Monthly Reading List-March


It’s no secret that my favorite time of the day is when we snuggle in to read bed time stories. I snag the kids throughout the day and try to read a book here and there individually. However, there is just something almost magical (ok most nights) about bedtime stories. Everyone is freshly bathed and in their jammies. They are slightly sleepy and ready to snuggle. The kids tend to go through trends with the books we read so I thought it would be fun to share the books we are reading each month. Below I will compile my list of books that we are reading each month. We do some books base don themes but mostly it is books the kids have picked. Hopefully this will add some inspiration to your book buying/reading. I would love to hear what books you are reading as well!!


March has been a busy month for us. I am still recovering from surgery and this pesky gas bubble in my eye has made reading still a challenge but we have managed to get back on our normal reading routines. We started a few new books this month and revisited some old favorites. Our family value this month was Respect so we read some new books that introduced this value. We also enjoyed some new St. Patrick’s Day books. We hope you have found some great March books to read!! Happy reading!!!

The Grouchy Lady Bug (Value Book-Respect)

Product Details

This beloved Eric Carle classic returns once again in a colorful new board book format. For generations, The Grouchy Ladybug has delighted readers of all ages with the story of a bad-tempered bug who won’t say “please” or “thank you,” won’t share, and thinks she is bigger and better than anyone else. As children follow the Grouchy Ladybug on her journey, they will learn the important concepts of time, size, and shape, as well as the benefits of friendship and good manners.

My Mouth is a Volcano (Value Book-Respect)

All of Louis thoughts are very important to him. In fact, his thoughts are so important to him that when he has something to say, his words begin to wiggle, and then they do the jiggle, then his tongue pushes all of his important words up against his teeth and he erupts, or interrupts others. His mouth is a volcano! My Mouth Is A Volcano takes an empathetic approach to the habit of interrupting and teaches children a witty technique to capture their rambunctious thoughts and words for expression at an appropriate time. Told from Louis’ perspective, this story provides parents, teachers, and counselors with an entertaining way to teach children the value of respecting others by listening and waiting for their turn to speak.

Interrupting Chickens (Value Book-Respect)

Product DetailsA favorite joke inspires this charming tale, in which a little chicken’s habit of interrupting bedtime stories is gleefully turned on its head.

It’s time for the little red chicken’s bedtime story —and a reminder from Papa to try not to interrupt. But the chicken can’t help herself! Whether the tale is HANSEL AND GRETEL or LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD or even CHICKEN LITTLE, she jumps into the story to save its hapless characters from doing some dangerous or silly thing. Now it’s the little red chicken’s turn to tell a story, but will her yawning papa make it to the end without his own kind of interrupting? Energetically illustrated with glowing colors —and offering humorous story-within-a-story views —this all-too-familiar tale is sure to amuse (and hold the attention of ) spirited little chick.

What a Wonderful World

First recorded in 1967 by Louis Armstrong, and with sales of over one million copies, “What a Wonderful World” has become a poignant message of hope for people everywhere. Sweet and positive in its message, with bright, beautiful art, this book is sure to be a hit. Perfect for sharing!

The Way I Act (Value Book-Respect)

A companion to Cain s award-winning 2000 title, The Way I Feel, The Way I Act uses detailed illustrations, type faces and vivid color to complement the simple verses that explain character traits like compassion and bravery. With verses created by Metzger, The Way I Act follows the pattern established by The Way I Feel, introducing a wide variety of character traits, including some not usually attributed to young children. Metzger s carefully crafted text is sensitive and free of bias and slang. Together with Cain s sometimes zany characters, The Way I Act shows scenarios that kids can identify with peering at bugs with a magnifying glass, making a bed, finishing a puzzle, sweeping up a mess. The text cites even more examples that define words such as curious, responsible, persistent and capable. As Metzger points out, the scenarios on each two-page spread let kids imagine how they might act on a curlicue slide, when meeting new children, when an elderly grandparent needs help. Chicago-based Cain made her debut with The Way I Feel, now available in Spanish as Así me siento yo, and as a board book. In print: almost 1.5 million copies. She is also the author of Roonie B. Moonie (Illumination Arts). Metzger, an executive with Scholastic Inc., has written more than 60 books for preschoolers, most published by Scholastic.

