The joy of a wooden tool bench and more!

100_7894  This is another addition to the building and construction area!  I prefer wooden toys that really do what they claim.  I also enjoy the fact that the tools all work and are just right for young developing fine motor muscles of children ages 3-5. 🙂

100_7893  This particular learning set is one the children could have worked on as a cooperative team to put together.  Instead I put it together and that is how I judge whether a toy is a toy or an actual learning tool.  When you are out searching the stores for toys that are also educational keep in mind that you should play with it first.  If you take the time to play with toys/ educational materials before you give them to your child, you will have a much broader understanding of how versatile or not your purchase is.  You will discover quite quickly if it is just a toy for entertainment purposes only, or if there are many learning experiences packed in the gem you found.

100_7891  This wooden tool bench is perfect for two children to enjoy.  Three could use this as a small group, however if tools are popular I have another possible solution.

I have a standing area for one or two children to explore a plastic version of tools as well.  So even though plastic is not my first choice, this will do if tools are the popular item of the moment.   When setting up extra materials that are popular with the children I always take into account their actual physical play patterns.  This way I can set up interest areas based on where they would naturally explore.  This may or may not work even with my considerations taken into account, but at least it is a good try for capturing their curiosity and encouraging deeper thoughts.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 100_7895

100_7898

As you can see the children are once again able to engage in mathematical learning experiences that incorporate communication if working as a team or small group.  Each is also exploring shapes, spacial relations, eye-hand coordination and developing fine motor skills while thoroughly enjoying themselves! 🙂

Please like and share this post!

Heidi Scott, BA & MIT  The Marigold School of Early Learning

Emotional Stability

     I am using the term Emotional Stability as a way to clarify the difference with a well used early learning term and one that I have been consistently observing for the past twenty years.  Emotional stability is not the same as the well used term social /emotional development.  Emotional stability referrers to how a child behaves and what the child discusses with his/ her family in regards to their time at preschool.  When a child shows emotional stability in a preschool environment that child’s body language shows their happiness and comfort level.  That child also verbally expresses the joy they feel each time they see their friends, the types of play they engage in and even if they like their teacher.  As the parent or caregiver you may observe how respectful and kind your child is when interacting with his/ her friends in their learning environment.  You may see how they express their happiness and the types of play they engage in when they are emotionally stable in that environment. You may also notice your child asking you when they get to go to school again.  These are all but not limited signs of a child happy and satisfied with their first school experience.  These are also signs that you have made the right decision with the early learning school you chose for your child. 

     When a child is not emotionally stable in their early learning environment he/ she will show aspects of anxiety, their body language will indicate a consistent reluctance to going to that environment and they will not verbalize very many positive aspects of their experience.  In fact they will most likely complain about the children they do not get along with and will be angry about things not going there way.  Their anger also may be a sign that they miss you, their parent or primary caregiver and they are not as comfortable at their early learning school as they are with you at home.  The child simply may not be ready to be away from home and in a larger group setting just yet.  He/she may need to take smaller steps like joining small classes like gym, music, art, dance etc. before enrolling in an early learning preschool setting.  Sometimes with a larger group atmosphere over stimulation can cause the child to not enjoy the experience and to feel uncomfortable  and overwhelmed.  

     If your child is exhibiting a strong reluctance to going to preschool you may consider observing their body language while they are at school and really taking a moment to listen to what they are telling you about their experiences.  From there you can decide to give your child more time to adjust to the new experience or you can step back and allow them to engage in smaller group play programs that only run one to three days a week.  Also, when you visit your child’s preschool please take the time to assess how you feel about the environment.  Does the preschool you have enrolled your child in feel warm, friendly, and do you observe the needs of the children being met in that environment?  I encourage all parents to take the time to research and decide on the type of early learning environment you want your child to experience.  Remember that any form of preschool whether it be play-based or academic is your child’s very first school experience.  It is not a bad reflection on your ability to choose a good preschool program if your child is not comfortable there.  Remember that we are all different and have diverse needs.  Sometimes your child’s personality is what determines whether a learning environment is right for him/ her.  Yes it is not their decision to enroll, it is yours, but you know your child and it is okay if you keep looking till you find the right fit.  

     Please be aware that these are simply my own observations from being an early learning Teacher for many years and for having a keen interest in what I call emotional stability in relation to early learning environments.  There are many more points I chose not to include in this post.  So please know there is much more to this topic than this one simple post.

    What are your opinions on emotional stability in early learning environments and what have you witnessed with your own children’s preschool experiences?  Please share! 🙂

 

  *  (Special Note: The emotional stability I am referring to is not emotional well being that comes from being raised in a warm loving family, that is a separate issue and I am not addressing that topic in this blog post.)

Heidi, The Marigold School of Early Learning

Join Me on Saturday, May 30th, 2015 for a Tour!

Dear Families of preschool aged children,

Please pencil me in for this Saturday, May 30th, 2015!  The Marigold School of Early Learning will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for a tour!

