Category Archives: Children

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Fessin’ Up

I want to take a minute to make something very clear because two people have made comments along the same thread in the same week.

My base belief is that those of us who choose to function in society are doing the best we can with what we have.  I try not to judge myself against others because the other thought I remind myself is that no one is perfect. We are all disorganized somewhere, and some are just better at hiding it than others. 

I am writing today as a reminder: When you look at someone, try not to assume that they have it all together or judge yourself for not doing enough…because unless people “fess up” like I am about to do, then they may look like they are, “doing it all”. In reality they are just getting along as best they can like everyone else.

Comment 1: “You had time to make dinner for all your kids?”
Because mama saw me at the dance studio with our little IKEA bento boxes at the studio, which our kiddos take because we hate buying fast food.

Answer: Our nannies cook. I make sandwiches and cut fruits and vegetables. When the nannies pack the boxes, there are meals in them. When I pack the boxes, there is *cold* nutritious food in them.

Comment 2: “How are you doing? Because you give, give, give and I want to make sure you are taking care of you.”
From a friend of the family we see on a weekly basis and who we interact with professionally in our birth classes. He sees what I do on social media and all the events we host/attend.

Answer: I am doing great. You know why? Because my amazing husband works his a** off for our family, and we make the choices that allow us to afford 2 **amazing** nannies that do all the cooking and the laundry, or at least 95% of it. Which frees up my brain and my time to do everything I love to do, which is give to our family by homeschooling, and to our community by teaching classes and promoting or attending events that support pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and the family.

AND AND AND all our children are out of diapers AND they are all potty trained. It’s hard to understand just how momentous that is until you see a mom up to her eyeballs in babies and toddlers (that of course she loves very much, just like I loved our children so very much when we were in that stage). “No diapers, no accidents” is such a huge new milestone I am finally embracing; instead of grieving the fact that I will never birth again.

So even though I put on a good front, I have a huge amount of support that makes it all work…pretty well on most days.  If I am tired, I get snappy;ss if I am sad I cry, just like every other human parent out in the world.  Since we’re doing true confessions here…sometimes it gets worse than that. I had a meltdown in a parking lot last May and I was reminded of my humanity again in February of this year.

Just like many of you, I have days when I am completely overwhelmed, and I have days when I am filled with joy…sometimes in the same day. What is amazing is that as our children grow, they are helping more and that makes it all worth it. They are starting to take ownership for their part in making our family run smoothly, and they are funny and giving and helpful. They are also putting us through growing pains again as we are approaching the teen years. I love it all and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 There is one more thing I want to add: aside from all the earthly support and help that I have, I have an awesome God.  He lights every step of my journey on a daily basis.  I have lived through dark days when I tried to run away from my faith> Then I was welcomed joyfully back and have walked with the Holy Spirit in my heart every day since then.  I am by no means perfect, however I know that I am loved> That makes it all worthwhile and so very doable.

SPFscience

Kitchen Science: Water Week 2

Happy Thursday!

Here are the experiments we shared with our park play group last week…building on last week’s fun and trying on some new elements for the Sweet Peas to ponder: Sink+Float, Taking Up Space, and Melting Point.

Our inspiration for these posts is this book by Usborne Books:

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The mojority of the activities in the book can be done with things mosts of us keep around the house.

Experiment 1
Will ice float in water?
This is a great follow-up to last week’s sink and float experiment. When a Sweet Pea reasons it out, it would seem that something heavy like ice should sink…surprise!! It floats!

One interesting correlation to explain is perfectly demonstrated in the winter. If ice was heavier as a solid, bodies of water would freeze from the bottom up, effectively freezing out all life every winter.  By floating, it creates a layer of insulation for the life below, that continues to swim freely throughout the winter months.
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Experiment 2
Taking Up Space
Fill a container with water and put on the lid. Place it in the freezer and see what happens!  This experiment helps to illustrate the idea in experiment above.  Freezing water takes up more space because the molecules spread out, hence making it light enough to float in water.

