LVCC Preschoolers Honor Mothers Through Kiwanis Project

Happy Mother's Day! Ask the mother of any young child about her favorite Mother's Day present and you will most likely be shown lovely handmade artwork, made with love. The preschool and Pre-K Counts classes from LVCC on Walnut Street won't disappoint! They worked diligently to create a beautiful floral gift to present for mother's special day. The Kiwanis Club of Allentown generously sponsored the project by providing the gardening supplies, then helping out in the classroom.

Painting outside of the lines was not only permitted, but encouraged! By allowing the children to choose their own colors and designs, their imagination soared. Ordinary flower pots were transformed into a creative display of color.

Using motor skills and brainpower while measuring, the children filled biodegradable seedling pots with potting soil.

While planting the flowers into the pots, the preschoolers were introduced to the different parts of a flower - from root to petal. Gardening is an excellent activity to nurture a child's natural curiosity by exploring the workings of nature hands-on.

Volunteers from Kiwanis assisted the teachers and children 
throughout the two-day project.

The finished project, ready to take home to mom! 

To complete the memorable gift, the children made their own card for mom. A decorative inkblot pattern was created by (1) painting half of a sheet of paper, (2) folding it in half, and then (3) pressing down evenly on the paper. The result - a one-of-a-kind symmetrical piece of art to be cherished by mom forever.

Thank you to Kiwanis Club of Allentown for making this program possible.


Martial Arts At LVCC Teaches More Than Self-Defense

LVCC welcomed Sensei Joe Kortbawi of Leading Edge Martial Arts for a special martial arts class at four of our Nazareth and Easton after-school programs. Over 145 students actively participated in learning basic karate techniques which instilled character-building skills like discipline, respect and self confidence. The goal of the program was to learn ways to stop a bully without resorting to violence.

Children who react to antagonism or have trouble sticking up for themselves may become targets for bullying. Bullies often pick on someone they view as less powerful. Practicing a few practical self defense moves in a safe, positive environment will increase a child's self esteem.When children exhibit confidence and self-control, they are far less likely to become victims of bullying.

Standing at attention was one of the first stances learned, and the most important when listening to the instructor. Each move required focus and coordination.

The first rule of fitness - warm up your body through stretching exercises to prevent injury. 

Working with a partner, the children practiced basic karate kicks and punches (with no physical contact) under Sensei Joe's instruction. He showed the children fundamental moves to get out of a hold when grabbed from the front.


Through role-play scenarios, the children became empowered by using body language and their voice. By getting help from friends or adults, the children learned to defuse a bullying situation. The program encouraged conflict resolution, using physical self-defense only as a last resort.

This program was made possible by donors to the Program Enrichment Fund.


Kiwanis Supports Early Ed through Easter Egg Hunt

A number of LVCC infants, toddlers, and preschoolers discovered there really is an Easter bunny... and he's a Kiwanian!

The Kiwanis Club of Allentown Northeast sponsored the annual egg hunt for nearly 70 children enrolled at LVCC on Union Boulevard in Allentown. Our benevolent friends hid all the eggs, then helped in the search. Even the crawling infants discovered a few eggs.

Although the weather didn't cooperate for the egg hunt to be held outside, the children had just as much fun pursuing the colorful, candy-filled treats indoors. And the playground equipment in the gross motor room offered some pretty tricky hiding places. Just Born, Inc. generously donated candy and marshmallow Peeps for the event.

All the activity searching for the eggs wore out this toddler, but only for a minute before he hopped away.

Kiwanis International performs service projects and raises charitable funds for local communities and all over the globe. Their partnership has brought happy smiles to many tiny faces at Lehigh Valley Children's Centers. Thank you, Kiwanis!


Valentine's Day with Our Families

Decorating hearts and trading "Be Mine" messages with friends are popular Valentine's Day activities for all ages. Many LVCC early learning sites made the holiday even more special by inviting families to Valentine's Day parties.

LVCC at Monocacy Manor in Bethlehem welcomed moms, dads, and other family members on Friday. The children first delivered Valentine's cards to their friends - many with little treats attached. They then guided their families through the different learning areas of the classroom.
The younger toddlers and teachers decorated their room with hand-printed hearts.

In the older toddler room, family members read stories with their children. 

From building blocks to the class-made playhouse, the older toddlers were excited to show off everything in their room.

