Ms. Rebecca's first week has been SO very busy as we also welcomed three new little faces. Our two little babies and one older sibling. They are getting along swimmingly and Ms. Rebecca has been so loving and patient getting to know all the children, their routines and personalities.
We began our Monday quite hectic and really focused on helping our new little babies feel loved and secure. We played babies, took turns feeding the babies, played with the babies, talked about what babies like, dislike, how they talk, what they need and really immersed ourselves in ALL that is baby. The girls enjoyed every minute of it. My little Ally did and still is feeling a bit displaced in the mornings when the babies arrive, but with lots of love and understanding she is coming around and enjoying her time helping with the babies too. However even with such a busy schedule Monday we did manage to do some outdoor painting...one of our summertime favorites with Ms. Rebecca.
This week's phonetic focus is on the letter "Q" and the "qwa" sound that it makes. We sang our "Q" song and discussed the words quack and queen. Today we made "queen caps." I purchased some foam caps from the dollar store, along with glitter glue (of course!), alphabet stickers, sequins, etc. and we set all the materials out in front of the children. Each child had their turn with the gluing, and then the placement of anything and everything they wanted placed on their caps. This was a messy and fun activity and they each went home their cap.
Thankfully the weather is holding out beautifully and we have been able to spend lots of time outdoors still experiencing the trees, breeze, grass (what's left of it from the drought), water table, sandbox, playhouse and all the fun things we get to do outdoors. Last week during our "people" discussion one of our favorite activities was writing all the mommies, daddies and children's names with chalk ALL over the deck. We had everyone included, even grandma's and grandpa's! We did this each day naming our families and it was great letter practice for the children too!
Silly babe! Not all of our coloring explorations are on paper!
We love our books around here...and this was a selection of the books we read last week for our "P" is for "People" week. We had lots of discussions about the people that we love, people we know, people we see in our neighborhood, people that help us...
With our little song, "Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood," (yes the Sesame Street version :)) We kind of made up our own little diddy...sang to the same tune as below, but we added the Trashman is a person in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, yes the Trashman is a person in your neighborhood, he's a person that you meet each day! Doctor, gardener, nurse, firefighter, neighbor, grandma, grandpa, pilot, captain, secretary, salesman, etc. We would sing this song each day and think of just as many people as we could. We would also don our hats as we sang this song and this gave us lots of ideas. The books listed above also talk about special people in our lives that we love, things they do for us and how we can love them back...
Just a few more stories we worked into this week also had to do with the different types of vehicles that we see people driving in our neighborhood and one of our class favorites, On Monday When It Rains, which is about all the emotions a preschool aged boy goes through during his week.
And one of my favorite pictures from last week. It looks staged, I know, but they were all playing together...yes, my independent little Ally still in her pajamas and decided they wanted to "snuggle" together on the chairs. This was a precious moment of teamwork, sharing and friendship as they helped one another up onto the chairs, calling out to each other to join them. Once they were all comfy I snapped this....
So glad I could capture the sweet little moment in time. All too soon they will be big teenage girls heading off into life in different directions...but for this moment, they are all MY SWEET BABES!!!
This sweet little video is for our letter "P" sound. We started by making new, warm, fresh yellow playdough in our kitchen. Once complete we fashioned letter "P's" with it. After complete they were chanting our letter "P" song..."The "p" says "pah", the "p" says "pah." This song isn't an original. It comes from the Leapfrog Alphabet Learning series. We use it since it's so simple and easy for each child to remember.
Last week we continued our Olympics theme introducing the balance beam! Many of the children were watching the Olympics with their families and when I brought out our "balance beam" they all knew EXACTLY what this was for.
Within moments they were placing one tiny foot in front of the other, carefully balancing and pretending to "dismount" appropriately at the end of the beam. Our beam, was simply a 1x4 that I had stained with weather sealant so it could remain outside throughout the week (and still is they love it so much) and placed directly on the ground for our younger children to safely cross.
Our 3's practiced rolls and placing their hand above their heads as they walked, ran and hopped across. It was precious to simply sit back and watch them pretend and play as they completed their "routine." You could tell by the concentration and look on their faces that they were, in fact, dreaming about being the little gymnasts that they viewed on the television.