As you can see in our experiment, it did not pop up the lid as much as we had hoped, it did however bump out the bottom of our container and created a very visible difference the Sweet Peas noticed right away.

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Experiment 3
Melting Ice
Prepare three containers: one with warm water, one with cool water, and one empty container.  Have your Sweet Peas guess what will happen to the ice they put into each container.

Careful with this one that the warm water isn’t too hot if they splash it onto the counter or on themselves.

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Experiment 4
Melting Without Heating – Salt
Sprinkle and ice cube with salt…compare it with a plain ice cube.  When the salt mixes with the ice, it lowers the freezing temperature. This salty ice will melt because it now requires a colder temperature to make it freeze.

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Experiment 5
Melting Without Heating – Pressure
Press a spoon into the ice.  You will see the ice melt underneath the area of pressure…if you look closely in the picture you can see the spoon-shaped divot in the ice because ice always melts when it is pressed.

Ask your sweet peas how this would affect their ability to walk on ice.  If they said it would be slippery, then they are correct! When we walk on ice, a thin layer of water forms between our shoe or boot and the patch of ice. This layer of water makes it hard for the soles of our shoe to grip the ground, so in effect Mother Nature is creating her own slip and slide!

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That is it for today’s installment of Kitchen Science.  Enjoy trying these out with your Sweet Pea at home.  Leave me a comment and let me know how it goes for you and your crew!

SPFgrounding

Thoughtful Thursday: Grounding

My only solution as I see the chaos building in our world is to turn inwards. It’s extremely idealistic and somewhat irresponsible. At this point, I am operating at the level of self-preservation. I have to find and create a false sense of calm because being kind to my children is my ultimate goal. As they hear of all the unrest in the world, my need to be their comfort and their sane guide outweighs my desire to listen to the 24/7 news cycle.  Because quite frankly, it feels like a replay.

We are studying World War I with Puma and Night Owl right now. Just last night, we read about the Armenian Genocide. I don’t remember learning about this when I learned about the World Wars in school. I also don’t think we covered all the colonial connections that brought this war to epic proportions (for the time). The loss of life among the military and the civilians, the complete disregard for people of other ethnicities fighting for a few European powers, the slaughter of the 18-24 year old generation of the time, is mind-boggling.

And yet, another genocide was going to play out again within 30 years.  Registration if you held a certain heritage and/or religious belief. Internment of suspect people groups. Plus more of the above-mentioned atrocities.

Here we are, not even 100 years away from the events of World War II, hearing what I can only imagine to be a similar rhetoric. Aleppo – AGAIN. I keep asking myself, is this really happening? How can we be in that place for a potential repeat? Where is the “storming of the gates” and the insistence that we will not be victims to the whims of politicians AGAIN?

As our children learn of current events, we have a clear metric: how is this similar to what happened in 1914 and 1939? What would be a different way to approach the situation? I also add this question: What’s one small thing we can do in our corner of the world?

We have friends in active duty in the military. We have friends who are Muslims. The fact that our children are aware and cognizant that the world is entering a period of unrest makes me glad to be raising sentient humans, and at the same time sad that they are having to wrestle with these questions and wonder about the safety of our friends. Worry about our own safety as people of Mexican heritage.

I received a great suggestion from a healer: what if we focused on grounding? Being in this place, where we are now, to foster a sense of security. To that end, I have made a more concerted effort to spend time outside with our children. It has meant shifting my focus from GO-GO-GO and being a slave to my daily outline, and instead taking an intentional break during our school day to go play outside.

She also offered the suggestion of creating a family altar. It will allow each of our family members to contribute a meaningful item that represents them or something they value, and serve as a focus point for our togetherness and our blessings. As we continue to grapple with all the change we have faced as a family personally over the last twelve months, it will provide a “constant”, a sense of stability.

It is also a signal of potential: we will create the altar with the intention that things can be added as we explore the world, or removed if they no longer serve us. This is a timely representation of the phase we are in now, downsizing and releasing the physical items that maybe we thought we needed, but in the final evaluation serve us no greater purpose other than to be something to hold on to just because we might need it or we might miss it or whatever else we use to justify things occupying a space.

