or we will have no time to create or dream.”
– Robert Coles, contemporary American child psychologist.

Have a great weekend!

– Miss Maria