It was a wet and wild ride into school this morning but we made it. The children's costumes were precious and we really enjoyed our parade. Thank your all for helping make our day so special.
Once back in the classroom we changed and got to work. We played in the Pumpkin Patch, painted pumpkins and cut one open to see what was inside.
A huge thank you to the parents who put on a great party. The lunch was so creative (mummy hot dogs). The children also enjoyed a story. The biggest hit of the day was of course cookie decorating. What fun it is to be able to decorate a cookie with as much frosting and as many sprinkles as your little heart desires.
Thank you again for another wonderful day. Have fun tomorrow night!
We began our morning with several pumpkin themed activity trays. The children worked on fine motor skills, counting and some early literacy.
A main attraction was our very own pumpkin patch! There was a stand and a register for the children to roll play with as well as several pumpkin and squash to purchase. The children easily fell into rolls as customers and shop keepers. There conversations were so much fun to listen to.
Overheard in the Pumpkin Patch...
"Hi! Come to our pumpkin shop!"
"Your pumpkin cost $80!"
"That's a heavy pumpkin."
"This is a lumpy one."
"It is orange."
"I need to pay for this. Who can help me?"
"We are running out of time! Hurry come buy our pumpkins!"
"My turn to do the cash register."
"Come on baby, let's go to the pumpkin shop."
"I'm a costumer. I need a big one."
If that wasn't enough we had the BEST time with baking soda and vinegar. These eruptions were so much fun. We started out slowly adding vinegar to our baking soda and watching the bubble reactions. After a bit of self exploration one friend added the baking soda to the jar of vinegar and saw a much bigger reaction. Others followed by pouring the vinegar all over their trays for larger reactions and then there was one friend who could have done this for hours! When everyone else had moved on he was still at it watching the reaction over and over again. This self exploration is so important for early learners. They need to learn to take risks in a safe environment and not to be afraid to try. To see the amazement in their eyes and excitement in their voices is inspiring.
Friday will be our Fall Costume Parade and party. Lunch will be provided during the party. We will meet in the classroom at 8:45 dressed in costume. We will then head upstairs for the parade. If you would like to bring treats to pass out to the children as they walk by that is fine. I will have treat bags for them. If your child wants to wear their costume all day that is fine with me. If not bring a change of clothes for after the parade. Our party will be in our classroom beginning at noon. You are welcome to attend. Email or text me with any further questions. Looking forward to Friday!
Preschool children learn best when they are aloud to touch and explore for themselves. They are naturally curious creatures and crave the opportunity to do things for themselves. I strive to provide the children with as many opportunities to explore for themselves as possible. We have only been together for a short time and there are children who were afraid to touch new things and try new experiences at the beginning of September. Today I overheard one little friend say how much fun it was to make a mess! They are letting their walls down and taking risks. With those risks will come great discoveries.
I put out an science exploration today and was impressed that it kept the entire class engaged, talking, touching, exploring and questioning for a solid half hour. That is rare for the attention span of a three year old, let alone all eight! I presented each child with their own tray of table salt, rock salt, water, a pipette, a spoon and a block of blue ice with "monster" eyes frozen inside. Their challenge was to melt their monsters with the materials provided and free the eyes. We discussed how the salt and water would help the ice block melt faster. Then they were free to try it out on their own. They could have unlimited supplies and use them any way they saw fit.
I was very surprised at how each child tackled this challenge with great patience, thoughtful questioning and well thought out predictions. They carefully observed each other and then tried new strategies.
Overheard while exploring...
"I put my spoon in and I think it helps the ice melt."
"Look at me, I'm going to dump the water on it and see what happens."
"I can mix the salt in the water."
"I got one, two... one of the eyes came out!"
"I need more water and salt."
"It is fun to make a mess!"
"What happens if you put the ice in the salt?"
"How long does it take to melt ice?"
"See, if I put salt here it makes like a tunnel in the ice."
It doesn't take much to offer this kind of exploratory opportunity at home. Maybe over the rainy weekend you could take some ice cubes and salt from the cupboard the try it at home. Let your little one show you what he/she can do all by themselves.
