The art table is always open (and quite popular) at Albany Preschool. Every day an art project is announced at circle, and as soon as circle ends, our preschoolers rush to grab an empty seat. We make art with paint, tape, balls, fabric, cars, recyclables, yarn, sticks, rocks, our own hands, and so much more. You name it, we can make something with it.
We know that kids love art, but why do we love art so much? Art stimulates both sides of the brain, boosts self-esteem, strengthens hand-eye coordination, teaches open ended thinking, and helps children exercise their creative problem solving skills.
Next time your child brings home their masterpiece, further the learning experience by talking to them about it. Say things like – How did you make that? Tell me about your picture. I see you mixed paints to make new secondary colors. I see different shapes, line patterns, brush strokes. And if you can, try avoiding value judgements such as – That’s beautiful, I like it, etc.
You can have fun at home with art too. It can be as simple as dipping an old toothbrush in paint, stamping with rocks, cutting and gluing toilet paper tubes. Get creative – there is no wrong way to do it.
Our Stone Soup celebration this Fall was a ravishing success. Each child brought in their favorite veggies to add to the community pot – carrots, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, turnips, and yes, more carrots. But the real stars of the soup were the vegetables and herbs we grew from our very own garden. We planted, watered, watched and waited until the day came to pick. The herbs the children harvested were the perfect finishing touch to our stone soup.
Along with gardening our own vegetables, our preschoolers made their very own bread from scratch. We ground wheat berries into flour using a mortar and pestle -and it was SO hard! – so we switched to a french stone grinder.
From berries, to flour, to bread, and from seeds to vegetables, our preschoolers experienced a true farm to table meal – a yummy one too!
Measuring, cracking, stirring, sharing, pouring, clean-up, waiting – cooking – a tasty learning experience for both you, and your preschooler. By handing off the kitchen spoon to your child, you are introducing them not only to cooking, but to introductory math concepts around measuring, new vocabulary, the science of food changing forms, and so much more. Embrace the mess and watch as your child learns through doing.
We made pumpkin muffins during snack time this week – a perfect recipe for fall, and an easy recipe to bring your preschooler into the kitchen. Yum.
-1 1/2 c. sugar
-1 c. oil
-1 lb can pumpkin
-1 1/2 c. flour
-1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp vanilla
Measure all ingredients in a big mixing bowl. Beat together well for 5 minutes. Pour into cupcake pans (fill more than half full). Bake at 400 degrees for 17 – 20 minutes. Recipe from cooks.com.
Reading is an important part of our day at Albany Preschool. We read about space ships and fire trucks, plants and animals. We read to learn. Reading improves a child’s imagination, vocabulary, attention span, sound structure, and more. When we apply dialogic reading, our preschoolers become active listeners, and reading becomes fun.
- Completion prompts: The itsy bitsy spider…what did it do?
- Recall prompts: What happened to the spider?
- Open-ended prompts: How do you think the spider felt?
- Why prompts: Why do you think the spider was climbing up the spout, anyway?
- Distancing prompts: When have you been caught in the rain?
This year’s Spring Fair was a huge success! Our families came together to put together another spectacular event for the entire Albany community. There were many happy children and parents, smiling faces painted with beautiful butterflies and super heroes, arms full of new stuffies and prizes won from the many games and amazing egg hunt and lots of people enjoying the wonderful crafts, games and music the Spring Fair offered. The Spring Bunny led everyone in some singing and dancing, earning him lots of smiles and big hugs. The Spring Fairy and her sprites handed out stickers and sprinkled fairy dust around the fair bringing extra joy and magic to the day. The cardboard maze was a huge hit as was the egg hunt! The bake sale was also a favorite stop! We had amazing baked goods such as muffins, scones, tarts, cookies, cupcakes, bagels and fruit cups all donated from our very own families. We also had food from Peter’s Kettle Corn, Jamba Juice, California Pizza Kitchen, Domino’s Pizza and Gioia’s Pizza..
We want thank all the sponsors and organizations that contributed to the Spring Fair. Without such contributions, the Spring Fair would not be so magical.
A huge thank you to:
Peter’s Kettle Corn
California Pizza Kitchen
Grocery Outlet, Inc.
Blaisdell’s Business Products
Peralta Middle School
We look forward to seeing everyone again next year at the Albany Preschool Annual Spring Fair!
While waiting for our Stone Soup, these three adventurers decided to go on a dinosaur hunt. After much deliberation, they built an elaborate trap.
The trap was very successful. Hunting, building and waiting for their prey was such hard work, they decided to take a break and make dinosaur stew.
