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Building Literacy by Reading Aloud with Children

Posted by on Jun 18, 2017 in All Posts, Language Literacy Communication | 0 comments

Happy Sunday!

One of the strengths of Two Wishes Child Care is our strong interest in and support of early literacy. Jen has been an avid devourer of literature from the age of four – she even has a letter floating around the house somewhere from her first grade teacher Mrs. Ratcliffe commending Jen on the discussion they had about Little Women.

Our daily story time is an important part of our program. During our story time, we explore the weekly theme through books, engage in social conversation with each other about the story, work on comprehension and vocabulary, increase phonological awareness (as the child hears and understands our language), and build interest in literacy arts.

Criss-cross applesauce, hands in your lap. Bodies to your beanbag. Bubbles in your mouth!

Children learn patience as they sit in a circle “criss cross applesauce, hands in your lap, bodies to your beanbags, bubbles in your mouth!” They build skill in maintaining interest and engagement in a single activity and in managing control of their own emotions, actions, and behaviors, while they learn the academic patterns that will be important in the future during this journey to school readiness.

Children reading to themselves during quiet time.

Children reading to themselves during quiet time.

We believe that it is also important for trusted adults outside of our program to read to their children. Children should learn that reading is a part of life everywhere – not just in school-like settings.

One of the easier ways to integrate reading out loud at home is to link it to a specific time. Perhaps you read for 20 minutes at bedtime or even over breakfast. Maybe it’s an after-dinner activity. Maybe you read during bath time!

If your children aren’t used to this routine, you could start with one book and then gradually work your way up to two or three. You could start with picture books and then move to chapter books, reading one chapter a night, or even one section of a chapter per night. If your routine includes reading the news over breakfast, you could read a developmentally-appropriate article to the child and then discuss it. While at the grocery store, read the signs out loud, pointing to them as you go. If you need more ideas, there are some great ideas for reading specifically with infants, toddlers, and primary school children in this article.

Sometimes it can seem intimidating to read out loud to children or awkward. Some children lose interest quickly. If that happens, don’t worry about forcing the interaction. Either put the book down or keep reading to them while they wander the room playing with toys. Build up to sustained interest over time. Make the reading itself a ritual by having a special cup of herbal tea during reading time, or cuddling together, or doing a loved activity immediately after story time.

It also helps to build interest in reading if you use a dialogic reading technique. This post by Reading Rockets explains what dialogic reading is and how to implement the technique. As you read, you prompt the child to discuss something on the page. When the child answers the prompt, you respond to the child and then expand on the child’s answer. Then you touch back on the initial prompt that you gave. For example, when looking at a book about a garden, you could say, “That garden is covered in snow! Do you think they’re ready to plant?” The child may say, “No!” You could respond, “That’s right! It’s still winter and it’s too cold to plant.”

The YouTube channel, ABC Avenue, also has some great examples of how to read aloud to children in an engaging way. With practice, this becomes very easy!

How do you read aloud with your children?

References

  1. Reading Aloud with Children of All Ages by Derry Koralek, NAEYC
  2. Everyday Steps to Reading and Writing at NAEYC for Families
  3. Read Together to Support Early Literacy at NAEYC for Families
  4. Minnesota Early Childhood Indicators of Progress: Introduction to Language, Literacy, and Communications
  5. Dialogic Reading on YouTube by Get Ready to Read
  6. Dialogic Reading: An Effective Way to Read to Preschoolers by Grover J. Whitehurst
  7. ABC Avenue on YouTube

2017-W22 May 30th through June 2nd

Posted by on May 30, 2017 in Activities, All Posts, Menu | 0 comments

Reminder! On Thursday, have your child wear something red!

Spinach by Grow It! Try It! Like It! [USDA]

Children will look at spinach growing in the garden, have a spinach tasting party, eat spinach throughout the week, start spinach from seed, and continue to learn about MyPlate. They will spend time in the garden helping.

  • Focus Letter & Number: U, u, Y, y, 3
  • Focus Shape: Triangle
  • Focus Color: Red
  • Focus Food: Spinach

Grow It! Try It! Like It! by the USDA is a curriculum we use from May to October every year. Each month we focus on a different fruit or vegetable. May: Spinach. June: Strawberry. July: Cantaloupe. August: Peaches. September: Crookneck Squash. October: Sweet Potatoes. Learn more about the curricula we use at Two Wishes Child Care.
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Tuesday

Breakfast: Oatmeal, Dried Fruit, Milk

Lunch: Chicken-Vegetable Stew [shredded chicken breast, tomato sauce, frozen spinach, peas and carrots], Homemade Sourdough Biscuits, Unsweetened Applesauce, Milk.

