News from the Director

May 2017 

PROUD or Arrogant?

Some synonyms for PROUD:  pleased, satisfied, gratified, delighted, and fulfilled.

Synonyms for ARROGANT: egotistical, big-headed, superior, and conceited.

This month at Littlest Angels our virtue of the month is PROUD. You might be thinking… “That’s not a good quality to teach children.” But, yes it is! We want all children to feel satisfied, delighted, fulfilled and proud of all their accomplishments.

 From the time children are tiny infants, they look to others for reactions to their accomplishments.  I can still remember all the firsts of our four children; first smile, the first step, patty cake, and waving bye-bye.  They waited for our smiles, giggles and rounds of applause.  And then they would do it again, and again and again! This is a child’s first step toward developing a sense of pride, self-esteem and achievement.  

They need to know that they have talents and special God-given gifts. It’s important for them to realize at an early age that not everyone has the same strengths and skills.  We do encourage them to do the best they can in everything, but by focusing specifically on a child’s particular skills and talents they will be motivated to work harder on those activities. Kids need to learn to proud of themselves for what they do, don’t do and for the decisions they make on their own. This is one of the best gifts we can give them, the gift of self-confidence and independence!

I have shared this story before but it is worth repeating.  “A little boy had a baseball bat and ball.  He said to himself, “I’m the best hitter in all the world!” He threw the ball up and swung but missed.  Without wasting any time, he picked that ball up and said again, “I’m the best hitter in the whole world!”  He threw the ball up and swung.  Strike two.  He picked the ball up again, even more determined this time, he said, “I am the best hitter in the whole world!”  He threw his ball up and swung away.  Strike 3.  He simply laid down his bat, smiled real big and said: “What do you know, I am the best pitcher in the entire world!” 

This little guy saw possibilities when others might have seen roadblocks!  He had no problem with his “can-do” attitude.  Children grow more confident in their abilities as they become aware of their many achievements, no matter how small.  This month we hope you join us and find ways to inspire the little children in your lives to do the best they can, nurture their God-given talents, and know that the decisions they make on their own really do matter!

 I didn’t want to end my article without sharing this enlightening moment with you all.  In chapel last week I asked the children, “Why did Jesus die on the cross for us?”  One little guy raised his hand and said, with all the confidence in the world, “BECAUSE WE WERE TRAPPED AND NOW WE ARE SET FREE!” …and once again Teacher Kathy was reminded that little guys are great teachers too…and thank you Jesus, we are free indeed!                                                  

Kathy Stinson,
Director


April 2017

LIFE REQUIRES COURAGE

This month at Littlest Angels we’ll be talking about being COURAGEOUS!  This is a virtue young children get to practice daily! I’d like to share a little story.  “5 year old Johnny was in the kitchen as his mother made supper.  She asked him to go to the pantry and get her a can of tomato soup, but he didn’t want to go alone.  “It’s dark in there and I’m scared.”  She asked him again, and he persisted.  Finally she said, “It’s OK…Jesus will be there with you.”  Johnny hesitantly walked to the door and opened it.  He peeked inside, saw it was dark, and started to leave when all at once an idea came, and he said: “Jesus if you are in there, would you please hand me that can of tomato soup?”

Everybody is afraid of something!  It’s programmed into all of us.  That’s a good thing because fear is there to protect us. We are born with a sense of fear so that we can react to something that could be dangerous.  Most fearful tendencies are about things we can’t control or understand.  We know that as a child becomes more conscious of the world around him/her they outgrow most fears. Each fear that is overcome builds more courage.  I still remember when I was young I was afraid there were bears outside my window and there were monsters in the closet.  The window had to be shut and locked and the closet door shut tight before I would settle down and close my eyes.  Yes, I have outgrown those two fears but I must confess, I still cannot go to sleep unless the closet door is shut!!

I was curious to find out what the greatest fears of children were so I did some investigating.  Some researchers from John Hopkins University reported that 30 years ago, the greatest fears of grade school children were: animals, being in a dark room, high places, strangers, and loud noises. Today, kids are afraid of the following: divorce, nuclear war, cancer, pollution, and personal danger.  It seems to me that the fears of today’s children seem to be far more noteworthy than they were 30 years ago. 

We adults need to take time to sincerely listen to the children God places in our lives.  Often the fears children experience are hard for them to verbalize so it may take some “cultivating conversation” to get to the root of the problem.  Their private thoughts are serious business to them so we need to take them seriously. It’s important to remember that little things to us are big things to them! Laughing at them or telling them that their fears are silly will have a negative impact.  You will lose their trust and they will feel humiliated.

Jesus was a great encourager for those who were fearful and we can learn from Him!  He did not tell His disciples that they would not be afraid when He sent them out to all the nations.  What He did say was, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the world.” We can go forward with strength and with courage (even if we are anxious) because we know that God is with us; He is our refuge and strength, and He is always there in times of trouble. Courage grows as we trust God. A child’s bravery will grow as we teach them, and remind them over and over and over again, that there is no deed to fear because we can lean on our all-powerful and awesome God who is always with us and… “Yes, Little Johnny…He’s even in the pantry!” 

Kathy Stinson,
Director


 

March 2017 

I WON’T GIVE UP! I WON’T GIVE UP!

“GREAT PEOPLE ARE ORDINARY PEOPLE WITH AN EXTRAORDINARY AMOUNT OF DETERMINATION.  SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DON’T QUIT!” 

