r is for reading corners

cozy reading time

just when you think the couch is full enough, there is always room for one more…

cozy reading time

cozy reading time

cozy reading time

cozy reading time

(and the reading never paused…so sweet)

cozy reading time

(and thank you, mr matt, for breaking the myth that boys can’t wear pink)

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cozy reading time

just when you think you’re too young to read the words, the story comes out anyway.

cozy reading time

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cozy reading time

just when you think the box will be used in the block corner, it’s hauled to the cozy corner for a place to read in.

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read, read read!!!

 

 

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v is for valentimes

preschool valentimes

it is well known by now that valentine’s day at preschool is a special time.  red and pink, cards and flowers.  lots of “i love you” and “you’re a good friend” and “roses are red.”  good stuff.

preschool valentimes

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preschool valentimes

instead of finding their name tags to stick on top of their photos (they stick with magnets when the picture card is on the cookie sheet), there was a note that said, “No name tags this week.  You’ll find out why later! {smiley face}”

preschool valentimes

well later, we put a little smarty candy on each face instead of the name tag.  then we ate them.  : )

preschool valentimes

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preschool valentimes

we have a valentine exchange…or hand out.  meaning you don’t have to bring valentines to get some.  everyone gets some!  you don’t have to bring any!  even though everyone did, you didn’t HAVE to!  what an amazing concept!

preschool valentimes

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preschool valentimes

we had lots of valentine goodies.  there wasn’t just one party day, so that meant that every day felt like a party!

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preschool valentimes

our valentine corner was in it’s last week.  some of the supplies were used for a spontaneous cutting corner that i never found out more about.  but man, it was in.ten.tio.nal.

preschool valentimes

and by the end of the week, we used everything to make the biggest glueiest valentine we could make!

preschool valentimes

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there were fake roses in the dirt table.  thank you, newton et cetera shop.

preschool valentimes

the valentine corner evolved into a flower shop by two little friends.

preschool valentimes

and joy of joys, look at that inventive spelling.  my heart flutters.  “OPEN TODAY. FLOWERS.”

preschool valentimes

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preschool valentimes

we kept going with our play dough table having some new fancy muffin tins.  however, this day these girls were making special “garlic sugar sprinkles.”  mmmmmmm.  i might add that one of these friends is the same one who made me and mr rob play dough gravy some time ago. : )

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preschool valentimes

we played games.  for valentine bingo, we looked at the clip art on a slideshow i made on the computer.  high tech bingo.

preschool valentimes

and we did the classic color graphing.  i am grateful no one asked me to read their hearts.  some just don’t seem right.

preschool valentimes

though they do make me giggle inside.

preschool valentimes

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and so, with that, we move away from the pink and red.  we move towards dr seuss’ birthday, the week our paper snake is to give birth to 44 baby paper snakes, the making of leprechaun traps, easter and all it’s mystery.  on we go.

preschool valentimes

 

p is for preK

My current preschool families have received this information about our PreK class for next year.  I want to offer these thoughts here and invite feedback.
We will have a (mostly…we will always invite siblings to be together which means we could have younger siblings along) PreK class on Tuesday/Thursday afternoons.  The attached curriculum note is not introducing anything new to our program.  I already use this exact list of skills/concepts as I work to see each PreK child as one who is about to enter a traditional classroom.
But over the years it seems harder and harder.   Often at the end of the day, I feel like the PreK kids are the ones I didn’t see.  I haven’t visited as much as I’d like to, I haven’t  counted ALL the blocks in their tower, I haven’t entered their imaginary games, I haven’t counted past the calendar numbers, I haven’t written in shaving cream with them, I see them bored with waiting, etc.
Of course there is no guarantee that all being closer to the same age will create the opportunity to meet all needs, but it is my sole motivation to create this PreK class.
I resist the notion that “preparing them for Kindergarten” means more academic focus. In fact,  I feel that the skills and concepts they will be expected to achieve in Kindergarten are often inappropriate.  I don’t want to jump into this game and turn preschool into worksheets and crafts.
But I do want to more easily meet the PreK kids where they are at.  I want to cut down on their wait time.  I don’t want to see their glazed over expressions as they sit at Circle Time.  I want them to practice problem solving and conflict resolution.  I want them to engage in conversations and constructive play.  I want to send them away from preschool equipped with social emotional readiness to do it all!
I want the younger preschoolers to continue to experience the ease of discovery, the joy of creating, the satisfaction of cooperative play.  The beauty of a two and three year old is that their world is still so small.  They see their own needs and how beautiful it is when they go after what they want and need.  I want to have a space for them to grow within that.
Having said all of this, I will always be an advocate of the magic that CAN happen in multi-age classrooms.   I love the beauty of seeing older and younger friends together.  It really feels like a family, with tiny stair steps between them.  So, when we have PreK kids in the morning classes with the younger ones, my goals remain the same.
Forgive my ramblings, ask me questions, give me your ideas, share your experiences, accept my own wonderings about the right thing to do…
and most of all, thank you.
Kristin

i is for if

if i’d had my camera with me, i would have taken pictures of the 13 little bodies following me down the slushy sidewalk.  having just left the chaos of passing out valentines, we were airing out.

if i had my camera, i would have taken pictures of them walking balance beam style on the parking lot curb behind me, arms out to balance themselves.

if i had my camera, i would have taken pictures of the 2 inch deep handprints we could make in that slushy goodness.

if i had my camera, i would have taken pictures of the ridiculously cooperative feat of making a snow baby.  she’s sleeping in the freezer now.

but the picture i want most is of the moment we paused in the sun.  that winter sun that is so penetrating it seems to dull all other noises.  i closed my eyes and whispered gratitude for it.  with the 13 little ones close enough that i could hear them breathing and  that their feet were still, i kept my eyes closed for a moment longer.

then i opened my eyes to see many of their eyes closed too, red cheeked faces turned towards the sun, in a small town, in the middle of it all.

that’s what i wish i had a picture of.

 

 

v is for valentine flashback

click on the photos to be taken back to a time of paint mixing, hand printing, mailbox decorating, yogurt tub repurposing, valentine rainbow making,  hearts raining , surprise mirror peeking, and valentine quilting.  we’re celebrating at preschool this week…lovely it will be!

red + white = pinkvalentine goodnessvalentine goodness

valentine rainbow - 4

v is for valentine classroom

when the calendar turns to february, our classroom turns to valentines.

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we’ve had wonderful two toned pink playdough and heart cutters.  the play dough even had some glitter and jewels hiding in it!

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i love this next picture for what i remember about the moment. there is great conversation and kind debating going on over some topic i don’t even remember.  these are three pre-k kids engaged in what i want our classroom always to be:  a place where each person is worth listening to.  good stuff.

valentine playdough

those two blocks with green duct tape are actually a “play dough oven” that has doors (2 more flat blocks) that open and shut.  never mind that we have a play oven, this one works much better.

valentine corner

there’s a valentine corner filled with lace, paper, glue, stickers, tape, markers, crayons, fabric, tape, yarn, fake flowers, foam bits, …

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and oodles of handmade valentines that only a child could make.

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next week we’ll add the mailbox to the valentine corner and pull out all the red and pink legos we can find.