Tag Archives for academics

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:

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.

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!

Kari and Nicole at The Garden Preschool

Author Spotlight: Mo Willems

Knuffle Bunny by Mo WillemsKnuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

As teachers of young children, we’ve spent countless hours over time reading aloud to young audiences and sharing the joy and excitement of books with kids. We’ve seen the impact a book can have on children—to captivate, inspire, entertain… the list goes on and on. Books are powerful, magical teaching tools, and let’s be honest—they can be just plain fun!

We have a passion for children’s books and have fallen in love with numerous books and children’s authors over the years. We’d like to take time monthly to share some of our favorites with you through monthly Author Spotlights and regular Book Buzzes. In addition to sharing about the authors and books we love, we will often share a strategy you can use with the book or books to use with your young reader, if you choose. We hope you’ll find these authors and books as enjoyable as we do! (And if you have a favorite to share with us, please comment! We love hearing about new books and why you and your family love them).

This month’s Author Spotlight: Mo Willems!

If you haven’t been introduced to Mo Willems, you are in for a treat. He is the award-winning children’s author responsible for writing and illustrating kids’ favorites including The Pigeon series, The Knuffle Bunny trio, Elephant and Piggie books, and more. He began his career writing and animating for Sesame Street, while also performing stand-up comedy in New York. He brings this humor and creativity into each book he writes; his witty writing makes his books enjoyable for both kids and adults! (Watch out or you’ll find yourself reading these books long after your kids have left your lap, laughing out loud all by yourself!)

Kids of all ages enjoy the cartoon-like illustrations and quickly come to see that the characters have personality and sometimes even a little attitude. Mo Willems does a wonderful job conveying characters’ emotions through their facial expressions and simple talk-bubbles. The humorous illustrations combined with the engaging story lines draw readers in and leave them wanting more of Mo Willems, and therefore, more reading!! I have yet to meet a child who does not enjoy Mo Willems’ books, and have found many adult fans as well.

Teaching Tips:

  • Making inferences: You can begin teaching young readers the higher-level reading skill of making inferences through the Elephant and Piggie books. Stop at different points throughout the stories to ask children what the characters are feeling based on their facial expressions and the words they are speaking. *I have used this for kids from preschool to fourth grade!*
  • Making connections: Many of Mo Willems’ stories have plot lines that children can relate to. From a favorite toy getting broken in I Love My New Toy, to cherishing a special stuffed animal in the Knuffle Bunny series, kids can relate to the characters in the stories. Making text-to-self connections is a key reading strategy that students will use throughout their lives as readers, and these books are a perfect starting point. As you’re reading with your child, stop and ask your child questions about their own experiences that connect to the characters. Start questions with “Have you ever….?” “Can you understand how _____ might be feeling?” These questions get your child thinking as they read!

For more information on Mo Willems, check out his official website.

We hope you check your local library or book store for some Mo Willems’ favorites soon. Let us know how you like them!

Happy Reading!