Those are the two small things that we are doing in our home to create a sense of peace amidst the chaos, the calm in the coming storm. Personally, I have also added meditation and affirmations back into my daily routine. I created my own little altar of sorts on my bathroom counter…not the most sacred of spaces, but it is one that I occupy every day and in that sense, it serves me because I can see it and ground myself as MOTHER every day. Life is good.

If you are feeling this call to create a sense of calm and stability for your family, what are you doing?  I would love to hear your ideas – please leave me a comment below.

P.S. One thing I am not being is complacent.  Please continue to call your local, state and national representatives and make your voice heard. Even if they don’t listen to you or represent you, do not let this be another era where the people are questioned for remaining silent or doing nothing.

Find your Senator: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

Find your Representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Find your local government officials: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

Read about effective lobbying as a private citizen HERE.

ppdchildrensday

Preschool Playdate: Children’s Day

Playdate: November 17, 2016
Theme: Universal Children’s Day

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— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme: Who are the people in our family?
— Storytime: Two books today!
— Centers | Free play
— Closing

STORY TIME
We used two books this session.
“La familia”
The first one we flipped through and “read” toddler-style…basically that means showing them the pictures, summarizing the text, and asking them what they see in the page.

“World Babies”
This one was perfect for toddlers – simple text, lots of great pictures of babies around the world.  We could look at their hats (refer back to Hat Day), see how they were dressed compared to how we dress in the desert, and then we also looked at the ones we saw being worn in carriers.

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LITERACY CENTER
Some of the families took this home because the sticker station attracted most of the todders’ attention! This is a great “All About Me” pamphlet that I picked up to use with our children – we have so many that it was time to share!

However you find this format, it’s such a great way to capture a snapshot of your child’s interests at the time.  Ideally, I would remember to do this every year; at around the same time would be even better :)

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MATH CENTER
I got this idea from Preschool Plan-It.  It was actually quite opening to go through our ads and put this activity together.  The size and age bias is really clear when you look at print advertisements.  We did our best to represent people of all colors and size in our activity, age was much harder.

The tag sheet by itself served as our introductory tool…we asked all the guests what names they had for the people in their family…what did they call their aunt? uncle? grandparents? Everyone had different “titles” for those people based on their heritage.

For the center, we put out the other pieces and the children had to match the picture to the correct category on the tag board.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
This happened after playdate at the park!! We took out sand toys and bubbles for the children to enjoy at the park.

 

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This was a bigger hit than I ever could have imagined.  Leave it to the sweet peas to make it amazing!! The kiddos had such a great time creating “faces” out of the plates, stickers, yarn, and googley eyes that I set out on the floor.

Here are their creations…and the “heart” ears…all the credit goes to a very clever three-year-old!

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We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  We close with a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards.

This concludes our playdate series for 2016.  Thank you for joining us to see our weekly preschool themes!! You can click back through the archives to see other play ideas we have shared since September, and there are more many themes on the blog if you click under “Toddlers”. As I was typing this, I realized that we are in our third year of hosting playdates for our students! Fun times.  I started keeping track in the Spring of 2014, so I hope that you will find some fun ideas on the blog to share with your Sweet Peas.

We have a fun idea in the works for the blog in 2017…I hope you will check back with us to see our new series that we are preparing for you!!

Blessings,
Krystyna

ppdnativeamericans

Preschool Playdate: Native American Day

Play date: November 10, 2016
Theme inspired by the USA recognition of Native American Month

— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)

— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme: homes of different tribes http://www.native-languages.org/houses.htm
— Storytime
— Unsquiggle activity
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers
— Centers | Free play
— Closing

STORY TIME
My favorite thing about these two books is that they point out to the reader that there was no “discovery” of “America”.  There was already a vibrant, rich and long-standing cultural traditions alive and well when Europeans landed on these shores.  One of the books has a great map that shows the regions in the United States and how the cultural traditions developed to suit their climate.

