"Valley Christian Preschool was the perfect choice for my boys. I wanted them to go to a fun and loving place where they would grow both socially and academically. Although there are other preschools in the Farmington area, I feel that Mrs. Heath and Mrs. Thompson make this one the best. They are both such caring individuals and have created such a cozy and welcoming atmosphere in their classroom. I also like that they celebrate Christmas and other holidays. This reminds me of how school was when I was young…fun! My boys both love going to school and always come home with a story about a book they read, a visitor they met or playing with their friends outside. As both a mother and teacher, I highly recommend this preschool!" - Mora G.

"I have had one child complete the 3's and 4's program and one child that has completed the 3's and will be in the 4's next year. They both absolutely love the school! I cannot say enough about the quality of this program and its teachers. I would highly recommend Valley Christian to anyone." - Tina Z.

"The atmosphere at Valley Christian Preschool is what I love best. The teachers have created a place where my kids are excited for everyday of school. They run through the door to share news with the teachers or inquire about what they will learn that day. The teachers care for each child as if they are their own. The teachers did an exceptional job preparing my kids for kindergarten and they had no trouble adjusting academically or socially. This is a great school and I will be sad when my last child graduates as the teachers are now a part of my life too." - Jennifer S.

"I chose Valley Christian Preschool because it is small and as soon as I entered the classroom as I was visiting, I felt like I was home. Even if my daughter didn't speak English at the time she started school, I felt very comfortable sending her to VCP because I knew she was in good hands with Mrs. Heath and Mrs. Thompson. Both teachers are very caring and gentle. My daughter loves them both. This school is a place where she can totally be herself and she enjoys it very much!" - Marie C.

"Valley Christian Preschool provided my son and daughter with a wonderful foundation that made them academically ready for school and spiritually ready for life. The teachers are caring and bring out the best in kids!" - Colleen O.

"My daughter had the greatest preschool experience at VCP! Mrs. Heath and Mrs. Thompson not only provided her with an engaging, child-centered environment, but truly prepared her for kindergarten in Canton. My husband and I are looking forward to sending out son to VCP too." - Maureen W.

 "Teachers that really care about your child!" - Stacey C.

 "Valley Preschool is run by caring and attentive teachers who provide diverse and interesting activities for children 3 and older. My granddaughter attends and couldn't be happier to go to school every Tuesday and Thursday!" - Andrea F.

 "Valley Christian Preschool in Unionville is a gem that I'm happy my daughter discovered for my grand daughter. She simply loves that school and the friends she made there and the teachers, the activities, the costumes, the playground, and...well just about everything!" - Francine T.

 "Valley Christian Preschool has been a blessing in our life! The teachers are wonderful!" - Simona F.

 "We chose to send our daughter to Valley Christian Preschool in Unionville last year, and Mackenzie has loved it since day one! I can’t say enough good things about Mrs. Thompson and Mrs. Heath. Over the last two years they have nurtured Mackenzie, and have really prepared her for Kindergarten." - Annie C.

"Valley Christian Preschool was the best for my kids. Thank you Mrs. Heath and Mrs. Thompson for four great years at your school. What a blessing the two of you are!!" - Heather V.

"My daughter loves it! The teachers are very caring and attentive to your child. Thumbs Up!!" - Andrea S.

"I was referred to VCNS by my neighbors. My daughter was about to turn 3 years old and we wanted to put her in a preschool that taught socialization skills as well as easy academic skills. Both my kids felt completely safe and secure at preschool. They offered many various educational activities as well as bringing visitors in. The kindness and patience in which the teachers showed to all the children is outstanding. Overall I would definitely recommend VCNS and Mrs. Heath & Mrs. Thompson as preschool teachers. With their background experience and strong abilities to connect with the children, they will offer everything a family would be looking for in a preschool!!!" - Kimberly B.

Tips on Preparing for Preschool: Pointers From Parents

Starting in a new preschool or child-care center, returning after a summer vacation, moving up to a new classroom, greeting an unfamiliar teacher: any of these situations can mean big adjustments for a little person. To help your child in preparing for preschool, try this parent- and teacher-tested advice.