Snack: Celery, Peanut Butter

Wednesday

Breakfast: Sourdough Pancakes, Mixed Berry Sauce, Butter, 100% Pure Maple Syrup, Milk

Lunch: Whole Wheat Pasta, Ground Beef, Pasta Sauce, Green Beans, Milk

Snack:  Sweet Spinach Muffins, Milk

Thursday

Breakfast: Dry Cereal [less than 6 grams of sugar per ounce], Bananas, Milk

Lunch: Southwestern Black Bean Salad, Spinach-Strawberry-Cantaloupe Salad, Homemade Sourdough Bread with Butter, Milk

Snack: Apple Slices, Cheddar Cheese Slices

Friday

Breakfast:Easy, Cheesy, Spinach Pie [spinach, cheddar cheese, fresh onions, garlic, biscuit mix, skim milk, egg replacer], Milk

Lunch: Asparagus, Green Lentils, and Poached Egg, Sourdough Bread topped with Fresh Tomatoes and Mozzarella, Milk.

Snack: Dilly Spinach Dip [spinach, cottage cheese, sour cream, dill, garlic powder, onion powder], Carrots, Broccoli, Cauliflower

Announcing the SASE Program!

Posted by on May 26, 2017 in All Posts, QIP | 0 comments

We at Two Wishes Child Care care deeply about your family as an entire unit. We believe in the whole family approach to child care as highlighted in the Strengthening Families model. That is why we are very pleased to announce a new program to bridge and support families!

Bring in self-addressed stamped envelopes to Two Wishes Child Care and place them in the “for caregiver” section of your mail folder. You can have as many envelopes as will fit (and as many different addresses as you want)! As we paint, color, draw, and do other art projects, we will mail off the “signed” and dated artwork to your loved ones so that they can proudly display your little Picasso’s work on their fridge.

9”x12” envelopes work best if you don’t want the sheets creased. Each 9×12 envelope should have two stamps on it to ensure it is delivered safely! This will allow us to send out up to 1 ounce of weight. Stick a couple 21¢ stamps in the folder and we’ll add them if we need them!

DID YOU KNOW?

According to the friendly man at the post office I spoke with this morning, if you write the addresses in the wrong orientation, it costs more money! Lay your 9” x 12” envelope so that it is wider than it is tall (just like the picture above!).

Check out the flyer here: SASE Program.

2017-W18 May 1st through May 5th

Posted by on Apr 30, 2017 in Activities, All Posts, Menu | 0 comments

This week we have two holidays to celebrate! We will be making small May Day cones on the 1st and touching on Cinco de Mayo on the 5th. On Thursday, have your child wear something brown!

Rabbit in Chaco Canyon

Rabbit in Chaco Canyon, Photo by Jen Rothmeyer

New Mexico: The Land of Enchantment! by Jen

Children will learn the location of New Mexico and some of its history. They will look at pictures and souvenirs from the Rothmeyers’ vacation to the state. They will learn more about the Ancient Pueblo People and Mogollon People, the desert and its animals and plants, and a little about astronomy.

  • Focus Letter & Number: O,o, 5
  • Focus Shape: Square
  • Focus Color: Brown
  • Focus Food: Peppers

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Monday

Breakfast: Fresh Pear and Sliced Almond Organic Oatmeal, Milk

Lunch: Pozole, Organic Brown Rice, Fresh Cantaloupe, Cilantro-Lime Roasted Fresh Cauliflower, Milk

Snack: Ants on a Log (PB, celery, raisins)

Tuesday

Breakfast: Mashed Avocado on Whole Wheat Toast, Over-Easy Egg, Milk

Lunch: Pan-Fried Tilapia, Dinner Roll, Unsweetened Applesauce, Fresh Romaine Salad with Fresh Carrots and Fresh Celery, Milk

Snack: Whole Wheat Crackers, Baby Carrots

Wednesday

Breakfast: Cheerios, Fresh Banana, Milk

Lunch: Blue Corn and Egg-Less Tortilla-Encrusted Chicken Tenders, Watermelon-Cucumber Feta Salad, Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, Salsa, Milk

