Bee Week 2018

This fourth week in May, we will be talking about bees and bugs, dirt and gardens. The pumpkin seeds from the process pumpkin have sprouted in the garden.  We will plant some more carrots, some wildflower seeds that will attract honey bees, and some edible herb plants given to me by a neighbor…WATER WATER WATER! We will be adding a home for mason bees in the garden area as well.

We will talk 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, able to stay focused, and to follow a story line.

We will be learning the Bug in the Rug rhyme. Learning rhymes is also a pre-reading skill (to hear the sounds of words).  The children are developing listening skills as they hear how words sound the same and how they are different. Children enjoy rhymes and the humor that comes with some of these rhymes.

The five early literacy practices: read, write, talk, sing and play…

As we sing songs, learn rhymes, and read stories we are working on early literacy skills. The children are building their vocabulary as they learn the words in the songs and poems. Reading the books during Circle Time and in the Library encourages them to love to read and to have print awareness (seeing 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 children need to practice this skill and repetition of the songs and stories is a way they can practice this skill. Singing songs is a way for the children to hear the syllables in the words, hear words that rhyme, and recite the words back to you. These songs and stories are the beginning introductions to the written word, which is the start of the development of their early reading skills.

Don’t forget…this week and next week are our Family Nights.  Check the schedule below for your Pajama Night.
Pajama Night:
6:00 – 7:30pm
Children wear their pajamas.
Pancakes and fruit salad will be available till 7:00pm. Art activity at the table.
Circle time at 7:15pm.
Please bring a baggie of bite-sized cup up fruit for the fruit salad.
21 – Eagles
22 – Orcas
24 – Otters
29 – Bears
30 – Owls

Songs, Rhymes and Poems:
Bug in Rug
Bug in a rug
Bug in a rug
Which one of you bugs
Is snug in 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.

I Like Dirt
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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Caterpillar Week 2018

This last week in April we will continue learning about birds and nests, and we will add caterpillars. Our fuzzy, little caterpillar turned in to a moth two weekends ago. A week early for this curriculum theme, but I am guessing he did not read the yearly themes! The Woolly Bear Caterpillar turns into an Isabella Tiger Moth So cool!


Caterpillar Week


As the weather warms up we will be exploring our garden and growing seeds; and learning about caterpillars, butterflies and lots of bugs and bees. The outside play area is a great place for discovery. If we are lucky we will have the opportunity to have birds nest in the nesting box on the side of the church building. It is so much fun to hear the baby birds as the mama bird brings them food to eat. If you have the chance to show your child a nest, you can talk about what they are doing and what happens when they grow. This week we will be making some ‘nesting stations’ for the birds to use as they make their nest. We will be reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar and discussing how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. The rhymes and stories will say ‘cocoon,’ but it is actually a ‘chrysalis.’ 
Butterflies and moths go through the same stages in their metamorphosis with one difference. Many moths form a cocoon instead of a chrysalis. Moths form cocoons by first spinning a silken ‘house’ around them. Once the cocoon is finished, the moth caterpillar molts for the last time, and forms a pupa inside the cocoon.
Butterflies DO form cocoons, no matter what The Very Hungry Caterpillar says! 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 fussy little caterpillar 
made a cocoon one day
Turned into a butterfly 
and flew away.

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New Shirts and Totes!

Please help us support our school with our new T-shirts (adult and kids’ sizes!) & tote bags!

This fundraiser will run until May 7th.

Items should be delivered at the end of the month and can be shipped directly to you for a fee or shipped together for free. If you choose group shipping then we will notify you when your items will be available for pick-up.

Thanks for supporting the Crown Hill Explorers Cooperative Preschool! 

Please contact the Communications Team if you have any questions.

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Bird and Nest Week 2018

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 think is happening, using tools, communicating their ideas with others, etc.
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.

While we are outside we will have many opportunities to engage in ‘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, and 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 hive for a bee
Here is a hole for bunny
And here is a home for me.

Two Little Black Birds
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 and 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
5 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…(then 3, 2, 1, none of the 5 little ducks came back)
Sad Mommy and Daddy duck went quack quack quack
And all of the 5 little ducks came back.

Five Little Ducks
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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Farm Week 2018

We will be introducing farms, animals, birds, eggs, seeds, plants, and dirt during the next few weeks of April. The children have already noticed new growth on the raspberry plants, blossoms on the trees, and flowers in the garden. The older children have been finding lots of worms and roly-poly bugs while in the dirt.  This week they will be planting seeds, (we ran out of time last week) although the layer of hail in my yard doesn’t feel much like seed planting time! During Circle Time we will be talking about where animals live and what the ‘say’. This is time to work on descriptive vocabulary – colors, sounds, textures, similarities and differences.

