Friday, September 28, 2012


We are learning a REALLY big word this week in preschool: deciduous! Deciduous means a tree that loses its leaves once a year. Kids love learning new words, even hard ones. It makes them feel so smart to use this word and show off to others. We are learning the word deciduous this week because we are learning about fall. We started our 4 Seasons exploration last month by learning about summer. We sing our seasons song each day after we talk about the weather, to help them remember. Here's more videos about deciduous:

This week in school, we will go camping in dramatic play, make fall leaf art for our class tree and to bring home, taste different types of apples, and go on a nature walk. We'll be recording our observations in our journals too. We'll also be making patterns with fall things like squirrels, nuts, and leaves.
Help your children explore fall by pointing out the wonderful changes that are happening in our neighborhood right now! Go on a leaf hunt and compare and contrast the leaves you find. Search for other signs of fall like migrating geese in the sky, cool weather, and pumpkins!
Also, we're integrating a lot of math this week with sorting and patterns this week. These are usually easy concepts to review with your kids, because they can be done with anything! Sort laundry, groceries, or toys as part of every day chores. Make a pattern with blocks, and ask your child what comes next. See if they can make a pattern for you!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Grocery Store

I think the grocery store is my favorite dramatic play to set up. Probably because it's my favorite to watch! I did it in Kindergarten every year when we learned about money, and I loved looking over to see the kids pushing a full cart, purse on their shoulder, talking on a cell phone and complaining that the baby in the cart wouldn't stop crying. They love to imitate real life! That's one of the reasons to have dramatic play in any early-childhood classroom. They need the opportunity for real-play, where they imitate the things they see each day. Here are some things we learned today at the grocery store:

  • How to take turns. I did spend much of the day sitting next to the register, helping the kids share it and take turns and that's fine with me. When I wasn't there, I heard them reminding each other to take turns. They did pretty well. The only meltdown was my own child. I'm so proud.
  • Counting. They counted how many items they had, and how much money they had (at least how many bills, not the right $ amount of course).
  • Sorting. As the shelves emptied after most of the food was purchased, I helped them sort it out to what type of food it was, and find the sign that showed where the food went.
  • Literacy. The store is full of labels. Since they can't read yet, the labels also have a picture. But I made it a point to show and read the word to them, so they knew what it said as they were putting the food away. This is a pre-reading skill, where they are learning that words have meaning. It's the reason we have words everywhere in our room! I try to add literacy like this in every dramatic play center. And did you know that reading environmental print (labels on food boxes or signs) is also reading? It's often the first things kids learn to read. It makes them feel smart when you point out that they read it too. And confidence makes for a better reader!
  • Writing. They took their grocery list writing very seriously! I could hear them asking each other what they wanted from the store when they were in the kitchen area, then write it down, and run over to the store to buy it. We ended up with some great lists at the end of today. It may look like scribbles, but it's words to a 3-year-old and one step closer to learning how to write.
  • Responsibility and cleaning up. When clean up time rolls around, kids mysteriously disappear to other centers to play more. I gathered up the group who had played here the most today and they did a great job cleaning up in time for snack. We're getting quicker at this each day!
How to make your own grocery store:
  • Save your garbage. Yep, I'm cheap. So I make my own groceries, using my groceries. I wrapped my boxes in packing tape and have used them through 3 years of Kinder, and now preschool and they're still in great shape. I have probably thrown some away, but it was just garbage anyway! A co-worker of mine bought the Lakeshore set of grocery food and one year I combined it with mine in my store. The kids never touched it. I think because they couldn't read what it was, and since it wasn't the "real" stuff, they didn't recognize the environmental print they can read. So, the garbage was better.
  • This is what I'd like to do someday with it. Modge Podge my food boxes onto wood blocks. I love Pinterest!
  •  Make shelves. Use shelves you have, use storage boxes like I did-I also had extra shelves from my bookshelf to put across the boxes.  Just use your resources and lay out your food somehow. In Kinder, I'd use the overhead cart and all sorts of things. You can see it doesn't look exactly like a store, but their imaginations fill in our gaps!
  • Labels. Add literacy! I got my grocery store labels, plus shopping lists, years ago at a conference. It's not hard to make your own, though. Google image. Favorite resource. Shopping lists and pencils also add literacy.
  • Buy fake money. Dollar Tree. 1 pack is plenty, or money is all over!
  • Save fake credit cards from junk mail. Chase Bank and American Express use their money to provide my students with fake credit cards and I'm very grateful!
  • Save old purses and wallets. I even save my broken or torn ones and they get used. I save old cell phones and sunglasses and other things to put in the purses too, just anything adults would carry around!
  • Buy a cash register. Mine was only about $15 at Target a few years ago and has been used and abused and is still in great shape. It even has a belt that moves the food along. Fancy Shmancy. This is a great purchase because it can be used in many different dramatic play areas!
  • Buy a shopping cart and baskets. This was another Target purchase and it came with some food too. The hand baskets came from Dollar Tree and I use them for many things, so another great purchase!
  • Stock with play food too. Food boxes are great, but I also add my produce, meat, and bakery items. Just like a real store!