The other book has images that are better suited for adaptation for toddlers. By that I mean that it is easier for me to make up an abbreviated version of the page to suit their attention span!

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LITERACY CENTER
I adapted THIS idea from the Heidi Songs blog .

Since we were not focusing on Thanksgiving this year, I decided to use an image of a buffalo since that animal played such an integral part of Plains Indian culture.  The letters on the plate are the first letters of names of the children who attended playdate this day.  I have found that associating the letter with a person they know really helps them to remember the letter name other times, so I wanted to use letters that were familiar to them from our weekly circle time.

Get your own “Bison Clip Art” to adapt it any way you like for your group.

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MATH CENTER
As it turns out, we had a blue box from Costco that was just the right size for the sweet peas to sit in and play “going fishing”.  The fish are numbered, so there are lots of ways to play as they “caught” fish:

Level 1: Count how many fish they caught – there were up to 20 that could be snagged with the magnetic fishing poles.
Level 2: Separate the fish into groups – they are numbered 1-5, so potentially five different groups to make
Level 3: Add up the numbers on the back of the fish.  This makes the game challenging for the older children since the total sum could reach 50.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
Weaving was a skill used across the country to create everything from baskets to blankets.  I thought that the sweet peas would enjoy trying it.  To make it easier for little hands, I used shoelaces.  They have a nice tip for chubby fingers to grab on to, and they are a little slicker than yarn.  The slickness makes it easier to pass the string up and over since it’s not snagging on itself like yarn does.

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
One of the art forms that our toddlers could attempt is drawing their own totem pole.  These were illustrated in the book I shared with the group.  HERE is the pattern that we shared on the craft table.  I also printed out THIS inspiration picture.  I asked the sweet peas to think about which animal they liked or related to, and they came up with their own totem pole creations.

This craft can be taken a step further by cutting out the finished drawing and pasting it to an empty paper towel tube so that it can be free-standing.  Since we are out of the habit of using paper towels, I could only share this idea with the parents for them to do at home.

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IMAGINATIVE PLAY
Very organically, our children transformed our schoolroom into their own Indian Village.  They created a longhouse out of some pillows we have in our bedroom.  They also used blankets to create other home structures.  They had their fishing area set up complete with boat storage.  Other things they incorporated into their playtime: left-over buffalo plates without letters on them, and “eggs” from our kitchen play area.

Charger set up a hunt for buffalo by setting up buffalo plates around the house.  He had the kiddos throw a bean bag at the plates to knock them over (clever little man also had them count their yield!).  Someone else was tasked with fishing.  And then they grabbed the eggs from the “prairie chicken nests” and brought everything back to our craft table to make a feast.

It also let us talk about sustainability.  The Native American tradition is one of living in harmony with the environment, taking only what was needed and leaving the rest alone.  We could have the conversation about how many buffalo a group of six would need, and how practically every single piece of meat, bone and tissue was put to use.  We took out one of the “First Americans” books again and read that page in detail.

It was really neat to see the sweet peas enjoy the elements of the different activities in their own way.  Watching them assimilate the lessons through play once again validated why this kind of time to be creative and play is so important for children.

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We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  Playtime was definitely the crowd favorite today, as was the fishing game.

To close out our time together we sing a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards.

Thank you for checking out our Native American Playdate.  We have one more to share with you this season.  Today we are doing Children’s Day in honor of the Universal Children’s Day on November 20th….all the details will be up in next week’s post.

One more thing in case you are interested…Here are some Thanksgiving ideas to share with your Sweet Pea at home. Check out this link:
http://www.pre-kpages.com/thanksgiving/

ppdteddybears

Preschool Playdate: Teddy Bears

Play date: October 13, 2016
Theme inspired by Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day

— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme: This week we did a Teddy Bear “Show and Tell”
— Storytime: Bear on a Bike by Stella Blackstone
— Unsquiggle activity “Teddy Bear” Rhyme
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers “Teddy Bear” Counting
— Centers | Free play
— Closing

STORY TIME
I fell in love with Stella Blackstone’s books the very first time we ever checked them out from the library. As you can see this copy is well-loved…and it was great to share her wonderful rhymes and bright illustrations with our Sweet Pea friends.