Bedtime for Batman

When a dark night comes to the big city, one little super hero prepares for a great adventure . . . bedtime! He dons his pajama uniform, speeds upstairs, cleans up the nightly grime, and keeps watch from his towering bunk bed. Written by award-winning author Michael Dahl (Goodnight Baseball, Goodnight Football, and Goodnight Hockey) and illustrated by Ethen Beavers (DC Super Friends), this bedtime tale will have Batman fans, young and old, delighting in their nightly routines. Bedtime for Batman is the perfect way to say goodnight to your little Dark Knight.

The Wonderful Things you Can Do

Product Details

From brave and bold to creative and clever, Emily Winfield Martin’s rhythmic rhyme expresses all the loving things that parents think of when they look at their children. With beautiful, and sometimes humorous, illustrations, and a clever gatefold with kids in costumes, this is a book grown-ups will love reading over and over to kids—both young and old. A great gift for any occasion, but a special stand-out for baby showers, birthdays, and graduation. The Wonderful Things You Will Be has a loving and truthful message that will endure for lifetimes.

Dragons Love Tacos

Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of tacos. Unfortunately, where there are tacos, there is also salsa. And if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa . . . oh, boy. You’re in red-hot trouble.

Goodnight Construction Site

As the sun sets behind the big construction site, all the hardworking trucks get ready to say goodnight. One by one, Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator finish their work and lie down to rest—so they’ll be ready for another day of rough and tough construction play! With irresistible artwork by best-selling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld and sweet, rhyming text, this book will have truck lovers of all ages begging for more.


Monthly Reading List-February


It’s no secret that my favorite time of the day is when we snuggle in to read bed time stories. I snag the kids throughout the day and try to read a book here and there individually. However, there is just something almost magical (ok most nights) about bedtime stories. Everyone is freshly bathed and in their jammies. They are slightly sleepy and ready to snuggle. The kids tend to go through trends with the books we read so I thought it would be fun to share the books we are reading each month. Below I will compile my list of books that we are reading each month. We do some books base don themes but mostly it is books the kids have picked. Hopefully this will add some inspiration to your book buying/reading. I would love to hear what books you are reading as well!!\


February was a very hard month at our house. I had to have emergency eye surgery at the beginning of the month. That means for the past month I have not been able to see much at all. This has meant my husband has been in charge of bedtime stories or we have used Audio books to read together. I have SO missed reading to the kids!! For the first time last night I was able to squint my way through two books. At the end both my kids said “wow mom you did a good job”, I appreciated the encouragement!!

Our February family value was “Love”, it seemed only fitting to put love in February. So some of our books were focused on the topic. It has been a crazy month at our house and I am so happy to be welcoming in March and hopefully a full recovery!!!


Love Monster

Love Monster is a slightly hairy monster trying to fit in with the cuddly residents of Cutesville. But as it turns out, it’s hard to fit in with the cute and the fluffy when you’re a googly-eyed monster. And so, Love Monster sets out to find someone who will love him just the way he is. His journey is not easy―he looks high, low, and even middle-ish. But as he soon finds out, in the blink of a googly eye, love can find you when you least expect it.

Love Monster and the Last Chocolate

When Love Monster comes home from vacation, he discovers a box of chocolates on his doorstep. He knows he should share it with his friends, but what if there’s none left for him after everyone has a piece? What if they take his favorite-the double chocolate strawberry swirl? And even worse-what if the only piece left is the coffee-flavored one? Ick! In the end, Love Monster learns that sharing with friends is the sweetest treat of all.

Pete the Cat: Valentines Day is Cool

Join Pete in New York Times bestselling author James Dean’s Pete the Cat picture book series, as Pete has a Valentine’s Day adventure—complete with poster, punch-out valentine cards, and stickers!