This is where it all begins...in the innocent little hearts of young children. A tiny little dream that they are allowed to "pretend." This is just a very small part why "playtime" is so vital to infants, toddlers and preschool age children. This is when their heart tells their soul..."I CAN!" It's up to us as caregivers, parents, teachers to allow "I CAN" to remain, grow, THRIVE! They will find out, soon enough, that the world will try to knock that out of them. It's these precious moments that a little spark ignites in their spirit. It's my job to provide the tools...and I'm more than happy to do so...
Our Opening Ceremony was complete with flag bearers from each age group! The 1's, banged his flag on the ground...his head...other's toes! The 2's were simply into the spirit of flag waving and marching. The 3's understood the concept of a parade, lining up and marching to the left...then to the right...and back again. They too became frustrated that the 2's didn't really care about lining up, follwing directions or moving together. It was VERY fun for me to see the different developmental stages at work with such a simple and fun activity!
We also had torch bearers, of course! We made our "torches" with glittered and folded cardstock and multi-colored tissue paper strips that we all tore to shreds and glued to the top of each rectangular card. Once rolled and glued these resembled burning torches, sans the flame :).
I explained that Olympic Torch Runners will run a LONG, LONG, LONG way and take turns passing the torch and running with the torch to the place where the "games" will be and then they light the BIG CANDLE that is bigger than our kitchen so that EVERYONE can see it! So...we practiced running with our torches too, as seen here.
Now...what Olympics would be complete without Laurel Wreaths? We had to make these... First we tried to find suitable leaves to place on our bands, BUT with all the drought, all the leaves we found kept crumpling up and making a huge mess of our hands and glue. We had to find a different solution. One of our little 3's looked around and noticed the "pretend plant" I had in a wire basket on the table outside and said, "Look, Ms. Donna! LEAVES!!" She was correct, so we all worked together to disassemble the "pretend plant" and use LOTS of glue to place our everlasting leaves upon our wreaths.
Lots of opportunity to talk about exercise during this study...
With the Olympics in full swing, and the letter "O" taking its rightful place this week, we decided to focus on the OLYMPICS. This has been a VERY "hands-on" study and one they love.
Monday we began our week making this picture to the right and discussing the Olympic flag and what it means. After looking at a picture of the Olympic flag we decided we would like to make one ourselves.
First we observed the colors of the flag...blue, yellow, black, green, and red. We each took turns naming the colors and talked about how we could make a flag like that. One of our little 3's declared, "With CIRCLES!" So, off we set out to find a perfect circle shape to make our own Olympic rings.
We looked at several items in our crafting drawers...no, too small, too big, too square, too oval (this was really a cleverly disguised teachable moment to name all of our shapes, sizes and make comparisons of big, little, tall, small, short, skinny, etc... But isn't that the BEST part of learning?? When your just having a great time and suddenly realize that you have experienced something in a new way, while having a giggly time with friends and maybe even learned something a bit new?
These are moments I LOVE!! We finally landed on our toilet paper and paper towel inserts. They were the perfect shape to fit into our paint trays AND onto our paper. We could easily hold them in our hands and dip them and stamp them!
So empowered and excited we set off to make a flag! The above picture shows off on of our little 2's interpretation of the Olympic flag...pretty SWEET! The below pic shows two of our sweet students completely engaged in this activity.
But before the event can take place.....
We also practiced lacing our cardboard shoes, in and out, over and under and, of course, unlacing the shoe. The unlacing is FAR more difficult! Most of our children wear sandals or velcro shoes right now, but Ms. Donna (me :)) has tennis shoes. So we also took a bit of time and practiced lacing and unlacing the real deal as well. We discovered that lacing the real shoe was much more challenging than the cardboard shoe. The holes are smaller and the laces longer. These were observations made by the 3's. This is fantastic compare and contrast skills!! I was very excited to see how they worked together to pull and push the laces through the holes. They were patiently waiting and taking turns, excited to get the opportunity to try BIG SHOES. So, if your finding your shoes at home unlaced or with some extra "attention," you can totally blame it on SCHOOL!
