Thursday, November 10, 2011

October: A time for imagination!

October's virtue was creativity which fit well with Halloween. After a month of school, the kids knew the routine really well. In fact, if I tried to vary the schedule by skipping circle time I had a mutiny on my hands. :) They would begin each day by asking what their job was for the day. Since they had been practicing writing their name daily, they were able to find their names on the job chart. I used words and symbols to describe each job so they could answer their own inquiries.

We continued our reading program with the letters H (haunted house), short I(icky), J(jack-a-lantern), S (spider), L(leaves), M (monster), and T (trick or treat). We tied our art projects into the theme and the letters. ie.. by making a spider from egg cartons, googly eyes, foam and construction paper accordion-folded into legs. We also made a class jack-a-lantern from orange tissue paper that was wadded up and glued into place on a large outline. Then we painted our own jack-a-lanterns and added cut out shapes to make a unique face on it. We used stamps to make Halloween cards and made trick or treat bags which we decorated with pictures that we colored.

We also begin doing more math activities. We learned how to play board games with dice. We counted to 20 and looked for missing numbers on the velcro board. We started with numbers 1-5 and learned how to write them. Their favorite activity was sorting by shape and color Halloween candy and then charting how many pieces of each kind there was. They wanted to do this activity over and over. We counted how many jumps they did on the trampoline. We looked for the pattern of objects on the calendar and anticipated what came next in the sequence.

We learned lots of new songs like "Monster Day", "'I'm a mean old witch", "Spooky Wheels on the Bus", "Deck the Halls with scary pumpkins", "Five Little Pumpkins" and "This is the Way we Rake the Leaves". We made believe that we went on a Bear hunt and even pretend traveled to San Francisco and Yellowstone by bus to see the Golden Gate bridge and Old Faithful. Then we flew to Washington D.C. to see the White House and the Washington Monument. We stayed flexible doing animal yoga poses and pretended to be a frog, cat, dog, lion and snake.
We read books about imagination and Halloween such as "Quick as a Cricket", "I love school", "Where the Wild things are", "The Biggest Pumpkin ever", "Harvest time for Lil Critter", "In front of my house", "What Eddie can do", "Pumpkin Soup", and "Corduroy's best Halloween ever".

We celebrated Halloween with a party that included yummy cookies to decorate that Caleb's mom made, juice from Natalie and other treats. We played Halloween bingo and made a foam Halloween project with their names on it. And of course we all dressed in our costumes.

The highlight of October was our first field trip. We went to the Farmstead on November 26 and rode in a hay wagon through the corn maze, picked pumpkins, rode the cow train, jumped on a giant trampoline and had a birthday celebration for Ammon too. We followed up the trip with lessons on roasting pumpkin seeds and the many ways we eat corn (popcorn, corn chips, corn bread and corn on the cob). It was a great day with parents and grandparents attending and enjoying this enthusiastic group. I can hardly wait for the next one.

Teaching imagination and creativity through music, stories and pretend activities.

September: A great beginning

Wow, I've been so busy planning and teaching preschool, I haven't updated the website in forever. So here's a quick update.

I have the cutest class this year. There are 4 boys and 5 girls all ages three and four. They have big personalities, very creative minds and great enthusiasm.

In September our theme was about being brave, so we talked about learning new things, going new places and making new friends. We spent one day in Montessori fashion practicing life skills such as peeling a carrot, pouring cups of water, measuring cups of rice, and cutting and pasting pictures. We also improved small motor skills by doing sewing cards and stringing cereal into necklaces. Each child kept a chart of the things they accomplished. We also made an "All About You" book for each child with their handprints, footprints, height, weight and favorite things.

We read many books about being in new situations such as "Chrysanthemum", "Miss Mingo's First Day of School", "Courage", and "If you take a mouse to school". We also read books about harvest and apples such as "My apple tree", "Ten apples up on top", "Clifford goes apple picking", "Picking apples and pumpkins", and "Johnny Appleseed".

With everything being new, I spent time establishing routines such as circle time which includes our welcome song, pledge, prayer, guessing can, calendar and singing time. I use the music "Chicka, chicka, boom, boom" to signal that we are changing activities and it's time to clean up the room. We talked about classroom rules such as taking turns, raising your hand to speak in circle time and showing our classmates and teacher respect.

We jumped right into our reading program by introducing a letter every Monday and Wednesday. In September we learned short A, B, C, D, short E, F, and G. By the third week the students were begining to blend sounds into three-letter words. I taught them how to write the letter in the air and on a paper. We brainstormed objects that begin with that sound. We sang songs about each of the sounds and used several ABC songs that emphasize the letter sounds and names. We played lots of games to practice the letter sounds. One of their favorite is very simple but effective. I bought a letter train that is a series of 5x5" cards with a letter on each and objects that have the beginning sound. I put these all over the preschool room with poster putty and then say to a child, "Alexis, can you find a card with the letter that makes the sound b as in bird?" Then she looks all over for it. The other kids can't wait for me to ask them to go look for one.

I believe that music is a great teacher and a wonderful way to keep the kids moving and learning. In September we learned the Hokey Pokey, Head shoulders knees and toes, apples and bananas, If you're happy and you know it, Mulberry bush, I've something in my pocket, There were ten in the bed, Counting song, and the baby shark song.

Stay tuned for the October events!