Llama Llama I Love You

With short and simple rhyming text, the Llama Llama board books introduce Llama Llama to babies and toddlers before they’re ready for longer full-length stories. And their small size and durable pages are perfect for little hands.

In Llama Llama I Love You, little llama shows his friends and family how much he loves them with heart-shaped cards and lots of hugs. What could be sweeter than Llama Llama on Valentine’s Day?

Pinkalicious: Pink of Hearts

Pinkalicious loves Valentine’s Day!

Everyone in her class is assigned to make an extra-special Valentine’s Day card for one person in the class. Pinkalicious creates a magnificently pinkerrific card. Will the valentine that she gets in return measure up?

Love Is

Perfect for any fond gift or tender moment, this story of a girl and a duckling who share a touching year together will melt hearts old and young. In this tenderly funny book, girl and duckling grow in their understanding of what it is to care for each other, discovering that love is as much about letting go as it is about holding tight. Children and parents together will adore this fond exploration of growing up while learning about the joys of love offered and love returned.

If I Built a Car

If i built a car, it?d be totally new! Here are a few of the things that i?d do. . . .? Jack has designed the ultimate fantasy car. inspired by zeppelins and trains, Cadillacs and old planes, with brilliant colors and lots of shiny chrome, this far-out vision is ready to cruise! there?s a fireplace, a pool, and even a snack bar! After a tour of the ritzy interior, robert the robot starts up the motor . . . and Jack and his dad set off on the wildest test drive ever!

Iggy Peck, Architect

A hilarious, irreverent book about doing your own thing

Meet Iggy Peck—creative, independent, and not afraid to express himself! In the spirit of David Shannon’s No, David and Rosemary Wells’s Noisy Nora, Iggy Peck will delight readers looking for irreverent, inspired fun.

Iggy has one passion: building. His parents are proud of his fabulous creations, though they’re sometimes surprised by his materials—who could forget the tower he built of dirty diapers? When his second-grade teacher declares her dislike of architecture, Iggy faces a challenge. He loves building too much to give it up! With Andrea Beaty’s irresistible rhyming text and David Roberts’s puckish illustrations, this book will charm creative kids everywhere, and amuse their sometimes bewildered parents.

Dragons Love Tacos

Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of tacos. Unfortunately, where there are tacos, there is also salsa. And if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa . . . oh, boy. You’re in red-hot trouble.

Groundhog Day Books We Love

Groundhog Day is approaching quickly. Those of us who have experienced long cold winters are hopeful that Punxsutawney Phil won’t see his shadow and we can expect an early spring. Groundhog Day gives us a chance to implement fun activities and read great books with our children. Below is a list of the books we are reading this year in preparation for Groundhog Day.

Groundhog Day Books we Love:

Groundhog Day

Every February 2, people all across the country wonder about the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. Will he see his shadow on that day or won’t he? Will spring come early or late? Here is information about Groundhog Day, its origins, and the animal at the center of this delightful annual event.

Groundhog Gets a Say

There’s so much more to being a groundhog than just putting on a show once a year, and Groundhog has decided it’s time to tell the world the Hog truth. With the help of a few of his fans, Groundhog is ready to tell everything about himself, from how loud he can whistle (loud), to how fast he can run (not fast), to how many things he uses his teeth for (a lot). Groundhog may be full of himself, but chances are good that, by the end of this book, you’ll agree he’s pretty wonderful! From the illustrator of the Junie B. Jones books and the author of the Melvil & Dewey books comes a funny, fact-filled look at what happens when one very proud groundhog speaks out.

Groundhog Weather School

Ever wonder where Groundhog Day first began? Want to know the reason why we have different weather seasons? Curious about how some plants and animals can help predict the weather? Learn the answers to these questions and many more at Groundhog Weather School!

This clever story—starring a cast of lovable groundhog characters—is a fresh, informative, and fun look at Groundhog Day through the eyes of the animals who are the stars of it each year.

Groundhog’s Day Off

Every year, people ask Groundhog the same, boring old question. Is spring around the corner? Or are we doomed to more winter? Sure, they care about his shadow, but what about him and his interests? He’s had enough! Groundhog packs his bags and sets out for a much-needed vacation.

