We Want Your Opinion

I have been blogging for Cathedral Park Preschool for a year now, and I am looking for ways to make it better this year. Please let me know what YOU want to see more of on this blog. Do you like art projects? Tasty treats for snack time? Parent resources? Reviews? More guest bloggers? Take our poll and leave a comment here, or on our Facebook page. I look forward to another fun year of learning and playing!

 

Last Days of Summer Suminagashi Prints

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I am a sucker for suminagashi, and so is my eldest daughter. This summer we made suminagashi shirts and enough prints to keep us forever supplied with cool handmade greeting cards. It was tons of fun, and the best part of suminagashi is that anyone can do it and make really amazing prints. It does take some focus though, so it might not be best suited for kids with an attention span shorter than 15-20 minutes.

You will need:
Leftover newspaper and paper towels
A large flat dish that you can fit paper in. I used a pyrex lasagna dish, but you can also use your bathtub which can make multiple prints at a time.
Water
Good quality absorbent paper. Suminagashi also has a neat effect on untreated wood like in cheap photo frames.
Suminagashi ink. This stuff lasts a long time and is perfect for coffee filter prints as well. It is not especially washable.

To make t-shirts or hankies you will also need:
A permanent dyeset (I use Jacquard concentrate)
A large bucket
T-shirts to dye

To get started, fill up the large flat dish with about a half an inch to an inch of water. Different temperatures will make the ink react in different ways, so experiment around a bit. Lay out the newsprint on the table or a hard floor. We do this outside, so the newsprint isn’t as important, but it still helps absorb extra ink. Have your paper and paper towels at the ready.

Next, take out one or two of the small dots that are included with your ink and dip them gently in the water. You can also use small circles of wax paper. These dots help the ink diffuse on top of the water surface instead of sinking to the bottom. Next, choose your favorite color of ink and, very close to the dots, squeeze a drop or two of ink onto the wax paper dots. The ink should spread throughout the water. You can use more ink to get a darker effect and us a paint brush to swirl multiple colors together, making a marbling effect.

When you like the pattern your ink is making, carefully dip a dry piece of paper in the ink (not all the way through the ink, just gently on top) and pull it out as soon as the ink has soaked in. Lay it down on the newspaper and pat it dry with a paper towel. Viola! A beautiful suminigashi print. You can usually make two or three prints without adding more ink. Even if the water looks dirty, you can usually still ad colors and make prints. When your prints start looking brown, it is time to change water.

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The process for making t-shirts is pretty much the same. I used our bathtub so that we could cover the entire t-shirt in one dip. T-shirts don’t look as nice if the water has already been used, so it has to be changed more frequently. Once you have dipped the t-shirts, lay them flat to dry and gently pat off the excess ink with a paper towel. Don’t rinse them just yet, and let them completely dry before using the dyeset.

When they are dry, use your permanent dyeset as the instructions direct. With the brand I use, I put a tablespoon of dyeset in a large bucket of water and dip the dry shirts in until they are soaked through. Then I rinse them, hang them to dry, and wash the t-shirts. Then they are ready to go! They look homemade, but the kids wear them with a lot of pride!

What are your favorite summer art projects? And what do you have in store for rainy days ahead?

 

 

Sneak Peek

Its time for our first sneak peek of the year! I just got back from our first meeting with Teacher Cheryl and the preschool looks great! Thanks to everyone who came out this year to help paint and clean up.

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The side wall in the theme room has been painted with chalkboard paint giving some new life to our writing center. The writing center is a great spot for quietly coloring and practicing letters. It looks fantastic! I can’t wait to see all the writing and drawing we are going to do.

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We have simplified our kitchen area. The large play fridge that was filled with play foods is gone in favor of a simpler (easier to pick up) sink and stove combo. The play foods have been sorted and the mismatched toys cleaned out. Less clutter is not only easier for helpers to clean up, but promotes more sharing and cooperative play. 