Determination is our virtue of the month. Determination could be defined like this: never giving up; working hard; and getting the job done, no matter what! Yikes!  This is a tough one in a world in which we are used to having so many things instantly at the touch of our fingers.  I think children of the 21st century may be becoming more unaware with the concept of waiting, working hard, and having deep determination because of what they are exposed to in this fast-paced world they live and learn in!  Even as adults we are often impatient and want most everything in an instant.  Yet we know determination is a great character quality to possess. 

Each day at Littlest Angels we encourage the children to be the “best that they can be”, to believe in themselves, and to try and try again…just like that determined itsy, bitsy spider that climbed up the water spout or the Little Engine that Could!  When we give children opportunities to try new things that might be a bit challenging they gain confidence and belief in themselves.

So how do we nurture determination in children and show them that hard work pays off?  The real truth is we need to teach and preach to children that you can do almost anything, if you are willing to work really, really hard at it.  Here are some ideas:

Praise the child who is persevering and working hard to accomplish something that doesn’t come naturally to him; a little challenge teaches them that hard work is important!

Teach them to try, try, and try again!  And teach them to take breaks and recharge before frustration begs them to just quit!

Model, model, model!  It is ok for children to see adults getting frustrated when they are trying to do something new (or old).  Most importantly, let them see you succeed because you didn’t give up! (I can guarantee you that your little kids will be your best cheerleaders!)

Everyone needs a safe place where they can make mistakes without fear.  That’s how we all learn that we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and try all over again with confidence! Home is where this safe place should be!

No matter how old we are, 2 or 92, we all face roadblocks and tough hills to climb that require determination.  I am so thankful that we have a God who tells us “I will give you all the strength you need, trust me, relax and know that you can do great things with my help.”

Kathy Stinson,
Director


 

February 2017

The ABC’S of Friendship

A friend…

Accepts you as you are; Believes in you; Calls you just to say “Hi”; Doesn’t give up on you;

Envisions the whole of you (even the unfinished parts); Forgives your mistakes; Gives unconditionally; Helps you; Invites you over… Just to be with you; Keeps you close at heart; Loves you for who you are; Makes a difference in your life; Never judges; Offers support; Picks you up; Quiets your fears; Raises your spirits; Says nice things about you; Tells you the truth when you need to hear it; Understands you; Values you; Walks beside you; eXplains things you don’t understand; Yells when you won’t listen; and Zaps you back to reality!   Author Unknown 

There you have it…friendship!  It’s as easy as learning the ABC’s, right??  Not! February is the month of LOVE and FRIENDSHIP.   We all need special friends and we all need to feel loved and wanted. We rely on our friends to listen and to support us.  They are vital. Friendships are very important in the developing child’s life too.  Yet, what do they really know about being a friend?  As you can see from the ABC’S of Friendship list above, being a good friend is tough work for a self-centered preschooler.

I am often reminded that little ones learn appropriate social behaviors best by observing significant adults in their lives connecting with others. Our behaviors, words, and actions with others, communicate a great deal about what is important to us concerning our friendships.  Children will follow in our footsteps.  Parents and other significant adults are the child’s very first models of what a true friend is.

Try this.  Put your name in front of the above statements and see how the modeling is coming along.  Mom accepts me as I am. Dad makes a difference in my life. Teacher eXplains things I don’t understand. Grandma gives unconditionally.  Grandpa believes in me. Let’s all make a huge effort to lead the little ones in our lives to great places and great friendships by being exceptional role models!

I am a grandma and Da is what all the grandkids call me. A few years ago, my granddaughter Emmy looked me straight in the eyes and said: “Da, you are my best friend!”  I gotta’ tell you she melted my heart with her words.  What a joy to know I’m her pal, buddy, cheerleader, and helper! And just maybe she learned a little bit of how to be a good friend from one of her best friends named Da.

May Jesus, our best friend and example of what a true friend is, be ever present in our lives and reflected in all our friendships with all the big and little people we have interactions with. And, by the way, thank you for being my friend!

Have a LOVEly month and do practice those ABC’s!

Kathy Stinson,
Director

P.S. If you know of anyone looking for a preschool for their child, please send them to Littlest Angels! We would love to visit with them and give them a tour of the facilities.


January 2017

 

Dear Littlest Angels families,

THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing your Christmas joy and love with us--we feel loved and special!  God bless you all with a new year filled with peace and joy and love.

Littlest Angels Preschool Staff

 

DECEMBER 13th, 2016…Hark the Angels did sing!  What a night to remember! The Young Child’s Christmas Service was so special.  What a joy to see the little ones participating in worship in such a meaningful way!   Thank you parents for making this evening a priority and keeping CHRIST in CHRISTmas for your child


January Reminders!                           

It’s time to…

 

1. Beware of germs!  The cold and flu season is here!  Please keep your child home if they   

    show any sign of a contagious illness.  Please be reminded that your child must be on             

    antibiotics for 24 hours before they return to  school after an illness.  Thanks for your

    cooperation in this very important matter.

 

2.  Be aware of problems on the preschool and church property. We want to keep all of the

     children safe and sound. So… please be reminded of the following safety rules.  The

     children have been told by the preschool staff that these are rules to keep us safe. 

     Thank you for partnering with us in implementing the rules.  This consistency will

      be very helpful.

· No climbing on top of structures, playhouses, fences, or walls on the playground.

· Up the stairs and down the slide…no climbing up the slide.

· No walking or jumping on the sandbox cover.

· No climbing on the stair railings on the cement steps at the front of the church property

· No jumping from the cement wall at the top of the ramp coming down from the parking lot.

· Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times

 

3.  Mark your calendar!  There will be NO SCHOOL on Monday, January 16 in honor

     of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

 

4.  Think about re-enrollment!  It’s getting to be that time of year when we begin the

      re-enrollment process.  Be watching for more news in early February.

5.   Younger Siblings who will be eligible to attend Littlest Angels next year?  Don’t

       forget to fill out an application for them as soon as possible. This step will let us know that

       they will be attending. Priority is given to siblings only until open enrollment begins.
                                              

LIFE IS SWEET when we are RESPECTFUL!  That’s our virtue for the month of January!

I found this acrostic that does an awesome job in explaining what R-E-S-P-E-C-T is all about:

 R – RESPOND      When someone speaks to you, answer them politely and look them in the
                            eyes.

 

E – EXAMPLE      Respect yourself by being the best you can be.  You never know who is
                          watching, so make sure you are reflecting who you are.

 

S – SPEAK          Instead of pouting or whining, use words that will help you express your
                         concerns or frustrations.

 

P – PROPERTY    Take care of other people’s things.  If you use something, make sure you
                          return it in better condition than which you received it.

 

E – EARN             We appreciate what we have more when we work for it.  You won’t get
                          everything you want, but you can work hard to earn it.

 

C – CARE              Think about how your actions will affect others.  Make choices that

                               show your care and concern for others.

 

T – TRY                   Every day is a new chance to be obedient, kind, and respectful.  Forgive

                               yourself and others when you make a mistake and always, always keep

                               trying!

 

God’s love, peace, hope and joy to you all in 2017!

Kathy Stinson
Preschool Director


 

December 2016

JESUS TOOK A TRIP!

For some reason I had a difficult time coming up with an extraordinary idea for my article this month…until today that is.  Once again, God sent me some shining inspiration from one of my little preschool buddies.  He and I were having a conversation about Jesus.  I opened the door to the church and the little boy softly said, “Is Jesus in there?”  I said, “Yes, but we can’t see Him- He is always with us. He is everywhere.”(I was thinking, “Keep it simple Kathy-- he’s only 4 years old.”)  Then the little guy said, “Well, you remember once Jesus took a trip and now He’s back home.” I agreed.  I then asked him what Jesus was doing there.  His reply was, “Well, He’s taking care of His babies.”  I said, “You are so right!  He did take a trip and He is taking care of His babies every day!”…and that was the end of the conversation. My buddy probably didn’t think about it for another second. I, on the other hand, went back to my office and began to think about the exchange of words he and I had just shared.  A trip?

Christmas is all about a trip Jesus lovingly took from heaven to earth. Yes, it’s true, just as my little friend said; Jesus did take an incredible “rescue” journey.  The trip had been planned centuries before He was born.  It was a very long trip-the longest anyone else has ever taken. The mighty God humbled Himself into being a helpless baby, depending on the ones He created for His basic needs. He grew in wisdom and stature during His 33 year tripHe went through it all—infancy, childhood, teenage years and manhood.  It was all part of the traveling plans.  He proclaimed that He was the Savior and rescuer of the world. And He was.  And when it was time, He told His people that He would be taking His trip back home to His Father in heaven.  And he did.  And now, as my little friend told me, “Jesus is taking care of His babies.”

What a comforting thought that is!  When we are infants we are helpless.  We are totally dependent on those that take care of us. Babies are comforted, reassured, encouraged, consoled, nurtured, free of worry and loved to pieces! Their needs are met. They are never alone.  My friend is right.  Jesus is taking care of His babies…that’s us…anyone who believes in Him and understands His incredible Christmas journey and all that it means for a sinful world.

Jesus says:

 “For anyone who says yes to Jesus, for anyone who believes what Jesus said, for anyone who will just reach out to take it, then God will give them this wonderful gift:  to be born into a whole New Life; to be who they really are, who God made them to be—their own true selves--God’s dear Child! “                             Paraphrase of John 1:12 - 13 from the Jesus Storybook Bible    

I can just hear Jesus softly and tenderly saying, “Kathy you are my child, my baby and I LOVE YOU!” How about you…do you hear Him too?  Thanks to my little friend, I know Christmas for me will be just a little more special this year.

Merry Christmas!
Kathy Stinson


 

November 2016

GRATEFUL… NO MATTER WHAT!

I don’t know about you but I do have my moments when I don’t feel like being grateful. This usually happens when I am frustrated and angry or sad about the circumstances that life brings. When I lose my grateful attitude I remind myself to stop; take a deep breath and remember that God is always, always working things together for my good. He will take a tough situation, turn it around and make something wonderful happen.  I know because I’ve experienced it over and over in my life.  I just need to remember to look at the end result to be happy and very grateful even though the process of getting there caused some challenges and pain.  When it comes down to it, we can focus on God’s goodness and blessings and be grateful for what we’ve been given or we can constantly complain and become bitter about what He hasn’t done or why things turned out the way they did, or why is this happening to me?

I believe having a grateful heart protects us from a life of resentment and sadness.  When we focus on being grateful something amazing happens.  Joy trickles into our hearts and it bubbles over into our thoughts and actions.  Our praise and thanksgiving to God becomes a way of living.

This month at Littlest Angels our virtue is GRATEFUL.  We will be helping the little ones develop grateful heart felt attitudes that hopefully will last a lifetime.  Human beings are not born grateful.  When we were little children the first thing many of our parents taught us about manners was to say “THANK YOU”. It is courteous to say “thank you” but more than that it also helps all of us to not become selfish and ungrateful. 