Now the town is holding auditions to find someone to fill his spot. None of the animals seem right for the job, though. Not Elephant, not Ostrich, and most certainly not Puppy. No one has Groundhog’s flair for the dramatic, but is it too late to woo him back into the spotlight?

With a fresh take on a familiar event and bold, lively illustrations, this hilarious picture book will leave readers wishing it was Groundhog’s Day year-round.

Groundhog’s Dilemma

After Groundhog announces six more weeks of winter, half his animal friends are disappointed, while the other half are excited. Each animal asks Groundhog to make his prediction in their favor the following year. Rather than being truthful about the fact that he just “calls it like he sees it,” he leads them to believe he can control the weather, accepting their gifts of food and favor. On the next Groundhog Day, he finally admits he made promises he couldn’t keep because he was trying to please everyone and makes amends.

Matt Faulkner’s rich illustrations are packed with hilarious details that will delight readers of all ages. No matter what weather the Groundhog predicts, curling up with this fun book is a great way to spend the winter.

10 Grouchy Groundhogs

In this alliterative countdown book, ten groundhogs cannot wait for winter to end so they can get out of their den!

Ten grouchy groundhogs
Crowded in their den,
They squirmed and they stretched
And then…then…then…

TEN GROUCHY GROUNDHOGS is a hilarious countdown story about a den of grouchy, grubby, gobbling, gabby, giggly, groovy, graceful, glitzy, gleeful, groggy groundhogs getting ready for their great big day.

Go to Sleep Groundhog

Poor Groundhog just can’t sleep. He tosses. He turns. Finally, he gets out of bed and goes exploring. Outside his burrow he finds amazing sights he has never seen before: glowing jack-o’-lanterns, gobbling turkeys, and sparkling holiday lights. But shouldn’t Groundhog be in bed? With no sleep how will he be able to get up for his big day?

Monthly Reading List


It’s no secret that my favorite time of the day is when we snuggle in to read bed time stories. I snag the kids throughout the day and try to read a book here and there individually. However, there is just something almost magical (ok most nights) about bedtime stories. Everyone is freshly bathed and in their jammies. They are slightly sleepy and ready to snuggle. The kids tend to go through trends with the books we read so I thought it would be fun to share the books we are reading each month. Below I will compile my list of books that we are reading each month. We do some books base don themes but mostly it is books the kids have picked. Hopefully this will add some inspiration to your book buying/reading. I would love to hear what books you are reading as well!!

January 2016:

This month we began our family value lessons for the year. This means many of our books centered around our family value of courage. If you want more information on our family value system please click here to read the blog post describing it. We have some favorites that have also resurfaced this month. I love to see my children’s personalities come out in the books they choose.

Books about Courage:

The Recess Queen

A fresh & original twist on the common issue of bullying. Kids will relate, & parents & teachers will appreciate the story’s deft handling of conflict resolution (which happens w/o adult intervention)

I’m Brave

For fans of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site and Steam Train, Dream Train comes the perfect noisy addition to this hilarious read-aloud series from the popular creators of I Stink!, and I’m Dirty!—now a streaming animated series!

I’m Brave! is the most irresistible addition yet to Kate and Jim McMullan’s hilarious read-aloud series: a fire truck.

He’s a big red engine
With a siren,
A horn,
A tank full of water,
And a whole lotta hose!

He’s a good-lookin’ fire truck,
And he’s brave, too.
When the alarm sounds
He’s gotta drive through
Smoke and heat
Straight to a blazing fire!

Honk! Honk!

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage To Be Who You Are

How can Ralph be so mean? Lucy is one of a kind and Ralph loves to point that out. Lucy’s defining moment comes when Ralph truly needs help. Because she knows what she stands for, Lucy has the courage to make a good choice. This charming story empowers children to always do the right thing and be proud of themselves, even when they are faced with someone as challenging as Ralph.