We had such a great time this morning counting monster eyes, building monsters with magnets, feeding monsters numbers and letters and making one of a kind symmetry monsters for art.
During art today the children were able to paint with a variety of colors and then were told to fold the paper in half and press the two halves together. When they opened the paper a beautiful symmetry monster appeared and all we had to do was add the eyes. Some had only two eyes and others had as many as eight!
The highlight of our day was a science experiment in which we blew up "Monster" balloons using a chemical reaction. I love baking soda and vinegar and the awe inspiring reaction it gets every time I use it with children. It never gets old. Today the children were given a balloon and after a discussion about feelings we chose a face to draw on the balloon. Some were happy, some scary, some angry. Then we put some vinegar in the bottom of a bottle, placed some baking soda in the balloon and secured the balloon over the mouth of the bottle. The children got to dump their own baking soda into the bottle and were amazed as the reaction caused bubbles and gas to fill their balloon right in front of their eyes. As you can imagine the next child couldn't wait for his or her turn. Again, Again!
We finished up our morning with some play dough fun.
Sometimes I put things out for the kids and what they do with it surprises me. This morning I had a felt board story of the Itsy Bitsy Spider up that I was planning to use during story time. A few of the children noticed it and asked if they could play with it. I hung back and observed. They instinctively knew that the felt board was for story telling and used the pieces to tell each other stories. They were engaged, using wonderful story form, vocabulary, sequence of events, imagination and expression.
I grabbed my clipboard and wrote down what was being said (these are their words, no editing) ...
"Once upon a time, there was a cloud in the sky. The sun come out . The house had a boy and some spiders climbed up. The giant spider climbed up. The giant spider came. Ahhhh! The boy screamed, "The sun's out!" And the cloud goes away.
This story telling took on a life of its own and the children began taking turns telling their version.
" The spider and the cloud. The rain came. The sun come back and the cloud went away. And the cloud will come back next time. The boy said, "There is a spider on the house. Yikes!" Rain from the cloud will make it go away. The End."
The children were introduced to sewing today. Each made their own spider web to take home. A lot of concentration, hand eye coordination, dexterity, patiences and fine motor skill went into this work. The children were very proud of themselves once they got the hang of things.
We also did a fine motor exercise with out initials today. We used a push pin to poke along the first letter in our name. This is not only good for strengthening the pincer muscles but for visual tracking and letter recognition. Important skills for reading and writing. Children could chose to either sit at the table or lay on the floor. Laying on the floor provided a greater challenge as they children would have to support themselves on their elbows and use greater upper body strength to complete the task.
During our playground time lately the children have had a great time hunting for treasure (sticks, acorns, rocks, etc). The problem they kept running into was that they had no where to keep it all. So today I brought along a few bags for them to use while collecting their precious treasure. They were a hit and will be coming with us to the playground from now on.
This morning we spent some time exploring spiders. These fascinating creatures had everyone excited.
When the children came back from Music class, I was wearing my scientist's lab coat. We discussed how scientists love to examine nature up close. I asked if the children wanted to be scientists too. Everyone agreed it would be fun to examine spiders up close so I offered each child their own lab coat to wear as we "dissected" a spider! We used tweezers and our fingers to "dissect" our pretend spiders. We learned that spiders have two body parts, eight legs, and anywhere from 2 to 8 eyes. Then I brought out the specimens (pipe cleaners, pom poms, and googly eyes set in Gelatine). The exploration was one that caught everyone's attention and interest.
Such great verbal communication going on here!
"Ohhh, it's cold and slimy."
"I don't know about this."
"Look, I got the body."
"Ms. Kristen, look I got a spider eye!"
"I am a scientist."
"This is so cool!"
"So it's jello, but I can't eat it right?"
"How many legs did you find?"
I am really excited to see some of the children come out of their shells and try something new. I don't want them to be afraid to get dirty. Some of the best learning takes place when we dive in and get a little dirty!
After our experiment, some of the children were interested in making a spider necklace. This fine motor threading activity is a challenge for little hands and I was very impressed at how many chose to do this activity and how well they were able to lace the beads with little help and much concentration.
