Partners In Learning Blog Team

Partners In Learning Blog Team
Blog Team

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How Can We Ensure Our Children Will Succeed In School?

We always wonder if we are doing enough for our kids? Have we given them every advanrage? Have we given them the tools, desire to succeed in and enjoy school? The more involved we are in their lives, the better we will know what they need.

They tell us learning begins in the womb. Well how can we do that? Read, talk to your unborn child. Start their literacy skills early. During infancy talk to your baby, tell them what your doing, look at books, read to them, put them on their tummies encourage them to explore.

As they begin to grow introduce letters, shapes, colors and numbers by pointingvthem out in everyday items around the house. It will be fun and they will have real world association with things in their emvironment.

When they start preschool, even as toddlers, form a relationship with your childs teachers. They will be able to tell you what they are working on, where your child is developmentally,. They can give you ieeas gor at home. Visit with your child at school too. They will see thatyou enjoy it and soon they will begin to enjoy coming to school and enjoy learning.

Often times when we are in the store, we will see workbooks that help with skills for school.How can we make those fun gor our children? You can make them into flannel boa4ds, for example, letter sound matching. Take the page copy, color, cut out pictures, glue felt to back, or magmets for the rridge. Now you have a fun game that's not a boring worksheet. You can even add letters as you go.

By taking an interest in your childs learning you will form a closer bond, and they will enjoy learming smd this will help them to be successful in school.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Make It Take It Wednesday....Pumpkin Season

This the season to be jolly....pumpkins, pumpkins, ppuummppkkiinnss!!!  Ok so that is not the way that the song goes but it should. Have you looked around...pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin bread, and even lotions and soups come in pumpkin scent now. So commemorate the pumpkin season with our Make It Take It Wednesday. We have two great recipes that serve up pumpkin in different ways.

Our first recipe is pumpkin pie play dough...any childcare professional worth their weight knows how much you have to have a great play dough recipe to engage those little minds.  Plus every adult needs to get some sensory play therapy of their own every once in a while. My favorite pumpkin pie play dough is the following from the great mom at TinkerLab (

4 cups of water
2 1/2 cups salt
3 tablespoons cream of tartar
10 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 to 6 cups flour
Pumpkin pie spice or a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom 
Red and yellow food coloring

1- mix all dry ingredients together

2- heat up your water to a boil.  Add oil to dry ingredients.

3- add two drops of red food coloring to water then add six drops of yellow food coloring.
4- add the colored water to the other mixture and blend until lumpy dough state.

5- place the dough onto a flat surface and knead in additional flour until you are happy with a play dough consistency that is not too moist.

6- store your play dough in a zip top bag or sealed container.

As you can tell, Our children love to cook and make their own play dough. This recipe is sure to please your senses from your hands to your sniffer.

Our next recipe is one that is great for a cool chilly evening when you need a simple but delicious meal.  You can get your kids in the kitchen and stir up the fun together.  Our class discovered this recipe on the website  For many of children, this was their first time using a pumpkin for something other than a jack-o-lantern or a pumpkin pie.  Gather your supplies and stir up some pumpkin stew.

2 1/2 cups of chicken broth
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin purée (NOT PIE FILLING)
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 garlic clove minced
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

1- heat chicken broth, pumpkin purée, onion, garlic, and Cajun seasoning to a boil in a saucepan over medium high heat.

2- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
3-if you would like it smooth, place small batches in the blender and pulse for a few seconds.
4- stir in heavy cream before serving. Garnish with some chives.

For our classroom, we changed the recipe just slightly...
We used a crock pot on high for four hours instead of the stove top.  We also made ours a little more healthy by omitting the Cajun seasoning and heavy cream. We added a little more chicken stock that was lower in sodium and made our soup smooth.

Please enjoy these "pumped up" recipes with all these pumpkin plentiful activities.  Check out all of our pumpkin activities at our Facebook page or website at  Enjoy the season....pumpkin season that is!!!!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

What Scares You??

    What scares you?  Do spiders make you want to scream?  Does flying give you a fright?  Me? Oh lots of things frighten me, moths for example, give me the creeps.  Little fuzzy flying things, nope, no thanks, not for me.  Thankfully one thing that I am fortunate enough not to have to fear is how I'm going to provide a hot meal for my family.  There are other parents that face that fear far too often.  Some of them are your neighbors, parents of your children's friends, maybe even a co-worker. 

