September 29, 2010

September 26, 2010


Friends are something you have to work at, nurture and never take for granted.  Are we supposed to teach about friendships or just let it happen naturally?  Just like anything else in life, you must learn about it either through experiencing it or observing role models.  Both good and bad, but these experiences are out there.  We offer opportunities for our children to show how they feel about each other daily. 
If a child fell, another child would run over and extend a hand to help them up.  If someone got a boo boo, another child would provide comfort and place a bandaid on for them.   When circle time would begin, children would grab carpet squares for each other.
The list goes on where compassion is shown daily.  We often talk about what it means to be a friend and the kids express what they believed was a friendship.

Some would say it meant to play with each other and to say sorry if we hurt them.  Some would say it meant to share our toys and to help get the out-of-reach toys for their little friends. 

Making Friendship Flowers for Each Other

This week was Friendship Week.  Everything we did, we did for our friends.  Here are some examples of items we made for each other:
The Friendship Flower

Our Friendship Quilt

Friendship Poster

This is an example of how the children see each other.  Holding hands, smiling and just being with each other.  So, the question still remains; is friendship taught?  I don't know if there is a correct answer, but just remember, everything you do and say, the children are almost always watching.  Be a good role model and extend your hand in friendship.

September 19, 2010


The ever so sturdy toys are such a delight to own and watch the imagination take place.  Together a team of boys build a wall and a rocket ship out of beautiful birchwood blocks.  As a team, they discuss where each block should go and how it would serve the purpose of their design. Their dialogue sparks the interest of another

Along comes a younger preschooler to watch and the decision to join in and build along side them is made immediately.    Not only are blocks a time forgiving toy, but duplos are another toy that every home should have.  They help define fine motor skills, spark the imagination and provide hours of independent or group fun. 
Observing the children spending time building cars, walls, rocket ships or any other object that sparks their imagination, is one of the most delightful times I have here at PattyKakes Kidz.  Often times I am running to grab my camera to catch that perfect moment.  Sometimes I do catch them without them noticing.  I know their moments of creative play will play a huge role in their futures.  Who knows, they may become designers, architects, or any other careers, and the best part is I got to see it all happen right here. 

Building a Duplo Wall as a Team

Just found a Duplo man, hmmm now what to do with it?

Monday Morning SPOTLIGHT

On the weekdays, we spend such a fun time with our preschool friends.  We dance, sing, learn and just enjoy each other's company daily.  I thought how wonderful to have a Monday morning Spot Light highlighting our preschoolers outside of preschool. 

This morning's Highlight is about Riley and his Grandpa.

Riley, grandpa and all of Riley's family arrived early in Santa Cruz to cheer on Grandpa in the 1/2 Iron Man Race "70.3 miles!"  They arrived so early, that Riley had to wear a headlamp just to see.  They spent 7 hours cheering on Grandpa and just as Grandpa neared the finish line, he swooped up Riley to run the last leg of the race.  They crossed the finish line together and everyone cheered them on.  What an exciting weekend it was for Riley and his entire family. 

September 17, 2010

Earth Science

As we finish breakfast, the kids eagerly await the promised activity of planting our winter garden.  They each run to their spots around our garden, with shovels in hand.  We talk about planting healthy vegetables and we look at printed pictures of how they will look once matured.  We dig our holes and learn about the gentle ways to handle these seedlings.

One by one, they each plant and count how many plants we have.  We talk about how big they will grow and they ask if we can place a stake to monitor their growth, just like we did when we grew our stalks of corn.  

We realize that once they are planted, it's nice to stand back and admire your hard labor.

Together they decide who gets to do the first watering of our new seedlings.  No one argues and all are willing to let our newest preschooler do the watering.
Taking the time to help kids learn about their world is the best way to allow a child to explore their natural curiosity. In this case, they learned about healthy foods and how to raise and care for it.  They learned about math, spacing and order, while counting and placing the plants in a row along the sides of the garden boxes.  They learned about teamwork and they learned about being caring individuals by showing such delicate handling of the seedlings.  

Days later, we harvest beans and dry them for next year's planting.  

They have enjoyed a full cycle of gardening.  

Now to grow and enjoy this season's bounty.

September 10, 2010

Child Led Activity

Our preschoolers ran to get their carpets as circle time was about to begin.  We sang and read stories.  One story was titled, Preschoolers to the Rescue.  The story talked about many vehicles one by one getting caught in icky, sticky, ooey, gooey mud.  The preschoolers in the story ran outdoors into the rain and they freed all the vehicles from this sticky mud using rubber bands, popsicle sticks, rocks, sand, and their teamwork as preschoolers and friends.  My own preschoolers were fascinated.
This prompted our activity to follow: 

We discussed what was needed to make actual mud and the kids were right on; dirt and water.  So we took Masa (a new word for the kids to learn) and water to mix into a messy, icky, sticky, ooey, gooey mess. 

They realized that this mess was tasty too as they all sampled a bit.  They also enjoyed the feeling of squishing the sticky mess between their fingers, just like real mud.   

It was so important to let the kids just discuss their findings and explore.  Some wanted extra water and some wanted to make mud cakes.  I began to wonder if these could actually cook and I remembered in my earlier travels watching a family in El Salvador sitting near their tent, making Papoosas.  This is such a tasty Salvadorean entree.  I then ran to the kitchen, brought out an oiled cast iron skillet and let the kids add their "mud pies" on top. 

Icky Sticky Ooey Gooey Mud Pies-Mmmm
The kids ran to wash up in a water bin and then ran off to play outside to discuss and continue their excitment for icky, sticky, ooey, gooey mud.    This took them to our sandbox and water table so they could continue their efforts to mix these two resources and make more mud pies. 

Meanwhile, I cooked their mud pies and added a sprinkle of sugar to each one.  I then took them outside and you should have seen their eyes light up with such excitement to taste their inventions.  All but one enjoyed their treats and this made for such a successful, child led activity.  I scrapped the rest of my day's activity and decided that this couldn't have turned out better if I had it all planned out myself .

September 8, 2010

A typical Day With PattyKakesKidz

Playing, socializing, family time, preschool time, cooking, gardening and just plain old "hanging around".  Typically, we get in a park and a library trip once a week, along with the occasional field trip.  It's a busy day here with PattyKakesKidz.  The kids hug each other and yell out bye to their friends at the end of their day and usually run back for seconds on the hugs.  The feeling of loving our friends, respecting each other and knowing that our preschool is their home away from home is the best feeling ever.  The kids and their families all help make this feeling happen.  Thank you to all of you for your contribution to our preschool, just hang in there, as more fun will be had by all.