I hope you’re all having a great week so far! Little Makers Preschool has a calendar change. Our previous calendar had us beginning the fall semester on September 8th. We’re now starting September 2nd, the Tuesday after Labor Day. You can find the complete calendar HERE.
With all this cold weather we’ve had here in Asheville recently, it’s difficult to spend as much time outside as we’d like. Even though it’s been cold, we have been bundling up and spending at least a few minutes outside each day. Fresh air in the outdoors is important! In the past two weeks, we have been exploring and playing with fluffy snow, slippery ice, visible breath, and footprints. We’ve made sure the chickens have had plenty of food and warm water.
In addition to exploring new things in the cold weather, we have had to spend more time inside, so we’ve been having some inside games that are different from morning independent play-time. We’ve been playing pillow-catch, throwing paper airplanes, having dance parties, and building pillow forts.
Some of our daily efforts include: polite language, asking for help, sharing and taking turns, catching and throwing, saying kind things, learning songs and rhymes, and independently getting prepared for the cold weather. Another focus is letter identification and learning the sound(s) of each letter of the alphabet, and words that start with those sounds.
Although we’ve been enjoying winter, I am earnestly looking forward to the spring when we can have outside story time, and do projects outside. We will also begin planting seeds and bulbs. Gardening is a passion of mine, and I am so excited to teach gardening, and teach through gardening.
So, thank you, winter, for allowing us to learn new skills and try new things. And, here’s to spring for what we’ll learn and try in the coming months!
Little Makers is now hosting Parents’ Date Nights. My aim with these evenings is to provide quality affordable group childcare. The maximum number of children at the house will be four, but the evening of care will go on as scheduled even if there is only family signed up. Our next Parents’ Date Night is Friday, November 15th. Children ages 1-12 are welcome to join us for an evening of quiet play, stories, reading, and simple arts/crafts. I can help with homework, if needed. Please provide any food your child will need. 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. $20/child. Enjoy an evening out! Please contact me to sign up, or for more information. Feel free to arrange a visit with me before you sign up – I look forward to meeting you!
Today we toasted spiced pumpkin seeds and decorated pumpkins. We started by inspecting the details of the pumpkins. They weighed about 6 1/2 pounds each, were bumpy, had ridges, were orange with green stems, and were very hard on the outside. We each drew some pictures of pumpkins, using what we already knew about pumpkins, what we had just observed, and our imagination.
Then, after removing the tops, we scooped out the slimy innards and separated the fleshy orange part from the seeds. It’s a time-consuming job!
The seeds were rinsed, and we took the slimy parts outside to feed to the chickens – they enjoyed it, but not to the extent I was expecting! We added oil and measured spices into the bowl of rinsed seeds, stirred well, and toasted in the oven for about half an hour for a crunchy treat.
While the pumpkin seeds toasted in the oven, we decorated the pumpkins. I offered to cut any holes they wanted in the pumpkins, but collage was the popular choice. The creativity in the room was abundant! There were laser eyes, mouths that blew fire, Halloween-y hair, bottle-cap eyes, and a checkered mouth.
Those few activities really filled up the three hours we had today. There are more pumpkin and squash themed activities on the horizon, likely involving baking. Do you have any pumpkin-themed activities you like to do with your little makers? Stay tuned for an announcement of next week’s activity!
Last Sunday we had lots of fun in the garden. First, we learned about how the worm composter works. We collected the rich, finished compost and plucked out the worms to return them to the compost for more work!
After that, we headed out to the garden and tasted several herbs and flowers. We harvested the Thai basil for drying, clipping off the flowers. We chose seeds for cilantro, kale, lettuce, parsley, and spinach. Next we prepared a patch of garden, digging out the weeds and flinging the nutritious worm castings into the area.
Compost and soil mixed together, seeds applied and soil patted down, we watered the newly planted seeds with diluted compost “tea” from the worm bin. Then we moved on to harvesting peppers! We learned to harvest the peppers without removing or breaking branches of the plant. Jalapenos, poblanos, and cayennes – they all added up to 4 pounds of peppers!
We cleaned up, and tucked into the comfy couch for some stories, then drew some cooperative drawings. I’m looking forward to this coming Sunday, when we will toast spiced seeds from a pumpkin and decorate the pumpkin. We’ll also check for any seedlings popping up from last Sunday’s planting!
Yesterday afternoon we had our harvest tea party. We learned how to identify and harvest herbs and flowers from the garden (rub the leaves between your fingers and give it a sniff! Check out the colors and shapes of the leaves and petals). We carefully snipped the herbs from the plants and washed them, separated them into jars (more herb identification and recall), and made seven different teas! While we waited for them to steep and cool to a good drinking temperature, we drew pictures to decorate the tea party room. When the teas were ready, we poured them into white dishes (to explore the color) and tasted. The favorite teas were lemon balm and chocolate mint tea. We found that lemon balm tastes lemony without any lemon, and chocolate mint tastes chocolatey without any chocolate!
We also picked some beautiful flower bouquets to decorate our tea party table.
We read lots of stories, beginning with “My Nana and Me,” in which a young girl and her grandmother have a tea party together. I look forward to our next Little Makers tea party, and after any activity or lesson I am eager to record how it went and further research how to make the next one even better! What are some things you do to make a tea party fun and educational?
Please join us for our next Sunday activity! On October 20th, we’ll be planting a fall/winter garden, and on October 27th, we’ll be decorating a pumpkin and toasting the seeds for a delicious snack. Contact me for more information!
I’m thrilled to be adding a new dimension to my gardening. The fall and winter garden. This will be my second fall with a garden here in Asheville, and this past spring the garden was revamped with a fence and paths, so this year, it’s ready for a fall planting! On Sunday the 20th, ages 3 and up will learn about which plants can handle cooler weather and which ones need to be planted now for emergence in the spring, like flower bulbs. We will remove some of the summer’s spent plants, plant some fall greens together, and get some spring-blooming bulbs in the ground. We’ll label our newly planted areas and make a list of things we’ll need to do to keep the garden going as long as we can through the winter. $15 per child. Please contact me to register!
Hello all! This Sunday (October 6th) we’ll be focused on granola!
Granola is a breakfast and snack treat for me. It’s getting to that time of year when baking (and the heating up of the house that comes with it) makes sense again. So I thought, why not kick it off with granola?
Together we’ll discuss what kinds of foods are in granola for people, and then we’ll explore what we could put into a ‘granola’ for chickens. We’ll make both, tasting the people granola and feeding the chickens their own granola. Each child will get to bring home a small bag of homemade people granola.
Day: Sunday, October 6th
Time: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Price: $18/child (a little more than the usual event, to pay for granola supplies).
Please contact me to register. I need at least 3 participants for this activity to happen, so sign up and tell your friends!