During our newt study we learned many new things. Pictured here is just one of our many play dough "newts." We talked about the newts long body and tail, his four legs, two bulging eyes and many toes. We talked about newt colors like brown, green, red, orange...BUT we decided to make our newts blue. We discussed that newts usually have interesting marks on their back and tails like stripes and spots and we learned the difference between a stripe (line) and a spot (dot) using glue and stamp paints.
I do believe that the children's favorite activity was yesterday's "newt habitat." We each choose a box as we talked about how newts are born from eggs, so they are "oviparous" like a chicken. We again learned that when something is "oviparous" it is born from an egg. Newts are born in the water. The mommy newt lays eggs in the pond and then they hatch. You can see from our habitats that the children even placed "eggs" in their blue "water." Once the newt grows lungs and can breath air just like us, he crawls out of the water and can live on the land, on rocks, climb trees and play in the grass. Newts like to eat bugs and we tried to catch some bugs, as some of the children wanted to put bugs in their habitats, however we couldn't find any we thought the newt would like :).
Creating teachable moments...
One of my favorite jobs as a preschool teacher and learning coach is the process of creating "teachable moments" for young learners. This provides me JUST as much enjoyment as the children have being the ones in the middle of the creation. During our newt studies I thought we would try making these habitats. I knew this would be an advanced craft for 2's and 3's, but I was also certain that the process of completing this project would provide the children with many, many opportunities to ask questions about what we had been talking about during the week.
As an experienced preschool teacher I also realized that its the process...not the product that produces real learning and "teachable moments" when we can connect. However for the mommas and daddies at home, the product allows you to connect again with your child and talk about what they did at school today. It gives you something tangible to look at, discuss, and ask questions about. It gives your child an opportunity to proudly display the way they spent their day as you notice all the little details and inquire as to the color choices, placement and simply to "Tell me about this!"
There will also be days, however, still filled with learning, fun and PACKED with teachable moments, however, they do not produce "papers" to bring home. Here is a poem I ran across many years ago that beautifully speaks to this...
A Child's Plea Original Author Unknown
Today I did my maths and
I toasted bread, I halved and quartered, counted,
used my eyes, ears and hands.
I added and subtracted on the way.
magnets, blocks and memory tray.
I learned about a rainbow and how to
So please don't say -
'ANYTHING IN YOUR BAG TODAY?'
I'm sharing as I play, to learn to listen and speak clearly when I talk
wait my turn and when inside to walk.
To put my words into a phrase, to find
my name and write it down.
To do it with a smile and not a frown,
my pasting brush away. So please, don't say -
'WHAT NOTHING IN YOUR BAG
I learned about a snail and a worm.
Remembered how to take my
Helped a friend when he was stuck.
Learned that water runs off a
Looked at words from left to right.
Agreed to differ, not to
So please don't say -
'DID YOU ONLY PLAY TODAY?'
Though we read many, many books this week (as always :)), this one was by FAR the class favorite. It's about a chameleon that was able to do MANY wonderful and naturally talented things, but looks around at others and wishes that he could be like them. He gets his wish, but then becomes so mixed up that he can't even do what the basic task of catching his food anymore. So, he again wishes that he could just go back to being "ME!" He again gets his wish and is, once more, happy...
Below is the youtube link for the book. This was very fun and sweet and the children enjoyed watching this little short that went along with our book. Though this was NOT a book about a newt...he looked as close to a newt as we could find in a book that was still in print. The children loved watching his LONG tongue shoot out to catch a fly!
Soooo....a LOT more papers came home than what is shown here! We KNOW you did more!!
Yes, we also practiced our letter "N", its sound, words that begin and end with this letter sound and writing the letter "N." As usual, all of our little learners LOVE to write. They "write" in many different forms, but I allow them all to "work" on the same papers so that everyone feels "big." We also do LOTS of journal writing. I watch for their development as they grow. This link discusses what to look for in your child's "writing" and what stage they are in. This will also help you recognize and celebrate milestones in your child's development. We also practiced lots of counting skills, we traced our numbers, counted with games, bugs, newts, spots, crackers, each other and playing Hide and Go Seek. We played "follow the letter" with this paper. We practiced matching shapes and naming them with this paper. And...of course...we did LOTS of sensory activities like this...and this...and this...
We had an AMAZING week of learning and look VERY forward to "Olympics" week next week.
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