The grocery store and housekeeping area were set up today because we are learning about families. After getting turns to stand in front of the class last week and talk about themselves on both days, they were so excited to get up today! They each shared their pictures and named the people in their family. We also talked about the word sibling and watched a short clip from a Sesame Street podcast about the word sibling. As they drew pictures of their families in their journals, a few of them pointed out their siblings to me and used our new vocabulary word!

Wednesday, we'll be making people patterns (boy, girl, boy, etc.). Explore patterns at home by making and having your child finish a pattern. We'll be doing lots of this at preschool over the next few weeks and it's a great math skill!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

All about me and families!

We wrapped up a great All About Me week yesterday by sharing our stars with each other. I'm thrilled your kids enjoyed their "homework" and they really enjoyed hearing me read them out loud. Preschoolers sure love to talk about, and hear about, themselves!
They are really blossoming and coming out of their shells so quickly. After the first day, when I got a lot of blank stares during singing and story time, I was a little worried about some of the large group activities I had planned and thought maybe we needed to make things a bit simpler. But, I think they're ready for more! They've gotten over their initial shyness, and are already catching onto our daily routine and schedule. They've done much better in large group time, and enjoy singing, dancing, and hearing stories. I can already see huge growth, and it's only been 3 weeks of preschool!
Next week is family week, so remember to send pictures with your child to show off. They sure loved showing off their pictures of themselves and their stars, so I'm excited to see them show off their families!
I'm spending today getting October planned and you'll be getting calendars next week, so watch for those in your child's backpack!

Monday, September 17, 2012

All About Me!

Today we celebrated ourselves, and kids love talking about themselves! We read a book called I am Confident and talked about all the great things we can do, that make us feel confident and proud about ourselves. They even each took a turn to stand in front of the class and share something they can do that makes them proud. We all clapped (they loved that) and then drew those great things we can do in our journals.
There are so many ways we can build our children's confidence, by praising them and pointing out the wonderful things they do each day. I know the phrase, I can do it myself, gets old, but this is a great age of independence and celebrating with your child the things they can do, all by themselves.
We're big Sesame Street fans at our house, mostly because I passed on my love for it to my daughter. This song has been on my mind this week and wanted to play it today, but we ran out of time. Hopefully Wednesday. You can share it with your child at home too and share what makes them who they are! Here's a link for other great ideas on building self confidence in your child.

Check it out on for many more encouraging videos of fun songs, and kids talking about all the things they can do by themselves. I look forward to celebrating your child's accomplishments all year!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


This week we are talking about the 4 seasons, more specifically, summer. We have a beach in dramatic play this week, and the kids really enjoyed playing with the fish in the pool. My little one enjoyed "swimming" with her goggles on as I got it ready. And you'll probably see a lot of her on the blog, as she's always tagging along as I get ready....and I'm not entirely comfortable posting pics of other people's children on the web. You're welcome. She's pretty spoiled to have the playroom she does.

I love having books in dramatic play! When I was student teaching at USU, we were challenged to have a book in every self-selected play area that tied into the theme. It was AMAZING how much the kids loved to read these books as they played. It really brought literacy into our classroom, besides just having a reading center and a story with large group. This worked on Monday too! The kids saw the books and asked what they were. I said they were about oceans, since we were at the beach. They asked me to read them, and soon all the kids were sitting around me, listening to the story. Then they were off to play again. It's like a teacher's dream when something works out like that!

We also made green leaves for our tree after going outside to see what colors the leaves are in the summer. They loved painting and stamping their hands!

 The concept of seasons is difficult for preschoolers to grasp, as time isn't tangible. In fact, I've read research that shows that kids don't understand time (months, days, years, today, yesterday, etc.) until about age 7. But that doesn't mean we don't introduce the concepts and vocabulary now. While they may not grasp that a season is a period of time, they can grasp what is happening in each season, and the order they go in. This is a great time of year (mainly because I love fall!) to point out the seasons changing with your child. Talk about what they've done all summer, what it looked like outside, and what it felt like, plus what types of clothes they could wear. You can point out the leaves changing colors on the mountain now, and find other signs of fall like colder weather and pumpkins growing. Daily weather is something kids catch onto quickly! We talked about the weather on day 1 of preschool, and as we came inside on day 2 (a little early because it was raining) one of the kids pointed out we needed to change our weather sign to "rainy." We did it right away and sang our weather song. I hope you enjoy watching the seasons change. We'll wrap up tomorrow with more fun in the sun, and revisit seasons again in October as we learn about fall.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


I added some pictures of our classroom if you go to "The Preschool" page. More to come as we add more fun things to our room!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Day of School

The first day of preschool today was great! We didn't have any tears, they were all so ready to start preschool! I took pictures of the room set-up last night and tried last night and today, but can't get them uploaded to the computer. I think my cord has gone bad, but I'll get pics up soon! I love for you to see what your kids are going to be doing each week so I'll get the problem fixed so you can see future plans.
I am especially excited about what we have planned for dramatic play next week. We're learning all about summer and the sun and we'll have a big beach in our classroom. It should be lots of fun. I'll post pics when I can!
Thanks for sharing your kiddos with me today! We really had a great day of playing together, trying to learn some new songs, and documenting our favorite things in our journals.