Monday, November 14, 2011

Ayn Colsh: I'm in preschool.....we share!

Hi y’all! I am tickled to be a part of this collaborative early childhood blog. I think great things will happen here---we’ve already got a wonderful group of authors sharing ideas from a variety of backgrounds.

I’m Ayn from little illuminations and I’m a preschool teacher. I’ve been in early childhood classrooms for the last 20 years and it’s my passion. I love what I do and would probably do it for free (shhh! Don’t tell anyone!). I read, paint, play, explore, sing, dance and get hugs every day and I can’t think of anything I’d rather do!

I am a collector of children’s books and love to share my favorite storybook adventures with my students. We are constantly reading! I am also a collector of teaching ideas. I have file cabinets stuffed to the brim, stacks of filled floppy disks, and handfuls of flash drives filled with wonderful ideas I’ve discovered. I started blogging as a way to record some of the things I try in the classroom and want to remember for later.

I’m not very “green”, but I am trying. I tend to hoard random items that I’m sure I’ll find a use for one day. I see art and classroom materials everywhere. Today I’ll share a few of my favorite posts; each of these ideas uses re-purposed items and all are things I’ve tried after someone else shared them. I always say that teaching is the best professions and one of the main reasons is that we love to share!

Pre-K Color Wheel 

Every year, we make a rainbow using real/found items.  This was so much simpler and has turned out beautifully. Months later, I still hear the kids having conversations about pieces on the color wheel as they pass it. “I brought that one in. It’s an eraser!” 

We make a variety of books throughout the school year. At one of the workshops I’ve attended over the years, I picked up the idea for a novel way to make the book out of brown paper bags. The fold makes a perfect flap for a lift-the-flap page!

Our Picture Schedule 

Last year I had the opportunity to visit a system of preschool classrooms, all implementing the conscious Discipline program by Becky Bailey. It was an awesome experience and I saw many, many wonderful ideas that I brought back into my own classroom. One of my favorite ideas was a picture schedule that incorporated the FISH theme. (Our classroom motto is Family Involvement Starts Here, hence, the acronym F.I.S.H.) I made this version to replace our old grid shaped schedule from recycled poster board and laminated notepaper. 

Exploring Forces and Motion with Rain Gutter Ramps

Our program promotes the use of real and found items, and I am always on the lookout for new ideas. I saw this on a blog and tried it immediately. The rain gutters make excellent ramps. It’s been almost 2 years since this post and we’re still using these in our block center! (Also check out the alligator puppet from a toilet paper tube—repurposed and shared!) 

Painting Nature

Usually these gumballs are a nuisance, but I have a new perspective on them now. These painted gumballs turned out so nicely, I re-hung the mobile when I relocated classrooms this year. We’re currently collecting new gumballs so this year’s class can make one, too! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed a small glimpse into my classroom happenings. I look forward to sharing with you and learning from this wonderful cast of folks gathered here.


  1. Yay, Welcome Ayn!! Thanks for sharing some great ideas here - looking forward to more!

  2. You're quite awesome as usual:) Super - Fun Activities!

  3. Love these ideas! -Can't wait to do the color wheel- I think my kids would love that!

  4. Awesome ideas, Ayn! I already loved Little Illuminations, and I just added more pins to my Pinterest boards! This will be so much fun ... I look forward to reading your posts each month! :) Deb @

  5. Thanks, y'all! I think Deb is right! It's going to be great fun to see what everyone is sharing and trying out new ideas! Can't wait to read what the other have to share, too! :))

  6. Ayn this post is positively AWESOME!!!! Thanks for taking us on a tour into the tip of the iceburg of your many experiences. I am so grateful for your willingness to contribute here! I'm looking forward to your insight over the long-haul!


  7. Ayn, we were fortunate to meet your sweet husband at Infinity & he bragged about you & his family...he is a neat guy. I love your recycling mode & wonder if you could use some stuffs for your kids...we are kindred spirits as your husband says your car also stops for auctions/etc....mine stops for yard sales, thrift stores, control whatsoever! When I told him that I was the Queen of yard sales, he immediately brought up your name... Can you use a supply of toilet paper rolls...we go thru them like water. I use them to control extension cords. We recycle, so let us know what you can use. I have a truckload of knitting yarn??? We also go thru 2-3 cans of cat food daily...hate throwing them away. Let us know if we can help. Thanks.


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