Saturday, February 15, 2020

This Week in Chapel - Enemy Pie

This past week, we started chapel by playing a game.  I called out a word and asked the children to tell me the opposite of that word, like this:

"In" ..... "Out"
"Black" ..... "White"    
"Open" ..... "Closed"
"Up" ..... "Down"
"Love" ..... "Hate"

So why did we play this game?  I explained that opposites are really different from each other, as different as they can be.  As we learn more about God, we find that God's ways are sometimes the opposite of what we think.

I told the children we were going to talk about the last set of opposites, Love and Hate.



I held up a picture of a heart and asked, "What do you think of when you see a heart?"  Of course, we think of love.

Well, who do you love?  Our parents, our siblings, friends and teachers, grandparents...  It's easy to love these people because they love us too.

Then I asked, "Has anyone ever been mean to you, or said something that hurt your feelings?  What about people who treat us badly or hurt us? Do we love them?"  No, that's hard to do.  Should we really be expected to love our enemies?

One day, when Jesus was teaching, He said some things that really surprised his listeners.  "You have heard that you should love your neighbors and hate your enemies," Jesus said.  "But I say love your enemies, and if someone does mean and hateful things to you, pray for them."

Love our enemies?  That seems backwards.  It's the opposite of what we want to do.  Exactly.

Then we read a wonderful book called Enemy Pie.  


I don't usually read a book cover to cover at Chapel, but this one is worth it.  Enemy Pie the story of a boy who was anticipating a perfect summer, only to have his plans ruined by Jeremy Ross - his worst enemy.  


The boy's father offered to help him get rid of his problem and his enemy by baking an Enemy Pie, a recipe so secret that none of the ingredients could be revealed.  The boy tried to guess what horrible things might be in the pie, but his father wouldn't say.  Still, the boy was sure that this magic pie would do unspeakable things to Jeremy Ross, like make his hair fall out or his breath stinky so he waited for the pie to be done.

After the pie (which smelled delicious - a curious thing for a pie that you would feed to an enemy) was baked and cooling, the boy's father revealed that there was one thing the boy had to do in order for the pie to work.  He would have to spend the entire day with his enemy, Jeremy Ross.  Even worse, he would have to be nice to him!  It sounded hard, but the boy decided he would do anything to get rid of his enemy.


Well, as you might guess, Jeremy Ross wasn't really so bad after all.  It turns out that the two boys had more in common than they thought.  By lunch, the boy started to think that Jeremy Ross might not be that bad after all.  By the time the boy's father had made them macaroni and cheese for dinner, the boy was beginning to think that they should just forget about the Enemy Pie.




Just as his father sliced and served the pie, the boy shouted out, "Don't eat it!" in an attempt to save Jeremy Ross' life.  Clearly, he had changed his mind.  But after seeing that his father had eaten his slice of pie and was none the worse for it, the relieved boy enjoy the pie with his new friend.

"As for Enemy Pie,"  he said, "I still don't know how to make it.  I still wonder if enemies really do hate it or if their hair falls out or their breath turns bad.  But I don't know if I'll ever get an answer, because I just lost my best enemy."

In case you don't have the recipe for Enemy Pie, Jesus offers another solution.  He tells us to love our enemies. 

Love our enemies?  That seems backwards.  It seems like the opposite.  If someone hurts us, we want to hurt them back.  If someone is mean, we want to say a mean word back to them.  But love them?  No way!

Well, it IS hard if we try to do it all by ourselves.  But we have a secret weapon inside of us that helps us to love our enemies - Jesus!  God loved us so much that he sent Jesus.  When we rely on him to do something that's hard, we can do it.  And we just might turn an enemy into a friend!




Learn to Play... Play to Learn

At Saint Andrews Preschool, we believe that children should “Learn to Play and Play to Learn.”  Why play?  Because play is children’s work!  Through play, children develop a real interest in and love for learning.  It’s the foundation for all future education and for life.   



Providing children with hands-on activities and allowing them to have time to be curious, to figure things out for themselves, and to play with a purpose is an approach to learning that prepares children for kindergarten and beyond.  In fact, researchers have found that it is the social skills that children learn in preschool that put them ahead of their peers in many aspects of later achievement. 



What kinds of things do we learn through play? 

Language Development   Dramatic play (pretending) improves and increases a child’s vocabulary.  Children are naturally curious about the world around them.  One of the best ways to learn more about something new is to pretend and play.  We enhance this learning by reading, reading, reading… one of the best things a parent or teacher can do for young children!  



