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Preschool Teacher Apps for Parent Communication

Preschool Teacher Apps

Technology can be helpful when it comes to communicating with parents.  There are many child care and preschool teacher apps that are recommended by early childhood educators to share pictures and updates with parents.  (*Note: The Early Childhood Academy is only sharing information and does not endorse or represent any of these applications).

Seesaw

Seesaw is a student-driven digital portfolio that inspires your students to do their best work and saves you time.  Seesaw helps you see and hear what each student knows so you can better understand their progress.  Click Here to visit the Seesaw website.

 


ClassDojo

ClassDojo helps teachers build a positive classroom culture by encouraging students and communicating with parents.  Click Here to visit the ClassDojo website.

 

 


Tadpoles

Share photos, videos, notes to parents throughout the day. Record meals, activities, naps, and more to daily reports. Prepare lesson plans up to 4 weeks in advance, and much more!

Click Here to visit the Tadpoles website.

 

 


Remind

Remind is a communication platform that helps every student succeed. Whether you’re in the classroom, at home, or anywhere in between, Remind makes it easy to stay connected to your school community.  Click Here to visit the Remind website.

 


Brightwheel

Brightwheel is the only app that integrates everything you need: sign in/out, messaging, assessments, daily reports, photos, videos, calendars, online bill pay for parents, and much more.  Click Here to visit the Brightwheel website.

 


Bloomz

Bloomz makes it easy for teachers to securely share photos, classroom updates and reach parents instantly through messaging, as well as to coordinate events (like PT Conferences) and sign up for volunteers.  Click Here to visit the Bloomz website.

 


HiMama

Complete your preschool daily reports, schedules, attendance, check-ins and meal planning in half the time. Send parents daily sheets, pictures, videos and invoices they will love.  Click Here to visit the HiMama website.

 

5 Creative Ways to Get Children to Clean Up

5 Creative Ways to Get Children to Clean Up in a Child Care Setting

clean up

Getting children to clean up in a preschool or child care setting can be tough. Check out these 5 creative ways to get young children to clean up.

 

Mystery Clean-Up: Before beginning clean-up time, look around the room and pick out an item that needs to be put away. Announce to the children that you have chosen a mystery item and that whoever puts it away will win a prize.  When the room is cleaned up, announce the winner.

 

Tong Challenge: Give each child a pair of tongs and challenge them to pick up toys, using the tongs, and put them away.

 

Color Call-Out: Call out a color and let the children find a toy that has that color in it to put away.  Continue until all toys are put away.

 

Clean-Up Train: Start a train and walk around the room to the first area that is cleaned up, picking up the kids in that area.  Keep the train going around the room until every area is cleaned up and all kids are part of the train.

 

Roll-A-Die Clean-Up: Roll a die and have each child put away the number of toys on the die (i.e. Roll a 2, and each child puts 2 toys away).  Continue until all toys are put away.

clean up


Clean Up Books and Songs:

25 Books about Picnics for Preschool

25 books about picnics for preschool

Picnics are popular in the summer months and it is something that can be included in a preschool curriculum.   We have found 25 books about picnics for preschool children that can be incorporated into your early childhood program.  Keep in mind that picnics can be just as fun indoors on a rainy day.

25 Books about Picnics for Preschool:


Top 10 Health Benefits of Going on a Picnic (Good for children and adults)

