Long, Lazy Days of Summer

by Cheri Lindsley

Parents often wonder about what to do with their children during the summer months.  While there is frequently pressure to keep the kids entertained, there is value and beauty in letting them experience long periods of time outside, opportunity to daydream and pretend, time to get bored and discover a remedy.   And then there's the magic of play with other children and no adult to orchestrate the activities (not the same thing as no supervision).  Moms can stay close without calling the shots.  Children need to negotiate and problem solve on their own.  Even toddlers can do this with some coaching.  

Here at First Pres Preschool, we offer 8 weeks of Summer Camp for children 3-9 years old.  Not to entertain them, but to give them opportunity to be a kid.  Here they play outside and get hot, knowing that water play and popsicles are available, and every week includes a Wacky Water Wednesday.  Here they practice executive functioning skills such as negotiation and problem solving.  They help brain storm real world solutions like how to clean out the labyrinth area and prepare it for another year.  They practice literacy, math, science and writing skills through cooking and LEGO construction.  They maintain gardens and harvest the produce.  They care for animals and observe their habits.  They interact with peers of different ages and developmental abilities and practice  patience, learn to offer help,  and how to reference peers in their areas of competence.   




An Art Studio with Young Children in Mind, and More

by Cheri Lindsley

"We like to say that the child is competent but it is not enough just to declare this.  If we really want the child to be competent, we have to change time, space, roles and rules to permit this competent child to exist."  Carlina Rinaldi, President of Reggio Children and Professor of Pedagogy at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia


A place to create and experiment,

to see possibilities and what ifs,

to discover many options and rights rather than limits and wrongs.


We're excited that the Art Studio at First Presbyterian Preschool will soon leave the realm of hopes and wishes to join the reality of hopes and wishes!  To communicate that creativity matters, that the ability to look and see what others do not is a valued life skill, that joy is found in process; these are our goals.  This space also speaks of how children are seen in our preschool.  So don't expect just Crayola.  There will be real tools, challenging materials, open-ended loose pieces to explore. 

You can also see our image of the child as strong and competent in the mixed-use design of the space.  Yes, it is shared space in a church setting.  But that's not a limitation; it's an advantage.  This Art Studio celebrates the lifelong learner, the creative energy that resides in all of us and reminds us once again of all it means to "be created in the image of God."  Preschool children ages 2-5 will use the Studio during preschool hours.  Elementary age children and teens and adults will also access the Studio and benefit from it's space. 

As Pablo Picasso said "All children are artists.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."  We envision a space where all will discover the artist that resides within.


magic paint

Fresh eyes

by Cheri Lindsley

A compelling component of Reggio philosophy is the "image of the child."  How we see children impacts how we are with children.  In contrast to many common perspectives of young children, the educators of Reggio encourage us to see children as competent, capable, strong, rich and powerful.  Yes.  Young children. 

Consider that children are capable of great discovery and learning, increasing in competence as they learn empathy and perspective-taking skills.  Young children are strong as they learn to be resilient, rich in ideas and creative energy, powerful in learning to understand their emotions and impact upon their world. 

We strive to work with children in a manner that respects who they are, not just who they are becoming.  We want fresh eyes to see children as they really are.