Archives by TheGardenPreschool

How Do I Love Thee…Let me Count the Ways

Learning to Count
Just as important as learning to recognize the letters of the alphabet is learning the numbers. Preschoolers need to not only understand the concept of counting by pointing and verbally counting up but also must learn the symbols that represent the numbers they are counting. Here is a great link with 5 interactive games for learning the numbers with your preschooler:
http://www.readingconfetti.com/2013/02/5-simple-games-for-teaching-number.html

Let’s get counting!

Come and Read With Us! Wednesday (5/15) at The Village Bean in Country Village

Come and Read With Us!

Wednesday (5/15) at The Village Bean in Country Village

We are beyond thrilled to be able to finally have our first meet and greet session! We are getting things done and the only thing left is for us to get a location. We are hoping to secure a space next month so that we can start setting up and scheduling tours. In the meantime, however we are going to have a fun story time/playdate/meet-and-greet at The Village Bean in Country Village in Bothell THIS coming Wednesday (5/15) at 10:00. Of course we will be promoting the preschool and getting to know interested families, but we would love for you to come out to support our business even if you aren’t in the market for a preschool. We will be reading aloud a few great spring-time stories and passing out a goodie bag (special healthy treats, preschool learning activities to go with stories, and a bookmark) for the kiddos. The Village Bean is great because your little one(s) can play with the fun toys afterward if you want to chat with us or ask questions.

As children’s book hoarders we have thousands of picture books between the two of us that we cannot wait to read to our preschoolers! We both have a passion for literacy and had the hardest time picking just a few books to read aloud. Reading aloud to children is so important as it helps them to learn fluency skills (we pause when there are certain punctuation marks, we read with a tone that matches the story, etc) and also gives you an opportunity to ask beginning comprehension questions (why do you think he did that? How do you think she is feeling?). Here are a few great lists of read-aloud books for preschoolers:

50+ Chapter Books for Preschoolers
50 Must Read Books for Preschoolers

Again, we hope you’ll come out and support us and have a great story time with your kiddos on Wednesday (5/15) at 10:00 at The Village Bean in Bothell.

Garden Letters!

Garden LettersGarden Letters

As I am currently working on teaching my son to recognize his letters while studying the current best practices for preschool literacy, I have found some very useful information that I have been able to “test”. While we have found many things that don’t work (“let’s sit down and do flashcards and workbooks!”), I have also found several activities that have helped him to improve his letter recognition. One of my favorite finds are these great stones that can be used in many hands-on learning games. How about putting them in our fabulous learning garden and doing a scavenger hunt? Another fun and active idea that I tried out yesterday (because we had an 85 degree AMAZING day here in the PNW) was a game of squirt the letters. We are working on the lowercase letters and I wrote a bunch of letters (uppercase and lowercase) on the ground with sidewalk chalk. He held his favorite garden spray bottle and when I called out a letter he had to run to it and squirt it away. It helped me to see which ones he knew and he had a blast! Having fun while learning the letters is key in keeping a preschooler engaged and building a solid conceptual foundation. We can’t wait to use these ideas and more with our kids next year!

The Early Bird Gets the Discount! 25% Off Monthly Tuition Costs

Early Bird Registration!

EarlyBirdDiscount

We are offering an early bird registration discount of 25% off your 2013-14 tuition costs!

Our Fall 2013 enrollment packet and forms can downloaded from the enrollment tab of the website or, if you would like us to mail you a hard copy of the forms we can do that as well! Either way, please check out the website and the new enrollment tab where you can download the enrollment packet. Your early bird discount will apply to the tuition costs in the enrollment packet.

REMINDER:
We know that since we don’t yet have our location available to tour, making a commitment is tough. If you like what you see on the website however, and think that The Garden Preschool would be a good fit for your child we would love for you to enroll to reserve a spot. We are not charging the $100 enrollment fee until July 2013 so that if for whatever reason you change your mind you are not obligated to stay. Of course, we have a grand vision for our preschool and feel very confident that you will LOVE it, but we want to make it low stress for you Mommies because we know that choosing a preschool is a big decision. Again, please enroll if you think you might want your child to start with us in the Fall because we are keeping class sizes small to benefit the children and we are expecting spots to fill up quickly. We will be doing meet and greet sessions starting in April and will update you on those dates as we get closer, and once we find the perfect location and get it all set up we will begin open houses in early summer.

