At Little Peaches we work hard to maintain good and reciprocated relationships with our preschool parents. We do this for several reasons, but for the purpose of this post we are just going to talk about one reason. There are always needs in a preschool classroom and not always the means to purchase these needs. This is when preschools should look to their parents.
We ask through our website, in the parent communication area and sometimes on our Facebook page. Especially Facebook if its a last minute need. When we welcome new parents we explain this needs list and that just because it is on the list does not mean they have to provide it and it does not mean that it has to be brand new. We encourage parents to bring what they have from home that they are no longer using. We don't need parents to run out and buy yarn for us if they have some at home they don't need anymore. We also let parents know if they are cleaning out their homes to bring in anything they do not want, if we can't use it we place it in FREE bin by our front door and share with all the other parents. When the box contents sit there for a few weeks and no one is taking anything then we make a run to Goodwill and donate it.
We have parents bring items in and we stock them in our supply/craft storage, we may use them immediately or somethings may wait for longer. I don't know how many times myself or one of the other teachers have been found just staring at the stock of stuff, trying in their minds to create something out of a supply that has been around for awhile. For example, a parent brought in heart shaped wood chips, they were cute but we had no idea what we were going to do with them! They ended up being our Bingo chips! We wrote the ABC's on them and put them in a drawstring canvas bag someone else brought in and now when I call Bingo letters I pull the wood chip letter from the bag!
We have always found a way to use whatever is brought in and for some parents its really fun for them to see what we create from the items they bring in.
My suggestion is that you start a needs list right away. The needs list is not mandatory and parents shouldn't be made to feel they HAVE to bring these items in, but I think you will find that if you don't ask for the items to be brand new, parents will willingly bring them in.
Some needs, like food items, we need on a specific date, for this we use sign up lists. The lists hang in the parent communication area and we put it up weeks in advance, with the specific items we need and the date we need it on. We do food this way so that we know the items is coming in and who is bringing it. Placing it out a few weeks in advance also gives parents time to budget buying this extra item when they go to the grocery store.
For all other items we just have a list and when enough has been brought it we scratch the item out.
Give a needs list a try, you might be surprised how willing your parents are to help out, these are their children, they care about them and if bringing in paper plates is a way for them to help out they most likely will do it!
When I was a kid my parents gave me Sea Monkeys as an Easter gift. It was fun and my monkeys lived for what seemed like forever and were always doing something interesting. They were mating, having babies, or swimming in crazy circles!
A few years ago, we decided it would be fun to have some here at preschool. They are very affordable and low maintenance classroom pets. The first go round we chose to do sea monkey brand. They failed, we never got them to grow. This time around we ordered sea monkeys and Aqua Dragons. This time the sea monkeys failed again but the Aqua Dragons did awesome and that's what the pictures in the blog are of. Keep in mind I have had the Sea Monkey brand work, I believe it really does depend on if you follow the directions carefully and use what is recommended. So I will say, user error could have played a part. We always order our eggs and kits from amazon. I've attached a link here to the exact Aqua Dragon Product that we bought, that worked for us.
Within 24 hours after following the directions you should be able to see small white specks that seem to "jerk" around the tank. About two weeks later, you can see them full grown and swimming in the tank just standing a few feet away. Watching the growth and trying to find the small specks is what makes it fun in the beginning. Then when they reach adult hood its fun the see the reproduction process. Also males will lock heads for mating rites. Several times our observations have sent us of on google trying to figure out what these brine shrimp are doing, we have learned a lot about Brine Shrimp in the process. They are fascinating creatures.
We are on Week 4 of the Brine Shrimp being in our classroom, the first round of babies has been born and the adult just today are working on making more! In our research of the shrimp we have learned that the first babies they have are live hatch-lings, the subsequent rounds of babies will all the as eggs. The eggs can then sit for months unhatched and waiting for the right time to hatch, so this should keep the fun going!
I hope you consider getting some Aqua Dragons for your classroom, what a low maintenance pet!
wLittle Peaches is a part time preschool. I know in other posts I have explained our class times and dates and various other details about my program. However, I am not sure I have every really talked about the fact that I not only teach at Little Peaches Preschool, I own it. I created Little Peaches because of a passion of teaching, to be able to be there for my children, and I saw a need for this type of program in my community. I've now been at this for 13 years. It is March and my program is full for next year, and even has a wait list for next year. I'm not saying this to toot my own horn, I'm saying this to give a little clarity, before I ask your thoughts. For this post I am looking for some opinions. For those of you who do own your own businesses. My question is when do you know its right to expand?