What is courage? Certainly it takes courage for a firefighter to rescue someone trapped in a burning building, but there are many other kinds of courage too. Everyday kinds that normal, ordinary people exhibit all the time, like “being the first to make up after an argument,” or “going to bed without a nightlight.” Bernard Waber explores the many varied kinds of courage and celebrates the moments, big and small, that bring out the hero in each of us.

The Story Of Ruby Bridges

The year is 1960, and six-year-old Ruby Bridges and her family have recently moved from Mississippi to New Orleans in search of a better life. When a judge orders Ruby to attend first grade at William Frantz Elementary, an all-white school, Ruby must face angry mobs of parents who refuse to send their children to school with her. Told with Robert Coles’ powerful narrative and dramatically illustrated by George Ford, Ruby’s story of courage, faith, and hope is now available in this special 50th anniversary edition with an updated afterword!

Old Favorites:

Who Needs That Nose

This dynamic picture book for preschoolers is an animal guessing game told in riddle style. One spread gives a visual hint showing a close-up of the nose and other clues about the animal, and then asks, Who needs that nose? The following spread shows the animal in full and answers the riddle. Bold, lively illustrations with lots of details and fun design help make this picture book a thoughtful, interactive read for little ones. The riddle element makes this a perfect choice for group storytime. Who Needs That Nose? features six different animals with distinctive noses, including elephants, bats, moles, whales, anteaters, and monkeys. Kids will come back to this book again and again, eager to show how much they know!

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

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Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.

Peanut Butter and Cupcake

What’s a little piece of bread to do when he’s feeling lonely? Find a friend, of course!

And that’s exactly what Peanut Butter tries to do. But sometimes friends are hard to come by, especially when Hamburger has to walk his (hot) dogs, Cupcake is too busy building castles in her sprinkle box, and Egg laughs so hard he starts to crack up! Does Peanut Butter have a soulmate? Young readers will know the answer long before Peanut Butter does and laugh along with each mismatched pairing.

In a story that pairs silliness with poignancy, and friendship with anthropomorphic food, Terry Border, the photography mastermind behind the Bent Objects project, makes a triumphant entrance into the children’s book world. Complete with a rhyming refrain, this is sure to be a favorite family read-aloud–and laugh-aloud.

November 2016

This month I have been focusing on teaching the kids about being thankful and what Thanksgiving is all about. Both kids are still loving the same characters we have seen throughout the months and we have also integrated some new finds such as Turkey Trouble. Enjoy!!

Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey

The Berenstain Bears Give Thanks

Turkey Trouble

Little Critter: Just a Special Thanksgiving

Pinkalicious: Thanksgiving Helper


October 2016

This month our reading is all about Halloween. October is my favorite month by far!! It has alot to do with the weather, my Birthday and my love for Halloween and everything pumpkin. You will see many of our favorite characters getting ready for Halloween in these books. Pete the Cat, Pinkalicous, and the Little Blue Truck. We have also found some new favorites such as Ten Timid Ghosts.

The Spooky Wheels on the Bus

Room on The Broom

Little Blue Truck’s Halloween

Ten Timid Ghosts

The Little Old Lady who was not Afraid of Anything

Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins

Goodnight Goon: a Petrifying Parody

Weekend Medley

Image result for weekendHappy Weekend!!

This weekend we are busy with everything Pumpkin! Trying to get Halloween costumes finalized and baking lots of fun pumpkin treats. I have a fun compilation of articles to read this weekend. I will be posted some fun Halloween activities and reads this week as well. Enjoy!!!

Parenting in Education

“As millions of children headed back to school earlier this month, educators across the nation prepared their classrooms and lesson plans with high hopes for a successful academic year. While the learning that takes place within those classroom walls is undeniably important, we must remember that it does not represent the entirety of a child’s educational experience. This week, as we celebrate National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, we must focus on a critical, and often overlooked, component of K-12 student success: parents.”