Here are some things you can do as a family to help “grow” grateful attitude:

  • Talk about the needs of others in your community and act on them together as a family; our upcoming Helping St. Nicholas fund raiser is an example because the children will be using their own two hands to put the gift bags together.
  • Thank others on a regular basis for services and jobs well
  • Make “Thanks” giving prayers a regular part of your family time together; not just at meals.
  • Talk of about being thankful for all the things that money cannot buy – the list is endless; good health, a sunset, the stars, a good laugh, a soft pillow, each new day…
  • Let children see you sharing your gratitude attitude with others on a daily basis. Children will begin to learn that these attitudes should be a way of life.    It could be as simple as a smile   at a stranger, helping an elderly person with a task that has become too difficult for them or sharing a meal with a lonely person.

During this Thanksgiving season, the entire Littlest Angels Preschool staff and I would like to wish you all a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving Day.  We consider your children to be very extraordinary blessings in our lives…thanks for sharing them with us.

          Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever!
          1 Chronicles 16:3 

May God bless us all with grateful hearts during the good, the bad, and the “wait and see what God is going to do” times in our lives!

Thanksgiving blessings!
Kathy Stinson, Director


October 2016

 

It’s My Responsibility

I just read a little story in a book.  It went like this. “A mother went into her son’s bedroom and said, “Come on now, it’s time to get up.  It’s time to go to school.”  Her son pulled the covers over his head and groaned, “I won’t ….I won’t go…I do not like school!”  The mother replied, “You have to go, it’s important.”  He stuck his head out from under the covers again and said, “Yeah? Just give me two good reasons for going to school.”  And his mother replied, “First, you are forty-two years old. Second, you are the principal.”  Oh, my goodness!  The goal is to raise a responsible child who then grows up into a responsible adult right?

This month at Littlest Angels we will be talking about being responsible.  Responsibility is about looking inside yourself and doing all you can to be the best person possible. It’s about trying to see what you can do to help others. Responsible people act the way they should whether anyone is watching or not.  Being responsible makes us feel good about ourselves and makes others appreciate us too! 

To a young child (and grown-upJ) being responsible might look like this:

RESPONSIBILITY
Responsibility means, “I can do things on my own.”
When I turn it on, I turn it off. When I unlock something, I lock it up.
When I drop something, I pick it up. When I break something, I repair it.
When I open something, I close it. When I make a mess, I clean it up.
When I make a promise, I keep my promise. When I find something, I return it.
When I borrow something, I give it back. When I take it out, I put it back.
When I am assigned a task, I complete it on time. When I hurt someone, I ask for forgiveness.
When God gives me a special talent or gift, I use it to help myself and others.

We adults know that none of us is born acting responsibly.  Responsible character grows over time.  If children (and adults) practice something over and over, it will become a habit, a pattern that they fall into naturally without much thought or effort.  And so it is with teaching a child how to be responsible. Here are some first steps.

1. SHOW AND TELL
Over the years I have learned that children learn best by “show and tell”.  The very best way    to instill a sense of responsibility is to be a topnotch role model for your child.  Children are much more likely to do as you do than as you say. So keep those promises! Follow through with commitments!  Be on time for appointments! Finish chores!  Make good choices!  Your child will observe and learn from you!  Remember, they learn from seeing.  They learn from hearing. They learn from overhearing. They learn from us, they learn from each other, from other adults, and they can even learn responsibility all by themselves.  They find out quickly that the choices they make do have consequences

2. CATCH THEM
Catch your child being responsible and brand it!  “You put your clothes in the hamper all by yourself. That’s what I call being responsible!”  Chances are they will most likely repeat the action because they know they are responsible and they did well and most importantly, you noticed! We often learn the best from ordinary situations that arise in everyday life. Seize those teachable moments!  They are the best opportunities for teaching, learning and remembering!

3. CHORES, CHORES, CHORES
Another way to help responsibility grow is to assign children age appropriate chores.  Make it fun!  Set the timer, sing a song, do the clean-up dance!  Your child will beam when they know that they have made you happy! 

4. STAY POSITIVE!
Positive reinforcement will teach your child that their efforts are important and appreciated. And always remember that every child varies in abilities and our expectations should vary for them too!

Responsible behavior builds a better world! With each of us taking care of our responsibilities in our own little corner of the world we can and will make it a better place!  God promises to be right here in our midst training us and encouraging us…and heaven knows we can count on HIM to be responsible!

Kathy Stinson
Director


 

September 2016

HAPPY ALL THE TIME

I’m inright, outright, upright, downright
Happy all the time!
I’m inright, outright, upright, downright
Happy all the time!

 
Since Jesus Christ came in
And took away my sin I’m…
Inright, outright, upright, downright
HAPPY ALL THE TIME!

For the joy of the Lord is my strength.  Nehemiah 8:10

Ready? Set?  It’s time for school!  On September 8th Littlest Angels Preschool will begin its 21st year of ministering to young children and their families. I am confident that God and His great big, unfailing love will continue to bless us with another amazing year…especially if we all remember that the joy of the Lord is our strength!

This year our Bible verse motto is “The joy of the Lord is my strength!”  What is the joy of the Lord?  The joy of the Lord is the gladness in our hearts that comes from knowing and trusting Jesus, our best friend. The joy of the Lord is not determined by circumstances.  It’s present in the best of times and the worst of times. Jesus is always present and that produces joy! In my life, this Jesus joy can heal, inspire, refresh my thinking, dispel my sadness and fears, make me want to sing, make me smile, put a lightness in my step, make me speak kindly, behave more sweetly, and most importantly, it makes me want the whole world to know the God of love has come to me and I want to pass it on! 

