Top Ten 4th of July Books for Your In-Home Daycare

Preschool children are always eager to learn about the world around them. Flags, fireworks and parades are symbols of happy times to young children, and provide the perfect opportunity to explain the meaning of patriotism to your preschool classroom. Allow your story time to carry over into your art class by making Fourth of July firework poppers, flags and hats from construction paper, glitter, buttons, etc. Make this holiday a special one for your preschool classroom.
1. Fourth of July Mice! By Bethany Roberts, Doug Cushman
The mice family is celebrating America's Independence. They enjoy a parade, sack races, and a delicious picnic of crunchy sunflower seeds and cheese. Later in the evening they enjoy sparklers and a mesmerizing fireworks display. This is a wonderful story that will delight children of all ages.
2. The Fourth of July Story by Alice Dalgliesh
When the thirteen colonies unite they choose Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence, and carry the news of Independence across the colonial settlements.
3. I pledge Allegiance by Bill Martin and Michael Sampson
This wonderful books explains the Pledge if Allegiance in terms that event he youngest child can understand. This is the perfect book for children ages 3-6.
4. The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This famous poem recreates Paul Revere's famous midnight ride in 1775. You can find many colorful and beautifully illustrated adaptions in your local bookstore or library.
5. Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers by Karen Winnick
This is the true story of Grace Bedell, an eleven-year-old girl who suggested to Abraham Lincoln that growing a beard might enhance his chances for winning the 1860 presidential election.
6. A Picture Book of George Washington by David Adler
This colorful and wonderfully illustrated picture book gives an accurate account of the life of the "Father of Our Country" for young readers.
7. Red, White and Blue! The Story of the American Flag, by John Herman
From the Revolutionary War to a bold walk on the moon the American flag has been a part of it all. This book gives factual information about the flag, but still manages to make it fun and interesting for young children.
8. Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller
What happens when the states become unhappy with their current positions on the map and decide to trade places? This book makes learning geography fun!
9. Hats Off for the Fourth of July by Harriet Ceifert
Your preschoolers will enjoy this story of a small town parade complete with cowboys, the local baseball team, and even fire engines. This is the perfect book for ages 3-6.
10. Capital! Washington D.C. From A to Z by Laura Krauss Melmed
This book uses the alphabet in a rhyming text along with colorful illustrations to present the sights of Washington D.C. To young children.


Groundhog Fun!

Learn about the groundhog with a burrow full of themed art projects. According to tradition, the groundhog leaves his hole on February 2, of each year and takes a look around. If it's a sunny day and he sees his shadow, it is believed there will be six more long weeks of cold, wintry weather. If he does not see his shadow an early spring is on its way. Groundhog Day provides elementary school students with an opportunity to stimulate their imaginations with a wide array of creative art activities.

Groundhog Headband

Learn about the groundhog by making a groundhog headband. To begin this project provide each student with a brown circle to use as the groundhog's face and a strip of green construction paper long enough to form the headband. Ask the children to use crayons or washable markers to color a face on the construction paper circle, then show them how to glue the face onto the construction paper strip. Go around the classroom and assist the children by gluing or stapling the construction paper strip to fit their head to complete the headband.

Groundhog Burrow

To prepare for this activity get a big cardboard box. Make sure it's large enough so that the children can crawl in and out easily. Provide each student with a brown lunch bag, and take the class on a nature walk. Instruct the kids to fill the bags with small twigs, leaves and grass. Show the children how to use the items, along with markers and washable tempura paints to decorate the box to resemble a groundhog's burrow. Have the class pretend to be groundhogs and crawl in and out o f the box. Turn the lights off and on to show their shadows as they move in and out of the box.

Edible Groundhog Art

Have the class make fun to eat edible crafts for Groundhog Day. To make a cupcake groundhog give each child a chocolate cupcake, a small cup of chocolate frosting, green shredded coconut and a peanut-shaped cookie to use as the groundhog. Show the kids how to use a variety of candy such as mini chocolate chips and marshmallows to create their own groundhog treats.

