Promoting acts of kindness in preschool

A wonderful series called “100 Acts of Kindness Project 2012” is being hosted by my friend Kristina over at Toddler Approved and I used this wonderful series as a way to introduce the Kindness Jar to my class as we head into celebrating Valentine’s day.  Take a minute and hop over to Toddler Approved to view our class “Kindness Jar” plus the printable that goes with it.  Read how we use the kindness jar to promote acts of kindness in our preschool through this fun little idea…

Next up… Allison McDonald from No Time for Flashcards!
By | January 26th, 2012|Categories: Valentine's Day|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Guest Post: A homemade light table for preschool

It is always exciting when my readers write to me and share how they have expanded on or implemented ideas in their own classrooms. Cynthia Tanguay sent me some beautiful photos of her light table and generously gave me permission to share her photos and her instructions on my blog.  You can learn more about Cynthia at the end of this post. I think her bio is wonderful and could have been a blog post all by itself!

Instructions for a light table

by Cynthia Tanguay

“I made your light box but found that I was going through a ton of batteries so I picked up a 13 foot light rope at Home Depot, wound it into a continuous spiral in the bottom of the box and put the cord through a hole drilled in the back.”

“I also had a large piece of silver Mylar that I taped into the bottom and sides of the box.  It is much more reflective than the silver paint.”


“Since I had two boxes, I discarded the lid from the second one and taped it (the box) onto the top of the light box.  That way we can easily contain the beads and plexi-glas pieces.”


Cynthia’s creative light table activities
“Also, I contacted a plexi-glas company on line and asked if they would be willing to send me small scraps that they would ordinarily throw out.  They sent me a 10 pound box with hundreds of brightly colored pieces.  We sanded the edges and added two of each color to our light box….. Just look at how pretty they are.”

“Like you, I traced characters from some of our favorite books.  Glass beads are great for coloring ‘The Rainbow Fish’.”


A generous gift from Cynthia
Cynthia sent me some beautiful glass beads and some of her plexi-glas shapes in the mail.  What a generous gift from a very giving teacher!  My students LOVED the plexiglass shapes…


I will be using the materials Cynthia sent me and I love the idea of drawing connections to literacy.  This is what makes teaching so exciting.  Sharing materials and ideas always inspires me to be creative and resourceful.  Thank You Cynthia!!


The Frog Game
Cynthia also shared her amazing spin on the Frog Game that I shared last year. You can read my version of the frog game here….


This is Cynthia’s inspiring version of the Frog Game along with her instructions…
“I loved your frog game so much that I made one too.  I used photo paper with markers because the the colors come out so vibrant.  I had a set of 5 poison dart frogs so I put them on the printer bed and made copies to put on a Styrofoam cube.  The frogs start out in the rocks, cross the grass and jump into the pond.  The kids say “Hop Frog Hop” until they get to the last square.  Then they say “Swim Frog Swim!” as each frog makes it into the pond.”


About Cynthia Tanguay
My name is Cynthia Tanguay and I’ve been a licensed Family Daycare Provider for well over 20 years.  Miss Puddle Duck’s Day Care is in Redford, Michigan and the kids know me as Miss Puddle Duck.   I started out with no child development training what-so-ever and my only experience was having raised five children.   I stumbled along for a few years making every mistake imaginable.  It became clear that something had to change so I started looking for some sort of training.  Then I discovered that the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation and Pre-school was practically  in my backyard so I started attending conferences and trainings there. The High/Scope method is used in every Head Start program in the US.  It’s the best of the best.  
I am pleased to say I have long since abandoned my old ‘heard em up and tell em what to do’ ways.  Now I sit on the floor most of the day listening to and encouraging children to explore everything in their environment.  Now I plan around their interests rather than following themes from a book.   I’ve gotten rid of the calendar which has no meaning for a toddler or pre-schooler and replaced it with a message board with picture messages that are about the children themselves and the things they do in daycare.  Art is open-ended, paint is sometimes made from food, we play with old tires and milk crates and planks of wood.  We climb trees and play in puddles.  There are no batteries and darn few  plastic toys.  I love that I get to play all day in sand and water and build blocks and sing silly made-up songs and make spider sandwiches and paint on windows with shaving cream and read stories I’ve long since memorized using funny voices.


