(Old Bridge Public Library has an awesome library preschool program throughout the week, and on Saturdays they also have story time for all ages at 11am and dance party at 12pm for all ages...it's a blast, the kids can't wait to see what Miss Gretchen has up her sleeve)
And each session always ends with bubbles!
What I have found is the more I am exposing my kids to the library and story time at home (we go at least twice a week now sometimes 3 times if we go on Saturday) is reading is the norm. Books are not boring, they are captivating and fun! I use books to introduce new topics, sharing issues, being a big sister, obeying mommy and daddy, and being kind to our friends. Using books is a great way to show your kids pictures and life outside of their small narrow "me" focus.
Here's a look at what we've been learning:
All people (no matter what their skin color) are beautiful and special to God.
A while back I mentioned how Julia was saying some things about skin color. Not to be rude, but just matter of factly. We would be at church, or in a store and she would look at me and say, "Mommy she has a black face." Mortified I would correct her to zip her lips, and once we were in the car, we discussed how our words could hurt people's feelings. Julia just didn't get it. She then said, "But mommy, what did I do?' I got the idea to read her a book that I once read to my third graders during Black History Month all about the shades of people of color (And me being a woman of color with brown skin has been a great teaching tool to share with her and Mark, since they forget that my skin is different from their skin since I'm just plain old mommy to them).
The book is called: Shades of Black: A Celebration of our Children click here if you'd like to purchase this book for $6.99.
I highly recommend this book if you want to address the issue of race/skin color with your kids. The pictures are beautiful and the constant reminder is that we are all unique and we are all special. After reading this book and seeing all the beautiful shades of skin I was better prepared to share race and kindness with Julia. We talked about each child and how God made them.
More Preschool Ideas
Last week our theme was farm animals, we even had a scheduled field trip to Terhune Farms in Princeton where we were going to hear books about animals, pet the farm animals, and be able to take our very own sheep hair (or something like that) and we were going to make a craft, but we got rained out! That didn't stop us! In circle time we read lots of animal books, we made animal sounds, and we colored farm animal pictures, and we sang, "Old MacDonald!" We even watched some of Charlotte's Web after craft time so mommy could make lunch!
This week we are going to stick with the farm animal theme but we are going to read a really good book and a classic called, The Ugly Duckling, and we are going to learn all about self esteem and how it doesn't matter if we look different on the outside because that's what makes us special! Then we are going to color pictures of ducks and swans and learn about the differences between the two (I'm going to make a Venn Diagram and we are going to say what is the same about them (that goes in the middle of the diagram) and then what is different about them (those details go the separate side of the diagram) then we are going to post it on our pantry door to show daddy when he gets home! John is always amazed at what we are learning and it's good for the kids to get excited to show daddy, because then daddy asks, "What is this? What did you learn today?" And the kids have to review what they learned, and they are just so proud of themselves!
If you click on the The Ugly Duckling words you will go to a children's site that has the story, but then you are also show many ideas of how to expand your child's learning! I love sites like this! This is where I get my craft ideas, and free printouts from!
Julia and I also fell in love with the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. This is a sweet little book about a mouse who is named after a flower, and her parents love her and love her name but at school the kids tease her, it's not until a sweet music/theatre teacher embraces her and helps her see how wonderful her name is! I love when teachers teach those bullies a lesson! If you click on the title you will go to a website with info about the author and some fun lessons that you can teach your child! We will be coloring chrysanthemums of course, but we will talk about how important it is to be kind, our verse for next week is "Love your neighbor as you Love yourself." (Matthew 22:39)
Bible Memory Verses for Pre-Schoolers
A lot of my friends have been asking, "How do your kids know bible verses already?" (I mean, they aren't even in Awana yet, that's next year) They aren't too shocked about Miss Social Julia Star, but Mark isn't that much of a talker (in public, at home it's non stop, lol) and yet he keeps up with Julia, my answer is, we practice, practice, practice! And we say our verses everywhere, in the car, in the tub, during dinner, at the store, at the park, at grandmas (grandma's house is a perfect place to practice) at the library, it's just in their heads I guess (and hopefully one day in their hearts).
I started to wonder, after the holidays, which verses will be next? So I started researching and I found a website with hand-outs for the kids to color, and hand motions for some of them, this was a real hit, and this became our Spring/Summer memory program. Click the words Spring/Summer program to find it. I hope it blesses you and encourages you as much as it has me, I'm memorizing right along with my kids, and we always do it with a smile! The worksheets we print out, color and showcase as we practice, then after the 2 or 3 weeks of memorizing we move on to the next one...in all honesty, it's on the time table of your child, and there is NO RUSH, learning is a journey, not a race! I'm just excited my kids are excited to learn, and we are having fun, and it's God's Word! Win-win!!!
Hope those ideas help! Tune in next Monday, Memorial Day, for some more ideas/tips about kids learning about the Presidents of the U.S. and some great books to help with that!