Pumpkin Patch

We had lots of fun at Lakeview Farms.  Thanks to all the drivers!  It was a beautiful misty morning.  My husband, Doug, enjoyed coming along.  It was exciting to be able to pick out a pumpkin and then run through the hay maze.  We rode the boat out and took the train back.  No one was TOO scared.  Just scared enough!

 

 

 

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the way we think about “struggling”

I woke up to this amazing story on NPR.  I hope you can find time to read the transcript or listen to it.  

 
It emphasizes that the way we think about struggling with difficulty has some serious implications for our children in their learning.
 
http://m.npr.org/news/front/164793058
 
At Chrysalis we often encourage children to choose the “more challenging” puzzle.  And when they struggle to do something, we give them the time it takes.  
 
Sometimes it is the simplest thing.  “I need a pencil.”  Often it is easier to jump up and get something for a child, but we give them the opportunity to find it on their own.
 
Or during a conflict we allow the children to come up with solutions instead of “being the authority” and telling them what is going to happen.  “What do you think we should do about this?”  “I don’t know”  “We have time for you to think about it.”
 
If we can impress on our children that learning takes place during struggle, that it takes hard work to figure things out, that being “good at something” is the result of working and practicing rather than being “smart” we have prepared them for the journey that is life.
 

November 1

We had a great morning but we missed a few friends who had too much Halloween and stayed home for the morning!

While we were outside Kennedy and Mary were kicking the soccer ball around with Chris but wanted to protect Herman.  So they built him a little protective wall with some cones.  So adorable!  

 

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Lewis and Nina and Lily and I played a fun, spontaneous game of “guess the animal”.  We opened to a page in our wildlife book and then gave clues to the others who would guess the animal.  It is tricky playing with 3 and 4 year olds because some of the clues were “has three ears”  (a kangaroo) or three legs and can be green, brown or black (an octopus.) but fun all the same!

 

Chrysalis has a few openings

The hardest thing about running a successful, small preschool is that we often have to turn down some wonderful families and children.  There just isn’t room for everyone.  I sometimes meet people years later who remember me from Chrysalis and tell me “We didn’t get in.”  It is a terrible feeling!

One year I had to send 45 letters to people who we just did not have room for.  (That is the year I quit advertising.)  Chrysalis is small.  It is not because the children weren’t wonderful or I thought the parents wouldn’t fit in.  It has always been about numbers and trying to balance the class with enough 3, 4 and 5 year olds and some boys and some girls.

This year we DO have some openings.  Partly because of a lot of graduates last spring, partly because of the economy, and partly because there are more choices out there than ever before.

So tell your friends.  If they are looking for a nurturing school with experienced, professional teachers and a beautiful classroom, have them look at the web site and give us a call.

http://www.chrysalishomeschool.com  503 287 8481

Halloween Candy and how do we deal with it?

There are lots of good ideas about how to deal with all the goodies collected during trick or treat.  Some parents tell their child they can eat all they want after they get home and then the candy disappears overnight.  Some parents dole out one piece a day until it is gone.  Some people introduce yet another imaginary character into their child’s life and leave the candy outside the bedroom door for the sugar fairy who leaves a toy in its place.

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Which is best?  It is up to the parents.  I think getting in the habit of a piece of candy a day is not something we want to start with children so young.  I like the idea of trading it for a toy, but it puts mom and dad in danger of eating it all. I say enjoy it!  Let your child see what it feels like to eat too much candy.  Everyone warns about a tummy ache.  Who knows if it is real or just a mommy myth?

Enjoy Halloween.  It is a magical thing to be able to walk up to stranger’s houses and they open their doors and give you candy!  Be safe.

And PLEASE no candy before school in the morning!

Originally posted on Chrysalis Parenting:

Today we talked a little about voting.  We voted for our favorite apple.  At snack time everyone got a slice of a granny smith green apple, a golden delicious yellow apple, and a gala red apple.  They also got some crackers and a ballot in their bowl.

After they tasted their apples, the idea was they would mark their favorite apple and then fold it up and put it in the ballot box.  Here is what we noticed:  Some children knew which one they wanted to vote for before they ever tasted their apples.  Some wanted to vote without having snack.  Some loved folding up their ballot but forgot to mark it.  Some kids said they didn’t want to vote.  All things that happen in elections all the time!  We will continue to have some opportunities for children to vote in the next few weeks.  I hope all of you…

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October 29th

What does Halloween mean for preschool children?  It is a time of ambivalence for many.  They kind of like to be scared and look at the scary things, but on the other hand they are SCARED!  At Chrysalis we make it a little bit spooky but not too spooky.