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Image source: “Come and Share Our” on Blogspot

Image found on Totally Tots on Blogspot

Image found on Totally Tots on Blogspot – click on image for their source and a clear printable page.

LITERACY CENTER
Here is our “T” sound box ~ I chose to use all hard “t” sounds and avoid the confusion of the “th” combination.  The sweet peas had a turtle, truck, triceratops, twig, train, train track, tomato, trooper, turmeric, and tuna fish.

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MATH CENTER
I combined two ideas – the cute bear image came from the Nuttin But Preschool blog and a color match set from Lakeshore Learning. I tossed all the items into a basket, put the plates on the table, and had the sweet peas match by color.  For more advanced sweet peas, you could also sort all these into categories: crayons, foods, animals, and balls.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
This idea came from Preschool Plan-It – berry tasting!!  We chose different berries from the grocery store that bears would forage for in the wild.  It allowed for lots of opportunity for discussion: where do the berries grow? How do the bears reach the berries? How does their fur protect them from the berries that grow on spiny branches? Which berries grow on spiny branches?
With more time, we totally could have printed up pictures of all the plants/vines/bushes that these berries grown on and do a little biology lesson as well as a sensory lesson –  my favorite ways to teach!!

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This project was inspired by Cutting Tiny Bites.

Shaving cream paint is always a big hit with our crowd!! We make our “paint” by mixing the shaving cream with school glue (half cream, half glue, enough paint or food coloring to make the desired color for the project).  The finished craft has a puffy, smooth texture that the Sweet Peas like to run their fingers over when it’s dry.

I used my Creative Memories Circle Punch for the ears and eyes, and we free-cut the snout and nose.  Because there is school glue in the paint, the sweet peas just had to push the pieces into place – nothing extra required.  In order to do the snout, we dipped the back of the nose into the paint and had the sweet peas place them where they wanted them.  Then they drew the mouth, and lastly they put them on the plate.

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We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  We close with a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards

ppdkindness

Preschool Playdate: Kindness

Play date: October 6, 2016
Theme: Kindness (in honor of World Smile Day on October 7, 2016)

— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme: what are actions that show kindness?
— Storytime: Knuffle Bunny
— Unsquiggle activity: Kindness Spider Web
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers: The More We Get Together
— Centers | Free play
— Closing

Kindness Spider Web Game from BrightHubEducation.com:

“Have your group sit in a circle on the floor. Take a large ball of yarn and give the end of the yarn to the first child. Have this child roll the ball to another child and say one nice thing to that child. Then, this child rolls the ball of yarn to the next child and gives praise.

Now, make sure all children hold onto the yarn when it comes to them. After the game is finished, show the children how they are entwined in a spider web of yarn – everyone is connected to one another and has shown kindness.”

STORY TIME
Mo Willems is one of our favorite authors. This series is set in Brooklyn, NY, one of the Burroughs in one of our favorite cities.
This is the story of a preschool-age Trixie learning and her favorite bunny toy. It lends itself well to the theme of kindness and what kind actions are, as opposed to unkind. Both are evident through the course of the story.

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LITERACY CENTER
“K” sound box – the “K” sounds in our box were kangaroo, key, killer whale, kitty, and koala. The other items were thrown is as decoys so the children could say yes or no to the beginning sounds and decide whether or not they went in the sound box.
I really debated using the “killer” whale since our theme was “kindness” last week. Thankfully the kiddos (and parents!) gave me a pass and none of them voiced an objection.

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This was an activity for the older children from Enchanted Learning. The older siblings of the preschoolers enjoyed this reading/match activity, and the preschoolers just like writing with the dry-erase markers even if they can’t read.

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MATH CENTER
There were lots of different ways to play at this center last week…
Level 1: Identify the numbers and put them in order using the cards, foam numbers or magnet numbers.
Level 2: Match the cards ~ numbered cards to picture cards or cards to number manipulatives
Level 3: Memory game ~ turn the cards over and have the children find the matching cards.