Punxsutawney Phil's Shadow

To create Punxsutawney Phil and his shadow, start by printing out the groundhog template and glue it to a large piece of card stock. Provide each child with brown tempura paint and a toothbrush to paint the groundhog. Once the picture is dry, cut it out of the card stock. Trace the groundhog shape into a piece of black construction paper to create Punxsutawney Phil's shadow. Have the children place Phil's shadow under the painted groundhog. To complete the project, help the students push a small brass brand through the tail to connect the two pieces.

Halloween Fun!

Halloween and Fall Fun

Halloween is a fun and exciting time in the kindergarten classroom. Everyone is getting ready for the class party, lots of sweet, yummy treats, and dressing up in scary costumes. With these ghostly ideas you can create a spooky, but age-appropriate lesson plan for your Halloween celebration.

Paper Plate Spiders

Large paper plate (body)
Small paper plate (head)
Black streamers (legs)
Wiggly eyes
Washable black tempera paint
Fishing line

Staple the small plate to the large paper plate. Provide each child with black paint and a paintbrush. Have the child paint both sides of the plates black. Once the paint is dry, add the black streamers for legs and wiggly eyes. Hang the spiders from the ceiling using fishing line.

Make this pumpkin spice play dough during large group time.

Pumpkin Spice Play Dough

5 ½ cups of flour
2 cups of salt
8 tsp. Cream of tartar
¾ cups vegetable oil
1 ½ oz. Pumpkin pie spice
Orange food coloring
4 cups of water

Combine the ingredients together in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until smooth and free of lumps. Remove the play dough from the play dough from the saucepan and allow to cool for 10-12 minutes. Kneed the dough on a floured surface until smooth.

Leaf Painting

Red, orange, yellow and brown tempera paint
Construction paper

Let the children choose a color and paint their leaf. Lay the leaf on a flat surface. Have the child put the construction paper on top of the leaf. Have the child rub their hands over the paper. Allow the child to repeat the process as many times as they want on the paper.

Halloween Fingerplays

Black Cat
A big black cat with eyes so green
(point to eyes)
Went out on the night of Halloween
He saw a witch
(Bring fingertips in a peak over head)
He saw an owl
(Form circles around eyes with fingers and thumbs)
And then he began to “Meow, meow, meow.

Halloween Recipes

Halloween Cat Cookies

Candy corn
Oreo cookies
White frosting
Black licorice
Red and green M&Ms

Spread the frosting on the cookie. Place two green M&Ms on the cookie to create the eyes and a red M&M to make the nose. Cut the licorice into 1 inch pieces and place them on the cookie as whiskers.
Next, place a dab of frosting on the bottom of two pieces of candy corn to make the cat ears.

Leafy Pile of Goodness
5 1/2 cups cornflakes
1 cup Karo syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter

In the microwave melt the Karo syrup, sugar and peanut butter together. Pour over the cornflakes and put them in “piles” and allow to cool. Eat and Enjoy!


Book Selections for May

Book # 1: Hopper Hunts for Spring
by Marcus Pfister
While looking for spring, Hopper the little hare, meets some animal friends while on his journey.

Book # 2: Robin at Hickory Street
by Dana Meacher Rau
While searching for a new home where he can start his own family, Robin often hears “ no vacancy” and no trespassing chirped at him from the other birds in the neighborhood.

Book # 3: Are You Spring?
By Caroline Pitcher
After being told that she cannot leave her winter den until spring arrives, Una the bear cub goes out early, meets some new animal friends, gets into trouble along the way, and in the end, finds out what spring really is.

Book # 4: Why Do Plants Grow In Spring?
By Helen Orme
This book explains in very simple terms the growth and development of plants, including how animals spread seeds, why flowers are important, and what happens to plants during the winter months.

