Anything STEM is a hot commodity in education and our lessons from Mother Goose Time on Planes, Trains, and Automobiles are providing plenty of opportunities for engineering, constructing, critical thinking, and LOTS of math!!
Children love anything that says, "VROOOM!" Don't they? This theme from Mother Goose Time has hit a home run with all my little preschool babes! Here, we were just getting organized and studying how we could use the sticks and starch beads to make bridges.
Glue always helps! So, in our usual fashion, we used A LOT of glue. We squished and smooshed and stacked and bent our way to the bridges we wanted to build. Some fell down, but that just gave us an opportunity to rethink, redesign and rebuild.
I love this one! Creative Arts combined with engineering, sensory, critical thinking, fine motor skills.....I could die happy RIGHT NOW!
But why? Why is building, constructing and critical thinking so important to focus on in the early years?? "...construction toys might not be as flashy as battery-powered robots or video games.But as developmental psychologist Rachel Keen notes, parents and teachers "need to design environments that encourage and enhance problem solving from a young age" (Keen 2011).
Construction toys seem ideally suited to do that, and they may also help children develop
- See more at: http://www.parentingscience.com/toy-blocks.html#sthash.PruvcjKi.dpuf
Lessons that promote block, building, and critical thinking help develop areas of the brain that are linked to "advanced math skills later in life."
Even though the end result may look a bit more like "When Toddlers Attack!", this is really a vital learning process that is a foundation builder for later learning.
Traffic Signs and Lines!
This sweet project from Mother Goose Time emphasized placement of vehicles "ON" the road, creating lines "in the middle" of the road, placing and recognizing traffic signs, numbers, cutting (fine motor skills building), using differing writing instruments like chalk and markers, and gluing the road on the paper! When we look at the finished product we see fun, but to the little learner this is a challenging step by step process.
Even more, it teaches the beginnings of traffic safety and ties what we do when we are out of school to what we are learning IN school. Being able to make those connections brings the learning to life!!
We also began learning about directions and lines in the city as displayed in the above map provided by Mother Goose Time. We tied all this together with this sweet sound sensory book, "Clang! Clang! Beep! Beep! Listen To The City" by Burt Burleigh
Part of teaching children to "stay in the lines" is encouraging them to even NOTICE the lines! When we include this type of outcome based play into our daily routine, we can observe when a child is understanding that the lines exist; then we can move into "staying inside the lines." I prefer play-based ANYTHING over paper lessons, so this is my version of "staying in the lines."
It is so much more than learning to draw.
It is actually a developmental skill necessary for understanding math concepts as simple as geometric designs, because how can you truly understand the difference between a circle and a triangle unless you understand the basic concept of a line! This little (and so so simple) lesson also promotes concrete counting to 5. as each little enthusiastically parked their car inside the parking space. This gives the child a sense of a one to one ratio when counting that helps them understand that the number 1 means 1 object, the number 2 means 2 objects, etc.
It is so easy to become excited when we hear our tiny tots ramble off a memorized sequence of numbers correctly. It is an accomplishment of memory though, not of math. And though it is important and a skill marker, it isn't the same thing as counting 10 objects correctly. These types of math lessons where children are learning through play teach this concept in a fun and stress free manner.
Experiences, Observations, and Movement!
We practiced "Spoooooky Yoga!" with Ms. Melissa as we bent, folded, and breathed our way to some Halloween beats and fun fitness!
With Mr. Ninja (the nickname the children have given him) we worked on breaking boards which is my little learners ALL TIME FAVORITE activity! It makes them feel so capable, proud and strong. I love watching their faces as they break each board and ask to do MORE! These enhancement classes cost a bit more, but the experiences they give the children are WELL WORTH it!
<<<<WARNING>>> SOAPBOX AHEAD!!!
I recently read this little tidbit, "Today’s children are 4 times less active in their day-to-day lives than their grandparents..." (from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/preschool/nutrition-fitness/Pages/Increasing-Physical-Activity-in-Preschool-Years.aspx)
I see the results first hand. In our program we focus on allowing children to have LOTS of outdoor, free play time and indoor scheduled activities to allow them to experience fitness in a fun and safe environment to help promote a love of movement and pride of accomplishment. Children are natural movers and shakers. Just add time and space and watch their happiness and health increase. It is vital to their brain chemistry to have long periods of physical play, which is why I believe we are seeing such an increase of issues with young children. Too many preschool programs have little ones going from the crib to the cot to the table and back. This set them up for physical, mental and social issues as their little bodies were not made for sitting still. Their brains are wired for PLAY!
But that is a soap box for another time.....
Songs, Dancing Beats and Busting a MOVE!!!
Even our music has a Traffic theme! My young learners have asked to sing this particular song over and over during our circle time activities! We put out our hands in a "STOP" motion when we say, "Stop," and run in place, then jump and freeze! This one is a keeper!
We are thoroughly enjoying fall!!!
We rake the leaves over and over during our outside play! This gives us teachers a little bit of exercise too! The scent, texture, and cooler temperatures mixed with the bright sunshine makes for some beautiful sensory play outside. It puts everyone is SUCH a good mood and we have had some amazing nap times too! BONUS!!!
This was just the first week of November!
We have so much more in store for this month with our STEM lessons as Thanksgiving approaches! Keep in touch and let us know you enjoyed this blog by commenting and / or liking us below! As always...I wish you well and I hope you get to play today! - L
Life is made of moments...
"There isn't anything more full of hope, joy and peace than a child's smile... It captures the mundane and makes it extraordinary." - LaDonna Woolsey
I am a Mother Goose Time Blogger. I decided to become one after trying their products because I they are comprehensive and serve my mixed age group well. I do receive products to review from Mother Goose Time and do so with my own honest and thorough opinions. For more information, please contact me at Ladonna@woolseyacademy.com