Director Newsletter

I came across a valuable educational tool from Amanda Morgan M.S. of Notjustcute.com.  She has written a number of ‘Why We Play’ letters to be used by Early Childhood Professionals to share with their families.  These letters are filled with wonderful information that I’ll be providing to you over the next months.  The license that GHCC purchased allows me to make physical copies of the letters and distribute them to you.  They’ll be placed on your Sign-in sheet.

 

Demolition Derby

A mini excavator, a dump truck and workers in hard hats equaled pure preschool excitement.  For three days, the children were a rapt audience to the demo work on the building adjacent to our play yard.  With the building gone and a new fence installed, we have more light in the area.

 

Volunteer Opportunities:

Grandmother’s House is a very special place thanks not only to our terrific staff but also to the contributions of our supportive families.  Serving on a GHCC committee is a great way to get involved, meet other GHCC families, and make a positive impact on our school. 

Following are areas that you could serve our preschool community:

Board Member

Fundraising Committee

Thank you to all who returned the Volunteer Opportunity Form.

 

Summer Program Enrollment for Current Students:

GHCC offers a seven week Summer Program.  The dates are June 22 through Aug. 6.  This program runs Monday through Thursday.  There is no school on Fridays.  The current staff, sans Mrs. Kristi (home with her own children), will continue teaching and assisting in the classrooms.

The students enrolled in the Summer Program are divided into an older group and a younger group.  Currently enrolled families have priority for the spaces available.  We also enroll new students as space allows.  

Some currently enrolled families opt to skip the Summer Program (vacations, older siblings are out of school, etc.) and return to school for the Fall Program. 

 

 Summer Program Applications will be placed on your Sign-in page.  Please return your Summer Program Application by March 10, 2020.

 

Achoo!

During this time of year when colds, flu, and various other ailments affect our families, it’s important to review our Daily Health Check/Illness policy. Your child’s health status will be checked each day. If your child seems to be showing signs of illness, he/she may not be admitted into the program. If your child becomes ill at the Center, you or an authorized person will be asked to pick up the child within one hour.  Children must be healthy enough to participate in the Center’s daily routine and, therefore, will be excluded from the program if such symptoms as rash, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or signs of infection (heavy cough, thick, runny nose) appear. If a child is sent home due to illness, they may return to the program only when symptoms have not been present for 24 hours.  If your child shows signs of illness before coming to the Center, please make arrangements to keep them home and call and notify the Center of his/her absence.  Please remember that if you bring your child to the Center when he/she is ill, your child may infect other children or staff members.

February Blog:

Pre-K Class

Welcome Winter

We've been busy in PreK learning about animal adaptations in winter and playing games, games, games, and more games!  Favorites are; Go Fish, Pete the Cat Groovy Buttons, Don't Break the Ice, and Candy Land.  I also made a snowman counting game for the class.  They choose a hat with a number on it then add that number of buttons on the snowman page. Kids love games and it's always fun and compelling to use games as tools for learning.  

We are really working to strengthen fine motor skills which are essential to most tasks.  Our play dough area offered small items to create with.  There were small beads, pieces of cut straws, pip cleaners and sequins.  It was exciting to watch students experiment with the pieces and figure out ways to attach items

We are learning about letters and sounds, beginning with vowels which we call "builder" letters because they help us build names and words.  We use alphabet puzzles, games, and literature to help reinforce letter recognition as well as correct letter sounds.  PreK is taking on the alphabet!

We used paint for our creative expression activities, first with sponges then brushes.  We read two books about color mixing then experimented on our own.  Next up will be finger painting!

As we assess student abilities and development, things like riding bikes, running, and hopping on one foot are a few indications of growth that we look for.  We offer a variety of wheeled bikes that are appropriate sizes for our toddlers up to our PreK kids.

I hope these photos help you see the many ways we play and learn. See you next time!

February Blog:

3-year-old class

It's raining. . . 

Winter in SLO means rain and cold, but a little wet weather can't stop us!  The children enjoyed stomping in puddles and sharing an umbrella.  We looked for rainbows, but mostly saw gray clouds, contrails, our shy scrub jays and tons of crows in the parking lot.

. . . and snowing

I filled our sensory bin with faux snow.  It looked like snow and was pretty cold, but we couldn't compact it into snowballs.  The experience, nonetheless, was SLO satisfying!

Monster Machine:

A  mini excavator, a dump truck and workers in hard hats equaled pure preschool excitement.  For three days, the children were a rapt audience to the demo work on the building adjacent to our play yard.  With the building gone and a new fence installed, we have more light in the area.

Super Friends!

A few years ago, one of my preschool parents sewed blue capes for the children.  They love donning them and transforming themselves into super heroes.  Popular movies influence their choice of super powers, but mostly they want me to be a 'Hug Monster', a safe (and funny) nemesis to flee from.

Mouse Count:

One of our favorite activities was playing with the Mouse Count (Ellen Stoll Walsh) trays.  This is a wonderful story to practice one to one counting correspondence.  There are 10 mice, 1 snake, 1 jar and 1 cold hard rock in the story.  The greedy snake searched for mice all over our classroom, but the mice hid in some pretty creative places.

If you give a teacher a camera. . . 

