March: West Network Early Childhood Meeting

       Upcoming Conferences/Workshops/Professional Development Opportunities
·         March 25, 2017  7:30 AM – 4:00 PM   University of Wisconsin,  Plattville:  smaller conferences, 2 keynotes, with sectionals, $70 per person
·         April 7 &  8  University of White Water; larger conferences; Fri & Sat.  Theme:  “We Teach Them, They Teach Us.”  Dr. Jean as a keynote; professional development units for both Wisconsin and Illinois schools along with Gateways
o   $100 per day/$180 two days
·         August 4, 2017  8:00 AM – 3:30 PM  Concordia, Chicago:  Theme- “Young Thinkers, Creators, Communicators, and Collaborators”  by Dr. Rebecca Isbell with 30+ sectionals;  Lunch with children’s author Lori Degman ;  Online registration,   Professional Development Units & Gateway Credit $110 per person
·         State Board of Education Webinars-    These webinars are archived and available on a variety of topics back to 20005.  Immanuel Belvidere use these webinars regularly.  Free

·         Preschool Open House Models
·         Whole School Fellowship Open House-  Host a thematic school wide event with some type of a theme such as Science.  Each part of the building would have a different activity (science experiment)  related to this area. Present as well as new families/students go around the building to experience the various activities and school personnel.    School tours are also hosted by parent volunteers.  At the end of the night a special “cultural arts” type assembly is hosted in the gym  (Laser Show from “Class Acts”). Two fold objective for the night:  Fun fellowship event for present families as well as an engaging Open House for new families to learn more about the school and experience the true “climate” of the school.  Present school families enjoy inviting their neighbors to come to “their school” for this fun evening which typically runs from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. ( St. Peter, Arlington Heights)
·         Pre-K Round-Ups-  New families with their children are invited to the school, typically during after-hours time periods,  to be able to visit the school’s classrooms and staff.    Usually done in the spring time during enrollment season.  (Immanuel, Belvidere and others)

·         Ministry Stories & High Points
·         Prayer:  Seeing children growing in their prayer life and offering to lead a prayer either at school or at homes.  The parents are often touched by these prayers and begin integrating prayer into their home life when they see their children’s interest in prayer.  (Rockford Academy)
·         “Bicycle Blessing” activity:  Used with a traditional Bike-A-Thon activity in which funds are raised for various causes (St. Jude, etc).  The children and their family members from the various school and church ministries bring their bikes to school on a Saturday morning.   The pastors are there to bless the bikes.   (Christ United Methodist Church, Rockford)
·         Door Decorating Contest:  Parents decorate the various classroom doors using some suggested Bible verses.  Church members are encouraged to come to the preschool wing to view the doors during weekend worship services.  The doors are photographed and put on the school’s FACEBOOK page.  Parents and church members are encouraged to “share” the school’s FACEBOOK page and vote on their favorite door.  The prize is the “bragging rights” to the winning door.  (Trinity (TLC Preschool), Huntley)

·         Creative Arts with the School & Church
·          Art Shows featuring process oriented art along with mounted photos of the art being created.  Church and School families are encouraged to attend and participate in it.  Arrange the art projects on the walls using the child’s first name so all of the projects are mixed together and it looks like an “art museum” which promotes people looking at a variety of projects and not just their child’s classroom art.   Play classical music in the area where the art is displayed.  Post state standards for each art project.  Add band/choir concerts, ice cream socials, mini dramas, etc to this evening  (Trinity- TLC, Huntley;   St. Peter, Arlington Heights; Immanuel, Belvidere; Christ United Methodist Church, Rockford)
·         Art in the Classroom   Use lots of silly songs from educators such as Jim Gill.  Use videos where the students are dancing as well as singing.  (Immanuel, Freeport)
·         Music Night  Invite members of the congregation, as well as school family members, to bring in instruments that they know how to play to an evening event.  Have them demonstrate the instruments and allow the children to come up to them and gently touch the various instruments.  It’s an “Instrument Petting Zoo.  (Grace, Loves Park)
·         Featured Musician Nights  Bring in recordings/videos of such musicians as Louis Armstrong and host an evening of a particular type of genre such as jazz music with Louie  Armstrong or Christian music from Yancy
o   (Immanuel, Freeport and Rockford Lutheran Academy)
·         Promote a Process over Product emphasis-  Reinforce this concept to families by posting state standards for all are areas of the arts in public areas with examples.  Include this information in newsletters (“Creative Arts Links” attached), parent education activities, etc.  Use the poem “There’s Nothing in My Bag Today”  (attached).
·         Drama, Music & Art integrated:  “Toymaker” imaginative play drama ( Rockford Lutheran) and the “Animal Boogie” children’s book creative arts activity (St. Peter, Arlington Heights)
·         Singing in Worship Services: Classes singing during worship services.  Use engaging worship songs and include artwork and movement as appropriate and available.