These are cards that I printed with pictures from the Internet. I specifically chose images that represented children of different ages and skin tones. I feel as if normalizing variety in shape, size and color is part of teaching kindness.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
This was another activity that leant itself to the idea, “we are all the same and we are all different”. Some of the children put their thumbprints on our card, so they could see everyone has finger prints. Then we could point out how although each print is different, every human can benefit from kindness.

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
We took paper chain dolls to the next level with markers and stickers. Although each doll was the same shape, the children had the opportunity to personalize each cut-out. The lesson here was, “we are all the same and we are all different”.

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We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  We close with a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards.

Come back next week to see the “Teddy Bear” Playdate we are having today in honor of Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day.  We are modifying it to “Take Your Teddy Bear to Playdate Day”.

See you next Thursday!  Thanks for stopping by. :)

ppdhats

Preschool Playdate: Hat Day

We are back with “sneak peaks” into our daily activities!  One of our favorite days of the week is Thursday, when we host Preschool Playdates for our alumni families.

Our first playdate for the 2016-2017 school year fell on the celebration of “Hat Day” on September 15th. We had lots of fun exploring around hats and the letter “H”.

STORY TIME
Harry’s Hats, by Ann Tompert, illustrations Marcelo Elizalde
I picked this book because of it’s obvious tie-in to our theme. I also like it because it helps teach the days of the week.  We follow the main character, Harry, through a week where he wears different hats and enjoys different activities.

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LITERACY CENTER
This week we kept it simple.  I put out mini-whiteboards and dry erase markers so that the Sweet Peas could explore writing.

We also had this “H” sound box for the children to play with different toys that either showed the letter H or started with the letter H.  The items included: handbag, hair bows, headband, and horses. Other great “h” words: house, hippo, hydrant – we didn’t have small toys to represent those!

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MATH CENTER + IMAGINATIVE PLAY
We used hats for imaginative play, counting, and sorting

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ARTS+CRAFTS
Craft hat and magnet play!

We upcycled some oversize coloring pages the kiddos had outgrown, then we folded the colored papers into hats! They enjoyed wearing the points in front and on the side.
You can also use the letters to teach sounds and upper case and lower case, as well as reinforcing the theme.

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paperhatInstructions from http://www.hittyprintmini.julieoldcrow.com/camp/camp2005.htm

We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  We close with a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards.

Next week: Fall Fun!!

spfsept15

Thoughtful Thursday: Who is your clan?

As our family continues to move through this season of flux, something occurred to me…if we move across the country, I am losing my clan.  My call text-at-the-spur-of-the-moment crew.  My people who I can reach out to with no notice, and they show up for me.  As I would show up for them.

I have two aunts who live on our end of the metro area who are pretty reliable if they are in town.  I have a whole crew of dance moms at the dance studio who help keep an eye on the kids if we have errands to run instead of sitting at the studio to wait for our kiddos. There are a few former birth students we are privileged to call friends.  I haven’t had to call on them yet; I imagine if we did, they would help us out.

Then there are my birth people. These incredible (mostly) women who I can call or text when I have questions about anything. Whether it’s an answer I need for class or a situation I’m seeing at a birth, they are there and they answer back almost immediately.  A lot of the time it’s a crazy-time of day text to clarify a finer point of breastfeeding or hospital care to make sure that my words are informative without crossing the line of giving advice that I am not licensed to give.

Connections of family, common geography, or common interest that we take for granted…it literally just hit me that we would have to start all over in a new city if we move. We do not have the amount of family there that we do here, they are not close to where we would live, we would literally be strangers to everyone.

I had to go back and think about how we built our clan of support here in this area.  Family is built in – which is such a lovely way to live – hurrah for family.

As for the rest, the dance studio moms we have known for upwards of eight years since our Puma started dancing, and slowly as the other get involved and we figure out which families are sticking around, we get to know them as well.  Thanks to social media and texting, we are in touch with those that we can trade “let me know if my child needs anything” help with when we need to run an errand.