Book # 5: Kitten's Spring
by Eugenie Fernandes
In this book a young kitten explores the wilderness as the other animals around him celebrate spring.

Book # 6: I Like Noisy Mom Likes Quiet: A Mother's Day Story
by Eileen Spinelli
A child who is very different from his mom spends a happy Mother's Day acting just the way his mom likes.

Book # 8: Mother's Day Surprise
by Stephen Krensky
After watching the other animals make Mother's Day gifts, Violet the snake tries to think of something special that she can make for her own mother.

Book # 7: Mother's Day
by Anne Rockwell
The students in Mrs. Madoffs class share how they will celebrate Mother's Day with their families.

Book # 9: Memorial Day Surprise
by Theresa Golding
When Marco attends a Memorial Day parade, he is surprised to see a familiar face among the veterans.

Book # 10: Memorial Day
by Robin Nelson
A simple introduction to why and how we celebrate Memorial Day that even young children will enjoy.


Pre-K Evaluation and Progress Report

Pre-K Evaluation and Progress Report



Phonics and Reading:
Recognition of name, spell and print name.
Recognize alphabet and the sound of each letter.
Recognition of vowels and consonants.
Sounding of blends and one and two vowel words.
Read selected sight words and one-vowel words.
Recognize some letters by the sound at the beginning and end of each word.
Can repeat back four to five words.
Can recall some details from a short story.

Cognitive Objectives:

Knows left from right.
Knows seasons, days of the week, and months of the year.
Identify colors and shapes.
Holds pencil and scissors correctly.
Cuts straight lines and shapes.
Understands positional words (example: over, under, top, far, stop, go, etc.)

Emotional and Social Objectives:
Relates positively to adults – will ask for help, but not overly dependent.
Takes turns.
Speech is distinct.
Participate in group activities.
Is attentive in classroom, music, art.
Works alone at one activity for ten to fifteen minutes.

Recognize numbers 1-20.
Can count 1-100.
Can count a group of 20 objects.

Progress Report: Check List

Student Name:___________________________________

A) Can child say alphabet?_____________ How Many?__________________

B) What colors can the child identify?

Red_______ Blue_______ Green_______ Yellow_______ Brown_______ Orange_______

Black_______ Purple_______ White_______ Pink_______

C) What shapes can the child identify?

Circle_______ Square_______ Oval_______ Diamond_______ Heart_______ Star_______

Rectangle_______ Triangle_______

D) Can child count from 1-5? ________
E) Can child count from 1-10?________
F) Can child identify numbers?________ How many?________

G) Does child know the days of the week?_______
H) Does child know right from left?________
I) Does child know up from down?________

J) Does child know all four seasons?________
Summer_______ Winter_______ Fall_______ Spring_______

K) Does child know the months of the year?
January_______ February________ March_______ April________ May_______ June________

July_______ August_______ September_______ October_______ November_______


Language Development for Pre-K Students

Language Development for Pre-K Students

Develop and expand listening skills

Teach the children to listen and follow directions
help the children to increase their vocabulary

Examples of appropriate materials or activities:
Choose a category (such as foods, animals or holidays) and have the children name as many examples of items in that category as they can.
Start a hand clapping pattern and ask the children to first listen to the pattern and then join in.
Playing a game of “Simon Says”.

Develop and expand speaking skills

Help the children learn to speak with the appropriate volume, tone and intensity.
Teach the children how to ask questions and share experiences individually and in groups.

Examples of appropriate materials or activities:

Read a story part of the way through and have your students predict what will happen next.
Provide role playing activities where different levels of volume are used such as when a baby is sleeping or when someone is calling to someone standing far away.
Allow the children to dictate stories to go along with wordless picture books.

Develop age-appropriate writing skills

Help the children to develop fine motor skills through manipulating a variety of materials.
Allow the children to participate in a variety of writing activities focusing on meaningful words in the environment.