   The USDA Economic Research Department states that 14.3% percent of Americans lived in home where there wasn't always enough food to go around the dinner table.  How many people does that translate to?  Let me show you...
In 2013:
  • 49.1 million people lived in food-insecure households.
  • 12.2 million adults lived in households with very low food security.
  • 8.6 million children lived in food-insecure households in which children, along with adults, were food insecure.
  • 765,000 children (1.0 percent of the Nation's children) lived in households in which one or more child experienced very low food security.

    The numbers are hard to digest.  Attached to each of those numbers is a family, mothers, fathers, little boys and girls, that live in our towns.  

    How do we fix it? I don't know.  I can't feed all 49 million of my neighbors, but I can help feed at least one.  I donated to's Thanksgiving Project campaign, that reaches out to families in need to provide them with a holiday meal to share.  If you'd like to donate too, you can do so here


    If you prefer to make a contribution that will remain in our community, Rowan Helping Ministries and The Salvation Army accept donations for their food pantries year round.  Canned fruits, canned vegetables, canned meats, pastas, peanut butter, dried beans, and non-perishable breakfast items are in constant demand.  Look for opportunities to donate to these organizations in the upcoming weeks at Partners In Learning.   Please consider supporting these very worth causes.

Crystal Drye
NC PreK Assistant Teacher




Thursday, October 16, 2014

Do We Have A Good Attitude Towards Competition?

Is competition healthy? Yes! It helps children to develop a good attitude and a drive to accomplish things. Children learn to work together to acheive a goal.  They learn to follow rules and directions. They learn to take turns and to be good sportsman when they lose. They learn that not everyone wins and that it is okay to lose. By losing they learn where they can improve as an individual and as a team.

So, how can our attitude affect them? Do we yell at coaches and other players? Have we gotten thrown out of games for our conduct? Are we sore losers when they lose? Do we mumble under our breath when we leave the game? Do we yell at our children that they could have done better or they should have done this or that? Do we make them practice even after they have already done that? Well you might say, I just want them to be their best" and that is okay. But we need to make sure that we take a cue from our children. See how our reactions are reflected in their faces.

They should want to compete, they should want to play, they should enjoy  it. As parents we should be their biggest support system, their cheerleaders and morale boosters when they lose. They should know by our reaction that it is okay to lose because it helps them to get better. They should be encouraged to try as many different things as they want, one thing may not be their passion even if it is ours. We have all seen the eye roll when they get asked to do something extra or beyond what they have already done the same thing. Well if our attitude isn't good, then we will have children who don't want to compete anymore, children who get embarrassed by our actions and may even give little effort so that they don't have to play anymore. They may feel like it is a chore and not fun anymore and worst of all, they may feel like they have done something wrong simply because our attitude is not good. If we keep our attitude in line with how they feel, they will feel secure in their decisons and want to do more, because they will know that they have the greatest support system behind them!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Making the Connection

The Panthers class has a very special friend that is enjoying spending time with each of our 18 students in their very own homes. Take Home Teddy, which the children have affectionately named Rainbow, chooses a different student each afternoon to go home with for the evening. Rainbow spends the night with the student, and comes back to school each morning ready to share the fun they've had with the rest of the class durring group time. 

The children are all extremely excited when it's their turn for Rainbow to visit their home.  They always have lots of stories to share the next morning. 

They also draw pictures, take photographs, and write stories about their time with Rainbow in the journal that travels along with the teddy bear.

Rainbow is well loved in our classroom and has been a big hit with the students, and their families as well.  Take Home Teddy is just one way we facilitate making connections between a child's life at school and their home life.  Building those bridges increases retention of concepts practiced at school. In the example of Teddy's journal, we are reinforcing early literacy skills and cognitive development by having the child illustrate their adventures and then recalling and sharing them the next day, as well as encouraging the development of pre-writing skills.  
Parents, please embrace take home activities with your kiddos, there are more reasons than I could list that your child's teacher has sent them home, and they are a fabulous way to spend quality time with your children.

Teachers, what other family involvement activities have been successful in your classrooms?