Preschool Palooza 2018

IMG 7062WDMCS Community Education’s Preschool Palooza event will take place from 9:30 a.m. until noon on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, at Hillside Elementary School, 713 Eighth St., West Des Moines, IA.

This free event is designed for children ages 2-6 and their grown-ups. Children will be able to play games, have their faces painted, jump in an inflatable, sing and dance with Music-n-Motion, listen to a story, explore a City of West Des Moines vehicle, and much more. Grown-ups will be able to

talk with the WDMCS district staff about kindergarten registration, district and community preschool programs, nutrition, and transportation.

Preschool directors and teachers who participate in the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program (SVPP) will also be present.

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Organizations participating in Preschool Palooza include: Apple Tree Children’s Centers (Grand Avenue and Ashworth Road locations), Booster Pak, Creekside Christian Preschool, City of West Des Moines, Des Moines Art Center, Drake University Head Start, Heartland AEA 11, Iowa Public Television, Midwest Inflatables, Music-n-Motion, Sacred Heart Preschool, Storybook Adventures, Tiger Cubs preschools, West Des Moines United Methodist Preschool, West Des Moines Public Library, and Urbandale Lions Club.

Full Listing of Activities, Participants, and Performers

Rec’s and Reviews: “How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids”

  • ced_blog_BucketBookWe recommend: “How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids” by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer, with illustrations by Maurie J. Manning
  • This book is for: kids in preschool through fourth grade
  • Summary: When Felix wakes up one morning, he finds an invisible bucket floating overhead. A rotten morning threatens his mood — and his bucket — drop by drop. Can Felix discover how to refill his bucket before it’s completely empty?

“How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids” is a kid-friendly retelling of Tom Rath’s book of the same title for grown-ups. It’s based on the idea that everyone has an invisible bucket of water that follows them around and represents their emotional energy. Every positive interaction adds to the bucket, while negative experiences dip from the bucket.

ced_blog_BucketBook-pageIn this version, main character Felix learns about buckets from his grandfather. The next day, he can see everyone’s buckets, but he has a rough morning, and his bucket empties as he goes. The afternoon takes a turn for the better, and his bucket fills up again. He later adds to his little sister’s bucket by inviting her to play with him, becoming a true bucket-filler.

Using a story to spread the concept of bucket-fillers is a great way to remind kids to build people up. Manning’s artwork highlights the story perfectly, especially the kids’ colorful and unique outfits. (Keep an eye out for Felix’s sister’s tutu, and his Laser Ant backpack.) The writing may be a little simple for older readers, especially on some of the montage pages, but the lesson is a good one for readers of all ages.

Source How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids

Community Ed. Highlight: Preschool Palooza!

written by Alexandra Wade

PP-storytimeOur second Community Education Highlight is Preschool Palooza! This fun and free event takes place from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, November 8 at Hillside Elementary. Preschool Palooza is for children ages 2–6 and their parents. There will be fun, educational activities children can enjoy while parents gather information about early childhood opportunities. All snacks and activities are free.

PP-cafeteriaWhile children are enjoying inflatables, face-painting, singing and dancing with Music-n-Motion, and exploring City of West Des Moines vehicles, parents can find out more about early childhood opportunities. They will be able to talk with WDMCS district staff about kindergarten registration information, the WDMCS district preschool programs coordinator, preschool directors and teachers who participate in SVPP, and the WDMCS district nutrition department.


Come join us at Preschool Palooza for a fun, free, and informative time! Those interested can contact Jamie Evans, Holly Burns, and Sonja B. LeSher for more information.





