ready. set. launch!

Don't you love it when something INCREDIBLE is dreamed then created?

It takes a certain, very special vision to do both - the dream AND the actual realization of the dream.

Christie from the ever-inspiring Childhood101 did just that. She dreamed something "bigger than her blog" and created one of the most gorgeous, informative and accessible early education publications I have ever seen.

Here's the big news:
Christie has just launched her e-magazine, her First Issue of her Playzine...
'Play. Grow. Learn. Because Play Matters'  and you can get your own very first issue, just Click HERE to view, download and read read read!

You will find something for every age group, home and school, parents and educators, outdoors and indoors. There are guest writers from the blogosphere offering fantastic articles on a variety of topics - super hero capes, games, block towers, parties, cooking & more! The photos alone are worth the download, seriously.

Incredibly, Zella Said Purple has the honor of being part of the 'Play Online' bloggers section which also uplifts Sherry & Donna from Irresistible Ideas, Jenny from Let The Children Play, Amanda from Not Just Cute, and Tom from Teacher Tom.

Very impressive is that Christie has allowed her dream to be shared by and with so many other parents & educators!
Huge Congratulations to Christie! 
Yet, quite selfishly really, we all get to be part of the INCREDIBLE by reading the First Issue and eagerly anticipating the next quarterly publication!

Ready. Set. Go Get your copy!

whatever is most difficult


The night before school begins.

I am thinking wonderful thoughts as I love this time of the year.


I am aware, however, that some people don't love this time of the year.

Sometimes the effort, smiles and breathing that is required to Start A New School Year is so deafeningly exhausting. Period. Totally Understandable. 

For me, in my times of need - 
times when I NEED SOME PERSPECTIVE - I turn to a Master Artist, Poet, Storyteller and Word Smith ... Brian Andreas, author of all Story People stories & art Click Here to read more, admire, smile, laugh.

So, here is one of my most favorite Story People quotes for all who may be Worried about school or Are Freaking Out 
or Are Unsure @anything.
... Maybe you worry about connecting with your students, or your classroom being set up just right, or getting through the lessons you have planned, or meeting the new parents of your students, or or or or or or.

Thank you, Brian Andreas, for writing this thoughtful, powerful quote:

I can read it a million times and keep learning from it each time.

see how children make life so light and joyful and colorful? let go of whatever is most difficult.
Do YOU have a challenge starting a new school year?
How do you cope -  not just "get through it" -  yet actually embrace & celebrate a new school year? Stories? Strategies?

Day 1: for the love of books

Educators are readying for the beginning of school.
Butterflies...excitement...and, of course, planning what books to have on hand to read! Some teachers have just started their classes this week and some are soon to start in the coming days or weeks.

these books were written by the children later in the year after we read a million incredible books together!

These "can't miss" books are perfect to connect with preschool children on Day 1. Why?

1. These are classics, favorites, and most likely KNOWN by the children coming into your class.

2. Children being familiar with a book for read-aloud time is a Comfort, is a Confidence builder that school is going to be ok, is an" Oh, I Love That Book!"

3. Teachers using familiar books can Have Fun with the book, Offer Participation while reading for repeating phrases or guessing "what's next", and know the length/content well to match the needs of the group. 

**tip: I like starting off with shorter books in order to create a stronger connection with the group of children by having a number of books read in one day that we now have experienced together! We might read one or two at morning circle, one at mid-day, one or two at goodbye time! It is also a good idea to have a number of books so children can try a "vote" for when to read which one during the day!

Here are friendly books with Bears, Ducks, and a few extra animal friendly books in the bonus recommendations list at the bottom!

Going on a Bear Hunt
by Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury
A father and his four children--a toddler, a preschool boy and two older girls--go on the traditional bear hunt based on the old camp chant: "We're going to catch a big one. / What a beautiful day! / We're not scared. / Oh-oh! Grass! / Long, wavy grass. / We can't go over it. / We can't go under it. / Oh, no! / We've got to go through it!" The family skids down a grassy slope, swishes across a river, sludges through mud and, of course, finally sees the bear, who chases them all back to their home. It's a fantastic journey--was it real or imagined?--with the family's actions (and interaction) adding to the trip a goodnatured, jolly mood.
(Review from Publisher's Weekly)