  • Outdoors Spending time outdoors, basking in nature, breathing fresh air and enjoying a great view. The pure air invigorates you and leaves you feeling rejuvenated. For those with respiratory disorders, breathing clean air helps clear the lungs.
  • Family bonding Spending time with family is always a great bonding experience. In the fast-paced, urbane lifestyle of today there is often limited time for maintaining relationships with some of the most important people in your life. Staying engaged with your family and friends can help build stronger bonds and foster warmth, security and love, as well as feelings of belonging.
  • Enables communication Since picnics often take place in warm environments, the tendency to participate in relaxing small talk is high. Simply keeping updated on what is going on in other people’s lives and learning what their plans can improve relationships. Conversations during the meal provide opportunities for the party to bond, plan, connect and learn from one another.
  • Grants time for self-reflection While picnics offer many social benefits, you don’t have to spend the entire time chatting up a storm. Picnics offer an excellent opportunity for you to spend time meditating about your life, the decisions you have made and the decisions you will make.
  • Foster healthy eating habits – Meals prepared and eaten at home are usually more nutritious and healthy than eating out and particularly so for when you bring food for a picnic. The typical portrait of picnics present a wicker basket full of fruitsvegetables, dairy and grains. These foods provide nutrients such as fiber, calcium and essential vitamins.
  • Stay active – Regular picnics can foster a family ritual where young ones are introduced to sports, games, and nature and encourages adults to partake in physical activities as well. Mini games between family and friends like tug-of-war, 2-hand-touch or flag football and kickball can be played before a meal to help induce a feeling of achievement prior to a well-deserved meal, while playing more casual games like horseshoes and bean bag toss can serve as a relaxing but still active activity. Even consuming the healthy food usually provided at picnics keeps you energetic and active through the day.
  • Mood booster – Eating lunch outdoors is a natural mood booster. You can be amazed how much the lack of sun in your body can affect you mood. There’s something about fresh air, sunshine, or a nice breeze that just puts you in good mood and motivates you making you want to get some exercise.
  • Relieves stress – Picnics are a great stress buster as it helps reduce the stress and anxiety related to work and home. Being an adult isn’t always easy and it’s great to be able to ease up on the responsibility from time to time by lounging in the sunlight.
  • Builds stronger bones – The vitamin D we get from the sun is needed for maximum absorption of calcium from the intestine, which helps build strong bones and teeth. Getting enough vitamin D can help you reduce your chances of getting bone deterioration diseases like osteoporosis. For children, regular sun exposure helps increase the process of growth and height and can decrease the risk of rickets. The sun also provides benefits to your skin by providing a nice, warm, sun-kissed glow.
  • Saves money – Picnics are known to be quite inexpressive. All one has to do is prepare meals at home and head out to a park or picnic area. If you have a well-stocked refrigerator and pantry, you may not even have to spend a cent!

Summer Writing Prompts for Preschool

Summer Writing Prompts for Preschool

Writing Prompts are a great addition to a literacy center.  Journal writing in preschool can be a good way to help children develop communication skills.  They can practice phonetic spelling and creative thinking.

Here are some good Summer writing prompts for preschoolers:

  • The best part about summer is…
  • When the sun is out, I like to…
  • This is how to build a sandcastle…
  • TThe place where I want to go on vacation is…
  • When I go swimming, I like to…
  • If I were a ladybug, I would…
  • I cool down in the summer by…
  • I have a magical beach umbrella that…
  • I know it is summer when…
  • One day I bounced a beach ball so high that…

To download these writing prompt templates, as well as 10 others, visit Teachers Pay Teachers.


What are the building blocks necessary to develop writing readiness (pre-writing)? [Excerpt from Writing Readiness (Pre-Writing) Skills]

  • Hand and finger strength: An ability to exert force against resistance using the hands and fingers that allows the necessary muscle power for controlled movement of the pencil.
  • Crossing the mid-line: The ability to cross the imaginary line running from a person’s nose to pelvis that divides the body into left and right sides.
  • Pencil grasp: The efficiency of how the pencil is held, allowing age appropriate pencil movement generation.
  • Hand eye coordination: The ability to process information received from the eyes to control, guide and direct the hands in the performance of a task such as handwriting.
  • Bilateral integration: Using two hands together with one hand leading (e.g. holding and moving the pencil with the dominant hand while the other hand helps by holding the writing paper).
  • Upper body strength: The strength and stability provided by the shoulder to allow controlled hand movement for good pencil control.
  • Object manipulation: The ability to skilfully manipulate tools (including holding and moving pencils and scissors) and controlled use of everyday tools (such as a toothbrush, hairbrush, cutlery).
  • Visual perception: The brain’s ability to interpret and make sense of visual images seen by the eyes, such as letters and numbers.
  • Hand dominance: The consistent use of one (usually the same) hand for task performance, which allows refined skills to develop.
  • Hand division: Using just the thumb, index and middle finger for manipulation, leaving the fourth and little finger tucked into the palm stabilizing the other fingers but not participating.

12 Healthy Snacks that Look like Flowers

Healthy Snacks that Look like Flowers

Whether you are celebrating Spring or having a Flower theme, we found 12 healthy snacks that look like flowers.  They are all easy to create, and have just a few ingredients.

Healthy eating and snacking is vital for children.  This collection of flower snacks contains mostly fruits, vegetables, and cheese…and other items found on the 20 Best Snacks for Kids list at Parents.com.