Special thanks to the following organizations for their help with Preschool Palooza:

  • Apple Tree Children’s Center – Grand and Ashworth Location
  • City of West Des Moines
  • Drake University Head Start
  • The Hannah Geneser Foundation
  • Music-n-Motion
  • Creekside Christian Preschool
  • Sacred Heart Preschool
  • Tiger Cubs at Clive, Crestview, Jordan Creek, Western Hills, and Westridge
  • Walnut Creek YMCA
  • West Des Moines EMS
  • West Des Moines Park and Recreation
  • West Des Moines Police Department
  • WDMCS Nutrition Department

CE Poll: What’s your favorite childhood memory?

written by Alexandra Wade


Poll: What is your favorite childhood memory?

Adults may miss things like taking daily naps and watching cartoons, but they sure made being a kid special. With school in full-swing and trick-or-treating coming up, it’s a great time to look back and remember your own childhood. Share your favorite childhood memories with us on Facebook!


Watch for more fun polls and lists the fourth Thursday of every month on the Community Education blog!

Encourage Your Preschooler to Talk About Daily Activities

ai_gsf_0129_11434When your child begins school, her teacher will want her to talk about her thoughts, ideas and experiences. This kind of communication is a very important part of preschool and kindergarten.

Here are some ways to help your child get ready:

  • Get the story behind your child’s drawings. When your child draws a picture, ask her to tell you about it. Then write a sentence or two of her description underneath her drawing. Read her story together.
  • Talk about your own day with your child. For example, say more than, “We’re going out.” Instead, try, “We are going to the grocery store this afternoon. I need to get some fruit and a box of cereal. You can help me pick them out.”
  • Help your child tell a story in sequence. This helps her learn that one event follows another. For example, ask her, “What are some of the things you do after dinner and before bed?” If she’s not sure, say, “You brush your teeth. Then what do you do?”
  • Encourage your child to provide details. Say your child tells you that she went out to the playground with her preschool class. Ask her questions that will help her recreate more of that experience. “What color is the slide?” “Did you like playing on the swings or on the monkey bars more?” “Who was playing with you on the playground?”

Reprinted with permission from the September 2013 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Early Childhood Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2013 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: C. Wright, A Parent’s Guide to Home and School Success: Kindergarten, Brighter Vision Publications.


All Screen Time is NOT Created Equal

written by Holly Burns, Preschool Programs Coordinator

Wow! I never thought I would be writing a blog post about technology for early education! But never say never! As we all know technology is not going away. Early education experts are learning how iPads and tablets can be used with young children. The key is that it should not be seen just an entertainment device, but rather, a tool that can be used with young children to interact, learn, and create. The applications for iPads and touchscreens are endless. But like every other thing we use with our kids (books, toys, TV selections) some are good and some are junk.

What I am talking about is using technology in a more engaging and meaningful way. That means developmentally appropriate applications and a child working with an adult who is interacting with them.  A great article on the use of technology for early education is the position statement put out by NEAYC and The Fred Rogers Center.

  1. All screen time is NOT created equalipad tablet computer
  2. We need to promote “digital citizenship” which means teaching respect, boundaries and ethics in respect to the equipment and the access
  3. Limits are important. Work with teachers or care providers to coordinate limits on a child’s usage.  For example, if your five-year-old has already spent one to two hours on a computer or iPad at school, you may want to not allow any more time doing that at home.
  4. Technology is an effective learning tool for young children when used correctly.

I am a big advocate for “no screen time” before the age of two, and limiting screen time as appropriate for ages two and up. But the type of screen time that we need to strictly limit refers to “passive, non-interactive” screen time. You can recognize this when you see your kid in a trance just staring straight ahead like a zombie!

Some of my favorites are apps are created by Alligator, ABC Mouse, and Peekaboo. My all-time favorite app is called Lenord, Furry Friend. I do not like it so much for the educational component, but because it is so fun and engaging for younger children. Many of these apps are free or have a minimal charges. I highly recommend “We Want Apps”, which suggests suitable apps and will send you emails for free apps.

Just like everything else you decide as a parent, use iPads and touchscreens with common sense and arm yourself with good information.  I am not suggesting you increase screen time with your young child, but I am saying that if you are selective and mindful of your choices, there are a lot of cool learning adventures to be had!