My favorite part of daycare is making cool stuff with the kids using interesting junk.  We have ‘The Junk Room’ full of shelves and bins of all manner of useful junk.   Two or three times a week the kids ask if we can go to the junk room to find something that can be used to make this or that.  And of course after daycare has closed for the day,  I can usually be found in the junk room inventing a new toy or game or project.    


I suppose I’ll grow up one day. . . but not just yet.   For now I’m Miss Puddle Duck. 


Links to grow on…


I am blogging over at PreK+K Sharing blog today!


Linking up with..


learning laboratory at mama smiles

By | January 4th, 2012|Categories: DIY, Games|Tags: , , , , |51 Comments

Role play in early years settings

I know you will enjoy this guest post written by Julie Meighan, author of Drama Start!

Role Play in Early Years Settings

By Julie Meighan

Role play is a very important part of a child’s education. The imagination is a powerful tool which as we know is innate in some children but needs encouraging in others. It is important that preschools provide children with the opportunity to develop their imagination. In order to accomplish this they have to equip the children with spaces, scenarios, props and the support they need to explore their real life or imaginary worlds. Imaginative play not only aids intellectual development but also improves children’s social skills and their creativity. In addition it gives children a chance to play out events that they have observed or experienced in real life.

Role play and everyday scenarios

Using the home as a setting for role play works extremely well with children as the home plays an important role in each young child’s life.

Setting up the role-play corner as a house may sound simple enough but unfortunately in lots of preschool certain things are over looked. You need to include all the tools needed for the role play to take place. If you wish to focus on hygiene you need to include the following props – a cloth, washing up bottle, tea towel, bin and sink or if you want them to focus on health and safety you need to get them to use oven gloves, trays, timers, hot pads, and towels.

Role plays and imagined worlds
These role plays take place in places where the children are very unlikely to visit such as the moon or under the sea and they can meet characters that they are very unlikely to meet such as a dragon or a talking bear.

An example of a role playing story that I find works well with young child is the Hungry tree. This is an excellent introduction to improvisation as the children are free to explore their imaginations. It also helps with their co-ordination skills.

Instructions to the Hungry Tree

The teacher tells the children the following story and the children have to improvise the movements in the story. The teacher gets the children to imagine that they are an adventurer who wants to go on an adventure. They have to pack up their bags. The teacher asks what they need in the bags. Children’s answers are usually for example water, sandwiches, sun cream, and sunglasses and so on. The children mime putting all these essentials into their bag and then mime all the actions in the adventure below…

The teacher says  “Imagine you are walking quickly because you are so happy to be on your adventure. You see a mountain and decide you should climb it. The sun is getting hotter and hotter and you are getting tired. You get very, very tired. You wipe your brow to show how tired you are. You begin to climb slower and slower. You are very thirsty. You take out your water and take a drink. You put it back in your bag and climb the rest of the way up the mountain. Eventually you get to the top. You are exhausted, very hot and very hungry. You decide it is time for your picnic. You see a lovely tree and you go and sit under its shade. You eat your picnic and go for a nap. Then suddenly you wake up and see the tree moving towards you. The tree grabs you and you realise it is a very hungry tree and wants to eat you. You scream. You struggle. You fight the branches but you are getting weaker and weaker. Then suddenly the tree stops fighting for a moment. You get your chance to escape. You quickly grab your bag, and run back down the mountain. You get to the end and you don’t stop in case the hungry tree is running after you. You run all the way home, lock all the doors and hide under the table.”

In settings where both of these types of role play are offered, the play which develops is deeper, more complex and more intense, giving the children richer experiences. Allowing children to lose themselves
in role play engages them in play that is purposeful and produces such outcomes as sharing, turn taking, co-operation, improving hand eye skills and develops their vocabulary.

Time for Role Play is Vital!

