Shirts and Totes!

Preschool tees for everyone in your family!

(And totes for those who don’t do t-shirts.)

There Unisex shirts, Toddler shirts, Ladies shirts, and tote bags. We must order at least 6 items to get them printed.

If we have enough orders, your shirt/s will be printed and mailed in early October.

Order here.

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Bird and Nest Week

May 22 – May 26

As we spend more time outside we will have many opportunities to think like scientists. Many key components of scientific thinking are imbedded in the way children play. Children are natural observers and are very inquisitive. During the next few weeks I would like to encourage the children to use their senses and develop observational skills by: asking questions, describing what they see, predicting what will happen, explaining what they see and what is happening, using tools, communicating their ideas with others.
We will be using the greenhouse as our outside science and art lab/classroom. During the next few weeks we will be planting seeds, making nest art sculptures, experimenting with water, observing the birds nesting in the play area, documenting plant growth, talking about the what is growing in our garden, using tools and documenting the changes in the seeds as they grow.
Remember that there is a connection between learning and playing. Children learn best while playing.

As we spend time outside we will have many opportunities to engage in these learning during play activities. These activities may be ones that are pre-planned, ones that are completely child driven or a combination of the two. Many times, when I set out an activity for the children they will engage in the activity as I had planned. Just as many times, I have seen the children take what I have set out and go a different direction – learning through play is never static or contained but it is fluid and spills out in many directions. The natural curiosity combined with imagination and a mind open to new ideas creates many avenues for learning through play and scientific thinking.

When I was a kid I had a lab. It wasn’t a laboratory in the sense that I would measure and do important experiments. Instead, I would play.  — Richard Feyman, Nobel Prize Recipient in Physics


Nest for a Bird
Here is a nest for a birdie
Here is have for a bee
Here is a hole for bunny
And here is a home for me

Two little black birds sitting on a hill

One named Jack, one named Jill

Fly away Jack, fly away Jill

Come back Jack, come back Jill

Five Little Ducks & Five Little Quail
Five little ducks went out to play <Wiggle five fingers on one hand>

And met five quail that came their way <Wiggle five fingers on other hand>

The five little quail went to get a snack <put quail hand behind back>

And the five little ducks went quack, quack, quack <use hand to form duck bill>

5 Little Ducks
Five little ducks went out to play, over the hills and far away
Mommy and Daddy duck said quack quack quack
But only 4 little ducks came back

<repeat for 3, 2, 1, none of the 5 little ducks came back>
Sad Mommy and Daddy duck went quack quack quack
And all of the five little ducks came back.

Five little ducks paddling to shore,

One paddled away, then there were four;

Four little ducks paddling towards me,

One paddled away, then there were three;

Three little ducks paddling towards you,

One paddled away, then there were two;

Two little ducks paddling in the sun,

One paddled away, then there was one;

It paddled away then there was none.

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Bee Week

May 15 – May 19

We will focus on bees this week.  As we talk about where animals live we will continue to study the living things in our play area.  The children have been working on the new hoe for the snails and the caterpillar.  They have found baby slugs, roly-poly bugs and spiders.  As the weather warms we will be outside more often and they will have more time to watch the birds in making their nests and listen for the babies in the bird house on the church wall.

We will also be talking about colors when we read our story, The Bee, at circle time.  This story gives the children the opportunity to guess what comes next.  This is one of the pre-reading skills we have been working on.  To be able to guess what comes next the children need to be engaged in the story, to stay focused and to follow a story line.

The Bug in the Rug rhyme is an example of this pre-reading skill.  As they learn rhymes they are developing the skill to hear the sounds of words, how some words sound the same and how words are used in a story or rhyme.  Children enjoy rhymes and the humor that comes with some of these rhymes.

The five early literacy practices: Sing, Play, Talk, Read, Write

As we sing songs, learn rhymes and read stories we are working on early literacy skills.  These stories, rhymes and songs are building blocks for their vocabulary. Reading the books during Circle Time and in the Library encourages them to love to read and to have print awareness that is broadened as they see the written words that are spoken to them as you read the story.  As we re-read stories or do the song/rhyme/flannel story for yet another time it is to encourage your child to hear the words/sounds and be able to re-tell the story/thought/word sequence. The repetition of the songs and stories is a way they can practice this early reading skill.  Singing songs and listening to stories / rhymes  allows the children to hear the cadence and rhythm of words, the syllables that make up a word, the sounds of words and they are using these skills as they recite the words back to you.  Through repetition they make the connections of sounds they hear and the words that represent the thoughts in the stories, rhymes and songs.