Tomato Flower
Tomato Flower (Source: Kiddie Foodies)
Orange Strawberry Flower
Orange Strawberry Flower
(Source: Kid Activities)
Fruit Flower
Fruit Flower(Source: Creative Kids Snacks)
Cucumber Flower
Fruit Flower(Source: Super Healthy Kids)
Flower Lunch
Flower Lunch(Source: PBS)
Cucumber Flower Sandwiches
Cucumber Flower Sandwiches(Source: Spaceships Laser Beams)
Carrots and Dip Flower
Carrots and Dip Flower(Source: Momtastic)
Cheesy Sunflower
Cheesy Sunflower(Source: Crafty Moods)
Fruit and Cheese Flowers
Fruit and Cheese Flowers
(Source: Momendeavors)
Daffodil Snack Cups
Daffodil Snack Cups(Source: What Moms Love)
Veggie Flowers
Veggie Flowers(Source: Mrs. Plemon’s Kindergarten)
Eggo Waffle Flowers
Eggo Waffle Flowers
(Source: Eggo)

Healthful eating has many benefits for children. It can:

  • Stabilize their energy.
  • Improve their minds.
  • Even out their moods.
  • Help them maintain a healthy weight.
  • Help prevent mental health conditions. These include depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
    Plus, having a healthy diet and focusing on nutrition are some of the simplest and most important ways to prevent the onset of disease. Healthy eating can help prevent many chronic diseases. These include obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. Around half of all Americans have one or more of these illnesses.

Healthy eating habits are more likely to stay with you if you learn them as a child. That’s why it’s important that you teach your children good habits now. It will help them stick with these eating patterns.

(Excerpt from: Nutrition Tips for Kids)

Gardening Prop Box

gardening prop box

Prop Boxes are groups of dramatic play materials that are based on a theme.  Bring out a Gardening Prop Box in the spring (especially during National Lawn and Garden Month – April).  It is easy to put together a Gardening Prop Box.

Just grab a tote/container, and collect the following items.  Put some potting soil in the your sensory table and let kids use the props to grow pretend or real flowers and vegetables.  Click Here for tote label that you can laminate and tape on the tote.  Prop boxes are meant to invoke the imagination of children.  Providing prop boxes with basic items for dramatic play can be very beneficial for children.

Gardening Tools
Watering Can Gardening Gloves
Flower Pots
Pretend Flowers
Plastic Vegetables
Flower Seeds
Vegetable Seeds
Plastic Worms

 

 


Preschool Holiday Gross Motor Activities

Preschool Holiday Gross Motor Activities

Here is a list of some preschool holiday gross motor activities to get children moving.  There isn’t as much outside time in the winter months, but gross motor activities are important for young children.  Incorporate these into your holiday parties or holiday themes.

 

  1. Parachute Jingle Bells: Get a bedsheet and place it flat on the ground.  Put several jingle bells on the sheet and have children gather round and lift the sheet.  Have them shake the sheet gently (like a parachute activity) to make it jingle bell.  Do this while singing “Jingle Bells”.
  2. Present Toss: Wrap empty cardboard boxes with wrapping paper and ribbon.  Like a balloon toss, line up two rows of children facing each other.  Take turns tossing the wrapped presents between teammates.  The opposite player much catch the present to remain in the game.
  3. Avoid the Bows: Place Christmas bows throughout the room on the floor.  Play holiday music and have children move around the room without stepping on the bows. 
  4. Candy Cane Hunt: Hide candy canes all around the room.  Give each child a bag.  Play a holiday song while children walk around the room collecting candy canes.  When the song is over, have the children count how many candy canes they found.
  5. Wax Paper Ice Skating: Give the kids to pieces of wax paper.  Put a foot on each one and glide around the room like they are ice skating.

    Photo Credit: From the Hive

  6. Snowball Bounce: Have children create 2 Snowman Paddles (paper plates with a snowman face and craft stick handles glued on).  Get some balloons and toss them in the air.  The children will use their Snowman Paddles to keep the balloons off the ground. (Source: Dixie Delights)
  7. Penguin Waddle Relay: Divide children into 2 teams. Have them race from start to finish while holding a ball between their knees, waddling like penguins!

    Photo Credit: Brilliant Beginnings Preschool

  8. Snowball Toss: Create a Snowman out of a cardboard tri-fold project board.  Cut out holes in the Snowman and have children toss white plastic balls, bean bags, orlarge pom poms into the holes.  (Source: Leafy Treetops)
  9. Reindeer Toss: Get a large box and draw or add a reindeer face to the front.  Put tree branches through the top for antlers.  Use rings from another game or cut centers out of paper plates and have children toss the rings onto the antlers.
  10. Hanukkah Yoga: Dreidel symbols will represent each yoga pose.  Print out a picture of each symbol and tape to the wall.  One child pins the dreidel and the other kids do the pose. (Source and more details: Bee Yoga Fusion)

We also think these are cute: Download these Christmas action cards and get your kids moving! (Oopsy Daisy)

20 Pre-K Conversation Starters

Conversation Starters encourage children to talk about themselves.  Talking to children is important, especially when you are trying to get to know them.  Young children develop speech and language skills, as well as listening skills when engaged in a conversation.  As a child care provider and educator, use these conversations starters during circle time, meal and snack times, or whenever you feel like getting to know the children in your care.

