Tricounty News

News from Early Childhood Family Education

By Diane Binsfeld

PLS/ECFE Assistant

Spring classes for ECFE are just around the corner. We have lots of room in our Thursday evening and Friday morning classes in Watkins. Please call today for information, (320) 398-7700 Ext. 218.

We are having a great time in our Kimball Cubs Club Enrichment Program. Have you ever heard of us? We are a program for 4-and 5-year old children in preschool that provides them a caring and learning environment for the school hours that they are not in preschool. So if they do preschool in the morning, they can then go to the Enrichment program for the rest of the day. Parents don't have to worry about how to get children to or from home in the middle of the day. We also provide some full days of service for the days that they do not have preschool. With today's busy schedules, it is a really a nice choice for families who need all day care for their preschoolers. Last year, we provided care for 13 children part-and full-time, and this year we have grown to 22 children, both the parents and the children loved it.

This year, so far in our Enrichment Program, some of the things that we have learned about are colors, numbers, recognizing their names, and practice-writing their names. We have also learned school rules, such as being in lines, being quiet in the halls, and having respect for teachers, and their new friends. By the time they get to kindergarten, they already know the rules and where everything is in the school.

This week we have talked about snow, how it happens and we did snowflake art. I also have the doctor and veterinarian box out. It has everything a good doctor or vet would need. We even have doctor and nurse outfits for them to wear. They are having a lot of great pretend play that can include the whole group. Wonderful!

We have also started to go into Mrs. Niemi's class and the 5th graders read to the Enrichment kids twice a month. It encourages reading for the fifth graders and our 4-and 5-year olds, and creates a school-community connection where the young and older kids make friends with each other. It is so cute to see the older kids are now so happy to see the little ones.

Next week we will begin having some high school kids come into our room for an hour and they will set up centers for the Enrichment kids to go to and learn a new craft, read books, and do small and large motor activities with them. What a great opportunity for young and old. The small kids are learning some new things from the big kids, and in turn, the big kids are learning what it would be like to teach and care for small kids. It also, again, creates that community connection with older kids who will interact and help out the small kids. I call that a winning situation for everyone.

We learn the days of the week and keep a calendar. We show all of the holidays and our friends' birthdays every month. We also talk about seasons, learn how to count all the days in the month, and check out the weather. It is really fun, the way learning should be.

At our Enrichment program, we like to learn while playing, and having fun with our friends. If you are interested in our Cubs Club Enrichment program for 4 or 5 year olds, or have questions, feel free to call any time. We would love to help you with your preschooler's child-care needs. You can contact us at Kimball Elementary: Maggie Lundorff (320) 398-7700 Ext. 218, or Lisa Silbernagel (Enrichment Program lead) (320) 398-7700 Ext. 217.