Bug in Rug

Bug in a rug
Bug in a rug
Which one of you bugs
Is hiding under my rug?

Insects All Around

Ladybugs and butterflies

Buzzing bees up in the sky

Teeny tiny little ants

Crawling up and down the plants

Many insects can be found

In the sky and on the ground

The Ants Go Marching

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Garden Week

May 8 – May 12

Children need to connect with nature. It is so important for children to be outside, in a safe environment, where they can explore the world around them. 

A growing body of evidence indicates that contact with nature is as important to children as good nutrition and adequate sleep. – Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods

Gardening and nature based play go hand in hand.  While gardening with children we are promoting play that is:

Learner centered – it is set around and for the learner

Hands on – promotes sensory based play

Inclusive – connect children of all cultures, ages, skills and abilities

Social – promotes interaction and communication between children and adults

Emotionally safe – builds self-esteem and pride

Physical development – fine and large motor skills are used

Integrative – blends math, science, language, reading, 5 senses, and creativity

Artistic and Creative – allows opportunities to create artistic pieces, as well as, and enjoy colors, shapes, smell and nature. 

Gardening gives opportunities to develop empathy, curiosity and responsibility as they become aware of the physical world outside while they care for the plants and animals living in our world.

Little Seed

Dig a little hole

Plant a little seed 

Pour a little water

Pull a little weed

Up Up Up

Green stems grow

Open wide

It’s blossom time

Here is a Blossom

Here is a leaf

And here is a leaf

And that you see makes two

Here is a blossom

That will bloom

Just for you!


I like dirt, I like dirt

It won’t hurt

On my shirt

I like to spray it with the hose

I like to squish it with my toes

The fun I have just grows and grows

Cuz I like dirt!

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Dinosaur Week

May 1 – May 5

This week we will be learning about dinosaurs, bones and volcanoes.  The children will be building a volcano and adding dinosaurs to the volcano before it ‘blows up’.  We will use descriptive words while we discuss big and little, loud and quiet, in and out.  The kids will be using tools (technology) as they add dino-bone powder to the volcano, dig for bones in the sensory table and examine fossil prints at the play-dough table. They will be paleontologists in the sandbox and in the sensory table using tools to find the hidden bones. 

At Table Toys there will be little dinosaurs hatching out of eggs and in the Blocks area we will have dinosaurs stomping around the neighborhood.  At home you can talk to your child about size and comparisons. You can ask questions that compare things the child is familiar with:  big as an elephant, small as a kitten.  Talk about the difference of loud and quiet.  When is a cat loud? What is loud in the house – the vacuum? the hair blower?  the blender?  Give them an opportunity to make loud sounds and quiet sounds with a tool that can do both.  A tooth brush can make both loud and quiet sounds.   The soft brush side of a tooth brush will make one sound while the plastic handle side makes another sound.  What can you use a tooth brush for?  At preschool we will be using it as a tool to brush off the ‘dirt’ from our bones.  You can talk about how they use it as a tool to brush food off of their teeth.

Dinosaur Week will be filled with STEM activities: Science-study of dinosaurs/volcanoes, Technology: paleontologist tools, Engineering: building the volcano, Math: adding/counting/comparing/categorizing.  All of this while we play with dinosaurs!

Counting Dinosaurs
Five little dinosaurs sitting in a swamp.
The first one said, “Let’s stomp, stomp, stomp”
The second one said, “Time for lunch!”
The third one said, “Let’s munch, munch, munch.”
The fourth one said, “Let’s stomp some more.”
The fifth one said, “Let’s all roar!”    GRRRR!

Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs
Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs
Eating fruits and leaves
Take a bite, chew it up
Their lunch is in the trees.

