Category Archives for Preschool

Super Letters!

School is officially out now and while Kari has been finishing up the school year with her 3rd graders, I have been settling into a routine with my kiddos and have been working really hard to teach Logan his letters and to test out some fun activities that we want to incorporate into The Garden Preschool. Here are some of the things we’ve found to be successful.

1. superletters2Finding letters everywhere: the weather is getting nicer and as we get out and about it is fun to ask if Logan sees super letters (yes, this is a Super Why show reference…Logan LOVES this show and I really love the way that it teaches all aspects of reading) everywhere we go.
2. superletters1I bought this letter assessment bundle for a few dollars on Teachers Pay Teachers (amazing resource for all things education that others have spent time making (why reinvent the wheel…right?)). It helps me to know which letters we need to focus on when I know which ones he has mastered. I am going to do this once per week through the summer to see the growth.
3. superletters3Best $5 purchase!These foam bath letters from Target are amazing and for some reason everything is more fun in the bathtub (even learning letters!). I usually just play monster gobble ( the monster eats the letters unless L can call out the name in time to save it). He loves making a tower with all of his “saved” letters.

Ok, happy letter-learning!

CU later! 😉

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!

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day Craft

Earth Day Craft

It’s Earth Day! A time to take a moment from our busy lives to stop and appreciate and celebrate God’s amazing creation. I wish I could say that I do this every day but between grocery shopping, diaper changes, cooking, cleaning, and general busyness I don’t often take time to stop and look around me at the beautiful world we live in. That whole “stop and smell the roses” idea is wonderful, but it’s difficult to do when you’re juggling a car seat, diaper bag, and totes full of groceries! Which is why I always appreciate Earth Day.

When April 22nd rolls around each year, strangers meet at local parks to pick up garbage, communities join together to plant gardens, and for one day there is a common focus: the Earth. I can’t help but think God smiles at this, as He gifted us with the earth—the plants, animals, oceans—and calls us to take care of it.

With our experience working with kids we’ve found that most LOVE activities that involve nature and the earth, so getting kids excited about Earth Day is fairly easy. In the past we’ve had our classes pick up litter around the school, and the kids were more excited for this than if we’d surprised them with an extra recess! But we’ve wished we could take it a step further and share why it is important to care for and love the earth—that it’s God’s creation! We are so excited to do this at The Garden Preschool. To teach kids about God’s creation, how to honor and care for it, and to celebrate it not just on Earth Day, but every day!

Here are a few things you could do with your kiddos to celebrate Earth Day this year or in years to come:

  • Read the creation story in Genesis with your kids
  • Get out and enjoy God’s creation: go for a hike, a nature walk, or take a picnic to the park and enjoy the beauty around you
  • Make a family resolution to help the earth: Start composing? Make a recycle bin? Have fun with it!
  • Join with other families to clean up your neighborhood or a local park
  • Use earth materials (sticks, rocks, etc.) or recycled goods to create an art project! (Our classes have done this and the kids LOVED it. And their creations were quite impressive!)

Here are a few websites/blogs we found that have other great activity ideas. Happy Earth Day!

http://www.creativefamilyfun.net/2013/04/10-ways-to-celebrate-earth-day.html
http://playfullearning.net/from-the-bin-diy-recycled-vases-flowers/
http://www.housingaforest.com/recycled-crafts-and-activities-for-kids/
http://blog.melissaanddoug.com/2013/04/19/4-ways-to-celebrate-earth-day-with-your-child/

Our craft…we talked about composting and set up our can.  We also made a scrap holder for our birds so that they can have a soft “bed” in their house.

Logan learning about continents and The Earth this morning

Logan learning about continents and The Earth this morning

Composting Can

Composting Can

Scrap Holder for Birds

Scrap Holder for Birds

Lastly, we had our Garden Preschool meeting outside with a picnic lunch today…beautiful!

Kari and Keira at our meeting

Kari and Keira at our meeting

Logan and Dylan at our picnic

Logan and Dylan at our picnic

Inspiration

Thank-You to Jeanine at The Strawberry Patch Preschool for helping and inspiring us to build The Garden Preschool. Kari and Jeanine met while teaching at an elementary school in Eugene, and since then Jeanine has gone on to build an amazing preschool program. As we are working to plan The Garden Preschool curriculum, environment, and policies/procedures, we are getting a lot of inspiration from The Strawberry Patch. Watch the video below that Jeanine made to get an idea of the vision we have for The Garden Preschool.

The Strawberry Patch Preschool- Eugene, OR

Our Learning Garden!

March and April are our favorite months because they signal the start of spring. At The Garden Preschool it will mean that we can start planning and planting our beautiful garden and the students get to learn many lessons as we work together in the great outdoors! How great are these ideas for our learning garden? We will spend a lot of time in the spring studying science, math, art, health, and literacy through our garden. We will have units on seeds, insects, weather, healthy eating, plants, and water that will integrate learning from all subjects.

Last Spring Nicole’s family planted a garden and had a great time learning about the growth process and enjoying the bounty of the harvests.

Logan_Garden

Logan helping plant the garden

Nicole's Garden

Nicole’s Garden

Along with our personal experiences with home garden building we have found some other great ideas to help us build our future learning garden at the preschool.

Garden Ideas

Each student gets their own tire planter!

Pea trellis the kids can paint

Colorful garden fence

Colorful garden fence

We have a passion for all of the lessons that can be taught through hands-on experiences in God’s glorious outdoors and can’t wait to get out there with our students next year!

What We’ve Been Up To and Where We Are Going

You may have noticed our blog posts have slowed down in the last two months. Don’t let our absence fool you! We are still busy planning and preparing for The Garden each day, filling our Pinterest boards with fun new activities, meeting and emailing each other our latest ideas, and updating our growing list of interested families for the fall (YAY!!). But we slowed our pace a little as our focus has shifted to our growing families.

We are excited to share that the newest members of the Fouhy and Yeager families have arrived! Kari welcomed baby Keira into the world at the end of February, and Nicole’s baby boy Dylan was born at the end of March. Our time in the last six weeks has been taken up with feeding, burping, changing, and snuggling our little bundles of joy (and taking naps as we adjust to late nights with little sleep)!
Meet our kiddos, future students at the Garden Preschool!

Keira Fouhy

Dylan Yeager

Dylan Yeager

As we adjust to life as a new mom (Kari) and a mother of two (Nicole), we are also thrilled to be moving into the next steps with the preschool. We are actively praying and looking for our perfect location, as summer is approaching and we are excited to begin setting up our space. {Again, if you have a lead on a rental house in Bothell, a church, or other space you feel would be a good fit for The Garden, let us know!} And we will soon set up meetings with interested families so we can share more about our school and what the year ahead has in store. If you haven’t yet been added to our contact list and are interested in finding out more about The Garden, make sure to head to the “Contact Us” section of our website. We are so excited to meet with families, share our vision for the year, and get to know future students at The Garden!

Between now and then we’ll be busy updating the blog weekly, so don’t forget to check back to see what’s new!

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!

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