50 Fabulous Fall Books

Art from Discarded Books

“Valcarcel says she creates these sculptures from books that have been thrown away for one reason or another. Sometimes she rescues them from refuse bins, secondhand shops that can’t move them, and even libraries that incinerate unwanted or damaged books to make room for new ones. In fact, she’s developed such a reputation for repurposing books that friends bring her books they no longer want or need. “

Pick Me! Pick Me! The Teacher


The teacher plays a huge role in your preschool selection. You as the parent and also the child need to feel comfortable with the teacher. You need to be able to form a relationship with them and feel comfortable leaving them to teach and care for your child while you are away from them.

When looking for characteristics of a quality program you want to look for teachers that are interacting in the classroom. The preschool class is a learning environment. The teacher is there to do more then just “watch” the children. They need to be down on the floor interacting and facilitating learning. Even during free play teachers should be interacting with the children. If you observe the teacher interacting with the other teachers more then the children you should recognize this as a problem. Teachers should be putting into practice the skills they learned in school. They need to be questioning children, challenging them to use critical thinking skills, rephrasing or elaborating on what the child has said. The interactions should be quality teaching moments not just directing or interacting when behaviors warrant it. As a parent there are signs you can watch for. Does the teacher have a good rapport with the parents and other teachers? When my daughter’s Prek teacher told us at the end of the year that she would not be returning I had to fight back tears. She had been such a huge part of our life. Is there a strong rapport with the children? When watching the teacher in the classroom or interacting with the child you should see them getting down on the child’s level so they can make eye contact while talking and listening. Using appropriate touch, as a preschool teacher there is nothing better then those sweet preschool hugs!! They should use positive guidance in their classroom management. One of the most important characteristics is to show passion for what they are doing. Ideally low child to teacher ratios. I would also look at the teacher’s education. I would want to make sure the teacher is “highly qualified”.

When meeting with the director of the program or the teacher having questions ready is a great idea to help the process go smoothly and make sure all your questions are answered. It is good to use some of the below terms in your discussions. If the teacher is unfamiliar with them this might be a red flag.

  • What is your teaching philosophy? What are your philosophies on play vs. academics?
  • What type of communication can I expect from the program? In Epstein’s theory of parental involvement she lays out some suggestions for what a communication system should look like. In addition to an open door policy it is beneficial to see communication systems such as newsletters, educational material, home/school learning, training for parents, etc.
  • How are behavior issues handled? This is where I would hope to hear terms such as “positive guidance”.
  • What do you do for children who might have a suspected delay or disability? What services are available?
  • How does your program encourage developmentally appropriate practices?
  • What are the parent volunteer requirements? How can I help as a parent? You want a program that encourages lots of parent involvement. Your child’s education should be a partnership.

This is my dream list! It is important that as a parent you read through this list and choose what components you feel are important to you. This is my list, it might look very different from what you would be looking for. Remember it is important that you love your preschool and feel comfortable there. Being appreciated as a parent and feeling like you are a partner is a huge piece. Remember if you feel uncomfortable with the center you child will pick up on this. Picking a preschool can be a tough choice. However, once you find the right fit it is a wonderful experience!

Pick Me! Pick ME! Choosing the Right Preschool-The Environment

The Classroom Environment

Image result for preschool design

Each semester I teach a course that includes a classroom design assignment. In the beginning I do a small imagination activity with my students. I tell them “Close your eyes, and start to imagine. What would your dream classroom look like? What colors would you use to paint and decorate? What type of furniture would you include? What would be the arrangement of your room? Imagine the types of manipulatives and centers you would have.” I tell them to visualize this classroom see it, smell it, feel it make it real in their minds. We imagine for a few minutes and then they design it using a graphic design program. The following list is my “dream” list, it is the program I see when I close my eyes. It is a “dream” list because most likely you will not find a program that encompasses everything on the list. This doesn’t mean the program isn’t a good one. I have seen high quality programs who have not hit every item on my dream list. These are just my “dream” characteristics and are great characteristics to look for when choosing a program.