Aside from the community we have formed through teaching, the library was another place we found families that would go on to become friends.  I guess we’ll be going to the library a lot if we move.

As I put my thinking cap on to think of other ways to build a new clan if we move: I will have to seek out the local La Leche League meeting, see if there are any doula groups that meet-up on a regular basis, and see if anyone is hosting birth circles or birth story sharing groups.

The thought of starting over as a childbirth educator is a little daunting.  We know several midwives in the area now, and we have a good working relationship with a couple obstetric practices, and we know lots of good providers for all the things that are not in our scope as childbirth educators.

And now for true confession time:
As nervous as it made me, I loved performing on stage.  I could put on make up, put on my costume, and assume a persona. I knew no one else out there knew my routine and that they would admire me as a performer.  Once the music started, I knew my routine and I just went out there and enjoyed the moment.

Meeting new people in a new group does not involve music. It does not involve stage makeup or costumes or performing. It requires me to take a risk and put my true self out in front of others – and we all just want to be loved. It makes me vulnerable in a way that brings out my inner eight-year-old: “what if they don’t like me?”

So today’s realization is that I need to start getting used to the idea of meeting new people and starting over just in case we are really moving across the country. I think that the purpose of finding our new clan will be a good motivation to do some mindful meditation and build up my self-esteem: I am loved, I am lovable, and I radiate love.  Maybe a little crazy.

BUT worth it – because if we move, our children are going to be in the same boat. I need to be able to be a good example for them so that they can go out there with confidence…as they say, I need to” fake it until you make it” so that I set a good example. I will have to be honest and tell them that I am nervous…I don’t want to be fake to the point of creating an expectation that our children find unrealistic.

So here I go, boldly forward with a new focus for meditation. Whether we move or not, bathing my mind with loving intentions will ultimately benefit the four little people I love the most. And that is always worth it.

 

SPFSept1

Thoughtful Thursday: Sorting Through

As we continue to unpack, I dread the fact that we still have LOTS of boxes in our garage. On top of all those boxes, we have LOTS MORE boxes in storage.

It’s stuff.  Literally just stuff. Holiday decorations. Cherished baby items and favorite outfits from when our sweet peas were little.  Toys.  And papers. And old artwork. All of it reminding me that we have too much, I keep too much. I have so much to release.  Especially: books!!!

As I was moving things around today to clear some space in the garage, I found a laundry basket full of books…and I have to face the fact that there is literally no more shelf space for them.  (I cannot buy another bookcase!! Where would I put it?!?!)

We are bursting at the seams in our home – I don’t want to bring anything else inside.  Right now, everything has a spot. Nothing is piled up or so full that I can’t easily put it away in the right place…but there are still boxes.

So now I have to decide: am I going to let things go? Or am I going to insist on holding on?

It almost feels like a metaphor for our children. As we are in the midst of the 64-day span in which we celebrate the birthdays of our 3 younger sweet peas, I am struck by the fact that they are *really* all growing up.  Our “baby” is turning five this year…she is in kindergarten!!  We are only six years away from our oldest going off to college…and she is making noises about wanting to try out for a performing arts school next year.  I hear a rustle in our little nest…

They are all stretching their wings and getting ready to fly.  It makes me take inventory of what we are teaching them…will they be equipped? Will they have the confidence to spread their wings? Will they know how to do critical thinking?  Will they have the courage to do what is right instead of doing that which is most convenient or gratifying?  Sometimes those things intersect; and when they don’t, will they be able to live with their choices?

So here I sit…wondering.  Wondering what will become of the pile of boxes.  Wondering how our sweet peas will grow.  I hope and pray that they will grow and mature in their faith and self-esteem, knowing that they are loved.

Letting go…holding on…the art of living a meaningful life. The inspiration continues to choose and lead with love. My filter is the question, “Am I living love right now?” If I am, we go onwards. If I am not, it’s time to adjust an attitude, a voice, a tone…and live with love, nurture with love, grow with love; trusting that the end result is going to be greater than I can imagine.