And if all that wasn't enough we also had a visit from the fire department today!
We did a lot of letter work this week. We introduced letter recognition and matching, names in print and with a new song today we focused on our first initials.
Ask your little one if they can sing you their initial song. Sung to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell it goes something like this...
Sam starts with S,
Sam starts with S,
Sam is my friend,
Sam starts with S.
Having a special song sung about themselves was very exciting for the children (not to mention seeing their smiling faces on the felt board). It was so simple the kiddos caught on quick and were singing about each other all morning.
Our art experience was a combination of both creativity and fine motor strength. The children were given coffee filters in the shape of a bat and were asked to color them any way they chose with markers. Once that was finished they were given a spray bottle with water to wet the filter with. Spray bottles require a lot of strength and control, especially for little hands. The children did remarkably well and the results are beautiful. As the decorated filter gets wet the marker colors bleed and form unique patterns. Watching the colors bleed was exciting in itself but the children enjoyed using the spray bottles far more.
We rounded out the morning we an exciting sensory experience. We made Bat Gak! Little baggies of it were in their totes to share at home. Gak is made with only a few ingredients and is irresistible! Gak is a wonderful sensory material especially for those a little weary of getting messy. It feels cool and slimy but doesn't stay on your hands. The children helped mix up the recipe and went to work poking it until they were comfortable enough to handle it. If you form it into a ball it will bounce. If you lay it on the table it seems to melt away. I think we will have to make it again for those that missed it.
Mix 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup Elmer's School glue (clear, colored or white). You can also add food coloring at this point if you have plain glue. Once the glue and water are mixed add a 1/2 cup of liquid starch (found in the laundry aisle). Mix with your hands and enjoy. We threw in some bat sequins to make it Bat Gak.
Then let the fun begin!
"It's gooey and squishy!"
"It's like snot!"
"I can see bats in it."
"Look at mine stretch!"
We certainly kept ourselves busy today! The children were introduced to bats. We learned that bats live in caves, under bridges, in old barns, and sometimes in attics. Bats fly, have fur and eat fruit or bugs. Bats take care of their young and are night time hunters.
I also co-teach the Life Skills class on Mondays. There we work on science or cooking lessons. This morning we did some simple cooking in our class. The recipe was in the children's totes if you are interested in trying it at home. It was a big hit and everyone loved it! We made Bat Crisps.
A few more pictures from our art exploration and playdough fun.
Our little hands were busy today. We enjoyed painting with apples, patterning, and water transfer practice. Our morning began with some free time to explore the trays and work on what interests us. All the while counting, working our fine motor muscles, using our imagination and early literacy skills with out even knowing it.
During our circle time the children were introduced to simple AB patterning. A few children got the hang of it right off the bat. We will continue to practice this skill going forward.
After our story we decided to paint with apples. Each child scooped their own paint into a box lined with paper. Then we added a few apples and shook the box until our apples rolled around in the paint leaving behind a beautiful and unique painting. Everyone was so patient waiting for their turn.
To really give our fine motor muscles a workout we did a water transfer activity. The children each had their own jar of water and an ice cube tray. We worked on using our pincer fingers, (thumb and pointer) to squeeze the pipette and transfer water from our jar to the ice tray. Instinctively most children went ahead and grabbed the pipette with their fist. We are trying to isolate the pincer muscles and strengthen them. They are the ones we use to write with. Providing many opportunities to work on those muscles is key to early writing skills. This simple activity was very engaging. The girls and boys stuck with it for over 20 minutes, plugging away and trying to figure out the best way to squeeze the pipette.
We had a fabulous time learning all about apples this week.
Here you will find little snippets of our days together. When my children were in preschool and would come home I would always ask, "So, what did you do today?". All they ever said was, "Played." That didn't tell me much. I hope this blog will be a place to share what we have done and help you ask more directed questions of your child. You will see first hand just what we do after you kiss your little one goodbye in the morning. It will also be a great place to visit and see just how much your child has grown and learned throughout the year.