When I take my camera out, many children want to pose for photos, while others are more reluctant.  I capture the backs of students' heads,  eyes averted and many 'photo bombs', but also capture delightful smiles and proud moments.

February Blog:

Toddler Class

Toddlers are Active Explorers

This month the toddlers have continued to explore the world around them. During these winter months when it’s dark earlier at night, we have been talking a lot about the night sky, the moon, and nocturnal animals.  We have also been learning about native California animals and the tracks that they make on the ground.

Outside the toddlers continue to explore the use of their fine and large motor skills by; painting with water, hammering golf tees, watering our huge snap pea plant (I can’t believe how much it has grown in two months!) and of course, riding bikes and climbing and sliding down the play structure!

Whether in the classroom, or outside in our play yards, the toddlers are taking a great interest in one another.  There is more play happening together and children are showing that they care for one another by helping each other out and taking turns with toys! They also really enjoyed exploring shaving cream as a whole group at our table!

January Blog:

Pre-K Class

"Thankful Hearts"

We are so thankful for friends, teachers, and time to play and learn!  PreK explored many learning centers throughout the month.  

 

They scooped seeds out of pumpkins, played pretend with tools, and counted and sorted colorful bears.  

They built vehicles and trains while trying out community helper roles such as police officer, bus driver, firefighter, and mail carrier.  PreK tested their strength and cooperation skills by moving large wood stumps from the wood chips over to the grass play area.  

There were fine motor skills like cutting straight lines and pouring water with funnels and bottles.  Plus time for books and relaxing with pals.

We ended December with a gingerbread theme and capped it off with a pajama party!  Students mixed dough, rolled, then cut their own gingerbread cookies which we sampled later on.  It was great fun reading several versions of the gingerbread man folktale and the class was quick to recognize character and plot similarities and/or differences.  

January Blog:

3-year-old class

We are. . . 

Proud:

Our class has mastered many new skills.  They are becoming familiar with following and creating repeating patterns and love to demonstrate their proficiency.  They threaded foam shapes onto chop sticks and connected unifix cubes into long towers.  When offered 'free exploration' activities, many of the children create patterns independently, and proudly show off their work.  Their block building skills are exploding and their designs are thoughtful and (mostly) obey the law of gravity.  We still have our 'epic fails', but in the re-building process, I hear discussions that include advanced vocabulary such as 'we need to stabilize that' or 'our foundation wasn't strong enough'.  Budding engineers!

Fast:

When the Go-Wheelies are available to play with in the Courtyard, you can be sure that there will be fast and furious chase games!

Friends:

The children have developed meaningful friendships in our class.  They can occupy the same space and respect each other's work and can welcome friends to cuddle up and look at books together.  Courtesy words and a courteous tone of voice are being practiced in our classroom.  

Creative:

Painting at the easel, drawing at the writing table, placing the magnetic connectors 'just so', squeezing shaving cream, forming shapes with kinetic sand and making crazy play dough animals are some of the ways the children are creative at preschool

Dec./Jan. Blog

Toddler Class

We're Keeping our Bodies Moving

“Body awareness is a major task of toddlers and grows as their motor skills develop.  As they learn what capabilities their bodies have, they develop an image of themselves.” - Janet Gonzalez-Mena

 

The Toddler class has been making leaps and bounds discovering what their bodies can do. Inside the classroom we have been using our fine motor skills to; squish and push bears into play dough, to paint at the easel, paint with watercolors, and with cars. 

Outside the toddlers are using their body awareness to climb up and down the play structure. They are discovering how to move in and out of spaces using their whole body. Their faces glow with confidence when they learn what their bodies are capable of doing! It is very exciting to be a toddler!

In the garden box outside we planted snap peas. Every day in the courtyard we get to water the small sprouts and observe the plants as they continue to grow.  The pre-K planter box has been the happening place for monarch caterpillars and the toddlers love to watch the them munch away on the milkweed plant!

November Blog:

Pre-k Class

A is for Apple

Fall is in the air and apples and pumpkins are everywhere!  Our annual field trip to See Canyon Fruit Ranch was so much fun.  We tasted apples, cider, and honey.  We learned about bees and played a game then ended our morning with snacks and time to run on the grassy hill.  What a great way to experience the sights, smells, and tastes of autumn. 

Caring for one another and building empathy is something we strive to teach our students.  When I see them help one another or cheer someone on through a challenging task it is a joyful moment.  After a lot of running and play these friends used teamwork at the drinking fountain.  

In our outside dramatic play area we had babies, blankets, bottles, clothes, and some furniture.  Determined students worked through the challenge of putting clothes on the dolls.  The smiles when they finished the task were photo worthy!

Inside the classroom we are practicing writing skills, letter formation and order in names,  as well as playing Go Fish! and counting games involving dice.  Our scissor work has progressed from ripping paper to short snips and next will be straight line cutting.  Remember that all skills in preschool are important as they form the foundation for a wide range of areas of learning.  See you again next month!

November Blog:

3-year-old Class

We were busy!

The children loved the color mixing activities for the month.  They mixed blue and yellow play dough to make green, they used pipettes and droppers  to transfer colored water from one jar to another and enjoyed the sensory experience of using tempra to paint a tree limb, some paper and, of course, their hands.  