The Dino Ditty
Here he comes just a stomping with his feet
Singing Dino, ditty, ditty-dum, ditty do
Searching all around for something to eat
Singing Dino, ditty, ditty dum ditty do
He’s huge (echo). He’s strong (echo) He’s huge, he’s strong.
Wont be hungry very long
Singing Dino ditty, ditty dum, ditty do
Singing Dino ditty, ditty dum, ditty do

Five Dinosaurs
One dinosaurs went out to play
upon a giant fern one day.
He had such enormous fun
he called for another dinosaur to come!
two dinosaurs went out to play….
three dinosaurs….
four dinosaurs….
Five  dinosaurs went out to play
upon a giant fern one day.
They had such enormous fun
they played and played ’till the day done

Five Dinosaurs Driving in Cars
There were five Dinosaurs ridin’ in cars <pretend to be driving>
Havin’ a “wheely” good time
They said, “Step on the gas!” <step forward with one foot>
We’ll go really fast! <push one hand out in front of body>
And they did until one had a flat tire
Ca-chunk, ca-chunk, ca-chunk, ca-chunk <roll hands unevenly as if rolling a flat tire>
Whoosh! <sink down to crouch position while making air sound>
And he said, “Go on without me!” <cup hands around mouth and shout upward>

<Repeat with 4, 3, 2, and 1 dinosaur>
<Last time, speak the following in rhythmic, almost rapping way:>

And he said, “I know what I’ll do, I’ll change the tire”
So he jacked up the car <pretend to work a jack while making whoosh sound>
And he took off the flat <pretend to lift off heavy tire as you say “Uh!”>
And he put on the spare <pretend to put on spare as you say, “Uh!”>
And he said, “I’ll pick up my friends”

Then there were five Dinosaurs, ridin’ in cars <pretend to be driving>
Havin’ a “wheely” good time
They said, “Step on the gas!” <step forward with one foot>
We’ll go really fast! <push one hand out in front of body>
And they did and down the road they went flyin’!

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Butterfly Week

April 24 – April 28

As we continue to explore the world around us the children are using their natural curiosity to set a base for future scientific discoveries.  Children do not just watch their world they engage in active learning as they make observations and discoveries in the play area outside.  As the children watch the birds, spy the roly-poly bugs in the dirt, find worms and move them to the garden they are using the scientific process of inquiry: observing, asking questions, forming hypothesis, investigating, gathering data, drawing conclusions, and building ideas that lead to new questions.  (And, oh how they can ask questions!)  Science Education should not be about memorizing achieved scientific knowledge, but about living a life of scientific inquiry according to the scientific method. David Hawkins, The Informed Vision: Essays on Learning and Human Nature.

 It is important to have a partnership with the children as they are engaged in discoveries of their world. Children are active constructors of their own understanding of the world around them and developmentally appropriate teaching practices provide the optimal balance of adult-guided and child-guided experiences. — Copple and Bredekamp

There needs to be a balance between adult and child guided learning as the children explore their world.  Sometimes the learning is more exploratory play and completely child guided, sometimes it is adult supported learning that allows the child to pursue their interests with an adult adding to the learning with their knowledge of the subject, while sometimes it is a blend of adult and child guided learning that allows a give and take learning based on interests, knowledge and observations. 

These three types of scientific learning are happening every day at preschool as the children investigate the world around them.


Flutter, flutter, Butterfly
Flutter, flutter, butterfly.
Floating in the bright blue sky
Floating by for all to see,
Floating by so merrily.
Flutter, flutter, butterfly,
Floating in the bright blue sky


Caterpillar, caterpillar
See him crawl See him crawl
Crawling on the ground
Crawling all around
See him crawl See him crawl.
Butterfly, butterfly
In the air, in the air
Flying up and down
Flying all around
Butterfly, butterfly


Big bugs, small bugs, big bugs, small bugs,
See them crawl on the wall?
Creepy, creepy, crawling, never, never falling.
Bug, bugs, bugs, bugs, bugs, bugs.

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Caterpillar Week

April 17 – April 21

As we move into spring we will be watching for new life in our play area. Plants will be popping up, birds will be back and the insects will be everywhere! The children are fascinated by all the changes in the garden – at school, in your yard and in the neighborhood. Be sure to take some time to go on “nature explore” walks this month.

We will be reading the Hungry Caterpillar and discussing how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. The rhymes and stories will say “cocoon” but it is actually a “chrysalis”.

How does a caterpillar turn into a butterfly?

The major difference between a chrysalis and a cocoon is that a chrysalis is the hardened body of a butterfly pupa, whereas a cocoon is an external structure constructed by larvae to protect themselves during the pupal stage. While there are many different types of insects that create cocoons, they are largely associated with moths. Butterfly caterpillars, with very few exceptions, do not build cocoons, but instead harden into chrysalides during their pupal stage. Butterfly larvae form chrysalides during their final transformation stage, while moth larvae build cocoons.
Even though our rhymes and story will say cocoon it is usually a moth that forms one not a butterfly. However, not all moths form cocoons, either! Some moth species pupate underground instead. These caterpillars burrow into the soil or leaf litter, molt to form their pupa, and remain underground until the moth emerges. The newly emerged moth will then crawl out from underground, crawl up onto a surface from which they can hang, and will then expand their wings in preparation for flight.

