Joy

What started out as junk mail, bills, unneeded documents and other various papers created an insane amount of joy this week at Good News Preschool.  It was so simple, and yet so genius…unwanted papers that were put through the shredder were saved up, then dumped in the foyer for the sole purpose of allowing children utter freedom.  For 15 minutes both Thursday and Friday, children in each class were allowed to throw paper.  Yep, that’s it.  They could toss paper in the air, dump it on each other and their teachers, roll around on the floor in it, and jump up and down in piles of it.

So why was this such a big deal?  Because for 15 minutes the kids experienced some of the very best parts of being kids (shhh…actually so did the teachers!).  That is, they played.  As each class took their turn going nuts in the piles of paper shreds, the squeals of joy were simply contagious.

I think we forget to do some of these incredibly simple but powerful activities in our daily lives.  It is at the core of our emotional health to take time for laughing, even shouting for joy in the simple act of having fun.  There’s a lot we can learn from these kids playing in the “snow.”  We don’t necessarily have to buy the expensive toys, pay for expensive outings, or travel to an exotic destination.  We have the power to feel the most exhilarating of emotions by doing something as simple as playing with confetti.

So the next time you shred that boring bank statement, take a moment to appreciate that if you wanted to, you could take a fistful of those shreds, toss them in the air and dance around with your kids.  🙂

Happy New Year (and Decade!)

We are so excited to start off 2020 with a whole bunch of preschool fun!  Classrooms have been bursting with energy as the children share the excitement of seeing each other and their teachers again after the break.

It is always amusing to me that we talk about snow in January, which of course is a part of winter, but is a rather abstract concept for us here in Austin, Texas.  In order to give our children the best “snow experience” we can, we read books, create art, and then next week we will play in what we call TEXAS SNOW (paper shreds).  It is one of our favorite times of the year as we let the children make a huge mess in the foyer tossing “snow” in the air, making “snow angels” and just having a general good time.

There will certainly be an onslaught of photos coming late next week from our Texas Snowstorm, but in the meantime, here are some photos from around the school on our first couple of days:

‘Tis the Season

The Christmas season is in full swing at the preschool!  Every direction you look you’ll see holiday crafts, stories and activities.  We love getting to retell and celebrate the story of Jesus’ birth all month long with our students through many different mediums.

Mrs. Jen’s class is busy making stockings and trees, which require the use of fine motor skills and the practice of following directions.

Today in Mrs. Jan’s class the focus was on gingerbread houses.  The class learned about recycling as they turned trash into treasure.  These gingerbread houses allowed the students to have fun painting, gluing and expressing their creativity.

Mrs. Crystal’s class was busy creating beautiful ornaments to decorate their own trees at home.  These treasured works of art create a sense of pride in each student.  When these ornaments eventually get to go home, each child will look at it hanging on their tree and know that they were able to make something beautiful to add to the celebration of the season.

If you haven’t seen Mrs. Roxanne’s bulletin board, you must stop by!  It displays a nativity scene with some very special people standing in for our biblical characters.  Through this display and through her class activities, Mrs. Roxanne is helping each child understand the wonder and glory of Jesus’ birth.

Mrs. Mary and Mrs. Anna’s classes are bustling at center time with ALL things Christmas.  You’ll see sensory bins filled with ornaments, bells, and garland.  You’ll see children painting gingerbread houses, designing their own personalized gingerbread men, “making cookies” with gingerbread dough, coloring Christmas pictures, and much more.  And of course through it all the children are practicing independence, self-expression, cooperation, and fine motor skills.

If you want to get in the spirit of the holidays, there is simply no better place to do so than in the halls of our precious preschool!

Little Turkeys

Our precious little turkeys are very busy learning all about Fall and Thanksgiving.  Our Pre-K class has been studying Native Americans and Pilgrims, as well as using their reading and math skills to make pumpkin pie in a cup, and exploring all things corn!  Our younger classes have created turkeys, had mini Thanksgiving feasts, and read lots of wonderful Thanksgiving books.  As a school we have created our “Thankful Tree” in the hallway by listing so many things for which we are grateful.

We wish all of our families a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  We are grateful for YOU!

 

Happy Veterans Day

Our oldest two classes took on a special project this morning.  They took cards they had made to bless the veterans at The Springs Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

This opportunity for the children to demonstrate acts of appreciation is something that makes our school very special.  We love that we are in such close proximity to a nursing home so that we can learn how to bless the residents there.

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Sink or Float

We are having a blast with science this year.  Not only do the teachers provide fun and engaging weekly science experiments with the children; this year we’ve added in visits with “Scientist Suzi.”  Last Friday Scientist Suzi talked about density with the children and we experimented density by both layering liquids as well as trying out solid objects in water.

Just as it is important for children to have concrete “play” social experiences so that they can process and practice real world interactions, it is important for them to play with science as well.  They need opportunities to make predictions and then test their predictions.  Sink and float games are a perfect way to practice this concept.  While it will be many years later before they truly understand density and mass distribution, simply making guesses and “playing” in their preschool years will give them concrete experiences to reference when they engage in advanced learning later on in their lives.

Crossing the Midline

Crossing Midline

Try counting while touching your nose with alternating hands.  Count again while standing on one leg.  Try it one more time while reaching across to touch your opposite toes.

In Mrs. Roxanne’s class the kids do this because it’s fun.  What they don’t know is that activities that work on crossing the midline actually help them with reading among other things!  In order to eventually become a strong reader, our eyes track across the midline as we read.  If we have not practiced motor skills that cross the midline it will make it much more difficult to become successful readers.

Standing on one leg is an important balance activity that is a precursor to more advanced gross motor activities such as galloping, skipping, and stair negotiation.

You’ll see Mrs. Roxanne do a lot of these activities in her class and much more.  To learn more about our wonderful Mrs. Roxanne, check out the latest podcast episode: