Time for School!

Welcome to Crown Hill Explorers!

I am excited to see all of you in class this week.  It is a different start to our school year but I think it will be a great adventure this year.  It is an adventure for all of us as we re-think the world we knew and discover new things about ourselves, our families and our community.  I will never take for granted giving someone a hug.  I will value human interaction more than I had in the past and I will continue to work on ways to connect with the people in my life.  This morning I waited patiently for the gentleman in front of me in the grocery line to go and get something he needed — masks!  He was almost finished when he realized he had not found them and was wanting them.  It was a simple gesture but it meant a lot to him to not have to get back in line to purchase the masks.  I think it is important to take time to connect with other people right now.  What can you do each day to connect with your child?  To make a stranger feel better with a kind gesture or action?  To give yourself a hug and say to yourself I can do this?  As we start this year I will miss the way I have always started the school year but I will treasure the fact that we can still connect with each other, that we can still share a smile or action that makes someone feel better, and we can do this together!  We will be a stronger community as we move through this adventure together.

During our first week  we will be learning about ME!.  We will have a story called 

I LIKE ME and we will sing songs that talk about ‘me’ and ‘my body’.   

This whole year we will talk about our 5 Senses.  As we help children see the world  around them we can also help them ‘see’ with their hands, their nose, their ears and their mouth.  I will encourage you to take the children out in nature and to explore their world using their 5 Senses.  I will also encourage you to read to them.  There are so many books that will help your child to ‘see’ the world through literature.  Take the time to explore both the physical world around you and to explore the world of books.

Use the words associated with our senses when you are outside exploring and inside your home when you are talking with your child.

You can ask your child to ‘listen’ as they crunch the leaves on a walk, ‘look’ at the colors of the leaves in the trees, ‘taste’ the apple, ‘smell’ the food as it cooks for dinner and ‘feel’ the slippery soap during their bath.  

This year we will spend a lot of time encouraging the children to engage in the world around them by using their 5 Senses and developing an awareness of how their body works by interacting with their world – inside and outside.   

“This is the Way”  Circle Time – page 51

This is the way we wash our hands,

wash our hands, wash our hands. 

This is the way we wash our hands 

So early in the morning. 

We will add this song to our list of songs this week.  Washing hands has always been important for the children but it is even more important this fall.  It is a fun song to sing while they wash their hands and brush their teeth.  You can add verses to the song to help your child with an activity they may not want to do.  Singing is a great way to ease a power struggle when asking your child to do something they may not be all that excited to do — put on your shoes, get in your car seat, pick up your toys.  You can add verses that are things they are struggling with or things that are just fun.  Singing uses different brain pathways and can help a child to manage a difficult situation as well as just adding fun and enjoyment to their day.  

I look forward to getting to know you and your child this year!

~Teacher Janice

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It is hard to believe tomorrow is September!  I love the beginning of Fall but I am always sad to see Summer end.  At the moment it seems we are being given a gift of both seasons!  Crisp, foggy mornings turning to warm, sunny afternoons with clear evenings.  With the yesterday’s surprise rain we will have a wonderful view of the stars and the amazing moon tonight

This will be a great week to venture out on a destination hike.  With the change in the weather there is so much to see and experience while on a hike.  It is a perfect time to explore the textures of nature on your hike.  You can pick up a green leaf and feel the difference between it and a brown leaf that has fallen from the tree.  Find a tree that has smooth bark and one that has rough bark.  Already did that on a previous walk?  Well, guess what?!  They will find this a new and fun game on this walk as well.  Please, remember repetition is how they learn.  

Take a piece of paper and a fat crayon to make bark prints, rub the crayon on the paper as it rests on the tree bark and talk about how one is different from the other.

If you are at the beach you can do the texture print using a piece driftwood and a seashell.  Send them on a scavenger hunt to find things that are the same or different.  What can they find that is smooth and slimy, smooth and cold, smooth and soft?  What can they find that is rough and hard?  How is a barnacle different from the rock it is attached to?  So many different textures at the beach…so much fun to exploring.

As the sand slides through their hand talk about how it feels.  Is it cold?  Is it smooth or gritty?

What does the bark on that tree look like?   

While you have a conversation about texture you can add new words to their vocabulary.  Be sure to use words they are familiar with to help build their vocabulary.  They might already know “wet” but “moist” may be a new word for them.  Giving them examples of gradation is a way to build their vocabulary. Wet – soaked, moist, damp.  Rough – bumpy, ridges, smooth.  Soft – pliable, delicate, hard.  Find words that are intriguing to them and add them to their vocabulary.  

Play with words and make a game using them.  Zoe just realized that coat and boat rhyme.  She loved saying the two words over and over again as she made this discovery.  Children like playing with words just like they like playing with their toys.  Silly words, words that sound the same, words that can be said in a different tone.  Playing is how they learn.

There are so many discoveries you can make outside in nature.   They can use all of their senses: they can see their world all around them, there is always something making a noise to hear, they can learn to touch living things gently, there are things they can eat (be sure to teach them the importance of checking before putting something in their mouth) and things they can smell.  The outdoor world is a place of adventure. It is a place they can sit still and watch or run and be free to move their bodies.  Enjoy taking a walk or hike outside this week. Nature’s wonders are waiting for you.  Go outside and find them!  

Here are three places to go and explore – Danielle, Ansel and Zoe tested 😉

~Teacher Janice

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Happy Monday!
It is hard to believe we are heading into the last full week of August.  This morning on my walk it felt a lot like fall.  The air was cool with the scent of saltwater and the crunch of leaves that have already started to fall.  Our maple trees are turning colors and the trees are telling me summer is slowly winding down.
With the change of seasons I will encourage you to get outside and find a special hike, trail or spot with a tree, or area,  to observe this fall.  Make this a place where you can stop and enjoy the weather, the colors, the wildlife as we move into fall.
One of the places our family enjoyed going for an evening walk was Discovery Park.  We had a special hike we took and we knew that trail well.  We would watch for little animals as they busied themselves getting ready for winter, listen for the owls, feel the breeze as we popped out of the woods and onto the grassy spot near the blackberry bushes.  So many memories are woven around our family time at Discovery Park.  It is a wonder in the city.  The maple leaves are colossal and the blackberries delicious.  The scents change with the seasons and there is always something to observe.  It is exciting to see what is happening along the trail that we would walk. (Curt and I still walk the same trail) There is always something changing or different and there is always something that is the same.  It is comforting to know that some things don’t change even when life is changing and very different.   There are some things in nature that remain the same — the trees will lose their leaves in the fall, the air will smell of the saltwater, some the birds will fly south and the squirrels will burrow into their winter nests.
For children their world is full of  ‘always different’.  They are learning all about the world they live in. and to them it can be full of new and different even when it seems the same to you.  They learn through repetition and repetition can be very comforting for them.  For a child to master a skill they need to have the opportunity to explore, and engage, with that activity many, many times.  That is why they like to read the same book, sing the same song, go on the same walk, play with the same toys.  By exploring the way the playdough responds when they roll it with a rolling pin, rolling it between their fingers and squishing it with a block they are discovering how the playdough changes and how it stays the same with manipulation.  They are imprinting this information in their brain to be used at a later date.  They need lots of experiences to build their library of skills and knowledge.Being outside in nature engages all of their 5 senses and helps them to develop their awareness of their world and how they are a part of this world.  They can see the colors of the leaves, hear the sounds of the waves, touch the textures of the bark, taste the blackberries and feel the wind on their face.  The more opportunities they have to be outside the wider their knowledge base becomes.  They will learn the difference between the feel of the bark of a magnolia tree and the bark of a cedar tree.  They can tell the difference of the sound of a crow and of an owl.  They will feel the difference of wind on their face and rain on their face.  It is important to allow them to have a variety of experiences so they can understand how things are different and how things are the same.  Be sure to allow them to engage in the safety net of what they know along with experiencing the excitement of things that are new.  
Here are a few local parks and trails for you and your family to get to know.  We will be collecting items from nature for several of our activities this year and on your nature walks you can find items to share with the other children during small group time.
You can also create a specific walk around your neighborhood or even around your yard.  Watch a garden as it goes from summer bounty to fall foliage.  Find a tree to observe as it changes with the season this year.  Adopt a special tree to be ‘your tree’ and keep a journal of what is happening with ‘your tree‘.  You can note the leaves as the change colors, the nest you can see when the leaves fall, the snow as it sits on the branches, the new buds in the spring and the new nests being built in ‘your tree’.  Watch to see who lives in ‘your tree’.  Spiders, birds, squirrels?  Get to know nature in your yard, your neighborhood and on your walks in the woods.
All of these walks/hikes have been places Danielle has taken Ansel and Zoe this summer.  I will send out more from her list (and it’s a long list) of fun places to explore nature with your family in my weekly notes to you.
Local parks / hikes1) Discovery Park. Carkeek Park. Llandover Woods Krukeberg Botanic Garden https://www.kruckeberg.org5) Richmond Beach
6) Forest Park Schmitz Preserve
Enjoy the world around you!
~Teacher Janice
Song Time Tuesday and Wednesday this week at 10:00

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Welcome to the 2020-21 School Year

I am excited for the plans we have for our new school year.  We have been working on a curriculum for our virtual preschool class time that will engage the children in developmentally appropriate learning activities and create a supportive community for the families.

Our virtual curriculum will foster a love of learning with activities that include songs, stories, art, science, language development, large motor skills, fine motor skills, pre-math and pre-reading skills.

Each family will receive an Activity Book and Song Book along with supplies for the weekly themed activities.  Class will have three components: Song Time, Activity Time and Small Group Time.  Each class day the children will have time to sing songs, listen to stories, interact with their friends during small group time and complete an art, science, language project with the teacher.

Each week you will receive an email with ideas for outdoor activities and extended learning options that can be done with your child.

I look forward to sharing this time of learning with you and your family

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Last Day of School

It is our last day of school….and what a different year we have had.  We will definitely remember this school year.

Even though the school year ended different than any of us could have imagined it was great being your child’s teacher.  I enjoyed being with the children – in person and then on our zoom days.  It was so much fun to be with them during our virtual preschool days.  

I have learned so much this spring.  I never thought I would have “rectangle time” online instead of “circle time” inside our preschool.  The children adapted so well and were so engaged during our time of songs, stories and sharing. I think one of my favorite memories is singing All Around the Mulberry Bush and ‘popping up’ on the screen with all the children.  That is a fun memory for me!  

I hope you and your child have a wonderful summer and I look forward to seeing you during the summer session

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This week we will read Who Sees You At The Zoo and Goodnight Gorillas.  We do not have the opportunity to go to the zoo right now but we can still have fun “going to the zoo” in books and songs.  The children can bring their favorite zoo animal to show us during sharing time.

What Do I See At The Zoo?

Oh I went to the zoo
And what did I see?
I saw a great big tiger
Lookin’ at me
He went
Raaaar raaar raar raar
He went
Raaaar raaar raar raar
He went
Raaaar raaar raar raar
And that’s what he said to me!

Oh I went to the zoo
And what did I see?
I saw a great big monkey
Lookin’ at me
He went
Ooooooo ooooooo ooooooo
He went
Ooooooo ooooooo ooooooo
He went
Ooooooo ooooooo ooooooo
And that’s what she said to me!

Name more animlas and what they do….

The Animals at the Zoo

The lion at the zoo goes Roar Roar Roar Roar Roar Roar
The lion at the zoon goes Roar Roar Roar
All day long 

The snake at the zoo goes Hiss Hiss Hiss Hiss Hiss Hiss
The Snake at the zoo goes Hiss Hiss Hiss
All day long

The bear at the zoo goes grrr grrr grrr

The monkey at the zoo goes ooooh oooh ah

The pengiuns at the zoo go waddle waddle waddle

The kangaroo at the zoo goes hop hop hop

Cuddly koalas, cuddly koalas 
Cockatoo, cockatoo
Wallabies and wombats, wallabies and wombats
Kangaroo, kangaroo 

One Elephant Went Out to PlayOne elephant went out to play
Upon a spider’s web one day
He had such enormous fun
That he called for another elephant to come.

Two elephants went out to play
Upon a spider’s web one day
They had such enormous fun
That they called for another elephant to come.

Three elephants went out to play
Upon a spider’s web one day
They had such enormous fun
That they called for another elephant to come.

Four elephants went out to play
Upon a spider’s web one day
They had such enormous fun
That they called for another elephant to come.

Five elephants went out to play
Upon a spider’s web one day
They had such enormous fun
That they called for another elephant to come.

All the elephants were out at play
Upon a spider’s web one day
They had such enormous fun

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This week we will be learning about dinosaurs, bones and volcanoes.  During Science Time I will build a volcano and add dinosaurs to the volcano before it ‘blows up’.  We have been using descriptive words for the past few weeks such as big and little, loud and quiet, in and out.  You can continue to add to their vocabulary by teaching them new descriptive words as well as new words that compare different sounds they hear, colors they see, the sizes of their toys and foods they eat.

 Your Weekly Activity emails during 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 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. 
Won’t be hungry very long 
Singing Dino ditty, ditty dum, ditty do
Singing Dino ditty, ditty dum, ditty do


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


THEY SAID, “STEP ON THE GAS” (step forward with one foot)
WE’LL GO REALLY FAST! (push one hand out in front of body)
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)


LAST TIME- speak the following in a rhythmic, almost rapping way:
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!”)

(stand back up and repeat original motions)

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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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