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Supporting our Community

For those of you who live in the Quad City area, we are gearing up for another fall season which means Coats for Kids is beginning.  The children in my classroom have been preparing and painting boxes for our drive.  If you can offer a location for us or spread the word, please contact me at harrisonandromahii@sau.edu

For those of you not in our area, I CHALLENGE you to do something for your community with your classroom, children, grandchildren, etc  It takes one good deed to spread like wildfire!  Then, tell us about it in the comments!

Reading Aloud to Children Part 2

My previous post gave information regarding the importance of reading aloud to children of all ages.  The article by NAEYC breaks down the ages of these children into infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners and primary-aged children.  Keep reading to find out what they have to say!


Even though infants may not be able to form sentences to discuss books with you, you are playing a large role in their development by reading aloud to them.  You are encouraging them to use their senses by listening to the story, seeing the words and pictures, and touching the pages.  If you let them get involved and point to pictures, take that as an opportunity to tell them what they are pointing at; that will become beneficial in expanding their vocabulary.  Infants pointing to pictures also represents that they are beginning to understand that pictures represent objects.  By reading aloud to infants, they will eventually grasp onto concepts about print, such as book orientation (knowing which way a book is held) and directionality (knowing which way to turn the pages).

When looking at what types of books will be the most enjoyable and developmentally appropriate for infants, the first two words that come to my mind would be interactive and durable.  Board books will be your saving grace with infants.  Not only are they durable, they are also much easier for infants to grasp.  Cloth and vinyl books would also be appropriate for this age.   Books that infants will find interesting are those that include rhyming, bright pictures, familiar objects, sounds, lift the flap, and ones that include various textures.  Engage your infant as much as possible by letting them repeat words, turn pages, and describe to them what is happening in the pictures.


Toddlers are beginning to be able to make connections between books and real life.  Reading aloud with toddlers increases their vocabulary and listening skills.  Toddlers love when they are able to participate and this also helps keep them engaged.  They love books with rhyming, predictable words they can remember, and flannel stories.  Children at this age are becoming more and more curious.  Support this by reading books that they are interested in.  Books about emotions and self-help skills are beneficial for toddlers.  They are able to connect these books to what is currently happening in their development.  They are growing enough that they are able to discuss these elements with you and love to tell you what they are thinking.


Preschool-age children are beginning to develop higher-order thinking skills.  With that, they will begin to be able to talk about characters, settings, and plot, and be able to relate them to their own lives.  They are building their vocabularies and noticing that book language differs from spoken language.  Their understanding of print concepts becomes increasingly more advanced as well.  Children at this age are beginning to understand that the words in a book are spoken words written down, letters in words are written in a specific order, and that words are separated by spaces.

When reading books, start by choosing books that are relatable to what is happening in their development and lives.  These books should promote their curiosity; read books about topics they are interested in as well as introducing new topics.  I see this so often with project work.  The children are reading and examining books that are about their topic of choice.  Phonemic awareness is a big part of development for children at this age, so find books that include poems, rhymes, and alliterations.  Begin to expand with them by explaining all the parts of the book to them (title, author, illustrator, etc), have them make predictions and ask questions that make them think (“Why do you think she did that?”).

Kindergarteners and Primary School Children:

I feel that I too often hear that once children learn how to read, it becomes unnecessary for them to be read to.  That statement is false and here is why.  Not only are they growing from the three previous stages, but they are also becoming exposed to various writing styles and structures and determining what and whom they prefer.  We can now begin to read them more difficult texts, such as chapter books.  I observed in a third grade classroom where the teacher would read a chapter aloud to her students everyday.  I thought this was great because the children were so engulfed in the book and it was evident they were still enjoying it.  Another great aspect of books for older children is that many of them are series.  Children have the ability to become more motivated to read and see what happens between the characters throughout the different books.  Once again, discussion should be a prominent component of reading.  This can be done to check for comprehension as well as getting the children to think deeper about the plot, their own opinions and reactions, and compare and contrast other books they have read.

Children are constantly developing and by reading aloud to them, we are supporting those areas.  There is so much that children can learn through books; from as simple as touching the pages to reflecting on what they might do if they were ever in the same position as a certain character.  Their language is growing tremendously, as well as their interests.  Read, read, read, and let your child’s imagination soar.