When you walk into my ideal preschool it needs to be inviting, this is nonnegotiable! This doesn’t mean fancy, it means you feel welcome when you walk in. The classroom needs to be child-centered, again a must! The room needs to be bright and print rich with children’s artwork displayed, at their level. The room needs to be welcoming to your child and well organized so that the individual activities are distinguishable. I realize not all preschools have loads of room or endless budgets. This is a very important reason for room organization.

My ideal room would include the following areas:

  1. Dramatic Play- This area is usually dominated by a kitchen set. There is so much learning that takes place in this area. Language and social skills blossom in the dramatic play area. In addition, we see the development of problem-solving and symbolic thinking. All of these skills form the foundation for future academic success. This area would ideally change periodically. I have seen programs that have prop boxes that they change in and out. My daughter’s dramatic play area changes every few weeks with the project they are focusing on.
  2. Art (indoor/outdoor)- Ideally a few art easels would be seen here. In addition a table with materials to encourage creativity. This area would have certain staples that would remain on a daily basis. There would also be art media that would change periodically. The encouragement of art here is preferred and not so many ready made or modeled crafts. I would also like to see art carried outside with items like outdoor paints and chalk. We have an outdoor easel made of plexi glass for our kids in our backyard.
  3. Sensory Exploration- I have an obsession with sensory tables. I love mixing up gag or cloud dough to put in ours. I had my husband build one for our kids before my daughter could even stand. I was so excited to start using it with her. It doesn’t have to be fancy it can be homemade or an expensive one ordered through a magazine. The important part is it allows kids to dig and get dirty and use their senses. Ideally again the media should be switched out.
  4. Large Motor Area- This area will include large blocks and other construction type materials. So ideally it would be an open area where kids can build and move around. This area could include multiple types of large blocks, marble tracks, car or train tracks, etc. In my daughter’s classroom this area doubles as their circle time rug where they do stretches or dance as well.
  5. Small Manipulatives- This area would be devoted to smaller manipulatives such as magnatiles or legos or smaller blocks, puzzles, lacing beads, and my favorite play dough. The manipulatives in this area should promote fine motor development. Again they need to be changed out periodically. I like to see a small rug space and also a table for working. A shelf for storing bins is also very helpful!!
  6. Writing Area- This maybe an area you wouldn’t consider in a preschool classroom as many of them are not yet writing. However, we need to look at the formation or pre-writing skills and writing skills for those little ones who are developing that skill. It should include writing supplies. These could include notebooks, cards, clipboards, pencils, crayons, envelopes, etc. This is one of my daughter’s favorite centers. She loves writing letters and cards to people. Writing should be encouraged throughout the rest of the classroom in the other center. For example, when my daughter’s classroom did a project on the bakery they turned their dramatic play area into a bakery where they would make lists and take order on notepads. We also do a journal entry with our kids at drop off each day.
  7. Reading Area- This area should include a book shelf, where the books are switched out. It needs to be a welcoming area where the children want to be. This would have soft seating for the kids to get comfortable as they read. The children should have many opportunities throughout the day to be read to. In my daughter’s classroom the parents read at drop off. Then they have large group reading and throughout the day one on one reading time. This is ideal! However, the children should also have access to the books throughout the day to read individually.
  8. A Place to be Alone- This area should be a quiet area where the kids can go if they need some “me” time to relax or regroup. My daughter’s classroom added this last year and I was so happy to see it implemented. Their social/emotional specialist worked with the kids all year to recognize their feelings and she showed them how to use this area. I have seen many great examples of what this could look like. I have seen small tents or areas that are partitioned off. Ideally it should be separated from the rest of the class. It should be comfortable and quiet. We all need a place to go and recharge sometimes and kids are no different.
  9. Outside-This is another of my favorite areas. There needs to be a devoted outside area for the children. The playground needs to be safe but a natural rough play area is ideal. Most playgrounds are going to have the big plastic slides and swings. These are great don’t get me wrong but ideally I would like to see dirt, trees, sandboxes, a garden, etc. Last year I had my husband build two sandboxes to donate to our children’s school. An outdoor kitchen or dramatic play area would be ideal in addition to an outdoor sensory table and art area.