More role playing ideas

If you wish to read more ideas about role playing games that can be used with young children, please go to Drama Start and enter the coupon JG87H and you will receive a copy of the book for a special price of $1.50.

About Julie
Julie Meighan is a lecturer in Drama in Education at the Cork Institute of Technology. She has taught Drama to all age groups and levels. She is the author of “Drama Start”.

Be sure to stop by Julie’s blog Earlyedugrama!

Julie is the author of Drama Start. “Drama Start’ is a collection of drama activities, including games, role playing ideas, action poems, plays and monologues, suitable for children between the ages of 3 and 8. It can be used in Early Years’ settings or in primary schools.”

Julie’s book is available for purchase at Amazon from the following links…

Or you can go to and enter the following coupon JG87H and get Julie’s book for an introductory price of $1.50.

Thank you Julie for sharing your wonderful book and ideas with us here on Teach Preschool!

Photos for this article were taken and added by Deborah J. Stewart

By | June 12th, 2011|Categories: Dramatic Play|Tags: , |3 Comments

Parent involvement in early literacy is the key to academic success

Parent involvement in early literacy is the key to academic success by Dr. Erika Burton of Stepping Stones Together

Early childhood education sets the stage for future academic achievement.

Whether you choose a pre-school setting, home school your child, or a combination of both exposure and parent modeling of literacy skills before, during and after the preschool years is essential.


A study conducted last spring in over 27 countries and over 20 years confirmed that having over 500 books in ones’ home is more important to a child’s projected academic success than a parent’s education. There are few studies to date on parent involvement in early literacy skills and development when reading with them. Yet, educators know that the number one predictor of lifelong academic achievement is parental involvement.

What are some best practices to help your child learn beginning literacy skills?

Where do you start if your child does not know their letters or sounds?

  1. Expose your child to literacy in natural occurring situations– Point out stop, speed, and washroom signs
  2. Label your house– Make a project out of writing and taping the words for things around your house that your child can see, touch, and repeat every day.
  3. Alphabet fun– Play with the alphabet out of order through developing letter of the day, week, or month and try to incorporate meals, toys, pictures on the internet, books. Have your child help you. Take pictures and/or develop a book for each. Develop opportunities for your child to make each letter cutting them from sponges, or forming them using play dough or even dye in snow!
  4. 4. Sound fun- Make up songs, games, or dances using the sounds of each letter in the alphabet. Buy a puzzle or game that says the sound of each letter as a review.

Where do you start if your child is ready to read?

  1. Investigate- The first reading steps are always the most nerve wrecking. Make sure your child is ready. Does your child know their letters and sounds?
  2. What are the signs of a child ready to read?– Does your child pretend to read books, ask you what words say, attempt to sound out letters in words, know words are devised of letters and spaces indicate new words? Has your child told you they want to learn to read?
  3. Start and stop when your child is eager- Beginning reading is hard. Consistency in small chunks of time works best. Always make sure they are having fun and within their frustration threshold.
  4. Use a repetitive simple text book- Allow your child to select an easy reader that can be completed in one sitting of 5-10 minutes. Research suggests choice is important in reading motivation.
  5. Picture walk- Predict and preview each page in a book using picture clues to identify story details
  6. Model- Do an initial read through of the book allowing your child to see best beginning reading practices of pointing to each word with your finger.
  7. Guide them- Allow your child to read the text helping them when necessary with difficult words in context.
  8. Review and discuss- Ask story questions related to vocabulary, connecting the text to your child’s experiences, and to check for basic reading comprehension.
  9. Write- Have your child share as you transcribe or bravely attempt to write their thoughts on characters, problems, situations and their experiences with each story.
  10. Review high frequency words- Review words such as; a, the, and, this… however you see fit.
  11. Consistency- Work daily through these steps whenever possible.

Guest Writer Biography

Dr. Erika Burton founded Stepping Stones Together to provide parents with an easy-to-use and reasonably priced online reading program to help parents instill a love for reading with children ages 3-7.