Interested in more information, tips, and strategies about reading aloud to children?  Follow the link to check out the full article!


Stay tuned for more,

~ Chelsea

A visit to Happy Joe’s


You guessed it! We made it to Happy Joe’s! The children have been working over the course of the last few months learning about Happy Joe’s, the types of Pizza they make, what they need to make their pizza’s, what they might wear, what materials they might need to do their jobs, and the routine of a Happy Joe’s store.  We still had some unanswered questions, so we toured the building.  We learned so much while there!  Each of the children had the opportunity to make their own pizza’s.

We were able to answer several of our questions but now are beginning to wonder some more things which we will begin to investigate. Stay tuned for more updates from our trip!


A new addition

I am happy to announce that we will have a new addition joining the blog! Chelsea Rakuc came to St. Ambrose University to obtain a degree in Early Childhood.  She came to our lab school to fulfill her field experience hours and from day one she captured our hearts!  Her passion for children and teaching was evident from day one!  We had to ask her to work for us when she was not in class or fulfilling her required practicum hours.  I have seen her grow and flourish into a wonderful young woman.  As I watched her this summer participate and support the University, the trainers, and the trainees in the Summer Institute  (yes, this was with the AMAZING Lilian Katz); I saw her excitement and dream of training, teaching, and supporting others happen.  I approached her and asked if she would be willing to share her insights, reflections, and what she is learning while she is taking her last semester of classes and then continue as she student teach.  As teachers, we always seem to be wanting to learn more (we seem to never want to leave school!) and I can’t wait to learn the information she will be sharing with us!

Below is her Biography.  I will also add it to the About section on our blog.  Begin to look at new posts from her beginning this month!

Hi!  My name is Chelsea Rakuc and I am a senior at St. Ambrose University.  I am studying Early Childhood Education with an endorsement in Special Education.  I have been a part of the Children’s Campus family since 2011, working as a student worker in both the Leapfrogs and the Dragonflies.  I am preparing to begin my student teaching in the spring in the North Scott school district in a first grade and early childhood special education preschool classroom.  I feel that teaching is all about creating an environment for children where they feel safe, are engaged in learning, and learn in a way that allows them to express who they are and what they are interested in.  I am so excited that Mahi is giving me the opportunity to share her blog site and I hope that you all follow me on my journey!  I want to share my perspective and my observations in various practicum settings and student teaching.  I cannot wait to share my findings, thoughts, reflections, and passion that I have for young children.


Coats for Kids Round up!

Fellow bloggers and friends,

I would like to begin by thanking you in advance for your support.  We have decided to continue our support towards the Coats for Kids campaign again this year by gathering winter apparel for men, women, and children.  The items that are being collected include gently used or new coats, boots, shoes, clothing, hats, and gloves.

We are currently looking for volunteers as we begin to prepare for this event.  Our volunteers can help us in many ways such as:

  • Donating large boxes to gather coats
  • Taking coats to Burke Cleaners
  • Keeping a box at your location of employment to gather coats
  • Getting the word out to your colleagues, friends, and family to gather as many coats as possible

Last year we had eight locations!  We also had 213 coats and 55 miscellaneous items collected, and this year we would like to collect even more!

If you would be interested in helping and would like to donate your time with the above tasks, or have new idea of your own, please let me know. Again, thank you for your support.

Andromahi I Harrison

St. Ambrose University Children’s Campus

1301 W. Lombard St.

Davenport, IA 52804



SAU Students

Our SAU students have been in full swing this last month and have been finishing their hours this last week.  Stay tuned for some posts about the lessons that the girls presented to the children that coincided with our project work and the children’s questions. For those of you tuning into our blog for the first time, we are a lab school for the University and receive students in all grade levels to observe, teach lessons, and learn about Early Childhood.  Each class has a different set of expectations that we help the student follow when they are with us.


As a lab school for the University we have students come and go. Each group of students has a different “job” when they are in our classrooms. As they get further into their studies, they begin to teach lessons and try out new materials in the classroom. This semester, we have a group of six girls who are coming in our classroom two days a week. During this time they are learning how to implement project work. For those of you who are new to project work, project work is an in-depth investigation on a topic. This topic can be uncovered for as little as six weeks and as long as months.