Our Marble Works system is very popular with the students.  They teamed up to build fantastic creations and helped each other track down marbles that seemed to roll every where.  

Our class is very active!  Running through the Courtyard, navigating an obstacle course and jumping off the wall are some of the ways we spend our morning.  

Hammering golf tees in our pumpkin required skill and determination.  The children learned to 'steady' the pumpkin with one hand, while hammering with the other.  They discovered that it was a little tricky to press the golf tees through the thick shell, but once they got the hang of it, they spent a considerable amount of time decorating 'Jack'.

 

I was able to capture some sweet photos of classroom friends.

November Blog:

Toddler Class

Fall is for Friends!

As the weather begins to cool and leaves begin to change colors, we are becoming well-adjusted to preschool now. The children are forming friendships and interacting with each other a lot! We are practicing kindness through courteous words and actions, as well as taking turns.

In class, we have been learning that Fall is a season for cooler weather, falling leaves, and pumpkins. We have been singing The Grand ‘Ole Duke of York with our egg shakers and reading Down By the Station by Will Hillenbrand and 5 Little Ducks, by Raffi many times, as consistency is what makes our toddlers feel comfortable and engaged in the classroom. We’ve also used some pumpkins in our art exploration with paint and had lots of time to have free play and exploration in the classroom.

Outside in the courtyard and sandbox area, the children worked hard to dig “beds” for our snap pea seeds and proceeded to water them. We did teamwork to construct paths out of waffle blocks, explored sensory play with a bubble water table and lots of opportunities to dig in the sand. We are also having a blast using our gross motor skills for jumping off of the walls and rocks and climbing our play structure!

October Blog:

Pre-k Class

Another year of fun has just begun!

Hello and welcome to Grandmother's House Children's Center's PreK class.  My name is Mrs. Lindsay and here are the friends in class together this year.

With some familiar faces and some new, they are already forming friendships and bonds over similar interests.  We have excellent books about emotions and feelings so we know how to recognize and name the many ways we feel.  

It's also important to discuss our actions and reactions to some of these big emotions.  These topics help build a child's emotional and social awareness which is the key to successful relationships.  See the photos below to observe teamwork and group play as well as individual activities.   Through their play these students are leaning everyday!

October Blog:

3-year-old Class

New Beginnings

I'm delighted with my new students.  The children enter the classroom with excitement and they've learned our daily routine.  New friendships are developing and established friendships are growing deeper.  They've enjoyed exploring the classroom and the outside environment.  

I've focused our literature on 'Color' books and books about friendship.   I've offered many color activities that support the Brown Bear story and Little Blue and Little Yellow story.  Our friendship books include The Lion and the Mouse (hands down, the class favorite so far), Harold's Wooly Hat and This is Not Your Nest.

We began our shape exploration with circles...we applied stickers to circle paper and glued tons of circles in various sizes to a gigantic circle.  

Our Circle Song goes like this:

A circle is round, it has no end. That's how long I want to be your friend!

A sticky easel is a popular activity in the classroom.  I offered red, blue and green foam shapes to stick to the easel (inspired by one of our books about learning to share blocks)  Some students followed the order, red with red and blue with blue, etc., while others enjoyed making an explosion of color.  

Here are some photos from inside the classroom. . . and outside! We are off to a great start!

October Blog:

Toddler Class

Ready, Set, Go!!

The Toddler class is off to a running start! We have so much happening in our classroom.  The toddlers are exploring new things everyday! In the classroom we have been playing with our kitchen, cars, balls, farm animals and reading books to name a few things. The toddlers get plenty of time to discover different ways to play with these objects. We have also spent time creating by; painting with watercolors, gluing torn paper, feeling the cool and fluffy texture of shaving cream and exploring the different smells and textures of plants such as, lavender and rosemary. We value the process of learning in the toddler room!

Outside in the courtyard and in the sandbox we are using our large motor skills for building, jumping, running, and twisting. The toddlers are learning different textures such as, wet sand verses dry sand, and what it feels like to get wet from splashing in the water table.  

What has touched my heart so deeply already are the friendships being formed.  All of the toddlers are recognizing each other and calling one another by name.  

GHCC Park Day!

Grandmother’s House Family

At French Park

On Saturday, October 5 from 9:30-11:00

 

You can meet your child’s classmates and their parents.

 

Sandbox toys enhance the play experience

 

Hope to see you there!!!

 

Mrs. Dottie, Mrs. Lindsay, Mrs. Kristi, Ms. Daphne and Miss Kristen

May Blog:

Pre-K Class

Sew Much Fun in Pre-K

Letter Q gave us the perfect time to examine a homemade quilt and to learn about needlework and sewing.   A generous parent loaned us a children's sewing machine which allowed PreK to press the peddle alone (as the speed was set at the slowest option.)  Besides being an activity that is practical, useful and fun, sewing with the machine also allows children to increases self-confidence, independence and autonomy. 

For letter X we used roller brushes to create a tape resist painting.  This art project can be done with a variety of materials and for this particular one we used masking tape to create the X then used foam roller brushes to roll across the paper.  

