Recently, we have seen local excitement regarding the emergence of nature preschools, outdoor learning labs, and adding items from nature into early childhood classrooms. We are delighted to see other programs embrace nature-based practices into their curriculum. Providing children with nature-based learning opportunities has been an intentional component of our preschool program for over 12 years. When we give children opportunities to learn about trees and why they change colors, to understand insects and why they’re helpful, and to observe plant life through nature hikes and our garden, we are supporting their sense of wonder. We see children challenge their motor skills as they roll down the berm or duck under the branches of the bushes and trees. Nature is a place where children share their discoveries with one another, make choices about how they want to spend their time, and gain a greater sense of independence trying new things. Our natural playspace incorporates loose parts that children can manipulate and move around from one area to another. A few tools we use for open-ended play include tree cookies, logs for building, acorns, a portable slide, and shells. In one day our busy mud kitchen can be home base for making cakes, bad guy soup, sushi, or a place to access water for the flowers or sandpit. Providing a one-acre playspace where children can climb trees, observe birds flying overhead, catch the occasional frog in the sandpit, or simply roll down a hill are opportunities that we hope will inspire a connection to nature and our planet. Richard Louv, [...]
Preschool-aged children often react with big emotions when faced with peer conflicts. As adults, our first reaction is to jump in and resolve the conflict for them and move on, but when we do that, has the conflict truly been resolved? And will they know how to handle a similar conflict in the future? Now, of course, if they are being physical with one another, we absolutely intervene. Our first goal is to keep our students safe. Beyond that, our work in the Preschool is to teach children how to name their feelings and emotions, and to give them the words to talk to others. Our goal is to support their growth in negotiating resolutions to their conflicts now and in the future. We use a calm voice when approaching children in conflict, and we always move to their eye level. After they have have calmed down, we often begin by saying, “I see you’re having a problem.” If they haven’t developed the language skills to say from their perspective what happened, we begin narrating what we see. We then offer children ideas on things they can say to each other. We want children to listen to their friends; therefore, we model active listening and empathy. If the children in conflict can’t come to a resolution, we will suggest ideas and ask if they would like to try our ideas. Often we gather ideas about how to solve the problem from other children who are observers; they often have suitable suggestions for their friends. We ask the children in [...]
Children need time to feel comfortable in new situations. We often see a few tears in the beginning. This is normal and should not be cause for concern or worry for parents. It can take a few weeks to adapt to a new routine, and it’s not uncommon for children to have more tears during the second week of adjustment than the first. Our Preschool teachers are pros at helping children transition into the classroom environment. Here are a few tips to help: Make sure your child gets enough sleep at night. Try to establish a morning routine that is relaxed and unhurried. Allow enough time to be on time for school. Children feel the hurriedness of being late and not having a chance to ease into their day. For most families, we have found that the carpool routine makes for the smoothest goodbyes. Before separating from your child, calmly remind him/her that you will be back (after school, after lunch bunch, etc). At pick-up time, rituals such a carpool again help set a familiar pattern for your child. Before too long, the transition from home to school and back again will become a natural part of the day. Your child will have learned that greetings and goodbyes are a predictable part of the daily routine.
It’s hard to believe that the school year is over. We had a great year of learning and exploring with our Preschool students. It seems like just yesterday we were walking around the gym parking lot looking at all of the cars and trucks on Transportation Day. Time seems to go by quickly when watching young children grow. This year, our friends have painted, glued, counted, colored, rested, asked questions, cried, laughed, made new friends, read stories, and pretended, among others! The joy of childhood was celebrated each day! We want to thank each and every one of you for sharing your children with our program. The hard work and dedication of the Parent Association is deeply appreciated by us all. I want to give a special “thank you” to Renee Reithel and Jacquelyn Stack for their planning, coordination, and support of all things Preschool over the past two years. I also want to thank our wonderful parents who have brought in treats for parties, helped at open houses, collected items for our Preschool Coat Drive, and volunteered for our events and parties. Good luck to our four-year-olds who are moving on! All of us at St. Francis Preschool wish everyone a very happy, healthy, and refreshing summer! See you next year!
The preschoolers had a wonderful time celebrating Derby last week. The parade floats were delightful, the races were exciting, and the classroom parties were the best! We would like to thank the many grandparents, parents, and special visitors who joined us and made our Derby event a huge success. We are grateful to the parent volunteers who coordinated refreshments and to Tara Anderson and Breanna Kingsolver for assisting with the set up and tear down of the event. Help us welcome our new Preschool Parent Association Co-Chairs Stacy Plotts and Laura Burke! Stacy and Laura have been members of our community for several years and know our School well. However, Stacy and Laura cannot do this alone. This summer you will receive a volunteer sign-up packet for the 2019-20 school year. Please look it over and decide what you would like to do to help make our school the great place that it is. And don’t hesitate to contact either of our co-chairs if you have any questions. Upcoming Dates On Tuesday, May 14th from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. we will host our third annual Picnic + Playtime. We welcome new students and anyone interested in learning more about our preschool, junior kindergarten, and kindergarten programs to attend. Please RSVP to Kelli Carter at 502.795.3464. Our last Big Sing of the year will be on Wednesday, May 22nd in the Multi-Purpose Room, with David Beard’s awesome slide show starting at 9:00 a.m. On Wednesday, May 22nd the Goshen Campus will dismiss at noon. We would like to have the [...]