Animals on the Farm
Animals live on a farm, on a farm, on a farm.
Animals live on a farm, with the farmer.
Cows and pigs live on a farm, on a farm, on a farm.
Cows and pigs live on a farm, with the farmer.
Horses and sheep live on a farm, on a farm, on a farm.
Horses and sheep live on a farm, with the farmer.
Ducks and turkeys live on a farm, on a farm, on a farm.
Ducks and turkeys live on a farm, with the farmer.

Over in the Barnyard
Over in the barnyard
Early in the morning,
See the yellow chickies
Standing in a row.
See the busy farmer
Giving them breakfast.
Cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep.
Off they go.
Substitute other barnyard animals.

Farm Animals
The cow in barn goes moo, moo, moo,
Moo, moo, moo, Moo, moo, moo.
All around the farm.
The pig in the pen goes oink, oink, oink,…
The hens in the coop go cluck, cluck, cluck,…
The lambs on the hill go baa, baa, baa,…
The ducks on the pond go quack, quack, quack,…

Animal Sounds
Are you listening, are you listening,
to the dog.
Hear the dog calling, hear the dog calling
Woof, woof, woof, Woof, woof, woof.
Insert other animals.

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Rain Week 2018

This last week in March we will be talking about rain and umbrellas…and if Mother Nature continues into next week with the weather we have had this week we can add sunglasses and wooly socks to our list of options needed to be outside!

We will begin our spring gardening this week. We will be planting seeds and adding some flowers to the garden. Gardening is one way to teach the children empathy for living things. When they garden they learn responsibilities 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 weather this week looks like it will be in keeping with our theme. It will be wet, but not as cold during the week. We will be exploring the rain with ‘rain painting’ both inside and outside.  Outside we will be using wax paper to watch the rain as it beads up and runs through different colors.  Inside we will use spray bottles to “paint’ clouds and watch them rain on the paper. It is fun to explore in our city’s natural “water feature.”

Rain Week

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.
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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Enrolling Toddlers for 2018-19 School Year

Registration for 2018-19 is open now!

Crown Hill Explorers, Seattle’s only Nature Explore cooperative preschool, offers exciting opportunities for children to learn through research-based outdoor lessons with a focus on STEM foundational skills.

Please contact our Registrar for 2018-19 enrollment information and Registration instructions.

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Rainbow Week 2018

This third week of March 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 the art table. 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”. You can play ‘I SPY’ as you walk: spy something___(insert a color)…children 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. It gives the child a tool for managing a situation that they cannot control and allows them an outlet to deal with frustration that they might have waiting in a line for food to come, sitting at a table, etc.


Rainbow Week


Great Big Rainbow 
There’s a great, big rainbow
In the sky,
With pretty colors
Way up high.
When it starts to rain
And the sun comes out-
A beautiful rainbow
Will pop out!

I See Rainbows 
I see rainbows, I see rainbows,
Way up high in the sky.
They are red and orange,
Yellow, green and blue.
Purple, too. What a view!
I see rainbows, I see rainbows,
Way up high in the sky.
They are made from sunshine,
Shinning through the rain.
What a view in skies so blue!

Red and orange, green and blue
Shiny yellow, purple, too
All the colors that we know
Live up in the rainbow.
Red and orange, green and blue
Shiny yellow, purple, too

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 an 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

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Cloud Week 2018

This second week in March we will be exploring clouds, colors, science, and colloidal suspension (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 metres, 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.

Cloud Week

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 both a messy, sensory experience as well as a clean, messy project 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. At home you can make the goop mixture with color and make a rainbow in the clouds.

We will all read It Looked Like Spilt Milk……during Circle Time. The Pre-3s classes will be talking about what they see when we read the book Look, Look, Look at Circle Time. This book has them look close at a picture, then with a verbal cue try to figure out what the ‘big’ picture is. At the art table they will be using eye droppers to drop white paint onto blue paper then fold the paper in half to make clouds in the sky. We will be asking them what they see in the cloud shape.

Focus is one of 7 Essential Skills in Mind in the Making by Ellen Galinsky…
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, and 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 bear?
A big one, a little one, a quiet one, a loud one?
Did you ever see a cloud that looked like a bear?
Did you ever see a cloud, a cloud, a cloud?
Did you ever see cloud that looked like a plane?
A big one, a little one, a fast one a slow one?
Did you ever see a…?

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
Five little clouds up in the sky,
Drifting, floating way up high,
One disappeared from the sky so blue,
When a big gust of wind came blowing through.

Everyone make blowing wind sounds

Four little clouds…
Three little clouds…

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Dinosaur Week 2018

This first week in March  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 and 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 playdough 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, etc. 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!

Dinosaur Week

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

5 Dinosaurs
One dinosaur 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 a 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
(stand back up and repeat original motions)
Having’ a wheel good time
They said, “step on the gas, we’ll go really fast!”
And they did and down the road they went flyin’

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