Morning Moves
Just like a first impression, the first minutes of the day are all-important. Here's how to start smoothly while preparing for preschool.
  • Take a big-kid backpack. Let your child take a small backpack to and from school that has board books and a small toy. If the teacher does not have a good place to leave it, keep it in the car. Kids love having a backpack, it makes them feel big even if they only wear it from the door to car. —Shannon E.
  • Dress for success. Allow your child to choose outfits for school. The night before, lay out two outfit choices and let him pick which one to wear.—Shannon E.
Teacher Talk
A crucial step in preparing for preschool is frequent communication with the teacher. When you know what happens at school, you can help your child know what to expect.
  • Be in the know. My child's distress comes in the morning before getting ready for school. He asks and whines if it is a school day. I've noticed that when I rehearse all the things that they will do at school, the anxiety goes away quickly.—Rosie H.
  • Ask the teacher. Ask about daily activities and lesson plans. Then you have specific things to talk about. If you make a picture schedule, your child can write or draw on it or just move stickers to one section of the schedule to show you what they remember doing that day.—Shannon E.
  • Volunteer to help. Offer to pick up big picture books at the library on a topic of the teacher's choice. Go to a used bookstore, and buy inexpensive board books that her class can keep. Donate crafts supplies. Read to the kids or help out with a field trip. —Shannon E.
Be Confident
Your child can sense your anxiety so while preparing for preschool, project an image of calmness and contentment.
  • Know what's normal. Having taught preschool for 12 years now, I have seen a great many different reactions to the drop-off. It is completely normal for kids to struggle with the morning routine. This is the age when children begin to comprehend more about relationships, routines, and how to act. Sometimes they seek extra attention because they enjoy those last few minutes of love from you.—Katherine C.
  • Keep it simple. Keep your goodbye routine short and simple, and do not linger.  Be confident in your child's new surroundings, because they will pick up on your insecurities.—Kelly M.
By Amanda Wheat. Originally printed on: http://www.scholastic.com/resources/article/preparing-for-preschool/

Happy Summer, Everyone!

25 TV-Free Summer Family Activities

It's a beautiful day! Go outside! Do something!
by Alice E. Workman

When boredom hits (usually about two days into summer vacation), fun and interesting activities can be hard to find. So be prepared: Print off a copy of the list below and tape it to your fridge. Even if you decide not to do any of these activities, reading through them will likely get your own creative juices flowing to wash away that boredom in no time!
1. Plant a garden

If you don't have space for a large garden, you can use a large pot (or 1/2 barrel) filled with soil. Flower gardens are great, but so are vegetable gardens. Three things that seem to be the best for young children to plant are fast-growing radishes, tall sunflowers, and pumpkins for carving or mini ones for enjoying.
2. Go to the park

Bring bread to feed the ducks, if there are any to feed!
3. Pick up litter in your neighborhood or at a park

Wear thick gloves.
4. Play an old-fashioned game

Duck, Duck Goose, Ring Around the Rosies, London Bridge, etc. Your local library probably has a book or two that lists various games and their rules. Invite the neighbors over to play.
5. Have relay races

Egg toss, 3-legged race, ball (or egg) on a spoon, etc.
6. Wash the car

Especially good for a hot day!
7. Pick flowers and deliver them to a neighbor

Make their day!
8. Play reverse musical chairs

Take a chair away just before the music starts each time, just as in regular musical chairs, but no one ever goes "out." Instead, those who are without a chair to sit on must sit on someone's lap. Soon the pile-ups will have everyone laughing too much to play anymore!
9. Blow up a couple of balloons

This is an inexpensive way to have a lot of fun, and planned games are unecessary, as they'll be tossing them around and having fun before you could say anything anyway!
10. Write a story together
Have one person start the story, then another continues, then another, and so on. You can just tell it or tape-record it instead of writing it down. To make a funny story, have each person write down just one paragraph of a story separately. Give them a subject or a few starter words, then put them together to make one story.
11. Write special notes to each other

Leave notes on the recipient's pillow for them to find at night. This is a good way to keep the kids writing over the summer.
12. Have a treasure hunt

The treasure could be something small and simple, such as stickers, candy, or even just a picture of a treasure box full of jewels. Let the kids each take turns hiding a treasure and drawing up the map.
13. Have a girls' night

Send the men (and/or boys) of the family out somewhere, or have them watch a video in one room while the girls spend time together in another (or hold a boys' night at the same time--camping out, going to a ballgame, doin' guy stuff). Have fun giggling, doing hair and nails, playing dress-up or whatever.
14. Throw a family dance party

