Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas cheer

It is hard to believe that Christmas vacation has come so quickly. The children were so busy in the class preparing for the festivities leading up to the break. 

With the Bag of Hope collections over for 2013, we began dedicating our time to the presents for our parents. We began with adorable clear plastic ornaments. The children chose a colour of paint to roll a marble in and drop into the ball. It was a lot of fun to create lines in the ornaments just from the marble rotating around. The children tried really hard to get the marble out of the small hole but because of centripetal force, no one succeeded. It did however create tons of laughs and comments. 

The children also enjoyed using various movements to create several different patterns of paint inside of the ball. This manipulation and strong effort from the wrist and grasp of the ornament is perfect prewriting skills. It is the same motions used to make letters as the children begin changing their boxes into E's and lines into L's and I's.

Rolling red in the ornament

Using topology the children chose a second colour of paint to layer in the ornament. 

Blue & Silver

Lastly we added a third colour to finish our decorations.

Red, Gold and Green

The children are very creative and love to be in control of their creative expressions. I offered the children various materials such as stickers, stamps, felts and other class materials to decorate the gift bags. I couldn't stop some of the children from making paper bag puppets, but they were so cute I just gave them a new bag when they were done. 

To create the children's Christmas cards we used to their adorable little fingers to make dots on the cards. With permission the children helped me connect the dots to make strings of Christmas lights.

As a part of our program we visit seniors in our neighbourhood at their residence. They host us as a big group in large meeting rooms where we are all welcomed to visit and talk to them. You may remember in October we were lucky to be invited over to recite a pumpkin quote and read our favourite story to them. For the Christmas season they asked us to come visit again. Sadly, the Morning program had to postpone their visit but the Afternoon class went to visit our new friends on December 9th. We sang our Christmas concert songs, and enjoyed juice boxes. Our singing was so good Santa heard us and came to share gifts and ginger bread cookies with us. 

Singing in front of strangers sure can be hard. Thankfully in doing so, it prepares us for kindergarten when we are asked to perform in front of our whole school! It also helps us learn to enjoy the art of performing, and become confident in our public speaking skills.

On December 12th, Hardisty invited us to listen to the kindergarten and grade ones Christmas songs for their concert  

It's honestly amazing how well they sat without being asked

The T/Th class really enjoyed the presentation. It was hard to ask them to leave because they were having so much fun. We saw a sibling, and had a chance to sit with the parents of other children. The big kids must have worked hard to prepare those songs. They set a wonderful example for when it was our turn to do our show.

Sometimes the best activities the children get into are not planned  planned by me, but an opportunity of free play, lots of materials on hand and a society that sets examples.
I had left some tissue paper on the table which we were using to wrap the ornaments. The children took a few pieces and began wrapping toys in the classroom. When they ran out of paper, they started using the scarves we have in the play center. 

I smiled warmly, as I listened to the children chant "Merry Christmas" as they shared and took turns with the wrapped toys passing them back and forth.

The day before our Christmas concert the children were invited to have a Pajama party. 
During class the started with our regular routine of playing, circle and snack, before indulging in popcorn with smarties and watching 'frosty the snowman' in the kindergarten room. 

Keeping the class close to our regular routine offers the playschoolers comfort and predictability. Although it is healthy to shake things up on occasion, it is also important to try and keep most days as close to routine as possible. Keeping the routine constant offers comfort and trust, while switching routines is exciting and new! Switching routines occasionally also give the children a little bit of stress. By controlling children's exposure to stress when they are young, it helps them learn how to adjust and accept the things they have no control over. It teaches them in a safe environment how to adjust to the unpredictable so when they grow up and it is no longer offered in a controlled environment with a caregiver they trust, they are ready and able to cope.

Our Christmas party was on Wednesday, and it was a WONDERFUL time!
I love how our school brings together all of the families for Christmas. We are all in such a large community (Fulton, Capilano, Hollyrood, Gold Bar, Ottwell and more!), and we can not always have a chance to be together in the class. We do however run into one another in the mall, at events, at the park and in community programs such as soccer. As the children grow up, they will see their peers again in jr high or highschool, and the small friendship connection was seeded when they were only 3 or 4.

The children did a fantastic job singing a concert for the families, as we welcomed everyone to the hall . It's so adorable watching young children perform because they are all getting what they need, and doing the best they can. Some are ready to recite the songs and actions back as if they were at McGonigle Hall, while others are using the opportunity to show off their dance moves or strong (Screaming) singing voices. Others sing nothing, and do nothing. Other children sang from the laps of their families, praising the others for their confidence. No child did wrong, no child was bad. They did the best that they could with their first exposure to a group concert. Next year, whether it is at the playschool again, or in kindergarten, they will do the best they can, with the information they received this year to do it again. Maybe they'll sing loud and proud, or they will dance a storm, but they will continue to learn and grow.
This year while watching the kindergartners sing with the T/Th class, I saw a child who last year wasn't very comfortable with singing in front of everyone at the playschool performances. This child did the actions and sang the song, and I was SO excited for the child! It's amazing to see them grow, and how far they have gone in 365 days.

After our concert Santa came to visit us! It must have been our amazing singing voices again.

Celebration center

Christmas is a very important time of the year for us in the classroom for the Christian program. We get to celebrate Jesus birthday with our friends and families. In the class we had both a felt board nativity set and a beautiful little people nativity set and advent candles. We read our favourite books like the story of Jesus birth, and the friendly beast, and sang wonderful songs such as Joy to the world. 

One of the crafts we made was a nativity set with Popsicle sticks. 

May your Christmas be blessed with friends and family full of joy and love. 