Snack: String Cheese, Grape Tomatoes

Thursday

Breakfast: English Muffins, Peanut Butter, Apple Slices, Milk

Lunch: Beef Burger on a Whole Wheat Bun; Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Salad with Creamy Dressing; Fresh Strawberries; Milk

Snack: Bell Peppers, Hummus

Friday

Breakfast: Homemade Pancakes with Butter and 100% Pure Maple Syrup, Homemade Breakfast Potatoes (Red Potatoes, Onion, Bell Pepper, Herbs), Milk

Lunch: Chicken Enchilada Soup, Fresh Cantaloupe, Whole Wheat Tortillas, Milk

Snack: Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, Salsa

Seeds of Extension Announcement

Posted by on Oct 29, 2016 in All Posts, QIP, Seeds of Extension Project | 0 comments

Seeds of Extension - A Two Wishes Child Care project to strengthen children, families, and community.

Hello everyone!

Throughout the duration of the Two Wishes Child Care program, we have sent home puzzles, games, and art activities for children to do at their homes. We have finally formalized this project into the Seeds of Extension. Each month, an activity extending learning on one or more of our themes will be sent home with families. The Seeds of Extension project is free to full-time clients and is currently funded through tuition payments, but our hope is that eventually we will be able to secure local grants that will assist us in sending home high quality free extension activities to all of our clients. Part-time and drop-in clients will be able to purchase the Seeds of Extension projects at cost.

Seeds of Extension Project – October

The Seeds of Extension project in October is an 8.5″ x 11″ magnetic felt/flannel board valued at $5. In our program we use a large 20″ x 27″ magnetic felt board throughout the day in a variety of ways as well as personal felt boards. The children always have fun with felt!

seeds-of-extension-october-felt-board

Felt boards are a tool used in early childhood education to help children:

  • develop early literacy narrative skills wherein they create their own stories or retell stories they’ve already heard
  • motivate children to think that reading books is fun by coupling felt board characters and pieces with print stories
  • maintain interest in story time by allowing them to move felt pieces as the reader tells the story
  • build visual literacy, an important technological skill
  • retain more information as they visually see the story take place on the felt board
  • learn and practice social skills by visually acting out different circumstances on the board
  • experience a story or learning opportunity through multiple senses
  • develop skills outside of early literacy such as letter and number recognition, pattern recognition, matching and sorting, cause and effect, problem solving

How Do You Use It?

Throughout the time that your child is in care at our program, we will be making our own felt board pieces to send home and sending home information about ways to use your felt board. There are several ways to make the felt boards accessible to your children. With their magnetic back, place the felt boards:

  • on a metal door
  • on a kitchen appliance like a refrigerator or dishwasher
  • on a magnetic white board
  • on cookie sheets like the one in our below picture (Wilton Small Cookie Pan) to use as mobile felt stations or even put it in a vehicle for play during car trips
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Children placed different orange and black shapes on felt boards recently to make Jack O’Lanterns as a quiet time activity.

You can easily make your own felt board sets. Any item can be turned into a felt board piece by affixing sandpaper or the rough part of velcro to the back of the item. Flat items work better and can be layered. Felt will stick to itself.

Many felt board sets are also available for sale online (such as at Amazon, Etsy) or at teacher education stores. Periodically they can be found at local stores like Target or Walmart.

Further Reading

Week of October 24-28: Not-so-Creepy Crawly Spiders!

Posted by on Oct 23, 2016 in Activities, All Posts | 0 comments

My super power of spider-sense tells me that it’s time for the week of the spider! Halloween is creeping around the corner, but we will be closed on October 31. That means we’ll be having our Halloween party early on Thursday, October 27. Children could come with their costumes, a Halloween-themed outfit, or a willingness to try on one of our costumes for a group picture. (Participation not required.)  Check below for a summary of our activities and meals this week. As always, we welcome your participation and/or questions!

spider-halloween

Unit Theme

Spiders by Early Learning Success

Books

Fingerplays, Rhymes, and Songs

  • Little Miss Muffet
  • A spider song to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  • The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Centers

