The Fruit of the Spirit is Self-Control

fruit-of-the-spirit The story of Adam and Eve is a great story to tell your children about self-control. If you have a children’s Bible at home, it’s one of the first stories and also found in the book of Genesis. God instructed them that they could eat the fruit of every tree, but couldn’t eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam and Eve didn’t display good self-control and eventually ate the forbidden fruit. There were negative consequences to their choices.

Our Preschoolers are talking about self-control in their classrooms this month. Self-control for a three, four, or five-year-old includes keeping your hands on your own body, using your words when you’re frustrated, waiting for your turn with a toy, or using an inside voice and walking fee when inside.

Many adults need to be reminded to practice using their self-control, too! As a parent, when you ask your child a question, wait 10 seconds before responding to them, as it sometimes takes a little bit of time for them to process the question. When you get frustrated, close your eyes, breathe deeply and count to 20. This will give you a chance to show your child good self-control when you respond appropriately.

God is good in that he gives us so many opportunities to practice our use of self-control. He always gives us another chance!

-By Jennifer Landrieu, Director

Say Hello to the Boys and Girls in MWF Room 202

Rm202-14Welcome December! All the boys and girls in MWF Room 202 have been very busy. We are having a lot of fun being a little family of learners. Here is a look into our world…

We begin every day with our Morning Meeting. This is where our Star of the Day student get to be the teacher and help his/her classmates to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, sing the days of the week song, identify the month, day and year and count the number of days we’ve been in school using straws. We are grouping the straws into groups of 10 and counting by ones and tens. Then we move onto our weather. We keep track of the weather on a bar graph and discuss which weather has the most/least days and also place order (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc). We are exposed to many math skills during our Morning Meeting.

Playing in Room 202From there we go over our schedule for the day including what our centers will be and our special. Our daily schedule is posted and you’d be surprised that if we don’t follow the schedule, the children will point it out! Although the children can’t all “read” the words on the schedule, or understand the concept of counting by tens, as we do with the straws, we are exposing them all to these concepts because children learn at their own pace and will grasp these concepts when they are ready.

Next we break into centers which revolve around the letter of the week, holiday, season, theme, etc. There are also free play centers where the children can choose to play in the kitchen area, dress up corner, play dough table, corn meal table, writing center, blocks and many more manipulatives, puzzles and games that engage their minds, creativity and social skills.

      <img src="" alt="Playing in Room 202" width="250" height="279" class="alignright size-full wp-image-2371" />For example our most recent letter we learned about was the letter Q. We made winter snow trees using Q tips to paint on the snow with white paint. We created a Quail out of the cut out letter Q. We read the Q phonics book and brainstormed Q words to add to our classroom Word Worm. We also made Pattern Quilts creating our own patterns with mini paper cutouts, wrote the Q in our writing journal and had a Q show and tell. In addition, we have been making snowflakes, decorating Christmas tree’s, wreaths, ornaments and special gifts for our families.

After centers, snack and outside/downstairs time, we wrap up our day with a story and sometimes a game. One of the games we might play is Telephone. Where we whisper a simple phrase into a child’s ear and they continue whispering around the circle until it gets to the last friend who relays the message out loud. This is helpful with listening skills and the children feeling comfortable talking to each other. We also might get in Freeze dance…another good game for listening skills!

We love school and hope you enjoyed a sneak peak into our classroom!

– Mrs. Vidal and Mrs. Lewandowski

You Don’t Say!

Actually, you do say, and explain, and answer, and tell, and talk, talk, talk with your children.

As we discussed last time, much of your message is conveyed through non-verbal means, which means parents must be sensitive to the components of non-verbal communication. But talk is also extremely important, and there are some key items to consider about this communication.

Talk is part of the invisible glue that creates the first attachment between parent and child. Babies’ reactions show that they recognize their parents’ voices almost immediately—no doubt having listened to them so much from inside the uterus—and they continue to react with delight when spoken to.

They listen intently, and after a few months focus their eyes on adult lips as they speak, as if trying to figure out how to reproduce those same sounds. The continued benefits of listening to parental speech show up in the classic research done by Hart and Risley, where the higher number of adult words spoken over time correlates with an equally high child vocabulary—an obvious benefit for social and academic success. Children who are spoken to a lot become adept at speech.

While we recognize that talk is good, let’s zero in on specifics that can make communication even more effective.

  1. With young children, simplify your speech so that key words are not lost in a sea of words. Adult speech should be patterned after the child’s, with slight expansions.
    That is, if children are speaking in simple sentences with four or five words, adult sentences should contain just a word or two more.

