Friday, November 9, 2012

The ants go marching one by one hurrah, hurrah....

With Fall among us we've been doing all sorts of leaf activities. We took the kids on a little nature walk to collect leaves so we can do our leaf rubbing art. You know, where you put the leaf under a piece of paper then rub the top with crayons. Still to this day, I love to watch the outline of the underlying leaf emerge. It's like magic.

We tried a new activity by taking a piece of tagboard cut in the shape of a leaf then painted orange  Karo syrup on it. When it dries it has the appearance of a shiny shellack coating. It's rather amazing.

The kids had fun with the syrup, smearing it, getting sticky and actually tasting it at the same time. Once they were done,  we set their masterpieces on a counter to dry.

A few hours later, after the children have long since gone, we noticed one of the Karo coated leaves were infested with ants. Little micro-tiny black ants. Where they came from, we have no idea. We've never had a problem with ants before and we use all kinds of food based activities for artwork and sensory exploration.

What once were masterpieces of art are now trash, as I couldn't throw those away fast enough.  I Bundled them up in a plastic garbage bag then out of the classroom they went.

There were a few late comers to the leaf party looking to take part in the sweet syrup, but were soon eliminated with a squish of my finger.

Hopefully, after the custodian sprays we'll be rid of those pesky ants for good and, will have learned a lesson in Karo syrup art.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Body Part Game

Touch your finger to your ear (repeated by children) touch your wrist to your nose (repeated by children) touch your elbow to your knee, touch your knee to your ankle, touch your wrist to your chin."The song continues with a pop-rock tune as the preschool children follow along dancing and imitating the movements provided by the teachers.

Greg and Steve have been around for years with their educational music designed to target young children which is why the preschool staff uses their Cd's as part of our music time.

This particular song brings a smile to my face every time we dance to it, not just because it's a fun and interactive but because of a couple of our children this year have body part issues.

Let me explain. We have one little boy who, due to a type of cancer, has had one of his eyes removed and replaced with a prosthetic one. To look at him straight on one would never know. His mother sends him in glasses, not for his vision but for protection. His lenses are not prescription. When we first met her, as well as her son, she mentioned in a nonchalant way, he has popped his eye out before. She instructed us if it was to happen in class we can just put it back in.

At this point I thinking, 'Lady if it happens on my shift I'll be calling you." Can you imagine an eye rolling on the classroom floor with preschoolers around. "Hey kids, stop and listen, we need to find 'Johnny's' eye.

Then there's the other little boy who is deaf without his cochlear implant. His implant is much like a hearing aid but with a magnetic device that attaches to one side of his head.

He's been known to remove it and if that being the case, I'm not afraid to put it back on. The only danger is if the magnetic touches the other side of his head where his shunt resides. It's a tricky situation.

So as we dance and move to 'The body part game' I'm hoping we don't have to 'Put your eye in the socket, remove the implant from your shunt.......'

"That's the way we play the body part game."

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Coloring outside the lines

Hank Ketcham, the author and illustrator for the comic strip Dennis the Menace, used his real life son as inspiration. This lovable yet precocious freckled face little boy whose penchant for mischief, was continually putting his parents patience to the test.

I believe he couldn't help himself. Truly, it's the forces of nature working against him.

For instance, you take an enthusiastic kid who's curious to a fault, has an over abundance of energy, tells it like it is and wants to get his hands on everything your doing, then wrap it up in a five year old body and tell me that's not a recipe for disaster. If anyone can attest to it, it's Mr. Wilson.

If I didn't know better, I would have thought Mr. Ketchams son was one of our very own preschoolers. A blond hair, blue eyed boy whose disposition parallels that of Dennis.

What sets these two menaces apart is our little guy doesn't come from the traditional setting where the mother is a stay-at- home mom whose always there reassuring him and offering a hug when things get overwhelming.


Our 'Dennis' lives with a foster family of five other children, has a mother who is somewhere in the system, and from the looks of his mischievous behavior, doesn't do well on visit days.

 He's fiercely independent and constantly uses his own catch phrase, "No, my do it."

He's every where but where he should be, has an inventive alternative to how things get done and, like Dennis the Menace, on an occasion, will find himself unwillingly sitting in a chair feeling misunderstood.

Who could blame him really. The only person he has control of is himself, everything else in his environment is controlled for him.

So when the winds of our 'Dennis' start blowing and you can feel a category 5 hurricane in the mist, I'll wrap my arms around the little menace and reassure him everything is going to be alright.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Crying Game

Eleven tiny, powerful self-propelled tornadoes whirl in different directions causing destruction in their wake. Toys are dumped, puzzles scattered, sensory table material spilled. It is quite amazing how these little three year old bodies can encompass so much energy so early in the morning.

