Brilliant sunshine behind title: The Sun's Consistency

 

This morning, as I watched the sun rise, I marvelled at the consistency of it. The sun rises every single morning at the exact right time and the exact right place. I am never filled with anxiety that today it might not rise.  It consistently rises every single morning.

Of course, there are days when we cannot see it rise. Perhaps thick clouds or fog hide it, but I don’t become worried. I know it is still there. I will see it once the air clears.

At other times, while the sun is visible, it looks different. Smoke causes it to appear red, or smog in a big city dulls its gleam. Alternatively, a thin cloud may block half its light. Even then I know the sun itself has not changed, rather something has gotten between myself and the sun causing the difference in appearance.

Some might argue against the sun’s consistency by noting how it changes through the seasons each year. Indeed, living in Canada, I feel these changes keenly. In June the sun is up from roughly 5:30am-10:00pm, while in December I only see the sun from about 8:30am-4:30pm. That’s a difference of more than 8 hours of sunlight per day!

Added to that, the angle of the sun changes throughout the year. In the summer, the sun barely shines inside our window during the afternoon, but in the winter the sunlight reaches more than 12 feet through that very same window. Also, the spot on the horizon where the sun rises and then where it sets, shifts dramatically through the seasons.

Still, I call the sun consistent. Why? Because it is predictable. A quick Google search can reveal the exact time the sun will rise and set on Aug. 8, 2043. That’s how predictable the sun is. Scientists can predict its timing years in advance.

Thinking about the sun, got me thinking about God. God is consistent in that He is always with me and He always keeps His promises.

As Hosea 6:3 tells us, “[God’s] appearance is as sure as the dawn.” (CSB)

I may not know His timing or what He is doing, but He is always with His people. As Scripture says: “He Himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5b CSB)

Sometimes my view of God is hindered, whether by storm clouds, or the hustle and bustle of life, or by my desire for other things. Yet even in those times I know, and must trust that God is still there, just as He has promised. He will never leave me.

Sometimes the sun is too bright. It makes it hard to see my computer screen, or I may want to rest in the dark. I can go inside where the windows only let in a limited amount of sunlight. Or I can go into my basement, in a room without windows, and hide from the light.

It’s different with God. I can try to hide, thus cutting off many of the blessings that come from walking closely with Him. However, I can never vanish from His sight. He sees everything I do. I can hide nothing from Him. (Psalm 139)

One final thought came to me as I watched the sun rise. I recalled the story, in 2 Kings 20:8-11, when God caused the shadow of the sun to go backwards rather than forwards. What a wonderful reminder to me that God has power even over the consistency of the sun.

I am incredibly grateful to serve a God whom I can depend on. He is faithful. I can trust Him.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”  (Heb. 10:23 NKJV)

Toy planets behind title: 2 Educational Space Songs

 

I don’t know why it is, but I’ve had countless 2-4 year olds in my class who are fascinated by space. Whether we’re talking about planets or spaceships or stars, they love it!

While they do not fully grasp the concepts of the planets being in space and that we live on earth, they still enjoy learning the names and order of the planets and which one is ours. I would encourage you to find a poster or props that show all the planets in order.

To help you teach some of the basic realities of space, here are two simple and educational space songs to sing with your youngster who is intrigued by space.

The Planets Spin Around the Sun

Original song by S. J. Little

Tune: The Wheels on the Bus

 

The planets spin around the sun,

Around the sun,

Around the sun,

The planets spin around the sun,

We live on earth.

 

The sun is found in the middle,

In the middle,

In the middle,

The sun is found in the middle,

It keeps us warm.

Actions:

Planets spin around the sun – hold one hand in a fist to represent the sun. Move the other hand in a curricular motion around the sun to symbolize the planets.

We live on earth – point to yourself

Sun is found in the middle – hold the same hand in a fist as with the first verse, but this time point to that hand with your free hand.

It keeps us warm – hugging yourself, rub your shoulders as though trying to warm up.

Names of the Planets

Song words adapted by S. J. Little, original author unknown

Tune: 10 Little Indians

 

Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars,

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune.

All the planets out in space,

Spinning ’round the sun.

Actions:

If you have a poster or props of the planets, point to each planet as you name it.