Ms Asha

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Looking a lot like Christmas

With December on a roll, the children are very busy. I look forward to all of the activities we have coming our way, including cookie making, watching the "big kids" do their Christmas songs, singing our songs for the seniors, and our big class Christmas party!

We decorated our classroom. It's so much fun to make the house center look like a Christmas home.

Inside we have a tiny tree the children are allowed to decorate and undecorate, building our fine motor skills.

We also get to make Christmas cookies!!

Our favorite activity is still playing with the squishy window clings.

And of course those non provicated moments in life where the real magic in play happens.

Ms Jenn came back to visit the Health & Wellness program!
She brought yoga mats that Moksha Yoga Edmonton donated! 
We sure were excited when we ALL had our own mats to use.

Ms Jenn read us The Giving Tree
Ms Jenn comes with lots of very activities such as games, books and new words. Our new word is Namaste.

Namaste Ms Jenn!

Celebration Center

We had our first Chapel at school this Month. It was full of important conversations such as the advent, and how we prepare ourselves to celebrate Jesus' birthday.

In preparation for our Nativity Play, we brought our adorable Little People Nativity set.

I could hear the children reciting their lines, sharing characters, and telling the story over and over as they enjoyed all of the toys.

This is our beautiful back drop for our Nativity Play.
The children were sensational, and warmed all of our hearts.
They continue to amaze us with their love for the coming of Jesus. 


Ms Asha

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bag of hope

Doing good in our community is sadly not something that comes natural to all of us. Teaching children at a young age helps it become something we do on a daily basis. Performing random acts of kindness as simple as opening doors, and helping out the less fortunate, creates a ripple effect that goes on and on.
At the Playschool we identify the need for more helping hands, and luckily had 68 little hands to help out Bag of Hope. And that was only the 34 children in our class, not to mention their families and the families at Hardisty!

We began collecting items in November, and this week we put the items into the back packs.

We collected the same thing the adults need such as mittens, hats, scarves and socks. We included more children fun things like stickers, books and toys.

Choosing our own lollypops to share
I am so proud of the children for taking time out of their play to pick out various items to put into backpacks. Some had a hard time when we reminded them the bag was for others and not for them, but once informed in an age appropriate way they smiled and let me know they were okay with sharing. It's not always easy to donate, or give but it is enriching, needed and creates a community of care and support.

It also was good for the children physically. The children unzipped the backpacks on their own, used  their fine motor skills to pick up the items and put them inside of the bags, and then zip them back up before carrying them to the pile with the other backpacks.The children were allowed to pick out the items from a pile to give to a boy or girl, creating a sense of ability, knowing I trusted their decision - even if some items in the girl backpacks ended up blue. They also helped me with all of the counting and sorting.

I invited CTV into the class to observe the children working away like bees to stuff back packs for other children. We were so lucky to have them agree to come in, as well as some friends from Bag of Hope. We will be featured in an ongoing news report for CTV called "the 12 days of Christmas giving" I saw the Bag of Hope on the 12 days of Christmas giving last year, and am so thankful that they planned to do it again this year, and wanted to include the playschool on it.

I am SO excited about the waves the children have made while doing good for the community. Personally, these 36 3 and 4 year olds have inspired me to do 25 days of Random Acts of Kindness until Christmas!

If you still want to help out Bag of Hope is still accepting Adult items until December 6th. Check out the website to contribute.

Ms Asha

Hibernate, migrate and adapt

To wrap up our Hibernate, Migrate or Adapt unit Mr Ollie - our classroom puppet Mr Ollie asked us for a favor. He asked the Playschoolers if they could go into Hardisty and invite 8 of his friends to his Birthday. As we embarked on our adventure through the halls we sadly found out that his friends were away or sleeping!

are you home humming bird?

We found out:

The butterfly migrates
The hummingbird migrates
The goose migrates
The robin migrates
The black bear hibernates
The frog hibernates
The ground hog hibernates
The snake hibernates

The children were so smart, shouting out the answers when Ms Asha couldn't figure out why Miss Butterfly didn't answer when we knocked.

The children felt bad for Mr Ollie, that his friends were either hibernating or had migrated. Many commented on how he would be sad, and some tried to plan a second birthday when his friends are home. We told Mr Ollie that even though his friends couldn't come, that we would love to come. He was so excited about the idea!

We sang happy birthday to Mr Ollie, and he shared small cupcakes with us!

Ms Asha loves small cupcakes. It's important to teach children moderation, and although we are a health and wellness program, we understand it is healthy to have special deserts on special birthdays. These small cupcakes are a great tiny portion. I also am happy that the children can easily pull the wrappers off themselves. We love real life oppurtunities that promote fine motor skills and independence.

Before we left, Mr. Ollie gave us birthday blow items! Believe it or not, these fun and cheap toys are GREAT for speech development. They teach round lips for words such as /w/, oo and /o/. It teaches tongue positioning and strengthening for the /k/, /g/ and ng sounds. It strengthens abdominal muscles to increase sentance length - and best of all they're so much fun to blow.

Strong abdominal muscles can help increase sentence length - See more at:
position and strengthen the tongue correctly for the /k/, /g/, and ng sounds. - See more at:
position and strengthen the tongue correctly for the /k/, /g/, and ng sounds. - See more at:  

When we went to go to the gym to do some awesome "Birthday" games like duck duck goose we found out the Jr high kids were learning to dance with "Just Dance" on the wii. Thankfully, they invited us in to dance with them! Being in a k-9 has offered us so many amazing opportunities such as cooking in their home ec class and use their library.

What an amazing week!

Ms Asha