This group of girls has already made a web (we call an anticipatory web) of where they think the children will go which is complete with our curriculum objectives and dimensions. They then completed a knowledge web with the children. They also started and will continue to add-on to the children’s question web over the course of the next few weeks. Thus ending Phase One of the project.  We are starting Phase Two of the project which is investigation including hands on learning! Our favorite part!

We have already gathered several resources (Thanks to anyone who has already let us borrow items) but are still in need of the following items:

  • sheet music
  • music stands
  • scripts
  • stage make up
  • pictures of musicals
  • props from a musical
  • tickets/ticket stubs
  • costumes from a musical

The girls brought in their first item this week for the children to investigate which was a light from a real musical!! The children spent time sketching, predicating (and dictating to the students), and experimenting with the light.   They have also been trying to figure out how and what items are needed to change the color of the lighting when needed. We will continue to explore the light over the course of the next few days learning the names of the pieces and buttons and learning more about how it works.





How do we use technology in the classroom?

Technology in a preschool room?  You watch movies and cartoons on it!  How many computers have you gone through?

These are all statements that I have heard when I tell others that we use technology as a part of our every day routine.  As our children continue to become more and more proficient with the technologies of our lives, I felt it was important to share with you all our children can do with the technologies.


  • google a question
  • today we put up a picture of a cheetah and a leopard to find out the difference between the two
  • listen to music
  • play educational apps
  • find out the weather
  • use the timer to find out how fast or how long something took
  • sketch items from the computer/IPad
  • visit websites to add to our project work or answer questions
  • email a family to touch base with them with a child’s work
  • use the app associated with our assessment system
  • upload photos to our family facebook or shutterfly accounts

Smart Board/Projectors

  • enhances our project work by showing videos of actual events, items, machines
  • use to write words
  • use to follow directions to dances or exercise with
  • use to listen to stories
  • use as a background to our work (the scenary to a play, water for our island)
  • identify words
  • create shadows
  • view a powerpoint of information for children or create one with what has been learned thus far

Cameras/Video Cameras

  • view and take pictures from
  • review something that happened and retell the story
  • share accomplishments
  • video tape the childrens work and then see what needs to be added next time to enhance the details (this has worked with our plays)
  • sharing the first time a child accomplishes something in your room

How do you use technology in your classroom? Home?  What can we add to this list? Why is it important to your room!


Enjoy the technology around you!





Blood Drive

Hello faithful blog followers,

We need your help to support our school and the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center’s Lifesavings Program.  Please ask friends, family, and co-workers to sign up for our drive.  Have  more questions! Comment below!

Blood Drive

The St. Ambrose University Children’s Campus

 Wednesday, February 27, 2013

1:00 to 5:30 call Tami or Deb to book a time (333-5799)

or email Deb atbrownsondebraa@sau.edu.

We can and will begin before 1:00 and stay later than 5:30 if that makes it easier for you to give.

 The blood center’s mobile donor unit will be in the parking lot of the Children’s Campus

This drive is being held as part of the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center’s Lifesavings Program,

and will earn a grant for the Children’s Campus.


You have an excellent opportunity to support two great causes!

Creating a Dinner Theatre

This morning as I entered the room, the children were already in full swing of creating a dinner theatre. Our classroom is a long rectangular shape and the block center is across from our family living area. Next to our family living area is a loft. Addison (4.10), Lydia (5.3), and Drake (5.3) had already moved a small table to block center, covered it with a table cloth, added a vase, and four chairs. They moved the couch to face the area where they were going to do their production. As I walked in the children said, “Mahi, we need a stage! We can’t make a dinner theatre without one.” Lydia shares, “I know I’ve seen one out there. No one is using it and we NEED (large emphasis on this word from her) it to continue our work. We can’t learn about theatres without one!” As a teacher, How can you turn this phenomenal moment down? I couldn’t!

A couple boys helped Kara, our assistant, bring the block of wood we dubbed as stage. We rearranged the block area and family living area to make this possible. The children decided the stage needed to be placed near the loft so that they could use the area under the loft as the costume room. Children began assigning roles to other children and/or encouraging them to sign up for specific jobs. In a matter o f minutes, each child who was at school had a role and was preparing for their job. As more friends entered the classroom, they were given a duty and play continued. This play continued for one to two hours depending on the time children arrived at school. The production turned into a musical which was acted out several times so children could take turns with various roles.

Until next time-





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