Examples of appropriate materials or activities:
Display alphabets at the children's eye level at various areas of the classroom
Provide opportunities for the children to draw or write using materials such as feathers, erasable tablets, zip-lock bags filled with shaving cream.
Foster fine motor skills by incorporating finger plays, play dough, eye droppers, tearing paper, scissors, or puzzles into your daily lesson plans.

Develop age-appropriate strategies that will assist the students in reading
Allow the children to tell and retell stories and poems.
Allow the children to hear literature and other print being read or told on a daily basis.
Teach the children to associate symbols with objects, concepts and functions and respond to these symbols in their environment.

Examples of appropriate materials or activities:

Choose quality childrens' literature to read aloud. Your children seem to particularly enjoy those books that make use of rhyme, rhythm, and/or repetition.
Use materials in your environment to create an I Can Read book. Cut out logos from fast food restaurants and write the name below it. Cut out logos from household and food products. Glue the logos to construction paper, add construction paper covers and bind.
Introduce letters to the class through writing words that normally occur in classroom discussions, such as letters childrens' names begin with, the letter the names of the month and holidays begin with, and topics that children enjoy. Such as “S” would occur in discussions of September, Santa, snow, spring, summer, sun, etc.

Let's Talk Nutrition!

Helping children grow and develop is your mail goal as a teacher or parent. Each week you spend time doing activities such as reading stories and singing songs to help your children develop verbally, cognitively and socially. But it is also important to focus on an area of development that we often overlook – nutrition.

Spend some time this week talking to the children about the importance of eating healthy foods. Explain to them that eating healthy foods like fruits and veggies will help them grow up to be strong and healthy!

Allow the children to create their own “meals”. Provide pictures of fruits, veggies and meats, paper plates and glue sticks. Encourage the children to glue the pictures of the foods to their plates. Talk to the children about the pictures they are using. Are they pictures of meats, vegetables, or fruits?

Make construction paper hot dogs, hamburgers and lettuce and tomatoes. Help the children create a paper hot dog or hamburger and glue it to a paper plate. Use yellow paint for mustard and red paint for ketchup.
Read the book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”.
Teach your children the following song sung to the tune of “Skip to My Lou”.

Too many sweets aren't good for our teeth.
Too many sweets aren't good for our teeth.
Too many sweets aren't good for our teeth.
Let's eat our fruits and veggies!

“Don't Spill the Milk” sung to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”.
Don't spill the milk.
Don't spill the milk.
Heigh-ho, the derry-o,

Don't spill the milk.
The milk helps our teeth.
The milk helps our teeth.
Heigh-ho the derry-o,
The milk helps our teeth.

The milk helps our bones.
The milk helps our bones.
Heigh-ho the derry-o,
The milk helps our bones.

Don't spill the milk.
Don't spill the milk.
Heigh-ho the derry-o,
Don't spill the milk.

Circle Time Poems

In kindergarten, as in preschool and pre-k, circle time and morning group is one of the most important times of the day for students. It is during this time that many kindergarten teachers introduce the class to the alphabet, primary colors, shapes, and literature in the form of stories and poetry.

Most children enjoy hearing poems read aloud over and over again, and they will be excited to hearn a few of their favorites by heart.

Little Bo Peep
Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep,
And can't tell where to find them;
Leave them alone and they'll come home.
Wagging their tales behind them.

Rain, Rain, Go Away
Rain, rain, go away
Come again another day.

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

My Nose
By Dorothy Aldis
It doesn't breath;
It doesn't smell;
It doesn't feel so very well.

I am discouraged
with my nose;
The only thing it
Does is blow.

Giving Thanks

Easter means spending times with family and lots of Easter fun! It's time for giving thanks to God for all of the wonderful things he has blessed us with.
Take the time this month to help the children understand what it means to be thankful. Asking your children to tell you what they are thankful for will help them focus on the positive things in their lives.

The “Thank You” song is sung to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
I can say a big “Thank you”
Big “Thank you”
Big “Thank you”
I can say a big “Thank you”
For all this Easter fun.

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