Tag 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! 😉

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.


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

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 Serve as a Family- Start at Home

Charity Begins at Home

I ran across this blog post in early December and was greatly impacted by the simplicity of its concepts. Ever since my son Logan was born 2 years ago my husband and I have talked about how we really want to instill in him a heart to give and serve. I often get frustrated because I feel like we “talk” a lot and then we have a hard time following through. Since having Logan we have done a few small service projects but have definitely not done as much as I would have liked. Finding projects that are appropriate to the toddler and preschool ages is tricky! Anyway, this article struck me because the main premise was just being charitable and giving at home…I can totally do that! We are our children’s role models and if they see us doing nice things, even if it is just for Daddy or Grandma, they will remember. So, my biggest advice for giving as a family is to start small at your home.

When you are ready and have the time, I also recommend this book for ideas on how to serve with young children: The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects: Over 500 Service Ideas for Young People Who Want to Make a Difference

The text is definitely for older kids, but all project ideas can be adapted for our preschoolers!

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!