Duck on a Bike
by David Shannon
Shannon serves up a sunny blend of humor and action in this delightful tale of a Duck who spies a red bicycle one day and gets "a wild idea." Sure enough, in no time flat, he's tooling around the farmyard. A succession of his barnyard friends greet him politely enough, but their private responses range from scornful ("That's the silliest thing I've ever seen," from Cow) to boastful ("You're still not as fast as me," from Horse) to wistful ("I wish I could ride a bike just like Duck," from Mouse). Then a herd of kids rides down the road in a blur of dust; they park their bikes and head indoors. A wordless spread records the sublime moment when the animals all gather with identical wide-eyed looks and sly smiles. Readers can almost see what they're thinking, and sure enough, the next spread shows them all zipping around on bikes, with Duck in the lead.
(Review from Publisher's Weekly)

If You Take a Mouse
by Laura Numeroff & Felicia Bond
In a rollicking romp, Numeroff and Bond send the energetic, exuberant star of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Take a Mouse to the Movies (and his boy sidekick) into the classroom. After pulling on his overalls, the diminutive character makes his first request ("He'll ask you for your lunchbox") and then demands a snack, notebook and pencils before climbing into the boy's backpack. Once at school, the mercurial mouse happily bounds from one activity to the next: he spells "a word or two" on the blackboard (Bond shows these as an impressive list headed by "onomatopoeia"), conducts a science experiment (purple matter erupts from his beaker), builds "a little mouse house" out of blocks (the edifice looks quite elaborate) and fashions furniture for it with clay. Realizing he needs something on his new bookshelf, the ambitious critter collects paper and pencils and creates his own book, which he then wants to take home, in "your" lunch box. (Review from Publisher's Weekly)

You might also keep in your book bag nearby...
Where the Wild Thing Are by Maurice Sendak
Olivia by Ian Falconer
Franklin (any in the series) by Paulette Bourgeois
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
little blue and little yellow by Leo Lionni
Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh
The Flying Dragon Room by Audrey Wood
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

** for a big list of my Favorite Read Alouds Click Here

There are so many wonderful children's books to start off the school year!
What are some of your favorites to have ready-to-read in the early days of school?

no rules classroom

New school year is starting for many of us.
Educators create routines, daily schedules, small group experiences.
We plan for wonderful books to read, experiments with new materials, songs to sing.

And, we m-i-g-h-t have a big discussion about RULES and then generate some sort of list with our students.

Here's the thing for me:
I have never liked having RULES in the classroom. Never.

this is not a rule list...this is a child's birthday party list!
I have never made a big list with my students.
I have never posted statements - whether 3 charming rules which might include "Be a Friend" or 102 detailed ones such as "Don't throw the hamster" - on a wall in the classroom.

I prefer having project documentation and photographs of children engaged in school life posted on the walls of the classroom, not a list of RULES.

Ideals I believe in: goodwill, intentional teaching, partnership with children.
I also believe that children are the real owners of the classroom - not me. They are the ones who create the energy and life of that particular school year. I rely on that. I don't try to control it.

breathe. breathe...let me tell you more about my no rules classroom.
No worries, educators and parents. I believe there are other ways to have a group of children work collaboratively and cooperatively in a classroom without having a big list.

I prefer to start the school year diving into relationship building with students  - teachers with students AND students with students. I believe that we all have some initial unsettled feelings and behaviors in a new environment so Wiggles, Distraction, Running ahead, Leaving Circle Time, Pushing Someone Else's Blocks, Missing Dad or Mom, Not Joining In, Expressing Unkind Words...all these things are normal and need time to work themselves out. No "rules" will make the beginning of school extinguish the newness and the unknown. Instead of spending time TALKING ABOUT RULES, we can spend time DOING SCHOOL & PLAYING GAMES & EXPLORING OUR CAMPUS ... working out our unsettled feelings in the moment they are happening and getting used to the routine.
keep breathing...there is more to my theory.

