w is for {luna camera} winner

luna camera winner!

we randomly picked a number between 1-50:  43

we found a way to make the numeral 43 using the luna camera.

we counted the comments in order (not counting duplicate comments) and found the 43rd comment.

this means we picked a winner!

winner!

crystal, check your inbox for an email from me.  email me your address and learning resources will send you your own luna camera!

thanks, everyone, for sharing in the fun!

w is for what new creation preschool means to me

words and movie shared at church this morning:

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a year and a half ago, i added up the number of children enrolled in our church preschool since 1994 and got the sum of 826.  adding another 47 from this year we reach 873.  my body still slumps back in gratitude for the safety we’ve experienced.  aside from a couple of close calls, bumps and bruises, we’ve escaped injury requiring emergency care, we’ve been spared accusations, we’ve not known overwhelming illness.  it is with continued humble gratitude that i’ve had the honor of working for the church in this capacity.

i was invited to direct and teach a summer day care program here at new creation fellowship church as part of bethel college’s ministry inquiry program.  i went back to bethel college in fall of 1994 and finished my degree in elementary education with an emphasis in early childhood education.  after graduation, i was invited to begin a school year preschool program here at new creation fellowship church.  after hours of discernment as a church community, many times around the circle sharing, hesitations expressed, in fall of 1995 we began new creation preschool and with minor changes here and there, we just finished our 16th year.

there was a roll of masking tape – blue with random scribbles drawn on the inside of the cardboard roll, making it identifiable.  that tape was used at the project table at preschool.  that tape hung up a brainstorming list at a congregational meeting.  that tape was taken into a circle of junior high youth group kids.  i found that roll of tape in the sanctuary once.  then it ended up back in the basement.  that roll of tape found itself in almost every corner of our church life.

the common ground and shared spaces of this church life are plenty.

i admit come from a long line of people who can make something out of nothing…nothing out of seemingly everything…see redemption in almost anything… get teary at the simple re-telling of meeting a stranger, telling each other, “hey…there’s a sermon in that…”, i’ve also been told i can blow sunshine up places not appropriate to mention here…and i know i can spin reality to a level of decency that it doesn’t deserve…but it comes from a genuine place.

so may i suggest, the heaven-on-earth moments in the walls of this church are plenty.

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.             Isaiah 1:6-10

i can imagine a parade-like procession with a young child, perhaps with triangular flag at the end of a branch, leading animals through a meadow with trees in the background.  a simple line drawing with muted colors filling the white spaces.

and may it be so someday…

because i also imagine that before this parade-like procession, there were the horrors of being a child.  from the blatant, vile abuse to the seemingly benign glances that alter a child’s sense of self.  the fear of trouble shaping who a child is.  the determination to stay safe keeping a child from freedom.  the heaviness of dimly lit spaces slowly changing a child.  the vulnerable,  powerless child always a moment away from pain.

the preschool ministry of our church is a bit like the parade-like procession.  we tie triangular fabric on the end of sticks for flags, we take turns leading each other down neighborhood sidewalks and through the grass.  there are colors and trees.  we have glitter, rainbows, fruits, vegetables, crayons, scissors, glue, dolls, trucks, cozy corners, rocking chairs, pillows, blankets, puzzles, paint, games, balls, hills, sidewalks.  we have conversations about the resurrection of christ, zombies, death, surgery, heaven, hell, parents losing jobs, the number of iPads in the home, child birth and time outs.  there is fighting and punching, biting, name calling, kicking, hair pulling, scratching, yelling and crying.  there are children who don’t want to leave preschool and children who don’t want to come.  there are teachers prying children off of parents.  there are teachers convincing children it’s time to go home.  then there are paper towels wet with cool water, a drink offered in a tiny glass cup, blankets of rainbow yarn, band-aids that rarely get touched with actual blood, stories read, plans made, circle time talks, school family conversations, accountability.

we strive to save the dignity of each child, to get on a child’s level, to keep eyebrows raised and voices gentle, to be silly, to maintain order, to listen.  the greatest joy in my job is keeping children safe.  safe from physical hurt, limited love, boredom, stifling redirection, fear, loneliness and apathy.  we don’t yell at them, we don’t hit them, we don’t hold them down, we don’t threaten them.  we’ll hold them and hug them.  we’ll get serious and real.  we’ll set boundaries and celebrate.  we’ll repeat ourselves and say thank you.  we’ll feed them and wipe noses.  we’ll change soiled clothes and treat them like we’d want to be treated when naked and vulnerable.  like shepherds, we count them. like investigators, we watch their expressions.  like mama hens, we gather them in.