Who can I pass this Jesus joy on to?  Because I have the joy of the Lord I am called to live joyfully and lovingly for Him. The highlight of my week at preschool is when I have the opportunity to   share God’s love (pass it on) with the little ones at chapel.  This year I will be very intentional about teaching them that they can be happy all the time!  They can be happy because they will be learning that Jesus, their very best friend, is with them all the time!  They will learn that Jesus can live in their little hearts too and they can be filled with His joy and do great things for Him by loving themselves and others!

The Joy of the Lord is the real thing!   We should all try it!   Just begin with a genuine smile and pass it on!

God bless our growing!
Kathy Stinson,
Director


May 2016 

 

"I'M A CAN-DO KID! YES I AM!"

DETERMINATION! That’s our virtue for the month of May. To a preschooler that means “I can do what needs to be done even when it is tough!” We started the school year determined to make a special effort to help the children, just like the Little Engine That Could, have a “can-do” spirit, climb their mountains and stay on the right track. They have learned that it is good to be caring, friendly, attentive, peaceful, gentle, honest, patient and forgiving. 

When a child has healthy self-esteem they feel competent, capable and secure. They know that they are a special part of the world around them and they are sensitive and empathetic towards others. And the big plus is that they know that Jesus, their Best Friend, is always with them giving them courage and strength! 

Now, it just so happens that Mother’s Day is also something we talk about at preschool this month. We invite all of the mommies for a special tea and we let them know how special they are to their children. I’ve been a mom for 40 years now. Believe me, I know that being a mother and having determination go hand in hand! 

A few years ago when my kids were toddlers (Well—it seems like just a few years ago!) they gave me a Mother’s Day card. I still treasure it and it sits in my china cabinet so that I can catch a glimpse and a memory of it every now and then. The card has a mommy bunny and her little ones on the front all looking a bit frazzled. It says, “Happy Mother’s Day Mommy!” Then, on the inside, mommy bunny is there with a suitcase in her hand and the words are, “Thank you for never running away!” The card was signed by each one of our four children in their very special signatures (except for the 6 month old babe I held in my arms). The words really captured how I felt during those very chaotic… “I can’t get anything done days!” There were times I really did think about running away. That little greeting card spoke to me that day.

Sometimes, it does just take utter perseverance to get through our more topsy-turvy days. You know, the days when you are nursing the baby, putting a Band-Aid on a skinned knee, telling two kids to stop fighting, cooking dinner and sewing a button on… all the same time! I had a mantra that I repeated over and over again back then….it was Philippians 4:13—“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Knowing the strength I needed would come from a loving God who already knew about all my struggles calmed me down and gave me renewed strength of mind, body and heart! My smile returned along with my composure! My determination was a gift from God back then as it is now.

No matter how old we are—2 or 92—we all face roadblocks and tough hills to climb that require perseverance. I am so thankful we have a God who never ever entertains the thought of running away from us when the going gets tough. Instead He tells us –“I will give you all the strength you need—trust me, have faith, relax and know that you can be a Can-Do Kid (or mom)!” God is working with us, in us, and through us so that we are all, young and old alike, able to be His “Can-Do Kids”!


Kathy Stinson, Director


 

April 2016  

To Err is Human, to Forgive is Divine! 

It is impossible to live in the world without getting hurt, offended, misunderstood, lied to, and rejected. It’s a fact; making mistakes is human! It is also a fact that being a kind and forgiving person is inspired by God alone.  Forgiving others is not easy, especially when we feel like we have been wronged unfairly.  So forgiveness can sometimes feel like it goes beyond our human nature.  As humans, we like to hold on to our feelings of “I know I am right and you are wrong!”  So, when we do forgive we are being Godlike (divine)!   Forgiveness is an act of love, mercy, and grace. 

How do you feel when you fail to forgive? I can tell you that when I fail to forgive, I lose that peaceful and calm feeling. I feel guilty, angry, and irritated; physically, my heart rhythm changes and I get a headache. These symptoms persist until I restore the broken relationship by showing forgiveness, giving a hug, and wiping the slate clean!  I am then at peace once again.

The Bible teaches us much about forgiveness. In Ephesians 4:32, we are told that we are to forgive because we have been forgiven by God.  “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” We are to forgive over and over in obedience to God. “Then Peter came up and said to Him, “Lord how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?  As many as seven times?”  Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times” Matthew 18:21-22. Just like Jesus’ forgiveness never runs out, neither should ours. 

Our virtue at preschool this month is “I can show love when others hurt me;” I can be forgiving.  Forgiveness is a difficult concept for children. It is a skill. Forgiveness is taught by example and, don’t we know, it requires practice.  Children develop forgiveness in stages as they develop social skills and gain experiences.  We explain to the children that when we practice forgiving others, we help our broken hearts heal from our hurts.  We want them to understand that forgiveness brings good feelings to all parties involved.

Some children are forgiving by nature.  They move on quickly, preferring to get back on course and find their happy place.  But, oh my goodness, other children don’t.  They plant their feet in the ground and stand firm.  They don’t want to forgive.  They would rather be miserable and alone.  It’s understandable.  We all experience different emotions throughout the day, and sometimes it’s just better to spend some time alone and think about things.  And then find some resolution.