I believe that The Role Of The Teacher has to be the changing component to support the adjustment for children, not the children being confined to how they 'should' feel or be. The beginning of the school year, I leave the routine open so that there is plenty of room for teachers to support and connect with students.
For example, instead of guardians needing to drop off their child straightaway for teachers to begin our morning meeting (circle time), we leave the first hour or longer for transitions: Guardians can stay if they want, chat with teachers, look around with their child, and their child gets comfortable in some sort of play/art/books. When guardians leave, we continue supporting the children in their chosen exploration. If/when there are challenges the children are having, we help resolve it with them right then  - perhaps with materials in the classroom, how to include themselves in play, how to open/use something, etc. We might finally have "good morning" hours later. 
As the days go by, we can shorten this transition and also let children know that we'll start having Morning Meeting closer to when they say goodbye to their guardian. This gives the child space to understand the components of the routine and be a part of the minor adjustment as to When we do a certain thing. When children have had TIME to be engaged in the classroom and have had some interactions individually with teachers, they are much much much much much more likely to be able to follow some tweaking to the routine.

After we have had the transition into school and have made connections with the children individually, most unsettled behaviors have disappeared. This doesn't mean challenges don't present themselves in our group.
Here's what happens when I DO interpret  that a child or children's words or behaviors require some  - ummm - modification: I bring the issue to the the class group. Not in a "look what THIS girl or boy did" kind of way. I bring an issue to the group as a QUESTION or as a HERE'S WHAT YOUR FRIENDS DISCOVERED or as an I WAS WONDERING ABOUT THIS. Depending on the issue, it may have have been resolved already with the specific children at the time and "we" thought it would be helpful for other children to "know" about the conclusion.
For example, there was sand being thrown in the outdoor sand & water area. The sand was being thrown AS children were digging a deep hole and shoveling out the sand behind them with a big toss into the eyes of children sitting behind them in the sandbox. In group meeting, we were able to talk about the great hole being dug, the wonderful shovels available to use and the actual kids who did toss the sand in others' eyes. Those kids were the ones who demonstrated the sandbox resolution: how to watch for other people and different ways to stand/squat/kneel so that your shovel doesn't toss sand in people's eyes.
For me, this is what I love. Children learning and sharing how to use materials in safe ways and being respected for their intended work (digging the deep hole). We don't need a DON'T THROW SAND rule. We all learned about the very deep hole, the great shovels, and practiced different ways to position your body to try to keep the sand out of people's eyes when digging. No kids had to label other kids as "the ones who throw sand" because they weren't - they were the kids who were trying to dig a very deep hole.
[Yes, these discussions take some time. Yes, I know we can't have a group discussion about every discovery or resolved issue. Yet, if it is important, we can make time.]

I am aware that there ARE safety rules. There are fire drills, dangerous cement stairs, sharp fences...there are also hammers, wood blocks and delicate science tools.
There are things that require a discussion first in order that choices to use something have boundaries around them. Still, I might offer these 'rules' as part of the 'how' to use or do something.
For example, we might discuss how our classroom front door opens out onto the play yard. We might discuss how IF you are the one opening the door, please open it slowly in case there are students outside walking near our door. The children understand that reasoning, but I don't consider it a 'rule' that needs to be posted on my classroom wall. 
Another example, perhaps children want to use our woodworking bench. We talk about how bits of the wood or dust might fly around when you hammer or nail something, so your eyes need to have the 'safety glasses' on when you use the woodbench. This is part of  USING THE WOODBENCH, yet I don't consider it to be a 'rule'  - I consider it to be a required element of using the woodbench.

In the end, I guess it is sort of ironic. I guess My Rule For Myself is to have no rules for children to adhere to from a bold, posted list staring at them everyday. Pretty good rule, really, to have for myself.

By the way, I get it. I get that teachers want to have a group consensus, something to refer back to as the class agreement so that teachers are not the police or the bad guys or potentially being inconsistent with the reinforcement of the rules. I get it. However, I just don't see the need to establish these before the behavior/challenge presents itself as I find it artificial and presumptuous.
Children's needs for support and adjusting to routine varies every year:
Note: I have had groups of 4s & 5s who needed a couple weeks to get into the routine.
Bigger Note: I have had a group of 4s & 5s who  - literally  - created their own 'morning meeting' on the second day of school and were waiting for me to join them to start the day.

I think rules impact children in ways that make them WALK THE LINE when really they want to dance or skip.

LASTLY, if you NEED to have something posted: What if you had a Motto instead? What if you had a Positive Message instead? What if you had posted quotes in your class that DO set the UPBEAT tone for how everyone - teachers, children, visitors -  can feel in your classroom?