They also made coffee to drink while the dinosaurs were stewing.
Most children have a natural attraction to sand play. There is no “right” way to play with sand, so there is no fear of “doing it wrong.” Because it is opened ended, the children decide the direction their play will take. Through this play they satisfy their inner drive to explore their world, thus gaining an understanding of their world.
Through digging, scooping, burying, and planting objects the children strengthen their large muscles and improve their hand – eye coordination.
When, as a group, they establish the story line and individual roles in their play, they strengthen their imaginative play, their sense of empathy and the skill of seeing things through other’s perspectives.
Cooperative play is strengthened by the need to share the tools, negotiate the path the water takes, and compromise if all do not agree.
How can we as parents and teachers help? We help by supplying a rich environment, with plenty of “loose objects”, by asking open-ended questions, such as, “what will happen next?” and standing back and giving them the time and space to explore their ideas.
Oct. 16, 2014, Albany, Calif. – Albany Preschool (APS), a play-based parent cooperative preschool designed to serve as a place where kids play, learn and love school in a nurturing environment, today announced the addition of an executive director, Nancy Martling.
Martling brings 24 years of experience in creating curriculum, teaching, and directing education programs to her new role. She worked at Bright Horizons in Mill Valley leading day-to-day classroom activities and designing and implementing curriculum. Previously, Martling was the Director of Kids Place in Corte Madera, where she worked for 11 years. In this role she was responsible for adapting the school to a Reggio Emilia inspired program, developing summer camp programs, increasing enrichment program offerings, supervising teachers and children, working with families to understand and manage disruptive behaviors, and acting as a liaison between the school and the Unified School District.
She began her career in education with the National Maritime Museum Association in San Francisco, where she worked to enhance and facilitate the education programs to increase the understanding of our nation’s maritime heritage. She then worked with the the Bay Area Discovery Museum where she managed the school and group programs for the hands on educational museum. Martling has a Masters degree in Museum Studies with a focus in elementary outreach and project based education from San Francisco State University.
“I am excited and honored to be joining the community of Albany Preschool,” said Martling. “I love the continuity and longevity of the school, as well as the fact that previous students are now parents and teachers. It is a true testament to the commitment to the families. I am excited to return to a play-based environment. The play-based concept is the ideal way for children to learn and I think the way Albany Preschool is structured is perfect in allowing children to make the choices that are right for them.”
“This decision is a very important one for our school and we are excited to welcome Nancy to our community,” said Carleigh Rochon, vice president of the Board at Albany Preschool. “Her warm and caring demeanor and her extensive experience and knowledge of play-based programs will be a wonderful addition to our school.”
Martling will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of Albany Preschool. She will be hands-on with the students, work to enhance the school’s curriculum and general direction of the program while also working closely with parents and prospective families.
About Albany Preschool
Albany Preschool (APS) is a parent run cooperative in the heart of Albany celebrating it’s 77th year “Powered by Play.” While years have passed since the school’s inception in 1937, the cooperative spirit, strong sense of community, and commitment to play remain the same. At APS, children are treated with respect and direct their own play activities in a rich, varied environment. Professional staff and parents work together to create a child-centered program addressing the varied physical, cognitive, social, and emotional needs of the children. As they explore and manipulate their world in a non-judgmental environment, children gain confidence in their growing abilities. Working together, parents and teachers create a nurturing community of life-long learners and friends. APS offers morning and afternoon programs for children 3 years to Kindergarten age. For more information, visit the school’s web site at www.albanypreschool.org.
Albany Preschool proudly presents: Transforming Your Yard to a Native Garden: Community Talk and Home Garden Tour w/ botanist Leslie Zander
Sunday, June 2, 2013
1025 Pomona Avenue (cross street is Marin)
Topics will include converting a yard to native plants, native California plant communities and habitat restoration techniques. Light refreshments will be served.
ABOUT Leslie Zander
Leslie has a degree in botany with an emphasis on systematics. Her botanical career has spanned three decades, focusing on native California plant communities and habitat restoration. She has worked throughout the Sierra Nevada, surveying rare plants, and recently orchestrated the conversion of forty acres of iceplant to native coastal scrub for the Monterey Peninsula Country Club. She is found in her Albany garden most weekends, now, focusing on nurturing her fruits and vegetables.
ABOUT Albany Preschool
Albany Preschool (APS) is a place where kids play, learn and love school. Parents and teachers work together to create a nurturing community of life-long learners and friends. APS’ commitment to parent education and support makes this event possible. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. For more information about this event contact firstname.lastname@example.org