Blow up a couple of balloons, stick in a tape or CD and have some fun! Don't worry if someone doesn't really know how to dance, just move.
15. Go to the library

Make this at least a weekly event. Get both individual books and a family book that you will read from together each day. Even older children who know how to read usually enjoy hearing stories, and you can talk about the books as a family as well.
16. Put on a family play

The kids write the script and design the costumes. Keep it simple. When the play is ready, perform it for Grandma or some willing neighbors. Be sure to pass out tickets to the event, and assign someone to be the ticket-taker.
17. Play tic-tac-toe using sidewalk chalk
18. Play "Name that Tune"

One person chooses a song that everyone knows and hums or plays the first four notes. If no one can guess the song, then five notes are hummed, then six, and so on. This can be a good travel game, provided the players can hum loudly enough for everyone to hear.

19. Hold cooking classes

Teach the kids how to follow a recipe and cook meals, but also have some fun cooking desserts. Have a contest to see who can make up the best original recipe, then let everyone enjoy eating their creations.
20. Make up a news report and tape it

Don't forget the commercials!
21. Make homemade ice cream or popsicles
22. Get a book of science experiments and try some
23. Learn something new together

A foreign language, karate, square dancing, knitting, flower arranging, etc.
20. Ride the bus

If riding the bus is not something that they regularly do, the kids will probably get a thrill out of doing it. You can entice older kids to come along if the ride includes a stop at the ice cream store!
21. Fly a kite

Go to the park or a school field.
22. Volunteer in the community

Most communities have abundant opportunities for giving service, and should have at least a few that are appropriate for younger children (as long as you are there to supervise them).
23. Make homemade greeting cards

Make a whole boxful of assorted cards for various occasions to use the rest of the year. Or make Christmas cards now to give later, or to sell in the fall to earn a little Christmas cash.
24. Have a watermelon seed spitting contest

For the brave, try a a pie eating contest!
25. Build a model house

Use toothpicks and gum drops, or pretzels and peanut butter.
After trying some of these activities, if a family member says they can't think of anything to do, ask them to come up with an idea--brainstorm a list if you like. Being self-entertaining is a habit that strengthens through practice. Hopefully these suggestions will serve as exercise equipment for the imagination. Happy summer!
Alice E. Workman is the mother of three, a writer and homeschooler. She is the Editor of Love of Learning, a free email newsletter for parents and homeschoolers. Information and back issues of Love of Learning can be found at http://edsupply.hypermart.net

M/W/F Class Spring Program

We invite family and friends of our M/W/F class to join us at Valley Christian Preschool for our very special Spring Program. We will celebrate our (amazing) group of students in our class, and they will showcase some of the songs we've been singing at school.

The Spring Program will take place in the church sanctuary. We will have Lunch-a-Bunch later that day, if needed, but students are welcome to leave with their families after the program.

See you there!

Mommy & Me Music Day!

This week at VCP, we had a fabulous time with our Mommy & Me Music Day! Ms. Lisa had us moving, shaking and laughing as we sang songs and enjoyed our time together. Thank you to everyone who made this morning a fun success!

Parachute fun!!
"Row, Row, Row Your Boat" Partner-Style!

Having fun with rhythm sticks...
"Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" time!

We loved this special day with our Moms!

Music & Movement

Our Tues/Thurs class had a blast during their first Music & Movement day with Ms. Lisa!

Spring Songs!

We've been welcoming Spring with open arms at VCP, including singing some Spring songs! Below are the lyrics to those songs. Enjoy!

I'm A Little Crocus
I'm a little crocus,
How do you do?
I'm growing up now
Wouldn't you?

Guess I'm the first one
Ha! Ha! Ha!
I'm going to laugh now
Ha! Ha! Ha!

Ohhhh that wind is cold
and I am very thin!
Guess I'll go back now
and pull my petals in.

Up Pops a Flower
We plant the seeds right in the soil,
the rain comes down in showers,
the sun comes out and what do you know,
UP! Pops a flower!

Dig a Little Hole (Finger Play)
Dig a little hole,
plant a little seed,
pour a little water,
pull a little weed.

Chase a little bug,
Hi ho there it goes!

Pour a little water
and grow
a little rose!