Fuzzy Caterpillar

A fuzzy little caterpillar
made a cocoon one day
Turned into a butterfly
and flew away


Big bugs, small bugs, big bugs, small bugs,
See them crawl on the wall?
Creepy, creepy, crawling, never, never falling.
Bug, bugs, bugs, bugs, bugs, bugs.

Bug in a rug

Bug in a rug
Which one of you bugs
Is snug in my rug?

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Cloud Week

April 3 – April 7

This week we will be exploring clouds, colors, science and colloidal suspensions ( a big word for messy fun) at the art table.

Colloidal Suspension

  • A mixture having particles of one component, with diameters between 10 −7 and 10 −9 meters, suspended in a continuous phase of another component. The mixture has properties between those of a solution and a fine suspension
  • A colloid that has a continuous liquid phase in which a solid is suspended in a liquid.

As we talk about clouds outside there are several ways you can bring that learning inside. One of them is to make ‘goop’ to explore- as we will at the art table. By combining cornstarch and water you get a mixture that is both solid and liquid – and lots of fun to play with. It is a sensory experience that is both clean and messy. And lucky for the art station worker – it’s a project that is easy to clean up. The cornstarch just brushes off clothing, wipes up off floors and disappears off of hands when they are dipped in water. Clean, messy, fun! We will be discussing shapes, texture and colors at school this week. Our story will talk about different shapes you see in the cloud formations. Ask your child what they see in the sky, in a reflection in a puddle or in a nature book. You can increase their vocabulary with ‘big’ scientific words as well as adjectives that describe shapes textures and colors.

In Mind in the Making Ellen Galinsky writes about 7 Essential Skills. Looking at things closely helps children develop focus. True focus means they are alert, engaged and able to stay attentive during the activity. As they experiment with the goop this week they will be focusing on shape, texture, design and then during circle time they will be focusing on similar shapes in the story It Looked Like Spilt Milk. This will encourage their Working Memory. Working Memory allows you to take information you already have and connect that information with new information or experiences. This happens when they sing a familiar song, remember what comes next and can make a prediction based on existing information. They will use both focus and working memory at preschool this week.

Did You Ever See a Cloud?

Did you ever see a cloud, a cloud, a cloud?
Did you ever see a cloud that looked like a ____?
A big one, a little one, a quiet one, a loud one?
Did you ever see a cloud that looked like a ____

Did you ever see a cat? A dog? A plane?
<Ask your child to think of words that describe what clouds look like.>


The clouds are passing by,
The clouds are passing by,
Way up high in the sky,
The clouds are passing by.

The clouds are passing by,
Way up in the sky,
Sometimes fast, sometimes slow,
The clouds are passing

5 Little Clouds

5 little clouds floating in the sky
First one said I’ll drop rain when I go by
Second one said I’ll fill the sky with flashes of light (lightening)
Third one said I’ll make noise with all my might (thunder)
Fourth one said I’ll change the rain into snow
Fifth one said when the sun comes out I’ll make a rainbow.

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Rainbow Week

March 27 – March 31

This week we will be looking at colors.  We will talk about rainbows, the sun in the sky and clouds.  There will be a rainbow of colors in the sensory table, at the the play-dough table and at art.  The children will have an opportunity to mix colors and to talk about colors they see in the classroom and outside.  The spring flowers are one way you can talk with your child about colors as you walk around your neighborhood.  The daffodils are out and the tulips are getting ready to bloom – lots of colors to talk about and to practice “focus”.  Children can be expected to stay focused on an activity for 1 minute times their age (2 minutes if you are 2, 10 minutes if you are 10).  Of course, they are able to stay focused for much longer when it is an activity they are particularly interested in.

The ability to focus and control (your body) involves the developing executive functioning skills including the ability to pay attention, learn and remember rules, and the self-control to not act on initial impulses.

You can play ‘I SPY’ as you walk:  I spy something___(insert a color).  Kids love this game and then you can let them take turns being the leader and the one who gets to find something for you to ‘spy’.

