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Sunday, September 3rd, 2006
12:31 am - Spiritual Lessons from Play dough

So I'm making play dough tonight for sunday school tomorrow.

What's the spiritual lesson, you ask? Learning to trust the process.

Here's the recipe:

3 cups flour
1 cup salt
3 tbsp. cream of tartar
3 cups water
3 tbsp. oil

You mix all the dry ingredients in a big saucepan, then mix in the water one cup at a time. Then the oil. At this point, you've pretty much got a saline flour soup going on. It said in the directions "If this is the first time you've made this, you'll think it can't possibly work. Have faith--heat will transform it." I did, in fact, have precisely this reaction: a moment of mild panic, thinking, "Crap. Somehow this is way too much water. This is never going to come together." I had to resist the urge to tinker, to put more flour in to thicken it up.

You heat it on low (I used 3 on our stove, so medium-low) for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Faith in the process. Faith in the process. We'll try it their way before going online to get another recipe. It really was an act of will not to try to "fix" things.

Lo and behold, along about minute 6 of the stirring, lumps magically appeared--didn't even get hot enough to boil, which is the standard thickening point for flour-based sauces. So it must be something about the crapload of salt that's in there, and perhaps the cream of tartar. In any case, by minute 8, it's starting to really congeal and get hard to stir, and sure enough, by minute 10, I've got hot, off-white play dough. (My son at this point, as I turn it out of the pan onto a cookie sheet to cool, says hopefully "Potatoes?" Mashed potatoes is basically the color we're talking here. Alas, my son, no mashed potatoes today. But I also learned that you can make a 2-year-old's day by letting him add some food coloring to homemade play dough and turn it, in this case, yellow.)

So, at this point, I've learned a valuable spiritual lesson. I'm not entirely sure what life-process I should be trusting now, but, by gum, I'm gonna trust some damn process or other, I can assure you.

Thus endeth the lesson.

As you were.

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Sunday, August 27th, 2006
11:24 pm - August 27 class

Today we were happy to see some new faces and some familiar ones, as well! We had about six participants in class, and another day of fun at TVUUC. Jennifer taught, and Rob assisted.
  • Theme: "I have Two Hands"
  • Activities: Trying on gloves and mittens, rolling and catching a ball, giving "high fives" and other "hand" activities. The kids came up with all sorts of things we can do with our hands and fingers, such as waving, playing with toys, holding hands, etc.
  • Song: "Where is Thumbkin?"
  • Craft: Tracing around our hands and coloring in. Some kids preferred just to draw their own thing, which is OK, too: Art is one cool thing we can do with our hands!
  • Snack: Cheez-It crackers, baby carrots and apple juice

    Issues and questions: Several students felt shy at first, then got more comfortable, at different paces. Are there other things we can do to help those kids who feel nervous or shy to be more comfortable? We welcome any input from parents, who, after all, know their kids best. One such parent told us where she could be reached (in another RE classroom), which was very reassuring. (As it turned out, we didn't need to call on her, but it was good to know we could.)

    The kids all seemed very bright and attentive today, and I have to say that I am enjoying the class myself more than I expected to.
    Thanks in advance for any feedback!
    Signed, Jennifer

    current mood: content
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    Friday, August 25th, 2006
    12:20 am - First Sunday

    Hi! This past Sunday (Aug. 20), we had a fun day in TVUUC Preschool. Hope was the lead teacher, and Jennifer, Mary and Rob assisted.

  • Theme: "I am Special"
  • Story: I Like Me by Nancy Carlson
  • Activities: Going over our "good choices" (simple classroom rules), puppet introductions, discussion of who we are and what we like. We learned each other's names and a bit about our siblings, pets, etc.
  • Craft: Decorating our own special craft smocks. These aprons, personalized by the students, will stay in the classroom for use each week during class time. We used fabric paints, fabric markers, glue and pompoms to decorate the beautiful smocks!
  • Snack: Goldfish crackers, graham crackers and apple juice

    Issues and questions: Is the balance of structured and unstructured time right? How can we better accommodate disruptive behavior? What is the best way to handle toy clean-up? What do parents think about the take-home sheets, which give a brief report of the class activities?

    I know that we teachers had a fun time, and although it was a bit chaotic, we feel more confident in our "routine" now. The kids are wonderful; they really are special, and it is great to spend time with them.

    Signed, Jennifer

    current mood: cheerful
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    Thursday, August 24th, 2006
    3:15 am - Welcome to Preschool at TVUUC

    Our curriculum theme is "Celebrating Me and My World!" We hope the kids will feel that they are special, and that they have a special place in our wonderful world. We also want them to feel that TVUUC is a fun place where they can learn and make new friends. We hope to post at least once each week with an update of each Sunday's theme.

    Each week we will begin with singing "The More We Get Together" to help bring us into a circle. Then we ring our chime, light our chalice and say our chalice-lighting rhyme:

      Flaming chalice, burning bright,
      Now you share with us your light.
      May we always learn to share
      With all people everywhere

    When we extinguish the chalice, we say our closing rhyme, with hand gestures:

      We are Unitarian Universalists (making "U"s with each hand)
      People of open minds (hands swinging out from the forehead)
      loving hearts (hands clasped over heart)
      and helping hands (hands outstretched)

    We normally finish with a snack at the work table, followed by free play.
    For starters, here is our calendar. (On occasion, teachers and assistants will sub for each other; these changes will be noted on the blog. If you have any questions about who is leading each class, don't hesitate to ask, either via email or in person.)

  • 8/20: "I am special" (Teacher Hope, assistant Jennifer)
  • 8/27: "I have two hands" (Teacher Jennifer, assistant Rob)
  • 9/3: "I have two feet" (Teacher Rob, assistant Mary)
  • 9/10: "I can move" (Teacher Mary, assistant Hope)
  • 9/17: "I can bend and stretch" (Teacher Hope, assistant Jennifer)
  • 9/24: "I can talk" (Teacher Jennifer, assistant Rob)
  • 10/1: "I can see" (Teacher Rob, assistant Mary)
  • 10/8: "I can hear" (Teacher TBA, assistant Hope)
  • 10/15: "I can touch" (Teacher Hope, assistant Jennifer)
  • 10/22: "I can smell" (Teacher Jennifer, assistant Rob)
  • 10/29: "I can taste" (Teacher Rob, assistant Tammy)
  • 11/5: "I can say 'Thank you'" (Teacher Tammy, assistant Mary)
  • 11/12: "I can ask questions" (Teacher Mary, assistant Hope)
  • 11/19: "I can give" (Teacher Hope, assistant Jennifer)
  • 11/26: "I can share" (Teacher Jennifer, assistant Rob)
  • 12/3: "I can wait" (Teacher Rob, assistant Tammy)
  • 12/10: "I can help" (Teacher Tammy, assistant Mary)
  • 12/17: Holiday program: All children invited to attend service (child care will be available in the nursery)

  • Each week has a special story, discussion and craft, and sometimes themed music and other activities, as well. We serve a light snack each week (usually something along the lines of graham crackers or Goldfish crackers and juice -- we are happy to accommodate children with food allergies. Please notify us of any special dietary needs your child may have!). We also begin and end each class time with some unstructured playtime.

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