Our other letter X activities brought a dramatic play hospital to the classroom complete with stethoscopes, bandages, and x-rays. 

For Earth Day and letter W we explored worms from a compost worm bin.  We also used salad spinners to create and Earth painting.  

Our school year is approaching the end but there is more fun to be had, see you next time!

May Blog:

3-year-old Class

Busy Bees!

The children have become masters at building and construction activities.  They know that having a good foundation leads to taller and more balanced structures. They are more adept at working with partners and sharing their vision for their creations.  'Epic fails' the predictable collapse of tall structures, are met with gales of laughter and determination to rebuild and hone their designs.

The water pump continues to attract lots of attention.  The children are more capable of working together and have developed strong muscles to pump gallons of water to irrigate the garden.

The children celebrated Earth Day by painting a two-dimensional earth.  They mixed colors for the oceans and the land.  As with most topics, this was a jumping off spot to delve deeper into their understanding of the world around them.  The solar system, space travel, martians and aliens were popular group discussions.

The Courtyard offerings rotate weekly.  The obstacle course was a popular addition last month.  The children tested their balance and concentration while walking on the balance beam, over the stepping stones and tree stumps and navigating the 'narrow gorge'.

Magna tile construction kept the children's attention for two weeks.  They used the tiles to form rainbow colors, created symmetrical designs and constructed 3 dimensional structures.  We have lots of these tiles, but I know that if we had twice the number of tiles, the children would find new ways to use them!

May Blog:

Toddler Class

Spring has Sprung

Our toddlers are growing tremendously as has our flowers that we planted as a class! This month, we’ve talked a lot about Spring which is a season of rebirth and growth. The kids got to see this in action by using the necessities to plant sunflowers: seed, soil, water, and sun!

During our courtyard time, we’ve also been keeping a close eye on the flower medley we planted in our big planter box.

We’ve had lots of opportunities to paint this month! As the children have practiced a lot of social skills this year, we decided to try partner golf ball painting. This is a great activity that involves the children working together to move the box up and down, so the ball will roll through the paint. We created lots of flowers for the “garden” in our classroom. There’s also been individual paint expression at the easel.

Dramatic play is essential in a child’s social-emotional development. It leads to a discovery of self and naturally teaches the children how to collaborate with others. Our toddlers have moved well into an associative state of play where there is one focus that many children are adding to without any specific roles being assigned.

With the sun shining again, we’ve all been so excited to bring our water pump out to the courtyard again! Our kids love playing in the water and experimenting with making different water paths using our many attachments.

April Blog:

Pre-K Class

Hoppy Spring from the Pre-K Kangaroos!

We are nearing the end of our Zoo-Phonics letter learning.  The activity to accompany letter K was lacing a pouch (strengthening eye-hand coordination and fine motor movements.)  

 

This was a fun game to build on our sound-letter relationship knowledge.  Students would identify the letter and sound on the chosen card first, then see if they had the letter on their playing card.  It's so easy to make, you can even do this at home with your child! 

A spontaneous science discovery happened one morning as a student noticed the light reflecting off my watch while I stood near our door.  I offered hand mirrors so students could experiment with their own reflections.  We discussed what happens with sunlight and a reflective surface.  They quickly figured out how to make the reflections move around the room too.  This was a simple, easy way to explore science concepts, build vocabulary, and strengthen social skills as we shared the experience together.  

Literature often sparks our imagination and leads us to learn new things.  We read a wonderful story about a kangaroo and a koala who blow bubbles together as they learn how to be friends.  We already know how to blow bubbles outside so a chance to blow them inside was a fun surprise.  

There are many opportunities for students to play/work independently as well as a cooperatively in a group.  We love playing games like "Hi-Ho Cherry-O" or creating art with a partner.  And sometimes just having a friend beside you while you work is great too!

April Blog:

3-year-old Class

March came in like a lion. . . and out like a lion!

We had so much rain that we put on and took off our jackets a million (no exaggeration!) times.  The children have become pretty adept at performing this skill with a little assistance.  

We explored literature that included weather and rainbows, we painted with the rainbow colors and we used our rainbow colored building blocks.  We have very few indigo colored blocks, so we decided to vote indigo off the rainbow island.

Teamwork was the new component to building with the ladder builder construction set. The children built long ladders and sturdy walls and added builders to other building projects.

The courtyard is a place for imaginative play and lots of camaraderie.  Wearing construction goggles was very popular as well as constructing trains and tracks with our Duplo Trains.

Kinetic sand was a popular sensory activity and the children enjoyed watching the sand 'rain' from their hands.

April Blog:

Toddler Class

Weather is changing and so are WE!

The toddlers are moving, grooving, growing and continue to learn by experiencing and exploring the world around them! In March we have focused on understanding the weather! We’ve been making projects and discoveries all month about the sun, clouds, rain, and rainbows.  

Classroom Relaxing and Exploring:

We are becoming more comfortable with each other and enjoy spending time reading and dancing together. We also are spending more time being more intentional with what we are creating with Duplos and our play dough. By manipulating Duplos and play dough, the toddlers’ little fingers and hands are getting stronger, which will help strengthen their small motor skills as they develop. 

