Thursday, August 31, 2006
A local group of preschool teachers and directors asked me to come and show the art materials (paint mostly) that are available at Discount School Supply. Although I do numerous workshops each year, I haven't done a hands-on art workshop in a long time. We have renovated our entire house this summer so much of my teaching stuff is still in storage, including aprons. I dressed up today for the workshop and began demonstrating Biocolor and Liquid Watercolor paints. As I opened one jar of purple paint, it shot with an air bubble out of the lid and onto my (new) shirt. The label says 'washable.' Thank goodness when I got home I found that it really was washable. It brought back many memories of how I would dress and plan for clean up when I was a teacher. I never let mess keep me from providing a fun project for the children, but I think I had forgotten just how messy it is! At least the purple paint is gone and the teachers have new materials and ideas. A win-win.
Friday, August 25, 2006
My oldest granddaughter started kindergarten on Monday. I talked with her on the phone at the end of the day and asked how she liked the first day of school. She said, "It was a really long day." She has the privilege of attending an all-day kindergarten where they live in California. Compared to her 2 1/2 hour preschool last year, I am sure it seemed like a long day. My hope is that her teacher can provide engaging activities that will make the long day into an incredible day of learning. I have been in half-day kindergarten classes that are about as exciting as watching cement harden. I can't imagine what they would be like with twice as much time. The hours of kindergarten are so important and the children are so precious that it is essential kindergarten teachers keep the children engaged and excited about learning. That is my hope for my granddaughter. I guess I will be able to tell when I ask her in a few weeks about kindergarten. If she says, "It's a really long day," I will begin to worry.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
We definitely have an obesity epidemic in our country. I recently researched the topic for a presentation and was sad to learn that close to 10% of our preschool children are overweight. When children are overweight they have an 80% chance to be an obese adult. There is a list of culprits, but the main dangers are high-fat foods and lack of physical activity. It doesn't help that many school systems have recently cut physical activity from the school day. Add to that high-fat school meals and it is a recipe for an obese child. We need to be more responsible than that. The first thing I have done is get rid of any high fat/sugar treats for my grandchildren. Now we have healthy treats at my house and we try to be outside doing activities more often. I want them to be healthy adults.
Saturday, August 5, 2006
I recently attended some early childhood meetings in California. As part of a retreat with an early childhood organization, one of the main issues discussed was making efforts to collaborate with other agencies providing early childhood services. I hear that around the country quite often. It seems to be difficult for some agencies to collaborate services for young children. It is disturbing because as long as multiple agencies are providing early childhood services, we will need to collaborate and do what is best for children. As long as the players have the attitude that, "We provide much better service and know what we are doing," we will never have true collaboration. I challenge all the key players to do what is best for children, not their individual egos. Having said that, I applaud the areas of the country that seem to have seamless services and collaboration. Unfortunately, those are the exceptions not the rule.