Tuesday, April 24, 2012

“I’ll Be Your Friend” by Miriam Moss and Lynne Chapman

Everyone loves a new friend-- how about four new friends?! I’ll Be Your Friend by Miriam Moss and Lynne Chapman is a heart-warming story reflecting on the value of friendships and the feelings of living in a new place.

Everyone knows the anxious feeling before having a birthday party and the feeling of being in a place where you’re looking for a friend. In I’ll Be Your Friend, Smudge is counting down the days to his birthday with his friend Stripe. Smudge is new to the area and does not have a big group of friends to invite to his birthday party, which makes him sad. Stripe tries his best to cheer Smudge up by helping him build a fabulous tree house, and this is where the adventure of new friendships begin!  This read takes you and your little one along for a journey in friendship making, life changes, and happy outcomes.

Will Smudge have friends come to his big birthday party? Come along on Smudge’s journey at Open Play this Thursday at 3:30 to hear our special guest reader Miss Megan read I’ll Be Your Friend!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bubble Bees: Building Community

Now that your children are beginning to feel independent and comfortable in the classroom, it's time for them to start making friends!  Socialization is one of the most important areas of development for your little one.  They are transitioning from parallel to cooperative play.  We encourage this transition by playing with them during open choice. Our teachers are trained to model cooperative play and encourage them to try it with one another.   As we play, we take time to introduce students to each other.  Listen during Open Choice and you'll probably hear Miss Kristi or Mr. Matt asking your little ones to tell another child their name or to give a high five.  These are the early steps of friendship and the building blocks of our classroom community! Check out some of these great community building activities from last week:

We also encourage community by asking them to share supplies at art.  Each week we make our own painting, but we all use the same paint trays.  Sharing supplies develops their negotiation skills and really lays the foundation of friendship.

Snack Time is more than just fuel to get your little ones through mid-morning.  It's a secret community meeting.  While Miss Becca or Miss Victoria reads a story, your little ones are encouraged to share their  thoughts on what's happening in the story.  We often ask our students to raise their hands if they can relate to the story.  Things like "raise your hand if you like to go to the park, too."   We not only pratice  that new skill of hand raising, but your little ones get to see visual proof of what they have in common with their classmates!

 I can't wait to see what friendships blossom this Spring!  

"It's a Big World" by Renee and Jeremy

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault

This week's book is a classic!  It's an absolute MUST for your little bookworm's library.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault was originally published in 1989 and has been on my reading list ever since!  It follows the lowercase letters of the alphabet as they climb a coconut tree. "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, will there be enough room?"  It turns out there isn't room for the whole alphabet as the tree bends, spilling all the lowercase letters on the ground.  Their uppercase parents come to scoop them up, nursing injuries and wiping tears.  I love this book.  It's fun, rhythmic, and the simple illustrations are great for letter recognition.  On a rainy day, it's also lots of fun to act out with magnetic letters on your fridge!  Enjoy!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, will there be enough room?  I'll race you to Open Play this Thursday at 3:30 to hear Miss Becca read Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom!

Thank you, Miss Natalie!

April Team Member of the Month: Miss Natalie

Natalie has been a shining member of the Bubbles Academy team since September 2010. As the Sibling Care Coordinator, she interacts with our Play Center guests, providing each sibling with a positive play experience! Natalie’s keen ability to discover children’s interests comes from her wide range of experiences. She is a Spelman College graduate with a bachelor of the arts in both child development and early childhood education. In Atlanta, she taught literacy and English as a Second Language programs.

A bunny friend visits our Bubble Egg Hunt!
A lovely dancer, Natalie’s graceful feet can be seen skipping about Open Play! She efficiently manages the cleaning and maintenance of all toys and climbers. Her goal is for the space to be a truly real wonderland!

Natalie avidly offers fresh ideas to improve our organization and better serve our families. Her sparkling enthusiasm and overall presence acts as an invaluable source of morale for Bubbles Academy!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bubble Step: Encouraging Independence, Knowing What Comes Next

As you begin to step out of the room in our Bubble Step class, one of the most effective ways of making your little one feel confident is helping them learn the schedule of class.  Here are some photos of the different parts of our Bubbles Step classes from last week.  Before you come into class, feel free to look at these photos with your little ones.  You can talk about what they're going to do in class.  Since the structure of the class is the same each week, they can feel confident that they know what comes next.  It also helps for them to see the familiar faces of their teachers and assistants.  

The Magic of Bubbles  
Bubbles are more than just fun: they are incredibly memorable.  We end all of our classes by blowing bubbles.  When talking about you or your caregiver coming back into the room, use bubbles as a signal.  "Mommy will be back after bubbles" is an easy concept for them to remember, and since they know the schedule of class, they know what else needs to happen before Bubbles!

Another way for your little one to gain confidence is to arrange a playdate with another student.  Why not arrange to meet at Bubbles for an Open Play Playdate any Monday-Saturday between 1-5 PM?

"Apples X3" by Apple Brain

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"Duck on a Bike!" by David Shannon

It's finally Spring in Chicago!  I'm looking forward to riding my little yellow bike to Bubbles in the warm weather, which makes me think of one of my favorite go-to story time books: Duck on a Bike by David Shannon.  This book will be an instant favorite with your little ones!  

It all starts when Duck gets the idea that he can ride a bike.  Why not?  The book follows duck on his wobbly ride past all the farm animals.  It's a great opportunity to test your little bookworm's animal sounds.  Duck says hello to each animal and they greet him with their animal sound, but clever author David Shannon adds the animals' secret thoughts.  For example, when Duck passes Cat, she meows, but what she thought was, "I wouldn't waste my time riding a bike."  Shannon's clever text and simple structure moves the story along quickly and is sure to capture attention.  The illustrations, also by Shannon, are bright, cartoonish and extremely expressive.  After a herd of kids rides their bikes onto the farm, there is a great image of all the animals catching Duck's bike-fever!  You can see the mischief and joy in each animal's eyes.  It's a fun read.  Hope to see you biking and reading around Bubbles Academy soon!

Ride your bike to Bubbles for a special treat as Miss Becca reads Duck on a Bike by David Shannon at Open Play this Thursday at 3:30!  See you there!

Inspiring Creativity: Paint Your Teacher Week!

The mission of our Bubble Step Program is to help guide you and your child through separation via three key elements:
  • Fostering Community
  • Encouraging Independence
  • Inspiring Creativity and Play

Our new Bubble Step blog will serve as a record of your child's first-school experience. Each week, we will post about our previous week's activity and how it helped to accomplish one of these elements. Our goal is for the content to be resource of lessons for you to encourage at home too!

Last week's activity was all about inspiring CREATIVITY! In our art time, rather than painting on paper, we colored living canvases — the teachers! Below are some of the images of the Step student's creative minds and painter-happy-hands at work! For more pictures, please visit our facebook album featuring both Bubble Step and Bubble Bees classes!