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To our parents...

I just want to take a moment to make a public statement that BLOOM PARENTS ROCK!

We had a parent meeting last night, which I THOROUGHLY enjoyed, and it struck me...

I am SOOO GRATEFUL for the parents of the preschool children in our program!

Parenting is a challenge in itself, but these parents...

They have proven, in selecting our program, that their children come first...not succombing to societal, peer, or academic pressure!

They take their children to the grocery store covered in colored marker because the face painting was important that day!

They invest their time in learning about how their children grow...taking one evening a month (sometimes more) to process early childhood learning topics with a group of like-minded parents and facilitators.

They invest greater than average time in bathing their children because they understand that getting "messy" is a part of the process for their children!

And quite possibly what makes the biggest impression on me is...

They TRUST us with the care of some of their favorite people in the universe!



Experiencing ticket rolls

When I go shopping, I look at things differently than perhaps many people do.

For instance, for several years I've eyed the ticket rolls at various stores thinking to myself "oh my goodness...I would have LOVED playing with those as a child. I should buy them for the preschoolers." Somehow though I've talked myself out of that purchase at least one hundred times by saying back to myself, "how on earth do you expect 16 children to use a couple rolls of tickets?! They will just unwrap them and be done." I somehow told myself that the value in the ticket rolls wasn't great enough to justify the purchase.

Well I finally stopped listening to myself and went ahead and bought some ticket rolls.

Here is what happened...


It's hard to tell what he is doing exactly, but look at this...

 I had no idea they would think to find such a tiny little space to use as a ticket sales distribution slot!

And what must one use in a preschool to purchase tickets?

Flowers seemed to work as payment!

All of the ticket rolls were in use, and this girl wanted a roll of her own so...

 She found a way to make one herself.

These tickets enjoyed a life in the hands of these children for many days. Some were even sent home with friends in little ticket envelopes with ticket cards made by little hands. 

The uses for these tickets were uncountable...from a sensory experience piling up strand after strand of tickets and jumping or sitting on it to carefully placing tickets one by one in a hole-in-the-lid yogurt container to fill the entire thing!

The learning here was TREMENDOUS. So very many opporutnities to practice fine motor skills, gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, social skills, conflict resolution, problem solving, creativity, and SO MUCH MORE!

I'm so so glad that I finally followed that instinct of "I would have loved this as a child" and allowed these children such wonderful opportunity of experience!


A preschool without water...

Yesterday morning I happened upon a sign on our street that said, "Avion water on your street will be turned off Thursday at 9:00am".

"YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!" I thought to myself...

16 preschoolers and three teachers...no flushing toilets...no running water...

So I set out to assess the situation we would face on Thursday.

After many phone calls the job supervisor at the water department told me he thought the job could take only 15-30 minutes, but that it could possibly be an hour or two. That sounded GREAT to me after having initially heard that it would be a minimum of 2-4 hours!

So we decided to take the risk of staying at the school, instead of the suggested idea of a spontaneous field trip...which would have required MUCH scrambling for transportation and would have been quite costly.

Our licensor recommended (as did the water company) that we stock up with plenty of water to manually fill the toilet tank, run over washing hands, and use for drinking...just in case.

So this morning started with this...

I filled all those jugs and buckets with water and placed them in strategic locations (orange jug for drinking water remained on the kitchen counter)


(these buckets remained behind the gate, out of reach of children...for dumping into toilet tank as needed)


(water jugs set up as a hand washing station in the bathroom...table tied to back of bath tub so as not to tip...toilet and bath faucet taped off)

At 8:30, we started the process of "everyone gets a turn to use the toilet", which is extremely far-from-normal for us...we prefer to allow the children to use the toilet as needed.

At about 8:45am, N exclaimed, "K...You're in luck! The toilet still flushes!" as K set off to use the bathroom! 

At 8:50, I received a call from the water company, "we will be turning off your water in ten minutes."

This was my cue to cover the faucets.

That was pretty much all the excitement once the children realized, "It's 9:00, and the workers don't look like they're doing anything." 

Around 9:20, R's curiosity overcame her as she asked, "Stephanie can we go out there? I want to see it!"

So she put on her boots and we grabbed our jackets. She and I headed outside while the other teachers stayed in with the rest of the children.

We examined the area, looking down into the trench just as the men put the final pipe fitting together and began shoveling some dirt over the top.

R glanced across the street and exclaimed in an awestruck voice, "WOW.......that is a BEAUTIFUL hose!" (see below) 

Yup...that's not your average garden hose!

The men from the water company told us the water was back on, so R and I went back inside to tell the others the water was on.

Upon hearing R's excitement about what she'd seen, three other groups of two asked to go see for themselves.

They all looked down in the trench to see the pipes...

but their attention was more readily attached to the roof...where the real intriguing work was now happening...


All in all this entire "water off" deal only lasted an hour (with mini field trips out to see the work included).

Even though we didn't need all those jugs and buckets of water, I'm thankful I was prepared for "just in case"! And no...that water did not go to waste...it added MUCH excitement to our water play in the school yard after the running water was safely running through our pipes again!


Exploring "The Holes In Your Nose"

We got a new book in the school last week.

As we explored all of the fascinating details within the book, Lola rested on the couch.

Suddenly we noticed....

...the holes in Lola's nose are a different shape from ours!


Experiencing Death and Grief

One of our very favorite early childhood educators Bev Bos has been known to say that songs and stories about death MUST be in the child's life BEFORE death happens. I think she is right. I think that in order to draw strength from such songs and stories, one must have them already in the mind and heart for access in time of need. I also think experiences with death are equally important.

Two of our favorite stories to read with children on the subject are...

Goodbye Mousie by Robie H Harris

and Saying Goodbye to Lulu by Corinne Demas

We read these books frequently, and I've often loaned them out to families who find themselves nearing the end of a pet's life.

Our society often does a very strange thing by avoiding the topic of death. Adults often find themselves at a loss for how to handle the topic of death with their children because they haven't properly learned how to handle it themselves...and how to grieve.

The above books do a great job at addressing common thoughts and feelings when a loved one is dying in a very simple straight-forward way for children (and adults too).

This week, our very last preschool pet snail died. The children knew exactly what to do.

They gathered outside and dug a hole in which the snail would be buried.

The snail was placed in the hole. I was helping children who were not directly involved with the burial, so I didn't hear all of the conversation surrounding the burial. As the conversation seemed to be winding down, I overheard the question raised, "does anyone else have something to say about the snail before it is buried?" (note: this is a sign of a FABULOUS teacher!)

Next thing I knew, that same teacher was writing something. The children had selected a stone and asked her to write a note to the snail on it so they could use it on the snail grave as a marker. 

I have absolute faith that when the death of a loved one (pet or human) is near for these children they will have stories and experiences from which to draw strength in guiding them through the grief process.

"I'm sorry you died. I want you to stay there with your family."

I think this is an example of a time when we adults would do well to follow the children's lead!

(It is worthy noting that when asked who the snail's family was, a little girl immediately responded "the other dead snails of course!")