Affects of Unemployment on Preschoolers, Magazine Overload, Preschool Outdoor Activitiy Center

Welcome to the sixth issue of the Preschool Plan-It Primer, a free monthly newsletter from Preschool Plan-It!

My hope is that you find information in each newsletter that is helpful to you- the Early Childhood Educator- as you work with this wonderful group called Preschoolers!

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July 2011, Issue # 6

In This Issue:

Affects of Unemployment on Preschoolers

Tips & Timesavers: Magazine Overload!

Interest Center Focus: Preschool Outdoor Activities

What’s New? Search It, Find It, Plan It!

Affects of Unemployment on Preschool Children

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 9.1% unemployment rate as of May, 2011. They further report that in 2010, the percentage of families with an unemployed person was 12.4%. This is 12% higher than it was in 2009. Behavioral changes due to the stress caused by unemployment in the home can be seen at school as well as at home.

Some affects of unemployment on young children can include:

Behavioral changes such as sudden or renewed separation anxiety.

Hitting, biting or other uncharacteristic increase in aggressive behavior. This can be from confusion due to changed routines, lack of sleep or perhaps even hunger.

Decreased concentration and memory (from lack of sleep, poor nutrition and/or chronic stress).

What can you do as a preschool teacher?

1. Stick with routines; maintain consistency. Families should try their best to keep their daily routines (such as morning routines, bedtimes and daily chores) as consistent as possible.

Teachers should, as discussed above, keep routines the same. The consistency and predictability will help the preschooler feel more secure.

2. Communicate often and always.

Families: Communication is key. It is important to have a good rapport with families from the beginning. Remind them that together, you are a team looking out for the best interest of their child.

Teachers: This is obvious, but let's revisit! Listen, listen and listen some more-to the families and to the children. You will learn much by setting up your day in a way that there is much time for the teachers to sit and interact with the children.

3. Keep kids (and families) involved in healthy habits.

Children (and adults!) tend to have more restless energy when stressed. Preschoolers need strategies to help burn that off!

Families: Encourage the parent to include their preschooler on a daily walk to burn off any stress or anxiety together and for some nice together time.

Teachers: If you notice that this preschooler has a lot of energy at a certain time of day, they probably need to burn it off! Consider adding a music and movement, gross motor or outside time to your day for all the children during this time.

You will find an extended version of this article that includes a few more suggestions you can pass on to families, a book list and other online resources regarding unemployment at my website:

CLICK HERE to go to the Unemployment Page

TIPS and TIMESAVERS: Magazine Overload!

Summer is officially here! How do you stay current in the field?

Many of us receive monthly or bi-monthly magazines from the field. Here are two questions for you to consider along with suggestions.

1. Do you actually read them or is reading them something on your “to do” list? This is a great time of year to decide on your subscription list(s)!

If you do not read them, why not? You are paying for them and they take up space! If the magazine is not one you want to continue to receive, call the company and cancel it. If it is due to cancel soon, confirm with the company that you are NOT on AUTOMATIC RENEWAL.

Repeat this process with each magazine you receive.

You should not be down to a list of magazines that you do and will continue to read.

If you do not read them because you never seem to have the time—you need to make the time! As I touched on last month, you need to take time for YOU!

2. What happens to them after you do read them?

I have a basket that I put magazines in after I read them. I keep them because there are some GREAT articles in them. And I know that article will come in handy in the fall. Mhmmm, right. You and I both know I’ll either forget about it or not be able to remember where I read that great article on separation anxiety! Here’s what I started doing a few months ago after making decisions on magazines from suggestion number 1 above:

I went through my collection of one specific magazine (and I receive 4 each month) and tore out the articles that I liked and wanted to keep.

I set up a file folder for the articles I was keeping (i.e. Growth and Development; Separation Anxiety) and recycled the rest of the magazine. It was quite freeing!

When a magazine comes in now, I make time to read through it, mark the articles I know I want to keep (by placing a sticky note on the page) and, when done reading the magazine, immediately go back to the marked articles, tear them out and file them (it is usually only 2 or 3 per magazine).

I know have a wonderful collection of resource articles at my fingertips and no longer need three baskets to house all of the magazines (yes three, I’ve kept them for several years!).

Here are your steps, based on Preschool Plan-It’s motto: Search it, Find it, Plan it! Here’s how:

1. Search it!

Choose ONE of your subscriptions. Call and cancel if you don’t enjoy it and recycle what you have if you KNOW you will not look at them again!