Outside Time:

The toddlers continue to challenge themselves as they develop their large motor skills. This month they have enjoyed using their whole bodies as they climb on the play structure, run around the courtyard and dig in the sandbox. There was also a lot of laughter playing in the rain and stomping in puddles this month too!

March Blog:

Pre-k Class

How many sweet treats can
you count?

We had a yummy treat on Valentine's Day when we sorted, counted, and of course tasted candy hearts.  

There was a flower shop set up in February so we could order flowers for the people we love.  Students took turns selling, arranging, and delivering bouquets.  We counted money, wrote receipts, and answered telephones. 

Other learning centers in PreK were pompom patterns with tweezers.

Glass stones were used to build our new letters.  

Learning the sound for letter G had us exploring geography through maps, globes, and even this circle world puzzle.

March Blog:

3-year-old Class

Mrs. Dottie's March Happenings

We have been exploring the concept of symmetry.  We did some 'foldover' paintings and observed 'same, same' in the images.  We also played a symmetry game with duplo blocks on grids.  I didn't photograph our button symmetry game, but the children loved this.  I provided a basket of paired buttons and made a masking tape line on the carpet.  The children paired up to play this game and as they mastered the concept, they expanded their understanding and skill by moving from a 2 dimensional game to 3 dimensions....trying to 'trick' me by stacking the buttons, rather than laying them down .  

Music with Miss Danielle is a much anticipated activity.  The children sing, dance and love the different instruments she brings to our class.  Betty Martin, Little Liza Jane and the Rattlin Bog were our favorite songs this month.  

We've experienced such wild weather this month, from rain, to wind to ice and snow!  I offered rainbow streamers to play with in the Courtyard.  The children ran, danced, swirled and played follow the leader with their colorful streamers. 

Unifix cubes are an essential material in our classroom.  We sort them  by color, strengthen our fingers as we assemble the cubes into long towers, make size comparisons and practice making repeating patterns.  The children can replicate ABAB patterns and are exploring ABCABC patterns.

Often, I have random photos of the children that don't fit neatly into one of the categories, but are too cute to pass up.  

February/March Newsletter

News From the Director:

The children were excited to return to school after the Winter Break.  It took a little while to get back to our routine, but we hit our stride and had some exciting learning experiences.  My class studied migration, hibernation and adaptation and longed for a snowy day to be able to experience the winter weather depicted in many of our stories.  Alas, the children will tell you, it does not snow in San Luis Obispo…but it sure does rain.  They loved stomping in puddles and watched the rain come down in buckets.  We did many activities inspired by clouds and rainbows and the children will proudly tell you that when you’re discussing the colors of the rainbow, violet is the right name for purple.  Mrs. Lindsay’s class embarked on their Zoophonic adventure, learning amazing facts about the animals represented in the zoo alphabet.  They snipped and cut a snowstorm of gigantic snowflakes and loved the light table exploration.  The toddlers studied the night sky and did some cool activities with owls.  A number of students have become toilet independent, so there have been many trips from the classroom to the bathroom and back.  They are growing up!

 

Volunteer Opportunities:

Grandmother’s House is a very special place thanks not only to our terrific staff but also to the contributions of our supportive families.  Serving on a GHCC committee is a great way to get involved, meet other GHCC families, and make a positive impact on our school.

 

Following are areas that you could serve our preschool community:

Board Member

Work Day Committee

Fundraising Committee

Teacher Appreciation Committee

Year-End Potluck Committee

Please return your Volunteer Opportunity Form ASAP!

 

Annual Fundraiser:

Our Annual Fundraiser is the biggest event we schedule during the year, and I’m delighted that Amanda Thayer and Erica Gibbons have agreed to be co-chairs.   They have some wonderful ideas for this event and will appreciate a large and enthusiastic committee to ensure its success.    If you haven’t returned your Parent Volunteer Opportunity Sheet yet, please do so soon so you don’t miss out on the planning.

 

Enrollment for New Students and Younger Siblings:

I’ve started receiving requests from the community for enrollment at GHCC. If you’re planning to have a younger sibling attend Grandmother’s House, or know of someone who is looking for a preschool home, please contact me. I give first priority for openings to currently enrolled families. Children need to be two (twenty-four months) by September 1, 2019, for enrollment in the Fall 2019 program.

 

Summer Program Enrollment for Current Students:

GHCC offers a six week Summer Program.  The dates are June 24 through August 1.  This program runs Monday through Thursday.  There is no school on Fridays.  GHCC will be closed Thursday, July 4.

The current staff, sans Mrs. Kristi (home with her own children), will continue teaching and assisting in the classrooms.

The students enrolled in the Summer Program are divided into an older group and a younger group.  Currently enrolled families have priority for the spaces available.  We also enroll new students as space allows.  

Some currently enrolled families opt to skip the Summer Program (vacations, older siblings are out of school, etc.) and return to school for the Fall Program.  Please return your Summer Program Application by March 1, 2019.

 

Achoo!

