By Beth Pinyerd
March is blowing out this week and I am giving readers a heads up that April Fools’ Day sneaks up on us Friday, April 1. Families be prepared for your young children to pull some jokes on you. We parents and teachers can also set up some good, wholesome and funny situations to make our children laugh. As a teacher, my all-time favorite is greeting my students with saying “There is no school today!” Some clap and scream with delight, others look confused and some quickly catch on to the joke. This sets up our April Fool’s Day for a day of laughing and pranks.
Also on April 1 is National One Cent Day. In 1787, the United States issued the first one-cent coin. The coin was designed by Benjamin Franklin. The design was copper and also larger. On one side of the coin it said “Mind Your Business”, and on the others side of the coin it said, “We Are One.” In early childhood lessons, we teachers like to do counting lessons with one cent, as well as putting a white piece of paper over a penny to do coin rubbings with a soft lead pencil.
On April 2, we celebrate the life of Hans Christian Andersen. He is best remembered for his literary fairy tales such as “The Little Mermaid”; “The Ugly Duckling”; “The Snow Queen”, etc., which have delighted children for many generations.
On April 3, 1860, the Pony Express is remembered as the early, fast mail delivery system of the old West. The Pony Express mail delivers were very brave and fast riders. The Pony Express tied the East to the West before electronic communication started. Children are fascinated by the stories of the early Pony Express.
Other monthly events that you will want to take advantage of with your children include, “National Garden Month” in which young children can easily start gardens at home whether outside or even in cups or pots. Too, “National Frog Month” is in April where tadpoles begin to emerge in nearby creeks where you and your young child can go and look at tadpoles and follow as they emerge into frogs. Even now, at dusk, we can hear frogs “a croaking”.
National Arbor Day falls on Friday, April 29. Many local communities usually give out sprigs or starter trees for your young child to watch a tree grow. Also many stores and local nurseries may have these at cheap prices. Too, this is something that families can do as a project in nurturing a tree to grow.
April 11 is National Pet Owner’s Day. As pet owners, we celebrate our pets each day. How can I teach my young child to take care of and nurture their pets, whether it be a goldfish, dog, cat gerbil, frogs, rabbits or snakes? Important lessons can be learned in caring for a pet.
Easter falls on Sunday, April 17 this year. I deeply appreciate what the churches are doing to teach children the Blessings of Easter. Be on the lookout for Community Easter Egg Hunts.
April 2 through 8, 2022, is proclaimed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children as “Week of the Young Child.” April 2 is Saturday Share with Friends; April 3 is Change to: “Saturday Share with Friends”; April 3 is “Gratitude Sunday”; April 4 is “Music Monday”; April 5 is “Tasty Tuesday”; April 6 is “Work Together Wednesday”; April 7 is “Artsy Thursday”; and April 8 is “Family Friday”. Families, these themes are fun activities that you can do at home with your children.
We have wonderful, resourceful libraries in our Lee County Community. April 3 through 9, 2022, is National Library week for us to celebrate.
Friday, April 22, 2022, is celebrated as International Earth Day. God created such a beautiful world for us to live in and enjoy fellowship with our Creator. This is truly our Father’s World. How can we start teaching our young children to learn to take care of our Earth? As a teacher of young children, I expose my students to nature through arts and crafts, as well as hands on science lessons. This is something that families can do during this time. Just walking outside in nature and familiarizing your child with natural qualities of leaves, grass, pine cones, rocks, etc. makes for good observation and science lessons. Collecting nature items and gluing them on a piece of paper or tagboard is a craft lesson in making a nature collage. Too, this allows you to spend time with your young child by taking little nature walks as they feel the sunshine on their heads, the wind blowing against their little cheeks and feeling the thrill of water from falling rain.
Early childhood teachers are famous for teaching their young students the three R’s of Recycle, Reuse and Reduce. Someone else’s trash is truly a teacher’s treasure in arts and crafts.
Recycle — With recycling, homes now have recycling bins to be carried out with the regular garbage. Train your child to throw cans, plastics, bottles and newspapers into the recycling bins so they won’t end up in landfills. These items can be used over and over. When you stop by local fast food restaurants, point out to your child that brown napkins, bags or even cups or cartons are made with recycled materials.
Reuse — Many moms who have raised young children are accustom to reusing materials we already have. Instead of buying a lot of new materials for everyday uses, keep empty grocery bags, bread bags, etc. for storing items. Thoroughly wash out and sanitize empty gallon milk or orange juice jugs to be used again for another round of lemonade, apple juice, Kool-aid, etc. Keep those toilet tissue and paper towel spools to be used for early childhood crafts to be done at home or school. Keep empty shoe boxes to make dioramas or animal habitats. Too, use old newspapers for different purposes such as making kites, cutting out pictures or for packing. Children are thrilled to get a birthday present wrapped in comic newspapers. Outgrown toys and clothes can be used and enjoyed by others.
Reduce — It’s important to stress to young children to be good stewards of what they have. Tell them to conserve energy by turning off lights. Gently remind them not to leave water running from indoor faucets or outside sprinklers. Use front and back paper when drawing and don’t throw away that plastic bag that can be used again. Guide your young children to take good care of their box of crayons, markers or pencils.
Last but not least, stress to your young child not to be “Litter bugs” inside or outside. Get them in the habit of safely picking up trash when they see it. Have yard or neighborhood cleanups.
Let’s celebrate each day in April with our children. Each day is a gift from God and so are our children.
Beth Pinyerd, Classroom Observer