We teach music, movement, reading, writing and math in Boise, ID

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Now accepting applications for Fall 2011

If you're interested in Fall 2011, email me at and I will send you a registration form. Classes are filling quickly!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

April showered us with fun!

Hi everyone,

In April it rained and rained and rained, but we still had a ton of fun!

We went on our first field trip to Zamzows and saw lots of small animals including bunnies, chicks, ferrets, guinea pigs, bearded dragons and birds. Thanks to all the moms, dads and other family members who came along. The kids really enjoyed combining the AM and PM groups for lunch, art, music and circle time after the fieldtrip.

We completed and sent home our alphabet books. The kids were so excited to show off all their hard work and how much their letter writing has improved. You might notice most of the pages have dates on them. We didn't learn the alphabet in order from beginning to end. We learned in order of frequency that letters appear in words, so the dates allow you to see what their earliest attempts look like in comparison to the most recent.

We learned about birds and went on bird-spotting (quail, ducks, geese, sparrows, robins and starlings) walks with our hand made binoculars. We also learned about many birds (ostrichs, penguins, seagulls, pelicans and owls) that we didn't see on our walks because they live in other parts of the world. We listened to and identified bird calls. We learned about body parts of birds such as beaks, bills, webbed feet, crests, wattles and where their ears are hidden.

We got excited about Easter by dying easter eggs, making edible nests, baking bunny biscuits and going on an Easter Egg hunt. We also read "Peter Rabbit", "The Golden Egg", "The Country Bunny and the Golden Shoes", "Bentley and the Egg" and "The Runaway Bunny".

We practiced our math skills with dot-to-dot pictures, the missing number game, calendar skills, counting our snacks, and a match up the number and object skill page.

We added "The Owl Chant", "Six Little Ducks", "Little Rabbit Foo Foo", "The Bunny Pokey", "In a Cabin in the Wood", "Here comes Peter Cottontail" and "There's a little white duck" to our repetoire of music and movement.

Next week begins the our final month of preschool. The kids are excited about our upcoming fieldtrip. You've probably heard the saying "April showers bring May flowers". Well, in May I don't think flowers will be the only thing blooming as our preschoolers continue to learn and grow!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Talking points February 1st and 3rd

This week we were:
  • learning the letter "R" sound so we 1. traced a giant letter R with our fee.t 2. made a page for our alphabet book with a painted rainbow. 3. sang our alphabet sound song. 4. had guessing can items that began with that sound.
  • learning about the color red so we 1. read "Clifford the Big Red Dog" and made a Clifford puppet. 2. mixed primary colors to make secondary colors in water with food coloring and with paint on our rainbow painting. 3. played I spy something red. 4. categorized the color of our snacks on special place mats before we ate.
  • learning about our numbers so we 1. painted a large #1 and #2 (pm class) with glue and strawberry jello (color red) 2. played "Which number is the coin hiding under?" 3. counted the days of the month and practiced writing our phone numbers 4. built towers with marble works.
  • talking about being a good friend and Valentine's Day so we 1. read "The Day it rained Hearts", "No Kisses", "Humu" and "The Best Worst Friend". 2. sang "Make New Friends". 3. learned how to cut out a heart. 4. had dramatic play time in which the children dressed up as heroes.
See you all next week!
Miss Cindy

Miss Cindy teaches preschool for 3 and 4 year old children in Boise, Eagle and Meridian, ID.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Talking points Jan. 11 & 13, 2011

This week we:
1. were learning the sound of the letter "o" so we
a. made an owl necklace from pasta, straws and cereal with a picture of an owl
b. made an octopus page for our alphabet book. We counted the eight legs.
c. sang "I love O words" and "Today we'll look for O's"

2. were learning about circles and ovals so we
a. made circles and ovals with our bodies
b. looked at objects and predicted which ones would roll (the circles do)
c. sang "Wheels on the Bus" and "Ring around the Rosie"
d. painted a picture of circles (PM class)
e. baked circle cookies
f. sat on an oval during circle time
g. used playdough to make circles and ovals

3. were learning to be responsible people who help others so we
a. read the "Little Red Hen" and acted like the hen by grinding wheat and baking our own bread
b. read "Just a Mess" in which little critter couldn't find his baseball mitt until he cleaned his room.
c. talked about what chores they have at home and school

I also added some new stations where the kids could choose working with clay, measuring volume with rice, matching puzzle pieces that have objects to count with the correct number and magnetic letters to practice making new words.

Miss Cindy teaches art, music and age appropriate activities in Boise, Meridian and Eagle, ID

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy New Year 2011

It's 2011 and we had a fun, full, first week back to school. We:
  1. learned about INSECTS! Ask you child how many legs an insect has and how many body parts.
  2. learned the letter "g" and made a goat page for our alphabet book
  3. made grasshoppers (PM class completed them, AM class will finish on Tuesday)
  4. sang "The ants go marching", and "The first grasshopper"
  5. read "Snow is Falling", "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "The Ant and the Grasshopper"
  6. talked about the stages of "metamorphosis" of a caterpillar.
  7. cocooned ourselves in towels and became butterflies.
  8. ate grasshopper legs for snack time on Thursday and "Ants on a Log" on Tuesday.
  9. practiced measuring volume at our new rice table.
  10. used 3" pieces of yarn (the size of most grasshoppers) to compare larger and smaller objects in the classroom.
  11. used our new foam letter puzzle to spell words with our feet and find the letters in our names.
See you next week!