Sweet (and Healthy!) Treats for Valentine’s Day

VALENTINES-HEART-FRUIT-KABOBSValentine’s Heart Kabobs

Valentine’s Day is today! I have always loved to make festive, fun foods and treats for holidays but have found it difficult to find healthy options, especially for a day like Valentine’s Day (when chocolate, candy, and frosted cookies fill the store shelves and kids’ bellies)!

As an elementary teacher I’ve found it hard to plan class celebrations without bringing in a ton of sugary treats. Kids LOVE decorating cookies and munching on the conversation hearts gifted to them by friends, and that is what they expect at a Valentine’s party. It can be hard to bring in the festive feeling of the holiday while still making health a priority.

Now that my son or daughter will be joining us soon (maybe even on Valentine’s day!) I am thinking ahead to the ways I can make holidays like Valentine’s Day special while still providing healthy, nutritious foods.

So whether you’re a teacher planning a class Valentine’s party or a mom hoping to make some special treats for your family, here are a few ideas I found that I wanted to share with you.

Simple Valentine Breakfast Ideas:

  • Heart Shaped French Toast: cut your bread out with a heart cookie cutter and then proceed with making french toast. Make it with whole wheat bread and add fresh berries with a little powdered sugar for a healthy option!
  • Heart shaped whole wheat pancakes: Use a metal heart cookie cutter and pour pancake batter inside.
  • Toast Made with Love: Cut whole grain toast into a heart with a cookie cutter and spread with red jam.
  • Cupid’s Biscuits: Make biscuits shaped like hearts and serve with eggs

Valentine Snacks and Treats for throughout the day:

  • Cheese and Crackers: Low-fat cheese can be cut using a heart shaped cookie cutter and paired with crackers or fruit. Just 2 ounces of cheese equals one serving of calcium. Use whole wheat crackers for a punch of fiber.
  • Strawberry and Cream Cheese Sandwiches: These tasty sandwiches can be cut into heart shapes using a cookie cutter. Two tablespoons of cream cheese provide a full serving of calcium and the strawberries are packed with Vitamin C. Your kids will love the heart-shaped surprise when they open their lunch box.
  • Heart Shaped Hard Boiled Eggs: Give this protein-packed snack a loving twist by making the eggs heart shaped! Check out this blog for step by step directions (it’s easy, with no mold needed!)
  • Fruit Heart Kabobs: Use a small heart cookie cutter to cut fruit, and spear with a popsicle stick. Serve with a healthy dip or eat them on your own for a sweet and healthy treat!

And here is a quick and delicious recipe to try:
Love Potion Smoothie
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1 small carton of yogurt
1/2 Cup ice cubes
1 cup apple juice
Place strawberries, raspberries and juice in blender. Blend several seconds. If you would like a thicker smoothie add more fruit or for a drinkable smoothie add 1/4 Cup more juice. This is one of those Valentine recipes that can be used year round.

These are just a handful of great, healthy ideas for your family on Valentine’s Day! Enjoy!

Fall 2013 Enrollment Now Open!

CutePaperClips

We are very much “details” girls and when we saw these cute flower paperclips we couldn’t resist! Our Fall 2013 enrollment packet and forms are now finalized and ready to be downloaded from the enrollment tab of the website or, if you would like us to mail you a hard copy of the forms (with a cute flower paperclip!) we are ready to do that as well! Either way, please check out the website and the new enrollment tab and you can download the enrollment packet (It has lots of information about The Garden Preschool, including our tuition schedule and program offerings) and then you can either print off the enrollment forms yourself or contact us to have them mailed out to you or to request more information.

