I love a long walk on the beach. Watching the waves as they spill onto the beach during a tide change can be so peaceful and then seeing them as a storm rolls is so different.
One of my favorite times to go to the beach is during a low tide.
When Nick brought Greta to Seattle for her first visit it was the week of low tides in May. We took her to the beach by the Vashon ferry dock. She had never seen a sea star, anemones or baby crabs running when you picked up their rocky hiding place. It was great fun sharing our 'this is just a day at low tide' experience that we had had so often. I loved watching her as she experienced something for the first time . It was so much fun sharing this experience with someone who had never been to a low tide on a beach.
This next week we will all have a chance to experience the low tides during the day. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday will be some of our lowest tides of the year. The weather looks pleasant for a nice walk at the beach. It is a perfect way to explore the natural beauty of the beach and teach your child how to respect living creatures as they get to see what lives in the salt water.
I hope you have a chance to go.
It is hard to believe that we are starting our last few weeks of preschool. It has been a unique year for sure! I am so grateful for all the support you have given Crown Hill during this school year. I have had a wonderful time being your child's teacher during this school year.
We finish the curriculum book next week with Sea Life and then the final two weeks of class we will have a Best Of 2020-21 with some of the favorite activities and projects. Let me know if your child has a favorite they would like to do.
Fish were one of Nick's favorites growing up. We have so many fish stories! Nick memorized all of the fish that live in the Pacific Northwest. When Nick was 3 we were visiting my brother at his NOAA office. On the door was a poster of all the salmon that lived in the PNW as well as all the sealife in our area. Nick was busy naming them when Jon's boss walked down the hall. He laughed and told Nick to come back when he was 21 and he would have a job for him!
Nick and Joel caught their first fish in my grandfather's pond in Ohio. The fish were little bluegills. The boys were so excited. We made fish print t-shirts to commemorate that event
They continued their fishing adventures with Curt as they got older.
One of our family traditions was to go to Mt Rainier every September to camp. We would hike up a trail to a wonderful fishing hole. I would sit on a big rock and read a book and take pictures of their fishing. They love fishing but I am not a fishing person. After an afternoon of fishing we would hike back down the trail with their fish in a very Andy Of Mayberry (if you happen to know how that TV show starts) way. Fishing poles over the shoulders taking turns holding a line of fish -- with giant smiles on their faces.
The boys would clean the fish and we would fry them up for dinner. One year Joel asked me if I had any apples. I said yes. Celery? Bacon? Crackers? Eggs? Well, yes I have all of that I told him. He then proceeded to make a delicious apple based chutney to stuff the fish with, breaded them and then wrapped them in bacon. What a feast we had while everyone else in the campground was eating chili and hotdogs!
I love watching the kids go 'fishing' with the large pretzel fishing poles and catching the goldfish crackers ... they are quite proud of themselves. Now that is my kind of fishing!
I hope you have fun with Fish Week.
I like dirt! Some of us do and some of us don't.
My older son, Joel, LOVED dirt and mud. He was always covered in it -- head to toe - whenever he had an opportunity. He would be a Mud Monster in the backyard and after he layered himself in mud he would add ferns and vines for decoration. He loved it. Even in high school he loved mud. I have a picture of him up at Warm Beach Family Camp after a trip to the mud flats! He, and several other highschoolers, went to the mudflats for some afternoon fun. They returned covered in thick, brown mud -- and giant smiles! They had a blast. The drain in our shower was a gooey mess .. and I did the laundry in the camp washer! haha!! It is a memory I cherish.
Nick on the other hand was far more 'neat and tidy'. He was game for adding to Joel's Mud Monster but he was not going to roll around in the mud, or participate in any other messy activity. We attended a memorial service when they were young. Joel was wearing navy blue and grey while Nick, 2 years old, was in a little white jacket and shorts. During the reception he walked past an older woman with his piece of chocolate cake. Later, the same woman came up to me and said "I see you took away that cake! I am not surprised!" I smiled and said, "Well, no. He ate every bit of it!"
Two little boys from the same family with completely different "clean genes"!
As you know, children come pre-wired with how they view the world and how they interact in that world. Some are very tactile while others are happy to just observe. Some want to touch everything and others are very particular as to what they want to touch. Give your child opportunities to explore their world but be sure to take their lead on how they want to interact with what you give them. Offer up the same opportunity several times -- they may just need to warm up to the activity or they may really not want to do it. Either way it is the opportunity to experience new things in their world that is important.
