s is for stage

if you put rubber-backed throw rugs on top of a picnic table, tie a rope from a tree to a hook in a building, clip a sheet to the rope, nail the sheet to the edge of the picnic table…

you have a perfect stage for dancing.

i’m pretty sure “dancing queen” was the song playing here.

this was at my house, but i think a version for preschool is sure to come.

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l is for longest picture in the world

my eliza in her last days as a preschooler asked if we could draw the longest picture in the world.

her inspiration came from just seeing the ramona and beezus movie.

we used crayons, pencils, markers, paint all on frustratingly thin newsprint (the dog hair, sand and dust on the wood floor didn’t help either).  it was a several day activity.

we recalled our summer from way back at harvest time to buying a new car to painting the house to visiting the mountains and chicago to school supply shopping to back yard fires to the very recent pvc sprinkler construction.

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it was therapeutic to relive the memories together.

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i don’t know how long this will adorn our dining room…maybe until we’re ready to leave the past a memory only in our minds.

s is for surprise from mama and daddy

one thing we started last year was inviting families to write a special note or picture in their child’s journal.  the preschooler didn’t know this was happening, so when the note was found during a school day, there were certainly smiles.

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i can imagine doing this in different ways too:  a note that is given on a birthday, a card left in the child’s cubby, etc.

j is for journal

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at the end of the school year each child took home a rainbow wrapped book of memories (and lots of dried glue).

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each child starts the school year with a blank journal.  we’ve used the “composition books” for the past few years.  their names and/or photo are on the cover.

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a guided activity is made available to preschoolers most days.  children are also allowed to work in their journal anytime they want to.

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one year we started each day with journal time.  one year we ended each day with journal time.  one year we had a journal table.  i’m not sure what next year will hold.

one thing that is unique about journal work is that a teacher is almost always very involved.   most of our activities are explained and demonstrated by a teacher, but then children are set loose.

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in this case, a teacher was there to help keep that quarter still.  we ended up taping the quarter in.  at the last day of school, one little friend found a quarter still in her journal!

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for this project it was holding the cookie cutter down while tracing happened.

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there are times we’ll save work and glue or tape it in journals as well.

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a self portrait (or portraits in this case) is always done.

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we practice number writing and letter writing too.

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teachers write dictations as children like it.  one way we ask the question is:  “is there anything you want to pretend this is?”  as many of you know, when asking a preschool child, “what is it?” h/she will often freeze up.  but pretending is often easier.

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i’ve got a new stash of journals, all clean and smooth waiting for another stash of preschoolers.

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p is for pvc pipe sprinkler

oh, i hope, hope, hope i get the details figured out so we pull this off at preschool.  like, always have extra water clothes and towels?  my kids loved this.  and here’s a fun thing:  these big kids all went through new creation preschool….ahhhh, days gone by.

quite simply:  pvc pipe and random connectors/caps.  holes drilled in random spots.  the hose shoved in one end (though it would easily come out….our hose connector was the wrong size).  the longest pipe balanced in the basketball net.

endless possibilities.

endless joy.

good, good summer fun.

a is for alley river

here is a post from my family blog that i thought was worth reposting here.

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there is an alley next to our house and next to the alley is a little ditch where water  flows to the storm drain.  if we’ve had a big rain it flows naturally, if we need to drain the sump pump we put the hose out here, and one day i let the boys turn on the well pump for the making of a river.

our prairie plants along that side of the yard got a good soaking.

i watched micah plow the ditch deeper and thought of all the children who work this hard out of necessity.  some of those children can’t imagine having water to play with.  this fed a good conversation while we worked.

there were islands created and i watched micah watch how the water naturally flowed.  he chose to redirect the river rather than build dams to force it his intended way.  i quietly liked that.

toys were added towards the end…i never thought i’d see mother mary and pirate man side by side in my front yard.