Just this week alone, I have been told 3 separate times by 3 different people, that I needed to expand my program. I've considered this before, but I also know I LOVE to be in the classroom. How do I manage two locations and still get to connect with the children and the parents and do the part of the job I love the most?
I'd like to hear your opinion!
We had so many Jars in our storage room, we use through out the school year for various reason and projects. We have jars brought in to school by parents, teachers finish a jar of something at home and hate to throw it away. Jars are useful! They however were taking up a lot of room, and we needed to down size the stock pile.
Mrs. Layne decorated her house this week in anticipation of spring. She really likes to change her decor to mesh with the current season. It was for these two reasons, that I came up with the idea to create these bunny jars! It is fun festive spring jar and can be used as functional decor! It can store your everything from your Jelly beans to you pens!
The kids painted the jars using tempera paint, We let those dry. I pre-cut out ears from fun scrap booking paper we had. We had the children choose their pom pom tail, two ears, and two googly eyes. We then hot glued them to the jar for the kids.
We had a great time making the bunnies, I'll keep this in mind for next year when the jar collection gets out of control again! Perhaps we will make a chick,lamb or butterfly next!
Last week we had a big blizzard around here, it kept us all in our houses on Wednesday and Thursday, so it was basically like having a weekend in the middle of the week.Then we went to work Friday and had a weekend again! So having been stuck in the house for two days we got a lot done, then the weekend rolled around and my husband needed a project. I showed him two picture of what I was thinking I wanted for my sensory bucket. I've always wanted a stand for the bucket, if it sits on the table the kids pull it around and fight over its use and it just creates a larger mess than it would if it had its own table.
I've posted about my sensory bucket before. My bucket may look familiar to you because it is a restaurant grade "bus boy" bucket! I got this from a friend after he closed his bar. You can buy them on amazon though; so don't worry they are easy to find!
This is Shaun's own design, he measured my bucket and with just a few screws, a saw and 2 by 4's he was able to make me this table. If you don't have a saw, Lowes or any home improvement store will cut it for you.
He spent less than $15 on the wood and screws. He added the shelf on the bottom to connect the legs and make it more sturdy.
Our preschool is a part time preschool. Meaning we teach a couple of classes a day throughout the week. Our classes are 2.5 hours long. For example this is what our week looks like:
Monday-Thursday PM class is from 12:15-2:45
Tuesday-Thursday AM class is from 9-11:30
Monday, Wednesday, Friday AM class is from 9-11:30
The 4 day per week afternoon class used to meet from 12:30-3:00, which gave the teachers and hour-long lunch. But this time frame changed because it did not afford us time after class to talk to parents, get kids out the door, chat with each other, because we had to leave to pick up our own children from school by 3:35. So we gave up 15 min of our lunch to give ourselves more time after class.
Starting at 9 in the morning gives the teachers time to take and drop off their children at school and make it to work with 20-30 min to spare before class begins for the day.
So with a schedule like this we are able to drop our children at school everyday and pick them up. But because we do that It means we have to set aside time for planning. So, we plan at lunch, we plan separately at night and on the weekends and bring it together at our next planning meeting, we send emails to each other, texts, etc. Also, with this schedule we have Friday afternoons off, so this time can be spent planning and prepping as well. We have worked together for years and are a well oiled machine, planning for people who do not know each other well, wouldn’t work well this way.
Having a part time schedule like this allows us to be there for our students and be there for our own children.
I found this in my Facebook Feed. It was posted by Six Mile Elementary School.
This was one of the post you couldn't pass up reading and what a great way to show case facts. It was very eye catching as you can see. It also gave some amazing insight into how human touch, even the smallest gesture is so important, especially to young children.
What do you do in your classroom to show you care? Do you give hugs, do you tousle hair, give high fives or a shoulder squeeze?
In our classroom we always make sure to engage with a child one on one at least once while they are in our classroom. (Remember our classes are only 2.5 hours long.) We have anywhere from 16-20 children in the room and each one of us (2-3 teachers) engages each student at least once. We know that the time we spend just acknowledging a student is essential to their development and success in our classroom.
