A Library Card, An Electric Skillet, and Towels

You may be wondering what exactly a library card, an electric skillet, and towels have in common or maybe you are just wondering what the heck? Please read on and I will explain.

The three items mentioned above are things I found almost essential in my preschool classrooms over the years. Let me tell you why.

Most private child care centers ( most often called day cares) don't ever seem to have very complete library corners. Books are often scribbled on, have pages that are torn or missing altogether, and usually consist mostly of princess stories or animals wearing clothes. In public school classrooms, the variety and quality is usually better, but not always.

If you have a library card for your public library, a whole new world opens up!

For example, in the fall, meaning the real fall of the year in your hometown, you can check out books by Lois Ehlert. These include: Leaf Man, Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, and Nuts to You. Or, in the spring when things are growing you can provide books such as, Growing Vegetable Soup, Planting a Rainbow, or Eating the Alphabet.

When the children are interested in types of transportation, Donald Crews books can be added to the bookshelf. These include: Harbor, School Bus, Flying, Freight Train (always a favorite), Sail Away, and Truck.

And last but not least, Eric Carle books. Who doesn't love Eric Carle?  I'm sure everybody is familiar with The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Very Busy Spider and probably have those on the shelf. But, there are so many others!
These include: Have You Seen My Cat?, Eric Carle's Animals, Animals and Dragons, Dragons and Other Creatures That Never Were, both books of poems, My Very First Book of Motion, and From Head to Toe.

Before we go on, I hear lots of, let's just call it whining, that goes something like this: "But, they will tear the books up, my children tear up everything ( I wonder about those people) and "I don't have time to traipse off to the library every week." Ahh, but I beg to differ. You do have time if you make it. I always found the library a nice respite after a very busy and often chaotic day or week. Now I do agree that they will tear up the books, if you don't model how to use a book and if you don't supervise the library area! 

Next on the list, an electric skillet. You know, it's one of those things that people post a picture of on Facebook and say "who remembers this?" Well, I remember that and actually still have and use one! So there. Sorry, I just had to get that out.

Moving on, I found that the children in my classes loved to cook. Even something as simple as just mixing the ingredients into a bowl was great fun. Not to mention the learning that took place, you know, measuring, changes in matter, and good health habits by washing hands before cooking and not licking the spoon and dipping it back in the bowl. I usually tied the cooking lesson into the story for the day, for example, after reading If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff, we of course, whipped up some pancakes. We also enjoyed making applesauce, green eggs and ham, muffins, donuts, and latkes for Hanukkah. I also found if there is one thing young children like more than cooking, it's consuming what they created!

As a side note: if I have to say you must closely supervise this activity and only the teacher touches the skillet, then perhaps some serious thought must be given to changing careers.

And last, but not least, towels. I'm not talking about those ubiquitous brown, useless paper things, I'm talking cloth towels. Bath sized, hand towels, and even wash cloths come in very handy. Sometimes, there are big spills, if you're a teacher you know what I mean, and sometimes just a little spill that call for a nice absorbent towel. Placing a towel under the water table or under the easel can make clean up time go a little easier. And when you are making milkshakes in your blender and don't realize the base is not secured you can always ask a child to "please bring me a large towel," and demonstrate the proper way to soak up milk from a carpet.

That's it for now.
Check back later!


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