Other ways you can work on focus –

  • Switch words to a familiar song and see if your child notices (wheels on the train instead of bus).  This is a fun and creative way to sing songs that encourages focus and listening skills.
  • Play a sorting game when you clean up toys – let’s find all the blue toys, put all the round toys in the basket, who has a soft toy?
  • Try singing a song while waiting in a line or at a restaurant.  This gives your child a tool for managing a situation that they cannot control.  An example would be: going to a restaurant. 

When working on their “focus” and “control” skills you allow them an outlet to deal with the frustration that might occur while waiting in a line, when they are hungry and waiting for the food to come, sitting at a table while others finish their meal. Being able to control bodies, emotions and actions is a skill children need to learn. You can help young children learn these skills by realizing what methods help them calm and re-center and encourage them to employ those methods when they need them or when they are staring to lose control. These skills will help them develop impulse control necessary for concentration as well as giving them a chance to work on developing executive function skills.

Rainbow Song

I see rainbows, I see rainbows,

Way up high In the sky.
Red and orange and yellow,
Green and blue and purple

Great big rainbow, Great big rainbow
I see rainbows, I see rainbows,

Way up high In the sky.
They are made from sunshine,

Shining through the raindrops
Great big rainbow, Great big rainbow


Red and orange, green and blue
Shiny yellow, purple, too
All the colors that we know
Are way up in a pretty rainbow


Here is a bunny with ears so funny
And here is her hole in the ground
When a noise she hears, she pricks up her ears
And jumps in her hole in the ground.

Baby Bird

A mother bird laid and egg with care
And when it hatched a baby was there
She ate and she ate
and she grew and she grew
and then one day away she flew

Story of Colors

(Similar to Brown Brown Bear)
Red kite, orange butterfly, yellow sun, green grass, blue bird, purple flower, rainbow

We are starting rainbow week and Nick’s wife Greta sent me this great picture taken by her friend from her boat in the Shilshole Marina.  Perfect timing to receive a picture of a rainbow.  I was especially amused that it was a picture taken from Shilshole, sent to Madison WI and then sent back to Seattle! — Teacher Janice

A post shared by Sylvia Janicki (@sylviajanicki) on

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Rain Week

March 20 – March 24

This week we will be talking about rain and umbrellas… last year during rain week we had nothing but sunshine – this year Mother Nature appears to be in line with our theme!  We will be outside working in our garden – Thank you to Hilary, Nate, and Porter / Bears class for getting our garden ready for planting.  They were out in the rain on Saturday.

The children had fun building Leprechaun houses last week and we will begin working on our fairy houses — adding imagination play in our natural space.  We will be monitoring our rain gauges and moving them around to see where it rains the most and where it rains the least.  Wednesday’s class was able to make the rain painting project and I am hoping that we can do the rain project with the other classes this week.

Gardening is one way to teach the children empathy for living things.  When they garden they learn responsibility as they care for their plants.  Being outside in nature is allows children to see living things in their environment.  As we work in our garden, and observe the worms, bugs and birds in the play area, we are developing a community that has an interest in caring for plants and wildlife.  The preschool garden is a certified a Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation and we will continue to build up the garden to support the urban wildlife in our neighborhood.  Last year our garden attracted songbirds, hummingbirds and butterflies. As the children are learning to protect living things in our garden they will be learning empathy and respect for all living things.

Kahn (1997) proposes that children can develop empathy toward both nature and people, and that empathy in one domain can generalize to another domain.  This conceptualization suggests that as children demonstrate prosocial behaviors such as caring and empathy toward animals and plants, their understanding of perspectives, needs, and feelings of people can deepen as well. 

The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea
– Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1895)

Can You Hear The Rain?

“Pitter-patter, pitter-patter,” can you hear the rain?
“Pitter-patter, pitter-patter,” on the window pane.
“Pitter-patter, pitter-patter,” let’s go out to play.
I just love to jump in puddles on a rainy day.
Little raindrops, “Splashing, splashing,” all across my face.
Little raindrops, “Splashing, splashing,” splashing every place.
– E.B. (1938 – ) MotherGooseCaboose.

The Rain

Pitter-patter, raindrops,
Falling from the sky;
Here is my umbrella
To keep me safe and dry!
When the rain is over,
And the sun begins to glow,
Little flowers start to bud,
And grow and grow and grow

Thunder Crashes

Thunder crashes.
Lightening flashes.
Rain makes puddles,
I make splashes.


Rain on the green grass,
And rain on the sea,
Rain on the house-tops,
But not on me!

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