It's why we embrace our afternoon class and perhaps, purposely, end our day with a much calmer group of children. Their only delay is speech and language so their behavior is more on par with what a 'normal' developing 3 - 4 year old should act like.

As I was sitting with a small group of children assisting them in their artwork, I noticed, and even mentioned to my co-workers, how nicely another group were playing. They were engaged with a train set, building,sharing and playing appropriately.

A few other kids were working with the speech therapist and one of the staff members took the copy helpers to make copies of our daily paper we send home to the parents.

I felt we were in the eye of the tornado after what we experienced in the morning. The atmosphere was calm and peaceful, until I heard a muffled cry coming from the train set area.

I looked over and saw a child standing on the storage bin we use for the train set. The cry came from underneath the bin.

Apparently one of the boys decided it would be fun to crawl under the bin leaving the opportunity for another to climb on it. Not a good combination.

Once the trapped child was rescued he fell apart in my arms sobbing. Poor little fella. As I was consoling and talking with him, his tears dried and he felt better.

Just as I was about to stand, a little girl decided she needed consoling and, for no apparent reason, started to cry as well. I knelt back down to hold her when a few others joined in, not so much crying but wanting a hug.

Luckily a full blown tornado didn't emerge and it was just a passing wind. Everyone settled back down and things resumed just as they were before.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Monkey see, monkey poo...

Part of our morning Preschool routine is taking the potty trained kids to the bathroom as soon as they arrive. We have them enter the classroom, take off their coats and backpacks, line up and head for the restroom. Our diaper kids stay back with one of the teachers.

One of our diaper kids is a little boy who is no bigger than a peanut and cuter than a bug. He also happens to be very regular with his bowel movements. Every morning about the same time he drops a load then backs up to you indicating his pants are messy and wants a change.

I decided to take him with the rest of the potty trained kids to the bathroom to see if he would do his business in the toilet instead.

I sat him down on the seat, which he did very well at, then held the door closed to give him some privacy. In the stall next to him was another little boy sitting on the toilet going potty.

I kept encouraging our little peanut to go poop poos. Squeeze your tummy and go poop, I'd tell him. All of a sudden I heard some grunting sounds coming from behind the stall door.

Oh my gosh was it possible our peanut was actually going poop in the toilet?

After a short while I peeked in and saw a happy little boy sitting on the pot but no poop.

Then in dawned on me. I checked the other little guy who is very independent with his self help skills. Usually he comes out by himself, toilet flushed and pants pulled up, but not this time.

He was the grunter and must have thought I was talking to him. "Squeeze your tummy and go poop." Which is exactly what he did and, was patiently waiting to be wiped.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Snow Day!!

We had a snow day, not in the traditional sense where you hear on the radio school has been canceled. No the preschoolers weren't so lucky, they still got to ride the bus in scary winter conditions. I worry about that. I think they should stay home, or at least be with their day care providers tucked safely in the nest. I mean, they're only three.

Regardless what I think, they came just the same. Well, only half of them, the other half had smart moms and kept their little ones home.
We had a different kind of snow day. For the most part we stuck with the schedule with one exception, instead of playing outside we brought the outside, indoors. We bundled up the children, gave them shovels and buckets and had them scoop up some snow and dump it into the sensory table.

We brought the snow inside and everyone enjoyed eating, stepping, and playing in it. If the snow is still around when we come back, we will expand our play and color it, or.....maybe even make snow cones.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The age of innocence

Working with children we hear the darndest things:

A  teacher in my school shared this:  "Last week, two of my students were speaking Spanish during class time. Not a big deal, but I asked them to speak English during the activity that we were doing.  At lunch yesterday, one of these students was coughing and I thought he might be chocking.  I asked him is if was ok and he said that he was and that he was just coughing in Spanish.  He doesn't cough in English." 

In Class:  Holding a preschoolers hand ready to take him to the bathroom I announced to the rest of the staff in the room I was taking.......For the life of me his named escaped my brain. Making another attempt, I said: I'm taking...............I have..........finally the little boy whose hand I was holding finished my sentence and replied, "Me"

Buckling the children on the bus (during Christmas time): One of the para's was buckling a child in his seat when he noticed her Christmas sweater decorated with stars, stockings, trees, and snowflakes. He asked her if tomorrow they could make cookies like her sweater.

It's why I do what I do!