  • Sensory: green rice, spiders, tweezers, webbing, magnifying glasses in sensory bin. Sensory bottle with spiders and webbing in it.
    • Playing with a stuffed spider
    • Making and playing with felt Jack O’Lanterns
    • Sticky webs
    • Searching for the color green
  • Dramatic Play Area:
    • Witch costume
    • Creating a “cobweb tunnel” (with our play tunnel and a blanket covered in printed cobwebs)
    • Draping our large cardboard box in spiderwebbing
    • Spider hats
  • Reading Corner: See books above for what will be in the “READ ME” bin
    • Feltboard foci: Itsy Bitsy Spider, Jack O’Lanterns
  • Arts & Literacy: Focus this week on storyboard templates, chenille sticks, pompoms, construction paper, chalk, tape, glue, tempera paint.
    • Completing a KWL on Spiders
    • Drawing and painting webs
    • Looking in our environment for “D, d” and objects that start with the letter
    • Creating a story sequence book about Anansi’s Party Time
    • Constructing a spider from a variety of materials
    • Spiderweb cutting strips
    • Spider hats
  • STEM: 
  • Music and Movement:
    • Halloween music,
    • Trumpet music,
    • Green dancing scarves
    • Pretending to be spiders and doing spider crawls
    • Physical activities from CATCH
    • Scarf dancing
    • Marching in a numbered circle and stating the number the child lands on when the Halloween music stops
  • Nutrition:
  • Other:
    • Halloween safety discussion

Themed Days

  • Music Monday (listening to trumpet music at lunch)
  • Tea Party Tuesday (at snack time)
  • I Wonder Wednesday (finding out what we still wonder about spiders)
  • Thoughtful Thursday (answering thought-provoking questions at lunch)
  • Reflection Friday (talking about everything we learned)

Menu

Monday Breakfast French toast bagels, pumpkin cream cheese, frozen mixed berries, milk
Lunch Chicken breast, dinner roll, homemade chunky cranberry and apple relish, romaine salad, milk
PM Snack String cheese, fresh broccoli with ranch
Tuesday Breakfast Cereal, bananas, milk
Lunch Scrambled eggs with mushrooms, English muffins, apricot halves, milk
PM Snack “Spiders” made from round crackers, peanut butter, pretzel sticks, and raisins
Wednesday Breakfast Whole wheat toast with jelly, potato skillet, milk
Lunch Pasta with ground beef, pasta sauce, homemade low sugar applesauce, romaine salad, milk
PM Snack “Spiders” made from apple halves and grape quarters
Thursday Breakfast Cereal, canned pears, milk
Lunch Grilled cheese “Sand Witches” with celery broomsticks, “bloody” tomato soup, Jack O’Lantern sweet potato fries, milk
PM Snack “Pumpkins” and “Broomsticks” made from clementines with celery stick stems and pretzels in cut string cheese
Friday Breakfast Whole wheat toast with peanut butter, apple slices, milk
Lunch Tuna salad on whole wheat bread, frozen vegetables, crinkle cut carrot chips, milk
PM Snack Red bell pepper strips with ranch dressing, whole wheat crackers

We Have a New Resource to Help Children Gain Attentiveness and Persistence Through Sensory Bins

Posted by on Feb 27, 2016 in All Posts, Resource Library | 0 comments

I received a new book this week called Sensory Play. I ordered this book as a cheat sheet to help me build even better circle times. (I’ll write more about why circle time is so important in another post.)

What happens during circle time?

Circle time at Two Wishes Child Care always involves:

  • looking out the windows to peer at the animals and weather in the environment, trying to find clues to what season we’re in and what weather we can expect for the day,
  • talking about the month, date, day of the week, and year,
  • a song, finger play, or rhyme,
  • a story or poem of the day, and
  • a sensory or manipulative activity.

Sensory bins can be great at increasing attentiveness and persistence because they are engaging multiple senses. (Some suggest that attentiveness and persistence are really important for future academic success.) With sensory bins, children are using fine motor skills (especially with tweezers like our Gator Grabbers), they are seeking and making decisions with objects, they are learning new words, they are feeling different sensations with their hands, they are smelling different smells, they’re working together with each other, they’re learning how to follow directions and rules, and so much more.

Children engaged in the cooperative bean race in the bean bin on February 18, 2016.

Children engaged in the cooperative bean race in the bean bin on February 18, 2016.

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), it is important to keep in mind that some children may not enjoy sensory bins – for example, they may become overstimulated. At Two Wishes Child Care, we strive to pay attention to children’s sensory processing responses and help them navigate however is most comfortable for them. If you’d like more information on how to support children by using sensory processing knowledge, I recommend this article by Dr. Winnie Dunn published in Infants & Young Children.

Children playing in the lavender-scented rice bin on February 17, 2016.

Children playing in the lavender-scented rice bin on February 17, 2016.