Here are some sample quotes from my classroom:

"Everyone should know the JOY of walking into a room and having people be happy because they are there." (anon)

"Children, like anything else of value, should not be hurried." (anon) (I usually have this posted right below our classroom clock on the wall!)

 "We have to go to school so that we can love people we didn't know before." (former 4s/5s students)

cheers to a new school year.
cheers to partnering with children in a respectful, thoughtful, patient way.
cheers to uplifting children's intentions as positive and dynamic.
Do you have Rules? Why and How do you use them?

moving at the speed of children

People have often asked me how I can work with young children. 
     "Aren't they wild and busy and on-the-go all the time?
     Don't they go in all different directions?
     Aren't they moody and needy and unpredictable?" 
Ummmm, not really, no, not really.

3-year-olds quietly fascinated by chickens drinking water.

green green green paintings....perhaps this child created ALL these works?

Children are capable and focused.
They are self-directed and have their own interests.
They express their feelings and opinions.
Those are the kind of people I get to work with daily.
They just happen to be 3-, 4- or 5 -years-old.

This post is inspired by a post by Elise Edwards at Yo-Yo Reggio who wrote about 10 Important Things I Am Still Trying to Learn. I latched onto #4 in particular having to do with moving at the speed of children. The other 9 are wonderful, by the way, and definitely things I continue to practice and refine!

The idea of moving at the speed of children caused me to reflect on the value of my teaching days. Ironically, moving at the speed of the children is what I rely on - it informs the content of my teaching, it informs the needs of the moment, it informs me that THEIR AGENDA is most important instead of racing through My Agenda (whatever that might be).

"Children, like anything else of value, should not be hurried." (anon)

Sure, it is not always easy or comfortable moving at the speed of children. The moment  might be S-L-OW-E-R than you are hoping to go - "we are heading to library class and two children are interested in learning to tie their shoes" - or much FASTER than you'd planned "three children who'd like to dance as you are starting to read a book". Hmmm, what would YOU do in both these instances?

Surely, there are ways to support the pacing the children are trying to set and adjust yourself accordingly. Most of the time, for me, I CAN actually move at the child's speed. Only occasionally do I need to suspend their agenda to accommodate my own. I have to stay aware of when I am pushing to have my agenda run because "it is easier."

I am always thinking if the the clock is more important than the moment with the child. 
The clock does not often win.

mud kitchen work takes time and focus to really get the mud cooking just right!

a close up photo of child and teacher together -
a quiet, slow moment.

the careful placement of the block in one simple moment to create a balanced, unusual design.

3 Different Speeds of children:

The Zipper. One boy and a task.
I was thinking about my friend Joshua and the extended time we both spent at his backpack working on THE ZIPPER! I have a strong visual of just me, him and his backpack - that was our world with the task of zippering at hand.
Josh was used to his family and friends opening his backpack for him and then zipping it closed for him. Josh was nearly 5 and really didn't have an idea about How The Zipper Works on his own backpack.
I knew he was capable - he just never had the chance to really try to work it himself. Josh and I spent many minutes at snack time and lunch time for days and days giving attention to his zipper: How to hold one side of the fabric, how to look with your eyes where the zipper-pull is heading, how to yank and zip and open and close. Josh was able to master the zipper after some time together AND other children becoming helpers for him to learn instead of doing it for him.
Moving at Josh's pace to slow down enough for him to work his small motor, hand-eye coordination and understand the concept of how zippers work was important to give him the confidence that he Could do this on his own.

Good Morning.
One boy, the whole class and Patience.
Kyle was a quieter boy. He struggled with group time and speaking in a moment's notice. We never put him on the spot to say Good Morning during our morning meetings, yet we wanted to make sure that he didn't literally get skipped over  - we didn't want Being Skipped Over to be acceptable. We wanted to make sure everyone was a valued member of our class in the way they were comfortable. We had different games for Good Morning and each time when it was Kyle's turn, we would wait to see what he would do or not do. We did stop at his turn to give him time to think if he'd like to participate to say Hello, to say "please pass" , to give a wave or a blink or a thumbs up. I felt it was important that the whole class didn't learn that Kyle was someone to be skipped over. Most of the time, we'd wait a bit and Kyle would give a little hand wave or a head nod - great! I knew our work was successful when one day when we were at Kyle's turn, another child said "oh, it is Kyle's turn...he likes to think about how he wants to say Good Morning" and the other children simply happily agreed. That is being a valued member at its best. Wow.