During this time of year when colds, flu, and various other ailments affect our families, it’s important to review our Daily Health Check/Illness policy. Your child’s health status will be checked each day. If your child seems to be showing signs of illness, he/she may not be admitted into the program. If your child becomes ill at the Center, you or an authorized person will be asked to pick up the child within one hour.  Children must be healthy enough to participate in the Center’s daily routine and, therefore, will be excluded from the program if such symptoms as rash, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or signs of infection (heavy cough, thick, runny nose) appear. If a child is sent home due to illness, they may return to the program only when symptoms have not been present for 24 hours.  If your child shows signs of illness before coming to the Center, please make arrangements to keep them home and call and notify the Center of his/her absence.  Please remember that if you bring your child to the Center when he/she is ill, your child may infect other children or staff members.

February Blog:

Toddler Class

Fine Motor Fun

Our toddlers have had many opportunities to strengthen their fine motor skills. Mixing baking soda and vinegar to create a fizzy reaction was an extremely popular activity. By squeezing the medicine dropper to suck up the vinegar, the hand muscles become stronger. The kids also loved watching the vinegar bubble over the cup like a volcano!

The children practiced using their hand-eye coordination to stamp heart shaped sponges onto butcher paper by gripping the sponge with a full fist. They tried to find empty spots on the paper to place each individual heart!

Projects like painting our watercolor hearts and using dot markers to stamp are great pre-writing activities to practice holding a pencil-like object. The children can express themselves through the colors and strokes they use.

As the toddlers grow and live out their preschool days, they will eventually master the pincer grasp. This is a commonly used grasp where the thumb meets the index finger to pick up small objects or use writing utensils. Activities like using one hand to stabilize a “nail” (golf tees) and hammering with the other hand is one way we’ve practiced this grip. We also use it to dig through sand to find treasure or build with Duplos.

As always, we continue to develop social-emotional and self-regulation skills through dramatic play. We love making pretend soup in the sandbox, washing our Cozy Coupe cars at the car wash, and building with waffle blocks outside.

February Blog:

Pre-K Class

Rollin' Along in Pre-K

Creative experiences with materials like playdough, ooblek, and slime offer children many valuable learning opportunities.  This play involving manipulation of materials helps children learn cause and effect in addition to many more developmental skills.  Things like  cooperating with their peers and sharing materials, communicating their ideas with spoken language, expressing themselves through their creations, and time for experimenting with scientific concepts.  All of these skills help students develop a foundation for their future schooling.

Blowing bubbles in the courtyard provided more opportunities for science experimentation as students practiced blowing and catching bubbles with their wands.

We used the light table to practice fine motor skills, sharing space and working cooperatively, discover science concepts (light and dark, shadow, color mixing,) and letter and language association.

Through sorting Unifix letter cubes into the matching letter cup, students identified and practiced letter sounds.  This hands-on manipulative toy is important as it provides a multi sensory learning experience. 

At Grandmother's House we know the importance of quality literature for children and providing a print rich environment to support pre-reading skills.  Our classroom walls have pictures, posters, maps, and charts that are relevant to the students and our curriculum.  As children mature, they process the stories they hear and the words they see.  Did you know that storytelling is another important stage of pre-reading?  Some students are now at the stage of retelling a story by memory or from looking at illustrations.  It's very exciting to see them reading and learning together!  

February Blog:

3-year-old Class

Caps for Sale!

Imaginative play is essentially when children are role playing and are acting out various experiences they may have had, or something that is of some interest to them. They are experimenting with decision making on how to behave and are also practicing their social skills.  Wearing the new hats we received from our generous parents allowed the children to be community safety workers, a train conductor, an astronaut or various animals.  Their play was creative and demonstrated their knowledge of different roles they've observed and like to emulate.

Trains, Trains, Glorious Trains!

Another Giving Tree purchase were Brio trains and additional track.  We used the large table in the Courtyard to construct yards of track and long trains.  The children practiced their negotiating skills to  'swip swap' the cars and engines, and to navigate the track with their peers.  Choo choo!

ABCDEFG. . . .

The children explore the alphabet in many ways.  They assembled our 'I Spy Alphabet' floor puzzle every day for a week, then matched our magnetic ABCs to the letters on the puzzle.  At the light table, many of the children used our glass jewels to form letters in their names.  

Rainbow Clouds, Take 2

This is the second time I offered a Rainbow Cloud activity.  The children's fine motor strength (squeezing droppers) has improved and their observational skills have matured. There were many 'predictions' about the new colors they created , and 'ish' has become a favorite suffix used to describe  these new colors...pink'ish', yellow'ish', night time'ish' and sky'ish' were all bantered about.

Jump!

The children love to jump, and with the addition of another mat, the children can jump, somersault, log roll and cartwheel to their heart's content.

So Strong

I offer a variety of activities for fine motor skill development.  Scissors practice, play dough squeezing and  using the paper punches were popular activities in our classroom in January.

Giving Tree Gratitude

 

The staff and I are grateful for the outpouring of generosity in response to the Giving Tree Wish List last month.

 

We received contributions to purchase new Cozy Coupe Cars, a new Activity Mat, more brio trains, water wheels, a blue ‘ride on’ dog and new dress-up hats. 

 

We also received tons of shaving cream and stickers, and some Ebay and Amazon gift cards.  We’ll use these cards to purchase the ‘extras’ that enhance the children’s learning experiences.

 

Three parents volunteered to make play dough for the classrooms.  Though I’ve made so many batches of play dough that I could probably make it in my sleep, I appreciate this offer of service.  