    Notice that your children don’t tend to use a lot of clauses, such as “When I have finished the dishes, then we can play ball.” All the child really hears (or says) is: “We can play ball.”

    Emphasize key words for new speakers, often saying them last, since these are the words that children attend to.

  2. Sometimes use just one or two word reminders, rather than whole sentences that can sound a lot like nagging. (Even the youngest children learn to tune out floods of repetitious words, and children who tune out aren’t getting the benefits of your speech.) So, “Quietly,” may be quite enough to remind the older child that the baby is sleeping.
  3. Remember that giving children new words is a gift that they will savor; so let them enjoy words, subtly providing a definition or example of meaning.

    After all, that is how vocabulary expands.

    Also, this is what reading good children’s literature provides—so don’t be tempted to skip or change those words.

  4. Remember that you are the experienced speaker and that your child is the one who needs language practice, so provide lots of opportunities to encourage speech.

    Experts find, when studying children’s speech delays, that often there has been no need for a child to speak, with the adults or older siblings speaking so much, or not opening doors for communication with lots of open-ended questions. So ask the what, why, how questions, and then listen to the answers.

    An important part of helping children’s talk develop is showing that someone is listening. So sometimes they talk, and you truly don’t say!

  5. And one last reminder: Children don’t learn to speak from television or from hearing you talk on your cell phone, so turn off the technology! Now who’s being repetitious?

© Growing Child 2013 Please feel free to forward this article to a friend.

Salt Dough Ornament Recipe

What you’ll need:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water
Rolling pin
Cookie sheet
Miniature cookie cutters
Acrylic paints
Glitter glue or glitter paint
Ribbon or string


Preheat the oven to 250° F.

  1. Mix all ingredients together until the dough is formed.
  2. Knead the dough on a floured surface until the mixture is smooth. If dough is too sticky, sprinkle a bit of flour.
  3. Roll out the dough to about 1/4” thick with a rolling pin dusted with flour.
  4. Use cookie cutters to cut out ornaments.
  5. Poke a toothpick into the top of the ornament, then make a circular motion until the hole is the size you want.
  6. Place the ornaments onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 2 hours.
  7. Allow the ornaments to cool completely, then you can paint them. You may even want to add glitter!
  8. When the paint is dry, thread a ribbon or string through the hole to make a loop.

Come Visit Our 4-Year-Olds in the Orange Room

Morning Meeting at NBRC PreschoolWe have been in our MWF class for 33 days. We know this because every day during our circle time we count all the days we have come to school on our School Days Chart.

Every morning we arrive and find our personalized shape of the month — this can include our names, our initials, and last names. After placing our shape in the basket noting our attendance, we hang up our coat and bags and then greet our teachers and friends. 

Once everyone has arrived, we find our letter on the rug for circle time. Each week we sit on a new letter. Circle time includes updating our calendar, the weather and our School Days Chart. After this, the leader of the day holds our flag and we practice saying the Pledge of Allegiance. We also sing songs about the days of the week and the months of the year and answer the question of the day.

NBRC Preschhol Children WorkingOn Mondays during circle time, we introduce our letter of the week with a story which emphasizes that letter. We learn how the letter sounds, how it is formed and create a list of all the words we can think of that start with that letter. On Fridays, we all share an object from home that begins with that letter — this can be a time of discovery. When we did the letter “I”, a child brought in an iron. This led to a discussion on how an iron is used, since the majority of the children had no idea how it was used. We borrowed an ironing board from the class next door and the children enjoyed ironing some of our dress-up items. Also, a word beginning with our letter of the week is introduced and added to our word wall.

NBRC Preschool Puzzle TimeAfter circle time, the children are free to explore our classroom and engage in activities that interest them — solving puzzles and manipulatives; building with blocks, Legos and gears; creating at the easel; using play dough; playing at the sand/water table and engaging in dramatic play. 

During this free time the children have the opportunity to work one-on-one with the teachers on projects and our letter journals. Projects can encompass many areas at once. For example, currently the children are working on Thanksgiving turkey cards that they first cut out (fine-motor skills), then matched the number of dots at the base of each turkey feather to the correct numerals on the turkey’s body (math concepts) and finally created the turkey’s face (art). 

Our letter of the week is added to our journals only after we have practiced making the letter through stamping it on “Stamp and See” board, writing on the white board and doing “Wet, Dry, Try” on the iPad or with our slate. We write the letter in our journal and add a picture of a word that starts with our letter.

