Even our bitty ones get to build those little pincer grasps, create with colors, mix paints, and experience Creative Arts through play. We simply put them in their highchairs and let them determine how long and how much they want to participate. This is vital to proper development and our mixed-age approach to learning provides LOTS of sensory awareness and practice through play.
Our curriculum partners at Mother Goose Time understand and promote this approach to learning and provide materials for every child in our group ages 9 mos-5 years!
"Art has the role in education of helping children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else." - Sydney Gurewitz Clemens
Mix in some Science!
We couldn't resist the opportunity to create some baking soda volcanoes with our home made dough, vinegar, and baking soda! This is the recipe we use for our ever popular homemade dough. We add glitter, sparkles, confetti, food coloring, etc. depending on our current monthly themes. It is by far the very BEST recipe we have EVER used!!
And a dash of Emergent Reading...
This week we studied the letters "V" and "E: for volcano and we practiced using it in our word puzzles. We found the letter sounds at the beginning, middle, and end of the words. This helped us understand the how the letters sound and what it means for a word to "start with" a certain letter.
Dino Tic-Tac-Toe!! We added a new game to take home!
Our Dino Make and Take game began as a fine motor skill building activity that was quickly embraced as our little learners excitedly understood that they would be taking THIS game home to share with moms and dads! We carefully cut along the dotted lines and asked the teachers and our friends for help when we felt we needed it. We worked diligently to create our rectangular pieces. Some needed a bit of tape, but that just makes the process even more fun!!
Why do we send these seemingly simple games home?
"Tic-Tac-Toe: A Game with Competing Goals
While the game of tic-tac-toe is really old, dating back to ancient Egyptians at around 1300 B.C., the underlying principles of the game have endured the test of time. The game seems simple enough. Two opponents, one using X and one using O, use a 3 x 3 grid to mark their symbols. The first one to get all three of his/her symbols in a row, whether it’s diagonal, horizontal, or vertical, wins the game. The ingenious catch here for children, which adults find trivial, is that the game is designed to end up in a draw. Only when one opponent makes a mistake will the other opponent win. This is where the simple game of tic-tac-toe gets a little more complicated.
When playing a game with only one opponent, you ultimately have two goals: to win and to not lose. As an adult, you know that the game of tic-tac-toe will result in a draw so you follow a strategy where neither you nor your opponent will win. You’ll think that this is a flawless combination of your two goals. But for children, they go for either and both goals. For example, in a 1993 experiment from Carnegie Mellon University, the researchers let a 5 year old girl play tic-tac-toe against a computer program. The results were that every time the child aims to win, she loses due to failing to block her opponent, but when she aims to not lose, the games result in a draw. This continued in alternates for 16 games. This experiment showed that what you thought as a simple integration of a goal was not always so stable.
But you might wonder what has this got to do with children’s cognitive development?
Think-Tac-Toe: The developmental values of the game with a brain
The game of tic-tac-toe is a game of predictability. The moves that are believed to be important are highly predictable. This also makes it a game of opposites in a way, because this goes against the definition of an “important move”. But this predictability is what helps foster strategic thinking in children. They can learn through observation what their opponents’ next move is and think ways on how to block them, a simple but effective version of chess. In order to figure out what else they can do in the game to win, the children are encouraged to think more logically. They, therefore, naturally develop their logico-mathematical thinking, which can help them in subjects such as math and engineering in the future.
Another good intellectual quality of tic-tac-toe is that it’s a game with rules. According to Fromberg & Bergen in their book “Play from Birth to Twelve” (2012), children playing games with rules can help in their intellectual, sociomoral, and personality development. This helps develop an advanced interpersonal understanding which result to better negotiation of conflicts with other children. They recommend that these educational games with rules be a vital part of children’s early education. But of course, the educational value of games such as tic-tac-toe become efficient depending on what you, the adult, will do. To help them develop their skills, you shouldn’t be giving them the answers outright. Let them figure it out and aid them by asking questions that can help direct them to the answer. Also, activities such as these develop the bond between you and your children.
Educational Games and Their Effect on Spatial Ability
By encouraging logical thinking, tic-tac-toe helps children develop their spatial skills. This skill is important for their problem solving abilities—from everyday simple chores to complex mathematical equations"
In closing this week, I leave you with this...
And that wraps up our month of playing with the dinosaurs at Woolsey Academy.
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