It is so important to take the time to teach children to be divine and that they can forgive.   Here are some suggestions that might be helpful:

  • Let the child express their sincere feelings about being hurt
  • Acknowledge what happened and show some support
  • Take your child away from the scene and encourage him to vent for a few minutes (stomp feet, clap hands, clap thighs, etc.)
  • Talk it out with the friend after you have rehearsed the script together
  • Encourage your child to  be empathetic…help him think about what the other friend was feeling and why he did what he did
  • Say the words…I forgive you!

“One of the secrets of a long and peaceful life is to forgive everybody everything every night before going to bed!”  I’m all for happy, unbroken hearts.  How about you?

P.S.  We had a visit from the Menlo Park Library Librarian and she applauded the children for their great manners and attentiveness.  She was very impressed!  Good job Littlest Angels!  It’s such a joy to hear compliments and know that talking about and teaching about our virtues each month shows!  Her words sure made my heart happy!

We had a great time celebrating during WEEK OF THE YOUNG CHILD!  It is through children that God gives us a sense of hope and joy.  They see possibilities when we see roadblocks.  Children bring harmony, serving as masters at mending relationships with a hug, kiss, or a tear.  They show honesty when they express anger, fear, and love. At Littlest Angels, it’s wonderful to watch children form their own identities as they become aware of who they are, what they can do, and how they fit into the larger world of friends and family.  Children grow more confident as they become aware of their many successes, no matter how small.  We try to make children feel special be giving them the chance to say:  “I can do it all by myself!  I’m a can-do kid!” Do take time every day to celebrate your children and let them know just how special they are to God and to you! 

Andy Z was supposed to come and perform for us but he had a mix-up in his scheduling. He will be coming to visit in April or May.  A compliment from Teacher Kathy to the kids… You waited and waited and waited so patiently for Andy Z!   YOU ARE CAN DO KIDS!!!!!!!

Kathy Stinson
Director


March 2016

Don’t Be in Such a Hurry!

I believe it’s probably harder than any other time in history for folks to be patient.  We live in a world where most things are only a few clicks or a push of the button away.  Fast food! One hour cleaners! Instant messages! Speed reading!  FastTrack!   Everything seems to have become so quick and easy!  We are all tuned in to finding quick fixes for just about everything! The definition of patience is “the ability to put up with pain, troubles, delays, difficulties, and hardship without complaint or ill temper.”  I consider myself a patient person. But as I sit here writing this article and I think about the definition of patience, I have to ask myself; “Kathy, how do you respond to and tolerate the events that unfold in front of you?  How do you react to situations that disturb you? How do you deal with hardship and suffering in your life?  No complaining?  No ill temper?” Oops – guess I’m not so patient after all.  At preschool this month we are teaching the children “I can be patient.”

Exactly how do we do that in this world of ours that shouts “Hurry!”?

Here are a few ideas:

  • As I’ve said before, children are great imitators; we’ve got to model patience over and over and over again to them!  And sometimes, they need to see us when we are impatient.  They need to know that it happens – it’s natural.  It’s what we do with our impatience that matters.  They can learn positive coping skills by watching us. 
  • Take time to reward patience.  For instance, when children are waiting quietly in line, let them know that you noticed.  Reinforced “good behavior” empowers a child to know that they are capable of being patient.
  • Don’t reward and feed those temper tantrums, meltdowns, and outbursts that are a result of a child’s impatience!  Be firm and calm and let the child know that they cannot always have their way.
  • Play games and do projects together that take a good amount of patience.  Explain to them that not everything happens at the push of a button. Try puzzles, games, art projects, and quiet activities that don’t plug in, have flashing lights, or loud noises!
  • SLOW DOWN! We can be in charge of the number of activities children are involved in.  Children (and adults) need quiet calming down time to remain patient and kind in our fast paced world!  Patience is easy to lose when we stretch ourselves to thin!
  • Remember what a friend we have in Jesus!  He can help us with our patience…follow His example; be an imitator of the One who knows best!

In closing, I would like to share a quote about patience: “Years ago, Ruth Bell Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham, saw a sign by the road; “End of construction – thank you for your patience.” Smiling, she remarked that she wanted those words on her gravestone!” Our Daily Bread, September 14, 2008

Kathy Stinson
Director



February 2016

HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY!

Honesty is the best policy—but not the cheapest…If you tell the truth,
you don’t have to remember anything.”  Mark Twain

This month at preschool our “can-do” virtue is “I can be honest.” The dictionary defines honesty as; “The quality, condition or characteristic of being fair, truthful, and morally upright.” Oh my goodness, it’s not all that easy to be an honest person. It’s not just about telling the truth, it includes being a good and admirable person. Honesty is a direct mirror image of our inner character, our integrity, and our sincerity.  It’s the stuff we’re made of!  Honesty is a standard that God expects Christians to meet. There are many verses throughout the Bible on honesty so we know striving to be honest can be life changing! If you want to be happy simply tell the truth.  “Lies will get any man into trouble, but honesty is its own defense. Telling the truth gives a man great satisfaction and hard work returns many blessings to him.” Proverbs 12:13-14

It is most often the things we fear the most that cause us to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the truth.  It is difficult for us to fear being rejected, humiliated, disapproved of, or ashamed so we make up little white lies, exaggerate, or tell half-truths.  I guess it comes down to having courage and confronting what we fear head on.

Teaching a child to be courageous is one of the best gifts we can give them.  It’s a grown-ups job to teach children to be brave enough to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, no matter what the circumstances. When fear is absent it is much easier for a child (or a grown-up) to be completely honest. 