We know that since we don’t yet have our location available to tour, making a commitment is tough. If you like what you see on the website however, and think that The Garden Preschool would be a good fit for your child we would love for you to enroll to reserve a spot. We are not charging the $100 enrollment fee until July 2013 so that if for whatever reason you change your mind you are not obligated to stay. Of course, we have a grand vision for our preschool and feel very confident that you will LOVE it, but we want to make it low stress for you Mommies because we know that choosing a preschool is a big decision. Again, please enroll if you think you might want your child to start with us in the Fall because we are keeping class sizes small to benefit the children and we are expecting spots to fill up quickly. We will be doing meet and greet sessions starting in April and will update you on those dates as we get closer, and once we find the perfect location and get it all set up we will begin open houses in early summer.

It’s February Already?!?!

Valentine’s “crafternoon”

I was walking through Target yesterday picking up a few things for my poor sick little man when I noticed the 10 aisles of red and pink Valentine’s “stuff”. I turned to my husband and said, “I need to get started on L’s class Valentine’s! Only 14 more days to go!” He responded logically, like he always does, “Why? Logan is old enough to make his own Valentine’s this year.”

But, they have to be cute and have a clever pun on them…right?

Last year, I made shovel Valentine’s with the “I Dig You” message and they were really cute. I love being crafty and putting together things like this, but my husband was totally right. Logan can make his own Valentine’s and they will mean a lot more if he does the “work” instead of Mommy handing him a bag to give to his teachers to pass out. I found this idea to have a Valentine’s “crafternoon” and I think this is great! I love the simplicity of it and I love the freedom and exploration that it allows the kids to have in expressing their love for others. I think I am going to cut out some hearts, get some foam and regular stickers, put out the crayons and stamps and let him go to town. After the cards are created we will sit down together and decide what we want to say on our cards. We will talk about why we love other people and put something meaningful to Logan on each one.

I was fully prepared to pump this blog post full of cute Pinterest “punny” Valentine’s but I know that letting him learn and explore will be most meaningful this year!

Happy Crafting!

Inch By Inch: We’re going to make this Garden Grow!

The Garden Preschool: 3 Focus AreasThe Garden Preschool

Wow! The first month in 2013 has flown by! I hope that some of our tips have inspired you to make the most of the precious time you have with your preschooler. I know with getting back to work and school and life, I constantly have to remind myself to pause and really savor my family time.

We at the Garden preschool have had a great time reflecting on our own values and building up the foundation for what we hope will enrich the lives of all of the students and families that we get the delight of serving come September when we officially launch the preschool. As we move into February we are going to continue posting on our blog some tips and resources to help make parenting and teaching your preschool a bit easier. All of the posts that you see are on topics that we feel very strongly about and also connect directly to our 3 main value areas at The Garden Preschool: developing a love for God, a love for self, and a love for learning.

To develop a love for God we will be posting bible stories, preschool-appropriate “mini-lessons”, crafts, songs, and other faith-building resources that we will also be implementing in our preschool classes.

A love for self comes from having the security of knowing that God loves you, but also we will be posting resources ever month for healthy recipes, exercise and “active-time” ideas, and body/self image building books, activities, and tips.

Of course as preschool teachers (as well as Mommies) we hope that all children not only learn and grow every day, but also develop a true love for learning and a curiosity that will make the process fun and engaging for them. We will be posting monthly author spotlights, literacy activities, and authentic math and science ideas appropriate for the preschool age. Again, all of the posts will directly relate to our core values at The Garden Preschool and should give you some insight into what your child would be doing if they get to be one of our little learners!

Please don’t forget to ‘Like’ us on Facebook so that you will see all of the blog posts come through and also check out our website for information on our Fall programs and contact us if you would like to be in the loop about September 2013 (or beyond) openings.

We feel so blessed to be able to bring our passions to all of you amazing parents and we hope that you have benefitted from some of our tips thus far!

Love,
Kari and Nicole at The Garden Preschool

Resolving to Get Fit as a Family – It’s Easier Than You Think!