Sensory Play is very helpful because it splits sensory play ideas into different categories and then each topic within the category lists a pertinent quote, books to read, what to put in the sensory bin, supplemental activities, YouTube videos to watch, and snacks to eat. You can read more about the book at my review over at From Gutter to Gilt. As always, you are also welcome to look through our resource library whenever you would like.

If you’d like to know more about past circle time activities, you can go to the activities calendar and use the sort option to only see the circle time activities. Let me know if you need any help using this tool!

Cooperative Bean Race

Posted by on Feb 22, 2016 in Activities, All Posts | 0 comments

Cooperative Bean Race

This activity was completed on February 18, 2016.

Description: Dried beans are put into a large tub with a smaller, empty tub inside of it. Each child is given a large tweezer (we used Gator Grabber Tweezers). Children work together to get all the beans into the smaller bin.

Review: Surprisingly, the kids were very into this activity. I thought they’d get bored, but the challenge must have been just up their alley. Participants ranged from 22 months to 11 years old. The younger kids did end up grabbing handfuls of beans after awhile to put into the bucket, but I expected this to happen and talked the older children through it when it happened. The preschoolers & ↑ continued to happily use the tweezers.

Objectives Met:

  • Encouraging Cooperative Play
  • Practice with Fine Motor Skills – “Pincer Grasp”
  • Develop Persistence

Should you pack your child’s snowpants?

Posted by on Jan 20, 2016 in About the Program, All Posts | 0 comments

The short answer is that you should always bring your child with appropriate weather gear. However, whether or not we play outside is dependent upon the weather. (Yes, I intentionally wrote those homophones.) The chart I go by is provided by Rice County and was produced by the Iowa Department of Public Health. If the forecast shows a prediction in the red, it is unlikely that we will be going outside. I’ll keep an eye on the thermometer, though, to see if the prediction was wrong.

In the winter, please bring your child with:

  • Warm coat
  • Snowpants
  • Snow boots (if your child is walking)
  • Weather-resistant gloves (cloth mittens are typically not warm enough, especially when they get soaked)
  • A warm hat that covers their ears (separate from the hood on their coat)
  • Scarf

You may need assistance acquiring some of these items. I will be updating these post in the future with some locations where you can get assistance.

Why “Two Wishes”?

Posted by on Jan 18, 2016 in About the Program, All Posts | 0 comments

While I was conducting market research on (re)opening my in-home child care program in Northfield, MN, I stumbled across a poem on the Internet that touched my  heart. I’d been debating different program names, but once I read this, I knew there was no more debate.

A Child’s Bedtime Song
by Denis Waitley 

If I had two wishes, I know what they would be
I’d wish for roots to cling to, and wings to set me free;
Roots of inner values, like rings within a tree,
And wings of independence to seek my destiny.

Roots to hold forever, to keep me safe and strong
To let me know you love me, when I’ve done something wrong;
To show me by example, and help me learn to choose
To take those actions every day to win instead of lose.

Just be there when I need you, to tell me it’s all right
To face my fear of falling when I test my wings in flight;
Don’t make my life too easy, it’s better if I try
And fail and get back up myself, so I can learn to fly.

If I had two wishes, and two were all I had
And they could just be granted by my mom and dad;
I wouldn’t wish for money or any store-bought things
The greatest gifts I’d ask for are simply roots and wings.

Combine this beautiful heartfelt sentiment with my love for dandelions, and you’ve got Two Wishes Child Care. Dandelions have both roots and wings and have come to symbolize childhood to me. Some of the greatest gifts my children have given me have been dandelion bouquets thoughtfully picked from our own yard – during their precious play time – and presented to me with a hug and a simple, “Love you, Mom!”

Two Wishes Child Care is about supporting social and emotional development by:

  •  Growing independence and confidence
  •  Being emotionally available and expressive and forming close, secure relationships
  •  Working with and supporting families and their values
  •  Seeing the child as who they are and understanding their temperament
  •  Encouraging positive attitudes
  •  Meeting children where they are while supporting their growth
  •  Being a good role model
  •  Reframing challenging behaviors and supporting children as they learn
  •  Being proactive
  •  Responding with empathy
  •  Listening to the messages children give
  •  Assisting in the development of problem-solving skills
  •  Guiding behavior in positive, encouraging ways
  •  Helping children connect with others and develop strong relationships and bonds

It’s about providing roots and wings.

“When you look at a field of dandelions you can either see a hundred weeds or a hundred wishes.”

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