NBRC Preschool PlaygroundEach day we also enjoy our special classes. Monday is Language Arts, Wednesday is Music and Friday is Gym. After specials, it is time to clean up our classroom and our class does a super job. We wash hands and say grace before eating our snack. All of us are learning to use our manners to say “Please” and Thank you” when asking for snacks.

After snack, we sit on the rug and look at books alone or with a friend, while we wait for everyone to finish. Then one of our teachers reads us a story before we go to the playground. On the playground, some have been learning to climb to the top of the play structures, to balance on the tires, and to swing without being pushed.

Thanksgiving Trio at NBRC PreschoolThroughout our day, we are learning many concepts and skills while we also are observing the world around us. Walking to the playground, we have observed how the leaves have turned from green, to yellow and orange and then brown. Now we can see that the trees are bare and it is getting colder, our clothes are changing as we head into a new season.

Our days are extremely busy so we are often surprised when we learn it is time to go home.

– Jan Davenhall and Karen Reinhart

The Fruit of the Spirit is JOY

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field,
keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,
and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:
and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold,
I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host praising God,
and saying, “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men”
Luke 2:8-14

fruit-of-the-spiritThe boys and girls at the Preschool will learn about the great joy of Jesus’ birth this month during our Pastor Storytimes, in their classrooms, and in our specials classes. All of our classrooms will have a nativity set (some call it a crèche or manger scene) and a Christmas Tree! Every child will create a handmade Christmas present for their parents and the wrapping for it. They’ll each have the opportunity to participate in retelling the joyous Christmas story in our Christmas Pageant by dressing as an angel, sheep, shepherd, King, Mary, or Joseph and sing songs of the season. The children really enjoy ringing their jingle bells!

Our Extended Day Class will make a visit to “Kirkside,” the house next to the church, where a few senior citizens live, to carol and share a special baked Christmas goodie.

The North Branch Reformed Church welcomes you to any of their three Christmas Eve services at 5pm, 8pm, or 11pm to celebrate the joyous birth of Christ Jesus.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

-By Jennifer Landrieu, Director

Respecting the Importance of Play

I was saddened in a classroom this week to see a preschooler in tears, frustrated at her inability to form the letters of her first and last names in the way that the teacher was demanding.

Now, lest you think I am criticizing the teacher, know that the teacher is not only a friend, but also has years of experience and skills.

Importance of PlayThe problem is that clear demands are being placed on the four-year-old children in my community, so therefore also on their teachers and parents, to prepare children with fundamental skills and knowledge as a kindergarten entry prerequisite.

Time was when preschool and even kindergarten were preparation years, designed mainly to support children’s social and emotional adjustment to group learning, time spent mostly in creative play with blocks, dress-ups, art materials, and games.

Alas, in many schools today, those days are gone. As the emphasis on test scores and academic achievement has permeated our educational institutions, drill and skill have replaced play as the medium for learning.

An article in The Christian Science Monitor (Let the Children Play, Hanes, 1/23/12) highlights additional reasons that today’s children are suffering from play deficiency.

Plating in TiresHighly scheduled children, moving from one enrichment activity to another, have little time for spontaneous play. What playtime they do have is often spent using technological devices, pushing buttons or watching screens and flashing lights.

In other words, toys, not imagination, often drive children’s play, with the result that in the absence of toys, many of today’s children simply do not know how to play. Experts are agreed that the erosion of children’s play constitutes a problem about which something needs to be done.

As adults become concerned with the development of the whole child, they discover that the medium of play provides optimum conditions for social, emotional, and physical development, rather than focusing on narrowly cognitive skills.

Chalk DrawingIn this context, play is not just seen as childish fun, letting kids be kids, but rather a complex method of developing flexible thinking, language development, and self-control.
One hot topic related to play is its ability for children to develop “executive function”–such abilities as planning, multitasking, and reasoning–all more closely linked to academic success than IQ, standardized tests, or other assessments, according to much recent research.

So what can parents do encourage curiosity and imagination related to play?

  1. Become knowledgeable about the ongoing debate about the importance of play in your community schools. The article cited refers to specific efforts of parents working to bring back recess and decrease academic instruction in kindergarten and preschools.
  2. Consider carefully the amount of time your child has available for unstructured play, and the choices you make about toy purchases. Analyze the toys in your child’s room to see if it is the toys that are doing the work, or already have limiting assumptions built in, like toys based on media characters.
  3. Limit screen time. Despite the fact that two-thirds of Americans believe that the earlier children can use technology, the better off they will be, numerous studies have found no educational benefit, and potential harm, in early screen time.
  4. Go out and play. It is good for you and your children.