Stoller Strides BothellStroller Strides Bothell

It’s that time of year! The time when many individuals and families vow to get up and moving and back into shape. The TV ads and packed gym parking lots are evidence of the “get fit now” mentality that tends to come with the new year. And as someone who places a strong value on health and fitness, I think these are great goals! The problem is that for many people and their families, the goals are too big and our lives are too busy, so after a month or so the fitness resolutions fizzle out (I’m speaking from experience here!).

With a baby on the way in just under a month, I have been thinking ahead to when our little one arrives and different ways that I can get back into a work-out routine that is manageable and fits into what I know is about to become an extremely busy season of life. I’m a first time mom and my workouts in the past have consisted of playing on soccer teams, training at the gym, and a lot of running in recent years. And while all of these have been great for me, I wanted to find some things that I could do together with my husband and child, so we are all getting fit as a family. So, I started to do some research, and I found there are plenty of quick, easy, and fun ways you can get moving as a family, even during these cold, winter months.

Pick one of these to try!

  • Turn your living room into a gym and let the games begin!
    I can remember going over to a friend’s house when I was young and our favorite activity was pretending we were gymnasts. We’d push the couches back (with the help of her mom!), lay out some thick comforters, and swirl, somersault and bound around the living room until we were out of breath and red in the face! This is a great way to get your kids active and moving. Just make sure to move the coffee table and cover any pointy corners!
  • Family Dance Party!
    Find an open space in your house, crank up the music, (pull the blinds if you’re embarrassed!) and dance! My mom has an in-home daycare that I visit regularly and on many occasions I’ve found the kids having an impromptu dance party. Join in and you get a great workout too. Plus, the kids LOVE it. My current favorite dance party music: Casper Baby Pants and Recess Monkey.
  • Walk/Jog as a Family
    If you have kids who are old enough to hit the trails with you, head out on a family walk or jog. Start small and work up to a goal as a family. First, loop the neighborhood, then head to a local track or trail. You can even train for a family race or event! There are many great FREE 1k races for kids locally. Check out race websites to see if they include a kids’ 1k option.
  • Stroller Strides
    While I, (Nicole speaking here), was pregnant with my first I attended a pregnancy workout class offered at Evergreen Hospital and I absolutely LOVED it! It got me out and moving and made the end of my pregnancy tolerable. The instructor was the owner of the Bothell Stroller Strides group and I joined that shortly after Logan was born. I’ll give a shout out to Hillary because she is so outgoing and fun and Stroller Strides (fitness classes where you get to take and bond with your child) was the best thing I ever did for myself as a new mom. When I went back to work full time I had a really hard time keeping a workout schedule and I really regret that, but I fully plan to join Stroller Strides of Bothell once Dylan is born! Hilary makes the classes fun and while you are focused on yourself; you also can bond with your baby. Check it out at Bothell Stroller Strides!

These are just a few of my favorites. For more on family fitness, check out the following websites:

Resolving to Build Faith Together – A few ideas

Boz the BearBoz the Bear

Could there be any more of a daunting task? Teach my child all of the skills necessary to thrive in the world and then also teach them to have good character and desire to learn about God and how to live a spiritual and meaningful life? Yikes! There are many resources out there that have great ideas for teaching young children about God. I think that the biggest struggle with the toddler and preschool age is that often you sit down to do a devotional, sing, and read the bible and within 10 seconds they are up and making dinner in their play kitchen. You feel like you’ve failed. I felt this way for a long time….we tried to make family devotionals a part of our evening schedule ever since Logan was born.

We started in infancy with us reading while he ate and then playing the LullaBible – My absolute favorite-even still!

Now we have progressed to reading a bible story from the Hands on Bible and doing the activities from it and singing a few songs.

Logan usually lasts about 5-10 minutes now and it is still hard to imagine that we are making any difference. We also watch Veggie Tales and Boz the Bear.

Yesterday in the car we were listening to the Veggie Tales worship cd and he started singing (the right words!!). My husband and I just looked at each other and smiled. He might not be reciting any versus right now, but I know that his character is being shaped by what we are doing and that with God’s help (through lots of parental and family prayer) that good values are being built in our little man’s heart.

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