“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
Over the past three weeks we have begun something new; focusing our themed activities and curriculum with a faith and bible basis. The children, especially my own little one, has started asking lots of questions about God, and I see no better way to answer them than to read them the Bible.
Of course, the Bible is far too complex to understand for a little one, so we have The Beginner's Bible of Timeless Children's Stories by Zonderkidz. It is full of wonderful pictures and easy to understand language.
This week our story was about Gensis 11, The Tall Tower. This was perfect for SO many discussions! As the picture to the left shows, they have been very engaged in our new focus.
On a personal note; I just LOVE watching their little fingers thumbing through the Bible with interest and questions. I couldn't resist taking a quick picture of sweet hands turning the pages to our newest story. It makes a momma and a preschool teacher one happy lady!
I know I just said it before...but I LOVE watching them read. I especially love watching them engage in reading the Bible stories. This little sweetie, in particular, has been fascinated all week with all the pictures in our Bible picture book. She has been FULL of questions that allows for lots of conversation.
This story gave us lots of opportunities. We practiced tall and short, high and low, big and small, but as usual, with a group of small children, the most important skills we practiced were those dealing with social/emotional skill building. In the above picture we used the blocks each day to build taller and taller towers. It was very easy to demonstrate how we can build our towers very high when we work together too. We practiced taking turns and building our towers higher and higher. Our little two year olds made quick work of taking the towers down and were more than happy to make our tall towers into small towers!! Block play promotes a variety of learning opportunities for small children including small and large motor development.
I have included a link here from Teaching Strategies regarding How Block Play Promotes Development. Take a moment to scan over this article and you will see the importance of incorporating block play in a preschool child's DAILY curriculum like we do here at Woolsey Academy.
Just a little glimpse into our week...
Each and every day we practice writing in different ways. Since our focus was on "towers" we decided to also practice the sideways and downward strokes of the letter "T." We made stick "t's,' dirt "t's," play dough "t's," and even practiced a bit in our journals and letter "t" practice papers.
A great way to practice upward and downward strokes was on the skinny railings of our deck. My poor hubby can never come home to a pristine house :)! There is always some evidence of writing, shapes, letter, number practice on the walls, the floors, the table, the deck... Children just don't like being boxed and confined into tiny little spaces for learning!! Thankfully, he is a patient man and enjoys seeing the "fruits" of their little labor.
We also sang our Welcome song and practiced singing "Hello" in Spanish and we sang "Hola!" I tried and tried to capture this cute little song on video for you all...but...every time I broke out the video, someone broke out in tears (mostly due to not being able to take over the video phone!).
Taking the learning away from the paper..
I love the real play method for teaching. Patterning could have been just another worksheet that I coached our little ones through to show "progress" to their families. But I am interested in true learning. The kind of learning that is buildable...just like these blocks. They are perfect for making a sturdy foundation for which a large tower can be erected. If the foundation is just an illusion of progress, much like most preschool worksheets, then the tower will not stand the test of being built strong and tall.
We utilized these blocks each day during our "tower" study and we do "play" with them everyday. They were even more significant to the children during this week since their focus was to build a tall tower like our story about the Tower of Babel. We took this even further into counting how many blocks" tall" we made each tower, how many "wide," how many we would "have left" if we took "one away" or how many we would have "all together" if we "added one." These mathematical terms are started right here in preschool. They are a MAJOR concept for young children to comprehend and the concrete nature of block play makes for a perfect "black and white" backdrop for this type of real learning.
In the article The Worksheet Dilemma: Benefits of Play-Based Curricula by Sue Grossman
(please click title to read full article)
Dr. Grossman describes the type of response I have personally seen in action in our children as a result "papers" when she states, "Mathematical understanding is more than recognition of numerals and amounts. Sorting, categorizing, putting items in a series, and problem solving are all important math concepts (Raines & Canady, 1990). The teacher may believe that Jamaica understands the concept of "four" if she circles four flowers on the worksheet. But until Jamaica can transfer that learning to other situations, such as the number of places at the table for four people, Jamaica does not truly understand what "four" means. Similarly, Jamaica may be able to print the letters "R," "U," and "N" on a worksheet, but be unable to read the word "run" when she sees it in a book. The mere accomplishment of the worksheet task does not signify the child's ability to read or comprehend."
This is why real learning must be done through play and in play, real learning is achieved. In this environment our children feel accepted, instead of the pass/fail feelings that a worksheet can bring when the worksheet's task cannot be perfectly achieved.
In the years of Early Childhood Education research it seems we are coming back full circle to grandma's method of "let the children play." It is a welcome breath of fresh air in the freedom of childhood.
My goal is to make each and everyday a "play day."
I wish you well, and I hope you get to play today.
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