In 2005, Burton co-founded Orion’s Mind, an Educational Company with an overarching mission to close the educational achievement gap in Chicago. The company started with two employees. Orion’s Mind is one of the largest supplemental education providers in Illinois behind Chicago Public School’s own supplemental curriculum called Aim High. The company serves thousands of Chicago Public students in grades K-8 each school year. Orion’s Mind is also the largest supplemental provider in Waukegan, Illinois, Public Schools for grades K-8 students.

Dr. Burton earned her doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies with a minor in research and supervision from Loyola University in Chicago in 2004. She completed her master’s degree in Elementary Education from Aurora University in 1998 and her Bachelor’s Degree in 1996 from The University of Arizona.

Burton worked closely from 2005- 2009 to  develop and revise curriculum, develop and facilitate the instructor and lead instructor trainings, and the instructor supervision program designed to ensure consistent and successful implementation of the Orion’s Mind curriculum.

While obtaining her professional degrees, Burton taught second grade in a bilingual classroom in the inner city of Los Angeles, first grade on the west side of Chicago in a restructured school, third grade at Holmes Elementary in Oak Park, IL, and later served as an Assistant Principal at River Grove Elementary School.

Burton has continued to support teachers as an adjunct professor for Roosevelt and National Louis University with a focus on teaching educational leadership, action research, early childhood and elementary education. She is dedicated to closing the educational achievement gap working with teachers to develop strategies to help all students achieve measurable results. Burton was awarded grant money in 2007 by National Louis University to ensure teachers use action research to better serve their students.

Burton presented at the 2007 Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) conference in Orlando, Florida, the National Louis University’s Imagination conference in 2006 and the ASCD’s Midwest conference in 2006 focusing on multi-disciplinary approaches to learning.

Her most recent publication was in Burton, E. (2009, August). 21st century focus: brain learning. Southeast Educators Network, (11.2).

Why was Stepping Stones Together Created?

Stepping Stones Together was designed to address a needed resource I could not find when searching for a parent/child beginning literacy program to help my own children, and to provide highly motivational reading resources for parents and caregivers to help their child who is ready to read. I wanted to meet the needs of busy parents, being one myself, and make it easy to use, and it was designed with realistic daily practice commitments in mind. This program can be completed within 15-20 minutes each day, and within just 60 days, you should see a noticeable improvement in your child’s beginning reading skills.

Get informed about early childhood education degree programs

Early Childhood Education Degree Programs: What are Your Options?

By Brian Jenkins

What types of early childhood education programs are available? Many colleges and universities offer accredited undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the subject. You may also have the option of obtaining a professional certificate at certain schools. Programs are available both on-campus and online. The preferred degree depends on your selected area of early childhood education. Let’s take a look at the various programs that are out there.

Early Childhood Education Certificate Program

These are short programs that introduce students to the basics of child development. The programs are designed for individuals seeking an entry-level assistant position at a preschool or a day care facility. Some schools also offer a certificate of Proficiency in Early Childhood Education.

Early Childhood Education Associate Degree Program

These programs cover a broader range of topics than do certificate programs. They include courses in childhood education as well as general liberal arts and science courses. Programs cover teaching methods for young children and child growth and development. Graduates are eligible for teaching positions at preschools and day care centers. Some schools provide an associate degree program with an emphasis on daycare.

Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s Degree Program

A bachelor’s degree is typically required for public school teachers. Students take liberal arts and science subjects before taking childhood education courses. Bachelor’s degree programs place an emphasis on elementary school instruction methods, classroom management skills, and literacy education. Some bachelor’s degree programs focus on infant and toddler development, whereas other programs focus on preschool-aged children.

Early Childhood Education Master’s Degree Program

The master’s degree is the typical requirement for positions as curriculum developers, childhood education administrators, and program directors. The degree is also obtained by teachers seeking to teach specialty areas like special education. Master’s degree programs cover childhood development and practical classroom teaching techniques. The programs also focus on research of child pedagogy. Students usually have the opportunity to specialize in an area of their choice.


