Children need to connect with nature.  A growing body of evidence indicates that contact with nature is as important to children as good nutrition and adequate sleep.  I agree with this statement by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods.  It is so important for the children to be outside, in a safe environment, where they can explore the world around them.  

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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As we continue to study bugs we will focus on bees this week.  We will add Bee Week to get us back on schedule for the month of May. We will read 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.

Another pre-reading skill to learn rhymes – to hear the sounds of words.  As children develop listening skills they hear how some words sound the same and how some sound different.  Children enjoy rhymes and the humor that comes with some of these rhymes. They enjoy saying the rhyme over and over again.

There are five early literacy practices: sing, play, talk, read,

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 books during Circle Time and at home encourages a love of reading and 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. Repetition of the songs and stories is a way they can practice this skill.  Singing songs is also a way for the children to hear cadence, syllables and tone as you sing.  They can pick out the words that rhyme and are able to recite 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.

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


Five little bees
Up in the trees
Busy, buzzing
First, they go to a flower
Then they go to the hive
Then they make some honey
What a busy family of five!!

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What is the difference between a bug and an insect

How to observe bugs

To collect insects that are active during the night, bury a plastic cup with some food scraps in the ground. Place a tile or plastic lid on a few stones above your trap. Lift the cover in the morning to see what is in the cup.

To watch insects in your yard during the day place a piece of cardboard, plastic or flat bottomed object (a pot, rock, etc.) on a dirt patch in your yard.  Check underneath the flat piece of cardboard for worms, roly-poly bugs, beetles, slugs and snails.

Worm Walk

After a rain it is fun to take flashlights out at night and look for worms on the sidewalk.  As the nights are getting longer this is a little harder to do but is a fun one to remember for a fall activity.

Bug in the Rug Game

Take a small blanket and a collection of animals or toys.  Choose someone to hide a “bug in the rug” then take turns guessing what “bug is hiding under the rug”.

This game teaches object permanence. Object permanence is understanding that an object continues to exist even if we don’t see it, hear it, smell it or feel it.  They are learning that even if we do not observe it in any way it is still there.


The classic “bug snack” isAnts on a Log.  You can do this with a piece of celery, nut butter and raisins or any long base food with a sticky spread and small round “bugs” to sit on it.    Some combinations could be:

Apple wedges, cream cheese, craisins

Carrot halved the long way, humus, olives

Graham cracker, frosting, chocolate chips

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Children 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 dirfind a worm and move it to the garden.  As they explore their world they are using thescientific 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 as 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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In the next few weeks we will be learning about caterpillars, butterflies and bees.  Being outside is a great place for discovery. Soon the baby spiders will be hatching from their egg sacks.  We can hear the birds in the trees and can watch them as they are building nests. In a month we will hear the baby birds as the mama birds bring them food to eat.  Children are intrigued with the worms and potato bugs/roly-poly bugs that they find under the rocks, pieces of wood and in the garden dirt.  The snails are small right now but soon we will see snails and slugs in the garden, under leaves on the plants and strolling across the sidewalks. The caterpillars we find are usually not the cool butterfly ones but the kids will be fascinated with them even if they will not turn into butterfly.  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”.   

If you want to know more:

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,

Bug in a Rug
Bug in a rug, Bug in a rug.
Which little bug is hiding under the rug?

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Children 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.  There are many ways we can encourage children to use their senses and develop their observational skills by:  asking questions, describing what they see, predicting what will happen, using tools, communicating their ideas with others, explaining what they see and what is happening.  

Remember that there is a connection between learning and playing. Children learn best while playing. 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

Yesterday while Curt and I were on a walk we saw two crows building a nest in the neighbor’s tree.  If you are out on a walk look up in the trees and look for nests. You can make a nest making station and set it out in the yard.  It is fun to walk around the neighborhood and see some of the treasures you put out in your yard for the birds to use when making their nests.

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

Mother 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 grew

And then one day away she flew.


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

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 one day 

Over the hills and far away

Mommy and Daddy duck said quack, quack, quack

And all of the five little ducks came back.

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We will continue with our virtual preschool activities.  This week we will have Circle Time via a ZOOM connection.   I will have our circle time with the kids and we will do familiar  songs. finger plays and a story.  During the next 5 weeks I will send out daily activities plus include our weekly note with the theme for the week… since we are not in class you are definitely the assistant teachers for the next few weeks.  It will be a new form of cooperative learning.

During the next few weeks we will be working on four skills that are important life skills for your child.  The first one we will work on is focus.  According to Ellen Galinsky, the author of “The Mind in the Making”,  

Focus refers to attention and involves being alert and “orienting.” Orienting refers to the ability to focus one’s attention on the specific tasks that will help them accomplish whatever their goal is. Concentration is also a big part of focus as children get older.

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 our activities.  Take time to talk to your child about all the colors they see at home 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 making dinner or sitting in the living room.  In our other ‘ normal’ life I wold have said you can practice this while waiting in a line or waiting for your food to arrive at the restaurant.  With the new “ normal” children will be learning to adjust and create new ways to entertain themselves.  Learning to focus and develop this skill gives children a tool for managing a situation that they cannot control and allows them an outlet to deal with frustration that they might have as they deal with na change in their schedule or household rhythm.  Later they can use this skill as they are waiting in a line, for food to come, sitting at a table.  Listening skills and focus skills will help a child adjust to new or difficult situations as they find something they can control or relate to.

