Circle Time!

Circle time in the Henrietta preschool classrooms is an important start to every day!  During this time, the children pick their jobs, review the calendar, discuss the weather, talk about letters, listen to a story, and finish by singing and dancing!

Asking children to choose their job for the day provides a level of independence. It also makes each child responsible for the job they chose, which includes: teacher helper, fish feeder, calendar helper, line leader, caboose, plant caretaker, story selector, song chooser, snack helper, lunch helper, weather watcher, and sweeper helper. Each of these jobs is available every day and the children readily remind each other if anyone forgets!

During calendar review. the helper assists in determining the correct date, singing the days of the week and months of the year songs, and identifying the season.   Repetition and pattern identification are emphasized.  The weather watcher looks out the window and describes what he/she sees to the class.

During letter time, the class sings the ABC song while the teacher points to each letter.  This gives the children an opportunity to recognize and say each letter at the same time. Then the class practices spelling and identifying one child’s name so they begin to identify the letters that make up each friend’s name.

The story selector then chooses a story that is read by the teacher.  Questions are asked about the story as it is read, such as “how is the person feeling on this page?”  Children are able to perceive quite a bit at this young age!

Lastly, the song chooser selects the last song to sing.  Circle time songs always have some kind of movement associated with them. They may choose to jump up and down or simply move with their hands.

All this circle time activity only lasts about 20 minutes because attention spans are short at 3!  But movement during this time is encouraged and even helps young bodies and minds to learn!

2017-03-31 024 Hen Cir letters      2017-03-31 029 Cir Time Hen bks      2017-03-31 031Cir Time Hen read




Color Hopping!

Learning can happen in many ways and with varied experiences!  The Greece toddlers practiced their color identification and enhanced their gross muscle skills by using colored hoola hoops in the center’s gross motor space.

Many different colored hoola hoops were used to form rows of color on the carpet. The teachers then asked the children to hop in a hoola hoop of a particular color.  They thoroughly enjoyed the hoping and used their coordination skills to jump inside the hoop and stay balanced.  What a fun way to practice identifying colors, following directions, and getting exercise!

Hoops Gr      Hoops Gr 2Hoops Gr Feat


Visiting Chicks!

The children at Care-a-lot Farmington / Canandaigua were very excited to welcome newly hatched chicks into the center for some up-close observation and learning opportunities.  The preschool classrooms used the opportunity to offer the children a week-long study of birds. They learned all about how birds hatch from eggs, the names of their body parts, and the types of foods that they eat.

Providing children with an opportunity to experience areas of classroom learning with real animals made their learning literally come alive!  Young children learn best through real, hands-on experiences.  The chicks were a way to provide a concrete learning experience for the children that would reinforce circle-time and center activities on this same topic.  Books about beaks and feathers are fun but live birds are even better and create a lasting impression on young minds.  Everyone at the center form the little babies to the school-age children enjoyed hosting the chicks before they returned to the farm to continue growing!

DSCN0417 Chick Can     DSCN0422 Chicks Can     DSCN0414 chick can     DSCN0436 Chicks Can



Professional Weather Lessons!

Meteorologist Scott Hetsko of WHAM 13 really blew us away when he came to visit the Henrietta Kindergarten class!  He got us really excited to learn all about weather and was eager to answer all of our questions.

Mr. Hetsko brought a pressure contraption made out of a two-liter bottle with water in it and an air pump. The system emulated the making of a cloud!  Each student had a turn to feel the pressure in the bottle and see the puff of cloud that emerged!

Next, we were able to tour the weather truck!  Mr. Hetsko showed us all the current weather stats on the screen and even let each student hop in the front seat to be “on camera”!  It was SO COOL!  We thoroughly enjoyed our visit from the local weatherman and made our weather lesson that much more special!  A big thank you to WHAM 13 and Scott Hetsko for visiting and sharing with us!

2017-03-02 00 Hetsko      2017-03-02 038 Hetsko      2017-03-02 015 Hetsko feat      2017-03-02 040 Hetsko


Learning Centers!

At Care-a-lot, each classroom is arranged into learning centers.  This provides an ideal environment for teachers to actively engage children in meaningful, hands-on activities. Well-planned learning stations present children with challenging projects and opportunities for exploration, which encourage thinking skills and motor development

Beginning in the young toddler rooms, children at Care-a-lot move independently through the centers and choose to play in learning centers such as sensory, books, manipulatives, dramatic play, art, and blocks.  In this arrangement, children learn organizational skills, an important concept to begin to master!

As children grow and become more independent, additional centers are added to expand the curriculum opportunities. This provides for the social, emotional, physical and mental stages of early childhood development.

Materials are also changed to refresh the learning centers and add new opportunities for exploration and learning.  By rotating materials, teachers ensure that the centers remain fresh. Rotation also allows teachers to provide learning centers which focus on developing separate and distinct skill sets.

Centers Gr      Centers Gr 2      Centers Gr 3


Reading Aloud!

The children at Care-a-lot of Farmington / Canandaigua recently enjoyed a center-wide author study of Dr. Seuss.  From the infants to the school-age children, everyone was in on the action!  Both teachers and children read many of this famous author’s books.  They also extended their learning with sensory activities related to the stories they read, nutrition learning based on food items mentioned in some of the books, fine motor skill building with a variety of arts and craft activities, and much more.