2. Find it!

Go through the magazines you have left. Find the articles you want to keep from these magazines you do enjoy and tear out and staple them. Recycle the rest.

3. Plan it!

Sort the articles by topic. Make a file folder for each one and file them where you can access them during your planning time. (Or, make a binder with topic sections so that you can take them to your classroom).

It may seem overwhelming at first, especially if you also have years of monthly published magazines hanging around as I did, but you will be happy in the end!

For more ideas for teachers such as organization,

CLICK HERE to go to the Teacher Timesavers Page

INTEREST CENTER FOCUS: Preschool Outdoor Activities

What is meant by Preschool Outdoor Activities?

Why do you have Preschool Outdoor Activities under the Interest Center Section?

Well, why not? ;) Every interest center you have inside your classroom would be wonderful outside as well! We hear so much about bringing the outdoors in; however, bringing the inside out is even more fun! When planning preschool outdoor activities, we usually think of gross motor games and activities to bring outside such as the Parachute, balls, bubbles, etc. And those are GREAT outdoor activities!

What I'm suggesting here is more of an outdoor classroom, if you will! Sure, we want the children to run and burn off energy, use their large motor skills and outside is a great place to do that! I guarantee that they will still so that, even with indoor interest centers set up outside!

What do children learn by using indoor interest centers outside?

They will help the children in the same ways as they do inside. Outside will add to the opportunities to become involved in a different environment.

How should the teacher prepare for a Sand and Water table activity?

This is some preparation, especially if you do not have a locked storage area outside to store items. Bringing and easel or water table outside takes before class preparation. In our area, leaving these things outside would almost guarantee, unfortunately, that they would disappear by the next day.

One way to do this is to enlist the help of parents. Set up a schedule of which items you want outside on which days and ask parents to bring them to your play area before they leave!

Planning is the important piece. You can't take you entire classroom outside every day but you can plan new experiences for a day or a week!

Materials for the Sand and Water Table

The materials to add for your preschool outdoor activities are limited only by your imagination! Here are some ideas to start with an "outdoor classroom" idea!


Provide an easel or you can use clothes pins to secure paper to a chain link fence. Try painting with brushes or try spray bottles with watered down paint.

Provide brushes, paint and paper to use at a picnic table or on the ground outside.

Provide a covered bin of collage materials (include paper and glue in your bin) for a collage. OR--have the children use items from outside to make their collage such as grass, small pebbles, wood chips, leaves, etc.

Water Play

Bring a water table outside for your sensory fun. You can use the same materials you would inside--water, shaving cream, etc.

Try adding bubbles to the table.

If you have a sand box outside, don't ignore your water table!

Add some sand and water to your water table for a mud table!

You are in the best place you could be to clean up: Outside!

Dramatic Play

You don't have to have a full out kitchen area or fancy dress up station! Just bring out some of the props for your theme; the kids will make up the rest! Cooking will happen on a rock that they pretend is a stove. They will run around turning rocks (or friends!) into frogs with a magic wand!


Yes, bring out a variety of blocks. This will extend their outdoor construction in so many ways!


A blanket, a small book bag and the shade of a tree is all that is needed....and perhaps a few stuffed animals or puppets!


Provide board games, manipulatives, sorters, counters or other activities that you would be working on in the classroom this week!

Science Center

Outside is a science center in and of itself! You could provide a bin for the children to place items that they find outside.

Bring these back inside to explore further inside your classroom.

Bring the indoors out! Do you have ideas to add to this page that have worked well for your preschool outdoor activities! Send them to me and I'll add them to this page with your name!

Please be sure to let me know somewhere in your note that your idea is for the Preschool Outdoor Activities Page! Thank you!

Themed Materials

Choose the same materials to be used inside for your Outside choices based on the current theme or concept you are working on! Below is the link to my THEMES page for theme related activities


WHAT’S NEW? Search It, Find It, Plan It at !

The following pages were added to the website during the past month:


Back To School Theme

4th Of July Theme Page

Summer Theme Page


Affects of Unemployment on Preschool Children

Preschool Outdoor Activities Page

Comments? Ideas for future newsletters? Feedback? This newsletter is written FOR you, so I'd love to hear from you.

Just reply to this zine and tell me what you think!

Until Next Month,