This week the activities will include ways to expand their vocabulary with words that describe colors, textures and spatial skills.  The weather looks like it will be cooler and wetter so the outside activity will be closer to home and will include options for indoor large motor ideas.

I hope you are finding ways to create fun memories during this challenging and uncharted time.

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We will continue our train week and add other forms of transportation.  Bear will be back from his trio to California. He will show the children the wings he received from the pilot. We will talk about the vehicles, trains and forms of transportation that Bear was on while in California.

Children love trains, cars, trucks, airplanes, tractors and most anything the “goes”.  Wheels are a part of these forms of transportation. We will be exploring the motion and function of wheels this week at school.

Literacy: (Circle Time and at home) We will discuss things that have wheels.  At home you can make a list of objects that have wheels. Have your child illustrate the objects or search for drawings or photographs of objects with wheels in magazines. 

Math (Blocks area and at home): Walk around the neighborhood or your home and count the number of wheels you see.  At school we will look at the vehicle wheels and have the children sort them by size. We will discuss where we see them in our community

Art (Creative): We will paint with paint rollers. The children will see that the rollers operate like wheels. 

Dramatic Play (Imagination): We will have several large cardboard boxes for children to use as cars, buses, or trains. 

Playdough Table (Fine Motor): Have the children play with clay using rolling cutters and rolling pins. Help the children understand how the cutters and rolling pins resemble wheels. 

Physical Health and Development (Circle Time): We will discuss how to be safe around vehicles with wheels. 

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We will have Train Week for two weeks merging it next week with Vehicle Week.

This week in the art area we will painting with vehicles and make our own trains.  While the pain with the vehicles we will be using words that describe motion, texture, size while watching the cause and effect of paint on the wheels of the vehicles. The children will be using shapes to build their own trains.  The art activity will be using Math skills.  The ‘train pieces’ will be circles, triangles, rectangles and squares. As you discuss different shapes you will be adding to your child’s vocabulary. You can help your child with the names of shapes in their home environment – a door is a rectangle, the dinner plate is a circle, the window is a square, a stop sign is a octagon, etc.  They can recognize and compare 2-dimensional and 3-dimensionalshapes as they compare the 2-dimensial train they make at the art table with the 3-dimensional wooden trains in the blocks area and with the 2-dimensional train puzzles at table toys.  As the children learn about shapes we will encourage them to create and take apart shapes– make a square from 2 triangles.  At the playdough table you can encourage the children to create new shapes, cut the ball in half, roll the snake into a circle as they experiment with the playdough.  Using words such as turn (rotation), flip (refection), slide (translation) teach spatial visualization that will later be used in geometry.  Using these terms with toys – “turn your Teddy Bear over” – will then be used with directions for shapes – “turn the triangle shaped piece so it fits inside the puzzle”.  At Circle Time we will continue to use words to expand their spatial orientationvocabulary.  Above, below, in front, behind, over, underare positional words that allows children to understand where things are in their world.  The spoon is beside your bowl, you are under the table, a bird is flying over the house are all sentences that teach spatial orientation. As we read Freight Train this week I will use positional words as I describe where the train is going.  You can use words to help your child develop a stronger math oriented vocabulary this week as you describe their world using descriptive vocabulary words that describe shape, size, and placement.

Down By the Station
Down by the station 
Early in the morning 
See the little pufferbellies
All in a row 
See the engine driver
Turn the little handle
Whoo Whoo Choo Choo
Off we go!

Little Red Caboose
Little red caboose, choo, choo, choo
Little red caboose, choo, choo, choo
Little red caboose behind the train, train, train, 
Smokestack on his back, back, back, back
Chugging down the track, track, track, track
Little red caboose behind the train.

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This week we will be having our Friendship Party.  The children will pass out their Friendship cards on: 

Thursday (Bears, Eagles) 

Wednesday (Orcas, Owls)  

Friday (Otters).  

The children will have a bag with their name on it that will be placed on the floor, in a circle, in the room next to the block area.  During class they will deliver their Friendship Cards and they will take their bag home with them.  At home you can look over the items in the bag to determine if there are things you would prefer your child not have.

* Valentine Envelope:

Send in an addressed, stamped envelope and your child will make a Valentine to send to a special someone.  (Grandma, Dad/Mom at work, favorite Auntie…. you choose)  We will have the child make as many as needed.

* Friendship Card Bags:

We will have the bags set out in a separate room.  During Free Play (Small Group/Bears) the kids will deliver their cards. 

* Friendship Cards:

Bring in cards that are “signed” but not addressed.  We will deliver them after snack during free play.  If you will not be in class you can send the cards to class and we will deliver them for you.


Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear turn around

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear touch the ground

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear show your shoe

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear down goes you.


Way down in the jungle where nobody goes

Theres a wishy washy washer woman washing her clothes

She goes – oooh aaaaah, ooooh, aaaaah

That’s how the washer woman washes her clothes

Waddily ah-cha a goochie goochie gooh

Waddily ah-cha a goochie goochie gooh

That’s how the washer woman washes her clothes.

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