Fossils in the Dirt.
The whole class unearths a project.
An exploration of "fossils" unearthed in our school yard, in the dirt, under rocks. During outside time one day, the children discovered 'prints' of leaves and bugs left in the hard dirt and dusty rocks. We took photos and explored every day for more "fossils" that lived at our school. The discovery of the fossils happened in an instant by two children: the study of living things, nature, and imprints was a collective exploration by the class of 16 children over a couple weeks. This exploration could not have happened if we didn't follow the children's pace and discoveries. I had not planned this project, yet I did jump at the chance to guide the discovery into being a project.

It is like a treasure map to move at the speed of children - their interests, their discoveries, their search to make meaning of their world.

watching water drip drip drip from the water table - life should be that simple.

What is YOUR speed with children?
Are you able to join in and follow their agenda?

friday thank you notes

who makes YOU a better teacher ?
Late-summer Thank You Notes to some inspiring bloggers... 
1. who have influenced me daily
2. helped me think about education outside of my own four classroom walls, and
3. have jolted me to admire tiny specks of sand and entire outside environments.


* Jenny @preschoolplay Let The Children Play  Makes me think of a book on classic outdoor children's adventure  - Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran.

* Tom @theteachertom Teacher Tom's Blog Makes me think of a book that has a child using tools, loose parts and recyclable materials to create something fabulous -  Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams.

* Gill Connell @movingsmartnow Moving Smart Makes me think of a fun movement book with surprising animals that fly and swim -  Caramba by Marie-Louise Gay

* Christie @childhood101 Childhood 101 Makes me think of the gorgeous colors, art and friendship in the book called The Lion & The Little Red Bird by Elisa Kleven

* Sherry and Donna @sherryanddonna Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning Makes me think of a book that is full of children's dreams, ideas and imagination of self - I Want to Be by Thylias Moss

* Lisa Sunbury @lisasunbury Regarding Baby Makes me think of an adventure book that celebrates caretakers of babies - Rainbabies by Laura Krauss Melmed

All these books are listed on my  Favorite Read Aloud page

chocolate milk

I have been collecting quotes, bits and parts of what people say, and poetry since I was sixteen years old. It is just something that intrigued me from early on - how words make a statement, how words together can be a work of art, a philosophy, an argument, a question, an expression of hope or love.

I love to happen upon a gem of a phrase whether via a live speaking person or via text or music. I try to listen in a quirky way and discover something that seems to me unusual or unusually charming or deeply touching.

On this blog, I have a page of 'wisdom from young children' which you can read here and a post about starting out with a Sharpie if you also want to start documenting by clicking here.

5 mini-stories today of how COLOR was incorporated by children in their explanations and expressions:


My 4-year-old friend Jessica and I were waiting for her dad to pick her up from school at the end of the day. We were sitting out in front of the school, Jessica's things all packed up, and her dad was running a bit late. We decided to do an I SPY game as cars drove past our school, keeping a close watch for her dad's car. As we were looking, Jessica offered this great clue to aid our watch:

"My daddy's car is the color of Nestle's is the color when you first put it in the milk."

So, the car is NOT the color AFTER you stir the powder in but right when you "first put it in" which is a totally different color and certainly darker than the photo can show you! Excellent detail to describe the exact color of dad's car and - thankfully - he did arrive soon thereafter!


My friend Natalie was trying to make a collection of nature items. She was gathering sticks and rocks and bark. All these pieces were first cradled in her arms, then she turn her shirt upward to form a carrier and soon her collection was bigger than her shirt could hold. "Oh, I have blue pockets at my home!" she says as she wishes she had more room to gather her treasures. 
I found it humorous that Natalie describing blue pockets - compared to other colors? - was important and perhaps we all were to immediately be sympathetic and understand "ohhh, the BLUE pockets - yes, those would definitely gather nature items quite well."


Oh, my sweet friend Jack. He was painting at the easel and I was video-taping his work while he shared. He explained about the red cross is for the church, the pink heart is for love, the black part is for the school and the purple..."The purple is for beautiful."
Yes. It is.