Tactics like making children feel guilty, or scaring them, or shaming them into being honest do not work.  Those strategies just make them afraid to tell the truth.  If you make it safe for them to be truth tellers, that’s exactly what they will be!  Be gentle, be kind, be compassionate, be tender but be consistent and clear about your family’s values and the importance you place on honesty.  If it is important to you it will be important to them!

February is here.  It’s the month of “love”.  We want all our V.I.P.’s – Very Important Preschoolers…to know they are loved!

“The world tells kids, you’re special if…IF you have the brains, the looks, and the talent.  God tells them, you’re special just because.  No qualifications necessary.  Only one of those messages will find its place in their hearts.  That’s why every child (and adult) we know, needs to hear this one reassuring truth:  “You are precious in His sight.”  Max Lucado 

We all need to assure children of this message often. 

From all of us at Littlest Angels Preschool,
You are precious…we love you and Jesus does too!

Kathy Stinson, Director



January 2016

Hooray! Hooray! It's New Year's Day!
The day we start anew.
So this year I've decided
to become a kangaroo.

Or maybe I will learn to fly,
or how to walk through walls,
or how to turn invisible,
or surf on waterfalls.

I'll make myself elastic
and I'll teach myself to shrink.
I'll turn into a liquid
and I'll pour me down the sink.

I'll visit other planets
and meet aliens galore.
I'll travel to the distant past
and ride a dinosaur.

I've got so many wondrous plans.
I'm starting right away.
Yes, this will be the best year yet.
Hooray! It's New Year's Day!

I chuckled while I read this poem… I think I want to be a child again!  These New Year’s Resolutions sure sound fun to me. This child is definitely looking forward to a happy New Year!   Happiness is a choice, for sure!  Maybe we all need to ask ourselves this question - what can I do to make 2016 the happiest year of my life? What could I stop doing that would make this materialize?  What could I add to my life that would make this happen? I expect the answers to these questions will help me reach my goal for 2016! Here’s too many joy-filled and happy days ahead! HOORAY!  HOORAY!

December 15 was a night to remember!  The Young Child’s Christmas Service, Christmas in Our Jammies was awesome!  I watched the DVD last night and it is truly remarkable!  Little children never cease to amaze me. Thank you parents for making this evening a priority and for keeping CHRIST in CHRISTmas for your child.  If you missed the opportunity to order a DVD ($10) or a BLURAY ($11) of the program, we will be ordering more.  The final date to place your order will be Friday, January 8th.  Please contact the preschool office.  

Kathy Stinson, Director


December 2015

NO JESUS, NO PEACE

Turn on the TV to watch the news and it sure sounds like peace, as described in the Bible, isn’t easy to find!  But at that very first Christmas, angels appeared to some shepherds and declared that peace had arrived!  In just one single verse in the Bible, we find out where to find true PEACE; “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth PEACE to men on whom His favor rests.”  That very first Christmas, PEACE came from God as a tiny little baby and dwelt in our world. PEACE comes to us from God through Jesus.

I once saw a bumper sticker that said, “Know JESUS, know PEACE; No JESUS, no PEACE!”  So true!  If we really want to know and have PEACE, we have to know JESUS, the PRINCE OF PEACE!  During this most special Advent and Christmas season, I am going to make a sincere effort to make sure I keep JESUS close in my heart and focus on my relationship with Him. PEACE is really about knowing Jesus and having a personal relationship with Him. He wants us to be fearless and peaceful persons.  He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives.  Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid. Jesus “peace” doesn’t make sense to the world…it surpasses all understanding.”  It only makes sense to those who believe. This peace enables believers to remain calm in the most fearful of circumstances; to rejoice in pain and suffering; to rest in His love no matter what is going on around them; and to be a sanctuary of His PEACE for others to see.

Each day during Advent, I am going to try to give Jesus a gift that He would appreciate.  I won’t spend a penny ‘cause Jesus doesn’t need “stuff.”  I can give Him gifts like devotion, time, thoughts, words, and offerings.  I can use my mouth, heart, hands, feet, and mind to give His gifts of PEACE and JOY to the world…at least to my little corner of the world!

This month our virtue is PEACE. I am especially blessed and joy-filled because I get to share God’s very special gift, JESUS, with all the children at Littlest Angels whose eyes are filled with wonder and whose hearts and minds are ready to “let Him come in.”   The children will be sharing their Christmas joy at our Young Child’s Christmas Service, “Christmas in Our Jammies,” on Tuesday, December 15 at 6:00 p.m.  We’d love to have you join us!

May your hearts and homes be filled with the joy and PEACE that comes from knowing the Babe in the manger…the PRINCE OF PEACE!

KNOW JESUS, KNOW PEACE!

Kathy Stinson, Director



November 2015

LISTENING?

We are given two ears, but only one mouth.
This is because God knew that listening was twice as hard as talking.

 The word LISTEN contains the same letters as the word SILENT.  Alfred Brendel

We don’t learn from talking; we learn from listening.

Listen with your brain, ears, eyes and heart!

Focus! Are you listening to me? Pay attention! Look at me when I’m talking to you. Stop what you are doing and listen to me! When did you say that? I didn’t hear you say that. You never said that. We’ve all heard those comments over and over haven’t we? This month at Littlest Angels we will be helping the little ones to “watch and listen carefully”…to be attentive!