The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) provides accreditation for high-quality associate degree programs that prepare early childhood educators. NAEYC sets the national standards for higher education programs for early childhood teacher preparation. The organization also provides accreditation for bachelor’s and graduate degree programs, as part of the accreditation system of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

You can visit the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education website and search for accredited early childhood education programs in your area.

Online schools

Numerous colleges and universities offer online undergraduate and graduate degree programs in early childhood education. If you think you might go this route, inquire if the schools your considering will help you find an externship at a preschool or daycare center.

Answers to these questions can help you choose a school:

  • School’s Reputation – Is the school recognized for its early childhood education programs?
  • Curriculum – If an area of specialization is desired, are there a substantial number of relevant classes available?
  • Job Placement – Are job placement services available?
  • Training – Does the program include an externship at a preschool or day care center?
  • Financial Aid – Is financial aid available? Is the school eligible to provide federal financial aid?
  • Accreditation – Is the school accredited by NAEYC or the NCATE?

Getting involved in early childhood education can be a very rewarding experience. If you’re seeking a degree, there are plenty of accredited early childhood education programs to choose from.

Brian Jenkins, a member of the writing team, writes about a variety of subjects related to higher education.

By | November 28th, 2010|Categories: Professional Development|Tags: , |0 Comments

Give the gift of music and language learning to your preschoolers

No Time Like the Present: How and Why to Give the Gift of Language Learning to Your Child(ren)

Written by my special guest Carolina Gomez.

Learning a language is enriching at any age, but it is more challenging when we are adults. Children are the ones who benefit the most simply because there is a special window of opportunity for learning where everything happens in a very natural process. Children are curious about the world around them, and that curiosity is a key element in the learning process.

Children are always excited about learning, so why not give them the opportunity to learn new words and explore different sounds in a new language?

There are many reasons why children should be exposed to a new language. First, children who understand there are more than a few ways to say the same thing inherently understand a bit about the links between language and culture and are better equipped to reach across divides of race, class, and ethnicity – both at home and abroad. No matter what your politics, we can all agree that this kind of deep understanding and broad awareness is important for the future of our planet. It has also been proven that bilingual individuals, or even individuals who have been exposed for at least 4 years to a foreign language, are more likely to score higher in standardized tests. Language skills are also vital for the 21st century workplace, with changing demographics across the US and the rise of China, India, and other nations in the world economy. Learning a language is also, quite simply, powerful brain exercise, and a young child’s brain is much more malleable than those of adults.

Children are also more capable of utilizing a native like- accent in a second language: children are always mimicking what they hear and are typically very good at reproducing those sounds.  Their ears are very tuned to identify different sounds that adults often cannot distinguish between. Studies have also shown that adults who had a exposure  to a language during childhood are more likely to end up speaking like a native. Muscles are flexible, and their tongue can move to different positions.

What can you do if you don’t have any knowledge of the language or feel that you don’t know enough? The fact that you are reading this means you are already doing something for your children. Your motivation will get them motivated.

Be a role model: Show them that you care about other cultures and languages, and share that passion with them. Even if you can’t afford the time or expense of foreign travel, there are many ways to expose them – even beyond television and books – to people of many different cultures right here in the US.

Make it fun and playful: children love to play, and playtime in a foreign language creates a natural environment to bring a new language alive.

Include Spanish time in your routine: It could be as little as five minutes, it doesn’t have to be a long period; believe me they benefit from everything and absorb it extremely fast.

Use short sentences in your daily routine (click here to listen to the sentences):

¡Vamos a cantar! Let’s sing!

¡Vamos a jugar! Let’s play!

¡Vamos a leer! Let’s read!

¡Es hora de la siesta! It’s nap time!

Find time to sing a song, play a game, listen to a story in a CD, find stories they already know in English. Remember that the primary goal is not to raise bilingual children, but to give them the opportunity to be exposed to another language and the benefits.

If you know someone who knows the language, invite them to  come to your class to sing a song or read a book.

Have fun trying these songs in Spanish with your class!