My five-year-old friend Hailey liked to have her drawing markers NOT touch each other on her work. She had been drawing since quite young and had gained a particular sense of color and composition. She was working one day in the art area when  - somehow - her yellow marker overlapped onto her brown that was already drawn on her paper. She saw the tip of her yellow marker become brown and when she tried to use it straight away, the yellow marker presented brown color onto her paper. I watched her look perplexed, look again at the marker tip and turn to me..."Is yellow allergic to brown?" she asked. You can decide how you would answer that question.


There is almost nothing more delightful during my school days than documenting children's work. My friend Isabella had this story ready to tell when I started to ask her about her work:

"This is a friendly monster named Jackie! She likes to eat carrots and she lives in the mountain! Her favorite color is pink-ish, purple-ish!" 
What a treasure to meet such a friendly monster!

There are so many elements to documenting, listening, collecting quotes or questions. It is lovely to be in classrooms where WHAT the children have to say is appreciated and examined and respected.
What gems have YOU discovered in art, chats, and your daily routine? Anything about Chocolate Milk or Blue Pockets or Friendly Monsters with favorite colors?

"Come! Look!"

Friendship. Powerful, moving, hilarious. Friendship.
It is a gift to witness friendship that is created and bonded between young children at school. It is quite remarkable, really, to commit one's self to connecting with and seeking out the companionship of another who is not a family member when you are 3 or 4 years old. Remarkable really. Come, look.

what if you discovered a photo of you & your best friend in a class book? maybe you'd have a friend Come & Look.

[Oh, I am ahead of myself in my blog story already.]
Here's the real story:
There is a great deal of documentation that goes on in preschool classrooms: stories are written, dialogue is noted, secret treasure maps are detailed, & projects are posted for reflection. Also, many photos are documented - perhaps to capture a special moment, experience or discovery of a child or children. Sometimes photos have no elaborate documentation at all - the photo tells the story on its own, an image of children doing the important work of play.
And, then, there are photos that come to life in a different being a personal memory for a child. Come, look.

One girl wrote her own class book and wanted to share it with her friend. Come, look.

A four-year-old boy named Brian and his friend Sam were working together on building airplanes with Legos. Both boys were making the sound of the engines at take off.  The photo I took of them working with their Legos showed (you have to imagine it) the boys with airplanes in mid-hold & their mouths formed in a "whhrrrrrr" shape. This photo was put in our Forest Room Photo Collection along with dozens and dozens of other photos. (see below about Classroom Photo Books). This particular photo had no official documentation - just the photo on its own to show the friends, the Legos and airplane designs.

The memory story came after the photo was placed in the Class Book. One of our classroom teachers had placed the book on the center welcome table in the morning one day so that children could look through for new photos at arrival and throughout the day. Brian happened to be looking at the book by himself that early morning when all of a sudden he yells to me from across the room: "Jeanne! Come! Look! I found the BEST picture of all! Look! Here's a picture of me and my friend Sam! That's the BEST picture!"
Brian kept looking at the book but kept his hand on the page of the Best Picture. Every few pages, he would flip back just to look at himself with his best friend one more time.

  ----- [grin, sigh, grin.] -----

Teacher tips: 
Making class books is something that so many schools do and they are wonderful to have in different areas of the room. You can create Class Books out of construction paper, bound by ribbon or staples; store-bought "photo albums" that could be donated by families; bound books with school or local copier store bindings. + Create a Wish List for your classroom if you'd like donations or help with creating and/or compiling books.

1. You might have an on-going photo album of the life of the classroom - perhaps photos taken by teachers AND parents and compiled throughout the year. In the photo below, the photos are in sleeves for easy handling and adding more pages: 'There's Halloween!' This book might be in the reading area, in the dramatic play area or in the block area.
class books can come in many forms: fun photo albums, art books with a topic, project books with a study focus.
2. You might create 'topic books' for art/drawing experiences to be collected together. In the photo above, the example is a "Rainy Day Book" where all the children made drawings of what school, home or the neighborhood looks like when it rains. Each child's description of their work is included. Also, this book had the title created by the children! This book might be in the science area, art area or reading area.

3. Perhaps you created a class book around a study topic or project. We made our Cooking Journal over the course of the year as parents visited every other week and shared a new food and/or kitchen tool! This book might be found in our dramatic play area, science area or reading area.