All the planets out in space – motion broadly toward the sky

Spinning ’round the sun – hold one hand in a fist to represent the sun. Move the other hand in a curricular motion around the sun to symbolize the planets (same as with the first song).

 

I hope you enjoy these simple space songs for preschoolers. If you’re looking for more unique and easy preschool songs, click here.

A snowflake behind the title: Blake the Snowflake

 

Blake the Snowflake

Preschool story by S. J. Little

Story written for 50 Precious Words writing contest. Details at: https://viviankirkfield.com/2022/03/04/50preciouswords-2022-official-contest-post/

Max word count: 50

Story word count: 50

Blake the snowflake drifted to the ground.

“What will become of me?”

A door burst open. Laughter rang out!

Bundled up children hustled about.

A snowball rolled over Blake!

Blake got dizzy. Suddenly he stopped spinning.

Opening his eyes, Blake looked around.

He was on a snowman!

Blake started grinning.

Cold sunrise behind title: Critical Resources

 

Yawning, I pulled myself out of bed. I shivered at the slight chill in the air.

Having readied myself for the day, I fetched a warm sweater and sat down in the living room to read the Bible. By the time I was done reading, it was bright enough outside to open the curtains, although the sun was not yet up.

As I surveyed the scene outside, I noted the dull faded pinks, oranges, and yellows of the pending sunrise.

Many of the buildings had thick plumes of smoke rising lazily from their chimneys – more steam than exhaust on a morning such as this.

Crisp snow covered everything, giving the scene a coziness.

The weather app announced the chilly news: -25C this morning with the wind chill making it feel like -32C. That’s cold!

Even though the sun would rise soon, brilliant and blinding through the frigid world, it’s cheery rays would do little to chase away the cold. The warmest the day was expected to reach was -20C with the wind chill still feeling like -27C.

Behind me, I heard the rumble of the furnace turning on.

On days like today I am incredibly thankful for a furnace that works, especially since we live in a house without a wood burning fireplace. Were the electricity and gas to shut off, the cold from outside would quickly seep in. Staying warm enough to not die would become our main goal. Keeping the pipes in the house from freezing and, therefore, bursting would also be at the top of our minds.

You see, electricity and natural gas are critical resources for us. Especially on days like today, they are the difference between life and death.

If the food supply was cut off, we’d be okay for a while. Maybe even a month or two if we really scrounged through the cupboards. If water was cut off, we could make due for a day or two with the bottled water in the storage room. If the electricity and natural gas were cut off, we’d be in trouble.

As I pulled out some things for breakfast, I thought of the cans tucked in the back of the cupboard. Trying to make do with the food we had on hand would certainly not be preferable nor as healthy since we would quickly run out of fresh food, but if we got creative we wouldn’t go hungry.

Likewise, if we ran out of bottled water, snow could be melted. Again not ideal, but we wouldn’t go thirsty.

After breakfast, I wandered into the living room. Looking out into the brilliant yellow sunlight these thoughts circled in my mind and I wondered if perhaps there was a lesson to be learned.

I believe the question to be asked is “What are the critical resources of my walk with God?”

There are some things that I could do without for a time, even though it wouldn’t be preferable or necessarily healthy.

There are other things that are critical. Without them, I would be fighting hard to stay alive in my walk with God.

What are these critical resources? Here are three that I must be intentional to keep in my life.Woman reading Bible

  • Prayer
  • Bible (reading, memorizing, studying, etc.)
  • Christian Fellowship

Why these three?

Prayer

Prayer connects us with God as we are reminded to shift our focus to the things above. At its richest, prayer includes worship and thanksgiving as well as praying for the needs of those around us.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV)

Bible

The Bible helps us keep a godly perspective. When I stop reading my Bible, I risk getting sidetracked by false teachings. I also miss out on the many times when the Lord would speak through the Bible into my specific circumstances.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 CSB)

Christian Fellowship

Spending time with other Christians, especially when discussing the things of God, helps remind me to remain faithful in prayer and Bible reading. As a human prone to wander, Christian fellowship helps keep me focused on what really matters.

“And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25 CSB)

In Conclusion

Life has many seasons. Each season takes a different appearance. Some seasons are full of joy. In other seasons, what we value greatly is taken from us.

In each new season we adjust with God’s help. We learn new habits and routines, sometimes leaving behind old habits we treasured, sometimes stepping into new routines we’ve long anticipated.

