The Kitty Cat Hill

Posted February 23, 2022

The Kitty Cat Hill

By Calley Roering

This year our group of preschoolers named the beloved hill in the Boulders area “The Kitty Cat Hill.”

It all started this fall when the children discovered that they could slide down the hill like penguins. They were eager to get back up the hill but struggled to do so. The children were heard yelling, “Help! Help me get up this hill!” As teachers, our first impulse was to jump into action and pull them all up the hill ourselves, but we didn’t do that. The teachers slid down the hill, sat with the children and brainstormed together ways to get back up the steep hill. Collectively, we thought that it would be easier to crawl like a kitty cat. Crawling up the steep hill like a kitty cat worked and the name has stuck ever since!

During the fall months, it was much easier crawling up Kitty Cat Hill because it was only dirt. By winter, it was covered in snow, which proved to be trickier to climb up. The children struggled getting up the snow-covered hill. After struggling for a while to climb up the icy, slippery hill, we went inside and once again brainstormed ways to get up the hill. We came to the conclusion that perhaps a rope would help us.

That afternoon, we brought a rope to the Boulders and discussed how it would be used. A few children slid down Kitty Cat Hill and yelled, “I need the rope!” The children who were standing at the top grabbed the rope and threw it to the children at the bottom of the hill. The children at the top of the hill yelled, “Grab onto the rope,” and “Pull!” in unison. The child holding onto the rope was able to walk up the hill or belly slide with the help of the children pulling at the top.

The children relish the idea of being the rescuer as well as being rescued. One morning, a child was at the bottom of the hill and yelled for the child at the top of the hill. Their conversation went like this:
“Please throw the rope to me. I need it!”
“I’ll help you! Come on, you got it. You’re almost to the rope.”
“Thanks for helping me up The Kitty Cat Hill. You rescued me!”

The Kitty Cat Hill in the Boulders has become one of the children’s favorite spots to play. This type of play has allowed the children to problem solve and work together. Playing on Kitty Cat Hill has naturally become a community building activity where all can all join in and help each other.

Cooking With Young Children

Posted February 8, 2022

Cooking With Young Children

By Brigid Henry

There are many benefits of cooking with your preschooler. It can build self-confidence, help children learn and practice basic math skills, lay the foundation for healthy eating habits and of course, it can be a lot of fun! With a little preparation and flexibility, and with the right expectations, time in the kitchen with your preschooler can be educational and joyful!

Counting eggs, measuring ingredients into measuring cups, going through the sequence of steps in a recipe are all great hands-on experiences that teach various skills. Count together while scooping cookie dough onto a cookie sheet. Introduce new words from a recipe to expand your child’s vocabulary and promote literacy. Following steps in the recipe can help develop listening skills.

Having your child help with the preparation of meals can also help encourage an adventurous palate. Preschoolers can be picky eaters; by bringing them into the kitchen to help with cooking, you can open them up to new ideas. Children who get involved in preparation are more likely to try the food. You can talk about what foods and flavors they like and how eating healthy food makes a body grow strong.

The kitchen is a great place for exploring the senses. Listen to the sound of the mixer; feel the bread dough as you knead it and watch it rise. Smell it cooking in the oven and enjoy tasting it when it’s done.

Preschoolers love to show off their work and being able to show off their creations at the dinner table is such a satisfying way to demonstrate their growing abilities! The more they practice, the better their skills become, and they show a real sense of pride in their accomplishments.

Give them jobs suited to their age and developmental level, such as:
• stirring batter
• tearing lettuce
• adding ingredients
• assembling a pizza

I recommend using a step stool so children can easily reach the task at hand. Set them up for success. Remember, it’s about the process more than the end product. Praise their efforts! Many children enjoy the warm soapy water and the task of doing the dishes afterward, too.

Meal prep is a very social activity. A child must learn to share tools, work collaboratively, and help others. Discuss everyone’s roles as you engage in the process together.

Quality time spent contributing in the kitchen can begin a lifelong interest in cooking. It is a task you can build on over time and continue to enjoy with your children throughout your whole lifetime.