Something wonderful about Class Books is that they are, themselves, a History of Your Classroom. They chronicle the tales of different school years, children, families, studies, adventures, traditions. Having access to these class books was my memory and vehicle to writing this blog story.

Children love books. Children love books even more when they have a personal connection to it whether via photos, art or writing.
Children want to be able to Come! Look! and to Flip Back To A Page that becomes a favorite. These authentic classroom books offer children an experience that is private, or shared, where they may have their own memory just be seeing one photo. (Perhaps spying a treasured friendship in color right there in front of them.)

It is highly likely that once you have class books,
you will also hear..."Come! Look!"

** What kinds of class books have you made? What kinds of materials did you use? Any other tips for teachers?

"way too fancy for preschool"

Maybe "Too Fancy" is just right?
Maybe planning for one's return to preschool requires Something Shimmery or Twirly? Perhaps Something Super-Hero-Like or Purple Striped?
Oh, yes, I am talking about a 4-year-old - yet - perhaps teachers go through the same indecision?

Some schools are starting up already in mid-August. Friends on Facebook and Twitter made comments about their children, their summer being over, the surprise that it was August already.

And then there was "K" - a soon-to-be 4-year-old who had a wardrobe dilemma yesterday while planning for her own return to her preschool.  
Here is the story straight from K's mom, Gretchen:  

                             Twas the night before school started and all
                    through the house,
      all I can hear much more loudly than a mouse,
"I don't have anything to wear to school tomorrow!"
Gretchen:  "What about the "new school clothes" I just bought you?"
Says the almost 4 year old with a sigh ... "Those are way too fancy for preschool."
The story that Gretchen shared made me smile and then laugh out loud with a knowing & understanding teacher-of-young-children-laugh.

The story made me think of other children I have met over the years that have a sense of "style" at an early age, who really coordinate and have opinions about their clothing or how they present themselves:

Natasha's Hair: I remember Natasha who liked to do her own hair each morning. Her father would arrive at school with Natasha and in she walked - sometimes 7 barrettes and 3 pony tails in surprising directions dancing atop her head. 
Natasha would skip happily into class and her father couldn't have been happier, either. He was one of the most supportive parents I have ever met. He knew that Natasha doing her own hair was a gift on many levels. He allowed Natasha to BE Natasha - bold, confident and self directed. Ironically, Natasha's different hair styles each day really did make her personality shine exactly as it should. She would not have looked fully like Natasha with just one barrette pulling her hair back. Natasha loved school.

Ryan's Capes: My 4-year-old friend Ryan loved capes. Arrived in one everyday - sometimes kind of like Superman, or another super-hero, sometimes just a beach towel attached to his shirt. He was comfortable and happy with the flowing item trailing behind him. He didn't always play super-hero. He didn't always fly around. He just loved capes. Ryan's parents allowed him to wear what he needed and wanted to wear.
I also had capes in the classroom that my mother had made  for the students - silk capes, with gorgeous patterns, lined on the inside, and hooded with fur on the edge (I know, right, my mother is amazing!). So, sometimes, Ryan would even add an extra cape to his existing one. Who can capture a double-caped super-hero four-year-old? Not a chance. Ryan loved school.

Kia's Colors: Kia would arrive at school in more colors than I could imagine. She would have layers of clothes in order that she would have more colors. Long-sleeve blue striped shirt, short sleeve red flowered shirt over that, with perhaps a cowgirl vest. She'd have polka dot leggings and a multi-colored skirt. Kia would still wear socks - perhaps yellow - and shoes that she decorated with pen. And perhaps orange laces. Perhaps.
How can you not admire someone who knows what they want to wear - "Hhmm, where is my ______ because I need it over my  _________ then I will add my  ________ and, oh, maybe I need a Hat!" Fantastic. Kia loved school.

I admire when children have an opinion about Themselves, 
about Who I Am, about How I Want to Present Myself,  about How I Feel When I Step Out into The World.

Maybe it is "too fancy" ? Yet maybe it is just right?

Surely YOU know a child that has that certain flair, that certain something that makes their personality come to life even at a very young age? 
Perhaps YOU are that child? Perhaps you still have that flair to be fancy, or have great hair, wear that great accessory or glow in great color...?

Please share in the comments below a favorite "must wear" item for yourself, your child or a student you can fondly recall.  
Thanks to Gretchen, "K" and purple skirts - not too fancy... just right.