The skeleton family moved into the doll house and it is fun for the children to be able to move these bendable toys around and put them into bed or the bathtub.  We also have a few new plush toys out that children can hold and play with.  The problem with many of the scary decorations that children see this time of year is that they are just for looking at and, thus, much more scary than something children can manipulate.

Playdough has been full of pumpkins and ghosts!  the children love pounding golf tees into a pumpkin and today our oranges for snack looked like little pumpkins.

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With lots of pictures of costumes in our collage activity, the children can start to see what it means to be in a costume.  We have heard from many of them what they will be wearing on Halloween, but when the day comes, it is still overwhelming sometimes to see your friends and teachers look so different.

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There are lots of wonderful stories and books about trick or treating and Joan has written some wonderful songs that we have been singing together.  Hope to see you all on Wednesday for our party.  We will not have lunch at school that day (except for the children who stay for the afternoon.)  We will eat a substantial snack in the morning before the festivities begin.

Today we voted again.  This time “Should we go to the Park?”  or “Play in the back yard?”.  It was a tie.  Which is more–3 or 3?  3!   So we voted again and again had a tie, so we called in the tiebreaker, Joan, who settled it and we went to the park.

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October 26

Today we talked a little about voting.  We voted for our favorite apple.  At snack time everyone got a slice of a granny smith green apple, a golden delicious yellow apple, and a gala red apple.  They also got some crackers and a ballot in their bowl.

After they tasted their apples, the idea was they would mark their favorite apple and then fold it up and put it in the ballot box.  Here is what we noticed:  Some children knew which one they wanted to vote for before they ever tasted their apples.  Some wanted to vote without having snack.  Some loved folding up their ballot but forgot to mark it.  Some kids said they didn’t want to vote.  All things that happen in elections all the time!  We will continue to have some opportunities for children to vote in the next few weeks.  I hope all of you are doing your part by voting!

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By the way, it was a close race.  Golden Delicious got 5 votes and the other two each got 4.

For Solja’s birthday today we ate popsicles at outside time.  And Solja carried the earth around the sun THREE times!  Hurrah.

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October 25, 2012

Today we talked a little about voting.  We voted for our favorite apple.  At snack time everyone got a slice of a granny smith green apple, a golden delicious yellow apple, and a gala red apple.  They also got some crackers and a ballot in their bowl.

After they tasted their apples, the idea was they would mark their favorite apple and then fold it up and put it in the ballot box.  Here is what we noticed:  Some children knew which one they wanted to vote for before they ever tasted their apples.  Some wanted to vote without having snack.  Some loved folding up their ballot but forgot to mark it.  Some kids said they didn’t want to vote.  All things that happen in elections all the time!  We will continue to have some opportunities for children to vote in the next few weeks.  I hope all of you are doing your part by voting!

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By the way, it was a close race.  Golden Delicious got 5 votes and the other two each got 4.

For Solja’s birthday today we ate popsicles at outside time.  And Solja carried the earth around the sun THREE times!  Hurrah.

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October 25, 2012

What is reading?   Often parents tell me that their child is “pretending to read.”  “Really she has just memorized it.”  When I was in graduate school we read a book about children learning to read called “Reading is only the tiger’s tail.”  We learned that there are so many different components to reading.  Sounding out words phonetically is only a very tiny part of reading.  So much of it is memorizing, predicting, and remembering.

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This is why often when we read stories to children we may leave out a last rhyming word and allow them to predict or guess what it is.  Or after a story, we may turn back to a page and ask if they remember what happened on this page.  Pictures are great clues, as are the words themselves, whether children are reading or not.  When we have a song or chant that is also a picture story book, it is wonderful for the children to sit alone and read it to themselves.  I almost put “read” in quotation marks, but, really, it is reading even when they are not deciphering individual letters and words.

Children often want to hear the same story over and over.  This is a great opportunity for memory work and for them to really digest a story so that they can master its telling.  Children who love to read and be read to are learning so much more than “sounding things out” or “sight reading.”  They are learning story-telling and creative word-play.

 

From Joan:  Several of the songs I’ve been singing with the children are counting songs.  In “Way up high in the apple tree”, we count DOWNWARDS as the apples disappear.  Using the same melody, I’ve made up rhymes about disappearing pumpkins, leaves and ghosts, too.  Besides being fun to sing, these songs increase manual dexterity and muscle control as the children hold up the correct number of fingers for each verse.  Lately some children have discovered that there’s more than one way to hold up 3 fingers!  This is a good fine motor exercise as well as a good opportunity for young children to wrap their heads around the concept of number constancy.

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In another song, appropriate to the rainy weather, we cound UPWARDS as “The ants go marching” in increasing numbers.  As I started to sing the second verse about the ants go marching two by two today, someone told met that I had forgotten 3.  Ah Ha!  Different song, different mathematical operation.

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