The Importance of a Child’s Gift

When a child gives you a gift, even if it is a rock they just picked up, exude gratitude. It might be the only thing they have to give, and they have chosen to give it to you. -Dean Jackson

The holidays are a time for giving, and though it may seem that our preschooler’s wish lists are endless, they also want to give. They typically don’t have money to spend, so they often make us gifts or simply choose something they find and make a present out of it. However small, it is important to accept these gifts with joy and remember to appreciate that it is the thought that counts.

This month at Square Roots Preschool, we have been working on teaching our students the importance of giving in many ways. One of the ways we are supporting these giving spirits is to help them make holiday gifts for parents and family members. These gifts have included clay ornaments, tree ornaments made from popsicle sticks, paint, and glittery things, and holiday pictures. The students have had a wonderful time spreading holiday cheer and can’t wait to GIVE what they have created with love to those they love.


Healthy Halloween!

At Square Roots Preschool, we strive to educate our students about wellness and making healthy choices. Snacks are organic whenever possible and always healthy, and each snack time is accompanied by a nutrition discussion. But what about Halloween? Did we make an exception?

No way! But we didn’t miss out on the fun, either. We opted against candy and punch and, instead, had some healthy snacks at our class Halloween party.

ImageWhat was on the menu?

• Ghostly Eggs–hard boiled eggs with spooky faces

• Monster Mouths–apples, peanut butter, raw sunflower seeds

• Spooky Spiders–bananas, pretzels, raisins

The children absolutely loved the fun party food, and it helped to fuel them for the rest of their exciting day.

Literature Baskets Make Learning Fun

At the beginning of each school day, our students are invited to play. They choose from several activities that rotate on a weekly basis depending on the concept we are teaching. Students can stay on one task, or they may rotate to all of the stations as they wish. Some days, all of the children work on something together, and other days, they work individually.

ImageA staple of our morning invitation to play is our literature basket, which is simply a laundry basket with a book, a pillow, and some related items inside. It’s a cozy place for a student to curl up with a good book. This special, unique place encourages reading because the students are eager to explore the basket and settle in. It’s perfect for a time when a child just wants to relax, have fun, and experience literature in a whole new way.

Balloon Ice Art

ImageOur students had a fantastic time making balloon ice art last week! It was a perfect activity to reinforce learning about the letter “B” and the color “orange” (until we decided to go wild with the colors). We loved this project so much because it was artistic, scientific, showed cause and effect, allowed the students to use patience and follow step-by-step directions, gave us an opportunity to work on fine motor skills, and make predictions, observations, and conclusions. WHEW! Oh, and it was also really fun. So fun, the students wanted to do it twice–so we did!

To make your own balloon ice art:

1. fill water balloons with water and measure around the balloon

2. freeze overnight

3. retrieve frozen balloons and predict if they will have expanded or contracted, then measure to see for sure

4. put frozen balloons on a tray and peel the balloon off of the ice (safely use scissors to get the balloon started)

5. rub salt onto the ice balloon to create craters and talk about what is happening

6. drip food coloring onto the ice balloon and watch it flow into and around the craters

7. set it aside and watch how it changes over the next few hours (just make sure your pan/tray is large enough to hold the ice melt!)

Thanks to Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas for the great idea!

A Snack is More Than Just a Snack

Snack time is very important at preschool. It helps keep active youngsters moving, allows them to focus, and is a nice break so they have the opportunity to relax and chat with their friends.

Square Roots takes snack time a bit further. We make sure that our snacks are organic and locally grown whenever possible and always healthy. While the students are eating, Ms. Taryn asks them about why they think the food they are eating is healthy and what it does to help their bodies grow big and strong. The kids really enjoy expressing their ideas about how a particular food is healthy, and Ms. Taryn guides them in the right direction, making snack time fun, nourishing, and educational.

Since we are studying the letter “B” this week, we enjoyed bananas and blueberry yogurt!


Creativity, Structure, and the Play-based Curriculum

Square Roots employs a play-based curriculum because we believe children learn best through play. Our day is not all chaos as it might sound. Our students are given opportunities to be creative and think freely, all in the framework of the lesson structure Ms. Taryn provides. There is always a goal to our play, and there is always a concept, but we allow the children to explore and create and draw conclusions within that framework. We came across a great article addressing how beneficial this type of learning environment can be for children even as they grow older. Please check out The Role of Structure in Creative Free Thinking.

This week we learned about the letter “B” and the color “orange.” Check out how our students used creativity within the framework of the lesson:Image

Keeping Things Clean the Safe Way

Most preschools use bleach to disinfect classroom surfaces. Effective? Yes.

Unfortunately, bleach is also toxic. It is a known carcinogen, and it can actually be quite dangerous to use.

SolUGuardAt Square Roots, we use a botanical disinfectant called Sol-U-Guard, made by Melaleuca. It is a safe, equally-effective bleach alternative that kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, including staph, E-coli, salmonella, strep, Poliovirus type1, Influenza A, and Rhinovirus type 37. Sol-U-Guard meets state requirements for disinfecting surfaces and is EPA-certified.

The patented, all-natural formula uses thyme-oil and citric acid. It has a wonderful herbal scent that is much less invasive than bleach or other chemical cleaners. We feel good that even if a toy at the preschool is inserted into the mouth of a child, the Sol-U-Guard used to clean it will do no harm. It’s so safe, our students can even help with cleaning!