“Rockford Lutheran Academy”
Early Childhood Faculty Staff:
Curtis Wudtke: Principal & Music Teacher
Mary Cannon: Director of Outreach
Julie Krause: Pre Elementary Teacher
Kelsey Taglia: Pre Elementary Teacher
Dina Duy: Pre Elementary Teacher
Katie Krause : Drama Teacher
Not Pictured:
Pam Gillingham Pre Elementary Teacher
Tammy Dunbar Kindergarten Teacher
Jennifer Anderson: Kindergarten Teacher

Recent Accomplishments:
oMajor curriculum updating in their “Pre Elementary” department from “Mother Goose” to “DIG”  (Abrahams Company)
o   Major joys in ministry:  Sharing God and being able to talk about God; Seeing children helping other children;  having a great team of early childhood professionals including classroom teachers, administrators, drama & music teachers
o   Developing of a new program called “Ready, Set, Go” which are kindergarten readiness materials.  They are available to help preschool families with a better understanding of kindergarten readiness.  Contact  Curtis Wudtke  815-226-4947 ext 278 or  for more information about this program.

Creative Arts Links

How Process Art Experiences Support Preschoolers:

Preschoolers  Creative Learning and Development: What to Expect:

6 Ways to Inspire Creativity:

1   1. Prepare for a mess. Set up an art space where your kid can be free to experiment (and get messy!), Throw a drop cloth or a newspaper on top of your kitchen table or in the garage. If weather permits, let kids paint outside.
    2.  Avoid giving direction. Don't tell your kid what to make or how to make it. Instead of saying, "Paint a rainbow," encourage her to experiment with mixing colors using different types of brushes and paper,
    3. Speak specifically about art. When talking to your child about his artwork, try to be precise in your comments. For instance, instead of giving a generic compliment, say "I see you used a lot of purple. Why did you choose that color?"
    4. Explore your child's process. Often the best way to encourage conversation about your child's art is simply to say, "Tell me about what you made," or ask, "Did you have fun making it?"
    5. Don't draw with your child. When parents draw something representational while a younger child is sketching, it can frustrate them.   It's better to be near the child and let them know that you're interested and supportive of their art-making.
    6. Let it be. When a child finishes a piece, don't suggest additions or changes.   It's important for a child to feel that what she's created is enough -- even if it's just a dot on the page.

Today I did my math and science,
I toasted bread.
I halved and quartered.
I counted, measured, used my eyes
And ears and head.
I added and subtracted on the way,
I used a magnet, blocks, and memory tray.
I learned about a rainbow and how to weigh.
So please don’t say, anything in your bag today?
You see I’m sharing as I play.
I learned to listen and
Speak clearly when I talk,
To wait my turn, and when inside to walk.
To put my thoughts into a phrase,
To guide a crayon through a maze.
To find my name and write it down,
To do it with a smile and not a frown.
To put my pasting brush away,
So please don’t say, what, nothing in your bag today?
I’ve learned about a snail and a worm,
Remembering how to take my turn.
Helped a friend when he was stuck,
Learned that water runs off a duck.
I looked at words from left to right.
Agreed to differ, not to fight.
So please don’t say, did you only play today.

Creative Arts through the
Integration of Art, Music, Drama & Dance
With the book
The Animal Boogie
Illustrated by Debbie Harter & Sung by Fred Penner
Barefoot Books
Art- Make creative animal costumes (animal skins) , props (claws, wings) & backdrops (jungles) using fur, ribbons, feathers, cardboard, paints, markers, butcher paper, ribbons, paper plates, etc.

Music- An energetic CD and sheet music comes with the book.  Repetition and  rhyme allows for children to become actively involved as one of the various animals.....shaking like a bear, swinging like a monkey, stomping like an elephant,  flapping like a bird, leaping like a leopard, slithering like a snake, etc

Drama & Movement-  Each group acts out a different animal and verse with their own version of how the animal moves.  Everyone joins in on the refrains and final verse

Other Related Books:
Over in the Meadow  Illustrated by Jill McDonald and Sung by Susan Reed
Walking Through the Jungle  Illustrated by Debbie Harter and Sung by Fred Penner
The Animal  Bop Won’t Stop  by Jan Ormerod & Lindsey Garnier