Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mortar and Pestle and Santa Claus

I love Montessori and try to bring it into our daily routine.  Although I haven't figured a way to introduce our trays, mats, and work to this group yet, I am still working on it.  So, in the mean time, I try to bring in special materials or equipment to get the children to practice the different goals I have for them.  Today we brought out the mortar and pestle.  I brought it to the table with some potpourri for a craft we were doing.  I really wanted the big girls to use it and grind the potpourri up, but, although they enjoyed touching it, using it, and learning about it, they didn't enjoy it as much as I thought they would.  That doesn't meant it wasn't enjoyed though, the little ones absolutely LOVED this activity.  I had a very hard time getting them to put it away and Scamp wanted nothing to to do with a morning nap after she got her hands on the mortar and pestle.  It was very cute.

Smelling the potpourri was part of the fun... and Little Man couldn't stop smelling it and saying...


Making sure his friends got a sniff!!

"Huh, look at that."

The pestle was  heavy and I think they liked the feel of it.  

I only have one, so as patience is not something we have had a lot of practice with, some of us had a hard time waiting for our turn.  They did pretty good though, considering :)

Little Man was in charge of the mortar at this point and wanted EVERYONE to take a whiff... they would say, "Yum" and he would say, "EEWWW!!!"

"What do you think??"

"How 'bout you??"

We then took the ground up potpourri and made it into a yummy smelling hanging ornament....  well, hopefully it will turn out that way ;)

I have been talking with the kids about Christmas.  With this group, only Sprout and Roo really have any idea that Christmas is something more than just another day and they talk a lot about Santa and presents.  So, in addition to talking about how Christmas is the day Jesus was born, we have been, of course, reading and talking about Santa.  Today we read, Where Oh Where is Santa Claus?? by Lisa Wheeler.  It is such a great toddler book for the holiday.  Not to many words, great illustrations, and a reoccurring phrase, "Santa, Santa, Where are You!!?"  The phrase changes every other page, but it's pretty much the same thing, just a little different words, so we just kept saying the same phrase and the kids LOVED it!!  They loved the animals, they loved moving their heads around to see if they could see him, and we even tried to guess where he might have gone.... we never thought he would get stuck in the snow and have to be pulled out!!  It was a cute, silly book that kept even Scamp interested and laughing.

"Its Santa!!"

I Love the month of December... even if it's not December yet :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Paint, Glue and Cotton Balls

It's a start to the new week, and the start of the Christmas Season.  I love the month of December... not only do we get to learn about the birth of Jesus, the music is great, and I am never without some sort of project to do, art or otherwise.

Today I just set up the easel, with pink paint (I ran out of red and green).  The kids love the easel and as long as I'm nearby it goes pretty smoothly when the littlest people use it.   

"What, I'm painting... just not the paper!"  ;)

"I'm just showing her there are OTHER ways to paint."

Mixing our glue with water colors, then gluing cotton balls onto small stars we found in the drawer.

Little Man carried those sneakers around with him most of the morning.  He only put them down if he wanted to paint, glue or put them on :)

Concentrating on not getting the glue on her fingertips.

Pulling apart the cotton was fun enough for Scamp, but...

She did want to try her hand at the glue.  As you can tell, I had to put the camera down for this part.  I didn't want glue on my nice new camera :)

The cotton, glue and stars were a spur of the moment craft that the girls pulled together as I was going through a drawer for something else.  They found the stars, they found the cotton and asked what they could do with them... so after asking a few questions, they thought some colored glue would work out just right.  

It was an added bonus that they got so many tactile experiences.  The cotton was easily stuck to their fingertips if they got the least bit of glue on them.  Then it became very webby on their fingers and even if they tried to pick it off, the cotton would just tear and spread.  It was fun to watch.  Scamp, however, found just tearing the cotton apart was fun.  She would tear it apart, then drop it in the glue.  When she did her star, she didn't quite understand that the cotton ball was to stay on the star and we would get another one, she didn't want to let hers go.  So she kinda "glue painted" on her star.  My mantra this year... Process over product here for this age, process over product :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Providers are only human

"Do you need a hug Shell??"

After yesterday's post, I thought I needed to provide a little more description.  As a Childcare Provider for children under 5 (3 and under at my house this year) some days can be more stressful than others.  Most providers (and teachers) I know use lots of de-stressing tools to keep themselves sane each day, but sometimes they don't always work.  The kids just get the better of you :)  (or I LET them get the better of me).

What does that mean exactly??  Well, for me, this week at least, it meant lots of noise.  Lots of mess.  Lots of crying.  Putting out one proverbial fire after another.  No one child was behaving worse than another, heck, they weren't even behaving out of their age appropriateness.  It just got to me more this week than most.  Could it be I didn't get much sleep (what, providers sleep?), could it be my teenager is testing his limits a lot more lately (what, providers have kid issues?), could it be that getting a family of 6 ready for Thanksgiving (turkey included) has been harder than I anticipated??  I'm thinking, YES!!!  And my little angels are just were feeding off my own anxieties.