I'll be keeping this post in mind as I am in my classroom and with my own children at home.
Today we are using scarves, Streamers, and ribbons when we have our daily dance party! This week in preparation for St. Patrick's day we have been talking about Ireland and its traditions. We are talking about vocabulary that is associated with this holiday and with Ireland. Like Blarney Stone, The color Green, Emerald, Leprechauns, Fairies, Rainbows, Clovers,etc.
The children were very interested in Irish step dancing, so we thought we would learn a few steps and add some streamers to make it look like a dancing rainbow in our classroom. So not only are we moving our feet, we are also moving our arms.
As teachers we taught ourselves a few step using various you tube videos. Some steps were harder than we thought just by looking at them! What a great workout for us teachers!
We love dancing in our classroom, it has been fun to learn a few new steps and to add some color to the room as we dance!
If you walk into our classroom you will hear more than just talking, laughing, and lets be honest some "growling"(The dinosaur loving kids...) here and there.
We always have music going. Sometimes just the radio is on, or the Bose is playing tunes from the iPod, or the Bluetooth speaker is connected to a teachers phone playing Pandora. The music pauses for circle times and reading times, but then gets going again when the quiet activity is over.
At school we listen to a plethora of genre's, we don't just listen to kids music. We like the kids to take part in what we listen too. They love to make requests, whether it be a specific song, an artist or just a genre. Today we listened to some Disney music, then switched over to country. The kids love singing along as they move about their tasks and sometimes they start dancing as the music moves them. I don't expect my preschoolers to sit, so when they break out dancing, I dance with them. I also like to commend their dance moves, and have them teach me new moves.
We connect through music in our classroom, not just as teachers with our students, but student to student connections are made. The singing gets us practicing our speech, the conversations before and after a song, get us practicing speech. The dance moves get us exercising and increasing our gross motor skills. We accomplish so much learning in our classroom by just turning on the music!
Saying goodbye is the hardest thing to do when you are a teacher. Many of my students have been with me for years, some I have even watched grow in utero, held as babies, watched them as babies at the preschools monthly date night for parents, and I finally get them as students when they start talking and walking. Some of these students truly are my babies.
Many families have multiple children who go through my program. No matter how long they have been with me, it is extremely devastating to let them go. When they graduate and move on to elementary school, I feel a sense of loss, but I am so proud of them and have had time to grieve their loss because I know their graduation is coming.
However, it is a different story when a parent walks in and they are moving to take a new job, or for me, around one of the largest military bases, they have been given orders. These are the losses that twist my gut, the ones I am unprepared for.
I spend a lot of time getting to know not just the children in my classes but their families as well. This is what is taught of us to do, creating a relationship with families is good practice. Your college classes have told you this, the trainings you attend have taught you this, and you experience has taught you, this is the way to be a better teacher to have the best program. You can understand your students and their needs better when you know more about them and their families.
But in doing this the loss is harder…. Here are a few things I try to do when saying goodbye.
On the child’s last day I like to have them stay after class a little. We wait for everyone else to leave and then we get a proper goodbye. It is not rushed, we can speak freely, and as we cry we can do It without a classroom full of other children and parents picking up their children.
This is also a great time to take pictures! I also like to spend my last class with the child taking a few photos with them. These photos will bring a smile to my face for years to come. I also like to send them off in an email or text a few weeks after the family has moved. Just to say hi and check in and make sure everyone is settling in well. I don’t send regular emails and text, but I do continue to check in with them as months pass.
We also make sure to use social media to connect. This gives me a way to see pictures and get updates as the children grow. Before I have my part time preschool, I had a home daycare and this year one of my daycare kids graduates from high school! I don’t post a lot on Facebook personally, but I am so grateful for my past families that due, so that my feed is full of all my babies and their accomplishments!
Another thing you can do, is gift the child a book with a special note written on the inside for them.
Then the last thing you need to do is plan some “Me” time, give your self some time at the end of your day to reflect on your memories with the child. Take a bath, have a glass of wine, paint your toes, put on a facial mask. Give yourself some love!
Current Doctoral Student.Masters in Early Childhood Studies and Bachelors in Child Development. 15 years in the ECE profession.