Dec./Jan. Blog:

Toddler Class

Winter Wonderland

The highlight of our December was our popcorn and pajama party! We enjoyed our popcorn at snack time while we read If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff. What a great way to start our holiday vacation!

We’ve been talking about winter in California. Lots of rain allows for the development of self-help skills like putting on and taking off jackets and boots. It also provides fun as we get to jump in puddles.

During the winter months, the moon is more prevalent as the sun sets sooner. We made our own moons using “moon paint” (mixed flour and paint) and read some moon books including: Mooncake, Kitten’s First Full Moon, and Goodnight Moon. We also created our own night skies by using chalk on dark paper.

We’ve talked about nocturnal animals and made our own animal tracks by stamping them onto butcher paper.

Now that we are five months into the school year, our toddlers are exhibiting more collaborative play. They are using kindness and working together to build towers and tracks with waffle blocks, puddles in the sandbox, and an obstacle course with the slides.

Dec/Jan. Blog:

Pre-K Class

Ready, Set, Jump!

An important part of growth is allowing time and space for large-motor movement.  Here PreK used the space and freedom to come up with a jumping game.   This cooperative game was a wonderful learning experience for them all plus it was so much fun!

Another game we played outdoors was a mirroring game.  One person chose a peg and placed it on their board then the other person finds the same type of peg and must place it on their board in the same position.  This wasn't a planned game but instead a natural product of play as the students made their own rules, collaborated, helped one another, and had fun.  

Candy canes made for a tasty treat while we practiced patterns and stringing.

Although we won't have a white winter here in San Luis Obispo, we do know that a snowflake is a symbol to remind us of the season of winter.  Stamps and number grids helped reinforce numbers and quantities. 

Often times the beginning of a preschool creation will look one way and in the end it is something completely different.  Preschool is where students can experiment with colors and symbols as they take their creations from one thing to another.  In preschool we celebrate the process as well as the end result. 

Join us again next time for more ideas of the work and play in PreK!  

Dec/Jan. Blog:

3-year-old Class

Happy New Year!

December was a whirlwind of activity in our three-year old class.  From listening to wonderful stories (especially Eric Carle's Dream Snow) and squeezing play dough (with seasonal cookie cutters),  to scissors practice (cutting card stock and paper straws) and block building using (Kodo Kids criss-cross blocks), the highlight of the month may have been our Polar Express Pajama Day. 

Polar Express:

All Aboard!  The children and I wore our cozy pajamas while enjoying warm cocoa and popcorn and listened to the Polar Express.  Our classroom contained yards of train tracks as well as many trains.  I added our magnetic connectors to the mix and soon the children were stringing together super long trains to reach the North Pole.

Obstacle Course:

The children were focused on creating an obstacle course in the Courtyard.  They engaged in passionate conversation about the design and execution.  Though each child had a different idea about the design, we found many ways to accommodate their individual visions.  They happily ran through the course a number of times and requested that I save it for the 'big kids' (the pre-k children). Let's hear it for Team Work!  

One Fish, Two Fish:

Two students arrived at school with matching agendas....one student brought Dr. Seuss's One Fish, Two Fish book, while another wore his One Fish, Two Fish shirt...Serendipity!

Odds & Ends:

Reindeer in the classroom, magnetic connectors and outside play...there is never a dull moment at preschool.

November Blog: Toddler Class

Thankful for Friends!

Wrapping up October: 

We finished off October learning about spiders and exploring the guts of a pumpkin. In our sensory bin we played with spaghetti noodles and excavated plastic spiders that were hidden inside! The Toddlers even had a chance to paint their own web by using a golfball!

Music and Movement: 

Every day we have been moving our bodies and making music with the Animal Action song, parachute, yoga, and rhythm sticks. It is important for Toddlers to be moving around, listening to songs and singing each day. Music and movement are an important part of our curriculum because it helps build coordination, muscle development, sound sequencing in their vocabularyand helps them identify sound patterns through repetition.

Indoor and Outdoor Learning: 

Outside in the courtyard we have been pumping and pouring with our water pump! We enjoyed rocking with our teeter-totters and jumping off the wall. Inside, we’ve also spent time focusing on our fine motor skills by squishing and squeezing play dough.

Our class has loved creating collages with glue, shapes and paper. In the spirit of Thanksgiving
we spent some time talking about people we love and being thankful. To wrap up November we
made abstract turkeys by stamping feathers with paint and cardboard and gluing turkey bodies,
eyes and beaks on top!

Oct./Nov. Blog:

Pre-k Class

"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike." ~ John F. Kennedy

We love riding bikes, especially with a friend along for the ride!  PreK students are testing and trying all sorts of new physical feats in our outdoor play areas.  They want to see if they can jump higher, run faster, and bike in ways that challenge their strength and coordination.  

Dramatic play is an excellent way for children to build strong language skills as well as explore roles and characters they are familiar with.  They also practiced fine motor skills while dressing their dolls.  They are experts at swaddling and feeding too!

Inside the classroom there were opportunities for math skills such as sorting and counting.  Everyone was successful at our dice and stamp game.   

