Monday, December 5, 2011

How do you get all those kids to go to sleep?

People are always amazed and asking the question, "How do you get all those kids to go to sleep?"
It takes a lot of routine, a lot of practice and a lot of training. And no matter what you do children are either nappers or not!  And we just hold our breath if they all fall asleep for fear of waking them!

 After lunch all the kids take turns using the bathroom as they clear.  Their next job is to collect a book and go to their mat.  After their blankets are all arranged on their mat, they are supposed to sit and read books until the lights go out!

Some of them are too tired to finish their books!

After the lights go out we listen to "story tapes" before rest.
 It has never occured to me until right now
 that it is odd that we still call them story "tapes."

Many of our friends fall asleep while concentrating on the story cd (it just doesn't have the same ring).  Next comes the naptime music, selection is based mainly on the teachers moods, but also the children's energy levels. Sometimes we get a request for particular songs by the non-sleepers who have most of the cds memorized (if your child is singing James Taylor's "Gone to Carolina" at home, we are probably responsible).

Everyone has their own sleeping arrangements. Some have their own blankets and animals. Some like to be tucked right in and others want no blankets at all.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Goodbye November!~

It has been quite awhile since I have been able to sit down and work on the blog. I am hoping that things will get back on track for December.

As many of you know this has been a very emotionally challenging month for me.  It began with the decision to become a solo teacher again, which was not an easy one.

I was able to speak to many of you two weeks ago when my family was devastated by the loss of my eighteen year old cousin to suicide. Your support and flexibility were appreciated greatly. We were able to get through the grief long enough to spend Thanksgiving as a family together. We had an amazing day filled with laughter, smiles and family.  The day after Thanksgiving my cousin was laid to rest at his burial in the morning.  That evening my grandmother passed away suddenly from heart issues.  We are grateful that we had the one last day to enjoy with her and she was so happy.  I was surprised at my strength today, being back to preschool after such a roller coaster of a weekend. I was so thankful to just be back into a routine and here with the kids.

This week is a busy one. I will be out on Wednesday for my Nana's burial. Dana and "Aunt Steph" (my sister in law) will be here with the kids.  Thursday and Friday we will be saying farewell to Ethan and Kendall, who are both expecting siblings soon!

As soon as things get settled I will begin the next round of the snack rotations, as many of you have been asking.

Thanks again for all your support and understanding as I pick myself up by my bootstraps and keep marching.  Your children are lights in my life and I find comfort just being here with them!


Friday, October 21, 2011

An Apple a Day

Here are pictures of some of the activities we did this week. We also read a lot of apple books and sang some apple songs. We read a book today about Johnny Appleseed and how he planted beautiful apple trees all across the land!  Our favorite apple songs was:

Who ate the apple from the apple tree?

____________ at the apple from the apple tree.
Who me?
Yes You?
Couldn't Be.
Then Who?
(new kid)
Did that sound familiar? :) Lots of songs at preschool are just new versions of other songs.

The pictures are in a very random order and on Friday night I lack the attention span to fix them. Here they are!

Adding oats to the apple crisp
You know apples are ripe when you can cut them with a plastic knife

Mixing (don't worry we washed our hands before)
Stamping on Apple Trees

Every tree is a little different. 
Decorating Apples

All sorts of apples (and pears)
The serious business of baking
Its impossible to take a picture around here without someone wanting to smile for the camera!
Our October pattern is Apple Apple Pear, Apple Apple Pear
Have a great weekend. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Using our OWN imaginations!

After a lot of debate and teacher discussion we have decided to create a new rule at Inch By Inch. We are now encouraging the children to use their own imaginations to come up with their own characters and play scenarios, instead of reinacting those that they have seen on television, movies or video games. This means no more of the recently popular Super Mario and Power Rangers, but also eliminates Care Bears and any other movie or show.  There has been a lot of play going on that involves weapons, hurting, but mostly leaving kids out (because they are bad guys).

We have explained to the children that these are somebody elses ideas and stories and they should create their own characters and stories.  I was a little nervous how they would react to this new rule.  Would they not know what to do with themselves? Would they get sneaky and only play these games when they thought we were not looking? 

I was pleasantly surprised with the results.  Suddenly the "bad guys" were all gone  from the playground. It was like someone zapped them away with super powers! The kids were all playing together, being friendly, using their imaginations. I had my preschoolers back! 

Stay tuned for next months superhero theme! They are very into superheroes right now!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Leaf Peeping

Last week we spent lots of time collecting and looking at leaves.  Also, singing and reading about them.  We also learned about Evergreens, which don't lose their leaves, because they stay "green for ever."

Our favorite Leaf Song:

(tune of wheels on the bus)

The leaves on the trees turn orange and brown, orange and brown, orange and brown
The leaves on the trees turn orange and brown
All around the town.

The leaves on the trees come tumbling down, tumbling down, tumbling down
The leaves on the trees come tumbling down all around the town!

More verses
The leaves on ground go swish swish swish

Helping Dana
Looks at this one

Sorting and Classifying

Memory Match

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Tires

The tires were one of the first things added to our playground.  Three simple tires buried upright into the ground. What an amazing piece of equiptment!  These provide kids with opportunities to feel tall, brave, nervous, challenged, patient, strong, cooperative, imaginative, and the list could go on and on.

It has always amazed Dana and I how each child approaches the tires very differently.  It is also fascinating to watch their approach change each time they encounter them.  Sometimes the children will go weeks and not even go near the tires, but when they are rediscovered, they go wild!
Most kids begin by climbing up onto one tire and then back down the other side, than repeat over all three tires.  Next with some encouragement they try stepping from one tire to the next.  Once they have mastered them they usually jump from tire to tire and just run full speed across all three, with an amazing jump finale.

Children who think they can't do it, just need a simple hand to hold. I noticed my hand was more for security than actually balance or support.  I started having another child hold the hand of the less confident. It worked. Not only did it build confidence in the balancing child but also the helper!

Very rarely have I seen a child crawl through them or kick a ball through them no matter how many times I try to encourage them.  They just want to be bigger, taller, stronger and faster. Kids need the challenge and the feeling of danger and flying.

Two links to more information on the benefits of risk taking:
50 Dangerous Things: I book I plan to read, but have to admit I haven't yet!

New York Times: Can A Playground Be Too Safe?

Experienced: Less Fear

I think I can.... I think I can


Giddyup Horsie

Slow and Steady

Just because you are younger doesn't mean you can't help!

The Landing
Backwards Jump
I can fly!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Our Fall Tree

Today we started creating a fall tree for the wall. First we glued torn up brown paper to a trunk. The other group colored the top of the tree with crayons (they got to scribble!)

After this stage we switched groups and the trunk got painted with brushes and brown paint. The top was painted with orange, green and yellow.

By the end we decided it would just be easier to use our hands!

The large motions we were doing with our arms really helped work on some of those large muscles. With all this rain we have been needing an outlet.

This project will continue Thursday. Although hopefully we will also get some outside time!

The picture of the dirty sink: Almost all the kids wanted to know why the water was brown... So I answered "why do you think the water is brown?"  They had great answers!