Five Little Ducks
Five little ducks
went out to play
over the hill
and far, far away
when the Mother Duck said
with a "Quack, Quack, Quack"
Four little ducks came swimming back.

Four little ducks
went out to play
over the hill
and far, far away
when the Mother Duck said
with a "Quack, Quack, Quack"
Three little ducks came swimming back.

Three little ducks
went out to play
over the hill
and far, far away
when the Mother Duck said
with a "Quack, Quack, Quack"
Two little ducks came swimming back.

Two little ducks
went out to play
over the hill
and far, far away
when the Mother Duck said
with a "Quack, Quack, Quack"
One little duck came swimming back.

One little duck
went out to play
over the hill
and far, far away
when the Mother Duck said
with a "Quack, Quack, Quack"
No little ducks came swimming back.

So.... The Father Duck said....
Five little ducks came swimming back!

VCP Voted Favorite Preschool in the Farmington Valley!

Readers' Choice Results: The Favorite Is Valley Christian Preschool in Unionville

The Master's School in West Simsbury comes in second.
Editor Kaitlin McCallum: Heard some news you want us to check out? Let me know:kaitlin.mccallum@patch.com
Farmington Valley families love their preschools! We had a wonderful response with detailed descriptions of the great programs available. In the end, the Valley Christian Preschool in Unionville came out on top.
In the many comments submitted, readers called the Valley Christian Preschool a "hidden gem."
Reader Jen Soucy told us: "Valley Christian in Unionville has nurtured and educated my kids by helping them become self confident. My kids know they can tackle any situtation as the have a foundation that started at Valley Christian Preschool. My oldest still loves to go back and visit with the teachers when she has a day off. The teachers care for each student as if they are their own. I will miss VCP when my last child graduates as the teachers are now a part of my family too."
And reader Marie-Pierre Capistran said, "My daughter has a great experience there and she's looking forward to go to school every Tuesday and Thursday. The school is small which makes a very "feel like a home" atmosphere. The two teachers, mother and daughter, couldn't be more caring and loving. We simply LOVE this school and recommend it to anyone who is looking for the PERFECT preschool for their children."
The school with the second-most number of comments was The Master's School in West Simsbury.
Reader Becca BeVier said, "The Master's School in Simsbury has to be, by far, the best preschool in the area. Two of my three children have attended in the last 4 years, and we were so happy with our experience. The teachers had a love for, and understanding of each of my children's unique gifts. They spent time patiently nurturing each of them, preparing them for that transition to "real school". As well the campus is beautiful and wooded. Nature walks and time outside were a daily part of the program."
Also recommended by readers were:
Central School in Simsbury
Early Childhood Center at Tunxis Community College in Farmington

Thanks for your nominations, and don't forget to post your reviews of these businesses in our Patch directory (click on the links in blue above). On Monday, our category is "Best Places to Buy Shoes," so check back for the chance to nominate your favorite.

After-School Art Classes!

Exciting news! Mrs. Thompson will be teaching after-school art classes for young artists (age 4-8) at Connecticut Academy for the Arts in Torrington! Space is limited and registration is ongoing.

Please call 860.201.5706 or email swakdesign@yahoo.com to register!

Learning About Rhythm During "R" Week!

Making music is one of our very favorite things to do at VCP! We LOVE when Ms. Lisa comes and teaches us about singing voices, moving to music, rhythm, beats and more! Here are a few photos from our music experience this week. Click on any photo to make it larger or open it in a new window.

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day!

We love to celebrate holidays at VCP, and one of our favorites is St. Patrick's Day! Here are some photos of how we celebrated this fun holiday at school!

Learning About Healthy Vision from Dr. Bartles!

We are excited to share that this week, Dr. and Mrs. Bartles came to visit our school, and taught us about eye care, eye safety and about the different ways people see objects and colors. We got to wear some extra-special glasses that allowed us to see a really cool 3-D image! Here are some photos from this special visit.

Pancakes & PJ's with our favorite Police Officer!

Our favorite police officer, Officer Joe, was nice enough to come to our school and make pancakes for us during our "P" week! And, we got to wear our pajamas - even Officer Joe! We tasted buttermilk and chocolate chip pancakes and then Officer Joe read the book "If You Give a Pig a Pancake." The day was PERFECTLY fun! Thank you, Officer Joe!!