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Look at this well stocked dollhouse! I wish I had a dollhouse like this growing up, it has everything you can imagine in there. Bunk beds, a shower, kitchen, and lots of little dolls. The dollhouse is one of my favorite play items in the school because the kids come up with such great, imaginative backstories for all the people.

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Friends hanging out in front of the castle. They can’t wait for you to come and play!

We are almost there! Don’t forget the first day of school is September 11th for Juniors, and the 12th for Seniors. The first parent meeting is September 11th at 6:30. See you there!

Back to School!

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Teacher Cheryl and our awesome board members have been hard at work preparing for the new year, and it is almost here! We can’t wait to meet everyone and see our preschool full of play and laughter again.

By now our preschool families should have gotten an email containing a welcome letter and a scheduled time for your initial meeting with Teacher Cheryl during the first week of September. This important first meeting is a chance for us to get to know you, and vice versa. You will have the chance to learn about the responsibilities of parent helpers and sign up for your job for the year.

Our first Parent meeting and Parent orientation will be September 11th from 6:30-8pm. This meeting is mandatory, so make sure to mark your calendars.

Get acquainted day will be September 11th for juniors and the 12th for Seniors. This is a half day and parents are expected to stay and meet other parents. This is a great time to get to know your preschool community and learn about the parent helping.

Saturday September 13th, we will be having an open house at the preschool and a tour of the building. We hope to see you there as well!

Summer Refreshment

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Looking for some summer refreshment? Try making watermelon slush with the kids! Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and spoon out half of the watermelon onto the wax paper. Freeze and place into baggies. Enjoy the other half of the watermelon. Once the watermelon is frozen, put about half a quart in your blender and add about half to one cup of lemonade. Blend. Enjoy! You can also make this a grown up beverage (wink, wink). I added some fresh mint from the garden.

Farragut Park

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Farragut Park. N. Kerby Ave and Farragut St.

Shade: The play area and splash pad are in mostly in the sun, but there are a lot of nearby shady spots.
Dog area: Down the bottom of the hill, near the railroad tracks is off-leash.
Restroom: Acceptable.
Water play area: Yes. My favorite one so far.
Drinking fountains: One near the play area, and one near the sports field.
Picnic Tables: There are a few picnic tables near the play area.
Playground: There is one plastic play structure. It was a little bit too challenging for my little one to climb all the way up. The swings are very far away from the rest of the play equipment.
Supports children with disabilities: The water area is accessible, the playground is not.
Paths: Only one path traversing the park.
Sports amenities: Baseball, basketball, and soccer.
Traffic: There is very little traffic.

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We visited Farragut Park on a cloudy Wednesday last week. I am behind on my blogging! Once we arrived, it dawned on me that we have been to this park before, during the last big snow storm we met at Farragut Park to take advantage of the big sledding hills. During nicer weather the hilly area is an off-leash area for your family pooch. My oldest also enjoyed getting a little distance from mom and sister and spent a good thirty minutes quietly picking daisies and collecting pine cones. Score!

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So far, this is my favorite splash pad! The water flow was nice and gentle, no surprises. My youngest had such a blast, and kept coming back for more. Two costume changes were required! It was definitely a little too cold for playing in the water the day we went, so I was not prepared for how drenched they got. A towel is the most useful tool in the galaxy, and I always forget to bring one!

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The playing fields were very well maintained, and have impressively large bleachers for spectators. The baseball field and soccer pitch are reservable. The basketball court is in good shape and is larger than the courts I have seen at other parks. The bathrooms were respectably maintained, and the picnic tables appeared to be freshly repainted. The paths around the park were pretty bumpy and could use a little work.

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We had a really fun time playing, even if it did get a little cold playing in the water. The park had a very friendly feel that is hard to articulate. Would I visit again? Yes! It is the right distance for us, and had a really good splash pad. Would my kids visit again? YES. They asked to go back a few days later. Next up, we review Grant Park.