La Danza del Paracaidas (Parachute dance)

Los números – Numbers

Mi cara – My face

Adiós mis amigos – Good bye my friends

About the Author: Carolina grew up in Colombia, South America. She holds a Bachelors degree in Modern Languages from La Universidad del Valle in Colombia and a Masters in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University in Boston. Carolina enjoys teaching children her language and exploring the vibrant cultures of Latin America in a fun way and has been teaching languages to children for over 12 years in Colombia, Guatemala, and the United States – in private schools, public schools, and out-of-school settings. She is now a classroom K-3 Spanish teacher in Buckingham, Browne, and Nichols (BB&N) in Cambridge, MA. She is a member of MaFLA (Massachusetts Foreign Language Association) and ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). In 2005, Carolina founded 1-2-3 Spanish Together, an early language music and curriculum designed to teach Spanish to children and their families and help other teachers learn the trade. She also shares a lot teaching tips on her new website for teachers Fun for Spanish Teachers and her blog.

Including sign language in the early childhood classroom

Including Sign Language in Early Childhood Curriculum

Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas

One of the keys to thriving in the modern economic climate is versatility – and the ability to communicate articulately in a variety of ways with the widest possible audience. This includes bilingual ability as well as the ability to communicate in non-verbal ways for the benefit of the disabled – primarily the deaf.

At the same time, a growing shortage of qualified interpreters fluent in American Sign Language has led to more career opportunities – and if current trends continue, it’s likely that skilled ASL interpreters will have little problem securing lucrative employment in a society where such a commodity is destined to be in short supply.

photo from

Signing Before They Can Speak

A great deal of research has clearly demonstrated that the early years – ages 2 to five – are the best time to educate children in different modes of communication and language. This goes beyond the spoken word (though it is an optimal time for children to learn a second language); many young children have an aptitude for signing as well.

This is not as odd as you may think. As you know, many indigenous peoples around the world, including American Indian nations, have used sign language for centuries to facilitate communication with other tribes with whom they do not share a language. Some paleontologists and anthropologists theorize that Neanderthals – who apparently lacked the vocal mechanism to produce many spoken words – depended a great deal upon hand gestures to communicate.

In fact, recent research suggests that sign language is innate. An article published in the Boulder Daily Camera in 2003 presented strong evidence that babies as young as six months old communicate with their hands:

“…by 6 to 7 months, babies can remember a sign. At eight months, children

can begin to imitate gestures and sign single words. By 24 months, children

can sign compound words and full sentences. They say sign language reduces

frustration in young children by giving them a means to express themselves

before they know how to talk.” (Glarion, 2003)

The author also cites study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development demonstrating that young children who are taught sign language at an early age actually develop better verbal skills as they get older. The ability to sign has also helped parents in communicating with autistic children; one parent reports that “using sign language allowed her to communicate with her [autistic] son and minimized his frustration…[he now] has an advanced vocabulary and excels in math, spelling and music” (Glarion, 2003).

The Best Time To Start

Not only does early childhood education in signing give pre-verbal youngsters a way to communicate, it can also strengthen the parent-child bond – in addition to giving children a solid foundation for learning a skill that will serve them well in the future. The evidence suggests that the best time to start learning ASL is before a child can even walk – and the implications for facilitating the parent-child relationship are amazing.

Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas

Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the Zionsville educational day care facility, a member of the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose Schools (located in 16 states throughout the U.S.) and part of the network of Indiana educational day care preschools delivering the progressive, early childhood Balanced Learning® curriculum.

See more on this topic!

By | September 10th, 2010|Categories: Professional Development|Tags: , |11 Comments

Top ten tips for staying healthy in the preschool classroom

It’s that time of year again, time for teachers and students to start getting sick that is.  You don’t have to wait for cold and flu season to officially begin, illness can strike at any time in the classroom, and it loves the beginning of the school year.  One of the most difficult aspects of teaching is staying healthy enough to actually teach, especially in an early childhood classroom where germs can spread like wildfire.