Have fun exploring the world through new eyes.
When my sons were little we would travel to Ohio to visit my Grandma and Grandpa. They loved to roam the 'gentleman's farm' my grandparents lived on. There were two ponds, a large canning garden, a big barn, a tractor, a riding lawn mower with the blade removed so they could drive it all around the pathway that led to my aunt and uncle's home, bullfrogs and lots of fishing.
My Grandfather was an educator by profession and farming was his hobby.
I still see my Grandmother sitting on the screened porch with an apron full of beans and a large bowl on the side table for the snapped beans to go in. It meant there would be fresh beans for dinner to go with the hush puppies and fish fry for dinner that night. All of the relatives had huge canning gardens full of peas, beans, corn, tomatoes and strawberries. They would can all their fruits and vegetables for the winter. No one ever thought of going to the store for a can of corn!
As Joel and Nick got older they wanted to start their own garden in Seattle. Our garden was an 'eating garden'. We did not have the room to plant the variety of plants that grew in the gardens in Ohio but we always had fun watching our garden grow. A few stocks of corn, carrots, peas, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. There was always something to eat as a snack when they walked by the garden in the summer. I loved that they were seeing where food came from, taking pride in their garden and learning responsibility as they tended the little garden we planted.
I hope you have a chance to visit a farm or a pea patch to show your child how plants grow and what we harvest from those plants and eat for our meals at home.
Enjoy getting dirty in the garden this week!
We will be talking about things that grow this week and things in the garden next week. Watching things that grow in the garden is a great visual for your child to see something that grows quickly.
This week we will talk about how babies grow -- baby birds, little bugs and how they have grown into 'big kids' now. Children love to look at baby pictures of themselves and of their family. They see themselves as "big" and like to point out all the babies they see at the park or on a walk. Teaching your child empathy gives them an opportunity to develop a caring attitude for all living things. Children can start to show empathy as early as age two.
A great way to learn empathy is to care for pets, things that live in nature and plants. A simple garden helps them see how things grow, how they can help something grow and how what they do is connected to an outcome. They plant a seed, it grows with the help of them watering it and caring for it. Once it grows into a mature plant they can enjoy the harvest of tomatoes, strawberries, carrots and lettuce. It is a visual way to see the outcome of their actions.
Children need to connect with nature. A growing body of evidence indicates that contact with nature is as important to children as good nutrition and adequate sleep. I agree with this statement by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods. It is so important for the children to be outside, in a safe environment, where they can explore the world around them.
Gardening and nature based play go hand in hand. While gardening with children we are promoting play that is:
Learner centered – it is set around and for the learner
Hands on – promotes sensory based play
Inclusive – connect children of all cultures, ages, skills and abilities
Social – promotes interaction and communication between children and adults
Emotionally safe – builds self-esteem and pride
Physical development – fine and large motor skills are used
Integrative – blends math, science, language, reading, 5 senses, and creativity
– allows opportunities to create artistic pieces, as well as, and enjoy colors, shapes,
smell and nature.
Gardening gives opportunities to develop empathy, curiosity and responsibility as they become aware of the physical world outside while they care for the plants and animals living in our world. Gardening is a wonderful way to teach children to nuture things that grow, for them to watch as their needs grow into plants and to feel pride as they become a caretaker of a living thing.
Enjoy gardening with your child!
As we continue to study bugs we will focus on bees this week. We will add Bee Week to get us back on
schedule for the month of May. We will read The Bee at circle time. This story gives the children the
opportunity to guess what comes next. This is one of the pre-reading skills we have been working on.
To be able to guess what comes next the children need to be engaged in the story, able to stay focused
and to follow a story line.
Another pre-reading skill to learn rhymes – to hear the sounds of words. As children develop listening
skills they hear how some words sound the same and how some sound different. Children enjoy rhymes
and the humor that comes with some of these rhymes. They enjoy saying the rhyme over and over
There are five early literacy practices: sing, play, talk, read,
As we sing songs, learn rhymes and read stories we are working on early literacy skills. They are building
their vocabulary as they learn the words in the songs and poems. Reading books during Circle Time and
at home encourages a love of reading and print awareness – seeing the written words that are spoken
to them as you read the story. As we re-read stories or do the song/rhyme/flannel story for yet another
time it is to encourage your child to hear the words/sounds and be able to re-tell the
story/thought/word sequence. They need to practice this skill. Repetition of the songs and stories is a
way they can practice this skill. Singing songs is also a way for the children to hear cadence, syllables
and tone as you sing. They can pick out the words that rhyme and are able to recite words back to you.