Here are 20 conversations starters to get children talking…

  1. Do you have any pets? What kind do you have?
  2. What is your favorite toy?
  3. What did you do last night?
  4. What learning center do you like the best? Why?
  5. What is your favorite book?
  6. Do you like the water table or sand table better? Why?
  7. Who brought you to school/daycare today?  What do you like best about them?
  8. Who are the people you live with?
  9. What is your favorite food to have as a snack?
  10. Do you like coloring or painting better?
  11. What is the best thing about today?
  12. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  13. If you could paint our classroom, what color paint would you choose?
  14. How do you feel today?
  15. Describe someone in this room using three words.
  16. What is your favorite thing to do at school/daycare?
  17. What is something that makes you happy?
  18. Would you rather play inside or play outside all day?
  19. If you could have any super power, what would it be?
  20. What does your bedroom look like?

Download a free printable with these conversations starters.  You can cut and laminate them into cards for when you want to use them.  Click Here to get your download.

conversation starters for pre-K


Some other conversation resources:

Ice Cream Shop Prop Box

Ice Cream Shop Prop Box

Prop Boxes are groups of dramatic play materials that are based on a theme.  Bring out an Ice Cream Prop Box in the summer (especially during National Ice Cream Month – July).  It is easy to put together an Ice Cream Shop Prop Box.

Just grab a tote/container, and collect the following items.  Large pom pom balls make great scoops of ice cream.  You can also create a menu board with a dry erase board or poster board.  Ice Cream Cones can be made easily (here is a tutorial).  Click Here for tote label that you can laminate and tape on the tote.  Prop boxes are meant to invoke the imagination of children.  Providing prop boxes with basic items for dramatic play can be very beneficial for children.

Empty Ice Cream Tubs
Ice Cream Scoops Bowls
Spoons
Homemade Paper
Ice Cream Cones

Pom Pom Balls
for Ice Cream

Empty Chocolate
Syrup Bottles

Empty Whipped
Cream Cans

Play Cash Register
& Money

 


Shop Ice Cream Toys:


20 Books about Bikes for Preschool

Because of the many benefits of riding a bike, talking about bikes in early childhood can help children become excited about bikes.  We have found 20 books about bikes for preschool children that can be incorporated into your early childhood program.

Many say that riding a bike is a rite of passage for young children.  Children as young as 2 start out on tricycles before moving on to a bike with training wheels and then a two-wheeler.

Biking is a healthy pastime that kids will never outgrow. Here are some of the benefits of cycling:

  • Developing strength, balance, and overall fitness
  • Burning up calories
  • Strengthening the heart, lungs, and lower-body muscles and bones
  • Developing and strengthening the muscles surrounding the knees without impact

Biking boasts other benefits as well. Children of all shapes, sizes, and abilities can ride a bike.

20 Books about Bikes for Preschool:


Stages of Bicycling

(excerpt from All About Bicycle Riding)

Just as babies must learn to crawl before they can walk, your tyke will first pedal a tricycle before graduating to the world of two-wheeling. Here’s what experts at the National Center for Bicycling and Walking say to expect along the way:

Tricycles (ages 2 to 5): Plastic three-wheelers, such as Big Wheels, and traditional trikes are perfect for preschoolers who are testing their newfound motor skills. Tricycles should be ridden only on a playground or within a fenced yard, not in a driveway or street. Toddlers can also get a feel for biking by riding with parents on a bicycle-mounted seat or by being towed behind an adult bicycle in a cushioned bike trailer. The important thing to remember is that toddlers, like all riders, should always wear a size-appropriate helmet when biking.

Training wheels (ages 5 to 6): The training-wheels phase may last a couple of months or a couple of years, depending on the rate at which a child’s coordination and strength develop. Parents can gradually elevate training wheels to help build their child’s confidence. Eventually, when a child shows a mastery of balance on the bike, the training wheels can be removed.

Single-speed bikes (ages 6 to 9): A child’s first two-wheeler should be a one-speed with foot brakes. He won’t be ready for hand brakes and gears until age 9 or 10, when his hands are larger and stronger. Also, kids aren’t ready for street riding until sometime between ages 8 and 10. Until then, they should ride in a driveway or along park paths with an adult.

Multispeed bikes (ages 9 and up): Once your child is ready for a larger bike with gears and hand brakes, he can start riding on quiet streets, where you can teach him safe-riding skills. If your child wants to ride to school, and you feel that he’s ready, help him plot a route that avoids busy streets and crowded intersections.