I am VERY lucky that I have the BEST families!!  I have always had the most understanding, most accommodating, and the most fun families ever.  I just want them to know that I LOVE their little angels with everything I have in me.  Each day I grow to love them more.  Their smiles outweigh their cries, their hugs outweigh their tantrums, their laughs are literally the sound of angels.  So Parent's, please know I am only human and I sometimes have a bad day, bad hour, bad morning, or bad week... but I'm excited to open my door each morning, with a smile, ready for a new day, what ever that day may bring.

I just want to end with a poem that I absolutely LOVE from Patricia Dischler.  I found it in her book, From Babysitter to Business Owner.  A book I highly recommend to EVERYONE who is thinking of opening a Childcare Home or anyone who would like to take their Childcare Home to the next level.  Patricia Dischler is full of wonderful stories, great advice and lots of motivation to be the BEST provider you can be!!

Remember Why

Bridget screaming, her vocal substitute for "I'm hungry!"
Peter is crying because, "Sarah hugged me!"
Mikey's drooling and has soaked his shirt.
Bridget eating a shoe, covered with dirt.
Bret took Katie's doll and threw it out the door.
Sarah's in the bathroom wiping her poo poo on the floor.
Rachel is telling them each what to play.
The gate was left open and Bridget is on her way.
They're all screaming now, some for fun, some are sad.
Some scream 'cause they're hungry, some scream 'cause their mad.
They're leaking from everywhere, I wipe but there's more.
Brian's running naked, Peter's peed on the floor.
I wish I could go somewhere quiet and green.
The room is as messy as I've ever seen.
But I'll pick it up, wipe the noses and floor.
Give everyone hugs and catch Bridget at the door.
I'll give Katie her doll, tell Bret and Rachel to be nice,
Take the shoe out of Bridget's mouth, probably twice.
I'll feed them and hug them and tell them I care.
I'll chase after Bridget whether it's here or it's there.
I'll do what I can and if I'm real lucky,
When I serve them their lunch I won't hear, "That's yucky!"
And when I sit down to rest, and get attacked by the mob, 
Between hugs and kisses, I'll remember...
I Love My Job!!!

by Patricia Dischler
December 1996

So, you see, I know I'm not alone and it is nothing a hug, or kiss, or cuddle won't fix!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One Of Those Days....

Well, I know we have all had them.  One Of Those Days.  This week has been exactly like that.  We didn't get to everything we wanted to.  We had lots of messes, and when we cleaned one up, well, you know what happened... yup, some little one was behind me creating another one.  When one little one fell and needed some loving, another was falling off the chair needing some loving.  At one point I think I had 3 little ones on my lap wailing.  No one was really hurt to bad, a bonk on the head, a "friendly" hair pull by a friend, and you always have one that will cry just to commiserate with her fellow crier's.  

We did get to paint this week.  The kids LOVE paint.  The easel is always fun and a challenge for the little ones since it is vertical painting... though it always seems to turn to finger painting anyways, so it didn't matter.  :)

Today we finished our Native American Headdress.  It was very cute.  We have a little book about the littlest pilgrims making friends with the Native Americans and the kid asked a lot of questions about their dress and not the pilgrims dress, so we went with headdresses this year instead of pilgrim hats.  

Looking for some turkey to cook up for dinner

Deciding if turkey is a good idea or not.... they decided NOT.
Ravioli (lunch from yesterday) was more to their liking today :)

Although the kids enjoyed playing with their headdresses... not many made it through the morning.  Having little ones around can be very damaging to any art project that finds its way onto the ground when little hands are near.

It was only a 2 day work week for me and it seemed longer than some of my 5 day work weeks.  Hopefully noses will dry up, friends will be eager to see one another after a long week away and Miss Michelle will be efficiently recharged :) by the time we get back together on Monday!!!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Nap Time

Ahhhhh.... Nap Time!!
Do I Need To Say Any More???

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Babies and Circle Time

My last post on Monday was about finally settling into a nice routine.  One in which we have more routine and flow to our day.  The routine is finally taking shape and the kids are eager to remind me what comes next throughout the morning.  

After reading Monday's Post, Scamp's Mom asked if Scamp joined in our Circle Time.  Well, she just turned 1 and she sometimes is taking her morning nap while we have Circle Time.  That being said, she sometimes does join us.  How does a 1 year old join in a Circle Time, you ask??  Take a look...

Singing and Finger plays always help!!

A very silly Provider is a huge plus...

Funny Friends to enjoy it with... icing on the cake!!!

Clapping, silly Provider, singing, friends... what else do you need??

A hug is always welcome :)

Helping my friends with their "circle time job" always helps me stay interested!!
Having a just 1 year old can be hard at times, but when you see them being so "big" and enjoying every second of it, it makes it all worth it!!