These songs and stories are the beginning introductions to the written word which is the start of the
development of their early reading skills.
Insects All Around
Ladybugs and butterflies
Buzzing bees up in the sky
Teeny tiny little ants
Crawling up and down the plants
Many insects can be found
In the sky and on the ground
Five little bees
Up in the trees
First, they go to a flower
Then they go to the hive
Then they make some honey
What a busy family of five!!
As we begin Insect Week the adults may experience a variety of feelings. Some of you are fine with insects and others of you are not fond of them at all and some of you may be terrified of them. Children can be fascinated with insects and can also feel uncomfortable around them. Try to encourage them to be investigators this week.
Having little boys who were completely intrigued with bugs we did a lot of insect investigations. They would follow the ants to find out where they were going, watch a slug as it left a teila of slime as it moved across a dirt path and look for spider egg sacks then marvel at the baby spiders as they hatched.
We all have fond memories of the summer we met Timothy. Timothy was a monarch butterfly. Joel found him injured in our backyard. We knew he would not make it if we left him laying on the grass so we made him a little hospital room to recuperate in. I gave Joel a mason jar and he went to work making a special home for Timothy. Nick and Joel filled the jar with soft dandelion leaves, a stick, some sugar water and a flower. We carefully lifted Timothy into the jar and they transported the jar to a shady spot in the yard. Every day they would go and check on Timothy -- several times a day. One day Joel decided it looked like Timothy was ready to fly again. We took the covering off the jar and tipped it a little bit. We watched from the porch as Timothy flew out of the jar and around our backyard. All summer long they were sure that it was Timothy flying around our yard whenever they saw a monarch butterfly. To this day whenever we see a monarch butterfly we call him Timothy.
Spring is a great time to talk about the living creatures in the yard. Ask your child if they hear the birds, see the spiders building webs, the caterpillars crawling on the leaves of the bush and the butterflies flying in the garden. Take time to sit and observe all the activity in your yard.
Animal Habitat Week
As your child snuggles into his/her cozy place it is fun to show your child that animals do the same thing. We had so much fun making little homes for animals, gnomes, leprechauns out in the garden and designing homes for playmobil, fisher price and hand-made creatures inside. Both of the boys liked to create cozy places for their toys to live. Joel especially loved designing and remodelling his large, wooden doll house. He would add carpet, flooring, wallpaper then build furniture, draw pictures for wall hangings and make small food/plates/books/toys for the inhabitants to use while residing in the house. They would play with their little people and animals for hours.
One day they were in their bedroom, busy building a world for their plastic animals in the cozy place between their bed and the wall under the built in bookshelf (Curt had made just the right size secret place for them to read and play), when Joel came out and asked if he could have one of the plants in a pot and a pie pan. It was an odd request so I asked him why he wanted a pie pan and a plant. "The plant is for the rainforest and the pie pan for the pool beneath the waterfall." I smiled at his creativity. "Oh, and be sure it's the big pie pan because it is a lot of water coming down from the mountain!". My smile turned to a very quizzical look. A lot of water? Real water? "Yes! It's a cool waterfall!"
So maybe they weren't as imaginative as I had thought! Upon investigating the fun rainforest world they were creating I found a real waterfall coming from the leak in their waterbed! Nice warm water cascading down the waterfall to the floor. The downfall of a cozy bed made of water.
Outside they would also build water worlds for their animals in the sandbox. But outside it was with the garden hose! They would create the best worlds for their dinosaurs, their wild animals and for the little people that lived in the garden. We would dig in the dirt and with sticks, rocks, leaves, flowers build homes for the gnomes and leprechauns. The leprechauns would visit all year long and bring their cousins the gnomes with them.
Water, dirt, sand, rocks are great fun for children (although I prefer that the water not be from some kind of leak). Give your child a pan with dirt (real or some cleaner material) and some water (again real or pretend) to build a cozy world for their plastic animals or stuffies. Outside you can build these worlds in the sandbox or garden. If you don't have a yard you can build the world when you visit the beach or sand area at a park. It is fun to see what they create for their little friends.
On a walk talk about places that living animals find to build their nest, snuggle in the woods or cozy under a rock. Look for animals that are building their spring homes, animals that are busy in the garden and the pets in your home that are snuggling under a blanket or in their bed. Talk to them about how living creatures like to be treated gently and loved.