Problem Solving   Playing with other children not only develops social skills but problem solving skills as well.  Learning to take turns, to cooperate, and to compromise are important skills for life.  In addition, play helps children understand cause and effect relationships and to learn self-help skills. 




Self-Regulation   This may be one of the biggest indicators of future success.  Children feel a true sense of accomplishment when they can manage themselves and contribute to the greater good.   The ability to control one’s impulses, to focus attention, and to work independently in a group setting are invaluable lessons learned best through play.

 



At Saint Andrews Preschool, we combine lots of play with child-friendly and developmentally appropriate academic learning… a winning combination!  Our students learn their ABCs and colors in addition to using their imaginations and learning how to be life-long learners.





Sunday, October 28, 2018

Let's Go to the Farmers' Market!

This month we went on a field trip to pick pumpkins 


to feed some chickens, 


to do a little harvesting,


to make delicious pumpkin and apple and blueberry pies, 



and to buy and sell all sorts of yummy stuff.  


And the best part was that we didn't even have to get in the car because we went to the Saint Andrews Farmers' Market, conveniently located in the Storytime Room!


We started with a few terrific stories and songs.







We tried to guess what was in the the Mystery Basket.  Most were pretty easy, but what is that funny shaped veggie?  Oh, it's Sophie's Squash!  A yummy fall vegetable and a great book to read!



We make pretty good farmers, and who knew it would be so much fun to rake leaves...


or take selfies with chickens?




Saturday, March 17, 2018

This Week in Chapel - A Visit from Noodleman

Meet Noodleman, our special guest visitor in chapel this week.  He's smiling now, but he wasn't always so happy.  There was a time when he was very sad, and that's the story he came to tell us.


One day, when Noodleman was new in town, he was walking home from school.  Some bigger kids did something very mean.  They took his backpack and called him names like “Noodlehead” and “Googly Eyes.”


They pushed him down and one of them stepped on his arm and broke it!  Then they left him there.  


Poor Noodleman!


Soon a business person came by.  She was going to a very important meeting.  She saw Noodleman lying on the ground and looked at Noodleman’s purple hair.  “Look at that kid,” she thought. “What’s HE doing here?” 

The business person assumed that Noodleman was dangerous because he was different.  She crossed the street and went on to her meeting.  Then she said, “I'm going to have to tell the neighborhood patrol to watch out for that purple kid.”


A little later on, some parents drove by.  They were going to the school to pick up their children at carpool.  They saw Noodleman and slowed down, but didn’t recognize him.  

One was in a big hurry and had lots of other kids to pick up.  Another was too busy thinking about all the errands he had to do after carpool and didn't want to stop.  "I don’t have time for this today, " he said.  "Maybe someone else will help that purple kid.”  They drove on by.


No one wants to help Noodleman!


But then a little girl came walking by on her way home from school.  She saw Noodleman and immediately went over to him.  “Oh!  Let me help you,” she said.  “My mom is a nurse and she can take care of your boo-boos.”  


The little girl helped Noodleman to her house.  Her mom put Bactine on Noodleman’s skinned knee and then put a band aid on the cut.  


They took him to the doctor who put a sling around Noodleman’s broken arm and wrapped a big bandage around his head.


Now you know why Noodleman is smiling, even with all of his injuries!


There is a story in the Bible that is a lot like Noodleman’s story. It’s called the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  It’s a story that Jesus told to teach people how to treat each other.  And here’s what he said:  “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  In other words, treat others the way you would want them to treat you.

One of the people that Jesus was teaching asked him, “Who is my neighbor?”

Well, let’s think.  Who were Noodleman’s neighbors?  The business person?  The carpool parents?  The little girl?


They are all Noodleman’s neighbors, but the little girl was the one who did what Jesus wanted.  She treated Noodleman with kindness and took care of him.  She was a good neighbor.

Does that mean that the business person and carpool parents were bad people?  

No, they just forgot what Jesus said about being good neighbors.  They were thinking of themselves so much that they forgot what the Bible says about taking care of others.


Jesus wants us to treat everyone as a neighbor – kids who live on our street, classmates at school, people who live here in Raleigh, NC and even people who live in other parts of the world.  Whether they look just like us, or look very different, everyone is our neighbor and we should treat them they way we would like to be treated.

Special thanks to the Transitional K class for their help in re-enacting Noodleman's story!