Kids are kids!  Their attention will wander and they are easily distracted.   The area of the brain that regulates attentiveness and self-control is one of the last areas of the brain to fully mature. That’s why children just naturally have a shorter attention span than adults! But it’s never too early to start practicing these skills.

Over the last forty-five years, I have learned that children learn to listen and be attentive in a setting of mutual respect, where every person is given a chance to speak and is heard with love and appreciation, where every individual is given an extravagant measure of attention because every person is precious!  When children are allowed the time to express themselves at their own pace it creates a safe place for them to speak up and find their own voice, which will be very important in later years.  If children experience early on that their thoughts, feelings, and opinions have value, they are more likely to continue to share them into their teenage and adult years.  As children experience the joy of someone else’s undivided attention, they learn to value listening and acquire the character to listen attentively to others.

Last week, at Back-to-School Night, I spoke to Littlest Angels parents about spending time with their little ones.  The demands placed on families today are greater than ever. We live in a fast paced, high-tech world.  Many parents are feeling stretched to the limit (many children are too!). I shared that children spell LOVE differently than most adults do.  They spell it with a T, an I, an M, and an ETIME is how most children spell LOVE!  No amount of LOVE is too much for any child (or adult); you cannot separate LOVE from TIME.  When we give someone the gift of TIME we are saying, “I value you. You are important to me!” I encouraged parents to intentionally set aside a regular time when their child could get their undivided, one-on-one attention… a time just to chat about their day, play, laugh, or read without any interruptions, to connect with them by  disconnecting from distractions. And then really listen to them… with your ears, your eyes, your brain, and your heart!”!

Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what!  If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big because to them, all of it has always been big stuff!

Enjoy this special month of “thanks- giving”!  I am so thankful we have a Heavenly Father who is “the best listener, you don’t need to shout, nor cry out loud.  Because He hears even the very silent prayer of a sincere heart!”

During this Thanksgiving season, the entire Littlest Angels Preschool Staff and I would like to wish you all a meaningful and blessed holiday.  We consider your children to be very special blessings in our lives…thanks for sharing them with us!

God’s richest blessings to you and those you hold dear,
Kathy Stinson
Director

 


October 2015

Friends, Friends, Friends!

 “A FRIEND IS ONE WHO… follows through with what he or she says; understands and inspires; sacrifices for the other; invests in another; joyfully gives and serves; respects and honors; is courteous; builds character; challenges growth and maturity; tells the truth and restores dignity; keeps a promise; shares dreams; keeps in touch forever; is forgiving; loves at all times.”  Glenda Hotton

Love at all times?  Now that is a command that is hard to follow but it is a terrific goal.  What a wonderful world it would be if we could all love at all times. We will be teaching the 140 children attending Littlest Angels this year how to become good friends.

Friendships can be developed within families, in neighborhoods, in schools, and even over the internet. But, being a good friend is not a skill little ones pick up from just playing at the park. Developing friendships takes a lot of work (both by children and adults), but can be one of the most rewarding things to happen in a child’s life. We have to be purposeful in teaching and demonstrating healthy friendships! Young children are great imitators! 

At Preschool, we have a friend called I CARE CAT. He teaches us to be happy, caring, loving, and responsible friends. We learn five rules for little kids (I think they work really well for grown-ups, too!). 1. We listen to each other. 2. Hands are for helping, not hurting. 3. We use I care language. 4. We care about each other’s feelings. 5. We are responsible for what we say and do. These five rules help us learn how to be loving friends!

It’s October already and our new school year is off to smooth start – our “Can-Do Express” is rolling down the track “full-esteem” ahead! The children are becoming more comfortable with their teachers, new friends, and the school environment.  October brings fall leaves, changing weather, harvest time, and lots of excitement for little ones! And believe me, their excitement is infectious!

I almost forgot…you have a BEST FRIEND who does love you at all times.  His name is JESUS and what a perfect role model He is!

Kathy Stinson
Director


September 2015

“FULL–ESTEEM” AHEAD!

All aboard!  It’s that fresh start up time of year…September!  Goals have been set, plans have been made, classrooms have been readied, the facility has been upgraded, and teachers and students are excited to “get on the train!” Littlest Angels is beginning its 20th year of ministering to young children and their families! I am confident that we will be blessed with another tremendous school year.  We’re all ready for a super start up!

No…that’s not a spelling error in the title of this article.  This year, at Littlest Angels, we will be making a special effort to help the children climb their mountains and stay on the right track.  We will teach them skills to build self-esteem, respect, responsibility, and a “can-do” spirit!

When a child (or an adult) has healthy self-esteem they feel competent, capable, and secure.  They have a feeling of being special in the world and they are sensitive and empathetic towards others.  Our theme for this year is, “I’m a Can-Do Kid! Yes, I Am!”

September              I can care for others.

October                  I can be a good friend.

November               I can watch and listen carefully.

December               I can be a peacemaker.

January                   I can speak quietly and listen carefully.

February                 I can be a truth teller.

March                     I can wait, and wait, and wait with a smile.

April                       I can show love when others hurt me.

May                       I can do what needs to be done even when it’s tough!

In adult terms, we might say: I am helpful, friendly, attentive, peaceful, gentle, honest, patient, forgiving, and determined.

I am reminded of the Bible verse that says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). What a comforting thought… God is working with us, in us, and through us so that we are all, young and old alike, able to be “Can-Do Kids!”

“I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.  I know I can!!!!!” (Little Engine That Could)                                                                                                           

May our new year be full of “I know I can!” days because of Jesus who is right here on the train with us!

Kathy Stinson, Director