Friday, January 13, 2012

The Napping House

Throughout the month of January we have been enjoying stories and activities that have to do with Night Time.  This week, the preschoolers really enjoyed the story The Napping House by Audry Wood.  After introducing the story we added some story props to act out the story.  
We used my old lady from "The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" to represent granny.  The baby doll represents the child, then we used beanie babies for the dog and cat.  On top there is a "catnip mouse" topped off by a flee.  The flee is actually a plastic bed bug from the board game "Bed Bugs".  The first time we acted out the story using a doll bed as the bed.  Each child got the opportunity to choose a character and follow directions to place it directionally around the bed (in, under, beside, behind, etc).  The next day we used a big blanket and stacked all the characters on the blanket.  When the flee bit the mouse, we all pulled on the blanket to send the characters flying into the air just like in the story!  In our final reading of the story, each child had the opportunity to pretend that they were granny and we stacked all the characters on top of them until they were awakened by the flee!

These pictures were in the Preschool Mailbox Magazine several years ago.  We used them throughout the week to help us introduce and retell the story.  Next week they will be placed in the reading center along with word cards for the children to continue retelling the story.  The stuffed characters from above will be placed in the pretend play center for the children to continue retelling the story in that area as well.

Teaching Kindness...It's Like Magic

I was at my favorite store this week, Target, and low and behold found another treasure in the $ Spot!  As a part of Conscious Discipline, we encourage children to look for ways to be helpful/kind.  I found this little Valentine Tree with heart shaped ornaments and knew right away that it was the perfect "Kindness Tree"!
Whenever someone in our house does something helpful/kind we notice it and then put a heart on the tree.  We would say somthing like this:  "You hung your coat on the hook so you could find it when we are ready to leave.  That was helpful!"  Then you put the heart on the tree.
The morning after we began using this Kindness Tree, my 10 year old son came to me and said, "What do we get when the tree is full?"  You see, in the past we have used systems where our children worked to fill a jar with marbles and then we rewarded them with  toys or a special family activity.  When he came to me with his question, my initial response in my head was "oh no, what do I say?"  Then I took a deep breath and responded like this.  "When we fill up our Kindness Tree you get to enjoy the feeling of living in a connected family where everyone cares deeply about each other and lives in harmony...just like a really pretty song."  He thought for a moment then said, "Well, I think we will have it full by tonight!"  He proceeded to go over and begin making his SISTER'S (and his) sandwiches for lunch that day.  He has never done that before and he did it with such a spirit of love and deep caring for his sister.  He even asked her what she wanted on her sandwich!   It's working already!
For more information about Conscious Discipline go to

Making Commitments

This week I began teaching my first Conscious Discipline class for parents.  As a part of our "Brain Smart Start" we make a commitment.  Since Conscious Discipline is a journey, I chose to use the vehicles to represent each of the class participants.  They chose their preferred "mode of transportation", read the commitment for the evening, and then safely placed their symbol in the box.  You could do the same type of thing in your classroom or home.  This is a great way to help you and your children set goals and work toward achieving them!  

    I found these vehicle erasers at Target in the $ Spot.  The box was one I had at home and I printed out the road map to decorate the top.  Conscious Discipline gives us skills we need to safely "travel" through life learning how to handle our upset and passing those skills along to our children. We learn to discipline out of love rather than fear. This helps us establish ourselves as the "Safe Keeper" and define our new job to our children.
    At home, a commitment you might make with your children would be:  "I am going to put my dishes in the sink after dinner."  "I am going to get out of bed the first time the alarm goes off."  At school you might make a commitment such as:  "I am going to raise my hand to answer one question today."  "I am going to use my listening ears."   At the end of the day or at the end of class, we go back to our commitments and reflect on whether we did it or need to try again tomorrow.
    For more information about Conscious Discipline go to  The concepts of Brain Smart Start, Conscious Discipline, and Safe Keeper are used with permission from the Loving Guidance Inc.