Friday, January 31, 2014

Let's Go To Town! - January 27-31

What fun this week has been!  We've been talking all about our community and the people in it.  We've learned about buying things and money, pretended to go grocery shopping, and created towns in our block centers and through art projects.  We brought in empty food boxes to play grocery store with.  We used them to build in block center too, and played with them in our housekeeping centers.  Our sensory tubs this week had colorful pompoms which we pretended were candy, and we practiced pouring and scooping our candy into cups!  Here's more of what we've been doing!

The one-year-olds enjoyed the candy sensory tub a lot!  We also created a "piggy bank" (wipe container) with "money" (jar lids) for each class, and the ones loved honing their fine motor skills sticking the money in the piggy bank!  They did free art drawings of the park, too!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Our Five Senses Week - January 20-24

This has been such a fun week!!  We've done all sorts of neat art projects, touch and feel experiments, and smell-good play this week while we've learned about our five senses.  Here's a sampling of what we've been doing!

The one-year-olds explored touch by painting on bubblewrap and playing with a sticky wall (contact paper taped to the wall sticky side out).  They had fun sticking pompoms, pipe cleaners, and pieces of yarn onto the wall!  They made "Five Senses Bears" too!  To explore smell, they painted with Kool-Aid, which made the whole room smell nice!  Today, they had a special snacktime featuring different textured food!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Circus Week! - January 13-17

It's weekly update time!  We had Circus Week this week and, oh what fun it was!  We learned all about the circus - the clowns, the animals, the trapeze artists and tightrope walkers.  We had fun with colors and did some awesome crafts!  Here's the highlights from the week...

the pa-paw patch, circus theme

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Farm to Preschool - Good for Everyone!

Farm to Preschool.  Ever heard of it?  Probably not.  But it's pretty neat!  It's a grassroots program that is nationwide that focuses on teaching our preschoolers about local food, gardens, and where our food comes from.  We think it's pretty important, so we try to participate in the Farm to Preschool movement.  Some things we think are important and we do here at the Patch:
  • Our children tend a garden which produces herbs, flowers, and vegetables.  Through observing and working in the garden, they learn about food, where food comes from, what herbs smell like and are used for, and to enjoy beauty in the world.
  • The children help to plant the plants and seeds, weed the garden, water the garden, and then help with the harvest.  They always grow cucumbers and tomatoes, which are given to the kitchen and are sent back to the kids on their lunch plates!  Cucumbers and tomatoes with Ranch dressing is a favorite!
  • Our Patchers have grown broccoli, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, lemon balm, marigolds, sunflowers, kale, and mint.  We use what we can in the kitchen; there was a fun time when we fried squash for the kids fresh from the garden!
  • We try to use local produce and food when we need to buy for our meals.  In season, a lot of the cucumbers, green beans, and tomatoes (for spaghetti sauce, tacos, sandwiches, or with dip) come from our own home gardens.  
  • We serve three to five servings of fresh fruits and/or vegetables every week.
  • Ice cold water is always available in our classrooms for whenever the kids need a water break.
  • We provide plenty of outdoor play time for our children to encourage healthy habits like exercise and having fun through play!

We recently received an email about the Farm to Preschool Program which we want to pass along.  It talks about the benefits of having your children in a preschool that participates in a Farm to Preschool program, like The Pa-Paw Patch!  Children become better eaters who enjoy healthy foods, leading to less risk of obesity.

See the article here.

Our Farm to Preschool efforts aren't stopping now!  We're revamping our playgrounds to make them more natural, with more plants and trees, garden areas, and natural play areas (think pathways made from "tree cookies", tic-tac-toe boards on stumps, grass mazes, and an outdoor circle time/dramatic play area).  These upgrades will encourage the kids to enjoy nature, exercise their imaginations and bodies, and teach them about the world around them.  We're really excited about what we do at The Pa-Paw Patch and want our parents and community to know the importance we place on developing the whole child through play-based learning!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

HomePlay - Simple Circus Sensory Box

It's circus week, and we've got a super simple sensory box to continue your little one's learning through play at home!  Drum roll please....TA-DA!  Our Simple Circus Sensory Box!

homeplay, pa-paw patch, circus sensory tub

Monday, January 13, 2014

Wild Animals and the Zoo - January 6-10

Due to computer issues, we weren't able to get our Friday post out, so here it is...just a bit late!  We talked all about wild animals and the zoo last week.  Our teachers did some really awesome things with the kids and went out of their way to make it a super fun week.  We're continuing talking about some of the animals this week as we learn about the circus, so this one should be just as fun!  Here's a recap of our wild week...

The one-year-olds kept a display on their low shelf of zoo animals and zoo books, which the kids loved exploring!  They also made handprint zebras (a hit with every classroom!).

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

HomePlay Idea - Zoo Animal Cage

We had a quite a brainstorm going on coming up with a zoo-themed HomePlay idea.  This one came about thanks to our wonderful four-/five-year-old teachers who thought a cage for their toy animals was definitely needed!  Here's how we did it...

pa-paw patch, zoo theme, preschool zoo theme, vale nc daycare, vale nc childcare, diy, kid's zoo crafts

Friday, January 3, 2014

Winter Weather - December 30 - January 3

What a busy week it's been!  We were closed on Wednesday for New Year's Day and have been trying to shift gears back into our routine.  Before we knew it, the week was gone!  Here's some pictures from our week of Winter Weather and Warm Thoughts!

We made an really "hot" sensory tub for the kids this week...a hot chocolate tub!  I don't know who was more excited about it, us or the kids!  We simply tore paper into pieces and folded them to make our "chocolate mix", then added white pompoms for marshmallows and black pompoms for chocolate chips.  We made up some labels, printed them off, and taped them to containers so the kids could pour and mix hot chocolate into their cups.
The Pa-Paw Patch, winter preschool theme, hot chocolate, hot chocolate sensory tub, sensory tub
All the ingredients for our Hot Chocolate Sensory Tub