I was sick constantly the first five years I taught, I thought the endless cycle of illness would never end.  Eventually, after I was sure I wouldn’t survive my next bout of strep, bronchitis, or stomach flu I wised up and started getting serious about my health as a teacher.  I implemented several safety precautions consistently and as a result I am sick less often and my job is more enjoyable.

Here is my top 10 list of tips for staying healthy in the classroom:

  1. Flu Shot- I get one every year.
  2. Lysol all tables, desks, surfaces, and door knobs daily.
  3. Wipe telephone and computer keyboard with alcohol wipes weekly or after anyone else uses them.
  4. Never use the same tissue box as the students, place a separate box of tissue in a location that is out of the student’s reach.
  5. Teach students to cough in their elbows and not their hands.
  6. Never use student pencils, crayons, or scissors; wear an apron and keep your own writing tools inside.
  7. Never touch your face during the day at school, don’t rub your eyes, nose, scratch etc- it’s a hard habit to break but it is very important to your health.
  8. Drink plenty of water daily; staying hydrated is crucial to your health.  Teachers can become dehydrated easily because we are constantly on the go and looking after lots of little people.
  9. Wash your hands and arms up to your elbows as soon as you get home from school with hot water and plenty of soap. This will prevent you from bringing any germs home from school that might make family members sick.
  10. Change your clothes when you get home so you don’t spread germs from school around your house.

What are your tricks for avoiding illness in the classroom?

About the Author: Vanessa Levin’s journey in the field of early childhood education has spanned two continents, three states, eighteen years and many illnesses. Since 2001 Vanessa has provided the early childhood community with an invaluable resource through her popular and helpful website, Pre-K Pages.

By | August 30th, 2010|Categories: Quick Tips for Preschool Teachers|Tags: , |9 Comments

Finger painting fun by Carol Brooke

There’s something quite intriguing about feeling paint on your fingers as you spread it onto your canvas.

Do it yourself and try not to smile. Feeling the texture, seeing what happens when colors are mixed and the paint is spread across the canvas is important learning… Fun as it may be!

You will need:



-smock or large t-shirt

-canvas or recycled cardboard


  1. Cover the table with newspaper.
  2. Put smocks on the children.
  3. Let the children experiment with the paint.

Random colors can be chosen by the child. The teacher can also provide a few colors in order to teach the result of mixed colors. Mixing the colors and seeing results of mixing (red + white = pink or red + yellow = orange) is important learning. Some children may need more time to adjust to the messiness of the paint, and want a break. That’s okay, too.

More Project Ideas:

Fall – Students trace and cut their hand prints onto cardboard. Provide red and yellow paint to make orange leaves. They’ll love to see a bulletin board of a fall tree with all of their fall leaves in the branches. Use several brown paper grocery bags turned inside out for the tree trunk and branches. You can crumple up the edges to make the branches and staple to the wall before attaching the leaves.

Winter – Cut the cardboard or thick paper into the shape of snowmen. Provide dark blue and white paint to mix onto the snowman bodies. After drying, children add black googly eyes, triangles of orange construction paper for the nose and black marker for the mouth.

Valentines Day – This is a good time to mix red and white to make pink on black construction paper hearts. After drying, the hearts can be glued onto folded construction paper to make a card.

Spring – Children cut the cardboard into flower shapes and use any colors they like to paint. Display the flowers on your classroom bulletin board.

Money Saving Tips: Inexpensive canvas can be purchased at your local dollar store or at a discounted art supply store. Children can also use recycled cardboard (such as pieces of cereal boxes) or paper bags as a canvas.

Gift Giving: Finger painting can be sent home as a gift for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

For the canvas, write the child’s name and date on the side.

For the recycled cardboard, attach ribbon and write the child’s name on the back.

About Carol Brooke

Carol Brooke is an editor for Teaching Resource Center, providing classrooms with Teacher Supplies and free Teachers’ Lesson Plans for over 25 years.

Visit Carol at…

Classroom Crafting with Carol

Thank you to my guest Carol for sharing these wonderful tips on finger painting. Finger painting is one of my favorite classroom activities!

By | August 23rd, 2010|Categories: Sensory Play|Tags: , |3 Comments