There is so much to learn and practice while we play.  Obstacle courses, pattern making, sensory play with play dough, and peeling stickers help students build core skills essential to their development toward kindergarten. 

October has been a blast and I hope you'll check back next month and see more activities from PreK!

Oct./Nov. Blog:

3-year-old Class​​

"All Things ORANGE"

 

 

Following our investigation of exceptional color-themed picture books, the children fell in love with Michael Hall's, It's an Orange Aardvark. In this story, a group of carpenter ants is besieged by a hungry aardvark who likes to eat ants with ketchup, who wears blue pajamas, who leads a group of green geckos to their tree stump, who also drives a yellow bulldozer and who likes to wash the ants down with purple grape juice.  At the children's request, I read this story numerous times each day.  To accompany the book, I offered a number of color mixing activities, the children painted a long piece of driftwood, they strung oodles of pony beads, and wore carpenter ant head bands.  They also became very skilled at making drilling sounds when the story called for an ant to drill a hole in their tree stump.  

It does rain in California!  We had a day of rain so the children enjoyed putting on their boots and stomping in the puddles.

At the beginning of the month, we explored Leo Lionni's, Little Blue and Little Yellow, a story of friendship.  The children loved melting shaving cream mountains using droppers dipped in blue and yellow watercolors.  They marveled when the shaving cream took on a green tinge, just like the story!

The magnetic connectors were a popular material.  While using the connectors, the children tested the 'attract and repel' poles of the pieces to achieve their designs.  Their conversations were truly inspiring.  I heard one student state, 'it won't work if you put 2 repels together...try rotating one side and then they'll stick'.  

Budding scientists!

Developing first friendships at preschool is one of the goals I have for my students.  These relationships are so sweet.  These 'friend' groups encourage cooperation between the students and sets the tone for courteous interactions with their peers and families.

October Blog:

Toddler Class

Fall is for Friends!

As the weather begins to cool and leaves begin to change colors, we are becoming well-adjusted to preschool now. The children are forming friendships and interacting with each other a lot! We are practicing kindness through courteous words and actions, as well as taking turns.

In class, we have been learning that Fall is a season for cold weather, falling leaves, and pumpkins. There was even some rain which made for some excellent puddle jumping! We learned a new song called “5 Little Pumpkins” and read Mouse’s First Fall by Lauren Thompson many times, as consistency is what makes our toddlers feel comfortable and engaged in the classroom. We’ve also used some pumpkins in our art exploration with paint and used markers to color leaves for the hanging branch in our classroom. 

At the beginning of the month, the children worked hard to dig “beds” for our snap pea seeds and proceeded to water them. All that patience paid off as we witnessed them starting to sprout! We’ve also been noticing some monarch butterflies hatching from their chrysalises in Mrs. Lindsay’s Pre-K garden box right next to ours. 

We’ve been using our senses to explore the water and sand in our play environment, as well as some new textures like shaving cream!  

Apple Pickin'!

Field Trip on Friday, November 9

See Canyon Fruit Ranch

2345 See Canyon Road

Caravan with us from school leaving at 9:15 

or 

meet us there at 9:45

$5 per child for apple and honey tasting

Please pay Susie Kenny (Mama Kenny) at the ranch.

Everyone is invited to attend this fun and educational program about apples, bees and honey.  

***Parents will provide transportation to the Ranch.  

Please consider car-pooling.

Dress for the weather (it was cool and misty last year) and bring a labeled water bottle for your child.  If you’d like to stay a bit longer, we’ll have a picnic lunch (parent provided) on the grounds.  Staff will plan to be back at school by 12:45 to care for children who are scheduled to stay for the extended day (3pm).

Family Park Day!

Please join our

Grandmother’s House Family

At French Park

On Saturday, October 13 from 10-11:30

You can meet your child’s classmates

and their parents.

Scooters and bikes are fun to ride on the

basketball court

and

Sandbox toys enhance the play

experience

Hope to see you there!!!

Mrs. Dottie, Mrs. Lindsay, Mrs. Kristi,

Ms. Chelsea and Mrs. Ronda

September Blog:

Preschool Class

Extra, extra, read all about it!

Did you know that reading aloud to your child in the comfort of your own home is the best way to promote early reading skills?  Before we ever begin identifying sounds and linking those sounds to create words, we must build a strong base of interest and enjoyment in reading.  Look for quality literature that will hold your child's attention.  Choose books with an appropriate length and with pictures or illustrations that captivate you both.  Remember too, reading is a process and a combination of many skills that need time to develop . Most of all, have fun!

 

We started our year with literature that was familiar and enjoyable to the students.  

Books like Pete the Cat and Five Green and Speckled Frogs were the starting point for activities such as matching, sorting, counting, and story re-telling.  Pete the Cat also teaches students about positive character traits such as perseverance and positive attitude.  

The ability to run, jump, climb, kick, skip, and march are all large motor skills that children will master this year.  Mastery of such skills builds confidence and competence as children seek out new challenges and encounter new social interactions at school or elsewhere.  Both of our outdoor areas at GHCC provide these opportunities to test and build large motor skills.  

While inside the classroom, students have a variety of areas in which to play and work.  We have enjoyed our dramatic play center, our wood block area, and plenty of time to create art with friends.