First week of fall 2017

We had a great first week.  We started off with a rough day of bad air quality and ash covered yard so we stayed inside all morning.  Only the second time that I can remember in 30 years of Chrysalis!  But the winds shifted and we were able to enjoy the yard after that!

The kids have had fun getting to know each other.  They played games, built trains, played with play dough, tried some challenging puzzles, painted and made some delicious cakes in the mud pie area.  Teachers read stories, helped children with conflicts, kissed some owies, sang and danced.  Our regular substitute teacher, Lisa, came yesterday to get to know the children.

Also we went to the park yesterday.  That was different!  The kids had to wear shoes!  And pinnies!  At the park the Chrysalis kids are all in yellow pinnies to make it easy for the teachers to do regular head counts.  In the pictures you will see that another preschool has red pinnies.

We had one very hectic morning with too many adults in the classroom and a visitor who was telling children what to do (it helped in that now I have written up guidelines for visiting professionals in the classroom!)

Mostly it has been a great transition for the kids.  Some of the children who cried because they didn’t want to sit and eat lunch are now eating.  Kids are figuring out how to choose activities.  They are doing their jobs from the job chart.  Children who are not used to being with a whole group of children are navigating their way.  They ate cherry tomatoes and grapes straight from the vines. By the end of the week almost everyone sat on circle with us for a little bit!  Our fish died so we got to bury it in the back yard and sing a song and talk about death.

So much in a week!


Here are some photos of our fun!



Chrysalis Kids 2017

Here are the people in our class this year.  You can print this out and make a little book or post it on the wall.  See how many names your child knows!working_on_robot


Nicholas 2





Honey Bear













































Obstacle Courses

The children have been having fun with obstacle courses at Chrysalis recently.  We have been building structures with the pipes to crawl through and over and under.  We have been setting up cones to run around and to dribble around with the soccer ball.  Sometimes we stretch a rope across two cones and practice jumping!

Some children like to challenge themselves by walking sideways or backwards on the balance beam or raising up the rope.  Some children watch for two or three days before they even take a turn.  When someone needs help jumping from a stool, another child offers a hand to help.

The children help to prepare the course by pumping up the soccer ball and lining up the cones and hoops.

Our back yard with all the moveable pieces becomes infinite in its possibilities!IMG_1832 IMG_1833 IMG_1834 IMG_1835 IMG_1837 IMG_1838 IMG_7454 IMG_7456 IMG_7457 IMG_7458 IMG_7459 IMG_7461 IMG_7462 IMG_7464 IMG_7465 IMG_7466 IMG_7467 IMG_7468 IMG_7469 IMG_7470 IMG_7471 IMG_7472 IMG_7474 IMG_7475 IMG_7476 IMG_7483 IMG_7484 IMG_7485 IMG_1840 IMG_1842 IMG_1845 IMG_1846 IMG_1849 IMG_1850 IMG_1851 IMG_1852 IMG_1853 IMG_1855 IMG_1856 IMG_1857 IMG_1858 IMG_1859 IMG_1860 IMG_1861 IMG_1862 IMG_1863 IMG_1864 IMG_1865 IMG_1866 IMG_1867 IMG_1868 IMG_1869 IMG_1870 IMG_1881 IMG_1882 IMG_1883 IMG_1885 IMG_1886 IMG_1888 IMG_1889 IMG_1890 IMG_1891

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!







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.
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!  




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.  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.



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!

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.









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.



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.