Friday, November 18, 2011

Co-op Preschool

A few moms from our LDS Congregation (ward) started a co-op preschool this year. None of us really have the money to send our kids to a preschool, nor would I really want to – I want to know exactly what is going on with my kids, and exactly who is teaching them. I know the moms pretty well, and our kids have played together for the last year since we moved in. We all have similar standards and I know my kids will be safe learning from them, and being with their children. Plus – once every few weeks, I get to teach them all!

The preschool was really easy for us to form. We met together and made a list of topics we want to cover. Then one of the moms made a schedule for us, rotating houses/moms each week. I put together a box of supplies (crayons, scissors, etc – we mostly all just donated a little of this and a little of that from our own supplies instead of purchasing supplies specifically for the preschool box – it worked out the best and was virtually free). The other mom bought a few posters (a calendar, the alphabet, etc) that we had laminated and put in the box to rotate homes.

Our schedule is really loose, and we’re not picky about anything – it’s preschool after all. We have our preschool on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:30am – 11:30am. We start with circle time where we talk about the calendar and the weather, and sing a few songs. Then we do coloring/activities for a number and a letter. Then we get into the lesson, and do some crafts or games. We also have snack time, then lay down for a few minutes, then we read books and have free play.

It’s pretty low key, and more than anything I think it just helps us feel like we are involved in getting our kids ready for Kindergarten (three of the four start Kindergarten next fall).

My favorite part is that I teach two days, and then I don’t teach again for a few weeks, and I get to send my high-energy four year old off to his friends house for a few hours two days a week. It’s such a fun thing because the kids love each other, and we moms only have to put in two days every four weeks or so. Basically the return on investment is very very high. I’m loving it!

Do you send your kids to preschool? Do you co-op with other moms? Do you just do it yourself at home? What kinds of things are you working on with your kids to get them ready for Kindergarten?

Thursday, November 17, 2011



Meet a Scrubbit!

IMG_0898This week in our co-op preschool we have been learning about personal hygiene. If you read my post on our Egg Teeth yesterday, you know that Tuesday we learned about brushing our teeth and washing our bodies (we even pantomimed taking a shower – it was fabulous – kids are awesome actors!)

Well, that left washing hands, taking care of our fingernails, and keeping our minds clean for today. IMG_0894For a craft, we made little Scrubbit creatures for the kids to put on their bathroom counters to remind them to “scrub it!”

Our co-op preschool is basically the 3 and 4 year old Sunday School class from our congregation, so since we are all Latter-Day Saints (LDS, or more commonly, Mormon), we do a lot of talking about gospel principles. Since the kids sang “The Lord Gave Me a Temple” in the Primary program last week, I thought it would be the perfect song for our theme this week. I was surprised at how well the kids remembered all the words! They never cease to amaze me, this little kids.

Want to make your own Scrubbit? First, go download Janeen Brady’s “Cleanliness” CD and book  - you won’t regret it. In fact, get all of her music (especially the “Standin’ Tall” series) it is the best, and I plan to get my kids very familiar with her music. Just kidding, you don’t have to do that first.

How to make a “Scrubbit”

IMG_0896Materials: You will need to grab some cheap sponges (I got six for about $2.50 at the big box store), some pipe cleaners, some pom poms, and of course, googly eyes. Also, you’ll need some glue – I used hot glue because it’s fast and easy (although I had to make sure none of the little munchkins got too close – they were pretty good about it).

Now turn on the music and have fun making these Scrubbits as the Scrubbits from the music teach your kids about hygiene!

IMG_0897Direction: Use something to poke holes in the sides and the bottom of the sponge – I used sharp, narrow scissors, but a chopstick, a pencil, really anything with a point would work fine. Cut the pipe cleaners into four pieces, even, or make the arms a little shorter, it doesn’t really matter. I let the kids shove the pipe cleaners in the sponge, but later I ended up hot gluing almost all of the arms and legs on, so you can decide which you want to do. Then glue on the eyes (some of the kids wanted pom poms under their googly eyes – I did what they wanted, it’s their Scrubbit, after all). After that I just let them loose with the markers. They had a blast drawing mustaches, ears, armpit hair (that one was my kid), and other fun accessories (including “boo boos”). I also glued pom poms on for feet, but you could use something else, or just leave the pipe cleaners.

What hygiene crafts have you done with your kids? Do they have a fun little friend that helps them “scrub it” when they are washing their hands, or brushing their teeth? Are you going make this craft? If you do, please share you photos!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way (and will not be compensated in any way) for mentioning Janeen Brady’s products in this post – I was raised on them and I believe in their effect on kids, and I use them with my own kids. I mentioned her products because I love them, and I think you will, too!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Egg Teeth

In our co-op preschool this week, I am teaching the kids about hygiene.

On Tuesday we talked about brushing our teeth. As a sort of hands on experience (without having to make sure all the kids brought a toothbrush) I made some hard boiled eggs and had the kids draw on them with crayons (they picked their favorite foods and we pretended they were eating that food while we colored the eggs).

Later we took some old toothbrushes and some toothpaste and scrubbed those "teeth". It was fun to see the kids have to work pretty hard to get the "stains" off the "teeth" - I thunk they were surprised at how much work it really took to get the "teeth" clean. It was a fun object lesson for the kids, and I think we will definitely do it again!

What are your favorite object lessons to teach good hygiene?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sorting Practice

I have always been a believer that the best learning happens when kids are doing something that matters. Like cooking, cleaning, or, in this case, sorting laundry.

IMG_0717This is a great activity for your preschooler, because they can learn a lot of things – first, they are practicing sorting (and this is beyond just sorting by ‘color’ because they have to use classifiers like ‘light’ and ‘dark’ and ‘bright’). Second, they are learning that their clothes don’t just magically go from the laundry basket to their drawers. IMG_0720I have let my kids load the washer and the dryer since they were big enough to sit up on top of the dryer (top loading washer + dirty clothes + baby = baby putting things in a container – and what baby doesn’t enjoy doing that!) but now V is old enough to learn how to sort laundry, so sometimes they help me sort the laundry. J likes to help, too, but we have to tell her where each piece of laundry goes. She’s learning, though, and can sometimes do a few on her own.

What “real  life” activities do you do with your kids? How do they learn doing every day activities? Do you let them help with the dishes? Sort the laundry? Mop the floor? What concepts do you see them learning as they participate in daily life at home?