The best job description ever!

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Kite flying with my young friends. Photo credit: Miss Susie.

Like every other job, teaching preschool has its own stresses.

We are now four weeks into the new school year, here at Miss Amy’s Child Care.
We have had many changes. We now have two 2-year-old classes. The teacher who used to teach the 3-year-old class is now teaching one of the 2-year-old classes. We have a new teacher for the 3-year-old class. Some children have moved up a class or moved on to Kindergarten! The pecking order has changed and friendships have changed too. Things have been a little crazy at times but now, finally, the kinks seem to have straightened themselves out, and as the leaves start to fall we fall into our routines.

I love my job. What other job has in its job description to love, and one of the perks being to be loved back, unconditionally?

I wipe away tears, kiss boo-boos and have mine kissed in return. I rock a sad little person until he or she is ready to face the day. I receive a timid smile and a tiny hand in mine.
I wipe noses and bottoms and I get to share the trials and triumphs of potty-training.
On some days I eat ten birthday cakes and gain no excess weight! That’s the power of imagination.
From my young friends I get asked the most interesting questions, which truly challenges my own knowledge, and helps me to grow. I always try to answer honestly and sometimes we try to find the answers together. We are amazed and in awe, at all of the wonders of this world.

Did you know that very young children have an incredible ability to pay attention to the very smallest of details? They carry that knowledge around with them until they need it, sometimes not for a very long time. Like little sponges, young children absorb knowledge any way they can. They are masters of this art!
Have you ever really listened to a very young child? They are so wise, so honest, curious and extremely witty, too! Be careful about having sweet nothings whispered into your ear though, no matter how sweet their sentiments may be. Whispering is an art and young children take a long time mastering this, releasing a lot of moisture into your ear canal, as they practice.

I love my job. To love and nurture, and keeping my young charges safe. To reassure, encourage and to watch this amazing transformation from a toddling 22 month old to a child ready for Kindergarten.

How lucky I am!

– Miss Maria, Teacher for one of our two 2-year-old classes.

Budding Photographers 

“You don’t take a photograph. You make it.” -Ansel Adams   

We worked on photography today during outdoor classroom. Children’s photography is really magical. It’s a new way to see through their eyes. They capture what’s important to them.  

I can’t wait to see how these turn out! 

– Miss Amber

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

 

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!

When it’s Spring…

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My class has had “Spring Fever” for about a month now. They are (not so patiently)awaiting everything that Spring has to offer. I hear, “When it’s Spring…”, multiple times a day. They have plans, plans for baby chicks and planting seeds. They are planning on not wearing jackets, “only tank tops”. They are already planning their egg hunting strategies.

We are close, but frosty mornings are an excellent reminder that we’re not there yet! I gave in a little though, and read, “When Spring Comes…” by Robert Maass

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Miss Amy added some themed items to our lacing and weaving table. The kids really enjoyed working with those. They loved feeling the fuzzy rabbits and attaching “rainbows”  to the table.

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The kids are also very excited about the prospect of new life. Everyone suddenly has a new baby, boys, girls, mermaids, and dinosaurs alike. This kind of play promotes gentleness and caring. As a teacher and a caregiver it’s amazing to see how much the kids pick up on from just observing their parents.

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A "dad" driving his kids to the park

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Spring will be here before they know it, but waiting is the hardest part.

-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.

 

Arrival of the Autumn Fairy

For two weeks the atelier has been a hub of leaves and sticks, a host to hues of gold, russet and brown, and the center of what may be a new ritual: the creation of the Autumn Fairy.  With chicken wire, an iron stand, a styrofoam head, and lots of found materials, recycled paintings, and fall nature treasures we worked until we felt she was ready. Meet the ironically named April,  our Autumn Fairy:

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The children were nearly obsessed with her having a head. We began with her skirt, but they continually asked for her to have a head. They proposed using everything from a smoothie bottle from someone’s lunch to an osage orange from the Fall findings basket. The first head attempt comically failed, but the new realistic one was greeted with relief. The children said she needed pink lips. “She must have them!” Her final embellishment was a stream of thankfulness ribbons woven into her skirt- streaming down with each child’s statement of what they are most thankful for in this season of gratitude.

A happy, grateful Thanksgiving to all. –Miss Lori, Atelierista

 

 

 

Cowboy Camp

Howdy! Last week  at Miss Amy’s was our first music camp of the summer! It was Cowboy themed. We worked hard and had A LOT of fun!   

We started our mornings off by going over the cowboy code, listening to cowboy songs, and coloring! 

When Miss Janet, our music teacher, arrived the real fun started ! She taught the kids some wonderful cowboy songs! They sang and danced and even learned how to play recorders!  

  
After singing and dancing it was time for crafts! We did so many and the kids works very hard on them. I liked them all, but I think the pool noodle horses were my favorite! 

  
     

We love to play so we couldn’t forget games!  The kids had a blast tossing horseshoes and racing on the pony express! They learned how to milk a “cow” and even tried their luck at panning for gold, and I’m sure they will always remeber to check their boots for snakes !  

  On the last day of camp the kids put on a wonderful performance for their parents!   They learned so much and were eager to show off a little! It was a busy week but I know the can’t wait until our next camp! 
-Miss Amber