Join us for a meet & greet Sunday, September 8th!

Cheers to a new school year! 🍻

Join Crown Hill Cooperative Preschool families for an early evening out at Populuxe Brewing. New, returning, and interested families are invited to mingle, ask questions, and get to know one another. We have a few spots left in our classes. Registration information will be available.

* Meet Teacher Janice
* Kids activities
* Food truck

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SUMMER IS HERE  … but it feels a little like fall.  Here is a fun way to start out this cooler weather week as we officially start summer.

When my sons were younger, and I was doing home day care with 6 other little boys, I would start our week by baking bread or making a fresh batch of playdough.  This week looks like it will be a great week to make a loaf of banana bread and try out this recipe I found in a book by Asia Citro that my daughter-in-law, Danielle, gave me.  150+ Screen Free Activities for Kids I will be using this book all summer to share ideas you can use with your children.

Baking with your child promotes interest in what they are eating, math skills, fine motor skills, sensory experiences and scientific investigation.  The smell of fresh bread (or anything you bake) will bring back memories of this activity when they are older.  A cool, cloudy Seattle day is a great day to fill your home with the aroma of something baking in the oven.  I suggested banana bead because ripened bananas are also part of the edible play dough recipe I am including in this note to you.


½ cup ripe or overripe banana, mashed

½ cup water

½ cup vegetable oil

2 ¼ cups flour

¾ cup cornstarch

  1. In a bowl, combine the banana, water and vegetable oil.  Mix well.
  2. In another bowl mis the flour and cornstarch.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Knead the mixture until you can no longer feel bits of banana.  You can use a mixer with a dough hook if you would like.  My sons loved making the mixer “go”.

If needed: add more water if too dry or more flour if too wet.

  • ENJOY playing with this edible dough.
  • This dough is perishable so store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.  Discard in a few days or when it shows signs of spoiling —  if it smells ‘foul’, discolors or has mold.

This is a fun dough to add kitchen tools to when playing with it.  Muffin pans, rolling pins, cupcake holders, birthday candles, colored macaroni noodles to poke into the dough, etc.

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This week we will make fish prints at the art table.  We will encourage all the children to make a fish print.  The children will have a chance to choose the colors they would like to paint their fish and see how these colors blend when made into a print. We will have a fishing pool set out in the blocks area with a ‘dock’ to stand on to catch fish.  

A fun activity at home is to “catch” goldfish crackers with humus “bait” on the end of a long, fat pretzel “fishing pole”.  You can use anything long (a pretzel, celery or carrot) to be your pole and any thick bait (humus, cream cheese or a nut butter) to catch your ‘fish’ (goldfish crackers, cut in half olives, cheerios).  It is a fun way to eat a snack.


There are so many fish in the deep blue sea. What color fish do you see?

5 Little Fishes 

5 little fishes swimming near the shore
1 swam away and then there was 4

4 little fishes were swimming out to sea
One swam away and then there was 3

3 little fishes said now what should we do?
One swam away and then there were 2

2 little fishes we are having great fun
One swam away and then there was 1

1 little fish said I like the warm sun
She swam away and now  there are none!


Fish are swimming, fish are swimming,
In the sea, in the sea,
A-splishing and a-splashing,
A-splishing and a-splashing,
Look and see, look and see.

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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 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. 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 sound.  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 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!

Five 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

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This week we continue talking about flowers, gardens and bugs as we focus on bees.  We will talk about where animals live – the bird lives in a nest, the bunny in a hole, the bee lives in a hive and we live in a house.  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, able to stay focused and to follow a story line.

We will be “playing” with words and rhymes.   The Bug in the Rug and Mouse in the House rhymes are fun word games to play with the children.  They learn a rhyme, guess an answer and get excited when they are correct when figuring out what bug is hiding under the rug and what house is little mouse in.  We have already introduced the older children to Bug in the Rug and now we will also hide a mouse in a house.  This game is similar to the bugs with colored houses that hide a colored mouse.  This is also a pre-reading skill to learn rhymes – to hear the sounds of words.  They 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 rhyme

The five early literacy practices: sing, play, talk, read, write!fiveearlyliteracypractices/cnet

As we sing songs, learn rhymes and read stories we are working on early literacy skills.  They 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.  They 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, 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.

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

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Children are use 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. When they are outside they can watch a spider in a web, discover roly-poly bugs in the dirt, find a worm and move it to the garden. As they explore their world 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 methodDavid Hawkins,The Informed Vison: 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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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.

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 playactivities.  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 (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 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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This week we will be talking about rain and umbrellas.  It looks like we will have an opportunity to use them this week! We will be outside working in our garden.  This week the children will be planting some seeds and we will be talking about what is growing in our play area.

The children had fun building Leprechaun houses last week.  The small wooden blocks, rocks and other natural materials will be out for the children to build with.   We will be monitoring our rain gauge.  We will make some rain gauges to see where it rains the most and where it rains the least in the play area.

We will be planting peas and nasturtiums this week during class.  We will continue to plant our garden through the month of April. If you are planting a garden at home, and have extra seeds, we would love to plant them at preschool!

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 

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 tree,
Rain on the rooftop,
But no rain on me!

“Pitter-patter, pitter-patter”, Can you hear the rain?

“Pitter-patter, pitter-patter”, on the window pane.

“Pitter-patter, pitter-patter”, lets go out and play.I just love to jump in puddles on a rainy d

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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 all the rooms this week.  The children will have an opportunity to talk about all the 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:  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 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.


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,
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!



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

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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 −7and 10 −9metres, 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 MakingEllen 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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