The older toddlers introduced mom and dad to their class pet, Mattie the hamster. Mattie helps the young children learn gentle touches when handling small animals.

The older toddlers enjoyed their snack of crackers and milk with their families. Healthy meals and snacks are served daily. For this month's menu, visit our website.
The preschoolers decorated with mosaic hearts made of cut pieces of paper.

Join the conversation #ThisWeekatLVCC.


The Day Before Christmas At LVCC

Twas the day before Christmas, when all through LVCC
lots of children were stirring, engaged in fun activity.

The paper stockings were creatively hung on the wall with care
in hopes that mom and dad could proudly see it there.

Young children then nestled all snug on their mats,
resting from a busy day of making festive elf hats.

Bellies full of healthy lunch, growing brains strong and apt!
Teachers finished lesson plans while the little tots napped.

When out in the hall there arose such a clatter,
everyone sprang from their mats to see what was the matter.

The school-age children had just arrived off the bus
excited to celebrate a very merry Christmas.

Preschoolers cut out decorations and painted with cheer
their 3D cardboard sleigh, counting out eight tiny reindeer.

Well-rested, the toddlers - so lively and quick -
danced joyfully to holiday tunes of St. Nick.

The infants, wide-eyed, watched the world in wonder;
exploring through senses, looking over and under.

The jingle of bells caused the children to pause,
until they saw who it was and gleefully cried out, "Santa Claus!"

After each had a turn on Santa's lap,
teacher said, "put on listening ears and your thinking cap."

Sitting in circle time, all smiles and no worry,
the children listened quietly to Santa read a story.

Soon parents arrived for their children at night.
LVCC staff wishes a merry Christmas to all, and to all much delight!


Star of David Preschool Craft for Hanukkah

To celebrate the many diverse cultures that make up Lehigh Valley Children's Centers (LVCC), our teachers introduce crafts and activities for various holidays from around the world. Ms. Cassie's preschool class from LVCC at Monocacy Manor explored the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days beginning at sundown tonight. 

After a brief explanation about the Star of David, Ms. Cassie had her preschoolers create their own stars to decorate the classroom. To make this craft, the class used Popsicle sticks, glue, blue paint, a paint brush, and silver glitter. This activity practiced listening skills to follow directions. 

To encourage math skills, Ms. Cassie had each child count out six Popsicle sticks.

The children then used three of those Popsicle sticks to form a triangle (early geometry). Ms. Cassie used simple directions that the preschoolers could understand, "Make a triangle with the point facing your friend across the table. Next make a triangle with the point facing yourself."

The children glued the ends of the sticks to secure the triangle's shape. Practicing their fine motor skills, gluing the correct sticks together took concentration and some assistance. Center Director Cheryl O'Rourke (seen above), helped out.

 They then glued the two triangles together to create the star shape.

The preschoolers painted their stars.

Once the stars dried, glitter was applied. Additional craft materials may be applied to personalize your own Star of David. Dangling from the ceiling, the Star of David makes a beautiful Hanukkah decoration and an easy project for preschoolers.


Holiday Celebration with the Kiwanis Club

The halls of LVCC at South Mountain rang with laughter and music on Friday as the center opened its doors to two of its sister centers in Allentown. The preschool and Pre-K Counts classes from LVCC on Walnut Street and LVCC's Judith Chase Early Learning Center took a field trip to South Mountain for the annual Kiwanis holiday party. 

Our good friends from the Kiwanis Club of Allentown hosted the celebration for over 120 three- and four-year-olds. They sang holiday carols and colored winter scenes. Magician Eddy Ray engaged the large group with a delightfully entertaining magic show. 

Each child had their picture taken with Santa Claus (contact your center director to see your child's photo). Along with members of Kiwanis, the William Allen High School Key Club played Santa's helpers while handing out gifts and serving lunch.

Thank you Kiwanis Club of Allentown for helping LVCC bring joy to children of the Lehigh Valley!


Children Improve Dental Hygiene Through Puppets

With the help of puppet friends, Allentown toddlers and preschoolers discovered all the amazing things teeth can do and how to take care of them. Segal Puppet Theatre & Company presented Tooth Buddy Tales, a free dental care and awareness puppet program for the young children attending LVCC at South Mountain.

Through interactive storytelling and adorable characters, the puppeteers empowered the children in the audience to become "tooth buddies." The children explored how to keep their smiles pearly white. They learned that germs cause cavities, when to brush, and the difference between good and bad snacks.