Regardless of what season of life I find myself in, may I always be intentional to keep these three critical resources a part of my life: prayer, Bible, and Christian fellowship.

After all, the most critical resource I need in all of life is my walk with God. Without Him, I am lost. Therefore, protecting and strengthening my walk with Him must be of highest priority.

Do you need access to a Bible in a language you can understand better? Check out www.biblegateway.com They provide free access to read the Bible online in countless languages including some I’ve never heard of before.

Want to go a deeper in your Bible study? I often use www.blueletterbible.org to look up a specific word and its original meaning, or to compare English translations. This website does take some time to learn your way around, but it is a valuable resource.

Also, for anyone on my email list, I have a free printable Bible reading chart that includes a list of every chapter of the Bible so that you can track your Bible reading. If you haven’t already, click here to join my email list.

A bright preschool circle time set up

 

I’ve heard many people asking about curriculums to use with their preschooler(s). While there are preschool curriculum options available for sale, it may be easier than you think to create your own curriculum customized for your children and your schedule.

While there is no one way to create a curriculum for your children, here is the process I typically follow as a preschool teacher.

Step 1: Overall Learning Goals

  • Determine what overall learning goals you want your children to reach.
  • Academic suggestions include topics such as:
    • ABCs
      • It often works well to focus on teaching one letter per week, though they will need lots of review along the way.
      • Here are some fun ways to teach the letters: Teaching the ABCs
    • Numbers 1-20 (counting and recognition)
    • Shapes and colours
      • Focusing on one colour or one shape per week could work. Alternatively, you could have “Shapes” as your fun theme for a week.
    • Calendar
    • Science
      • Some people love integrating science into various themes. If that’s you, here are some ideas for simple science experiments to do with children: Preschool Science Ideas Board
    • Sight words
      • Wait until your child has a very good comprehension of the alphabet sounds before introducing sight words.

Step 2: Fun Themes

Choose fun themes and make a schedule of them.

  • Here’s a great list of preschool theme ideas to get you started: Exciting Preschool Themes
  • Decide how often you want to change up your theme.
    • Depending on how often and how deep you dig into each theme, you may want to change it up frequently.
    • I typically lean toward having a new theme every week, but I know others who change their theme once a month.
    • For some themes, such as Under the Sea, there are so many songs, crafts, and activities that can be done that I often extend it to cover two weeks.

Step 3: Weekly Goals

Decide how much curriculum you want to do per week or per theme.

  • Do you want to have a letter and/or a number per week?
  • Do you want to have a specific learning goal per week?
    • Weekly learning goals could include:
      • Rhyming
      • Identifying patterns
      • Taking turns
  • How many organized crafts do you want your children to make per week?
  • Do you want to do crafts related to each letter or number as you teach them? Or will your crafts be more connected to the fun theme?
  • How many songs do you sing each day?
    • I recommend trying to find at least one new song per theme while continuing to sing familiar songs.
    • Here are some unique and easy song ideas: Preschool Songs
  • Do you have organized gym times each day?
    • If so, consider finding a new game or a new variation of a familiar game per theme.
    • Here’s a versatile gym game that can be adapted to nearly any theme and adjusted for different spaces whether indoor or outdoor, at a school or at home. 4 Sides – Gym Game

Step 4: Brainstorm and Research

  • Now that you have your overall topics, your fun themes, and you know how many crafts, songs, and activities you’re looking for, it’s time to start filling in the blanks. Use your theme and overall learning goals as a springboard for your creativity. At the same time, remember that not every activity needs to connect to the theme.
  • Your planning might look something like this:

Sample of Preschool Lesson Plan

  • Fun themes could inspire:
    • Crafts
    • Songs
    • Stories (public libraries are a great resource)
    • Games/Activities
    • Decorations
    • Field Trips (I might do 1-3 field trips per year)
    • Snacks (if you’re ambitious)

Need a Lesson Plan Template like the one above to organize your ideas? You can print this one for free when you join my email list.

Step 5: Collect Supplies and Implement the Plan

Have fun and don’t be afraid to be flexible with your preschool curriculum. Sometimes new topics or opportunities pop up that are worth switching to. Other weeks the plan simply doesn’t happen. That’s okay. Try again next week.

Remember that the preschool curriculum is meant to serve you and your children. You do not need to serve the curriculum.