People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.       Mark 10:13-16


one day not long ago, i felt the warmth of a little friend’s hand pressed on my leg.  like never before, at that moment i knew to never assume it again.  i was blessed.
a bit like that roll of tape that found itself all over this place, the holiness of hundreds of tiny, dirty hands, wide, small feet, trusting, open eyes, moving, breathing bodies have graced every corner of this building. 

the preschool for these children is created by adults…the teachers, the parents, the church folks, the neighbors, the cleaning people, the community workers.  together this space is created and this space inevitably means something different to everyone involved.

no matter what this space means to you, may i suggest that you are blessed by the simple knowledge that children have walked here.

m is for mud!

mud day!  1

mud day 2012

it’s the last week of preschool (impossibly so) and we’re doing our tradition of full body water play!

this year i started early in the morning watering the dirt end of our alley/driveway.

mud day 2012

oh baby.

it was better than i thought.  and this was only the first of four days total.

mud day 2012

i’ll try to get out of the mud myself to take more pictures.

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p.s.  if you want to enter the luna camera give-away, comment over here.  the preschoolers will randomly pick a winner this week!

l is for the luna projection camera {a review and a giveaway!}

Luna227

luna camera review!

well, this was a first for me.  i know many seasoned bloggers have been asked to review a product, but this is my first time.  i asked questions like “how much will it cost” and “by when do you need it returned?” and “are there other fees?”  to my delight, it cost us nothing and it is ours to keep.  thank you, learning resources!

luna camera review!

we received the luna interactive projection camera from learning resources to use and review.

luna camera review!

we already use my computer, an external speaker and an external monitor.   i could quickly determine that this luna camera offers something different than my computer’s camera.

luna camera review!

before i started using it at preschool, i read about it online. another reviewer mentioned one problem is the camera being top heavy.  we experienced that too, and wanting the children to be able to move the camera, we took care of it with a bit of duct tape.

luna camera review!

things the children would like you to know that we like about the luna camera:

things that are small look bigger on the screen.

you are allowed to push the camera button anytime you want and the picture goes on ms. kristin’s computer.

you can make scenes and then take a picture so you don’t forget them.

you can push the light button to turn the light on and off.

if you are gentle, you can move the camera.

the camera is connected to something called a “neck” and that is funny.

it doesn’t matter how many pictures you take. *true:  the first day we had the luna camera, there were over 280 pictures taken…i found them all on my desktop!

the teacher can draw a picture and everyone can see it better.

it feels like a movie when you read the book under the camera.

it is a real camera, so you have to be careful.

if the lights are off in the room, everything goes in slow motion.  *true:  when our classroom lights are off, there isn’t enough light to see things move in “real time.”  making sure the lights in the room are on takes care of it!

you can make things go upside down and side ways. *true:  there is an option to rotate the image on the screen.

luna camera review!

already, the luna camera has changed our group times.  the variety and flexibility it provides has enhanced looking and listening times.  a bigger monitor would make this product more beneficial because the image from the camera would be bigger (that has been added to my wish list!).

here we are taking turns showing our favorite pages of a book:

luna camera review!

it has also changed work time (this is what we call “free time” or “play time” or “center time”).  i have it set up all day, every day as another option for children to explore with.  and explore they do.  the following photos are taken by someone pressing the “camera” button.

(as i mentioned earlier, there are HUNDREDS of photos taken daily…most will head to the trash, but they love seeing their image frozen on my computer screen)

a favorite moment for one class:  we put the camera over a timid turtle’s box went across the room to eat snack.  we would look over to the screen every now and then. sure enough, since we were across the room look who peeked her head out:

we are grateful for this product and highly recommend it.

you can find learning resources all over this virtual world:

click here to find them on facebook

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click here to find them on youtube

click here to find them on pinterest

and thanks to learning resources, i have one to give away.

leave a comment and one random winner will be chosen.  go team!

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there is another product we’re reviewing soon, so stay tuned!

m is for moms stay out, please! (mother’s day work in progress!)

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it’s that time of year, when all the chaos of the end of the year nearly swallows up mother’s day.

Mother's Day Crafting

but once again, we’ve cornered off a bit of the room.  no moms allowed. hee hee hee.

stay tuned for the gaudiness of 2012.

flashbacks here:

2011:

mother's day pins - 1

2010:

mother's day pins - 2

2009:

mother's day 09

2008:

mother's day flower pin

 

p is for pirate {a movie!}

fabric-ripping_dvd.original

here’s a sneak peak to our “x marks the spot” week:  the wednesday morning class working on their pirate costumes!

m is for man preschool teachers

mini matts

so, if you are male teaching at our preschool you have been determined to be “like a dad to all the kids in the school even if we don’t know each other and that is because you are a man.”

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and if you leave to go do your student teaching in the big school and come back for a surprise visit, you will be very warmly welcomed.

man teachers

man teachers

man teachers

man teachers

and if you are the other man teacher who has a expressive moustache, then you will become an inspiration for dress up.

man teachers

thank you, jane and fiona’s daddy for bringing us all “mr. matt moustaches.”

man teachers

also included were name tags for each of us:  “Hello, I’m Mr. Matt.”

man oh man, we have a good time.

m is for may day

may day

may day

guess what we’ll be making today?

may day

just like 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011..our straw flowers.

may day

get some straws, some paper, scissors, a hole punch and make some!

may day straw flowers - 13

the flowers are blooming!

may day

happy may day!