To further encourage dental health, Ms. Dana read The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss with her Pre-K Counts class. The rhyming words and funny story engaged the pre-kindergartners' interest in oral hygiene.


Halloween Sensory Activities for Toddlers

Halloween is always a festive time at LVCC and the perfect opportunity for innovative sensory games. Located inside William Allen High School in Allentown, LVCC at Allen provides early childhood education for primarily infants and toddlers. The creative teachers came up with some fun learning activities.

First, the children danced around in costume while listening to children's Halloween music. The songs were lively and not at all scary.

Dancing to the music
Next, the toddlers crawled through a garland maze. Without knocking down the garland decorations, they had to climb over and under, working their gross motor skills. The indoor pumpkin patch created additional obstacles to crawl around.

Garland maze and indoor pumpkin patch
At the sensory table, Ms. Maisha (center director and teacher) guided the children through hands-on exploration of a pumpkin. Seeing the size and bright color of the pumpkin, the children each attempted to roll or lift it. As soon as the lid of the pumpkin was removed (precut by Ms. Maisha), the children discovered the gooey texture inside. Some of the children tasted or smelled the pumpkin flesh. Combining sensory experiences with science makes for a full day of learning fun.

Further activities to engage toddlers include painting designs on the pumpkin, using the pumpkin lid as a paint stamper on paper, or adding the pumpkin seeds and flesh into see-through resealable zipper storage bags to make squishy sensory bags.
Pumpkins in the sensory table


A Day at the Farm Harvests More than Pumpkins

What's red, orange, and full of energy?

The Pre-K Counts class from LVCC at South Mountain picking pumpkins!

Ms. Cathy and Ms. Heather, Pre-K Counts teachers, took the children on a field trip to Sieple Farms in Bath, PA. By visiting a working farm, the young children discovered that vegetables are grown from the ground and milk comes from cows, not a supermarket. The day was filled with fun, outdoor activities. 

A visit into the barn introduced the children to a number of farm animals. Being able to see, touch, and smell the cows and sheep up close was an exciting first-time experience for the children who had only ever seen these types of animals in books. 

They explored the maze made of straw bales, then took a bouncy hayride pulled by a tractor through the pumpkin patch. In the outdoor classroom, the preschoolers exercised their math skills by counting, measuring, and sorting at the corn sensory table. After the group worked together with their teachers to find their way out of the corn maze, they picked their very own pumpkins from the pumpkin patch at the end of the maze. 

An annual tradition, other LVCC sites that have taken or will take a trip to a pumpkin patch include three Allentown centers (Union Boulevard, Judith Chase Early Learning Center, Walnut Street) and two Bethlehem centers (Campus Center and Fowler Center).


LVCC Fall Children's Festival Brings Large Crowd

LVCC's Campus Center, which has been in operation since 1976, held its first fall festival for the south side Bethlehem community nearly 30 years ago. In the early years, parents of enrolled children and LVCC staff planned and operated the activities. Families still look forward to the event every year.

Three generations of the Martinez family enjoyed
LVCC's Fall Children's Festival.
One particular family has seen two generations of children attend LVCC's Campus Center and the family festivals.

We look forward to the festival," Iris Martinez exclaimed. "We've been talking about it for the last few weeks."

Iris attended LVCC as a student almost 30 years ago. Her three school-age children have been attending LVCC's Campus Center since they were infants.

The support of the community plays an instrumental part in the festival's success.

"Families have been awesome this year," organizer and LVCC Infant Teacher Sharon DeBoer commented. "We had so many baked goods that the families donated for our fundraiser. It was overwhelming." 

Since it's conception, the free event has grown to include not only staff and families, but also a number of organizations working in partnership with LVCC. Joining once again in the festivities this year, Cops 'n' Kids promoted reading with free books for the children. While demonstrating features on their fire truck, the Bethlehem Fire Department discussed fire safety.

LVCC staff, with the help of Lehigh University student volunteers from the Community Service Office and CARE Lab Research Team, operated a children's activity area with raffles, games and prizes. Activities featured face painting, temporary tattoos, and a balloon animal station. As a special treat, the children had the opportunity to meet Elsa from Frozen.

"This year's crowd has been the biggest ever," exclaimed Olga Calderon, organizer and LVCC toddler teacher.

LVCC hopes to continue the tradition for years to come!