                                                                                                               school pics 015 school pics 030

If there is a better time for you to stop buy please check out my Contact page and send me an email or give me a call!  I will be happy to schedule a tour that works for you! 🙂

school pics 032  school pics 038

Heidi's School Pics 037

Autumn will be on us quicker than a blink so scope out your local preschools and find an Early Learning environment that will fill the needs of your young three, four of five year old child!

Play-based learning gives your child a strong foundation for the long school career ahead of each girl and boy, so jump on board and be an advocate for Early Learning! 🙂

Heidi, The Marigold School of Early Learning!

Dramatic Play

Dramatic Play is for both boys and girls and their imaginations can be very entertaining and enlightening! 🙂 school pics 014 In the picture above we see a table setting for desert, yet it doesn’t really matter what materials or props you have available for a kitchen area, because young children will use almost anything to represent what they want.  Both boys and girls benefit from having an area that daily living skills can be practiced.  Young children observe their families grocery shopping and cooking all the time, so it is natural that they can easily fall into role play if a kitchen area is set up. When young boys and girls engage in role play they are reenacting the behaviors of their parents, grandparents or guardians while at the grocery store or in the kitchen preparing meals.   And if you were wondering, yes, that means they do often times repeat the conversations they overhear.  In their young minds they make sense of whatever the adults around them discuss. 🙂  So be aware of what you say around your young child because what you discuss may become part of the role play they engage in when in the midst of dramatic play.  Don’t worry, I have always interrupted any dialogue that I found to not be appropriate and steered the children in a different direction by bringing attention back to what they are actually working on together. school pics 012      Like any other interest area when I am able to observe and listen to the conversations the children are having while in the midst of play, I can gather a lot of information on what interests they each have.  From that information I can plan an “emerging curriculum”.  Whenever children have internal interest in what they are engaging in, learning becomes much more meaningful to them and we can dive deeper into the content areas.  A strong foundation for a school career starts with early learning environments that support a child’s natural curiosities and abilities to engage in multiple projects.  Dramatic play enables young minds to role play any ideas or experiences they have in their day to day lives.  As a Teacher it is my responsibility to provide as many opportunities as I can to extend their interests. school pics 021  Whether your school is large or small does not matter because Dramatic Play is a necessity to a well rounded early education that pays close attention to the whole child’s developmental needs.  My preschool is small and only has eight spots each day, yet all areas are designed for multiple ways of expressing dramatic play.  Children can enact certain roles in a kitchen area, or with wooden dolls and with pen and paper through story telling.  Role play is a natural part of dramatization and can represent real life or imaginary experiences.   Through the years I have read that young children’s behavior is similar to “obsessive compulsive” behavior, yet it is a very natural part of human development and is not a “psychological condition” when young children express this behavior.  Repeating the same roles and actions each role requires through a child’s mind is a normal part of childhood development that enable him/ her to practice life skills until they have mastered those skills to their own satisfaction. (I am not a psychologist so if you want to know more about mental health issues in adults and children you will have to seek another source preferably in the medical profession. 🙂 )

Take the time to watch how happy and excited your child or students are each time they engage in dramatic play and take on roles they really enjoy.  You will see the change in their self confidence if they are allowed to express these natural developmental skills. 🙂

Please share your Dramatic Play spaces and experiences!  I would love to read all about them!

Heidi, The Marigold School of Early Learning

Preschool Tour!

Saturday, May 30th, 2015 will be a Preschool Tour! 🙂

                                                                                             school pics 015                                                                                       

Please join me at The Marigold School of Early Learning from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for a tour of the preschool!  I would love for you to come and see what this amazing small in-home preschool has to offer your growing child ages three to five years! 🙂

  school pics 001

Please email: marigoldschoolofearlylearning@gmail.com or phone the school number:360-597-6307 if you would prefer to schedule a tour.  For your convenience let me know the days and times that best work for you and I will pencil you in!  

Heidi, The Marigold School of Early Learning 🙂

Canterbury Bells Question?

Heidi's School Pics 007   Sorry for the blurry picture, but my camera refused to focus on this flower. 😦                                                                                                                              

This is my canterbury bell plant.  This will bloom in a blue-purple shade and it seems to only bloom every other year for me.  Is this true of any of you who have this plant too?

I thought it had died and a different flower had popped up, which was I believe a balloon flower, lavender in color.  I love this flower too yet the balloon flower does not seem to pop up every year either. And I don’t remember ever planting the baloon flower, just the canterbury bells.

I can hardly wait for the canterbury bell to bloom!  I love how they look so much like little bells and how bright and vibrant they are among other flowers. 🙂   I am thinking of buying more plants in a range of colors and putting them in different spots just because they are so unique and tall enough to be a nice background for shorter plants.  

Have any of you planted canterbury bells and what colors?  Do they only pop up every other year or is that just an issue I’m facing?  Please comment on my page and let me know your thoughts. 🙂

Heidi, The Marigold School of Early Learning