Derby fever raced through the Preschool this week. Horses galloped around the classrooms, while parade floats were painted, taped, and glued together with anticipation for our very own Derby Race and Tea. Thank you to all of our grandparents, special friends, and parents who cheered their little ones on during our Preschool Derby Races. Your presence at our events is so appreciated. And thank you to SFS parent and science teacher Jason Chlopek for making the medals with the 3-D printer! Save the date! Friday, May 10th from 9:00 - 9:45 a.m. is Muffin Day! In the past we have called this event Muffins with Moms, but we have changed the name to ensure we are including all of our families. Even though it is right before Mother's Day, moms and/or dads are welcome to join us for a muffin and coffee. It’s Time to Register for “Camp Curious” Summer Camp Don’t forget to register for “Camp Curious,” our St. Francis Preschool summer camps. We are looking forward to six summery weeks of adventure, exploration, and friendship. Each session will be full of age-appropriate activities and everyone will enjoy camp-wide special events and visitors. Register online here. We hope you can join us!
Thoroughbred sock and paper horses are currently being assembled in each classroom for our annual Preschool Derby Race and Tea and Grandparents’ Day next Wednesday, May 1st at 10:45 a.m. Grandparents, parents, or special friends are invited to join us as we parade, run, and celebrate Louisville’s special day. Each child can invite up to four special guests to the event. Please RSVP to your child’s classroom teacher by Tuesday, April 30th. All children who are leaving after the races will need to be signed out in their classrooms with their teachers.
The podcast Life Kit on NPR was recommended to me recently by a former Preschool parent. Life Kit is a collection of short podcasts covering personal finance, health, and parenting. Like many of you, I’m interested in podcasts and books that cover topics that we grapple with as parents. I discovered that the Life Kit series has segments called “Parenting: Difficult Conversations” and it’s supported by the child development specialists at Sesame Workshop. Oftentimes as parents we aren’t ready for the difficult conversations that come up while parenting, and the timing is rarely right (for instance, after we’ve just read the perfect parenting article about the subject). It struck me that the conversations offered in the Life Kit series dive into the challenging questions we face as parents. When I looked at the entire list of difficult conversations listed, I thought, YES! These are questions that parents have, and want answers to, in order to support their children the best way possible. A few titles from the podcasts are “Talking Race with Young Children,” “Is It OK to Lie About the Tooth Fairy?,” and “Death: Talking with Kids About the End.” I’ve listened to a few of them, and the discussions are thoughtful and informative. And, with their partnership with Sesame Workshop as an added recommendation, we wanted to share this resource with you. Spring Egg Hunts Our preschoolers had a wonderful time collecting eggs on the playground Wednesday morning. The weather cooperated and all of our classes were able to search for their eggs outside. Bunny bags and [...]
As you may have noticed, at regular intervals throughout the year, our teachers ask our children to draw pictures of themselves. Sometimes we give children mirrors during the self-portrait process so they can observe the details of their faces. Other times we may ask the children to draw their whole bodies (the Adventurers class does this in the fall). These drawings help us learn more about our preschoolers in several ways. Through their self-portraits, we can assess a child’s fine motor skills. In addition, self-portraits give us a clear picture of a child’s awareness of his/her own body. Body awareness is an indication of a child’s perceptual awareness. The details of children’s drawings increase as their awareness of the world around them increases. We compare several drawings of a child’s self-portraits over time to get a clear idea of how the child’s self-awareness and his/her awareness of the world is progressing. Collecting self-portraits is an important tool in our documentation process of a child’s growth. Egg-cellent Donations Thank you to all of our families who donated eggs for our Spring Egg Hunts next week. Our hunts will take place immediately following carpool on Wednesday, April 17th on the Preschool Playground. It has been our long-standing tradition to donate eggs to our friends at Keystone Learning Academy for their egg hunts. We appreciate our Preschool community continuing to support this endeavor each year. Our families are egg-cellent!
This week we enjoyed a visit from author and artist Mary Maier and her husband, Cole. She read her new book Hoo Hoo Who? to the delight of our preschool friends and teachers. After the reading and sing-along, our preschoolers searched for clues in sensory bins and matched them to the characters in the story. This hands-on activity was the perfect way to end a special story time. Spring Egg Hunts Our Spring Egg Hunts and parties will be held on Wednesday, April 17th following morning carpool. We are asking for volunteers to help hide the eggs that morning. We are also asking each child to donate two dozen plastic eggs by Wednesday, April 10th. Each year we contribute half of our collected eggs to Keystone Academy in support of their egg hunts. The eggs can be filled with toys, stickers, fun band-aids, or non-chocolate/non-nut candy. Please tape the eggs shut (so they stay together when hidden), and remember an egg could be picked up by a two-year-old or a five-year-old. Thank you for supporting our egg hunt and one for our friends at Keystone! Volunteers Needed for 2019-20 Want to get to know other parents and be involved in the Preschool by assisting with organizing events and partnering with the staff and Preschool Director on various projects? Then you might be perfect as a co-chair of the Preschool Parent Association! We are looking for two wonderful people to co-chair the Preschool PA for 2019-20. For more information, or just to chat about it, please contact Renee Hennessy.