© Growing Child 2013 Please feel free to forward this article to a friend.

Tom Chapin “Give Peas a Chance”

Bus RideOn November 15, two of our classes, MWF Room 204 and 5 Day had the opportunity to go on a field trip to Raritan Valley Community College and enjoy the music of Tom Chapin and Michael Mark in “Give Peas a Chance”.

One of the highlights of the trip was just getting there on the school bus! For some of the kids this was their first time on a school bus, so they learned about seat belt safety and some school bus rules before leaving for the show. They were very excited and loved how bouncy the bus was.

The show was a interactive listening and singing concert based on food and other things that grow. Not only was there singing but many instruments were used and introduced to the children, such as a guitar, Bass, Concertina (squeeze box), Banjo, Grand Piano, Autoharp, and an Irish whistle. Kids were able to participate by singing along, clapping, and even learned a song in sign language.

AudienceSome of the songs they heard were:

  • Don’t Miss the Bus
  • Locally Grown and Eaten
  • The Farmers Market
  • Alphabet Soup
  • Family Tree
  • Pretty Planet
  • Junk Food
  • A Whale Song
  • Good Garbage

The show was enjoyed by all!

Giving Thanks

“Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
giving thanks always for all things to God the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

– Ephesians 5:19-20

This year, our little friends are thankful for their Mommies and Daddies, houses, food, puppy dogs, and our loving God.

Here are a few of the great books about giving thanks and Thanksgiving Day that we’ll read at the Preschool this month:

  • Clifford’s First Thanksgiving by Norman Bridwell
  • Feeling Thankful by Shelley Rotner and Sheila Kelly
  • Give Thanks For Each Day by Steve Metzger
  • Let’s Celebrate Thanksgiving by Peter and Connie Roop
  • One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims by B.G. Hennessy
  • The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing
  • Thanksgiving Day by Anne Rockwell
  • Thanksgiving Is For Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland
  • The Story of the Pilgrims by Katherine Ross
  • The Very First Thanksgiving Day by Rhonda Gowler Greene
  • This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story by Laura Krauss Melmed
  • ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey

-Jennifer Landrieu, Director

Science Explorers

Preschool Science ExplorersAccording to Kid’s Science Lab, science is important for preschoolers for three reasons:

  1. Science engages curiosity.
  2. Science provides practical tools for understanding everyday life.
  3. Science advances critical thinking, problem solving and creativity.

Preschool Science ExplorersChildren are naturally curious and love to experiment. In Science Explorers it is important for the children to have a say in what is happening. As they observe they ask questions and figure out solutions to what we are learning. They talk with each other about their thoughts and they learn through that communication. We take objects they may see every day and take them apart and explore them. It could be as simple as learning about magnets or as complex as blending ingredients to make something totally different.

We love seeing their excited faces as they learn something new and love hearing them question what they are learning.

Below are a few of the things we have done in Science Explorers…

  • Making gooey quicksand, or what Dr. Seuss calls Oobleck, is a great way to learn about suspensions. We mix cornstarch and water together to make a soupy mixture. It acts like a thick liquid, similar to quicksand. In other words, quicksand is just a soupy mixture of sand and water. The children love to play with this and it’s a great simple hands-on experiment for them.
  • Preschool Science Explorers

  • Taking the children outside for a nature walk through the preschool grounds gives us a wonderful opportunity to teach them about the beautiful world around us. We’ve looked for signs of spring and fall, animals, birds, and special plants. Our nature bracelet project was a new way to teach the children to collect specimens of flora and fauna. The children each wore a bracelet made of sticky tape and yarn that they were able to place specimens on for safekeeping and later investigation.
  • One of our favorite experiments in Science Explorers is making handmade recycled paper. We learned the basics of recycling and made our own paper out of scraps of construction paper. A favorite color combination was blue and green paper that resembled the Earth! We soaked the paper in water to make it mushy and put it into a blender to make paper “soup”. Then we put a screen into the soupy paper and lifted it up to reveal a very wet piece of new paper. It was a great way to celebrate Earth Day!
  • Another great preschool science class was our investigation into the phases of the Moon. We learned about the crescent, half, and full moon. It was amazing to see the children discover a little bit of our solar system and it encouraged them to look in the evening sky. We complimented our lesson with crafting a project illustrating the different phases so they could bring the lesson home with them.

These are just a few ways we teach the children about science in our everyday lives. We hope to see you soon in Science Explorers!

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