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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Book Review: For My UK Readers

Back about an eon ago I was asked to review a book about by Hilary Hawkes called Preschool Choice, A Parent's Guide. I apologize for it taking me so long to get to post my review, life keeps spinning.

Preschool Choices is a book to help parents from the UK decide on a path for them and their child. I think by me not knowing a thing about the programs or procedures in the UK, I may have been a good choice for this review.

This book is extremely thorough. Not only did it educate me to all the programs that are available in, but it also helped educate about the development of children.

Ms. Hawkes begins her book by helping to educate parents about early childhood development. She takes a parents through birth to four plus. She covers mental, cognitive, language, physical, social, and emotional development. Ms. Hawkes wrote her book in such a manner that it easy to read and easy to understand. She also includes many, many other sources that parents may use for further research.

Ms. Hawkes then continues on to tout the importance of play. If any of you know my from my posts, you will know that I wholeheartedly agree with the importance of play for little ones. She writes about the benefit of play in all aspects of little ones lives. She then continues by including a chapter on activities that are beneficial for little ones. She even includes places and websites that may be helpful for those in the UK.

Finally the many aspects of making preschool choices for parent's little ones. Ms. Hawkes lists the different types of programs available and then goes into various details about them. She even has some charts that will spell out specifics for the different countries of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

I honestly believe that if you are a parent from the UK with a little one this book will be beneficial. It has so much information for parents that they will find helpful with making choices for their children. The book is easy to read and understand, and it contains so many extra places to find helpful resources. A definite book for your bookshelf.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Hello, Anybody Home?

We are coming down to the wire at school.  I have been trying to finish up the children's Me Books along with our other units that we have been doing.

Recently we added two pages to their books; an address page and a telephone page.


The address page consisted of the children picking out a color house they liked.  The cut the house out and glued it to and "Here is My Address" page.  Then I let them decorate the house with markers if they wanted to.



 I had printed the children's addresses on labels.  We went over their address and they put the label on their house.


The next page was "This is My Phone Number."  I have to say I was pretty impressed with the number of children that did know their phone numbers.


This page was completed by letting the children cut out a "phone" in their choice of color.  I than had numerals 0-9.  If the children knew their numbers they selected the correct letters and glued them to the paper. I recited it for them so they would be in order.  Children that didn't know the phone numbers, I would recite the numbers, have them pick the correct one and glue them down.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Let Those Flowers Bloom

During the month of March we had to concentrate on Easter more than spring. So, this month we will be discussing beautiful flowers.

To begin with, for the three-year-old class, we took our annual trip to Ott's Exotic Plants. This is a local nursery that is just magnificent. I love going here with the children. It is a nursery, but up a few notches. There are some of the most gorgeous plants around here and they are huge. There is a small mountain inside that we can climb that has a waterfall, and outside there is a huge mountain we can climb. It's great fun.

The three year class made pussywillows. To make these I had the children draw some branches with a marker. Then they put on the pussywillow using their thumbprint and an ink pad. They had a ball with this. The trick was to catch them before they left the table so that we didn't have fingerprints all over the room.

Next, both classes planted some seeds to watch them grow. What do plants need to grow, etc? We will watch these plants grow and send them home around Mother's Day.

The three's made some cute flowers with various foam shapes. I was very proud of the children. I had this out as a type of center. I had explained to the children what to do here if they wished to make a flower and I had showed them at circle time. Then I let them go. They really made some cute flowers all by themselves. On Thursday we will do some flower painting with dish scrubbers.

For the Pre-K class we painted sunflowers. Now I know these don't bloom until summer, but I found it in a Mailbox magazine and thought they were adorable. The children painted a brown spot in the center of the paper. Then we painted their hands yellow and they pressed them around the brown center.

The next day we added real sunflower seeds to the brown center. I had bought the kind of sunflower seeds that can be eaten and let the children try them. Three of the children loved them, a couple said they were okay, and others made faces. But, at least they tried them.

During this time I also had a container of dirt out for the children to play in for a sensory activity. We had a couple of shovels, some cups, and "snakes."

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Ahead

During the month of March that wonderful season of spring arrived. Of course, we had a bit of fun with that. I already posted the cute baby birds that the Pre-K class made, but I didn't get a chance to post the three-year-old's activity.

To begin the day since it was beautiful out, we went for a nature walk. We looked for all kinds of signs of spring. We looked for leaves on the trees, flowers in the garden, robins, worms, ants, etc. It's fun to take a walk first thing in the morning.

Our craft for the day was apple blossom trees. You could really call them any kind of blossom tree you would like. They are made with popcorn so I think they look like apple blossoms. I couldn't call them cherry blossom trees as the "flowers" aren't pink. They look good--and smell good-no matter what you call them.

The branches are made with marker, construction paper leaves, and popcorn. The children draw a branch, glue on some leaves, then we use tacky to add popcorn for the blossom.

We should get to more activities this month. I don't know though our time at school is getting very short. The three-year-old class only has 10 more classes. Can you believe that?

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Celebrating Easter

It seems as soon as I get comfortable at school celebrating something and all of a sudden we are finished. Easter, at school, came and went in an instant.

Our classes celebrated by making Easter Bunny baskets, dying Easter eggs, learning some new songs, creating a special craft, and having an egg hunt. We were lucky enough to have the "Easter Bunny" come and hide eggs for us and fill our Easter baskets.

For the children's baskets we made bunnies from white paper bags. We added wiggle eyes, pom pom noses, whiskers, and a cotton ball tail. Both baskets were very similar. The 3yr. class cut out ears and glued them on. The Pre-K got white bags that we cut the top to make it look like ears.

For both classes we had a day where they brought hard boiled eggs to school and we dyed them for our egg hunt. On that day I also had them watercolor an egg to cut out the next time they came to school.

The 3's made our fun chick in an egg--they love this craft, it gets lots of smiles. We also made a bunny from paper plates.

For Pre-K I had the make suncatchers with contact paper and tissue paper squares. I gave each child 2 squares of contact paper. On one piece they stuck on some colored tissue paper squares. Then the second piece of contact paper was placed on top. Then I had three patterns, an egg, a flower, and a cross, cut out of tag board. The children picked the shape they wanted and traced it on their contact paper. Then they cut it out. (They all wanted eggs.)
We also made a footprint bunny. I traced the children's foot, they cut it out, and we added ears, eyes, nose, and tail.

I had to show you this cute cupcake one of our parents sent in. It's a cupcake with white icing, covered in mini marshmallows, with black licorice for the face. I thought they were adorable.

The final day was our egg hunt and other Easter fun. I brought balloons in for some fun with music to end the day. It was a whirlwind, but full of fun.

Have a Happy and Blessed Easter.

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