However the main focus was on reading aloud.  Dr. Seuss books lend themselves perfectly to reading aloud to all ages.  There is something to charm every person, “no matter how small;” from the sing-song rhyming scheme, to the moral lessons, to the whimsical illustrations.  The stories of this wonderful author are a great way to engage children!

Reading aloud to children is an important and enjoyable way to build for their future.  Reading aloud helps with language development, builds literacy skills, instills a love of reading, encourages brain development, aids in teaching many content areas, and provides opportunities for bonding time.  Research shows that reading aloud is the single most important thing we can do to help children prepare for reading and learning!

Educator and author, Jim Trelease has this to say about the positive effects of reading aloud:
– The more you read, the more you know.
– The more you know, the smarter you grow.
– The smarter you are, the longer you stay in school.
– The longer you stay in school, the more diplomas you earn and the longer you are employed;     thus the more money you earn in a lifetime.
– The more diplomas you earn, the higher your children’s grades will be in school.
– The more diplomas you earn, the longer you live.

Reading aloud is always included in Care-a-lot’s daily plans.  It is never too early to start reading aloud to children.  Important learning and brain development is going on even if a child is chewing on the books or seeming not to pay attention.  If you are looking for something to read at home with your child, we highly recommend anything by Dr. Seuss!

DSCN0083 Can Seuss      DSCN0090 (2)Can Seuss     DSCN0095 (2) Can Seuss


Celebrating Differences!

At Care-a-lot, we encourage children to identify and celebrate the uniqueness of each individual. Research has shown that children develop their identity and attitudes through experiences with their bodies, social environments, and their cognitive developmental stages (Derman-Sparks, 1989). As these three factors interact, young children progress through certain stages of racial and cultural awareness.

Self-awareness begins when children are infants and toddlers. At these stages, children learn “what is me” and “what is not me.”  By age two, children recognize and explore physical differences. They are also learning the names of colors, and they begin to apply this to skin color. Natural curiosity will lead to questions about differences.

By the preschool age, children are better at noticing differences among people. They have learned to classify, and they tend to sort based on color and size. Many preschool children will comment – in words or through actions – on hair texture, eye shape, and other physical characteristics. They want to know how people got their color, hair texture, and eye shape.

Art experiences at Care-a-lot offer one way in which to celebrate our many colors and engage children in conversation about differences.  Enjoy these art projects made by the beautifully unique children of the Care-a-lot Henrietta center!

2017-02-14 014 (1) hen diff 1     2017-01-20 005 (1) hen diff 2    2017-02-14 013 (1) hen diff 3     2017-01-20 006 (1) hen diff 4     2017-02-14 015 (1) hen diff 5


Building Inside!

“Too wet to go out and too cold to play ball; so we sat in the house, we did nothing at all.” You may recognize these words from a famous Dr. Seuss story but the teachers and preschoolers at Care-a-lot in Canandaigua make other plans when the weather is uncooperative! On days that they are unable to utilize the playgrounds, they enjoy indoor gross motor activities.

Building with the large blocks, which encourages gross motor coordination as well as hand-eye coordination, is a most popular learning activity. This type of play encourages the children’s physical development by using arm and torso muscles, as well as leg muscles.

Gross motor activities also support cognitive and social development. Preschoolers are old enough to cooperate with each other in constructing large and elaborate block creations. Their social and cognitive skills are sharpened as they discuss and problem-solve how to balance and construct their block buildings. They come up with some pretty amazing things; in the chilliest part of winter they used their imaginations to build a “waterslide” with the big blocks!


DSCN8952 Can Build      DSCN8956 (2) Can Build      DSCN8957 (1) Can Build


Tooth Care!

The Farmington preschoolers recently welcomed a pair of dental hygienists to their classrooms as part of their week-long study of oral care. The children learned many things about their teeth, including how many teeth they have, when they will lose their baby teeth, and how adult teeth will grow in their place. The children learned important ways to care for their teeth, establishing good oral health habits that will serve them well their whole life long.


The preschoolers displayed an impressive understanding of which types of foods are healthy and which ones are unhealthy for their teeth. They enjoyed being able to have some hands-on experience practicing proper brushing techniques with large dental models. They also loved standing tall and straight, like teeth, while the hygienists demonstrated flossing with a jump rope.


The dental hygienists brought small bags of oral hygiene related items for the children to take home. Now they can practice all they learned and work to keep their smiles bright!

Can teeth     Can teeth 2      Tooth Care 3


Family Style Dining!

At Care-a-lot, we practice family style dining for breakfast, lunch, and snack served at the center.  All the food is placed in serving bowls or plates on the table. The children then take turns selecting what they want to eat and passing the serving dish to their friends.  Children may be more likely to try new foods when they see other children eating something that may look different to them!

Using this style of serving enables the teachers to sit with the children during meals and enjoy conversation together because all the food is already on the table.  The teachers encourage the children to ask for what they need and use their manners.  There is also discussion about nutrition, the food they are eating, and the children’s likes and dislikes.  The teachers support learning during meal time, including the reinforcement of counting – “You may take one piece of chicken and five apple slices.”

Like the picture from the Henrietta class below, the older preschool children also pour their own milk from small pitchers.  Occasional spills are expected and used as learning experiences as well.  Children are encouraged to practice holding their cup with one hand and pouring with the other, to only pour a little in their cup at a time, and to help with clean-up if there is a spill.

The benefits of family style dining are many and families are encouraged to use it at home too!

2017-02-13 003 fam style din 2      2017-02-13 003 fam style din      2017-02-13 001 fam style feat      2017-02-13 006 fam style din