Nothing is better than some cozy, snuggle time. Enjoy!
have always been an outdoors kind of person. When I was in the second grade my family moved from Yakima to Lynnwood. I had been used to the weather in Eastern Washington -- no matter if it was cold or hot we had lots dry outdoor time. I was not used to days and days of rain. I was surprised when I realized that children could play outside in the rain! Once I realized I could play in the rain I was outside all the time.
My sons had lots of outdoor rain adventures growing up. One of my favorite memories is of our annual camping trips to Mt. Rainier. We went with our family friends every year. Back in the ancient days you had to go up to the mountain to see if there were any camping spots available -- no reservations were taken. Every other year we would be the ones to go up on a Thursday to try and secure two camping spots. This particular year it was pouring rain! We got up there and found two side-by-side camping spots and started to set up camp. It was raining so hard we could not even start a fire. As Curt and I set up the tent I realized the boys were off in the woods collecting pieces of bark from the cedar trees in the area. I wasn't sure what they were doing until they started setting up a gutter system around the perimeter of the tarps we had hung over our tent and the picnic table. It was a great gutter system that sent the water away from the tarps and kept the area under the tarps completely dry.
We tried again to start a fire and finally gave up. Soaking wet we drove up to Paradise Lodge and stood in front of the huge fireplace eating a bowl of chili we bought at the little cafe. Warm, and full, we drove back to the campsite and fell asleep listening to the rain hitting the tarp over our tent. The next morning we awoke to a beautiful sunny morning. I was glad it was sunny but was happy we had such a fun time in the rain. When our friends arrived the boys were eager to show them the gutter system and tell them all about our rain adventure. I must admit that I preferred a day hiking in the sunshine to a day of hiking in the rain but I know we would have had a great time no matter what the weather.
I hope you have a chance to get outside and create your own rain memories. One of the preschool parents sent me a note and thanked me for introducing her to the concept of playing outside in the rain. She had the same realization I had had as a child -- children can play in the rain! She sent me a note, laughing that they had the whole playground to themselves!
A few years ago when I was talking to my sister-in-law in California I could hear her son in the background. I asked why he was home and not on his Boy Scout camping trip. "Oh, they came home because it was raining." (I knew that his soccer games are cancelled if it rains and children are not let outside for recess on raining days because it it is wet and slippery on the playground) but I was definitely surprised that the Boy Scouts would call a camping trip due to rain. I laughed and told her that if we didn't go camping in the rain (or play soccer, go to a park, ride our bikes) we would never go places at all!
I have so many fun memories of being outside in the rain. I miss those days outside with the boys. I am so glad that Danielle and Joel take Zoe and Ansel outside in the rain and invite us to join them on evening Rain Walks ..fun fun fun!
It is Train Week. Little kids are drawn to things that move and trains are a favorite of many of them. When our sons were little we had trains all over the house. They loved playing with their trains. They also loved playing at the beach so it was always a bonus to be at the beach when the train went by. If the engineer would blow the horn at them while they were standing on the beach waving they would get so excited.
Ansel loves trains and he is very excited to play with PaPa's remote control trains. My brother-in-law collects trains and he gave us one that blows steam out the smoke stack while it chugs down the track. Every few minutes a voice yells "all aboard''. He was so happy the first year we set it up at Christmas and he was given the remote control! He loves anything to do with trains. Danielle takes them on 'train adventures' where they go to try to find trains chuggin' down the track. He is especially excited if it happens to be a BNSF orange engine pulling the train. Curt and I were on a snow hike at Lake Easton and we heard a train coming. We found a good spot to stand on the bridge over the tracks to get a video (and still photos) of the train. We knew Ansel would be so excited when he saw the video of an orange engine coming around the bend. And then, even better, we discovered it was a train with two BNSF engines! It was pulling a very long string of cars and at the end of the string of cars was another set of two BNSF engines but they were facing the other way. It was a 'push me/pull you' train! Ansel loved it. We had hit the BSNF engine jackpot!
This Is a fun online virtual tour of the BNSF railway.
This week we will be reading about trains and talking about the wheels on the train, how they make the train (and other vehicles) move. We will do some magnet experiments with the trains they have at home and do experiments to see what sticks and doesn't stick to a magnet. We will continue to talk about colors when we read The Freight Train.
I hope you have fun talking trains this week!